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Drugs: Organised Crime

Question for Home Office

UIN 24876, tabled on 30 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2021 to Question 14126 and with reference to the findings of the Dame Carol Black review of drugs: phase one report, what assessment has been made of the effect of county line closures and drugs seized on (a) drug availability or rates of drug use, (b) potency, (c) price and (d) new trends including local recruitment of children and children being missing for longer periods in adaption to police activity and covid-19; what Government national leadership and oversight on the implementation of a public health approaches to youth violence has taken place; how the Department for Education is involved with that oversight; what assessment she has made of the ethical implications of state use of children to be used as a covert human intelligence source as detailed in The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill; and whether a Child Rights impact assessment has been undertaken in relation to that proposed policy.

Answered on

6 July 2021

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

In May 2021, the National County Lines Coordination Centre published the latest County Lines strategic assessment. The assessment found that county lines continue to be at the forefront of drug supply nationally and have evolved in response to environmental changes.

The county lines business model remains heavily weighted towards the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. NCLCC’s latest assessment indicates that there has been a reduction in the total number of potentially active deal lines, with numbers reported to have fallen from between 800-1,100 in 2019/20 to 600 in 2020/21.

We continue to work with partners to address the underlying drivers of exploitation and ensure support and protection is in place for children exploited through county lines criminality. We have funded specialist support for victims of county lines exploitation to deliver one-to-one support to under 25s and their families in the three largest county lines exporting force areas

This Government is also delivering a range of initiatives to tackle youth violence including investing over £105.5 million in Violence Reduction Units from 2019 to 2022. The Home Office works closely with the Department for Education to tackle youth violence.

We will continue to use data on rates of drug use to monitor trends and inform the Government’s approach to addressing drugs and drug harms.

The Government acknowledges the strength of feeling on juvenile CHIS, however, we must recognise that some juveniles are involved in serious crimes, as perpetrators and victims. In some circumstances a young person may have unique access to information or intelligence that could play a vital part in preventing or detecting serious offences.

Young people are only authorised as CHIS in rare circumstances. Between January 2015 and December 2018, there were only 17 instances where law enforcement bodies deployed those under 18 years old as CHIS, and their participation in criminal conduct is rarer still.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 includes a commitment on the face of the legislation that young people will only be authorised to undertake criminal conduct in exceptional circumstances.

Original answer

In May 2021, the National County Lines Coordination Centre published the latest County Lines strategic assessment. The assessment found that county lines continue to be at the forefront of drug supply nationally and have evolved in response to environmental changes.

The county lines business model remains heavily weighted towards the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. NCLCC’s latest assessment indicates that there has been a reduction in the total number of potentially active deal lines, with numbers reported to have fallen from between 800-1,100 in 2019/20 to 600 in 2020/21.

We continue to work with partners to address the underlying drivers of exploitation and ensure support and protection is in place for children exploited through county lines criminality. Wehave funded specialist support for victims of county lines exploitation to deliver one-to-one support to under 25s and their families in the three largest county lines exporting force areas

This Government is also delivering a range of initiatives to tackle youth violence including investing over £105.5 million from 2019 to 2022, (VRUs). The Home Office also works closely with the Department for Education to tackle youth violence.

We will continue to use data on rates of drug use to monitor trends and inform the Government’s approach to addressing drugs and drug harms’.

The Government acknowledges the strength of feeling on juvenile CHIS, however, we must recognise that some juveniles are involved in serious crimes, as perpetrators and victims. In some circumstances a young person may have unique access to information or intelligence that could play a vital part in preventing or detecting serious offences.

Young people are only authorised as CHIS in rare circumstances. Between January 2015 and December 2018, there were only 17 instances where law enforcement bodies deployed those under 18 years old as CHIS, and their participation in criminal conduct is rarer still.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 includes a commitment on the face of the legislation that young people will only be authorised to undertake criminal conduct in exceptional circumstances.

Answered by

Home Office
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