Sefton Safeguarding Children Partnership

Criminal Exploitation of Children: County Lines Guidance

County lines is the Police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or "deal lines".  It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children 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.

The Home Office has produced a guidance: Criminal Exploitation of Children and Vulnerable Adults: County Lines Guidance for frontline professionals on dealing with county lines, part of the government's approach to ending gang violence and exploitation.

CrimeStoppers have produced a number of leaflets/posters in relation to County Lines and these can be downloaded below:

County Lines  Leaflet - Drug gangs are exploiting vulnerable people in your area

County Lines A5 Leaflet

County Lines  Leaflet - Drug gangs are exploiting vulnerable people in your city

County Lines A3 posters