Dyfed-Powys Police marked County Lines Intensification Week (7-13 March) by nipping a fledgling drug operation in the bud, freeing a child from potential exploitation and educating 2,500 people about county lines.
Officers took part in operations across the force area to disrupt drug supply, as well as educating people about county lines, from schoolchildren to holiday park and hotel owners, who are often exploited by drugs gangs.
In Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells, two men – one local and one from the West Midlands – were arrested following a drugs warrant, with suspicion they were hiding drugs inside their bodies.
One later produced a cling-film wrap that had been hidden in his anus, which contained 84 deals of heroin and crack cocaine.
DCI Gareth Roberts said: “We work tirelessly and relentlessly, together with our partners, to identify threats such as county lines in our communities.
“The engagement and education programmes that we lead with specialist, dedicated police resources, partners and the community under our Serious Organised Crime (SOC) strategy (branded as INTACT) enables us to obtain accurate, reliable intelligence.
“When we identify a threat, such as on this occasion a county line, we mobilise and flex resources to disrupt at the earliest opportunity so that the threat does not embed, bringing with it the violence, exploitation and misery to our communities – particularly those most vulnerable.
“We continue our relentless pursuit to protect our communities from harm, which is why Dyfed Powys remains one of the statistical safest places to live.”
As part of the intensification week, a total of seven people were arrested for various drugs offences, 100 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine were seized, as well as £2,500 in cash and three mobile phones, which are due to be examined to establish if they are deal lines.
One male claimed he was the victim of exploitation and sold the drugs under duress and threats of violence from an Organised Crime Group.
This proactive work was organised and delivered by the INTACT multi-agency partnership programme to combat serious violence and organised crime (SVOC) in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.
Proactive work included:
135 people attended a webinar about county lines co-delivered by the INTACT Programme and the Regional Organised Crime Unit, Tarian.
200 staff and volunteers from partner agencies received an in-person input from INTACT PCSOs about county lines.
Five vulnerable people at-risk of cuckooing or exploitation were visited and provided with safeguarding advice around county lines.
Four drug/county lines patrols were undertaken by neighborhood policing teams (NPTs), who engaged with the community and spoke about the signs of county lines.
Five ‘Meet the Street’ initiatives were held by NPTs, local housing and drug and alcohol support services in drugs hotspot areas to talk about the risk of county lines and substance misuse.
80 licensed premises received an input about county lines and safeguarding in the evening and night-time economy.
25 police cadets were educated about county lines and asked to champion spotting the signs.
100 ‘at-risk’ young people were engaged with in group interventions about the harms associated with county lines.
50 students at a college were educated about county lines and shown the Fearless ‘Running the Lines’ video.
Approximately 1,500 school children engaged with school community police officers and accessed a county lines vlog.
50 B&Bs, caravan parks and budget hotels were visited and educated about county lines, exploitation and cuckooing.
Five taxi firms were educated about county lines and asked to submit information to the police should they identify a threat.
20 retailers offering phone top-up services were educated about county lines and burner phones.
Information was provided to members of three town councils about county lines, exploitation and cuckooing.
Of those arrested during County Lines Intensification Week, three have been bailed and four have been released under investigation.
If you are a community group or partner interested in learning more about county lines, please contact the INTACT team by email: INTACT-Team@dyfed-powys.police.uk