Young people warned about 'county lines' thanks to school play
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A hard-hitting theatre production to raise awareness about the issues of ‘county lines’ will be watched by nearly 7000 pupils at 40 secondary schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland from March 2022.
Leicestershire Police have commissioned leading theatre company, AlterEgo Creative Solutions to deliver a series of productions to children in year 7 upwards, as well as teachers and professionals on the national drug trafficking issue.
County Lines is a national issue and involves gangs and criminal networks exporting illegal drugs into other areas of the country, often small towns, using mobile phone lines or another form of ‘deal line’ which can often be vulnerable adults or young people.
The gangs often exploit children or vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money, and use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons as a way of trapping and manipulating them into trafficking class A drugs, specifically crack cocaine and heroin.
Katie Hudson, Children and Young Persons Officer for Leicestershire Police, said: “County Lines is an issue which effects young people and has a detrimental impact on their future. We feel it’s vital to raise awareness among young people to warn them of the dangers of getting involved and to prevent any risk or harm happening to them.
“AlterEgo’s approach is different and as a result they have an engaging way to reach young people. We commissioned them to run a series of workshops in 2020 and the feedback was excellent so we have invited them back. They will be presenting their production in secondary schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
Cathy Robinson, Vice Principal at Rawlins Academy said: “We are excited to be working in partnership with Leicestershire Police and AlterEgo Creative Solutions to tackle this national issue at a local level in a creative way. Almost 500 pupils in our setting have benefitted from this production, and they are now more aware of the risks surrounding county lines.
“This event has excellently supplemented our existing PSHE curriculum. It is important not to shy away from safeguarding issues such as county lines, and to tackle them head on to ensure that our young people are safeguarded. The police and AlterEgo have been pivotal in raising the profile of this work, enabling the delivery of this important message in a way that is more relatable and memorable.”
Lynne Goodwin, of AlterEgo said: "AlterEgo are delighted to be returning to Leicestershire with our child criminal exploitation play County Lines. The play was developed out of a growing need to raise awareness around this issue and has had a tremendous impact in all the areas around the UK that we have toured to.”