Police teams board trams to target County Lines drug dealers
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Neighbourhood policing teams have taken part in an operation to tackle drug dealers who are using Nottingham’s tram network.
Officers are working alongside Nottingham Express Transit to target County Lines dealers who are believed to be using the trams to transport drugs and weapons across the city.
Uniformed and plain clothes officers from neighbourhood policing teams across Nottingham got onboard trams and patrolled platforms as part of County Lines Intensification Week.
Nottinghamshire Police drugs dog Doug and handler Police Constable Nic Crabtree were also utilised on the network to trace any illegal substances being transported by tram.
Officers identified and engaged with vulnerable young people using the trams to support safeguarding opportunities.
The operation also aimed to provide a high-visibility reassurance to passengers using the network.
Sergeant Heather Harding, of the Beeston neighbourhood policing team, said: “We know County Lines drug dealers make extensive use of the railways to transport drugs and weapons. Intelligence suggests Nottingham’s tram network is being used in a similar way for shorter journeys across the city.
“This operation saw us working closely with NET to disrupt this criminal activity. It also gave us the opportunity to talk to vulnerable children and adults who could be under the exploitation of criminal gangs.
“The drug dealers who run County Lines exploit children and vulnerable adults to line their own pockets.
“They use debt, violence and threats to carry out their activities and prey upon the most vulnerable people within our communities.
“We will not tolerate them exploiting our vital public transport links to ship drugs around the city.”
Trevor Stocker, NET Head of Operations, said: “The carrying of drugs and other prohibited items on trams is totally unacceptable, and we will continue to support the police in their efforts to prevent Nottingham’s public transport network from being used by criminal gangs.
“These targeted police operations, together with NET’s comprehensive CCTV system, should be a deterrent to those engaged in illegal activity and offer reassurance for our customers and employees.”
County Lines is where drugs are transported from one area to another. The ‘County Line’ is the mobile phone line used to take order of the drugs.
County Lines Intensification Week, which ran from 9 to 15 October, saw the force focus on its ongoing efforts to tackle County Lines drug dealers and raise awareness within our communities.
Bringing offenders to justice and disrupting their operations, as well as educating the public about the issue and safeguarding vulnerable people are key elements in the force's approach.
Officers said similar operations will continue and the work to disrupt County Lines criminals remains ongoing. They are also urging people using all forms of public transport, as well as taxis, to be vigilant.
“If you feel like there’s something suspicious about another passenger in your carriage, or you’re concerned that a young person is travelling on their own, please contact the police,” Sgt Harding added.
“Always report anything suspicious and trust your instincts – it is key to getting that message about County Lines out there.
“Even if someone isn't involved in County Lines drug dealing, it is possible they are being exploited in some other way, so it's always worth speaking out.
“You can speak to police by dialling 101, or in an emergency 999. If you would rather remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“If you notice something linked to the railways, you can report concerns to the British Transport Police by texting 61016 from your mobile.
“If you are a young person who is worried about your involvement, or a friend's involvement in County Lines a good option is to speak to an adult you trust and talk to them about your concerns. You can also call Childline on 0800 1111.”