10 January 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Govt must stop young people falling prey to ‘county lines’ gangs
  • Tories failing children’s mental health

Govt must stop young people falling prey to ‘county lines’ gangs

Responding to a report released today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services into ‘county lines’ gangs, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

When children as young as 12 are being exploited by drug gangs, the Government’s approach clearly needs to change. We need to stop both the supply and demand of illegal hard drugs.

Unnecessary Tory cuts to the police have made it easier for organised criminal networks to spread. Cuts to the Border Force have made it easier for gangs to traffic illegal drugs and guns into the UK, and cuts to youth services have made it easier for them to prey on young people.

The Conservatives have now promised to strengthen the National Crime Agency to tackle county lines, and the Liberal Democrats will make sure they deliver on their promise.

But the Government must also do more stop children falling prey to these criminal gangs. That means a public health approach, with police, teachers, health professionals, youth workers and social services all working closely together to give young people love, opportunity and support.

Tories failing children’s mental health

Responding to the Education Policy Institute’s Annual Report on access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), Liberal Democrat Health, Well-being and Social Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The state of children’s mental health services in England is deeply worrying. It is unacceptable that children who have experienced abuse or have diagnosable mental health conditions are being turned away from treatment.

This report should be a wake-up call for the Conservative government. It shows they are failing children, and they will continue to fail if they do not prioritise child and adolescent mental health services.

Liberal Democrats would ensure that no child or young person who needs help is turned away from mental health services. We are calling on the Tory government to increase the funding for child and adolescent mental health services and urgently tackle the shortages in mental health staff.

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