Safeguarding – Understanding County Lines (July 2022)

Safeguarding – Understanding County Lines (July 2022)

County lines is a form of criminal exploitation where urban gangs persuade, coerce or force children and young people to store drugs and money and/or transport them to suburban areas, market towns and coastal towns. It can happen in any part of the UK and is against the law and a form of child abuse.

Young learners may be criminally exploited in multiple ways. Other forms of criminal exploitation include child sexual exploitation, trafficking, gang and knife crime. County lines gangs are highly organised criminal networks that use sophisticated, frequently evolving techniques to groom young people and evade capture by the police.

Recognising Grooming

The grooming process involves the gang:

  • Seeking out a young person to exploit
  • Observing the young person for vulnerabilities
  • Finding out what the young person’s needs and wants are
  • Manipulating the young person into believing that being in the gang can fulfil these needs.

Once they have identified a young person, the gang will make some form of contact and the grooming process will begin. This could be in person or via mobile phone. Social media profiles may also be used to glamourise gang life and entice young people.

How are young people targeted?

Some young people are groomed through family members, for instance if they have a sibling or relative who is already involved with a county lines gang. County lines gangs offer money and status to attract young people. They may also be attracted to joining a gang by the prospect of belonging to a ‘family’ that will protect them if their own family feels unstable or unsafe.

What can you do to help?

There are some signs to look out for if you’re worried a young person or vulnerable adult has joined the gang, or is being criminally exploited. It may be hard to spot at first, but the sooner you’re able to spot the sign the more you’ll be able to help them.

Please talk to any member of the Safeguarding Team if you have any questions or concerns relating to any of the information above.

If you want to read more, please click here.

LLC office is closed today 18th February 2022 due to Storm Eunice.

All learners will/are being contacted to advise them to “stay at home” and “do not take risks” as a red weather warning was issued for London and the east of England ahead of the arrival of Storm Eunice.