Young people at risk of being drawn into gangs and violence will be targeted at every stage of their lives - from toddlers to teenagers - in a comprehensive approach aimed at preventing the next generation of gang members.
But there is a strong warning to those who refuse help that they will be met with the full force of strengthened laws to protect local communities from crime and disorder.
Systematic and comprehensive
Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘Our first duty is to bring violence under control by providing the police and other agencies with the support and powers they need to protect communities affected by serious youth violence. There can never be an excuse for criminality and it must be dealt with swiftly and robustly.
‘But gang and youth violence is not a problem that can be solved by enforcement alone. We need to change the life stories of young people currently ending up dead or wounded on our streets or locked in a cycle of re-offending.
‘Today’s report is a serious, systematic, practical, and comprehensive approach aimed at supporting towns and cities across the country to find long-term and enduring solutions to youth violence.’
Five key principles
The strategy builds on successful work already being done across government and at local level by police forces, local agencies, charities and voluntary organisations and young people themselves around the country, many of whom have fed into the development of the strategy.
Five key principles underpin today’s strategy - provision of support, prevention, pathways out of crime, effective punishment and partnership working:
Preventing young people becoming involved in violence in the first place with a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention
Pathways out of violence and the gang culture for young people wanting to make a break with the past
Punishment and enforcement to suppress the violence of those refusing to exit violent lifestyles
Partnership working to join up the way local areas respond to gang and other youth violence
Providing support to local areas wanting to tackle their gang or youth violence problem