Parents urged to be aware of county lines grooming signs
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With the school summer holidays now upon us, parents are being urged to make sure they know where their children are and who they are mixing with in the coming weeks.
The warning comes from officers working on this week’s focus on serious and organised crime, which is a matter of priority for Northamptonshire Police.
Chief Inspector Pete Basham said: “The arrival of the summer holidays is always met with excitement by children, and we know they look forward to getting out and about and meeting up with friends, particularly after the tough couple of years they’ve had.
“However, this summer we really want parents and guardians to make sure they know where their children are and who they’re spending time with, to help prevent them becoming involved in criminal activity.
“We know children as young as 10 are drawn into the world of serious and organised crime, as they are befriended by county lines gang members who ask them to carry and run their drugs.”
Northamptonshire Police has been focusing on serious and organised crime this week as part of 12 weeks of action to tackle the Force’s Matters of Priority, which also include violence against women and girls, serious harm, and drug harm.
Chief Insp Basham added: “We know that young children are groomed into joining gangs with gifts and attention from those high up in the gang hierarchy, however they can quickly become involved in a dangerous world which is then difficult to get out of.
“We’re asking parents to familiarise themselves with the signs to look out for and urge them to contact us if they have any concerns about what they may be involved with.”
A young person who is involved in county lines activity might exhibit some of these signs:
Persistently going missing from school or home, or being out of area
Suddenly have access to money, clothes, or mobile phones
Excessive receipt of phone calls and messages
Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault, or unexplained injuries