Wales

'County lines' a priority for new North Wales Police chief

Carl Foulkes Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Chief Constable Carl Foulkes officially starts his new role in November

North Wales "suffers" from crimes relating to so-called county lines drugs gangs, the new chief constable of the force has said.

Gulf War veteran Carl Foulkes, who officially starts his new role in November, said the police "can't take our eyes" off organised crime.

He added he wanted to make north Wales "the safest place in the UK" and that the force was in "really good shape".

He was speaking on a tour of the force's new centre in Wrexham.

County lines is a term used for organised drug dealing networks, usually controlled by a person in an urban location, who distributes drugs across a county via runners.

It has caused problems in north Wales in recent years, with the murder of 19-year-old Matthew Cassidy in Connah's Quay in Flintshire and the jailing of a Wrexham gang in October.

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Media captionWhat are County Lines?

Mr Foulkes said: "We do suffer from organised crime and we are seeing evermore a better understanding of the impact of organised crime and the link to county lines specifically, where we have young people, vulnerable people who can't support themselves that are being targeted and abused by organised crime gangs."

He also pledged to tackle crimes that affected communities, such as burglary, which he described as "one of the most invasive crimes there is".

Image caption Mr Foulkes was speaking on a tour of the force's new eastern headquarters in Wrexham.

He said: "I want to make us more preventative. I think policing has become quite reactive in its approach, and I want to start solving the problems that are affecting our communities, to build a long term legacy for the future.

About 150 people have transferred to the force's new eastern headquarters building in Wrexham, which will be fully operational by the end of November with about 250 staff.

Mr Foulkes said there was a "buzz" around the move, and the new centre would help the force be "more efficient".

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