PCC Statement on release of report from HMICFRS on County Lines Crime
Friday 10 January, 2020
A report was released today from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) which looked at how the police and the National Crime Agency (NCA) respond to county lines crimes.
Police forces across the country and the NCA have successfully improved their understanding of 'county lines' drug offending, according to the report, but it also highlighted that greater collaboration and consistency was needed to allow the most effective response.
It identified many instances of good practice, the Inspectorate concluded there needs to be a more coherent and integrated system of national tasking, intelligence sharing and response.
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: "In acknowledging this national report from the HMICFS on County lines crime; one of the priorities in my police and crime plan is tackling serious violence, which includes organised crime, serious violence and the use of weapons such as knives and guns.
“It is clear that more needs to be done across the country to help identify, intervene and prevent this type of very harmful criminal activity and to really understand how young people become vulnerable to exploitation. Protection of young people and also raising awareness and educating them about the dangers of being caught up in this criminal activity has to be a key priority for all police forces and PCC’s working more closely together across the region.
"We are becoming increasingly aware of the efforts and lengths that criminals who supply drugs will go to in avoiding arrest and protecting their criminal activity, including the cruel exploitation of children, young people and vulnerable adults which can also morph into Modern Slavery crimes.
“Through the work of my office, West Yorkshire Police and various partner agencies, including the newly formed Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), which is already using a large percentage of its funding to go towards initiatives with young people across West Yorkshire, we are better able to give young people new opportunities away from criminality and allowing them to learn new skills and gain alternative positive experiences.
"We will continue to raise awareness of and robustly target these damaging crimes, and we also need individuals in our communities to report their concerns and provide crucial intelligence that will help law enforcement and other appropriate agencies intervene and prevent further harm caused by county lines activity. However, sustained Government investment into providing the capacity and capability to tackle serious organised crime will be required over the course of the next police spending settlement if this is to be adaquately addressed which I hope will be acted upon.”