Preventing gang crime
Our Integrated Gangs Unit (IGU) works in partnership to support those involved in gang violence or those on the periphery of gangs by way of prevention, diversion and, where necessary, enforcement
Built on trust, the IGU works with individuals and communities by treating violence as a preventable public health issue. It seeks to avert violence by diverting those who are at risk of becoming either a victim or perpetrator and supporting those already ensconced in gang crime to exit their lifestyle and, where necessary, enforcing against those who commit violent crimes and pose a risk to others.
By working with individuals, families and the wider community, the IGU identifies ways in which to reduce violence, improve futures and create a safer Hackney for everyone.
The IGU brings together the police, Council, and other strategic partners in Hackney to divert people at risk away from gangs. The first co-located service of its kind when it was set up, it brings key professionals from a broad range of organisations to work together in the same place with the shared aim of tackling gang-related violence in the round.
At any one time, the IGU works with around 150 people who are involved in gangs to support them to change their behaviour.
The majority of people the IGU supports are adults, with over 18-year-olds making up around 2/3 of the Unit’s caseload. Around a third of those the IGU work with are in custody. The Unit also works with those on the periphery of gangs to divert them away from gang involvement.
The IGU follows the Council’s public health approach towards tackling violent crime which has been proven to be successful in areas where it has been employed to tackle the root causes of violence.
Through partnership working between the Council, police and voluntary and community organisations, the IGU has been successful in preventing problems before they arise, calming gang tensions and supporting individuals to choose an alternative path.
This includes through representation at Hackney’s Extra-Familial Risk Panel, which works to intervene in cases where a young person is at risk of experiencing harm outside the home.
Enforcement action is taken where necessary against those intent on causing harm to others but the unit’s central focus is on early detection and prevention.
This is not about delivering soft justice, but rather smart justice which works to tackle the issue of gang violence in the round by addressing the factors that put adults and young people at risk of becoming involved in gangs.
Through a balanced approach, we can help create better futures for local people and keep them out of the criminal justice system.
If you’re concerned about any child or young person living in Hackney, you can contact our First Access Screening Team (FAST) for advice and guidance.