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Information on a gang culture using children across county borders.

Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines activity. It is a harm which relatively little is known about or recognised by those best placed to spot its potential victims.

What it is it:

  • organised crime based on a model of drug supply, violence and intimidation


  • gang and gang organisation, often Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a factor
  • firearms, knives, corrosives a feature used in intimidation
  • crossing county borders to source and recruit vulnerable young people to start and sustain supply chains
  • move and launder money from illicit means
  • targets the most vulnerable and disaffected youth for example those missing or often out of school or education

What can schools do:

  • raise awareness for staff and to be alert
  • consider staff training
  • identify potential children
  • use safeguarding processes to report

For use in school staff training and for use in secondary schools we are recommending the YouTube video Trapped - County Lines. This is a useful tool to help raise awareness, provide an understanding of the current concerns and to use to aid discussion.

More information about county lines is available from BBC News and you can download useful resources and leaflets for parents and carers with advice on 'County lines - Going country' and 'Let's talk about gangs - Advice for parents and caregivers' free from the web.



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