Last week (October 11 – 17, 2021) police forces in Britain took part in a County Lines Intensification Week. Tarian, which is formed of officers from South Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Gwent Police, worked with British Transport Police and other partners to share intelligence and disrupt county lines criminals.
County lines is a term coined originally to describe a business model adopted by organised crime groups to transport drugs from larger cities to smaller suburban areas, in which they use a phone ‘line’ to take orders for drugs.
Children and vulnerable adults are often the most targeted by these criminals, exploited and coerced into transporting drugs or cash. More recently local groups have mirrored the business model, however the threat, harm and risks associated are the same wherever the line holder originates from.
Over the week, across the southern Welsh police forces, the following was achieved:
25 warrants conducted
641g and 57 ‘wraps’ of cocaine seized
77g and 47 ‘wraps’ of heroin seized
13.5g and 105 ‘wraps’ of crack cocaine seized
Drugs seized worth over £33,240 at street value
£40,543 cash seized
Three drugs lines taken out
51 mobile phones seized
27 vulnerable people identified and safeguarded
As well as all of these results, South Wales Police worked together with British Transport Police at Llanelli, Neath, Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff, Barry and Newport train stations. Knife arches were set up at Newport and Swansea train stations. Officers encouraged people to walk through the knife arch and engaged with commuters on the dangers of county lines.
A drugs dog was deployed to train stations as part of the operation to assist in detecting county lines activity. In addition, officers visited universities across south Wales to raise awareness of the dangers and the signs to spot for county lines drug dealing.
Detective Inspector Richard Weber, from Tarian, said:
“The point of these intensification weeks is to heavily disrupt organised crime gangs, whose selfish intentions cause a myriad of mental and physical pain to those exploited into their circles.
“In addition, we want to raise awareness around county lines and we have worked hard with partners from health, education and housing to those working in hotels, the licensing trade, transport networks and the third to sector to ensure they are able to recognise the signs and symptoms associated with county lines and what to do should they have concerns. We also want to protect our communities and spent time at locations such as boxing clubs and schools to build relationships and inform young people of the risks associated with drugs.
“We continue to pursue perpetrators of county lines drugs operations heavily. We also understand the implications on young people who may have been coerced into committing these crimes, and we do all we can to protect them through signposting to support and referring to mechanisms in place.
“We have seen some really positive results through this week, and the work won’t end here to make southern Wales a volatile place for violent criminals.”