Posted on 17th December 2019

Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has provided funding for workshops which raise awareness of the effects of exploitation and county lines on young people.

Cheshire-based charity Action Transport Theatre will use funding from PCC David Keane’s Safer Community Fund to deliver drama based workshops in schools across Cheshire.

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Pupils will be invited to intervene in a fictional story where young people are being exploited and encouraged to get involved in drug dealing by individuals from outside the area – a practice known as county lines.

County lines is where criminals from major cities such as Liverpool and Manchester expand their drug networks to other areas, bringing with it serious criminal behaviour such as violence, abuse and exploitation.

Each two hour workshop will be delivered to up-to 60 young people with pupils encouraged to unpick the issues of county lines through honest discussion to do with why and how individuals agree to get involved in the activity. They’ll also be told how to spot the signs of county lines and how to report it.

Mr Keane said: “County lines drug activity is having a devastating impact on young people and those who are most vulnerable in our society.

“It is vitally important that we use education to make young people aware of the dangers of this crime including how these drug gangs operate to recruit vulnerable people and the serious implications of becoming involved with these criminals.

“I am confident that Action Transport Theatre’s work will raise awareness among young people about what to do if they or someone they know feels like they are being exploited by these gangs, and more importantly, how to stop getting involved with them in the first place.”

Nina Hajiyianni, artistic director from Action Transport Theatre, said: “We are really thrilled to be supported by PCC David Keane to allow us to develop a new creative project for secondary schools which not only engages young people through high quality professional theatre, but also tackles the exploitation of vulnerable young people and raises awareness of the issue of county lines.”

Action Transport Theatre is one of hundreds of organisations across Cheshire which has received Safer Communities Funding over the last few years to support crime prevention or meet the objectives within the commissioner’s police and crime plan.