Policy

Reducing knife, gun and gang crime

Issue

Too many young lives are blighted by violent crime. Gang members carry out half of all shootings in the capital and 22% of all serious violence.

We want to reduce gang-related crime and stop young people becoming involved in violence. We are committed to making our communities safer places for everyone.

Actions

Ending gang violence

The Home Office, along with other government departments, is working to reduce gang and youth violence in England and Wales.

We have:

  • introduced new offences of threatening with a knife in a public place or school, which will help improve prosecution rates
  • dedicated £1.2 million to fund 13 support workers for girls vulnerable to, or suffering from, gang-related sexual violence
  • made gang injunctions for under 18-year-olds available to the police and local authorities
  • introduced changes to firearms legislation in the new Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill currently going through Parliament. We are creating an offence of possessing illegal firearms for sale or transfer, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, and increasing the maximum penalty for manufacture, importation and exportation of illegal firearms

In November 2012, we held a national gang conference and released a follow-up report to Ending Gang and Youth Violence.

The report sets out how the government will support people working locally to stop gang violence. Help is available in a number of areas including health, education, Jobcentre Plus, community safety teams and criminal justice partners.

Communities against guns, gangs and knives fund

The Communities against Guns, Gangs and Knives programme and fund was launched in 2011, and continued until March 2013. The funding was broken down as follows:

  • £3.75 million to London,Greater Manchester and the West Midlands - these areas see more than half the country’s knife and gang crime
  • £4 million to 200 voluntary organisations across England and Wales who are working to stop young people becoming involved in gangs, or to leave gangs

A full list of the projects funded is available.

In November 2012, we gave an additional £500,000 for use in the 2012 to 2013 financial year. A list of those projects is available and includes the amounts awarded.

Background

Ending gang and youth violence: a cross-government report

Following the disorder in August 2011 across cities in England, the Prime Minister asked the Home Secretary to lead a review, alongside the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, into the growing problem of gangs and gang violence.

Ending gang and youth violence: cross-government report, published in November 2011, set out detailed plans for a programme to:

  • provide support to local areas to fight the problem
  • prevent young people from becoming involved in violence in the first place - with a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention
  • offer ways out of violence and gang culture for young people who want to break with the lifestyle

In December 2013, the Ending gang and youth violence: annual report 2013 was published, along with the Ending gang and youth violence: review 2012 to 2013, which provided an overview of progress for the period of the programme.

Brooke Kinsella’s report

In June 2010 the Home Secretary asked Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben was murdered in 2008, to investigate knife crime. She looked at schemes running in local communities that are working to stop young people from committing violence, including violence using weapons.

Ms Kinsella published her report, Tackling knife crime together - a review of local anti-knife crime projects in February 2011. The report made a number of recommendations including:

  • anti-knife crime presentations for school children
  • more data sharing between police, schools and other agencies on local issues
  • a best practice website for local organisations
  • more work with young children to stop them getting involved in knife crime

Further information

We’ve produced a gangs leaflet that helps parents identify and respond if their children are affected by gangs, and guidance for schools and colleges affected by gang or youth violence.

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