Brent council crime chief has ‘mixed emotions’ about gang injunctions
Cllr Lincoln Beswick said aspects of the orders risked alienating young people
New powers to restrict the movements of people suspected of gang violence have been met with mixed emotions from Brent Council’s crime chief.
The injunctions, which are similar to anti social behaviour orders, can ban people from going to designated places, walking aggressive dogs or wearing certain colours.
Cllr Lincoln Beswick (Lab: Harlesden), lead member for crime, said it was ‘very likely’ Brent would use the new orders, which both the police and the council can apply for, but warned against viewing the powers as a panacea for fighting violent crime.
He said: “I welcome the orders about people with dogs. To be quite honest, these dangerous dogs can be intimidating and we should be given the powers to allay people’s fears of them.”
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But Cllr Beswick said he ‘remained to be convinced’ that gangs wear distinct colours to mark themselves out, and that by preventing people from dressing how they want to, the orders risked alienating them.
He said: “A lot of youths think these colours are a fashion statement. If the Government have got the research to prove that this is an important factor, then I will welcome this power, but until I see this I think it could cast aspersions on the youngsters wearing these colours.
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“It will become the new ‘hoody’. We have to be careful we don’t pigeon hole anyone or alienate young people.”
The orders can also force individuals to take part in mentoring and other activities to protect them form gang violence.
Harlesden was once known as the gun capital of the UK, and Brent has struggled to overcome its gang problems.
Recently, clashes between youngsters living on the South Kilburn Estate, and those in the nearby Mozart Estate have sparked fears that a rising tide of violence could claim lives.
Minister for crime prevention James Brokenshire said: “These new powers will help police and local authorities tackle gang problems by placing tough conditions on the behaviour of individuals involved in gang-related violence and providing strong support to those who want to leave violent gangs.”