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Government anti-gang plans revealed

The Government’s new anti-gang plans seek to intervene in the lives of young people at risk of becoming members, and help those already involved in gangs to escape.

The Department for Work and Pensions aims to tackle 120,000 problem families in England and Wales, with the introduction of tougher policing for those refusing to give up their gang lifestyles.

The plans could increase the sentence for illegally importing a weapon from 10 years to 14. A team of 100 will also be tasked with implementing these proposals at a cost of £11m.

The proposals aim to find the most effective way of intervention, with extra funding to support agencies dealing with gangs and health professionals, youth workers, police and schools working more closely together.

Theresa May told The Sun newspaper that early intervention was necessary, saying: “If you look at case studies of youngsters who got involved in gang violence, very often there are lots of points in time at which, if someone had done something, that young person's life could have been changed.

“That goes for primary schools, hospitals, children's services, and even housing departments. This isn't just a problem for the police. It might mean working with toddlers. It's at that age you sometimes identify a troubled youngster.”

But Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This government is making it harder, not easier, to take action against gangs by cutting 16,000 police officers and making 20% cuts to youth services.

“Changing the law won't work unless there are properly-funded partnerships in place to deliver the action we need.”

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