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Antisocial Behaviour

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to make membership of a gang (a) a factor in relation to sentencing and (b) an offence. (135942)

(2) To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2007 to the hon. Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott), Official Report, column 1224, on knife crimes, when he will publish his plans on whether or not to make membership of a gangan aggravating factor in sentencing.

The Sentencing Guidelines Council document “Overarching Principles: Seriousness”, published in December 2004, sets out the factors affecting sentencing, and includes groups or gangs as an aggravating factor. Section 1.22 (“Factors indicating higher culpability”) includes “Offenders operating in groups or gangs”. We are now considering whether this is sufficient, or whether it should be extended to cover all offences where the offender is a member of a gang, irrespective of whether the offence was committed with other members of the group or gang, or whether a new offence is needed.

This issue was considered by a working group drawn from the Home Secretary's Round Table on Guns, Gangs and Knives on 18 May, which will report back to the next Round Table meeting, due to be held on 26 June.