Tackling County Lines and cuckooing in Dorset

Aster Group ASB service manager Claire Seymour’s ground-breaking work in tackling ASB behaviour in our communities has been recognised by the Women in Housing Awards 2022, where Claire was shortlisted for the ‘Woman of the Year’ category.

Claire’s team partnered up with Dorset Police to address County Lines and cuckooing in Dorset which is in the top ten counties impacted by these issues.

Cuckooing happens when drug gangs take over the home of a vulnerable person and use it as a base to deal drugs from. This is often part of the County Lines process, where drugs are moved from larger cities to rural towns and villages to sell in these communities.

Recognising we needed to take a proactive approach to tackle this crime for our customers and communities, particularly in the Weymouth and Portland area, our ASB team worked with the dedicated County Lines team at Dorset Police (Climate Team).

Together we launched a pilot scheme to put in place strong partnership work. We carried out joint visits with the Climate Team, offered support, and carried out early interventions. The scheme soon caught the attention of the College of Policing, and with input from us and Dorset Police, eventually this has been rolled out as a national pilot scheme.

Dorset Police has recently reported that we now have less County Lines issues and cuckooing issues in our homes due to the proactive approach we have taken.

As a result of our work, the police are seeing that gangs are aware of the tougher restrictions we will impose and it’s having a positive effect on the community.

Martin Underhill, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset Police 2012 – 2021, has called ASB teams “the hidden heroes of the community.”

Through our work, the teams dealing with ASB play a crucial part in helping to support and protect communities. Along with brave members of the community who step forward, report issues, and engage with us, we’ll continue to tackle this important issue affecting communities throughout our regions.

Our ASB team has also been praised by The Home Office for the support we gave a customer and our work with police to take action.