According to the Telegraph, social services in England carried out 8,650 assessments of young people whom they labelled as vulnerable with gangs highlighted as an issue in 2017-18.
It marked a significant jump on 2014-15, when 3,680 such cases were recorded.
A similar trend was found in the number of children who went missing during the same period – from 8,850 to 16,070 – which is considered a trait of county lines networks.
Josie Allan, of Missing People UK, said: “I did research recently with a small group of young people involved in county lines, and everyone who took part said that going missing was a key feature, especially in the early stages of criminal exploitation.”
Another factor thought to be driving the trend of children being reported missing is a drop in the number of parents or teachers reporting them as “absent” instead.
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