One of the comments made by Theresa May during her opening speech in yesterday’s debate on the riots was that “6% of young people are in gangs”.
MPs in the Chamber and people on Twitter were questioning where that stat came from, and what exactly constituted a ‘gang’.
Which reminded me of a blog post I did a couple of years ago which I’ve reproduced below… .
It’s good to be in a gang
I only caught the first hour of the session, as I had to get to London, but there were some really interesting points emerging. We talked with a crowd of young people and community activists about the role of parents, and the fact that ever younger children are now carrying knives. It’s all going to be in the Select Committee’s report, but one of the things that struck me suddenly was the realisation that belonging to “a gang” per se is not a bad thing. It can be good to be in a gang. Often young people look to peer groups to find the emotional support and understanding they don’t get at home or at school. Or sometimes it’s even less complicated than that; it’s just about hanging out with a bunch of mates. Gangs might be about security (safety in numbers) but they’re also about having a laugh and pursuing common interests. (OK, yes, sometimes they’re about crime and territorial wars and drug-dealing and intimidation too, but let’s park that for now).