County Lines Intensification Week – local and national results released
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Northamptonshire Police can now release results from the 13 warrants the Force carried out last week as part of the latest County Lines Intensification Week, on the day the national results have been made public.
In an intensive week of action, officers arrested 18 people - 12 men, one 17-year-old boy and five women. Of these, 17 were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and one for a public order offence. This, too, was drugs related. A total of £15,000 was seized from the week's warrants.
Further results included:
- Crack cocaine with a street value of £10,000 seized from one address and crack, heroin, cannabis and other drugs from others.
- Machetes, knives and phones discovered during the warrants.
- A total of 50 knives seized in a knife amnesty.
- Three children safeguarded throughout the week and four visits carried out to potentially ‘cuckooed’ addresses.
- All week, disruption visits, targeted patrols, vehicles were stopped and intelligence gathered.
Detective Superintendent Lee McBride, the Force’s lead for Serious Organised Crime, said: “Last week the Chief Constable announced his matters of priority, the four key areas this Force will focus on over the next twelve months. One of these is serious organised crime and this includes county lines activity.
“Vulnerable people are exploited by criminal networks every single day in this county. Last week’s activity is an example of the work we’ll be doing to disrupt criminal networks and safeguard the vulnerable. We will work relentlessly to target those who cause misery in our communities by exploiting the vulnerable – often with threats and violence – for their own personal gain. We’re also increasing intelligence operations on crime bosses, disrupting drug supply and working with partners to reduce demand for drugs by getting to the root causes of addiction and offering help and support to those affected.”
More than 250 weapons have been seized and 1,100 people were arrested.
Other results include:
904 cuckooed addresses visited
1,138 vulnerable people were engaged for safeguarding purposes
292 weapons seized including 33 firearms and 219 knives
80 drug lines were identified from seized mobile phones
The intensification week took place between Monday 17 May and Sunday 23 May and included the execution of warrants, joint operations between forces and intercepting vehicles potentially involved in county lines activity.
County lines is a drugs distribution model using mobile phones where drugs are exported from major cities and imported into other areas, often using vulnerable adults and children.
The National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) was launched in August 2018, which is a partnership between the police and the National Crime Agency (NCA). The challenge faced by law enforcement was tackling a drugs model that worked across different forces. Policing activity at both ends of the line now sees importing and exporting forces working together to identify and arrest those controlling the lines.
Through better coordinated activity and an increased understanding, the number of potential county lines has reduced since 2018.
The NCA have also been working with police and international law enforcement to prevent illegal drugs coming into the country. In 2020 the Agency and international partners seized and prevented more than 100 tonnes of Class A drugs entering the UK.
The latest strategic assessment from the NCLCC has been published which highlights key points including:
- Police forces working together cross border on joint operations and coordinating activity to target both ends of the line.
- Latest figures suggest there are 600 potential county lines which is a reduction due to more accurate recording methods and improved police activity.
- An increased focus on the line holder who coordinate the runners and often use violence to control them.
- Making use of modern slavery legislation to target the line holder and shifting the focus away from criminalising the runners who may be exploited.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for county lines, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “The police response to county lines has increased substantially over the past 18 months, we have been relentless in pursuing those behind the line whilst doing everything possible to rescue those being exploited.
“Intensification weeks like this allow us to dedicate a burst of activity and resources nationally, highlighting to the public our absolute determination to rid communities of this abhorrent crime.
“We will use all the powers available to us to tackle every element of the county line network because we know the effect violence and crimes associated with county lines can have in our communities.
“It is vital that everyone looks out for the signs of exploitation. This may be a child with unexplained cash, a new expensive phone or clothing, suddenly going missing, in possession of rail tickets or taxi receipts, a change in behaviour and new people suddenly appearing at a house or flat. If you are concerned then please contact your local police force or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
The National Crime Agency works with partners at the border and abroad to choke the supply of illegal drugs into the UK. Their recent successes around the intensification week include:
- launching an investigation after a Polish driver was stopped at Coquelles with 17kg of heroin in his lorry.
- seizing 500kg of cocaine in a shipping container at London Gateway and preventing it reaching UK streets.
- sentencing of a Dutch national lorry driver to 20 years for smuggling £20m worth of cocaine into the UK.
- the charging of an HGV driver accused of smuggling £8.5m of cocaine (107kg) into the UK on a ferry from Holland.
NCA Director of Investigations Nikki Holland said: “The intensification week and assessment come after a very busy year for the NCA in stopping Class A drugs coming to the UK.
“We are proud to work with UK policing to fight the scourge of drugs which can devastate communities.
“It is a high priority for the NCA to build on the successes we have had in source countries and along the drugs supply routes, so that organised crime groups land fewer drugs in our towns and cities and prevent them being pushed further afield through county lines groups.”
Further breakdown of figures
- £832, 039 cash seized
- 59 NRM referrals
- £979, 000 worth of Class A drugs (still being counted) and over £3million worth of cannabis, including £2.2million recovered from a former bingo hall in Doncaster