English Pupils Are Being Groomed by Criminal Drug Gangs
A poll of teachers at almost 1,300 English schools found that drug dealers and other criminal gangs are controlling pupils as young as eight, with the rot spreading throughout the country and not just limited to urban areas.
According to an analysis conducted by The Times — which covered schools with approximately 500,000 pupils — over 60 per cent of secondary schools have been forced to search pupils with metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs. Children have increasingly been found to be bringing weapons to school, including hammers, knuckle dusters, lasers, and so-called zombie knives.
The survey, which was conducted before lockdown, found that during the 2018/19 academic year, some 24 per cent of schools referred children to the police or social services out of fear that they were involved in criminal gangs.
The poll also found that 33 per cent of secondary schools believe children in their care are involved with criminal gangs, with two per cent of primary schools reporting similar activity.
The children’s commissioner said that the latest study from the government found that 27,000 children were believed to be members of criminal gangs, but warned that the figure will likely be far higher now.
The problem is likely to have been exacerbated by the prolonged lockdown in which pupils were out of school for months, increasing the time in which gangs can prey upon them.
In June, the Children’s Society charity said that so-called county lines drug dealers were increasingly using children to transport drugs during the lockdown, often dressing them up in key worker and food delivery worker uniforms to further avoid attention.