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Organised Crime

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to dissuade individuals from joining gangs. (246745)

In September 2007, the Home Secretary set up the Tackling Gangs Action Programme to focus renewed action in neighbourhoods in Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Manchester where guns and gangs have caused serious harm. The initial £1.5 million programme ran for six months to March 2008 but the work is ongoing.

This targeted approach delivered rapid results—a 51 per cent. reduction in firearms-related injuries across the four cities in six months. Recent quarterly statistics show that firearms offences continue to fall, with a reduction of 22 per cent. in April to June 2008 compared with the same period in the previous year.

A further £1 million of funds has been allocated to build on enforcement work, community reassurance and third sector delivery of support in the four TGAP areas. A practical guide was published in May to local partners highlighting examples of good practice on gang prevention. In September, we launched a gangs guide to parents to help prevent their children becoming involved in gangs and due to demand, a further 250,000 are being made available. More recently, £4.5 million of additional funding over the period 2009-12 was announced for local community groups in targeted areas. The new fund will provide grants for intensive work with young people most at risk of gun, gang or knife crime through mentoring and outreach work.