Revealed: 200 violent crimes committed by gang members in Barking and Dagenham since 2011
- Credit: Archant
Nearly 200 violent crimes – including murder, sexual assault, kidnap and robbery – were committed by gang members in Barking and Dagenham over the last three years, the Post can reveal.
Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also show the youngest gang member convicted of an offence in the borough in that time was just 11.
Fourteen violent crimes were committed by gang members in September 2011 – the highest number in a single month during the last three years – including assaulting a police officer, possessing a knife, occasioning grievous bodily harm with a weapon and intimidating a witness.
But the number appears to be falling, with 38 recorded in the whole of the 2013/4 financial year.
A council spokesman said 200 council officers were trained in identifying and working with gang members, and pointed to a “significant” drop in robberies and gun and knife crime in the last three years.
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“This is a reflection of the amount of work we’ve put in,” he said. “We’ve prioritised gangs and gang violence in the community safety partnership.
“We also have a gangs reduction strategy, and the police have allocated a number of their officers to work solely on gang issues.
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“Priority offenders are identified and targeted and a significant number are either in custody or subject to judicial restrictions.”
He added the youth offending service paid for “at least six different voluntary sector agencies to work with gang members” and had commissioned work in schools, support for parents, theatre pieces and help for girls being exploited by gangs.
Because of the way the data are presented it isn’t possible to tell which specific crime the 11-year-old – now 14 – was involved in. But we can say it was between one and four counts of assaulting a police officer, possessing a knife and/or robbery.
The council acknowledged the closure of the Baseline youth club but pointed to youth centres The Vibe, Gascoigne – next to where Baseline used to be – and Sue Bramley.
The spokesman added that a mobile “youth bus” visited five places in the borough every week.
Barking and Dagenham Police had not responded to requests for comment by the time the Post went to press.