THE new Safer Neighbourhood Team inspector for Redditch and Bromsgrove has arrived with a special plea for local residents – look out for signs of ‘County Lines’ drug running.
‘County Lines’ is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.
Top cop Lee Page, aged 34, has taken over from Inspector Mark Chappell who retired earlier this month.
In an exclusive interview with the Standard Insp Page explained how important it is for him to ‘get out on to the patch’ and speak with people in the community, particularly with regards to drug running and community safety.
Most people, he admits, don’t really know what County Lines is or the dangers it presents.
“It’s the practice of trafficking drugs into rural areas and smaller towns and from major cities,” he said.
“Places like Redditch and Bromsgrove are perfect targets because they are both so easily accessible from Birmingham.”
He said children could easily be used to courier drugs, either dropping them off to a contact at the railway stations of collecting them from someone off a train.
And he urged parents and carers to look out for the signs their children could be involved, to be aware of their ‘friends’ unusual or expensive gifts suddenly appearing and skipping school or college.
“We want to educate people and help them spot the warning signs of when a vulnerable person is being used by gangs to deal drugs,” he said.
Mr Page, who worked in radio, PR, communications and as a special before joining West Mercia Police in 2016, said he also hopes for a more inclusive police force.
“Our aim is to encourage more people from the LGBTQ+ community to join the force because it’s not always that common.
“We’re certainly making strides and moving in the right direct but there’s still more work to be done.
“That’s something which I think is extremely important and I will be encouraging it every step of the way.”