Dangers of County Lines

Next week, representatives of Northumbria Police will be visiting school to deliver sessions to our young people to educate them on the dangers of County Lines. County Lines is a term used to describe gangs and criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK. 

They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money. They will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.       

What are the signs?

There are a number of behavioural warning signs that you should be looking out for:

  • Repeatedly going missing for long periods of time and whereabouts unaccounted for.
  • Sudden rise in truancy/staying out unusually late.
  • Returning home with money, clothes or accessories which they are unable to account for.
  • Being stopped in relation to drugs – especially if this is outside your area.
  • Being involved in fights or disorder – again, especially if this is outside your area.  
  • Being stopped and searched in the presence of other gang members.
  • Changes in behaviour, becoming fearful and/or withdrawn and/or prone to unexplained outbursts of anger.
  • Being secretive (more guarded than usual for a typical teenager).
  • Carrying more than one mobile.
  • Real distancing from one or both parents/ caregivers.
  • Carrying weapons.
  •  Unexplained injuries (which may indicate violence from others and/or self-harming), refusing medical help.
  • Abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Gangs will often have profiles on social or networking websites like Instagram or Snapchat so look out for sudden changes to their profile and/or use of slang/derogatory language.