Met chief wants child protection for gang-risk kids

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Sir Ian Blair, commissioner of the Metropolitan police, has suggested child protection as an option for those at risk of joining a gang through older sibling pressure.

Gang violence has hit the headlines this year and seven teenagers have been murdered in London due to gang violence.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sir Ian said solutions to the ongoing problems lie further than simply implementing tough policing.

"There is a need to think outside the box," he said. "While the response of the Metropolitan police and other forces will be extremely robust around youth violence when it is committed, we should also be thinking about how to stop children drifting into these gangs."

The possibility of taking children at risk of joining a gang, usually due to pressure from older siblings, into care is a matter that Sir Ian has requested be looked into.

"One of the ideas I have asked to be explored is that where an older sibling is clearly involved in gang activity the right way forward is that there should be a child protection approach for any younger sibling who is clearly at risk of moving into a lifestyle which is extremely dangerous to that child," he told the paper.

Sir Ian's comments come prior to the publication of a report from the Met analysing London's gangs and revealing possible motivations and patterns.

According to the report, which will be presented by the Metropolitan Police Authority today, there is an increase in the number of young people who have experienced post-traumatic stress and violent situations before entering the UK who are then having a negative impact on their peer groups.

The Met believes there are 171 gangs in the capital, including three teenage girl gangs. The report will build on Sir Ian's comments and call for early intervention to protect vulnerable children from entering gangs.

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