COUNTY LINES / EXPLOITATION INTENSIFICATION PERIOD 1st – 14th FEBRUARY 2021
Dear Parents/Carers and Students,
It is likely you have heard the term ‘County Lines’. This is a growing form of criminal activity that exists nationally, regionally across the West Midlands and here in Birmingham. County Lines is a term used to describe how gangs and organised criminal networks export illegal drugs into other (mainly rural) areas by exploiting children and vulnerable adults, often without them realising it. Gang members may use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to do this. We are clear that this is child exploitation.
We want to support parents and carers to keep children safe; listed below are some warning signs of ‘County Lines’ exploitation for you to look out for. Often, these are behavioural changes such as:
- Returning home late, staying out all night or going missing
- Being found in areas away from home
- Increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them
- Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
- Unexplained absences from school, college, training or work
- Unexplained money, phone(s), clothes or jewellery
- Increasingly disruptive or aggressive behaviour
- Using sexual, drug-related or violent language you wouldn’t expect them to know
- Coming home with injuries or looking particularly dishevelled
- Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places.
Birmingham schools are working together with West Midlands Police and partners, including The Children’s Society, to prevent and spot signs of exploitation at the earliest opportunity. We’re keen that parents are also aware of ‘County Lines’, know where to ask for more support if they are worried and know that you will be listened to and supported.
If you have any concerns about your child, speak to them calmly and explain the risks and consequences. You may wish to contact a member of the Pastoral Team at school if you feel you need support or believe your child is at risk. We can talk through your concerns and plan a way forward together. Please take a look at the below link, here you will find useful guidance on the referrals to make if you have concerns.
If you or your child are aware that other young people in school or the community are at risk of ‘County Lines’ or any criminal exploitation, you should contact the police directly via 101. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org. If a crime is taking place or a life is in danger, call 999 immediately.
For more information there are some links below that you may find useful:
www.childrenssociety.org.uk (on The Children’s Society’s website there are also guides for parents available in 14 different languages).
WMNow – Information for Schools:
WMNOW is a two-way communication tool, we can send messages out and you can reply directly to that officer. WMNOW is a great way to stay informed – Police send information on local crime trends, great work that the officers are doing whilst out on patrols, discounts of security devices and great arrests.
The system can be used to advise you of road closures due to serious incidents controlled by the police and much more.
Your information is not shared and is used solely to communicate with you.
Headteacher – Moseley School and Sixth Form
Chief Superintendent – West Midlands Police
Chief Superintendent – West NPU
West Midlands Police
Schools in Hall Green committed to this joint approach include:
Bishop Challoner Catholic College City of Birmingham School
Hall Green School King Edwards VI Camp Hill Boys’ School
King Edwards VI Camp Hill Girls’ School Moseley School and Sixth Form
Queensbridge School Joseph Chamberlain 6th Form College
REACH Academy Wheelers Lane Technology College