Policy paper

Enfield gangs action group - Tilley 2011

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Main project objectives Understand the local situation and identify gang members (analysis) Work with partners to create intelligence …



Main project objectives

  • Understand the local situation and identify gang members (analysis)
  • Work with partners to create intelligence profiles (information sharing)
  • Manage and monitor nominal and vulnerable locations (working group)

Within this strategy were the following aims:

  • Increase understanding among local practitioners
  • Improve and encourage information sharing
  • Reduce the incidence of violence exchanges between rival gang members

Central to this strategy were a Dispersal Zone, environmental changes and youth engagement/diversion. 

Organisation name:  London Borough of Enfield, Greater London
Part of a wider programme:  Tilley
Partnership agencies contributing to this project:

  • Safer & Stronger Communities Board (Local Community Safety Partnership)
  • Metropolitan Police (Enfield Borough)
  • Youth Offending Service
  • London Probation (Enfield)
  • Youth Services (Enfield)
  • Local Education Authority (Enfield)
  • UK Borders Association
  • Housing Providers
  • Tax Benefit Office (Social Security)
  • Social Care and Children’s Services

Areas addressed by project:

  • Gang Activity
  • Violent Crime (Murder, GBH, ABH)
  • Robbery
  • Sexual Offences (Rape)
  • Offensive Weapons (Guns Crime, Knife Crime)
  • Drugs (Supply and Possession)
  • Antisocial Behaviour

Did the project involve an offender?  Yes
Sex of Offender:  Both
Type of Offender:  Armed (knives), Prolific and Persistent Offender, Drug Abuser
Age of Offender:  13 - 20
Did the project involve a victim?  Yes
Age of the victim?   Various ages
Sex of the victim?  Both
Type of victim:  Other (gang members)
Region where project took place:  Greater London
Type of area that project took place within:  Urban
Start and end date:  Project started Sept 2009 and is ongoing
Financial costs of project:  £10,000
Resource costs of the project:  Officer time
Source of budget for project:  Partnership Funding


A spate of several youth murders occurred in Enfield in 2008, three of which were deemed gang-related. The area received widespread media attention referring to Edmonton as ‘Shanktown town’ or ‘knife town’ highlighting gang problems. Also appeared in BBC documentary called ‘Guns and Knives on the Street’

There was an increase in the number of knife crime following the murders and several youth gang members were injured by gunshot from a Mac-10 submachine gun in a dispute with rivals from neighbouring Haringey. There was real concern that incidents and reprisals could lead to another youth murder.

Scanning included:

  • Media reports
  • Annual Strategic Assessment consultation with the public showed fear within the local community - 50% of residents selecting weapon and gang crime as a local priority.
  • Serious Youth Violence incidence data showed Enfield had the 5th highest figure of all 32 London Boroughs
  • 12% increase in youth violence in 2009
  • Crime and Intelligence reports; and crime information
  • 198 gangs flagged offences in Enfield 


Analysis showed that:

  • Early enforcement did not eradicate groups and instead paved the way for the younger generation
  • Criminality levels varied amongst gang members - not all members commit crime but nonetheless are at equal risk of serious violence
  • Two rival gangs were responsible for 72% of all violent incidents and stabbings. By 2010/11 violent incidents involving these two gangs accounted for 90% of all gang flagged violence - with 75% occurring in the main gang hang-out areas of Edmonton Green and Hertford Road shops
  • Approximately 130 individuals were identified as belonging to, or frequently associated with the two gangs
  • Difficulty in disaggregating individual offences and those carried out collectively
  • Gang members were both victims and offenders
  • High Risk locations, gang hangout areas, were the setting for a disproportionate amount of violence
  • Intelligence reports revealed that youths were concealing weapons at various points within these locations for use in robberies and violent incidents targeting rivals


A Gangs Action Group (GAG) was developed as a response to address the potential for serous harm between rival groups. Rather than target gangs, the project chose to look at individuals within these groups and decide on a case by case basis the most suitable response in relation to their level of activity and involvement. Actions taken to address the problem included:

  • Increasing understanding of local gangs issues i.e. rivals, alliances, gang identifiers; amongst all practitioners using a number of events, eg. cross-borough symposium, training seminars for practitioners and partners
  • Creation of detailed intelligence profiles on gang members, incorporating information from all partners i.e property tenure, benefit information, cohabitants, rent arrears, council tax details, bail conditions, etc.
  • Monitoring all members of the two rival gangs and creating an action plan tailored to the needs of the individuals - individual level of involvement, criminal activity and identified risks. This relied on a mix of prevention (younger siblings of identified gang members), intervention (towards peripherals and less criminal members, and enforcement (targeted at ringleaders and prolific gang offenders)
  • Visiting peripheral members and their parents and referrals to appropriate agencies/partners
  • Suppression and enforcement action to deal with the most criminally active gang members, eg. ASBOs, injunctions, sentencing
  • Weekly weapon sweeps conducted, dispersal zones (active for 6 months) in both areas to prevent gathering in numbers.
  • High-visibility police patrols to the hotspots areas, deployable CCTV cameras fitted in two main shops where gang members loitered

Evaluation Details: 

Pre and post crime statistics were analysed and compared


The combination of activities led to some notable decreases in crimes associated with local gangs in Edmonton and the EN3 postal district.  Whilst serious crime of GBH, knife crime and robbery reduced there were increases in drug offences.  Comparing intelligence reports and youth knife injuries:

  • Of the offences committed by top 15 nominals -  4 were not suspected or convicted of any offences in 2010
  • Average offending levels reduced from 3 to 1.7
  • GBH offences reduced by 44% within the main gang hotspots, knife crime by 16%
  • Within the key gang area of Edmonton Green these reductions were even greater at 68% and 35% respectively
  • Challenges included dealing with a high proportion of NFA offences, supporting victims and challenging the ‘no snitching’ culture

There is no proven method of eradicating the problem of gangs, however, there is a strong correlation between increasing intelligence and monitoring with declines in serious violence in Enfield.

Other Benefits: 

  • Improved inter-borough information sharing links
  • Wider understanding of gang issues across partnership
  • Offending timelines being used in court cases to support positive sentencing outcomes
  • Financial savings to public purse e.g. through tackling housing benefit fraud

Most important lessons:

  • It is essential to ensure that a robust information sharing protocol is in place and that all partner agencies involved in a project such as the Gangs Action Group fully commit to it.  Developing offender profiles that are sharable between agencies is valuable in terms of tackling offenders and ensuring that information and work is not duplicated or missed
  • Community groups can play an important role in improving engagement with at-risk young people and their families.  As an example, the Central African Youth in Enfield (CAYE) group has been utilised to deliver parenting advice to carers of young gang members

Things to do differently:

  • Expand membership of Gangs Action Group panel to include a wider range of third sector organisations
  • Ensure a lead agency is assigned to each individual from the beginning.  This agency must take responsibility for ensuring that all actions relating to the individual are fully completed and for feeding back on the outcome of these
  • Ensure funding is available to support exit strategies for gang members e.g. proactive such as college courses and reactive such as legal action

Contact Name:  Sandeep Broca
Email Address:  Sandeep.broca@enfield.gov.uk

This evaluation shows the findings of one of many successful approaches to reducing gang and serious violence. 

By promoting this material on the Effective Practice Publications area of the Home Office website we are not implying that this is the only effective approach to reducing gang and serious violence, we are merely suggesting that this is one approach that appears to yield successful outcomes.


Date: Fri Mar 09 12:16:21 GMT 2012

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