The MPS considers each case on its merits, working closely with partners to ensure that children vulnerable to criminal exploitation are identified at the earliest stage and safeguarded.
In the case of drug dealing, in particular, ‘county lines’ selling, organised crime gangs rely on the exploitation of children and vulnerable people for their operations. As an example, the London Crime Prevention Fund has invested £3 million over three years to support the launch of the first pan-London county lines response service. The Response and Rescue service, which started up in July 2018, supports London’s young people involved in, as well as exploited by, county lines selling. This service received 328 referrals between September 2018 and March 2019.