Agencies support national Safeguarding Adults Week

Agencies across the county are supporting a national initiative highlighting the work done to safeguard vulnerable adults.

The Safeguarding Adults Week aims to raise awareness of how people can raise a safeguarding concern and access the support they, or the person they have concerns for may need.

In Cumbria, agencies will be focusing on the following six themes:

  • Monday: Exploitation and county lines
  • Tuesday: Self neglect
  • Wednesday: Creating safer organisational cultures
  • Thursday: Elder abuse
  • Friday: Domestic abuse
  • Saturday: Safeguarding in everyday life

Rob McCulloch-Graham, Chair of the Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board, said:

“Now more than ever, the vulnerable people in our communities need looking out for by all of us, living and working in Cumbria.

“This week provides a crucial opportunity to reach out to people across our county and provide them with helpful information on the work done to protect vulnerable adults in Cumbria.

“Whilst there are many agencies working each day to keep vulnerable people safe in Cumbria, it is upon us all to look out for each other and raise concerns when something does not feel right.

“Raising a safeguarding concern is a proactive step which anyone can take to help protect people. Once a safeguarding concern is raised, this information is shared with the relevant agencies to ensure action is taken to investigate the concern and support the individuals affected.

“Throughout this week, agencies will be sharing information on social media relating to specific themes which either cause harm to vulnerable adults or highlighting the work done to protect them.”

Information on how to raise a safeguarding concern is available on the Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board website –

To follow the information being shared on social media, please follow Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board on Twitter – @cumbriasab.

You can also sign up for the latest email briefings from the Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board by visiting the website.

For information on the national campaign, please visit the Ann Craft Trust


Exploitation and county lines

County lines drug dealing is an issue that agencies across the UK, including here in Cumbria, are continuously working on to protect communities.

The following fact file provides useful information on what county lines is and the signs to look out for.

What is county lines?

  • County lines describes an organised crime group (OCG) which traffics drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines.
  • Drug users ring a number to place orders – and local street dealers deliver.
  • OCGs may exploit children and vulnerable adults, using them to move and store drugs and cash traveling across areas.
  • Our officers are catching and bringing before the courts those involved, with many offenders receiving long prison spells.

County lines – spot the signs on your street

  • Lots of different and regular visitors to a house on your street.
  • Increase in obvious drug-related activity.

County lines – spot the signs in vulnerable people

  • Regular visitors to their home.
  • New, unexplained visitors or support network.
  • Becoming cut-off or estranged from family or existing friends or support network.
  • New risk-taking behaviour.
  • Substance abuse.

County lines – how to report information?

  • If a crime is in progress, call 999.
  • You can report information online at
  • You can speak to a police officer or PCSO operating in your community.
  • You can call police on 101.
  • If you wish to report information anonymously, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

County lines – what is cuckooing?

  • ‘Cuckooing’ is a form of criminal exploitation and the term used when criminals use or takes over a person’s home for criminal purposes, usually as a site to supply, store or produce drugs from.
  • OCGs may initially approach the vulnerable person offering free drugs or other things they may need; however, this may progress to threats of violence, and/or the victim being made to pay off drug debts through use of their home, and to assist in drug dealing.
  • Victims may be forced to stay in their bedroom or are prevented from freely using rooms in their home such as their kitchen or living room. They are usually intimidated and left with little choice but to cooperate. Sexual assaults or other exploitation may also take place.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Dave Cooper, Cumbria Constabulary’s Crime Command, said:

“We work all-year round to tackle county line by enforcement but also, together with our community partners through engagement, prevention, and diversion.

“We are committed to dismantling these criminal networks and to protecting the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by gangs and are subject to violence, fear, and intimidation.

“County lines is exploitative drug supply and is devastating to local communities, well beyond those who are directly involved in the local drugs scene.

“Information from people in our communities can play a crucial role in our efforts to identify county line activity and safeguard vulnerable people who are being exploited or are at risk.

“The fact file we have provided includes helpful information and signs to look out for. Please consider this and if you do see something that does not feel right, please get in touch so we can investigate.

“We have a track record of putting such crime groups before the courts and the subsequent significant sentences have seen many lines and set-ups dismantled or disrupted.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said:

“Preventing and prosecuting those involved to reduce county lines within Cumbria is a key commitment for Cumbria Constabulary.

“Anyone can fall victim to and be exploited by organised crime gangs who lead on County Lines.

“These crime gangs exploit vulnerable people with various methods including intimidation and the false offer of friendship, money, and a flashy lifestyle.

“To help fight county lines, I have commissioned a two-year pilot in Barrow and South Lakes called County Lines Informed Cumbria (1CLIC). The programme identifies vulnerable people who are most at risk of being approached by drug gangs, supports them to move away from potential criminal behaviour and make positive life decisions. 1CLIC encourages long lasting behavioural change and supports the recovery of those who are already using drugs.

“The programme sees Cumbria Constabulary working in partnership with The Well Communities, an organisation that supports those who are recovering from addiction through counselling, peer mentoring, social activities, and other practical services such as housing and employment support.

“County Lines can destroy lives and communities but by providing preventative measures and tackling it head on, we can stop these criminals in their tracks.

“The public know their communities best, so I would urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to report it to the Police on 101, 999 in an emergency, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“Together we can make Cumbria a safer place to live.”

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