Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Pretty Patterns

I remember going to meetings a few years back and if you dared mention the word gang it would be followed by sharp intakes of breath and challenges about racism. Apparently they did not exist in this country and I was racial stereotyping. Of course the reality was and is somewhat different and although we haven't quite reached USA levels, at least it (gangs) is allowed to be mentioned. This is because of the increase in drug related activity and the violence that comes with it. We should perhaps be more concerned about the younger elements involved in these gang structures as the levels of violence increase.

The increasing trend is the displaying of gang colours in the younger’s. Market forces are taking over and we're not talking about just Red and Blue. Black and even Brown are popular around my way and certain stalls are doing a roaring trade. I police a busy shopping centre where the youth like to strut their stuff. I've imposed a rule of no colours on display otherwise there would be trouble. Some of them are like little peacocks with their paisley patterned bandanna's hanging from their back pockets. In my day a handkerchief from your back pocket meant something totally different. I've run that line past them and they don't get it, but don't be fooled these are the big players of tomorrow.

I've had a few face to face run ins with some of them and the rules of engagement have been set. I think they appreciate the discipline deep down and haven't crossed the line in the sand, but for how long. It's a balancing act to maintain a nice vibe and ensure that everybody gets their due respect. Their criminal activity is youth robbery and juvenile violence amongst their age group. The usual pattern is for this to escalate up against adult victims before they become involved in drug dealing and more serious crime.

As they are children and coming to my notice this involves some writing for me. They are a risk to others and may themselves fall victim to another gang if a look is taken the wrong way. I was filling a report out the other day about one lad. There were a number of historic ones and I read them back to see his story. He was getting progressively worse in his offending despite having a supportive mother and being on diversion programmes from the youth offending team. What makes them turn this way?

I looked at the first ever report and it showed the lad himself was a victim of robbery committed by older youths. A couple of years later and he's doing exactly the same. I predict the future for him is not good. The help is there and being offered but with some you can tell it's just a waste of time. I don't do psychology but this would be an interesting case study don't you think?


Dandelion said...

Well, I do do psychology, and yes, good point. A bit of game theory wouldn't go amiss either in understanding this spread of excessive aggression.

Or one could use a biological determinist approach, and take the view that violence above a certain level is clearly symptomatic of pathalogical testosterone, and castrate them. If their balls were on the line, they'd soon shape up, I reckon.

Bertie Humbug's Ranto-O-Matic said...

OK so the establishment don't want you to racially stereotype. Well I'm sorry but in the majority of cases of fatal knife crimes there's a black or mixed race individual involved.

So what are we supposed to make of that, for those of us that don't live in a left wing Guardian/BBC bubble. How can the race thing not come into it. Is it stupid to deny it? Probably yes. Am I going to be silent on this subject, certainly not.

I dont know the best way to go about dealing with these things from a Policing / Public Policy point of view, but the fact is race is a factor in a lot of the gang stuff and that's just a fact.

Maybe its a simple case of taking in immigrants from places in the world where they don't share basic decent values. Well thats obviously going to cause problems isnt it and sounds like another good reason to cease immigration altogether (fat chance with Labour dishing out 200k passports to their foreign future voters this year).

London's getting more violent and the kids seem to be behind it, and these ethnic kids are at the forefront of it.

You can't have arbitrary racial stereotyping, but you certainly do not have to have avoidance of reality either. Only, that's what seems to be happening like some kind of politically correct viral myopia.

Bertie Humbug's Ranto-O-Matic said...

[Empty comment to get any reply emailed to me]

Area Trace No Search said...

We have a gang problem as well.
For once, the intel weenies were right, as we all thought there wasn't one until it really started to kick off.

In the words of the inestimable H Simpson, "D'oh."

Stressed Out Cop said...

Dandelion - I find the girls are worst -- what for them?

Bertie - I didn't really class it as a race problem. Round my way the gangs are largely black because they live there.

Elsewhere the asians dress act and speak exactly the same. In places like Liverpool the gangs are white.

It's not a racial culture thing because none of them are from USA and much is based on the states gang culture. Many are 3rd generation immigrants and born here, I guess they just relate to the music and lifestyle.

What all the gangs have in common is a drive towards displaying power and striving for status in their peer groups. Somewhere along the road I think the race thing held back preventative measures so we are now behind the curve in tackling the problem.


I think the police are struggling to define differences between organised gangs / posse's / and crews some of which may not be involved in criminal activities.