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Youth in the UK: 99 problems but the gang ain ' t one?

Hannah Smithson (Department of Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom)
Rob Ralphs (Department of Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 11 January 2016

Abstract

Purpose

At a time when youth gangs and gang policy feature significantly in the discourse on UK youth, it is judicious to critique the framework and evidence upon which these policy developments have originated. The political focus on gangs was heightened, in part, by the English riots in 2011. The reaction to the riots was a “concerted all-out war on gangs” and led to the development of the national Ending Gangs and Youth Violence (EGYV) strategy. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use Manchester as a case study to illustrate what the they argue to be the misplaced focus of the current EGYV strategy and provide a detailed critique of the strategy to date.

Findings

The paper suggests that government funded gang interventions are currently bereft of a “what works” approach and should only be implemented when the authors have significantly developed the knowledge and understanding of gangs in a local context.

Originality/value

The paper calls for a stronger evidence based policy approach to tackling gangs.

Keywords

Citation

Smithson, H. and Ralphs, R. (2016), "Youth in the UK: 99 problems but the gang ain ' t one?", Safer Communities, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 11-23. https://doi.org/10.1108/SC-10-2015-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited