In just eight months, the force’s dedicated County Lines Team have shut down 120 county lines, seized around 30kg of drugs and £400k cash, arrested 235 people for a range of offences including drug supply, modern slavery offences, and money laundering, and over 100 vulnerable adults and children have been referred to specialised safeguarding services – all ahead of targets set by the Home Office.
Detective Inspector Zoe MacDonald who leads the County Lines Team said: “Tackling county lines is such an important issue today as criminal gangs are preying on vulnerable people, threatening, and forcing them into crimes such as carrying drugs, fraud, or exploiting them sexually.
“This can happen to anyone, anywhere, and as part of our mission, education and engagement are key priorities so that we can deepen the knowledge of what exploitation can look like and equip young people, families, and professional on the signs to look out for.
“We may have hit our target ahead of the deadline, but the work will not stop here. We will continue to identify and safeguard children being exploited in this way and connect them to our partner agencies who can offer support and help.
“I’d also like to thank the public who continue to share concerns and information with us about drug dealing or any vulnerabilities they see, this plays such an important role in our investigations and helps us drive our operations forward – no one knows their community better than you. No matter how big or small you think a piece of information is, please talk to us. You could be the difference for a victim.”
Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for Police, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “Our dedicated County Lines Team are delivering incredible results that are both supporting victims and ridding our streets of organised criminals who seek to exploit vulnerable people. We have seen in the BBC’s ‘The Detective’s’ programme how these criminals operate and the abhorrent levels of violence and fear they instigate.
“We will continue to work hard, as a partnership across Greater Manchester, to use the full force of law against these criminals and the public’s support in raising concerns and spotting the signs is a key part of our joint work.”