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West Bridgford
Sunday, 24 January 2021

Police patrols could increase at Notts railway stations to tackle County Lines

Areas are reporting increased levels of violence and weapons-related crimes as a result of this trend.

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Sniffer dogs and police patrols could soon become regular a regular sight at Nottinghamshire’s Railway Stations.

Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has confirmed that it is considering working with the County’s Railway Stations in a bid to beat County Lines’ drug dealing.

Responding to questioning at Nottinghamshire County Council’s Policy Committee from Ashfield Independent Councillor Rachel Madden – Natalie Baker Swift, Programme Manager, Violence Reduction and Early Intervention from the VRU said she would consider working with the police in a bid to stop drugs entering our county via our railway stations.

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County Lines is where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries, usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs. The ‘County Line’ is the mobile phone line used to take the orders of drugs.

Areas are reporting increased levels of violence and weapons-related crimes as a result of this trend.

Councillor Madden told the meeting that drugs were often imported into the county via children through our railway stations.

She has welcomed confirmation that regular patrols at our railway is being looked at in the fight against organised crime. She also raised the issue of ‘cuckooing’ where a drug dealer takes over the home of a vulnerable addict and uses it as a base of operations to distribute and store drugs.

Councillor Madden said, “I am pleased that the Violence Reduction Unit are considering my suggestion. Police patrols at railway stations like Hucknall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton Parkway may become the norm. The idea of sniffer dogs on our train platforms is not ideal – but if it means that we get control of the importation of drugs then it should happen.”

The Violence Reduction Unit have also taken on board Councillor Madden’s suggestion that they work with housing providers including Councils, Housing Associations and addiction services in the fight against ‘cuckooing’.

Councillor Madden said, “Drug dealers identify vulnerable drug users and take over their homes. These homes are more often than not Council or Housing Association properties. It’s critical that the Violence Reduction Unit, Nottinghamshire Police and housing providers work together to identify residents vulnerable to cuckooing. I am surprised that this doesn’t happen already but welcome the fact that as a result of my suggestion this will now happen.”