Police in Scarborough are to intercept drug dealers as they enter the town as part of a crackdown on so-called ‘County Lines’ offences.
North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has revealed that the force is to step up its operations to stamp out the supplies of crack cocaine and heroin in the region.
In her report to next week’s meeting of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel, she writes: “Op Expedite sees a dedicated team dynamically and proactively seeking to disrupt and deter County Lines activity to make North Yorkshire a ‘no go’ area for drug dealing.
“Started in Harrogate, this is now being rolled out in York, Scarborough and more widely across the county command.
“This involves work at railway stations to intercept traffickers at the earliest opportunity, as well as to spread information and awareness. It includes enhanced use of stop and search and search warrants to disrupt dealing and remove drug stores.”
County Lines is the trafficking and dealing of drugs by organised criminal groups across the country, and refers to the telephone ‘lines’ used to facilitate this.
North Yorkshire has 20 unique deal line telephone numbers linked to 14 different County Lines groups, with two of these in Scarborough and Whitby
The lines originate from Manchester, Liverpool, West Yorkshire and Cleveland.
Mrs Mulligan’s report adds: “These lines have also been linked to child sexual exploitation, firearms, the trafficking of young people both local and from out of area, the exploitation of vulnerable adults, and to serious violence. [A total of] 102 individuals have been linked to County Lines offending.
“Violence tends to appear where rival gangs vie for control of an area, or where local dealers try to profit from rival gangs. Repercussions have ranged from violent threats, to kidnap, to serious assault by hammer, knife or machete.”
North Yorkshire Police’s Organised Crime Team has been working with forces across the country intelligence and activity and build cases against groups.
Action is also being taken to combat ‘cuckooing’ where drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person and operate from that address.
In the last 12 months, 74 cuckooing addressed were identified in North Yorkshire, compared to just 11 for the rest of the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Many of the vulnerable people targeted are young and so North Yorkshire Police is working to improve its links with social and children’s services in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.
The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel will meet on Thursday next week (26th) in Northallerton.