Drugs: Organised Crime

Home Office written question – answered at on 11 September 2023.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Conservative, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to prevent county lines gangs operating in (a) Southport and (b) other coastal communities.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Minister of State, Home Department

This Government is determined to crack down on county lines gangs which is why, through the 10-year Drug Strategy, we are bolstering our flagship County Lines Programme, investing up to £145m over three years to tackle the most violent and exploitative distribution model yet seen.

Through the Programme, we support a concentrated law enforcement response in the largest exporter areas. This includes funding Merseyside Police’s Project Medusa to tackle county lines originating in Merseyside.

County lines is a national issue which affects all forces which is why we also fund the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre (NCLCC) to monitor the intelligence picture and co-ordinate the national law enforcement response. The County Lines Programme forces (MPS, West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and British Transport Police) also regularly conduct joint operations with importing forces, including those in coastal areas. In addition, we have established a dedicated fund to help other local police forces tackle the scourge of county lines.

Since the County Lines Programme was launched in 2019, police activity has resulted in over 4,300 line closures, over 14,200 arrests and over 6,300 safeguarding referrals. This includes over 1,300 line closures by the Programme taskforces since April 2022, against the Drugs Strategy commitment of over 2,000 by April 2025.

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