Getting Court are hosting an event on Tuesday 4thJune at 5.30pm to focus on County Lines and Knife Crime in Oxfordshire. Two Oxford judges will give an insight into these two major areas of concern.
Drug trafficking offences in Oxfordshire have increased by 51% in the past 2 years and this increase is attributable to the phenomenon of “County Lines”. This involves urban gangs moving class A drugs and cash between inner city hubs and provincial areas, recruiting young people to sell drugs in rural areas. The increase in drugs crime is also importing more knife crime.
As Simon Harding, professor of criminology at the University of West London said: ‘‘The way it used to work was that they would send up lads from London but they stood out like a sore thumb. Now they have switched to recruiting local people. Often people in these areas don’t realise that these London boys play by different rules and if they threaten to stab you, they will do – that is the end of it.” Andy Higgins, research director for the Police Foundation think tank, said: “Some of the largest increases in knife crime in recent years have been in the county forces. The county lines phenomena — organised crime groups exploiting vulnerable young people to supply drugs in smaller towns — is known to be associated with serious violence.”
Getting Court is an Oxford based charity that introduces children to the rigours of the Crown Court and is funded by donations which are held and managed by Oxfordshire Community Foundation. It was set up 4 years ago to introduce students aged 13 and upwards to the Crown Court and for them to see justice being done. Getting Court started by taking groups of about 15 students to court once a month, and now there are two sessions per week!
By visiting Court young people can see for themselves that ‘the authorities’ – the police, the prison and court officers, the probation services and the lawyers and judges serve their communities by protecting them. It may make some think about a career in the court service, the law or the police. Also, the experience of seeing a ‘live’ court case might help young people make the right decisions before finding themselves the wrong side of the line.