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Derbyshire Police: Police invite gang members to a call-in

September 24, 2012, 6:31 am

Police and partner agencies are working with 20 gang members to help them turn their backs on crime under a new scheme launched in the city.

As part of the Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme, Derbyshire police invited them to a gang ‘call-in to meet people whose lives have been affected by gangs, or who are involved with gangs professionally.

Crown Court Judge John Burgess, Derby Superintendent Gary Parkin, a trauma surgeon and a former gang member from London were among those who spoke to the group at a special event held in Derby earlier this month.

The attendees were then invited to sign an agreement not to be involved in crime or anti-social behaviour, with the support of the force and other organisations.

Gang call-ins were pioneered in America and have been used in Glasgow and London. This is the first time such an event has been held in Derby.

It was organised following the Governments Ending Gang and Youth Violence report, published last year to set out how gang and youth violence would be tackled in the future.

The strategy involves supporting local areas to deal with gangs, preventing youngsters from becoming involved with them, offering help to those who want to leave gangs, punishing people who commit violent crimes and improving the ways police and other agencies work in partnership to deal with gangs and violence.

Derbyshire police launched Operation Redshank in January 2008 following several firearms discharges in Derby. The team consists of a specialist group of officers, who are based at Cotton Lane Police Station. They build intelligence, investigate and carry out enforcement action against people in Derby linked to guns. They also investigate other gang-associated crimes, including knife and drug crimes.

Chief Inspector Steve Pont who organised the event said: “The gang members who came to the event have already taken a big step in changing their lives. The call-in was at times shocking and emotional and I hope it meant something to them.

“Being part of a gang leads to crime or violence which affects individuals, family members and the community as well as the victims. We want to help them walk away from this lifestyle and do something positive with their lives. The gang call-in was just the first step and what really matters now is the support and help we give them to make a change.

“Operation Redshank investigates gang-related crime and has been really successful in sending criminals to prison but we need to do more to solve this problem long-term. This is about doing something different and working with the gang members to have a lasting effect. We will support anyone who wants to turn their back on gangs and start afresh.”

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