Islington Council: ‘Gangs grooming kids to do drug deals could be next Rotherham’
- Credit: Archant
“County lines” drug dealing could be the next grooming scandal if the government doesn’t step in to help protect vulnerable youngsters.
That is the message from 19 London boroughs – led by Islington – to home secretary Amber Rudd.
Young children are being exploited by older gang members for the “county lines” dealing, in which they are sent to underdeveloped drug markets in seaside and market towns hundreds of miles outside London to sell crack cocaine and heroin.
Some as young as 12 have been caught in the act as far away as Cornwall and south Wales.
Now Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington’s children’s boss, has written to Ms Rudd asking for a meeting to discuss the issue. The letter is co-signed by the lead members for children’s services at 18 other councils in the capital.
You may also want to watch:
It warns the grooming and exploitation used in “county lines” could create the next Rotherham scandal and calls for a national approach, with input from the National Crime Agency, to tackle the problem – which transcends geographical boundaries.
Cllr Caluori said: “We have seen in Islington how organised gangs are trying to minimise their risks and maximise their profits by grooming and exploiting vulnerable young people to run drugs, money and even weapons to remote locations.
- 1 Jailed: Man who nearly killed woman in ‘random’ Islington attack
- 2 Green Lanes gang members guilty of killing which sparked tit-for-tat shooting
- 3 Hundreds arrested after police crackdown on county lines
- 4 Jeremy Corbyn on the fuel poverty crisis
- 5 Islington Council caretaker charged with rape and aggravated burglary
- 6 Call for action after scooter filmed riding on Islington pavement
- 7 'Exceptional' heroes granted Islington's highest award, the 'Freedom of the Borough'
- 8 Islington Council to press ahead with people friendly streets - despite disabled pleas
- 9 Tree wardens to be recruited on every Islington estate 'to advocate for trees'
- 10 Islington eco-festival opens – but what about the Edmonton incinerator?
“Our assessment showed vulnerable young people here and right across London are at risk.
“We have come together to request this meeting because we know the damage county lines drug dealing can cause to young lives in our communities.
“This problem crosses local authority and police boundaries and requires a national solution from the Home Office. We all need to work together on this to safeguard vulnerable young people – and urgently.”