City praised for tackling gang and youth violence

By on 26/02/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

An in-depth Home Office report has commended the city for its work on tackling gang and youth violence delivered by Birmingham Community Safety Partnership and the sub-group, Birmingham Reducing Gang Violence.

Following the publication of the cross-government report 'Ending Gang and Youth Violence' in November 2011, the Home Office identified 29 areas across the country for specific support including Birmingham.

In addition to funding projects during 2012/13, the Home Office also undertook intensive visits to review how each of the 29 areas were approaching the problem of gang and youth violence.

The report highlighted many areas of activity acknowledging the city's strong commitment and its vision to reduce gang and youth violence and recognised that this commitment was acknowledged and valued by voluntary groups and community members active in this area. in particular the community engagement activity that many of the key partner agencies such as the police and city council are involved in was also praised.

The report also commended:

•    The Multi-Agency Gangs Unit (MAGU), a well-established multi-disciplinary team, ensures an operational approach to tackling gang violence and creates one route for referrals and assessment for young people and adults, providing support for those involved in or on the cusp of gang activity

•    Reducing gang violence as a cross-party issue with a clear set of priorities agreed by elected members and community safety partners alike resulting in the success of the wider partnership, evidenced by the reductions in violence, gun and knife crime over the last ten years. This includes strong links with neighbourhood policing teams, pupil referral units, Her Majesty's Prison Birmingham and Werrington Young Offender's Institute

•    Partnership activity in schools particularly the development of a network of schools and police panels which are problem solving meetings between the police, schools and partners on current issues affecting the school community in an area. The use of the Schools Help and Reporting Page (SHARP) which operates in secondary schools was also recognised and provides a confidential reporting mechanism for young people's use, across a raft of issues including those relating to gang and youth violence

•    The broad range of gender specific projects aimed at young women who are at risk of or are being exploited including a theatre production and workshop entitled 'She' and a mentor support programme

•    Recognising that quite often individuals involved in gang activity require support alongside their families and so, using the Family Common Assessment Framework, the whole family's needs are identified and addressed through wrap-around services

•    Housing injunctions are also identified as good practice in targeting gang related offending as these can bring control over the  behaviour of the wider family, not just a single individual

The report also picks up on areas of improvement recommended by the Home Office. The Partnership will seek to address these recommendations to further improve the city's work against tackling gangs further developing existing activity where appropriate or introducing new areas of work.

Some of these recommendations included strengthening and developing community and partner agency involvement including further links with the voluntary sector and key individuals as well as statutory groups. There was also a strong focus on developing the mapping of gang related activity by expanding the data sources used and mapping the involvement of women and girls.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member Green, Safe and Smart City, commented: “I'm very proud of the city's achievements in tackling gang and youth violence and praise the staff that have been involved in delivering this challenging area of activity. Working in partnership has no doubt been behind the success of Birmingham Reducing Gang Violence.”

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, Chair of both Birmingham Community Safety Partnership and its sub-group Birmingham Reducing Gang Violence, added: “Tackling gang and youth violence is a priority for the Partnership and through BRGV, we have achieved many successes. We continually use a wide range of methods to engage with the city's communities to understand what they think, and identify their priorities for how agencies work when tackling gang and youth violence. These views along with the recommendations from this report will help shape our activity for next year.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

1.    Please contact Natasha Bhandal, Public Reassurance & Communications Manager, Birmingham Community Safety Partnership on 0121 303 8727 for further enquries. Alternatively you can contact the West Midlands Police Press Office on 0121 626 5858 or Kris Kowalewski, Press & PR Manager, Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 3621

2.   Download a copy of Birmingham's Ending Gang & Youth Violence Peer Review Report

3.    In 2002/03 there were 722 incidents of gun crime recorded by the police in Birmingham. By last year (2011/12) this had been reduced by nearly 60% to 298 incidents. In 2002/03 there were 2,202 incidents of knife crime in Birmingham. By last year (2011/12) this had reduced by half to 1,111 incidents

4.    Birmingham Reducing Gang Violence is currently undertaking a consultation to understand the views of communities & neighbourhoods in tackling gang violence. An online survey is available via the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership website and can be accessed at www.birminghamcsp.org.uk/

This survey is available until the 7th March 2013 and is part of a range of planned public consultation processes that will be reported back to the BRGV Executive Board

5.    Birmingham Community Safety Partnership is a joint partnership between Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and other agencies that work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that affects our communities.

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