County lines is a major, cross-cutting issue involving drugs, violence, gangs, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and missing persons.
The response to tackle it involves the police, the National Crime Agency, a wide range of government departments, local government agencies and VCS (voluntary and community sector) organisations.
The UK Government defines county lines as: County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”.
They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons. County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing, and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.