Recently, the practice of using children as drug mules known as ‘County Lines’ has been widely discussed in the press. This problem poses a growing threat to Britain’s youth and presents educators and school administrators with a new and complex challenge.
As part of their Community Partnership Program, Atlas UK Security has volunteered resources to a local school in Somerset to combat this threat. They were approached by administrators after it had been observed that a growing number of students were smoking marijuana before and after attending classes and were presented with evidence from the local community that some of the children had in fact joined ‘County Lines’.
The school first approached the local constabulary and requested that patrols be sent out before or after school. This requested was denied due to lack of resources leading the school to seek help from the private sector.
Atlas UK Security’s remit is to be highly visible in strategic areas of concern while gathering evidence using body worn video cameras. They were ” shown pictures and given names whom to look out for” and have been running this program for the last 60 days. While it is too early to know if Atlas has made an impact on the issue, they have been asked to expand their search area to a mile around the school as administrators believe that the illicit activity has been pushed further afield by their presence.
Dave Gardner, Managing Director of Atlas UK Security says “not only is the purpose to provide reassurance patrols but the other aspect is intelligence gathering. Any vehicles, their registration and the occupants inside that have been flagged on previous sightings will have a file created. All evidence including video footage is passed on to police for further investigation”.
Mr. Gardner goes on to add, “we want to work with the local community, the schools and the police”. He stresses that “ we are not a private police force and that no such force exists. We are not in it for profit as this service is being provided free to the local schools. It is a matter of working with the local community to try and stamp out County Lines from over taking the rural areas”