As part of the government's ongoing commitment to tackle serious and violent crime, the Home Office has relaunched its county lines awareness-raising campaign that includes a guidance booklet and posters.
County lines is the term used to describe urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas, as well as market and coastal towns, by using dedicated mobile phone lines or 'deal lines'. Gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money to these areas. Once caught up in county lines, exploited individuals are at risk of extreme physical and/or sexual violence, gang recriminations and trafficking.
To safeguard vulnerable young people from being exploited by county line gangs, the Home Office has relaunched its campaign to raise awareness among teachers and school staff who may encounter victims of the signs to spot and encourage staff to safeguard in line with their organisation's safeguarding policy.
The signs to spot are:
- persistently going missing from school or home, or being found out-of-area;
- unexplained acquisition of money, clothes, or mobile phones;
- excessive receipt of texts or phone calls;
- relationships with controlling, older individuals or gang association;
- leaving home or care without explanation;
- suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries;
- parental concerns;
- significant decline in school performance;
- self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being.
The Home Office has produced a campaign pack that has resources, including a guidance booklet and posters, which you can use to raise awareness of county lines among your staff. If you would like a campaign pack, please contact James.Gilbert13@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Last updated 15 February 2018
First published 02 August 2019