APCC comment on County Lines Intensification Week 9th to 15th October
The APCC Joint Serious Organised Crime and Specialist Capabilities Leads commented as follows:
Donna Jones said:
“County Lines drugs networks are responsible for serious violence in our communities and must be tackled robustly. Without interventions, these criminal gangs take root in our towns and cities by exploiting children and vulnerable adults to further their destructive business model.
“PCCs play a vital role in coordinating multi-agency approaches to combat County Lines networks, and this work is having a significant impact. Our focus remains on interventions which reduce the demand for drug supply and support for those at risk of getting drawn into criminality before it’s too late.
“We will continue to step up our efforts to support the policing response during County Lines intensification week and beyond. This coordinated national effort aims to bear down on organised criminals operating across the country, and it reaffirms that all agencies must work together to combat this nationwide issue.”
Kate Green said:
“County lines is a despicable form of grooming and exploitation of vulnerable people by organised criminal groups and it must be stopped. In Greater Manchester, we are doing that through dedicated teams within Greater Manchester Police, which last year successfully dismantled 85 county lines operating in our city-region.
“We are also raising awareness through Programme Challenger, which brings together police, local authorities, criminal justice agencies and the voluntary sector. Last year, Challenger commissioned a schools-based education performance delivered to over 50 primary schools.
“Weeks of action like this are vital in ensuring we continue to disrupt this criminal activity and protect communities and young people in particular from exploitation.”
If you’re concerned about drug-related crime in your area or think someone may be a victim of drug exploitation, call 101, report it to GMP via LiveChat, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Joint Addictions and Substance Misuse Leads David Sidwick and Joy Allen, also commented:
“Drug markets bring misery to our communities. Much of the serious violence on our streets is driven by illegal drug networks, with traffickers using weapons, threats and physical violence to intimidate and control rivals and the vulnerable gang members they have groomed for exploitation.
“Through County Lines these problems have migrated beyond the larger cities and have infiltrated communities across the country – rural and urban. PCCs frequently hear about the serious effects of drug crime on community life from their residents and are working harder than ever to fight back, funding extra resources to help their forces identify and disrupt these harmful activities and bring those responsible to justice.
“Since April 2022, 1,700 County Lines have been taken down through the Governments County Lines Programme, alongside 3,300 arrests and 4,100 vulnerable people referred to support services. Our PCC colleagues in the South-West for example have collaborated to drive the hugely successful Operation Scorpion campaign that has made the South West area a hostile environment for all drug dealers and helped to protect young people from being drawn in.
“There is much more to do. County Lines gangs are sophisticated and adaptable, switching their operating methods and practises to stay ahead of the threat. It is critical we intensify enforcement – alongside effective safeguarding for vulnerable young people and investment in prevention and treatment - and remain responsive to these evolving tactics and these national campaigns play a significant role in this, helping to keep our communities safe.”
Notes for editors
- Donna Jones is Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
- Kate Green is Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire
- David Sidwick is Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset
- Joy Allen is Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham and Darlington