Operation Nutcracker – cracking down on County Lines in Sleaford
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Officers have launched an operation to crack down on County Lines drug dealing in the Sleaford area in the run up to Christmas.
Operation Nutcracker will see an increase in uniformed officers as we focus on the behaviour of a very small number of young people in the town who are believed to be getting involved in the movement of drugs through County Lines activity. 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.
The operation launches today (1 December) and will run for the next three and a half weeks.
Activity will include:
Engagement with local communities
Stop and searches
Acting on police-led and community intelligence about the people who may carry a weapon or drugs on our streets.
The opportunity for concerned parents and care givers to learning more about the things to look out for and how to keep children safe through a free Webinar being run on the 7 December by Parents Against Child Exploitation. This is open to Keystage 2 and secondary age children, and details can be obtained from your school if you haven't already been sent an invitation through your school's messaging channels.
This work will be carried out by the local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) in Sleaford, which already works in the background to disrupt and dismantle County Lines as part of daily business. Over this month, local residents will see that background work brought to the fore.
They will be supported by officers from British Transport Police (BTP) County Lines Taskforce, Leicestershire Police, and the anti-social behaviour and CCTV teams at North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) for the op.
Inspector Rachel Blackwell, responsible for tackling issues which cause high harm in North Kesteven said: "It is sadly the case that some young people are drawn into County Lines drug dealing when they are approached by drug dealers, and made to feel as if they are part of something which is welcoming, rewarding and empowering.
"The reality is that once more deeply involved, children find they are bound to the way of life through threat, control and false perceptions about their status or potential for easy earning. Sleaford is not immune to County Lines activity, and there is a very real threat of exploitation. On what are thankfully very rare occasions, this spills out into street violence when competing street dealers try to have control over drug supply in an area.
"We know that local children have found the County Lines lifestyle appealing, and a lot of work has already been done to put support packages around them to get them away from that way of life. Our key aims will be to safeguard children at risk, pursue the drug dealers recruiting young people, discourage the carrying of weapons as either a symbol or for protection, and offer local parents, residents and businesses peace of mind.
"Children who are drawn to running drugs will often offer themselves up to exploitation, without knowing that is what is happening to them. Feeling like they belong, are part of a family, or that they are good at something, coupled with initially lucrative benefits or inducements proves difficult to steer vulnerable children away from. I'm determined that we will make every effort to improve their future prospects, keep them safe and protect against the risks that come with choosing to carry drugs or weapons."
This work is directly helped by our local community, and we would encourage people who have information on any drug dealing activity which is worrying them, or affecting the quality of life where they live, to share that information and intelligence with us.