Last week Boris Johnson launched the Shield pilot which will be run in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and three pilot boroughs: Haringey, Westminster and Lambeth. The boroughs have been chosen for their well-established gang programmes.
Under the pilot, the arrest and prosecution of the main perpetrator will be fast-tracked while the rest of the gang will face a range of criminal and civil sanctions. These include injunctions preventing them from entering a certain area, or recalling them to prison if on licence, or mandate them to attend an employment course.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) are providing £200,000 funding for the new programme.
According to MOPAC, the method has already proven successful in the United States and a similar model introduced in Glasgow in 2008 has apparently seen youth violence drop by almost 50 per cent.
As part of the 12-month pilot, the police and key community representatives in the boroughs ‘call-in’ gangs for face-to-face meetings where they will be made aware of Shield. During these meetings, and throughout the process, those wishing to leave the gang will be offered help to do so.
Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth council leader, said: “Lambeth’s approach to tackling gangs is built on local experience, working with the community and learning from previous work, including Professor Kennedy’s Group Violence Intervention Model. We welcome this additional support from the London Assembly. It will help us to continue our work to break the cycle of violence and build the resilience of communities affected by gangs.”