Look Out For Child Criminal Exploitation And County Lines
Here’s how to spot Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and County Lines.
This week, the South Yorkshire Police is focusing on educating people about the exploitation of vulnerable people,
particularly children, who are forced to sell drugs.
This form of exploitation typically sees members of organised crime groups targeting young people or vulnerable adults,
coercing them in to selling drugs on their behalf,
sending them across the country in a bid to expand their criminal enterprise.
County Lines is the term used for the phone lines between people dealing drugs in different areas.
This is a form of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) where we see urban gangs employing exploitative practices to force children,
and sometimes vulnerable adults, to move and store drugs and money on their behalf.
They will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.
However, it’s important to note that CCE does not always involve physical contact;
it can also occur through the use of technology.
Here are some signs that indicate your child may be targeted by a gang and is a victim of CCE:
* Is the person going missing from school or home on a regular basis?
* Do they have new clothes, phones or money, but can’t explain how they got them?
* Are they getting lots of texts and phone calls and being particularly secretive about them? You may have noticed a significant change in their behaviour.
* Have they become involved with older people or groups of new ‘friends’ who seem to be quite controlling?
Anyone can be a victim of CCE. Previously, teenage boys were the main target for gangs,
however the South Yorkshire Police’s intelligence picture suggests that gangs are now going for ‘clean faces’.
This means they want children who have not been involved in crimes before,
who are currently unknown by the police and affiliating agencies.
To identify both the victims and criminals, the South Yorkshire police needs professionals and members of the public to be aware of what CCE and County Lines are
and the signs to look out for.
The most important thing for anyone to do is to speak up, if you know someone who is victim of CCE or you are yourself,
tell someone you trust whether it be guardian, teacher or another trusted adult.
You can also contact police, either on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Please take the time to speak to your children, friend and colleagues to assure that
everyone knows the signs and what to do if they are worried about someone.
Follow #CountyLines across our social media channels to learn more throughout the week.