Response to the HMICFRS Report – Both sides of the coin

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner had today (Friday, 10 January 2020) responded to the publication of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report Both sides of the coin – The police and National Crime Agency’s response to vulnerable people in ‘county lines’ drug offending.

He said: “While I welcome any attempt to make the fight against drugs more effective nationally, we should not underestimate the work that is already being done locally in South Yorkshire.

“The drugs market is growing and seeking all the time to move into new areas.  ‘County lines’ is about the way drug-dealing gangs involve young people in moving drugs from urban centres into villages or coastal towns, sometimes crossing county boundaries. It is a national problem.

“In South Yorkshire much of this activity is within the county itself and the local police are well able to deal with it. They have a good understanding of how county lines works and which gangs may be involved. The movement here is from the bigger centres, like Sheffield, to smaller towns and villages.

“We understand how a vulnerable person, who is a drug user, is offered drugs by someone from the city in return for their house becoming a centre for more drug dealing  locally – ‘cuckooing’.

“The gangs need to be identified and disrupted and offenders put away for substantial periods of time. Their activity brings nothing but misery to vulnerable victims and communities alike”.