It seems that the problem of gangs is not disappearing for now. There also appears to be an increase in Islamic radicalisation and right wing extremism. These problems can often overlap, but what is concerning is that they can also be overlooked.
As professionals, it is easier for us to consistently place people and problems under ‘boxes and labels’. However, if the truth be told, some problems can be bigger than the box we’ve created, shared in boxes, placed in the wrong box or even be in the correct box but have the wrong label.
Let’s look at gangs. If we are to address the problem of Urban Street Gangs (USGs) and the societal problems they create or add to, we must also consider and dissect some of their behaviours.
If an individual, whether male or female, stabs or shoots someone because of difference of opinion, financial benefit or defence, their behaviour is not an accepted norm in the UK. To most people, this type of behaviour is in itself ‘radical’. For this blog, I will call it ‘social-economic radicalisation’.
Much of USG behaviours are driven by environment and money. This can often be seen in the areas they are found in and by their trade (often drugs) and trappings (flash cars, expensive jewellery and designer clothing). However, there is a section of this group who are, for a variety of reasons, unable to attain or reach the ‘financial heights’ of some of their peers. This group, although currently smaller in numbers, consists of those who are more readily susceptible to be transitioned over to what I would describe as ‘ideological radicalisation’.
This is the radicalisation that the media addresses in terms of Islam and that many local authorities have acknowledged in terms of right wing groups (EDL, Britain First etc.).
Sanctuary Training’s Gang Awareness course addresses these issues. We look at how this phenomenon for the larger part has escaped the attention of many services. This important training will be of value to individuals working right across the criminal justice system, regardless of the capacity. The numbers of young people dying due to this radical behaviour is on the increase. Meanwhile, distraught and traumatised parents, partners, children and loved ones are left behind – and also left vulnerable to the evils of social-economic and ideological radicalisation.
Book a place on my course to further your understanding in tackling gang culture. #letsdothisright
About the author
Bobby Martin is a Community Engagement & Gang Intervention Advisor. He has been directly and strategically involved in addressing the root causes of gang violence and assisting authorities in having a better understanding of gang culture. This has included advising the Home Office on its 2011 Ending Gang & Youth Violence Strategy.
As a care leaver who travelled through the criminal justice system himself, Bobby is inspired by his experiences to help both service users and service providers.