Agenda item

County Lines Drug Activity - An update on Prevention Strategies


The Community Safety Manager provided an overview of the activity undertaken by local agencies in Worcestershire to tackle and disrupt county lines drug activity.


The definition of county lines was provided and the process of how this crime was undertaken was explained to Members. It was reported that various agencies coordinated their work to tackle county lines gang activity and there were national, regional, and local responses. Multiple organisations were involved in coordination and delivery of prevention strategies in Redditch.


It was explained that on a regional and local level the tackling of county lines drug activity was led by the West Mercia Police County Lines Team (CLT). The Team worked to the Four-P Plan to Pursue offenders, Prevent victimisation, Prepare agencies and organisations for action, and Protect communities and neighbourhoods. It was reported that the main aim of the County Lines Team was to obtain, submit, receive and review intelligence to target individual drug lines.


The process for targeting county lines was explained and it was noted that once a line holder was arrested, and the phone taken out of circulation, a message would be sent to all the drug users in the phone to notify them of drug support agencies for them to contact. It was noted that this was a new system designed to play a preventive role. When children were being identified as involved in county lines gang, then referrals were made to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the Police Child Exploitation team and GetSafe (multi-agency support and protection for children and young people at risk of criminal exploitation in Worcestershire) – the use of the NRM had not been required in the Redditch area to date.


The details of initiatives to target and prevent county lines drug activity were given including the West Mercia Police’s Neighbourhood Crime Fighting Team (NCFT), County Lines – Weeks of Action (intensification weeks), and the County Lines – Protect, Prevent and Prepare Strands.


Details of recent actions and interventions undertaken by the North Worcestershire County Lines Team were provided and it was highlighted that there were several recent successes in catching County Lines drug offenders.


Details were also provided to Members on the reporting mechanisms for raising a county lines activity concern, particularly in cases where a child might be involved.


Following the presentation, Members asked for clarification with respect to a number of areas as follows:


·       Mode of operation of county lines – It was explained that past victims report that county lines gangs are operated like a business with different levels of operation. There is also psychological element whereby ‘employees’ at the bottom of the operation are threatened with violence and become too afraid to report. It was noted that county lines gangs were also shifting their tactics, for example, with the gangs now more often targeting young people from relatively affluent areas/neighbourhoods than was the case before.


The Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Regulatory Services addressed the Panel and in doing so thanked the Community Safety Manager for bringing this topic for discussion by the Panel and, through the presentation, for providing some reassurance to Members that much work was done to tackle county lines activity at the regional and local levels.


In concluding this item, Members placed on record their thanks for the work of the Community Safety Team and the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership.




the report be noted.

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