New civil injunctions to prevent gang-related violence will come into effect next month Home Office Minister James Brokenshire announced today.
The ‘gang injunctions’ are designed to break down gang culture and prevent further incidents of gang-related violence by imposing certain prohibitions and requirements on the recipient. These could include:
- Not entering a certain geographical area
- Not being in public with a particular species of animal, for example a dog which had previously been used as a weapon
- Not wearing certain ‘gang colours’ in public
- Participating in positive activities such as entering a mentoring programme.
Minister for crime prevention James Brokenshire said: ‘Gangs cause significant and lasting harm to our communities through fuelling violence, creating an atmosphere of fear and drawing young people into criminality.
‘These new powers will help police and local authorities tackle local gang problems by placing tough conditions on the behaviour of individuals involved in gang-related violence and providing strong support to those who want to leave violent gangs.’
The police and local authorities will be able to apply for the injunctions which will be issued by a county court (or the High Court). The injunctions will last for up to two years and will be for adults who have been proven to have engaged in, encouraged or assisted gang-related violence.
ACPO lead on gangs Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said:’Gang-related violence causes huge fear and harm in our communities. The introduction of gang injunction provides police and local authorities with another option when considering how to best tackle gang issues.
‘ACPO would encourage officers involved in addressing gang violence to consider the use of injunctions alongside all the other tactical responses.’
The injunctions are one of a range of tools available for local partners to use to tackle gang-related violence. They differ from anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) as they target a higher level of criminality. There is no minimum term for a gang injunction, no criminal record for breach and positive requirements can be attached to the injunction. However, the Government is clear that those involved in gang-related violence should be prosecuted under criminal law if there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.
The government is committed to tackling serious youth violence including gang-related violence.
This year, the government has provided £4m to local partnerships to support their work in tackling serious violence committed by young people and against young people. The funding has supported enforcement work, the management of offenders, education and prevention work, and A&E data sharing.