Gangs, Criminal Exploitation & County Lines


Young people join gangs for many reasons including the need to feel protected or safe, to feel accepted by others, because they are bored and there’s nothing else to do or for a sense of identity, status and power and to feel like they are part of something.

They may be pressured into doing things they don’t want to like stealing or carrying drugs and/or weapons. They may also be victims of violence or be abused, exploited or put into dangerous situations.

It can be difficult to know what to do to help protect young people involved in gangs especially as some young people may not want to leave a gang as they may feel like part of a family. If they do want to leave then they may be scared about what will happen to them or their friends and family.

Signs parents can look out for:

  • Spending time with people you don't know or aren't sure about.

  • Going missing from home or school.

  • Getting into trouble at school.

  • Having new clothes or other items that you think they can't afford.

  • Getting involved with crimes including robbery, violence, drug dealing and sexual exploitation .

  • Having unexplained injuries.

  • Losing interest in their existing hobbies.

  • Becoming secretive.

  • Not telling you where they have been or why they returned late.

A useful website for parents (click on the More tab on the Groomsafe website), offering a range of advice including:

  • Grooming

  • Gangs / County Lines

  • Weapons

  • Social Media

  • Transitions to secondary


Further Information and Resources