Brighton and Hove like many cities and towns across the UK – is impacted by violence, vulnerability and exploitation related to drug dealing, serious & violent crime and the criminal & sexual exploitation of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
These crimes can include cuckooing or ‘County Lines’ which refers to the transportation of drugs across the country by children and vulnerable adults who have been exploited by organised criminal gangs or groups. A wide range of statutory, community and voluntary sector organisations came together to raise awareness of these issues across Brighton & Hove in June 2019.
These agencies included Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), Sussex Police, Office of Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, The Trust for Developing Communities, YMCA Downslink Group, AudioActive, Tarner Community Project, Hangleton & Knoll Project and Albion in the Community.
Definitions (From the National Crime Agency)
- County Lines – ‘County Lines’ is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.
- Cuckooing – In some cases the dealers will take over a local property, normally belonging to a vulnerable person, and use it to operate their criminal activity from. This is known as cuckooing.
- A social media awareness campaign called #spotthesigns helps people understand what exploitation looks like, the impact it has on people and communities, and how to access support if you or someone you know is being exploited.
- For more info locally contact The Community Safety Team on 01273 292735 or Sussex Police on [email protected] or call 101 and quote Op Cuckoo. In an emergency contact 999. If you would like more information at Neighbourhood Level you can also contact Claire Burchell, The Trust for Developing Communities Citywide Manager on 07450 281331 [email protected]
- Fearless.org – Fearless is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality. Is also a safe place to report information about crime – 100% anonymously.
- Crimestoppers – Some more information on raising awareness of ‘County Lines’ and the exploitation of vulnerable people.