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Redbridge Council admits borough officially has a gang problem

PUBLISHED: 17:08 20 March 2019

More than 50 knives were handed in after a man was stabbed to death outside Ilford station. Photo: @MPSRedbridge

More than 50 knives were handed in after a man was stabbed to death outside Ilford station. Photo: @MPSRedbridge

Archant

For the first time, Redbridge Council has said the borough has a gang problem.

Speaking at an external scrutiny committee, the local authority’s crime partnership manager John Richards said the council is aware of the problem and is taking a “public health approach” to tackle it.

“Redbridge has been on a journey,” he said.

“You go back a few years and we said we didn’t have a gang problem but we do have an issue around gangs.

“We are following the Glasgow approach which is not just about enforcement but a social health approach which looks at how people get into gangs.”

Mr Richards said a lot of work has been undertaken about routes into crime and children are far more likely to become a member if they have one or all three of the “toxic trio” criteria of domestic violence, substance misuse or mental health problem at home.

“We are bringing in ex-gang members with a chequered history, who can engage very positively (with young people) in activities,” he added.

“They will be brought in to Hainault and probably somewhere in Ilford.

“They can just turn up and take part in things like boxing,

“If you grow up sleeping in the floor of a one bedroom flat with no aspirations, what are you going to do when someone offers you a couple of hundred to sell [drugs]?

“A ton of work is going on and it is not just about the police, but holistic work for society to change.”

Police representatives at the meeting confirmed that the Met were setting up a multi-agency reducing violence taskforce.

As well as reviewing strategies and arrangements for reducing violence within gangs they are creating an action plan to reduce knife crime.

“We are analysing data to disrupt activities and conducting test purchases, working with retailers and conducting knife sweeps to keep weapons off of the streets,” he said.

“We are also protecting and educating young people by working in schools and sending out a letter to knife crime victims, advising them of sanctions if they are found carrying for self-protection.”

Young people who are victims of knife crime will also be referred to NHS Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

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