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Council joins forces with Police to tackle county lines and child exploitation

Community, safety and emergencies

25 October 2023

A sign outside of some barriers at a train station that reads: "Look closer"

Last week West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) joined Northamptonshire police to support the National County Lines Intensification Week of Action.

Community Safety Officers visited Northampton Railway Station working with staff and the general public to raise awareness around child exploitation; spotting the signs and how to report it.

The team also visited banks and independent phone shops distributing over 1,200 business cards and leaflets which detailed common locations to spot child exploitation and how to approach potential victims.

Young people can be exploited anywhere. These are some of the common signs:

  • Children travelling alone, especially if this is in school hours, late at night or on a regular basis. If they are being criminally exploited, they may be sent significant distances and may be missing from home
  • They may be lost or appear as though they are in unfamiliar surroundings
  • They may appear anxious, frightened, or angry, but they may also appear disruptive or aggressive - a common response to trauma
  • They could be in possession of multiple phones
  • They might appear under the control or instruction of others, including people who are older than them and do not appear to be family members
  • You may see them with large amounts of cash
  • Signs of a child being at risk online, could include them talking about older or new friends they have met online, talking about gifts, money or in game credits they have received online, receiving large numbers of calls or messages, being worried about being away from their phone and having a new phone or more than one phone
It’s great to see the strong partnership between West Northamptonshire Council and Northamptonshire police during National County Lines Intensification Week. Public spaces such as bus and train stations, service stations and shopping centres are all places where victims of child exploitation are most visible.

By working together to raise awareness and equipping our communities to recognise the signs of child exploitation, we can create a safer environment for our children and young people and stop this abuse from happening.
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services
I'm pleased with the positive results we've seen during this intensification week.

Illegal drugs cause an enormous amount of harm in our communities. We want to get rid of the criminals running these drug gangs and provide help to those exploited by them, as well as educating young people about how to spot and avoid getting caught up in County Lines activity.

Northamptonshire Police is committed to tackling county lines and safeguarding vulnerable people.

I want to thank all the officers and staff who were involved in this intensification week and in particular, the Home Office for supporting our activity by providing funding.
Detective Inspector Carrie Powers, Serious and Organised Crime Team

More information around child exploitation and how to report it can be found on the Children’s' Society website. If you are concerned about a child and think it’s an emergency, dial 999 or if it’s not an emergency call 101.

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