British Transport Police operation to protect children from County Lines exploitation in Scotland
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As a part of the National County Lines Intensification Week, on Tuesday 10 October partner agencies joined BTP to raise awareness of County Lines, Human Trafficking and the safeguarding that supports vulnerable members of the community at Glasgow Central station.
Together they hosted an awareness day to educate commuters and passengers of the dangers of County Lines and the warning signs of grooming to look out for in children and young people.
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where gangs use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas. Gangs use the rail network to exploit children and vulnerable people into trafficking drugs up and down the country.
BTP regularly disrupt, deter and detect offences being committed by those using the rail network to courier drugs as part of County Lines. Officer deployments are driven by up-to-date intelligence received from undercover officers as well as members of the public which is why it is vital people report any concerns.
Detective Inspector Brian Buddo from BTP’s County Lines Taskforce said:
“Our key priority is to identify and safeguard children exploited to courier drugs via the railway, alongside intercepting the harmful drugs before they reach our communities. We work with the public and stakeholders to educate them to know the signs to look out for and report any concerns or suspicions.
“We’re dedicated to ensuring the rail network is a hostile environment for drug suppliers and hosting awareness events like this with our partners is an important part of ensuring that happens.”
Lyndsay McDade, National Youth Projects Coordinator at Crimestoppers, said:
“Serious organised crime gangs are exploiting children as young as 11-years-old in Scotland. Often they target vulnerable young people and either groom them or recruit them using violence and intimidation.
“That’s why it’s crucial that young people, parents and carers alike recognise the signs to look out for and understand the devastating impact that these gangs have.
“If you know or suspect who is behind the drug gang exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults, please go to Fearless.org and tell our charity. Fearless.org can’t track your IP address or any personal details. We guarantee you’ll remain 100% anonymous. Always.”
Francesca Mckay from Railway Children Scotland said "Railway Children works in partnership with British Transport Police to deliver our Safeguarding on Transport programmes.
"As well as providing direct support to children and young people, we help people learn how to spot the signs of county lines exploitation and how to respond to children in danger on and around the rail network."