Gang activities of 52 under close scrutiny in Havering

Havering Council's is looking at ways to tackle a �7m overspend

Havering Council's is looking at ways to tackle a �7m overspend - Credit: Archant

There are 52 people, as young as 12-years-old, being monitored under suspicion of gang involvement.

Of the 52, 20 have been reported by Havering Council to the Met Police’s Trident Gang Matrix, a list of gang members across London.

Diane Egan, the council’s crime and disorder reduction manager, said: “Havering is not a gang borough and we haven’t got a gang problem. We are moving on a preventive position.”

She explained the gang activity being linked to Havering was the result of a police crackdown on gangs in London after the 2011 riots, pushing their activities to the outer boroughs and home counties.

In Autumn last year, Havering Council lobbied the Home Office to be included in the Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme and received £96,000 in March to prevent and tackle gang activities.

From April 2014 to April 2015, Havering had the fourth highest increase of serious youth violence across London with a 30.6 per cent rise of the number of victims from 108 to 141, a meeting of the Crime and Disorder Sub-Committee meeting heard last week.

The borough also had the fifth highest increase in the number of knife crimes, raising 35.4 per cent from 48 victims to 65 victims and the tenth highest increase in the number of firearms discharges with 11 incidents reported in the last year.

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Mrs Egan said weapon sweeps take place in the borough’s parks and around its transport links.

The Home Office defines a “gang” as “a predominantly street-based group of young people, who are visible, have some form of structural feature and engage in criminal activity and violence.”

The £96,000 Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) funding has enabled the council to set-up a series of preventative schemes, including one-to-one monitoring sessions for gang activities and sexual exploitation, prevention in schools and the set-up of 10 safe haven sites across the borough’s town centres.