10 Jan 2020

The Children’s Society’s responds to the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services on how the police and National Crime Agency are tackling criminal exploitation of children through county lines. 

Mark Russell, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society, said: “Too many children experiencing horrific grooming and criminal exploitation through county lines continue to be let down by the frontline services best placed to protect them.   

“These are children who may have been groomed with drugs, alcohol, or promises of status and wealth who then face the trauma of being coerced with terrifying threats, violence and sexual abuse to carry drugs around the country. 

“While we welcome these recommendations and the progress made by police in responding to this worrying situation, all agencies are still failing to consistently identify children at risk and share crucial information and young people too often  end up being treated as criminals rather recognised and supported as victims. 

“That’s why The Children’s Society is calling on the Government to define child criminal exploitation in law and introduce a national strategy backed up by the funding needed to help end the current postcode lottery and ensure a consistent response for all children affected from the police, councils and other agencies. 

This strategy must ensure that the real criminals are brought to justice and that children get early help to prevent them falling prey to exploitation - and the support they desperately need to stay safe and recover where this has already sadly happened, including access to an independent advocate." 

Media enquiries 

For more information or an interview, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508. 

Notes to Editors

The Children’s Society is a national charity that helps the most vulnerable children and young people in Britain today. We run services and campaigns to make children’s lives better and change the systems that are placing them in danger. We listen. We support. We act. Together with our supporters we’re improving the lives of children today and building hope for a better future.