03/05/2007

Call for 'gang' children to be placed on register

Children at risk of joining gangs should be placed on the child protection register, according to the Metropolitan Chief Commissioner.

Sir Ian Blair said that children with a family member in a gang should be considered as "vulnerable".

The Chief Commissioner's comments followed a report identifying at least 171 street gangs in London alone.

Sir Ian said the solution to the problems of youth violence was "far wider than policing" and that there was a need to "think outside the box".

Sir Ian described the response of the Metropolitan Police and other forces as "extremely robust around youth violence" but he wanted to see further consideration of how to stop children "drifting" into street gangs.

He said: "One of the ideas I have asked to be explored is that where an older sibling is clearly involved in gang activity, the right way forward is that there should be a child protection approach for any younger sibling who is clearly at risk of moving into a lifestyle which is extremely dangerous to that child."

However, while some childrens groups have criticised the comments claiming that the young people attracted to join gangs were often victims and should not be threatened with being placed in care, others have welcomed them as constructive.

(SP/JM)

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