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New Programme Challenger chair to help tackle organised crime in Greater Manchester

A new independent chair, who is a former Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, has been appointed chair of Greater Manchester’s Programme Challenger Board, which brings together partners across the city-region to tackle serious and organised crime.

Liz Jenkins, who is currently Assistant Director in the legal team at the General Medical Council, spent many years as a prosecutor in the Revenue & Customs Prosecutions Office where she worked on a wide range of cases with a particular focus on serious and organised crime.

Liz later became a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service, leading teams in organised crime, specialist fraud, rape and serious sexual offences and the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts units.

She will now be taking this experience to become the independent chair of Programme Challenger, which is Greater Manchester’s partnership response to serious and organised crime. It is made up of many different agencies, who all work together to disrupt and dismantle individuals and networks committing serious crime in Greater Manchester, including running drug lines, exploiting people for financial gain, buying and using firearms, and laundering the money they make from their criminality.

Liz Jenkins, Chair of Greater Manchester’s Programme Challenger Board, said: “I’m really excited to be taking on this new role to help build on the great progress already made to tackle serious and organised crime in Greater Manchester.

“I have decades of experience in working as a prosecutor bringing organised criminals to justice across the country and I look forward to working closely with the rest of the board to make a difference to our communities across Greater Manchester.”

Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, said: “Programme Challenger is partnership working at its best. When tackling complex and deep-rooted issues such as organised crime, it requires a full city-region-wide approach to bring those responsible to justice, support victims and rid communities of these selfish crimes for good.

“The success of GMP’s Operation Vulcan in driving organised crime out of Cheetham Hill and Strangeways, is a perfect example of what can be achieved. I’m really pleased that Liz will be joining Programme Challenger as our independent chair and she brings with her invaluable experience which will help us all work together to make Greater Manchester a safer place.”

An annual progress report for 2022 is also set to be published which highlights the vital work the Challenger Partnership has done to cut serious organise crime. There was a 40% increase in arrests and charges leading to a 64% increase in convictions in 2022 compared to the year before, with serious and organised crime severely disrupted. A total of 68 firearms were seized – a huge increase of 183% compared to 2021 – with 12 other dangerous weapons, including grenades and knives seized, another sizeable increase from the year before.

Drugs and drug dealing are a key crime type for serious and organised criminals in our region. The Challenger team recovered more than 400kg of cocaine, cannabis, and heroin from criminal groups with £3.3m of cash also seized.

These results, and other work conducted by the Challenger team, highlights the disruption caused to serious criminals, protecting communities across our city-region.

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Article Published: 12/10/2023 09:38 AM