Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has welcomed a report published today that provides stark warnings about the number of young people involved in gangs and the response of statutory agencies across the country.
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, lead a study of the issue that looked at data from youth offending teams, safeguarding boards, the Crime Survey for England and Wales and policing, as well as learning from case reviews. She found that at least 313,000 young people know someone who is in a gang, with 34,000 either in or being drawn into gangs.
Anne has asked for better co-ordination of the response to this, proactive safeguarding, identification of children at risk and a response commensurate with the risk.
And in Kent, it highlighted that whilst there is a working estimate by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board of young people in gangs, there was no estimate of the number of their own siblings they impact or influence.
Matthew said “Tackling exploitation and gangs are both identified as priorities in my Police and Crime Plan, Safer In Kent, and whilst we do live in a safe county, the Chief Constable is ensuring that Kent Police is in a better position to respond to these challenges using extra resources to create dedicated action teams.
“I’m funding preventative work through local schools to raise awareness of these issues and prevent people from getting involved in criminality and caseworkers to extract people from gangs.
“My Violence Reduction Challenge will also make recommendations soon about extra help to steer young people away from crime and how local agencies can better work together to help keep people safe.”