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County Lines

Protecting Children and Vulnerable People from Exploitation.

County lines is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns.  

This is a major safeguarding issue, and is happening in Wiltshire so professionals and the wider community need to be aware and understand what it involves, be able to spot the signs and know how to respond to and report concerns.  It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money.  Children affected by County lines may present with multi-faceted presentations involving drugs, violence, gangs, safeguarding, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and going missing. These children will be experiencing trauma so this is likely to be apparent in their behaviour and presentation, but can be misunderstood.

Any practitioner working with a child who they think may be at risk of County Lines exploitation should follow their local safeguarding guidance and refer concerns to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) MASH@wiltshire.gcsx.gov.uk or 0300456 0108.  If you believe a person is in immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police on 999. 

The Home Office has produced County Lines Guidance and information posters/leaflets: County Lines: protecting vulnerable people from exploitation and information leaflets for the private sector.

Further information about County Lines and safeguarding children is available from Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board.