Published: 21:20, 06 December 2021
| Updated: 21:22, 06 December 2021
Kent police and crime commissioner Matthew Scott says an ambitious 10-year programme to catch 300,000 drug offenders will help eliminate county line gangs.
Mr Scott said the government’s blueprint would help in the continuing drive to target gangs who are often based in big cities and exploit vulnerable young adults.
“Over the last few years we have been relentlessly bearing down on county lines gangs to the extent that we have halved the numbers operating in Kent," he said.
"That means there is still work to do but this will give us dedicated resources to deal with increasing drug use but also to [tackle] criminal activity that sits alongside it.
“Our focus has been relentless and it will continue to be so and we'll make Kent a really hostile space for gangs to be in.”
He defended proposals such as confiscating driving licences and passports, which have attracted criticism.
“Personally, I would not like to be in a car with someone who has been taking heroin or cocaine, so confiscating these items is the right thing to do," he maintained.
"There needs to be some punitive measures so that people can realise the full impact of what they have been doing.
“For some, it might be just a social element but behind a lot of the violence, crime and death is the trade in drugs and by purchasing them, people are contributing to them, so that is why we need to stamp it out.”
Speaking ahead of today's unveiling of the drugs strategy, Boris Johnson said the government was “absolutely determined to fight” the “disgusting” drugs trade.
All local authorities in England are to receive new money for treatment and recovery – with the 50 councils where there is most need receiving funding first.
On gangs, the government says it will allocate £300 million for combating more than 2,000 county lines gangs across 10 years.