Officers are asking people to know the signs of county lines and report any concerns
As part of a week of intensification, Leicestershire Police officers have been raising awareness about county lines.
Officers have been asking people to #KnowTheSigns associated with this type of drug related criminality.
The term county lines describes gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting drugs into other areas of the county, often small towns, using dedicated mobile phone lines.
They exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs through coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.
Throughout the past week, which ran from Monday 13-20 May, a dedicated social media campaign around county lines has reached by more than 134,000 people and been shared among partners including community safety partnerships and local authorities.
In addition, neighbourhood officers have visited schools and local businesses. Work with housing associations and transport hubs and other service organisations asking them to look out for the signs associated with county lines is also ongoing.
Inspector Kam Mistry from the force’s Serious Harm Reduction Unit (SHRU) said: “By working together, we can help other people to look out for young or vulnerable people who, through no fault of their own, may have become involved in county lines.
“Our message to them is ‘there is a way out’ of this type of criminality – support is available.
Often they have been enticed with offers of cash, gifts such as expensive clothes or trainers, drugs, affection or perceived friendship. They may also carry out a task out of fear of violence or retribution.
“Key signs include being arrested for drug dealing, possession of a weapon or anti-social disorder. They may also be linked to gangs and have become isolated from their peers or have missed significant periods of schools.
“We would ask parents, teachers, and those who may have concerns about someone they know to get in touch.”
The week of intensification follows on from the successful county lines enforcement work already undertaken by Leicestershire Police as part of Operation Lionheart which has seen more than 100 arrested.