Barrow-based County Lines disruption programme expands to Carlisle

County Lines Informed Cumbria (1CLIC) is expanding their project to Carlisle following their success in Barrow-in-Furness disrupting county lines drugs gangs and reducing consequential crime and demand in hot-spot areas.


Cumbria’s Deputy, Police Fire and Crime Commissioner (DPFCC), Mike Johnson, met with Detective Sergeant Kevin Milby and The Well Communities to hear more about their work in Barrow and Carlisle.


1CLIC sees Cumbria Constabulary working in partnership with The Well Communities, a lived experience recovery organisation that supports those who are recovering from addiction. The project 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. County lines is a form of criminal activity in which organised crime gangs use young and/or vulnerable people to carry, store or sell drugs in towns and rural areas.


The original, two-year pilot programme was funded by Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), Peter McCall, and launched in February 2022. Due to the programme’s success in the south of the county, the project will be funded to continue the positive work in Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakes and to expand the programme into Carlisle for an extra year.

The funding will be provided through the Serious Violence Duty which requires Local Authorities, Integrated Care Boards, Police, Fire and Rescue and Probation to work together to prevent and reduce serious violence in their local area by addressing the root causes. PFCC Peter McCall is the Cumbrian conduit for national funding that is to be used for interventions and activity to local priorities highlighted in the strategy.  Within Cumbria’s Serious Violence Duty strategy, one of the areas identified as a key priority is targeting alcohol and drugs as a driver of serious violence including county lines and organised crime. The Serious Violence Duty authorities in Cumbria agreed that a portion of national funding would be used to continue and expand 1CLIC to Carlisle to achieve this priority.


Since its introduction in February 2022, 1CLIC has conducted over 2300 vulnerability visits, supporting people in their own homes.  In Barrow, active county lines have had a reduction from six active lines, at its peak and has had moments throughout the project when there were no active lines. In Kendal, there was a three-month period with no active county lines, a reduction from two lines that had been operating long term in the town.


Speaking on the visit, DPFCC Mike Johnson, said: “I’m really pleased to see the 1CLIC programme being expanded to Carlisle to help combat drugs and county lines in our communities.


“The Barrow project has been a huge success, cutting off the drugs path into the area and reducing county lines into the South of the county. At points throughout the pilot, we have had zero active county lines in the south of the county.


“The programme is partnership and community lead, identifying our most vulnerable and providing them with the support they need to reduce the risk of them being taken advantage of by these dangerous organised crime gangs.


“Drugs can have a devastating effect on communities, families and the lives of individuals, so I’m really pleased that we can support 1CLIC further and for another year.”


Dave Higham, Chief Executive Officer of The Well Communities, said: “We believe it takes a community to make the necessary changes to make our communities safer places to live for everyone.


“Our partnership with the PFCC and Community partners has enabled this to happen in the South of the county. We are excited we can spread this great work in the North of Cumbria.”


Detective Sergeant Kevin Milby, Cumbria Constabulary, is the 1CLIC Project Manager. He said: “The 1CLIC partnership allows us to get help to the people most in need and show them that support is there and that we can divert them away from the life they are in.


“Organised crime groups involved in county lines drug supply seek to exploit vulnerable people in order to carry out their activity. The impact this has on individuals and the wider community can be devastating.


“We welcome the expansion of 1CLIC to north Cumbria and we hope to see similar success as evidenced in the south of the county.


“By disrupting those involved in county lines, we are preventing illegal drugs getting into our communities which in turn prevents the associated detrimental impact drug supply has on local communities.”

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