Irish Penal Reform Trust

UK: Programme Reducing Gang Violence in Glasgow

5th July 2011

A co-ordinated programme between community, police and other groups in Glasgow has significantly reduced violence among gang members according to a new report released by the Violence Reduction Unit in the UK. The Community Initiative to Reduce Crime (CIRV) was established in 2008 to tackle gang violence in the East End of the Glasgow, and expanded in 2009 to include the North of the city. Based on a model developed in the US and established in Boston since 1996, the project has resulted in and a notable reduction of 59% in knife carrying (in spite of an overall 19% rise in the area) and an overall reduction of 46.5% in violent offending among those who engaged with the CIRV. Those engaged in the most intensive programme offered by CIRV reduced their violent behaviour by 73%.

The CIRV programme works in by gathering intelligence about gangs and then approaching them to engage them with CIRV, which is done through a self-referral session. At this session gang members are addressed by police officers, community members, staff from A and E, and the parents of victims of gang violence. They are encouraged to change behaviour through self policing such that if one member of a gang commits a crime the gang as a whole will be pursued by police. The programme then links gang members with a range of services and supports for personal, education and employment development.

To date almost 400 gang members have signed pledges of non-violence and engaged with CIRV and reductions in violent offending and the carrying of weapons are evidence that this co-ordinated approach between communities, services and police is having an impact.

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