76 arrested during County Lines Intensification Week activity
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Leicestershire Police has carried out 41 warrants, arrested 76 people and made safeguarding visits to 58 vulnerable people during a national week of action targeting County Lines drug dealing.
They also recovered cash, drugs, firearms and other weapons as part of County Lines Intensification Week from Monday 27 February and Sunday 5 March 2023.
It is a national week of activity by police forces to disrupt the supply of drugs and to raise awareness of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE).
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.
Those being exploited are expected to move and store drugs and money, sometimes via coercion, intimidation and violence.
Through activities including warrants, ANPR operations, priority patrols in hotspot areas, Leicestershire Police:
Mapped five new County Lines
Made 76 arrests – with 15 individuals charged with 36 separate offences
Executed 41 warrants
Led two ANPR operations – leading to 13 arrests, 41 stop checks, and 10 vehicles recovered
Recovered 33 weapons including a firearm
Seized over £12,500 in cash
Seized over £200,000’s worth of drugs
Reached 5238 school pupils and 151 educational professionals with interactive preventative workshops
Safeguarded 21 individuals
Partnership work was also key to the weeks success, this included joint operations at train stations with the British Transport Police (BTP), safeguarding visits and force run sessions in schools. Another campaign partner is Turning Point, who help people overcome drug and alcohol misuse.
There is a newly designed leaflet campaign for those who may come across CCE victims in their workplace as well as a social media campaign designed to use graphics of the items typically used by the drug dealers to recruit young people into working for them.
The social media campaign, targeting trusted adults on Facebook and Instagram, reached close to 220,000 people, with the forces other County Lines social media posts reaching a further 278,000.
The force’s activity was supported by national surge funding.
There was further promotion of the Are you Listening film which is about four young people who are being exploited. Although all of its characters are fictional they represent real experiences.
In the film, the signs of CCE are being made obvious to adults however the adults fail to listen to what they are being told and miss opportunities to help.
Detective Inspector Dan Granger, who oversaw the week of activity, said: “The results from County Lines Intensification Week speak for themselves.
“The recovery of significant amounts of drugs, cash and weapons along with charging a number of people has an immediate and tangible impact. Alongside this, the improved intelligence gained during the activity along with the educational offerings provided, particularly to schoolchildren, supports us in protecting communities moving forward.
“The success of the week was only possible due to the drive and enthusiasm of those involved, showing a real determination to safeguard vulnerable people and bring offenders to justice.
“I am grateful to all that took part in both the planning and execution of this week of action, including members of Leicestershire Police and colleagues that work for our partners.”
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “County Lines is responsible for much of the serious violence on our streets, not to mention the exploitation of vulnerable young people who are groomed into behaviour that exposes them to serious risk of harm.
“Robust enforcement to disrupt the supply chain and safeguard young people is vital for keeping our communities safe and I am very impressed by the hoard of drugs, weapons and money taken off the streets this week.
“With the arrival of the Government’s Serious Violence Duty, I am working hard with partners to expand provision for young people who are at risk of being lured into County Lines activity. The workshops hosted as part of this week of action support this approach, raising awareness of the tactics employed by gangs to target their victims.”