On 12 February 2009, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) published a report (Dying to belong: an in-depth review of street gangs in Britain) which suggests that a coordinated new campaign combining targeted enforcement with intervention and prevention is needed to stem the surge of gang culture in Britain.
The report recommends that the police actively target gang leaders in line with schemes pioneered by US police and other agencies. It also argues that both local and national government have shown a lack or leadership and urgency in tackling the problem.
Drawing on projects that have produced significant reductions in gang-related deaths in Boston and other US cities, the report proposes that gang ringleaders should be given an ultimatum by police: either stop the violence and the relevant authorities will supply the necessary support or continue and the police will ensure that offending groups are brought to justice. This would involve sustained, daily attention with even minor infractions – such as driving offences – leading to prosecution.
Areas where gang crime is prevalent should be designated Gang Prevention Zones and made the focus of intensive efforts involving all agencies – including police and local authorities – to reverse gang culture. The report insists that a combination of police pressure and the work of other agencies in providing a way out for gang members is critical. It recommends that assistance from statutory and non-statutory agencies should include skills training, remedial education, drug rehabilitation and help finding work.