Advice for the Taxi Trade - County Lines Gangs
To help safeguard vulnerable children and protect them from gangs, the Home Office, Institute of Licensing and CrimeStoppers are working to increase awareness among taxi and private hire vehicle drivers, and licensing staff, of the signs to spot a potential victim. County Line gangs are still very active even during COVID-19 lockdown period.
Thousands of children and teenagers - some as young as 12 years old - may be being exploited by criminal gangs to carry drugs to coastal and market towns.
Many of these children travel in taxis or private hire vehicles in a criminal activity known as 'county lines'. Taxis are a popular form of transport for children being exploited by 'county line' gangs.
Children may make the whole journey between the city and town in a private hire vehicle or taxi, or else use one for part of the journey
To help safeguard these vulnerable children and protect them from gangs, the Home Office, Institute of Licensing and CrimeStoppers are working to increase awareness among taxi and private hire vehicle drivers, and licensing staff, of the signs to spot a potential victim.
The signs to spot are:
• A child, normally 14-15 years old, but can be as young as 12 travelling a long train journey alone
• They may be from another area, so may not be familiar with an area (may look lost) and may have an unfamiliar accent for the local area
• They may be travelling during school hours or unusual hours (e.g. late in the evening)
• An obvious relationship with controlling, older individuals
• Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries
• Excessive receipt of texts or phone calls.
There are online posters provided by the Home Office to help taxi and private hire vehicle drivers and booking staff recognise the signs to spot potential victims. Taxi drivers who spot a vulnerable young person should report their concerns to CrimeStoppers.
Link to posters:-