Successful Operation Targeting County Lines Crime in West Yorkshire

Thursday, 21st October, 2021

An operation targeting county lines crime in West Yorkshire has had a significant impact on criminality.

Last week the Force took part in a nationally led intensification week to bring offenders to justice and protect vulnerable victims.

Between Monday 11th October and Sunday 17th October the Force seized Class A and B drugs and cash and safeguarded 39 children.

Officers also made 15 arrests and executed 12 warrants.

And alongside the enforcement work, officers and partners also engaged in preventative work to help educate those at risk of being led into a life of criminality.

Detective Superintendent Fiona Gaffney leads Programme Precision - West Yorkshire Police’s response to serious and organised crime.

“County lines crime is, essentially, drug dealing. The term ‘county lines’ is used when the dealing is from one area to another area.

“Work to tackle it is constantly ongoing. The vile trade in illegal drugs is a blight on the communities of West Yorkshire and fuels other types of criminality and serious violence in particular.

“This week was an opportunity to showcase some of the work we do to send a clear message to criminals that their actions will not be tolerated in West Yorkshire. As part of this we worked very closely with our partners including our own policing districts, other forces and other key partners.

“It also gave us an additional opportunity to build on the continuing work we do to warn and inform those most at risk of being groomed for a life of crime about the dangers of such offending.

“Hardened criminals will look to recruit vulnerable people (usually children) into their life from which it can be difficult to escape. By educating those most at risk and their loved ones about the risk we have hopefully helped prevent victims being caught up and finding themselves arrested in a few years for such criminality

“This educational work therefore, was as, if not more important than our enforcement tactics. 

“During the week we visited 28 schools, youth groups and childrens’ homes to warn and inform about the risks.

“We also ensured we had a high profile presence at transport hubs where we handed out educational material and in some instances had safety arches to provide a reassuring presence to people going about their daily business.”

Full breakdown of results

  • Warrants executed – 12
  • Arrests made – 16 – 14 for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and 2 for cannabis production
  • 500g of Crack Cocaine seized as well as 25 wraps
  • 20,000g cannabis seized and 500 plants seized too
  • Cash seized - £46,000
  • Children safeguarded – 39 
  • Schools/youth groups/childrens’ homes visited - 28
  • Train and bus stations, public engagement – 36

Operations were also carried out in HMP Leeds. Officers, supported by colleagues from the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) carried out enforcement work

“A lot of work went on during the intensification week – but it is work that is constantly ongoing, 24/7, 365 days of the year,” added Det Supt Gaffney

“A lot of what we did was with our partners including British Transport Police, the ROCU and other policing districts and I would like to thank them for their hard work in making the week as successful as it was.

“People involved in county lines not only exploit children for their owns gain, often leading the children into a life of crime and drug addiction. They also use a method known as cuckooing. This is where criminals take over the home of a vulnerable person, using it as a centre for criminality. This leaves vulnerable victim feeling unsafe where they live. These methods exploit the most vulnerable in our society and shows the callous nature of these criminals.”

Back Row: HMP Leeds Governor Steve Robson, HMP Leeds Deputy Governor Mark Scott, HMP Leeds Security Governor Dave Vaughan. Front Row: Katie Daniels (HMP Leeds Security Dept), Gemma Henderson (HMP Leeds Security Dept), Kerrie Redfern (HMP Leeds Security CM
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