This is why police officers are chatting to shoppers in Bognor town centre

Officers have been stationed in Bognor Town Centre until 2pm today to talk to the public about county line drug dealing and cuckooing.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 12:39 pm
Police speaking to the public in Bognor. Photo: Arun Police/Twitter
Police speaking to the public in Bognor. Photo: Arun Police/Twitter

The police officers are in London Road outside New Look with a banner and a police car, chatting to the community about how to spot the warning signs of county lines dealing and cuckooing.

According to Sussex Police, County Lines is a recent term used to refer to drug networks that originate from large urban areas such as London to more rural communities.

These can be run by gangs or organised crime groups, both of whom use children, young people and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf, said police.

The organised crime groups tend to use a local property, generally belonging to a vulnerable person, as a base for their activities.

This is known as ‘cuckooing’ and will often happen by force or coercion, police said.

In some instances victims have left their homes in fear of violence.

Police are urging anyone who thinks a family member, friend or neighbour is being cuckooed to come and speak with them.

Arun Police said in a tweet: “Please stop and chat to learn about County Line drug dealing and Cuckooing.”

The public awareness session is part of operation Fortress, which encapsulates all the force’s work for drug harm reduction.