01 Oct News story: Home Secretary announces a package of new measures to tackle county lines
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced a surge of activity to crack down on county lines drugs gangs.
The package of measures – underpinned by £20 million of Home Office investment – will intensify law enforcement efforts to disrupt the county lines model.
The new package of announcements includes:
Expanding the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre
There will be additional investment into the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre to increase its activity, providing strengthened capability and capacity at a regional and national level to disrupt county lines. This will include placing more officers and staff into the centre and providing additional strategic resource to regional organised crime units.
The National County Lines Co-ordination Centre brings together a multi-agency team of experts from the National Crime Agency (NCA), police officers and regional organised crime units to tackle the issue of county lines through sharing intelligence, working with partners across government and taking concerted action.
Since it opened a year ago, the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre has co-ordinated action which led to over 1,800 arrests and has safeguarded over 2,400 vulnerable people – including more than 1,000 children.
Increased disruption on rail networks
Rail networks remain a key method of transportation for county lines gangs. There will be British Transport Police teams that work exclusively on county lines, and will be based at a number of railway stations across England that are key hubs for county lines drug trafficking.
Investment in technology to disrupt county lines operations
Roads are also used to transport offenders, victims, drugs, cash and weapons. Enhanced data analysis using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) will enable police to proactively target vehicles suspected of being used in county lines activity.
Working with money service bureaus to tackle illicit finance
County lines is a cash-driven activity. The government will intensify operations to identify opportunities to take action against money service bureaus, enabling increased cash seizures and arrests for money laundering.
Increasing support services for county lines victims
County lines gangs operate their business through exploiting children and vulnerable people. The government will develop an expanded national specialist support service to help young people and their families exit their involvement in county lines.
This package will significantly bolster our response to county lines. Alongside these measures, in September the Chancellor announced a formal review to identify the powers, capabilities, governance and funding needed to develop our response to serious and organised crime ahead of a full spending review next year.
Click here to read more.