Crimestoppers launches campaign to raise awareness of ‘County Lines’ and the exploitation of vulnerable people
The charity Crimestoppers has today launched a national campaign to highlight County Lines and encourage the public to report their concerns.
To help the public understand what ‘county lines’ is and encourage reporting to Crimestoppers, the charity is running a campaign which launched today. An advan will be touring certain areas giving people more information on how they can play their part in helping to tackle this issue. In addition, a social media campaign has also been launched by the charity to raise awareness of the crime.
To complement the Crimestoppers campaign, the Home Office is raising awareness of county lines among those staff who might encounter young and vulnerable people who are at risk of being exploited by county lines gangs, such as statutory staff and those working in the transport and private security sectors.
What is County Lines?
County lines refers to gangs and organised criminal networks which export illegal drugs into suburban, rural and coastal areas, using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal line.”
The crime sees County Lines gangs exploit children and vulnerable adults to move drugs and money.
The gangs move into a rural or suburban area for a short time, taking over the home of a vulnerable person where they set up a base.
Many of those taken advantage of by these gangs have been forced to carry out criminal activity by threats, grooming and extortion and can be described as modern day slaves.
Spot the signs and report concerns
Have you noticed:
- A child or young person (sometimes as young as 12), during school hours or unusual hours (e.g. early in the morning, late at night)? They might be in a shopping centre or high street, or on public transport.
- A child or young person who seems unfamiliar with the local area?
- A child or young person being approached or intimidated by a controlling peer or group?
- A child or vulnerable person who is deliberately avoiding authority figures such as police officers or security guards?
- More people calling at a local address than normal? Sometimes at unsociable hours?
- Suspicious vehicles or people at an address?
- A neighbour has not been seen for a while?
If you see something concerning either a young or vulnerable person that doesn’t feel right, or looks suspicious, you can report your concerns 100% anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers. You can contact us on 0800 555 111 or send an untraceable online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.
Speaking about the campaign, Emily van der Lely, Crimestoppers lead on County Lines, said: “We know that the term ‘County Lines’ might not be widely recognised, which is why we are launching this campaign and asking for your help to support us in tackling this issue.
“We need help to put a stop to this exploitation and the damage that these criminals are inflicting on our communities and those being taken advantage of.
“We are asking you to contact us anonymously and safely through our 0800 555 111 number, or via our secure online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org - both methods are 100% anonymous. Always. Together we can put a stop to this.”
Crimestoppers are working closely with the Home Office, who are running a campaign which targets staff who may encounter young people who are being exploited by the practice of county lines. The Home Office campaign targets staff in the transport, private security and accommodation sector and provides them with a range of materials including posters, guidance booklets on how to identify a young person is may be being exploited by county lines gangs and, how to safeguard that vulnerable young person.
If you recognise any of the signs listed above, Crimestoppers is here to take your information. You can contact us anonymously on 0800 555 111 or can send an untraceable online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.
If you require any further information then please contact the Crimestoppers Press Office on 0208 835 3727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping communities to ‘Speak up. Stay safe.’
- Our 0800 555 111 telephone number and website crimestoppers-uk.org gives people the power to speak up and pass on information about crime 100% anonymously. Our guarantee has not been broken in over 30 years.
- Alongside our national campaigns, we have hundreds of volunteers across the UK who help us promote our services to those that need to hear about them.
- Every region of the UK has a Crimestoppers team responsible for raising awareness of our charity and running local campaigns about issues that affect their area.
- Around 10 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers.
- Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over 1.9 million actionable calls, resulting in more than 144,000 arrests and charges, over £136 million worth of stolen goods have been recovered and over £346 million worth of illegal drugs have been seized.
- In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK's Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful, with over 4,100 arrests to date.
- Crimestoppers UK was founded in 1988 by Lord Ashcroft, KCMG PC, Chair of Trustees.
Kieran Theivam | Media Manager
Crimestoppers Trust, PO Box 324, Wallington, SM6 6BG
T: 020 8835 3727 | M: 07900 694 904 | F: 020 8835 3701 | E: Kieran.Theivam@crimestoppers-uk.org
W: www.crimestoppers-uk.org | Switchboard: 020 8835 3700
Twitter: @crimestoppersuk |Facebook: @crimestoppers |YouTube: @crimestoppersuk |