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Policing County Lines: Impact of Covid-19
As the UK continues to impose Covid-19 related restrictions, ongoing concerns include:
- Adapting County Lines supply methods – Increased detection of activity on the rails has seen some movement towards the use of the roads and to greater exploitation of children from local areas.
- Vulnerability – Exploitation of vulnerable young people remains high; reports suggest increased targeting of females, young white males and children from affluent backgrounds, with social media being used by perpetrators to facilitate the recruitment of young people and the supply of drugs.
- Intelligence sharing – A lack of intelligence due to school closures and reduced capacity of other frontline agencies meant that referrals for at-risk children had reduced; and police were concerned about the lack of identification of missing children and the possibility of them slipping through the net.
- Police forces should maintain neighbourhood policing approaches in high-risk communities, especially in light of increased cuckooing.
- All police forces should ensure accurate data is provided to regional level County Lines analysts, because consistent and concerted data collection is needed to better understand patterns of exploitation.
- Where possible, police should continue to develop strong relationships with partners to enhance intelligence gathering and share good practice.
- More intelligence should be collected on the middle-tier actors involved in County Lines.
- Paying close attention to platforms such as