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Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard asks about cash to fight 'county lines'

By Mark Andrews | Telford | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has questioned the Government about the need for more funding to tackle the problem of 'county lines' drug gangs operating on the Welsh border.

Mark Pritchard

Mr Pritchard raised the issue with minister for Wales Kevin Foster during a debate on policing this week.

His intervention came after Lynne Owens, director the National Crime Organisation, said more money was needed to tackle the changing nature of organised crime.

Mr Pritchard said West Mercia Police already worked closely with forces in Dyfed-Powys and Gwent to tackle problems such as drug-running and child trafficking.

He asked Mr Foster: "What is the Government’s view of the comments of Lynne Owens, director general of the National Crime Agency, that more funding is required for county lines issues?"

Mr Foster praised West Mercia Police for its work to help tackle cross-border crime, particularly around county lines.

Powers

He said the Government would always look to provide the powers and resources that the police needed to tackle that, but he said joined-up working was also vital.

"It is also right that, as was touched on in the comments, we look to tackle the kingpins of those organisations, not just the street dealers, who we can see most easily," Mr Foster added.

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The National Crime Agency launched its annual strategic assessment on Tuesday.

Mrs Owens, the daughter of former West Midlands chief constable Edward Crew, said organised criminals were adopting new methods to use alongside old-style violence. She said the gangs were committing a multitude of crimes and dominating communities in the pursuit of profit.

“People should understand that serious and organised crime kills more of our citizens every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined,” she said.

"It is chronic and corrosive, and the message needs to be heard by everyone.

“Against a backdrop of globalisation, extremism and technological advances, serious and organised crime is changing fast and law enforcement needs significant new investment to help combat it."

She said the national strategic assessment was the most comprehensive that had ever been carried out.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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