Drugs: Organised Crime

Home Office written question – answered at on 22 February 2024.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether any county lines reported as closed in 2023 have re-opened as of 7 February 2024.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many times the County Lines Task and Finish Group met in each calendar year since it was established.

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 we are investing up to £145m over three years in our County Lines Programme to tackle the most violent and exploitative distribution model yet seen.

Since the Programme was launched in 2019, police activity has resulted in over 5,100 line closures, 15,600 arrests and 8,000 safeguarding referrals. This includes over 2,100 line closures by the Programme taskforces since April 2022, meeting the HMG Drugs Strategy commitment of closing over 2,000 by April 2025 in half the time.

The National County Lines Co-ordination Centre determines a line to be closed where there is evidence that the controlling gang is no longer capable of distributing drugs using that telephone number, with check backs to ensure the telephone number remains out of use.

Delivery of the County Lines Programme is overseen by the County Lines Task and Finish Group, which meets regularly to drive forward progress, monitor the impact of the funding, and identify challenges. The Task and Finish Group was established by the Home Office in October 2019 and has met 47 times to date.

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