More than 30,000 children are believed to be in gangs in the UK, as the number of 10- to 15-year-olds being treated for stab wounds has increased by two thirds since 2013.
According to research to be released in full in July, over 70,000 young people define themselves as being in a gang, 32,500 of those are aged 10 to 15, reports The Times.
“It’s not just in London, Liverpool or Manchester, for the first time last year every one of the police forces, all 43, said they had seen an increase in gangs and the county lines delivering drugs across the country. Children are being drawn in from all over the place. The vast majority are boys,” Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, has said.
The figures were arrived at based on the 2013-14 Crime Survey of England and Wales, which saw 0.9 percent of 10- to 15-year-olds and 0.7 percent of 16- 24-year-olds say that they were part of a criminal gang, the figures approximated for current population.
However of the 70,000 under 25s self-reporting as being gang members, London’s Metropolitan Police has only some 4,000 listed on their gang matrix database.
London Gangs More Organised, Driven by Drug Profits, Expanding Criminal Franchises, Report Finds https://t.co/kVd2yREQMc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 6, 2018
Ms. Longfield looked to blame, in part, school suspensions and expulsions for the rise in youth crime and that criminals are preying on young people by “taking the place of society”.
However, Police Constable Gary Collins, who has been working to bring down criminal gangs for more than ten years, says that there is the element of criminality passing down along generations, and originating from unstable home environments with absent or neglective parents.
“I often recognise the surname of the boys we work with — their mum used to be a prostitute or a Class A drug user,” PC Collins told The Times.
“When you go around to their houses you can see why they’re out on the streets rather than at home. The gangs pick them up because they’re vulnerable. They look for the ones they can brainwash. The boys see the gang as their extended family. They get a sense of belonging that they don’t get at home.”
Breitbart London reported in June that youth gang violence is set to see an “unprecedented rise” over the summer months as children will be largely unsupervised once school is out.
Teen Killed at Birthday Party Youngest Stabbing Fatality in London This Year https://t.co/pKyHtm3wot
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 25, 2018
Backing the findings of a report published in June conducted by London South Bank University on London gangs, Longfield found that criminal gangs were grooming young teens to transport drugs out of London to neighbouring counties, along what is known in the drug trade as “county lines”.
The research found that gangs are using girls as drug mules to transport product along these county lines because they are lower profile and to take advantage of the fact that there are fewer female police officers who can search them, with some girls as young as 12 years old. And like the London South Bank findings, these girls are “often sexually abused” by these gangs.
One 10-year-old young drug runner, identified as “Jonathan”, had failed to deliver a backpack full of drugs to a county line town, and fearing reprisals tried to hang himself with his school tie. He was found in time by an off-duty police officer.
In London under Labour’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, youth homicide has increased by 70 per cent and serious youth violence is up by 19 per cent from 2015/16 to 2016/17, with the city seeing its youngest knife crime fatality over the weekend after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death outside of a birthday party in Romford.