Gangs, Criminal Exploitation and Serious Youth Violence

Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham have a tri-borough Integrated Gangs and Exploitation Unit which provides access to police intelligence, mappings, experienced gangs workers and regular multi agency attendance at strategy and professional meetings.  The boroughs point to more effective planning for young people, which is more responsive, providing a better understanding of risk, wider options for safety plans, and access to London Gang Exit Scheme. The gangs unit sits within a wider public health approach to violence which shapes delivery across the bi-borough children’s partnerships.

Hackney describes its Integrated Gangs Unit (IGU) as having “contributed massively to the understanding of the gang problem in Hackney and empowered other Council units in the process”. The effectiveness of the work relies upon the Outreach Team’s trust and knowledge of the community gained over the past four years. Hackney is delivering the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP). This bystander-based programme challenges inappropriate language and behaviours. It has been successfully introduced into schools in Scotland by the Violence Reduction Unit.

Lambeth has a well-developed partnership-wide strategy for reducing youth violence through a public health approach. The multi-agency partnership leading the development of the serious youth violence strategy is committed to understanding the lived experience of young people and that of communities, making community engagement an overarching priority. The strategy has five key workstreams: Disrupt and deter; Safe environments and public spaces; Response and support; Families and early help; Education and training.

Croydon (as described above) has re-shaped its adolescent services in response to the acute adolescent safeguarding threats particularly those associated with gangs and vulnerability to serious youth violence.

Camden’s use of partnership data provides a strong platform to understand the local CCE profile to support those at risk and disrupt perpetrators.

Innovative Interventions

Ealing has a number of externally funded projects which are being evaluated. It has developed a Trusted Spaces Team providing youth outreach work across the borough, one to one sessions, and work in 5 schools. There is also a 24hr phone number that young people can ring for advice and support. In addition Ealing is also pursuing the Mentors in Violence Programme.

Lambeth has used investment from the Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund to develop a multi-agency early help offer with St Giles, Chance UK and Lambeth MPS to provide diversionary activities and targeted support for young people who are arrested, as well children at risk of exclusion and young people living in families where offending and anti-social behaviour has been identified.

City of London identified specific un-addressed needs in its unaccompanied asylum seeking children population and as a result provides virtual school support for UASC involving City of London School - including in-house tuition and a 9 week enrichment programme. Staff and students from CoL volunteer to support the UASC work.

Camden’s social work service is delivering an Innovation funded project Right Balance which is designed to test a preventative approach to work with 10 to 13 year old children in need to prevent problems escalating in the teenage years.

Hounslow successfully bid to the Home Office Trusted Relationships Fund to create an innovative service known as the PEACE (Protecting and Empowering Against Child Exploitation). The project is working with adolescents to tackle exploitation based on contextual safeguarding and systemic family therapy models and is supported by the Contextual Safeguarding Network at Bedfordshire University which includes the presence of a dedicated practice advisor in the team.