The gangs operating on our streets are
“complex and ruthless organisations, using sophisticated techniques”— to recruit children—
“and chilling levels of violence to keep them compliant.”
So says the children’s commissioner in an important report published only last week. That report identifies 27,000 gang members in England and a further 34,000 children who know gang members and have experienced violent crime. That is 61,000 young people, yet only 10% of that number are known to the authorities. The children’s commissioner identifies serious failings among local safeguarding boards, which, in too many cases, have not made any serious attempt to understand the level of risk in their area. I understand and recognise the Home Secretary’s commitment to tackle this issue, but it seems that we are starting from a very long way back if we only know now 10% of the children who are most at risk from knife crime. How are we going to improve that intelligence picture?