Violence amongst 10-19 year olds in Hackney declines slightly

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash in Basildon

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash in Basildon - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Gang and youth violence in Hackney has declined slightly since the 2011 summer riots according to figures published today by the London Probation Trust.

While there were 49 instances of wounding and 27 of grievous bodily harm committed by 10-19 year olds in the borough in 2010-11, figures went down to 42 and 20 respectively during the same period last year.

One initiative helping change behaviours in Hackney is EXIT, the Trust’s intensive alternative to custody programme for young offenders linked to gangs.

Instead of jail, young gang offenders undertake unpaid work in the community, receive mentoring support and undergo training and employment programmes.

The idea is to help youths leave gangs, and also to make sure that those identified as at risk of homelessness or mental health problems are not sucked into gangs or offending behaviour.

Also piloted in Croydon, Greenwich and Lewisham, the initiative is part of a £10 million Home Office campaign targeted at the areas most afflicted by gang culture.

One former gang member discovered a love of cooking thanks to EXIT, after working in a kitchen during the three years he was sentenced to spend in a young offenders’ institute.

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He said: “For me, it was a sense of belonging somewhere without being hit, I worked my way up to the top rank of general in my gang, I was chasing the life – the respect, the money and the girls.

“When I was released, my probation officer Deena helped me get a place at college to study catering.

“I’ll never forget that day, Deena and her colleague Dot were so excited - but this was for me – not something they were doing for themselves.

“Now I want to do that – to be an inspiration to other people.”

The Trust is currently working with around 1,350 gang members in London.