County Lines has become a serious issue, more young people even children as young as seven are being put in danger by criminals who take advantage of how innocent they are.
Being involved in County Lines means you could be forced to be involved with any of the following:
Drugs - County Lines commonly involves the illegal distribution and dealing of seriously dangerous drugs from one city/town to another.
Violence - Gangs sometimes use violence to threaten children and young people when recruiting them.
EXPLOITATION - Gangs recruit and use children and young people to move drugs and money for them. Children as young as 11 years old are recruited, often using social media. They are exploited and forced to carry drugs between locations, usually on trains or coaches. They are also forced to sell drugs to local users.
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION - Young girls are often groomed and forced into relationships with gang members and are made to perform sexual acts.
As a young person, you may hear lots of new terms and words used on a daily basis. If you hear any of the following terms while you are out with friends, then please be aware that these are terms often used to describe County Lines activities:
CUCKOOING - Cuckooing is when drug gangs take over the home of a vulnerable person through violence and intimidation, using it as their base for selling/manufacturing drugs.
GOING COUNTRY - It can also mean the act of travelling to another city/town to deliver drugs or money.
TRAPPING - Trapping can refer to the act of moving drugs from one town to another or the act of selling drugs in one.
TRAP HOUSE - A building used as a base from where drugs are sold (or sometimes manufactured). These houses usually are occupied by someone, usually adult drug users. Sometimes young people are forced to stay in trap houses.
TRAP LINE - This refers to when someone owns a mobile phone specifically for the purpose of running and selling of drugs.
Are you involved with a gang? Do you feel like you are being forced into situations that make you uncomfortable? Below is a list of some signs and indicators linked tos being involved in County Lines:
- Are you missing from school or home?
- Are you travelling alone to places far away from your home?
- Have you been given lots of money/lots of new clothes/new mobile phones?
- Are you receiving more calls or texts than usual?
- Are you carrying or selling drugs?
- Are you carrying weapons or know people who have access to weapons?
- Are you in a relationship with, or hanging out with someone/people that are older and controlling?
- Do you have unexplained injuries?
- Do you feel like you have something to hide?
- Are you scared?
- Are you self-harming?
If any of the above fit with your current situation you can ask for help. You can speak to the Safeguarding team in school located next to the ICT technicians’ office. Alternatively you can call Childline 0800 1111 to discuss any concerns you have.
For further information please see the websites below:
Safecall Support Service
Provide a national telephone based support service to those in crisis caused by County Lines including young people, families/carers and professionals. We operate 24 hours a day seven days a week.
For young people we provide crisis support, whether this is at 3pm on a Monday afternoon or 3am on a Saturday morning. We are here to them with safety planning and mapping, mobilising help from other agencies and supplying them with a free safety device (Ownfone) where appropriate.
To refer a young person or family member (with their consent) you can;
Complete the on line referral form, link below. Both young people and family members can complete this.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone Safecall – 0208 392 5710 between 10am – 18:00 hours Monday to Friday.
Telephone Missing People Helpline 24 hours a day 7 days a week – 116 000 (who will respond outside of Safecall office hours).