To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle county line drug gangs in West Yorkshire.
10 June 2021
This Government is determined to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and have a devastating impact on our communities. That is why on 20 January the Government announced a further £40m dedicated investment for 2021/22 to tackle drugs supply and county lines and surge our activity against these ruthless gangs. This investment has allowed us to expand and build upon our successful County Lines Programme, established in November 2019.
Since it was launched, in November 2019, our County Lines Programme has already seen more than 780 lines closed, over 5,100 arrests, £2.9 million in cash and significant quantities of drugs seized, and more than 1,200 vulnerable people safeguarded.
The greatest number of lines originate from the areas covered by the Metropolitan Police Service, West Midlands Police, and Merseyside Police, yet we recognise county lines is a cross-border issue and are funding the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) to co-ordinate the national law enforcement response and support local forces.
The most recent county lines ‘week of intensification’, which all police forces took part in also resulted in over 1,000 arrests, saw more than 250 weapons seized and over 1,000 individuals safeguarded. Last year forces across the UK also received support from the NCLCC, resulting in over 1100 arrests, 245 individuals safeguarded, and seizures of 154 weapons, £600k cash and significant quantities of drugs.
Between 2019 and 2022, £10.11 million has been invested into the West Yorkshire PCC to develop the West Yorkshire VRU. The VRU has brought together key partners to identify the local drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them. Additionally, West Yorkshire Police have been allocated £8.22m, over three years, to support the police to take targeted action on serious violence. This investment supports West Yorkshire Police to work closely with the Regional Organised Crime Unit to monitor and map organised crime groups and urban street gangs who are involved in County Lines and Drug supply both within West Yorkshire and into other counties.