County Lines Policing and Vulnerability

This national study explores the policing of ‘county lines’ drug dealing across the UK.

County lines is the term given to the practice of drug dealers from urban areas travelling to smaller towns to sell Class A drugs. The gangs involved usually operate across a number of different police force and local authority areas; vulnerable people are often recruited or pressurised into carrying and selling drugs.

The two-year project has three phases:

  1. Build an overview of all police forces in the UK and their approaches to county lines;
  2. Focus on three force areas to provide in-depth knowledge about the types of interventions being employed locally;
  3. Collaborate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), partner agencies and people who have worked for county lines networks in order to develop ‘best practice’ in this area of policing.

Publications and outputs

Talk highlights how policing navigates challenges of County Lines drug markets - Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre (

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Blurring the lines: exploring police responses to ‘victims’ and ‘offenders’ across county line drug networks in the UK


Project website