06:07 GMT28 February 2020
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    A team of 38 investigators has begun a national crackdown on county lines drugs gangs, which send children to provincial towns to sell heroin and cocaine. Former New Scotland Yard Detective and Undercover Police Officer, Frank Matthews, told Sputnik that he thinks it will be a splash in the media but unsuccessful in delivering any real impact.

    The county lines coordination center, based in Birmingham England, is aimed at developing a national intelligence picture of the drugs networks, after increasing awareness of the tactic.

    Sputnik: A team of 38 investigators have begun a national crackdown on county lines drugs gangs. Firstly how successful will this new national police unit be, do you think?

    Frank Matthews: I think personally, it will be a splash in the media; it will be very graphic, there will be a lot of arrests and seizures, but there's an endless supply of drugs and endless supply of vulnerable people to take their place so in effect it isn't going have any effect whatsoever.

    Sputnik: The launch of the center was a key government commitment in response to a wave of violent crime across the country that has been linked to the drugs trade. Is this right approach do you think and will it seriously make a dent in the illegal drug market in the UK?

    Frank Matthews: Absolutely not. I have experience of targeting drug supplies at all levels and on this level, all this will do is shift the problem to another neighborhood and then what will happen then is once the police withdraw, more neighborhoods will become embroiled in the drugs trade than before. It's basically a self-defeating policy.

    Sputnik: In the past year we've seen actions and speeches from the government that would imply and assume the UK has been unsuccessful in effectively combating the illegal drug trade through the War on Drugs. Should the UK consider a more pragmatic and effective approach to drugs in the UK?

    Frank Matthews: Absolutely. What I would like to see is people with the power like Lynne Owens from the National Crime Agency, I'd like them to read ‘Drug Wars' by Neil Woods, former undercover officer and have a look at the Law Enforcement Action Partnership website. If they looked at these things and heard what other people who've got the experience, who have been involved in this over years and years have to say, we might find a forward.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article by Frank Matthews are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik’s position.


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