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31 May 2019, 15:24 | Updated: 31 May 2019, 15:26
A dedicated team has been put together to tackle County Lines related criminality in Derby, Erewash and south Derbyshire.
The team will be known as the County Lines Disruption Team. It has been formed as a result of the noticeable increase in county lines intelligence which is being identified by the force.
County Lines is a term used to describe Organised Crime Group’s (OCGs), gangs and criminal networks involved in the supply of illegal commodities in to one or more markets, separate from that gang or network’s point of origin.
The supply is facilitated through the exploitation of vulnerable children and adults.
County Lines are defined through use of dedicated “deal lines” between the supply network and the user market. They will often use coercion, intimidation, violence, and weapons, including knives, corrosives and firearms.
Drug dealers often take over an address of a vulnerable person to run the drug line from, this is known as cuckooing.
Last week South Division Pro-Active team took part in the National County Lines Intensification Week. During the week three County Lines were disrupted, four arrests were made, cash and Class A drugs were seized and a number of people were safeguarded as a result of the work by the team.
This work included a man from Derby who was previously seen as a drug dealer to officers.
This man had a constant cycle of drug dealers tacking over his address, forcing him to supply controlled drugs.
Through engagement by the Pro-Active team, they were able to get to the source of the issue, identifying the man as a victim of exploitation by high level drug dealers targeting his vulnerability of substance dependency, to use his premises to sell drugs.
Detective Inspector Matt Croome said: “The Disruption Team have been formed to continue this level of work towards tackling County Lines. The hard work that has already been completed by the South Division Pro-Active team has shown that we are willing to upturn the stone on County Lines criminality and tackle it head on.
“Tackling County Lines is so much more than a ‘War on Drugs’ it is about ensuring that we use our resources and the resources of our partner agencies effectively to identify those who are Vulnerable and look to support them and remove them from the situation they have found themselves in.
It is about highlighting how to identify County Lines to our officers, partner agencies and communities so that we get a constant flow of intelligence and information – allowing us to shine a light on this issue and make the communities of Derbyshire a hostile and uncomfortable place for County Line drug operations to exist.
“It is also about ensuring we have a high level of focus towards resolving the problem quickly and effectively so that those identified as being vulnerable are not left in a situation where they feel they have nowhere to turn.”