No gangs in Richmond, Kingston or Sutton, according to new police report


They are the only three London boroughs without recognised violent gangs.


By Rachael Burford

Richmond, Kingston and Sutton are the only boroughs in London that have no recognised violent street gangs, a report revealed this week.

The statistic appeared in the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) report on gangs and serious youth violence in London.

The document identified 224 street gangs and estimated they were responsible for 22% of serious violence, 17% of robberies and 50% of all shootings in the city.

Most known gang members are under 25 years old and Sutton Borough Commander Guy Ferguson believes that it is the work his police force does with young people that is, in part, helping to keep a gang problem at bay.

“We are very proactive both operationally and in working with young people in Sutton to keep it a gang-free borough,” he said.

“We respond vigorously and swiftly to any incidents or intelligence that could suggest a connection with gang related activities, such as serious violence, which is extremely rare in Sutton, and drugs related activities, which we combat through frequent raids at addresses and operations on the roads and transport networks designed to disrupt criminals.”

The prevalence of knife crime by gangs was a particular concern highlighted by the report with 35% of known gang members holding a conviction for carrying a weapon.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: “The message has still not reached enough young people about the harm caused by the knives.

“There is a knife carrying culture that must be challenged and we need tougher sanctions and a clearer signal in sentencing that knife possession leads to prison.”

Oxygen, a youth charity based in Kingston, has recently spearheaded a campaign against knife crime in the area.

They piloted their programme at Southborough School after the death of 20-year-old Jamie Sanderson at Kingston’s Oceana nightclub and the stabbing of one of their young members in New Malden.

Oxygen Director John Trend acknowledged that although knife crime is not prevalent in the borough, educating young people about the problem is important if things are to stay that way.

“We try and support volunteer groups, churches and other youth charities to ensure we are reaching as many young people as possible.

“It’s difficult to credit youth work with directly helping to keep gangs out of Kingston, but over time I hope people will be able to see the difference our group and others like us have made in the area.”

Other South West London boroughs do not fare as well as Richmond, Kingston and Sutton in street gang statistics.

Lambeth and Croydon house many prevalent London street gangs including the Jaffna Boys and the Block Cartel.

Commander Ferguson said: “We are acutely aware that other boroughs close to ours have gang issues and the adverse impact that gangs can have on local communities.

“This is why we have assigned one of our officers to have a specific responsibility amongst other duties for monitoring gang related activities.”

Photo courtesy of by szczel, with thanks.

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