Week of action to tackle County Lines drug dealing – Thames Valley
Main article content
A week of action by Thames Valley Police has led to 46 arrests, over £37,000 in cash being seized and identifying 22 people vulnerable to being targeted by County Lines drug dealers.
Between 3 October and 7 October, Thames Valley Police worked closely with partners from local authorities, homeless charities and schools for a week-long intensification of activities to tackle County Lines drug dealing, as part of the National Crime Agency’s week of action.
The week-long activity saw officers from the Thames Valley carrying out warrants, making arrests and other activity to disrupt County Lines drug dealers.
This led to 46 arrests of people who are connected to County Lines drug dealing, 68 stops of people and vehicles, and over 500 wraps of Class A drugs seized.
Additionally officers seized 81 phones linked to County Line drug dealing.
Officers also carried out 30 school visits to give young people and teachers the information they need to spot the signs that someone is being groomed by an organised crime group (OCG).
Officers also visited 59 addresses where known “cuckooing” has taken place. Cuckooing is where OCGs target the address of a vulnerable adult, taking over the property that the adult is living in and forcing them to sell drugs out of their home.
Senior investigating officer for the Drugs Focus Task Force, Detective Inspector Simon Hannam, said: “This has been a hugely successful week for Thames Valley Police working with the National Crime Agency to tackle County Lines drug dealing.
“But the week of action is just part of the ongoing effort to tackle organised crime and crime linked to County Lines drug dealing.
“We know the very harmful effects it has on our communities including to young people and vulnerable adults.
“Nationally we know children as young as six are being groomed into the world of drugs. They are forced to move drugs, sometimes inside their own bodies, and face violence, intimidation and sexual assault. These are the true costs of child exploitation by organised crime network.
“As part of our True Costs campaign, we will continue to raise awareness of the signs of exploitation and the true cost of exploitation of children.
“There is further information on how to spot the signs that a child is being exploited and where to get help for them on the Children’s Society webpages as part of its Look Closer campaign.
“Our Drugs Focus Taskforce, continues its work to disrupt County Lines and local drug lines, working closely with local policing areas across the Thames Valley.
“We will relentlessly pursue those who are involved in this criminality and exploit others.”
Detective Inspector Lee Newman-West, County Lines Regional Co-ordinator from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) said: “County Lines criminality causes severe harm and has such negative effects on our local communities, putting the most vulnerable in society at risk from exploitation and significant harm.
“As a collective in our forces, within SEROCU and the National County Lines Co-ordination centre (NCLCC), we are committed, along with our partners, to tackling the threat of County Lines criminality to make our communities safer places. Collaboration and joint working in partnership is absolutely key in identifying and disrupting those causing harm in our communities and protecting and safeguarding those at risk.
“Our work extends far beyond weeks of action and our commitment to tackling these issues continues relentlessly. We are making a real difference by taking large amounts of drugs out of our communities and safeguarding vulnerable adults and children and we thank the public for their support.”