THE Welsh Liberal Democrats have responded to a report released today from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services on ‘county lines’ gangs; claiming a new approach is needed to tackle this serious issue.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

“Too many lives and communities across Wales have been blighted by ‘county lines’ gangs in recent years, and the problem is only getting worse. Children as young as 12 and vulnerable adults are being exploited by these gangs, showing us just how real this problem is.

“The sad truth is Tory cuts to the police, the Border Force and youth services have made it easier for organised criminal networks to spread, for gangs to smuggle illegal substances into the UK, and for them to prey on our young people.

“The UK Government must take a grown-up, evidence-based approach to drugs and treat substance misuse and addiction as the health issue that it truly is. Only then will our police forces be able to focus their efforts on what really matters; tackling criminal gangs and protecting the vulnerable people they seek to exploit.”

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