The Home Secretary Priti Patel is establishing a £20m fund to clamp down on ‘county lines’ drug operations to safeguard adults and children from exploitation. The home secretary is particularly concerned about organised criminals who often use vulnerable young people and sometimes adults to move drugs from urban centres to the regions.
In North Yorkshire Project Shield was introduced in Scarborough, a joint initiative with Railway Police, Housing Associations and Schools, after it was discovered that young people were couriering drugs from Liverpool and other parts of the North West into the town by train.
This additional funding will be used to tackle the drug-running operations and will go towards expanding the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre, which is part of the National Crime Agency to support intelligence sharing and targeting.
Some of the spending will also go towards expanding an effort by the British Transport Police who are playing a key role in North Yorkshire to track young dealers moving drugs by train to prevent the rail network from being used to smuggle drugs and weapons.
Philip Allott said. “The aim is for the extra funding to “roll up county lines drugs gangs to stop them terrorising our towns and villages and exploiting children. Dealing with drug gangs must be a top priority and is at the top of my agenda. These so called kingpins of the drug gangs are exploiting our children and the perpetrators must be arrested and taken off the streets for a very long time,”