Home secretary praises Norfolk police’s drug gang school play

Home Secretary Amber Rudd with Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis at the Gorleston Conservative Club.Pi

Home Secretary Amber Rudd with Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis at the Gorleston Conservative Club.Picture: Anthony Carroll - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk police scheme to help prevent children being groomed by drug gangs has been praised by the Home Secretary.

Amber Rudd said she was impressed to hear how the force had taken a hard-hitting play around high schools to highlight the dangers of children being exploited to smuggle Class A drugs into and around the county.

The play is called County Lines and is linked to the ongoing Operation Gravity that is targeting London drug gangs bringing crack and heroin to Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

Speaking from the Gorleston Conservative Club, Ms Rudd said she had heard about the play as she talked to frontline officers in Norwich this morning about the issue of “county lines” drug gangs.

Ms Rudd said: “This is a really difficult area and it has seen a growth throughout the country and in particular I wanted to find out their experiences of county lines, what they think is working well, how they disrupt it and how they protect the most vulnerable people.

“Because the worse thing about county lines is that is uses the children and what you get is a situation where there is usually a really nasty drug dealer at the top and then its like a kind of organisational chart down until you get to the young kids at the bottom.

“For the drug dealers who are running these networks they can replace one child with another.

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“We need to make sure those young people are protected.

“So they have got a number of new initiatives about going into schools. They have a very good play which they take round, which is a fantastic innovation for Norfolk I did congratulate them on.

“It is a really good idea. You just can’t say to kids, beware of this, blah blah, you have to show them somehow.

“What I saw was really great work on how to warn children not to get involved in the dangers of being groomed and to look out for it.

“So it was really good to see such good work going on in Norfolk and I believe the steps they are taking will disrupt county lines in Great Yarmouth and Norwich.”