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British Transport Police highlighted for work on County Lines


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The British Transport Police has been highlighted for its work on County Lines drug dealing in the latest report from the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
The report, published today, assessed the current efforts of police forces nationally to crack down on drug gangs and their exploitation of vulnerable people.
The railway is a common avenue used by city gangs to transport drugs and cash into less populated areas – often using children and vulnerable adults to do so.
As the force responsible for tackling crime across the railway network, BTP officers are often at the centre of tackling and stopping toxic criminal networks. 
The force has been involved extensively in the county lines intensification weeks carried out in 2019, running operations at stations across England, Wales and Scotland. 
In the last few months, due to funding from the Home Office, BTP has also significantly stepped up its approach to county lines, establishing a new county lines task force and recruiting new drug detection dogs. 
In the HMRCFRS report, the force has been highlighted for its commitment to identifying vulnerable people involved in county lines. For example, a teenager or adult being pressured through violence or other means to courier drugs.
Such vulnerable people would be safeguarded and referred to the appropriate services. This approach mirrors the BTPs victim first approach to county lines activity.
The report made mention of the force’s effective use of £3million allocated by London Mayor’s Office, to ensure London-based children arrested outside of the Greater London area are returned safely home.
It also highlighted the force’s “valuable” training to railway staff, its efforts to raise public awareness of county lines and its close working with the Railway Children charity, to reduce the risk of child exploitation.
Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, who heads BTP’s county lines task force, said: “We understand the impact county lines drug gangs can have on some of the most vulnerable in our society and we’re committed to tackling this head-on. It is encouraging that our dedicated work to tackle these poisonous gangs is being recognised, especially our work to train our rail industry colleagues to help us in the battle against organised crime. 
“We will continue to be at the centre of this activity, working to increase the resilience of the railway network and help ensure the vulnerable children and adults exploited by gangs are correctly cared for.”

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