03/02/2009

Scheme To Provide Help For Those Escaping Gang Crime

A new scheme to provide safe accommodation for people at serious risk of violence associated with gang or weapon crime will begin this month in Southwark.

Funded jointly by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Metropolitan police Southwark Council's new initiative 'SERVE' - Southwark Rehousing Victims of Violence Enterprise - will provide properties across London and the South East through an innovative agreement between the Council and a number of registered social landlords. If successful Communities Secretary Hazel Blears wants to see the model rolled out to other gang hot spots around England.

People using the SERVE scheme will be in danger for a variety of reasons - they may be at risk of violence or retribution from a gang because they are, or know, a victim or suspect of gang crime. A young person might be resisting the efforts of gang members to recruit them as a new member, resulting in threats to them and their family. Crucially, witnesses, and often some of their friends and family members, will be able to move to a safe place to enable them to testify in court.

SERVE will mean people who are in danger in and around their home can move into a safe property in a different area for up to 12 weeks. During their stay the Council and its partners will help them to plan their next steps and secure long term housing.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said: "The misery and intimidation inflicted by gangs can destroy the lives of individuals, families and whole communities. Young people either resisting pressure to join a gang or attempting to leave the gang may face threats to them and their family but these safe houses will provide refuge and respite for those in need."

(JM/BMcC)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 October 2011
London Gang Sweep Leads To 13 Arrests
Dawn raids by the Metropolitan Police have led to the arrest of 13 gang members in north London on Thursday morning. The raids involves some 200 police officers under Operation Connect - a dedicated unit set up to crack down on violence by street gangs.
08 February 2012
Met Lunches Major Gang Crackdown
Dozens of suspected gang members are being targeted today in a series of coordinated operations which marks the start of a major new crack down on gang crime by the Metropolitan Police Service.
26 October 2015
Knife Crime Initiative Launched
The Metropolitan Police Service has launched a week of activity to tackle knife crime in the Capital, following a successful campaign in the summer.
16 December 2010
New Powers To Tackle Gang Problems
Home Office Minister James Brokenshire has announced that new civil injunctions will come into effect next month to prevent gang-related violence. The 'gang injunctions' are designed to break down gang culture and prevent further incidents of gang-related violence by imposing certain prohibitions and requirements on the recipient.
21 August 2013
Recovered Gun Revealed As Murder Weapon
A gun recovered from a canal on Merseyside has been identified as the weapon used in an unsolved murder committed in Liverpool last December.