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Criminal exploitation and gang culture

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There is a growing culture amongst young people to become involved in gangs for protection, a sense of identity, status, friendship, money and sex.

Joining a gang will not give you more protection; it could enhance your chance of being targeted as a victim. Gang members make far less money than those who do not join gangs. Gang members usually don't get a good education, making it hard to find a good job.

County lines is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”.

Gang culture can have consequences that could affect the rest of your life.

If you have information about gang crime in your area and you're nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.

Always dial 999 if you are worried someone is at risk. The police are there to help and keep you safe.

If you are worried about criminal exploitation, or are involved with it already, it is not too late to get help. Talk to your teacher or another grown up you trust or contact one of these organisations 

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The Ben Kinsella Trust

County Lines and exploitation

free education resources for anyone working with young people to tackle County Lines and safeguard children and vulnerable adults.


advice about how to spot the signs of criminal exploitation and involvement in gangs and what support is available for children and young people.

Gangs and teenagers

Family Lives has advice on how to recognise if your teenager is involved with gangs and criminal exploitation

Knife gun and gang crime

GOV.UK advice and guidance


West Midlands Police campaign against gangs and exploitation

County Lines

Crimestoppers  information on combatting the exploitation of children and vulnerable people by criminal gangs