Connecting with our young people

The young people in our communities are becoming increasing vulnerable to an ever-growing list of criminal activities and exploitation. One of the most high profile threats they face is that of county lines.


But what does county lines mean?

Put very simply, county lines is the system that gangs based in major cities use to expand their drug networks to other parts of the country. The term comes from their use of dedicated phone lines to organise crime networks, often exploiting and grooming children to sell drugs.

Whilst there are many criminal activities involved in county lines, one of the most worrying is the grooming and manipulation of vulnerable young people. This practice is taking place in communities right across the country and areas bpha manage are far from immune.

Working to tackle the issues

bpha is working closely with Bedfordshire Police and their Community Safety Partners to offer young people positive alternatives to the activities that may make them vulnerable to crime.

Jim Playle, Community Development Officer at bpha, said: “By working with partners and other agencies set on tackling these issues we’ve been able to make protecting young people a real focus. Most recently, we’ve funded and supported a series of BMX, free running and football events – each very much planned to engage with young people and give them an insight into the positive activities available.

“There is still a lot of work to do to tackle the issues our young people are facing and steering them away from gang culture. Yet thanks to some great partnership working we are making some real headway.”

Reporting is key

The most important thing you can do to help your community and keep your children safe is to report any criminal activity you are aware of. You can do this online by searching for your local police website or by calling 101. Or, if you would prefer to report anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.