County lines intensification – a success for South Wales
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Last week (March 7-13) South Wales Police, with support from Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit, took a range of action as part of a County Lines Intensification Week.
The intensification week targeted drug traffickers who often recruit children and vulnerable adults to supply drugs around the country.
As part of the work, South Wales Police:
Visited 35 ‘cuckooed’ addresses
Seized over £8,000 cash
Safeguarded 13 people
Visited local schools and colleges to engage with young people and raise awareness of County Lines
Worked with British Transport Police, putting up knife arches at train stations and engaging with travellers
County Lines is a form of organised crime where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable adults who are coerced into by gangs. The ‘line’ refers to the mobile phone used to take orders for drugs. Traditionally this has been done across police and county borders, but the same methodology can be adopted within local boundaries.
National intensification weeks such as the most recent one aims to target criminals and make our communities unwelcome to criminal gangs. But as well as that, the aim is to protect vulnerable people who are often forced to either sell drugs in unfamiliar parts of their local areas, or to completely new towns and counties.
Detective Superintendent Mark Kavanagh, Head of Force Intelligence and Organised Crime, said:
“County Lines is a form of criminal exploitation, where urban gangs persuade, coerce or force children and vulnerable people into uncomfortable and illicit situations. “We fully understand the misery inflicted upon vulnerable people, families, and communities across south Wales through the drugs trade, and we will always be relentless in our efforts to tackle this. “We will continue to work with work with our colleagues in other forces and partner agencies to fight to harm brought to our communities by illegal drugs."
County Lines Coordinator Detective Inspector Richard Weber, from Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit, added:
“Officers from across all three southern Welsh forces, as well as partners in British Transport Police and the National County Lines Coordination Centre have collectively taken part in this period of intensification, to make sure that not only are our towns and counties made unwelcome to criminal gangs, but that the support is offered to those that fall victim to grooming, cuckooing and other forms of exploitation. “The work doesn’t start and end at these weeks of action, we are always working to disrupt criminal gangs whose intentions inflict life-long mental and physical harm on vulnerable people.”