Specialist officers who protect the young and vulnerable from exploitation by drug gangs have been recognised with an award from the High Sheriff of Kent.
Kent Police’s County Lines and Gangs Team works to dismantle drug supply networks and bring those responsible to justice whilst also offering support to people at risk of criminal exploitation.
Officers from the team attended the annual High Sheriff Awards at the Corn Exchange, Rochester on March 17, where they were recognised for the important role they play in tackling the sale of crack cocaine and heroin within communities.
John Weir JP, the High Sheriff of Kent, said: “I am making a special award to Kent Police’s County Lines and Gangs Team in recognition of their efforts not only to combat the flow of drugs into Kent but also to protect the young and vulnerable who become ensnared by such gangs.
“Having spent time on the ground with these officers I have no doubt that this award gives them well deserved recognition.”
The annual High Sheriff Awards are managed by the Kent Community Foundation and celebrate the work of organisations who contribute their time and care to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community.
Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley attended the ceremony along with other senior officers and the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.
Chief Constable Pughsley said: “Dismantling the networks of criminals responsible for bringing class A drugs into our county is a top priority for Kent Police, which is why I am so proud of the County Lines and Gangs Team for the fantastic work they carry out.
“The officers and staff who work on the team change people’s lives for the better every day and are making a meaningful difference to communities across Kent, sending a clear message to offenders that neither they nor the illegal substances they sell are welcome on our streets.
“I would like to thank the High Sheriff of Kent for recognising the team with this prestigious award.”
Detective Superintendent Shaun White of the County Lines and Gangs Team said: “Whilst making arrests, seizing criminal property and sending offenders to prison is daily business for the County Lines and Gangs Team, we are also dedicated to helping the most vulnerable members of society including those young people taken advantage of for the purposes of selling drugs.
“We are very grateful and honoured to have been recognised with a special award from the High Sheriff of Kent, which validates our ongoing work to eliminate the supply of class A drugs from our communities.”