Police work with an award-winning author to educate young people about the signs of county lines drug dealing

Author Christina Gabbitas with children at Skipton's Christ Church C.E. (VC) Primary School

North Yorkshire police is visiting schools with the award-winning author Christina Gabbitas to deliver key messaging about county lines drug dealing.

As part of the National County Lines Intensification week, North Yorkshire Police has appointed the popular children’s author Christina Gabbitas to deliver talks in nine schools across the Craven and Selby districts. The interactive sessions which also include input from Police Community Support officers (PCSO) are delivered to year five and six pupils.

Christina invites children to share their experience and knowledge of county lines and then builds on this by having an open and honest discussion. The session which lasts for approximately one hour includes the signs of grooming and how to avoid becoming vulnerable. Christina uses the power of words to educate as the session concludes with children writing a poem that encourages people to stay away from drugs.

Lorraine Crossman Smith, Chief Inspector at North Yorkshire Police said: “I firmly believe that education and intervention at a young age is successful in helping keep children away from crime.

“The work that Christina and our PCSOs carry out in schools forms part of a longer-term strategy that is in place to stop young people in North Yorkshire falling in to a criminal lifestyle”.

Author Christina Gabbitas Said: “After visiting many schools it’s evident that our working partnership is paramount in helping to educate children from primary age. This age group can often be overlooked but if we can warn them before the criminals get to them, we may have a fighting chance. I’m a big believer in educating children to recognise when they are being groomed, the damage that drugs can have on their brain development, understanding the terminology of county lines and the consequences of carrying knives. Each pupil is given a copy of the No More Knives or County Lines story to take home to discuss and open conversations with their parents.

This is the most rewarding work that I have undertaken to date and is brilliant to witness the dedication of the PCSO’s and Police Officers who work tirelessly to help keep our communities safe.”

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