Responding to the government’s new anti-gangs strategy, Paul McDowell, chief executive of Nacro, said:
‘We welcome the government’s joined-up approach to tackling the problem of gang violence on our streets. The Home Office is right to prioritise early intervention work with young people who are at risk of committing gang-related crimes.
‘At Nacro we work with some of the most hard-to-reach young people in Britain, and we know that helping someone break their former gang associations takes much more than police action and longer sentences.
‘We need to ensure that there is a balance between enforcement and targeted youth crime prevention services.
‘It is right to say that this is not just a problem for the police. At the same time as directing police resources into tackling gangs where they exist, the new emphasis on locally-driven partnerships needs to continue supporting intensive anti-gang programmes, especially those that involve the voluntary sector. Take the work of the Guns and Gangs Project, funded by the Trafford Housing Trust and the Trafford Youth Offending Team in Manchester. Winners of the 2009 Philip Lawrence Awards, they demonstrate that involving young people directly in finding a community solution really can make a difference to tackling gang culture.’