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Gangs: you and your child new advice for parents on gangs
New advice for parents on preventing their children from becoming involved in gangs was published today as Home Secretary Jacqui Smith attended the launch of the New Year Shooting Memorial Trust in the West Midlands.
The eight-page booklet details practical steps parents and carers can take if they suspect their child may be involved with gangs and who to contact for help and support. It was developed with the help of the Association of Chief Police Officers, local authorities, parenting organisations like the Family and Parenting Institute and community groups such as Mothers Against Violence.
The Home Secretary attended the launch of the New Year Shooting (NYS) Memorial Trust, a victim support charity set up by Beverley Thomas and Marcia Shakespeare in memory of their daughters who died after a drive-by shooting in 2003.
The NYS Memorial Trust will offer support to families and young people affected by violent crime along with a programme of preventative measures that includes education, motivation and activities to aid employment opportunities.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
"All parents worry about keeping their children safe - and need support to help them to do it. They need to know how to spot if their child is involved in a gang and where to turn if they are concerned. We have worked with police, local authorities and parenting and community groups to make sure the booklet is a useful addition in the fight against violent crime.
"The New Year Shooting Memorial Trust is also providing help for the West Midlands community by giving individuals and families affected by gun and gang related crime vital support to lessen the suffering. This is just as important as strong enforcement action by the police because we can only win the battle if we all work together."
The "Gangs: You and Your Child" booklet is available on the Direct.Gov website and 30,000 copies are initially being distributed in the areas involved in the Tackling Gangs Action Programme - London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.
Earlier in the day, the Home Secretary was given a demonstration at Snow Hill train station of how search arches are being used to find weapons by West Midlands Police. The nine arches and 220 wands have been provided by funding from the Tackling Knives Action Programme.
Chief Inspector Kevin Doyle from West Midlands Police said:
"Today is about showing the public a piece of equipment that is now available to us and explaining how they can expect to see it in wider use in the future.
"By demonstrating how the safety arches work I hope to reassure the law abiding public that there is nothing to fear from them, and to send a strong message to those who may carry knives. That message is quite simple; carrying a knife is a choice, if you make the wrong choice you can expect to be caught."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. "Gangs: You and Your Child" can be found at http://www.direct.gov.uk/gangs
2. In June 2008, the Home Secretary outlined plans to focus a programme of action on knife crime hotspots and announced an initial investment of £2 million. This built on the success of the Tackling Gangs Action Programme which ran from September 2007 until February 2008.
3. The ten areas taking part in the Tackling Knives Action Programme are London, Essex, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, South Wales and Thames Valley.
4. On 13 July 2008 the Home Secretary announced that the Association of Chief Police Officers lead on knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alf Hitchcock (Metropolitan Police Service) would head up the new Tackling Knives Action Programme.
5. The Programme, which will run until March 2009, is delivering tough enforcement combined with education, prevention work and information campaigns designed to keep youngsters on the right track.