County lines epidemic blamed as number of children missing or linked to drugs gangs doubles

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. 

Read more County lines epidemic blamed as number of children missing or linked to drugs gangs doubles 

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