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County Lines Drugs Networks

Volume 686: debated on Monday 14 December 2020

We are determined to dismantle county lines, which is why we are investing £25 million over two years to surge our law enforcement response to these ruthless criminal gangs. This includes investment in the national county lines co-ordination centre, targeted operational activity in three major exporting police force areas, and increased disruption on the road and rail network.

With schools often having to send children home this year, very vulnerable young people have been preyed upon by these terrible gangs. Will my right hon. Friend welcome the decision of West Mercia’s police and crime commissioner, John Campion, to commission the Children’s Society to provide extra help and diversionary activities for these young people?

My hon. Friend rightly recognises that these gangs particularly prey on and target vulnerable children when they are outside the school environment, often those who have, sadly, fallen out of school and cease to attend. So initiatives such as the one she outlines sound absolutely on the money in terms of the type of work we need at a granular level in constituencies across the country. Having worked with the Children’s Society as a Back Bencher, I know what enormous value and experience it can bring to these efforts, and I applaud the efforts of her local PCC to do this.