Minister for London Jo Johnson has met officers on the front line of tackling gang crime in the capital to hear about their work reducing youth violence.
Westminster’s Integrated Gangs Unit (IGU) was set up in 2011 after a significant rise in incidents in London, bringing experts together to find ways to stop young people getting involved in gangs.
At today’s (5 July 2018) meeting, the minister heard from those working directly with young people about gang-related incidents in Westminster and what is being done to tackle this.
Minister for London Jo Johnson said:
This government is determined to protect young people and steer them away from violence. This includes making sure that young people across the city are given support to escape the cycle of violence that being involved with a gang often entails.
It was fascinating to hear about the work the Integrated Gangs Unit is doing to protect young people, and I look forward to receiving regular updates about their work.
Cllr David Harvey, deputy leader of Westminster City Council, said:
The integrated gangs unit was a Westminster first and represents an across-the-board way of trying to tackle gang problems – not just by enforcement, but by ensuring young people have better options than drifting into gangs.
It was great to have the opportunity for the Minister for London to learn more about how we go about this work.
The nature of gang activity is changing away from ‘postcode’ groups, and our integrated gangs unit is evolving with that – partnering with police, other local authorities and agencies to stop gangs establishing their networks. It is an approach that is getting results and I hope will receive continued funding.
The IGU includes professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service specialist, dedicated police officers and council enforcement officers.
The team is led by a service manager from Westminster Family Services and a deputy manager from Community Protection.
The government’s new Serious Violence Strategy sets out our response to serious violence and in particular recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide. It stresses the importance of a coordinated approach involving the police, community groups, local authorities, education, health and a range of others.
The strategy includes a range of commitments and support to tackle violence and commits £40 million of new Home Office money over 2 years, which includes £11 million for the Early Intervention Youth Fund and £3.6 million for the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC). The NCLCC will help bring the law enforcement effort together as the links behind county lines are complicated and the threat crosses police force boundaries.
Further measures outlined in the Serious Violence Strategy can be found on GOV.UK.