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The Leg it Podcast


Jun 28, 2021

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Dr Grace Robinson is the Executive Director of Black Box Research and Consultancy Ltd. Having completed her Ph.D on Urban Street Gangs, Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines, Grace is able to offer some of the first insights into an area with little existing literature. She is a Rights Lab Research Fellow in Modern Slavery Perpetrators and Organised Crime at the University of Nottingham, where she works on a UKRI-funded project exploring the effect of COVID-19 on Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines. Grace has shared her research across the country, participating in podcasts, radio interviews and the BBC documentary Inside Out. She regularly delivers lectures, workshops and training across the country to a wide variety of audiences, including; children and young people, students, practitioners and faith groups.

The 2018 Home Office Serious Crime Strategy states the NPCC definition of a County Line is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas [within the UK], using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”.

They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move [and store] the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons. A common feature in county lines drug supply is the exploitation of young and vulnerable people. The dealers will frequently target children and adults - often with mental health or addiction problems - to act as drug runners or move cash so they can stay under the radar of law enforcement. In some cases the dealers will take over a local property, normally belonging to a vulnerable person, and use it to operate their criminal activity from. This is known as cuckooing. People exploited in this way will quite often be exposed to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and in some instances will be trafficked to areas a long way from home as part of the network's drug dealing business.

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