What are County Lines?
County lines is the name given to a drug dealing method which involves criminal networks using phone lines to facilitate the supply of class A drugs.
Frequently these drugs are heroin and crack cocaine which are supplied to customers using these phone lines . County lines then each individually become a valuable brand and is protected with violence and intimidation.
The line allows drug dealers to move their business from one location to another. Many towns across Hampshire now have both importation and exportation issues linked to county lines.
Dealers typically use a single phone line and use violence to enforce the county lines model.
County Lines create violence and suffering in our communities
This violence includes:
- conflict between competing drugs supply networks to establish control of markets;
- violence used to control children acting as couriers and dealers;
- violence used to take over properties to deal from (usually occupied by vulnerable people – known as cuckooing); and
- the sexual exploitation of women and girls who incur drugs debts, or are the partners of males who are subject to drug networks
What you can do to help tackle county lines
If you have concerns, the best advice is to trust your instincts. Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines drug dealing, it is still important to speak out as someone may be being exploited in some other way.
You can speak to local police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency.
If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use Hampshire Constabulary’s textphone service 18000. Or text them on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
Silet 999 calls
If you’re in danger but you can’t talk on the phone, you should still call 999 depending on whether you’re calling from a mobile or a landline. To see how to make a silent 999 call click here to see Hampshire Constabulary’s instructions.
If you’d rather stay anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Advice for young people
If you are a young person who is worried about being involved in county lines, or knows someone who is, you could speak to an adult and let them know how you feel.
You can also contact www.fearless.org who will allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously.