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.
Ending gang violence
The Home Office, along with other government departments, is working to reduce gang and youth violence in England and Wales.
- 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.
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.
June 2014 saw the release of the community engagement report, which highlights the basic principles of successful community engagement and provides useful case studies of local approaches.
In August 2014 the NSPCC launched a new service through their free 24-hour helpline (0808 800 5000). Funded and supported by the Home Office, the helpline is for parents, carers or any other adult worried about a child or young person at risk from gang-related activity, including those who may be at risk of being targeted by gang members. Support materials have been developed with the NSPCC.
Young people in gangs have often been exposed to damaging experiences. In January 2015:
the Early Intervention Foundation published advice for commissioning mentoring programmes. The advice sets out some simple, evidence based information for providers of local mentoring programmes for children and young people at risk of gang involvement.
Public Health England published a briefing note on the mental health needs of gang-affiliated young people for local partners, which sets out the links between mental health and gang involvement. This will help health services spot problems and provide support to young people at the right time.
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