Boris Johnson launches drive to ‘cut the head off the snake’ of criminal gangs as he takes personal charge of Whitehall taskforce
- Boris Johnson has vowed to put law and order at heart of government’s agenda
- He is due to chair a Cabinet committee dedicated to tackling criminal gangs
- Ministers want to ‘cut the head off the snake’ of organised crime in Britain
Boris Johnson has vowed to ‘cut the head off the snake’ of criminal gangs – as he takes personal charge of a new Whitehall taskforce.
The PM told Cabinet he wanted to put law and order at the heart of the government’s agenda – with ‘county lines’ drugs organisations and stabbings key targets.
Mr Johnson – who is expected to chair a committee of ministers to coordinate the drive – declared in an interview yesterday that he wants to ‘totally wind up’ the scourge of ‘county lines’ gangs.
And he spelled out his plans in a Cabinet meeting. ‘He said that we have historically been strong on law and sorder but in recent years been less clear on it,’ a cabinet source told The Times.
Boris Johnson (pictured giving a BBC interview yesterday) has vowed to ‘cut the head off the snake’ of criminal gangs
Home Secretary Priti Patel (left) and Robert Buckland (right) will serve on a new Cabinet committee on crime
‘He said that hes wanted a return to clarity on it and addressing the concerns of the British public.’
The new committee on criminal justice is expected to include Home Secretary Priti Patel, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Attorney Geoffrey Cox, and Chancellor Sajid Javid,
In keeping with the overhaul of Whitehall being pushed by Mr Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings, it will be modelled on the Brexit ‘XO’ committee which led preparations for No Del.
Ms Patel told Cabinet yesterday that police estimate an ‘astronomical’ 10,000 children could be involved in county lines gangs.
She reportedly said ministers needed to “cut the head off the snake by going upstream” and making Britain’s borders more secure to stop the flow of drugs.
In a BBC Breakfast interview yesterday, the PM said the criminal networks were ‘reducing quality of life’ for people across the UK and had to be tackled.
Mr Johnson said: ‘I want to see crime come down. I want to see the county lines drugs gangs wound up, rolled up.
‘They are reducing the quality of life for people across our country, they are killing young kids. I want to see that thing totally wound up.’
The National Crime Agency has identified some 2,000 individual county lines ‘deal lines’ that are controlled by criminal kingpins – with the largest number operating out of London.
They use children as young as 11 to distribute drugs in other parts of the country.
The National Crime Agency has identified some 2,000 individual county lines ‘deal lines’ that are controlled by criminal kingpins (file image)
The police watchdog for England and Wales last week urged the government to crack down on rules that allow people to buy the phones anonymously.
The watchdog called for a Home Office review of the ‘criminal abuse’ of pay-as-you-go mobile phones, which can be bought for as little as £10 from high street stores.
Officers suggested people ‘should have to register personal details when buying a mobile phone or replacement SIM card’ to prevent the handsets and numbers being used for drug dealing, the findings by the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said.