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Urban gang culture has spread all over country 'including chocolate box villages' warns top PCC

URBAN street gang culture has seeped into most parts of the country including some "chocolate box" villages, a police chief warned after another teen was stabbed to death.

Donna Jones, Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, issued a warning to parents after Alfie Lewis, 15, (above) died in hospital after being stabbed near a primary school in the Horsforth area of Leeds, just before 3pm last Tuesday (November 7 2023).

A boy, 14, charged with his murder appeared at Leeds Crown Court on Friday when he was remanded in custody to reappear on December 8.

The tragedy prompted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to speak out saying: "My heart goes out to the family and friends of the young person who was tragically killed.

"What I want to say is that we're doing everything we can to clamp down in particular on knife crime as it impacts young people."

Residents of the "tight-knit" community described as a nice area spoke of their shock at it happening there.

Rev Nigel Sinclair said: "I think people are asking 'why us?' Knife crime we know is everywhere and it's such a terrible thing and you hear about it in other places but you never quite expect it on your own doorstep."

However, Ms Jones, said knife crime and street gang culture were now so prolific in all areas of the country that all parents must be educated about organised crime and "street speak," so they know how to watch for the signs of gang membership.

In the eight days from Friday, September 29 to Saturday October 7, 12 people stabbed to death and several others injured, including two critically, after a spate of separate attacks in Brighton, Bristol, Leicester, Luton, Slough, Halifax and Leeds, where two people died respectively and London, where there were three separate knife murders.

Of the people stabbed or arrested as suspects at least 17 were teenagers, including two 16-year-olds stabbed to death.

The country was already reeling from the knife murder of 15-year-old Elianne Andam as she made her way to school in Croydon on September 26.

Ms Jones (above) estimates that there are around 2,000 street gangs across the country including in London.

She said: "We have got more urban street gangs in the country now than ever before with gang warfare and turf wars and I think a lot of parents are blissfully unaware and do not know what a USG is or an OCG - organised crime gang or the language used when kids refer to getting cut or going out with a weapon.

"It is no longer just the metropolitan areas of London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester, it's everywhere.

"We have some villages in Hampshire where groups of teenagers are going around in cars late at night firing ball bearings, which can do a lot of damage, at the school hall, church and hairdressers and these are tiny little chocolate box villages."

In Basingstoke, police had to apply for a civil junction against named gang members aged 14 to 18 associating together and the gang has been linked to two murders, she said.

She added: "For parents, the key period is the move from primary to secondary school when they need to be hyper vigilant.

"We do have a growing trend of this scourge of knives on the street and young people feel they have to carry a knife to protect themselves, then they get involved in a gang, particularly if taking drugs, and then selling drugs to pay for their own addict - it all escalates very quickly.

"Parents need to step up to the mark and take responsibility for their children and young people.

"They should be trawling videos on social media to see if their children are involved and if they are, then say that is not app behaviour. Respect starts at home and if there is no respect at home there is no respect for law and order."

It comes after it emerged in September that the number of teenagers being stabbed to death has more than doubled in the past decade.


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