Striking a blow at the heart of county lines-related crime
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Leicestershire Police has dismantled two county lines in Coalville and Loughborough during County Lines Intensification Week (CLIW).
During the national week of action, which ran from Monday 3 October to Sunday 9 October, officers also;
Arrested 52 people
Executed 30 search warrants
Safeguarded 43 vulnerable children/adults
Presented a county lines online workshop to 6,834 children and 337 professionals who work with young people
Ran 2 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) operations stopping 20 vehicles and arresting 6 people
Seized £16,000 in cash
Visited 10 people known to the police to carry knives
Recovered significant quantities of drugs including 346 wraps of Crack, a further £12,000 of Crack and 258 Cannabis plants
10 weapons were recovered including a cross bow, a machete and a samurai sword
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups from cities exploit young people from smaller towns and rural areas into moving and supplying drugs. The ‘county line’ is the mobile phone line used to take the orders of drugs. This can have significant consequences for communities and vulnerable people whilst also increasing crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.
During County Lines Intensification week last week, 30 warrants were executed including four simultaneous warrants in South Leicester, Leicester, Derbyshire and London which led to the dismantling of a line that was operating in Coalville. Four people were arrested, three of whom were subsequently charged with conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin and remanded to prison.
One stop check during the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) operation led to two men being arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. Following further intelligence work, a phone was seized effectively shutting down a line in Loughborough.
County Lines Intensification Week (CLIW) is not just about enforcement however. It’s also about educating young people about the dangers of county lines and helping trusted adults recognise the signs that someone is being criminally exploited. During the week, the force’s Children and Young Persons Officer, Katie Hudson, delivered a total of 26 workshops to students and professionals in secondary schools and further educational establishments.
A total of 7,201 people attended the workshops, of which 337 were teachers and 6,864 young people prompting the teacher at one school to write: “What a fantastic and informative session which was well received by staff and students alike. The content was excellent, with discussion points built into the presentation. The school would attend future workshops and recommend to colleagues.”
As well as educating young people and disrupting the supply lines, the force works with local organisations to get help for those who want it. Forty-three people, adults and young people, were identified as needing safeguarding. The Exploitation Team and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub provide expert advice regarding those at risk, providing bespoke action plans and engagement.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Sinski from the Force Intelligence Bureau said: “To execute thirty search warrants across the force area when we have had so many competing demands recently is testament to the dedication, hard work and professionalism of our staff and officers across many teams and partner organisations.
“The force has faced unprecedented demands on its resources from the patrols in East Leicester following the recent disorder; the football match between Leicester City Football Club and Nottingham Forest; the beginning of the Diwali celebrations and a large fire at a nightclub in Leicester but despite that the planning, coordination and enforcement continued and was delivered.
“County Lines Intensification Week is over but our work is not. We will continue to listen to our communities, gather intelligence, protect and safeguard the vulnerable and bring offenders to justice. My thanks go to everyone involved in making Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland a safer place to live.”
The force also ran an online social media campaign targeting both trusted adults on Facebook and young people on Snapchat and Instagram reaching nearly half a million people.