Response to serious youth violence

Waltham Forest is taking a Public Health approach to tackling gangs via a new Violence Reduction Partnership, and is committing additional funding to the problem.

Ten years on from when gangs were engaged in postcode turf wars, new research confirms operational changes to organised enterprises with an emphasis on market share and making money. London-wide intelligence is detecting gangs working in alliance for the purpose of increasing returns. These changes also come with greater risks to children and young people. The report confirms that:

  • children and young people are being ruthlessly victimised: forced, coerced, trapped into becoming gang members and carrying out gang activities, forced labour and exploitation
  • 60% of gang members suffer with significant mental health concerns including high levels of anxiety and PTSD, and at least 33% have attempted suicide
  • girls and women are being used to carry and store drugs/weapons as they are more invisible. As a result, they're at ever-higher risks of violence and sexual exploitation
  • cuckooing and aggressive expansion via county lines operations are on the increase as they allow gangs to evade law enforcement detection; Likewise, many gangs operate off the grid
  • new market expansions via the darkweb increase access to other organised crime groups (OCGs) and terrorist organisations

Download the report commissioned by Waltham Forest and read more about the borough's pledge to tackle serious youth violence here.