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Guidance released on ‘county lines’ gang exploitation

HomeOffice-frontpageThe Home Office has produced vital guidance for frontline professionals on combating the growing problem of so-called ‘county lines’ exploitation by criminal gangs.

‘County lines’ is a police term used for when gangs exploit children and vulnerable people to move and distribute drugs and money to suburban and coastal areas or market towns.

County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.

The guidance is aimed at staff who work with children, young people or potentially vulnerable adults across education, health, social care services, housing, benefits, law enforcement (police) and related partner organisations. 

They are often best placed to recognise signs of ‘county lines’ activity and respond swiftly and appropriately so that potential victims can get the support they need. 

The Home Office have asked the Alliance to share this resource with its network, following a meeting between the Home Office, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, the Sport for Development Coalition, the Alliance of Sport and a range of national sport for development organisations, on November 7. The topic of discussion was the role of sport in tackling gangs and youth violence. 

Tanayah Sam, Co-Chair of our Positive Action Group on Gangs and Youth Violence, promoted the Alliance’s work in this area and the voices of those involved to senior officials across Government and the Sport for Development sector. 

James Mapstone, Alliance Co-Founder and Chair, commented: “It was highly productive to be able to convene key figures in discussing gangs and youth violence. It was equally important for us to ensure sport was placed at the heart of the agenda in combating this growing and very important issue.” 

Nikki Enoch, Strategic Coordinator of the Sport for Development Coalition, added: “It was tremendous to be asked by Government departments to help explore the role that sport could play in reducing the impact of gang violence on the lives of vulnerable young people. 

“Bringing together three departments of Government, Sport England, experts in this field and practitioners who are making a difference on the ground created an ideal environment to share the latest thinking on policy and relate it to practical experiences on the ground. 

“By doing so we were able to stimulate interest and ideas for future development in a positive, productive and energized environment. 

“In a very practical way the event demonstrated the role that the Sport for Development Coalition can play in: making a strong case on how sport can help to combat challenging social issues; bringing new resources into the sector; and championing collaboration between those involved. 

“It also highlighted how we can work closely with Alliance of Sport, profile its expertise and actions in this field, and make connections across different social networks. 

“We see events like this as the start of a series of ‘conversations’ on important issues that will only be addressed through sustained collaborative effort and understanding from different perspectives.”

To download the Home Office guidance, click here.