County lines: the exploitation of vulnerable members of society

O'Hagan, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-5361-8320 and Edmundson, C.J., 2021. County lines: the exploitation of vulnerable members of society. Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal, 9 (2): 1, pp. 47-57. ISSN 2469-2794

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The transport of class A drugs from a urban centre to a coastal or rural location, where a profitable drug market has been identified, is known as county lines. A network of dedicated mobile phone lines are used to coordinate these operations. Through these processes, criminal groups are able to transition into nationwide organisations, moving drugs across one or more police boundary in order to maximise profit. These groups exploit vulnerable people, including children, to move drugs into identified areas, often taking control of their houses. This is achieved using intimidation, coercion and extreme violence. Activities of county lines groups have a highly detrimental effect on vulnerable people and the local communities in which they operate. Criminally exploited individuals are at high risk of drug addiction, sexual abuse and criminal conviction. The recent upsurge in UK crime coincides with the rise in numbers of county line groups since their emergence in 2015. The way that these groups do not hesitate to use extreme violence to intimidate individuals has led to an increase in knife crime and a high number of drug related homicides over the past year. It is vital that vulnerable individuals are safeguarded and that time is taken to identify those at risk. Intervention at an early stage can prevent gang recruitment, exploitation and serious injury or trauma.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal
Creators: O'Hagan, A. and Edmundson, C.J.
Publisher: MedCrave Group
Date: 19 August 2021
Volume: 9
Number: 2
ISSN: 2469-2794
Rights: ©2021 O’Hagan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 07 Oct 2021 08:47
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 08:47

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