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GMP named as fourth force to receive county lines funding

Greater Manchester has been named as the fourth force in the country to receive specific Home Office funding to tackle county lines networks.

Greater Manchester has been identified as one of the top five areas across England and Wales for county lines activity. 

The funding will go towards a new dedicated county lines team, which will target the highest harm and most profitable county lines. 

Additional support and funding will be given to the force across the next three years. The full Grant Agreements for the programme have not yet been put in place so specific figures have not been released. 

The team will work alongside the force’s existing Challenger programme which forms a partnership response to organised crime tackling modern slavery and economic crime among other things. 

The Met, West Midlands and Merseyside have been receiving specialist funding for county lines since 2019. 

Meanwhile, the government’s Drug Strategy, supported by £145 million investment, has a target of eliminating more than 2,000 over the next three years. 

The 10 year strategy, From Harm to Hope, will see £780 million more invested within drug treatment and recovery services.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson QPM said: "We are incredibly grateful to receive this additional funding, which will bolster our efforts to smash county lines activity and target those who prey on vulnerable children to commit their criminal deeds.

"These shadowy networks are often very complex, and the people involved are prepared to bring violence and serious crime to the streets of Greater Manchester, so establishing a dedicated team will allow us to focus more attention on them than ever before and get those responsible firmly in our crosshairs.

Police Minister, Kit Malthouse, said: “The controllers of drug networks around Manchester are ruthless criminals motivated by nothing but greed.

“They fuel violence and exploit children to do their dirty work, so they can stay undetected.

“But we see them, and with this dedicated team, Greater Manchester Police will do more than ever before to stop them and spare the local community from their poison.” 

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