Newham takes fight against violent crime online

11 June 2013 in Community safety and Council and democracy and Mayor
Newham Council is taking the fight against violent crime online in a bid to protect vulnerable young people.
Members of the council’s enforcement team have targeted videos posted on social media websites in a bid to reduce youth-on-youth violence.

The Home Office and Metropolitan Police have praised the council’s work as a model of best practice.

Videos targeted use violent threats, often at specific individuals, to intimidate others which can result in personal attacks. One clip highlighted by the council resulted in a youth being stabbed.

Officers identify clips which use violent local slang terms and breach the terms of use which members sign up to when they join the websites. The clips are flagged for website moderators to remove.
  • Since January 2012, 500 clips have been examined. Of these 76 were removed because of explicit use of threats.
  • The project is making a real difference: youth on youth crime is down 41% and knife crime is down 10%.
  • Out of a population of 310,000 people there are 150 gang members we are focused on and of those, 30 are of significant concern and subject to intensive action.
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham: “It is an issue we take very seriously. Newham hasn’t got a huge gang problem. But it’s really important that young people don’t get the idea that gangs are the things you should join.
“When people make these videos, the motive is to glamorise gangs. So starving gangs of publicity in this way is the right thing to do. It’s important to say to young people that being in a gang isn’t a normal way of life.
“We are also working hard to ensure there are alternatives for young people. Despite all the cuts going on, we took the decision to keep our sports and leisure activities. School children in the borough have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Our young people are encouraged to take part in sport, go on to higher education and we have a dedicated careers service for young people that includes training and specialist jobs advice.
“So our message is: being in a gang is stupid. If you’re going to be violent, and you’re in Newham, we will come after you.”