The Home Office has published updated guidance to help front-line workers identify and protect victims of county lines gangs
County lines refers to a model used by criminal gangs, whereby urban gangs supply drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns. These gangs frequently exploit children and vulnerable adults to courier drugs and money. Some vulnerable adults have their homes taken over by the gangs (cuckooing) using force or coercion.
To support policing and other statutory front-line staff – particularly those who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults – in identifying potential victims of this type of criminal exploitation, the Home Office has updated its County Lines guidance. It sets out the signs to look for in potential victims, and what action staff should take so that potential victims get the support and help they need. The document supplements an organisation’s existing safeguarding policies. The guidance is available here.
Alongside the guidance, there are resources (available here) to help policing and statutory staff recognise the signs to look out for, that could indicate that someone is a victim of county lines gangs.
Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and CrimeStoppers teamed up for the video below, to highlight the signs of County Lines, and what to do if you suspect someone may be involved: