A group of young people is not necessarily a gang. A gang is a group of people who have a name, are defined by a particular area, use logo's or colours as representation, use gestures or hand signs as part of their identity, use symbols or graffiti to represent their name.
Some gangs are linked to organised crime and exploit children. They manipulare and coerce children and young people into committing crimes. This is a form of child abuse.
It is not illegal to be part of a gang but it is illegal to commit crimes that are linked to gang activitiy such as violence and drug dealing.
What is County Lines?
County lines is the police term used for urba gangs who exploit young people into moving drugs from one area to another known as going 'outta town' or going 'country'. This is another form of child abuse where children and young people are used or forced into drug trafficking and can be moved out of their area and from their family. They are forced to stay in hotels or drug users houses.
If you are worried about being in a gang, carrying a weapon, dealing or manufacturing drugs talk to a trusted adult at the academy or report it on the SHARP system - we are here to help and protect you.
If you are worried about a friend or family member being involved in gangs, county lines or carrying weapons please report via the SHARP system or:
- Call Crime Stoppers anonymously - 0800 555 111
- Call 999 if you are at immediate risk or 101 otherwise
Always remember your support networks: