County Lines

The Gang and Youth Violence team within the Home Office identified a growing body of intelligence, emerging in particular from London and the South East, that vulnerable young people are being exploited in order to facilitate the running of street level drug dealing within county lines.

Key points ‘County Lines’ is a national issue involving the use of mobile phone ‘lines’ by groups to extend their drug dealing business into new locations outside of their home areas. This issue affects the majority of Police forces.

A ‘county lines’ enterprise almost always involves exploitation of vulnerable persons; this can involve both children and adults who require safeguarding. This issue needs a multi-agency approach at a national, regional and local level.

Secure operating bases are an essential feature of these enterprises which can be successfully disrupted through concerted application of conventional law enforcement tactics. Mobile phone ‘lines’ are an essential feature of these enterprises; it is judged that developing a viable tactic to disrupt lines would have a substantial effect.