Call to be po­lice’s eyes and ears in fight to tackle ‘County Lines’

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS - Robert Lloyd @rl­loy­dpr [email protected]­line.co.uk 07765 287910

PO­LICE in Llanelli have asked the com­mu­nity to act as their eyes and ears as a Cuckoo Watch scheme is launched in the town.

Of­fi­cers have started an ini­tia­tive to gather in­tel­li­gence around cuck­oo­ing – a phrase linked with the County Lines drugs phe­nom­e­non, which sees mem­bers of gangs take over the homes of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple to carry out crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

Re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tions have shown that gangs from out­side the area will look for peo­ple who are vul­ner­a­ble through sub­stance ad­dic­tions or men­tal ill-health, and use their home as a base to deal drugs.

Cuckoo Watch was launched in a Morfa street, where neigh­bour­hood and en­gage­ment po­lice teams met with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and asked them to re­port any un­usual or sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour in an ef­fort to flush th­ese gangs out of the com­mu­nity. DyfedPowys Po­lice Part­ner­ship chief in­spec­tor for Car­marthen­shire, Jo­lene Mann, said: “The aim of the scheme is to tackle drugs sup­pli­ers who have come from else­where and set up in Llanelli. We’re vis­it­ing ar­eas where it’s more likely that this ac­tiv­ity will go on, and we’re mak­ing res­i­dents aware so they can keep an eye out for us.

“Our in­ten­tion is to sup­port and pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble in our com­mu­ni­ties by iden­ti­fy­ing those most at risk, and sign­post­ing them to the ap­pro­pri­ate place to re­ceive the help they need. We also want to iden­tify po­ten­tial ad­dresses likely to be tar­geted by drug sup­pli­ers, and who in­tend to use this method known as cuck­oo­ing.

“We want to gather in­tel­li­gence to sup­port our polic­ing ob­jec­tives, and above all else we want to re­as­sure the com­mu­nity that we are mak­ing all ef­forts and putting a lot of re­sources into tack­ling the is­sue of drugs, and in par­tic­u­lar the sup­ply, in our area.”

Po­lice are ask­ing any­one who comes across un­usual be­hav­iour in their com­mu­nity, or who be­comes aware of peo­ple from out­side the area mov­ing in to some­one else’s home, to re­port it im­me­di­ately. This can be done by call­ing 101, or to Crimestop­pers anony­mously on 0800 555 111.

Ms Mann added: “County Lines is here now, and that’s why we’re putting a lot of re­sources into tack­ling it. En­force­ment has al­ready taken place by po­lice, but what we aim to do now is educate peo­ple and make peo­ple aware of it so they can keep a look­out.

“Per­haps they wouldn’t have un­der­stood it be­fore, but the more we talk to peo­ple about it, the more chance we have of re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion.

“The more in­for­ma­tion we’ve got, the more we can do to catch the peo­ple in­volved, and hopefully drive them out of our area al­to­gether.

“We can’t do this on our own. We need peo­ple to come to­gether, to give us in­for­ma­tion hot – if you see some­one who looks out of place, tell us.

“Every­one has a duty of care to look out. As po­lice, we’re not ev­ery­where at ev­ery mo­ment. We just want peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to look out, give us in­for­ma­tion and we will do our jobs to the best of our abil­ity.”

Above and right, items which have been seized dur­ing County Lines op­er­a­tions in the Dyfed-Powys force area.

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