There is no doubt that the world children grow up today is very different to the one that their parents grew up in. There are lots of positives, but there are some extra challenges and risks that it pays to be aware of.

County Lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised crime networks involved in exporting drugs into one or more importing areas (within the UK) using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”.

They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move (and store) the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual) and weapons.

This type of crime is prevalent in all areas and that includes Lichfield and all local secondary schools are familiar with the issue and work hard to ensure their children are safe. However, this is not a school matter, it is a community matter, and hence parents play a key role in helping their child avoid the temptations and risks of this route into a life of criminality.

We have been provided with a PowerPoint which spells out the context, the risks, and the signs that parents and schools can look at – it can be viewed here.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “I can assure parents that this is a very live issue in our community and we deal with multiple agencies, including the police and social workers, in responding to the dangers it presents. It is easy to miss the warning signs amidst hectic lives but once embroiled it is very difficult for children and their families to get out of the network. The best approach is an early approach and that can start by checking out the PowerPoint herein and thinking through how it applies to one’s own child.”