Policing initiative aims to drive down county lines in south Warwickshire
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A new proactive policing operation is aiming to reduce county lines across south Warwickshire.
County lines is the term used to describe activity involving a group from a large urban area travelling to smaller locations to sell drugs.
They may challenge an existing group from the local area or another county lines group in order to take over the local market, which often causes an increase in violent incidents.
The groups travel between urban and county locations on a regular basis to collect drugs and deliver cash – often using local properties as a base for their activities acquired by force or coercion and referred to as ‘cuckooing’.
It often involves children and vulnerable adults being exploited to move and store drugs and/or money using coercion, intimidation, and, in some cases, violence.
As well as the issues caused by drugs themselves, county lines can also lead to gang disputes and serious injury.
In recent months there has been an increase in the growth and rejuvenation of county lines criminality locally and Project Reduce is the force’s response to this.
Launched on Monday (9 August), the project will see police work together with the wider community and partner agencies in a bid to decrease the impact of county lines within south Warwickshire.
Officers will provide both an overt and covert response by gathering intelligence, patrolling hotspot areas, carrying out warrants, providing reassurance and proactively targeting individuals known to be involved in county lines. They will also seek to educate people about the dangers of county lines as well as the wider issues it can affect.
In addition, Project Reduce aims to ensure both children and vulnerable individuals who are exploited as part of the county lines model are safeguarded while engaging with the local community and encouraging them to report any suspicious activity.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Reader said: “Reducing county lines drug dealing remains a priority for our force.
“With Project Reduce we are looking to be robust in tackling, disrupting and dismantling county lines drug supply activities.
“Not only will we continue to work with our partners to pursue and prosecute those who bring drugs into our county, commit violence and exploit vulnerable members of our communities but also we will carry out thorough investigations and ensure those who are involved are brought to justice.
“Residents will see an increase in activity from our team as we look to reduce county lines, arrest offenders and work with partners to reassure and support anyone affected by these kind of incidents.
“We would encourage anyone with suspicions that a property is being used to sell drugs from, or that a young and/or vulnerable individual may be getting involved with county lines drug dealing to get in touch.
“Equally if something doesn’t look quite right or you see someone acting suspiciously, you can play your part in keeping our streets free from drugs by contacting the police online, by calling 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.
“We appreciate it’s not always easy to come forward but we all have a duty to keep our communities and our streets safe and we’re asking everyone to play their part in our ongoing bid to drive down the levels of county lines across south Warwickshire.“