Five Arrests in Bedfordshire As Police Act on 'County Lines'

  • Five people were arrested in Bedfordshire as part of a county lines crackdown which saw more than 100 arrests made across the region.

Officers also carried out engagement work with taxi companies and hotels across the county as part of the wide-ranging week of action to tackle the exploitation of children and other vulnerable people by organised criminal gangs.

Those held were suspected of a range of offences including drug possession and supply, false imprisonment and human trafficking offences in relation to suspected county lines activity.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye said, “The growing threat, harm and risk posed by county lines to our young people in Bedfordshire is real, and I want to thank our officers and community partners for their joined effort in securing these arrests.

“Our work is not just about arrests and convictions. It is equally about prevention and diversion, which is why we are commissioning and supporting early intervention services to support families, young people and communities in our battle against the criminals who want to exploit our most vulnerable residents.”

Officers also visited five hotels and taxi firms in Bedford to raise awareness about the exploitation involved in county lines, how to spot the signs and report concerns.

This included looking out for young people travelling alone and looking lost, as well as stressing the importance of having a conversation and asking questions of potential victims, as not all exploitation is noticeable.

Charity The Children’s Society also delivered a number of awareness-raising sessions with railway station staff in the county, as young people exploited by county lines gangs often travel by taxi, train or private hire vehicle.