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Home > Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: County Lines guidance.

United Kingdom. Home Office. (2017) Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: County Lines guidance. London: Home Office.

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County lines is the UK police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”. It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money. Gangs establish a base in the market location, typically by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

County lines is a major, cross-cutting issue involving drugs, violence, gangs, safeguarding, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and missing persons; and the response to tackle it involves the police, the National Crime Agency, a wide range of Government departments, local government agencies and VCS (voluntary and community sector) organisations. County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.

This guidance is intended to explain the nature of this harm to enable practitioners to recognize its signs and respond appropriately so that potential victims get the support and help they need.


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