Gang Problem v Youth Initiatives

The question of whether we (the UK) have a gang problem has led to exceptional levels of Gang Talk. Gang Talkers have pointed to inner city areas such as London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, describing these groups as misunderstood, bored youngsters.

But is this really the case? Could the cause of their behaviour not stem from other factors and unaddressed social issues?

 A recent article published by the Telegraph entitled ‘Violent inner-city crime, the figures, and a question of race’  26 Jun 2010 highlighted facts suggested by official reports. One of which was that the majority of men held responsible by police for gun crimes, robberies and street crimes are black.  Further to this, black men are also disproportionately the victims of crime in the capital and vastly over represented in the prison system. Moving away from the issue of race, a United Nations report found that England and Wales generally has one of the worst crime rates among developed nations for rapes, burglaries and robberies.

 It is important to consider the various factors that contribute to the formation of young criminal groups such as gangs. For example the lack of meaningful activities, the lack of safety and the lack of jobs; which cause young people to turn to illegimate means in order to survive.

 So what should be done about this? Initiatives have been put in place to help keep young people of the streets but they are just not enough. If they are to be effective, they need to appear in numbers, that they may be able to affect the numbers of young people at risk of becoming associated with gang related activity. There needs to be an increase in the amount of facilities available to help, support and nurture these young people.

 Every Child Matters, a new approach to the well being of children and young people set out by the government aims for every child to, be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well- being. These are the aspects that these youth centres should focus on. What should we do then to create more of an environment for more initiatives?

© Hannah Richard-Tella 2010

  1. #1 by Marlene Palmer on August 22, 2010 - 1:28 pm

    Many of these young people are misguided lack discipline and have little if any motivation the dilemma that is facing many black males in the UK is also the same issues that are facing many black males in the US I don’t think that this a coincidence.

    The educational system has done little to make them feel inclusive. There is also the issue of lack of self knowledge which is very important in giving black youth a sense of identity. When you add to that the breakdown of the family with many having little or no contact with their fathers or any positive role models it is a recipe for disaster we need to do a better job trying to reach those who are crying out for help.

  2. #2 by sylbourne on August 22, 2010 - 3:14 pm

    Why are they misguided and lacking discipline? Why are they not motivated ? We dont even have to answer that but instead just to know place ourself in a position to motivate and discipline instead…be the change we want to see…

  3. #3 by Hannah on September 4, 2010 - 12:58 pm

    Maylene, I agree with you but at the same time as well as noting that these young people are excluded amongst many other issues. We should act in order to ensure that this does not continue and as Sylbourne said, ‘Be the change we want to see’ and answer their cry for help.

  4. #4 by sylbourne on September 4, 2010 - 1:47 pm

    @ Gerard the individual initiatives targeted right could place a dent in the problems and create resolutions in some respect. With the advent of the Big Society which is another vehicle it does if taken in the right spirit also should give… Youths a Voice as i believe that is what they want and crying out for but at the same time they need encouraging and inspiring leadership.

    It will be a challenge with the disrespectful and irresponsible behaviours as set out but that is the challenge that we must face.

    Therefore one of the way forward will be for communities taking responsibilities for their youths and also arming ourselves with key principles.See More

  5. #5 by gerard on September 4, 2010 - 4:25 pm

    Sylbourne,Its all very well giving youth a voice but until they have experience of life and the responsibilities that it entails then they can only indicate how they would like it to be or expect.Unfortunately we would all like to do that but life is not Utopia. The respect for others and the responsibilities that go with good citizenship have to be instilled first.This means a change in the way society and governments react .Parents should be given back full responsibility for their childrens discipline.Schools should once again be able to act ‘in loco parentis’ without fear of reprisal.As a last resort corporal punishment should also be restored.This will have the Human Rights lobby up in arms but discipline must be enforced if all else fails. Then there are the moral values that must be restored, the lack of which are probably at the root of the problem.But that is another issue.

  6. #6 by gerard on September 4, 2010 - 4:42 pm

    Here are some initiatives that could be started.
    At the early school level uniforms should be compulsory in all schools.Parents and pupils can face real pressure, financial and otherwise, with regards to fashion.That pressure should be taken away.There should be more emphasis on physical education and competitive sport.Its is character building and the winning give them a purpose.It is not only about taking part and losing does not damage a child for life. Life is like that.Children must learn that nothing comes easy.Everything must be worked for. Parents should face some sort of penalty if there child misbehaves in school consistently. Teachers should be allowed to discipline children, within reason without fear of reprisal. Less emphasis on academic subjects and ability to learn trades for those children who simply cannot achieve university standard.You don’t need a degree to be a plumber, motor mechanic, painter, dustman,bricklayer and a thousand other jobs.Give them skills they can use.
    Promote groups like the scouts , guides and cadet forces in schools. These organisations turn out responsible and respectful individuals.
    Morality?That is a bigger issue, however, if children’s, and I mean young and older, energies are transferred to other activities it may just follow that morals may also improve.
    Society also has a role to play.
    The police should be more ‘feet on the beat’.Get them out of the cars and into the communities.Bring back police housing within communities.Make them part of the community they patrol.
    I could go on ,but I will let someone else have a say.

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