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Officers have been speaking with Stoke South communities in engagement sessions aimed at improving detection and prevention around so-called county lines drugs activity.
County lines is a term used to describe the activity of drug supply that goes beyond County borders and usually involves a “line” – namely a mobile which is used to order and supply drugs.
This mobile phone is often used by individuals who are exploited by gangs who threaten the person with violence.
These crime groups target vulnerable individuals who are more likely to avoid police detection – often pressured into moving large sums of cash and transporting drugs across the country.
Part of this prevention activity has seen officers from Stoke South neighbourhood policing team (NPT) issuing detection and prevention advice in key areas across the region.
Police visited sites in Hartshill and Basford on Wednesday (9 March) and held detection sessions aimed at identifying potential victims.
Officers spoke directly to hundreds of secondary school pupils and disclosed various ways in which they can keep safe from organised crime groups intent on exploiting them.
Previous events saw officers work with adult social care workers to identify referral pathways as well as highlight those at risk of cuckooing - namely where gangs seek to occupy the home of a vulnerable person and use it as a base of operations.
Victims of cuckooing are often subject to physical, mental, domestic and sexual abuse – making it increasingly difficult to report to police.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Marc Proctor, of Stoke South NPT, said: “There has been some excellent feedback around the objectives of this collective approach.
“We have been able to share awareness surrounding county lines, cuckooing and referral pathways with key organisations and individuals who are most likely to encounter this sort of criminality.
“These events are a key method which the NPT uses to allow partners and the public to take this knowledge forward and disrupt county lines activity across the county.
Local PCSOs also visited Blurton in the mobile police vehicle on Wednesday (9 March), where they shared prevention advice and listened to the concerns of the local community.
“It was really important to consolidate this engagement across a key area in the region” said Sergeant Proctor.
“Not only does it provide an opportunity for the public to liaise with officers directly, it also reinforces visibility and gives the community a chance to share their concerns and queries.
“We are committed to our relationship with the public and continue to maximise these engagement sessions across a variety of topics – whether this is issuing crime prevention advice or actioning the concerns of our communities.”
To find out more about county lines, visit: County lines | Staffordshire Police