Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gangz and Groupz Explained

Just in case any of the foreign students being mugged in Thanet don't know it, news today that:

"On the orders of a government agency, gangs of teenage criminals should no longer be called "gangs" because it might offend them.

Instead they should be referred to as 'groups' and their crimes described as 'group-related'.

The instruction comes from the Youth Justice Board, which organises probation, training and detention for under 18s.

It echoes the decision by the Metropolitan Police three years ago to drop the phrase "gang rape" and replace it with "group rape".

Ed: The Oxford English Dictionary says a gang is "any band or company of persons who go about together or act in concert (chiefly in a bad or deprecatory sense, or associated with criminal societies)".

So that's alright then, make sure you identify the thugs as being from a group and not a gang!

By the way, the video is from a popular YouTube production which reportedly shows the youths in the background burgling a house as a group of policemen stand outside.


Michael Child said...

Wanna be in my group, my group…….

As a publisher and purveyor of the not always so politically correct I am beginning to wonder when the powers that be will catch on and I have to make some adjustments.

Then gently scan your brother man’
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho’ they may group a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human.

The politically correct Burns, pity it don’t scan brother man.

Anonymous said...

If you ever needed evidence that the police are useless in this country, then this, surely is it !
Remember the days when the uniform was respected, your local bobby was known to everyone and their eyes were everywhere ? Sad isn't it.

Anonymous said...

"That's the sound of the men, working on the " ?
No, that won't work !

Cllr David Green said...

Wikipedia says:

In modern usage, gang often refers to loosely organized groups that control a territory through readiness to use violence against other gangs. However, there is not an exact, agreed-upon definition. Hundreds of attempts at such definition have been debated ever since Thrasher (1927) defined the 1313 gangs he observed in Chicago.[citation needed]

The word "gang" generally carries a negative connotation, though within a gang which defines itself in opposition to mainstream norms, members may adopt the phrase in proud identity or defiance.[citation needed] Gang activities are not restricted to typical organized crime groups.[1]

Gangs that use violence and threats of violence to achieve social/religious/political goals may be defined essentially as 'domestic terrorists' waging war against civilians in their own homeland.[2]

An article in the Journal of Contemporary Justice[3] talks of a consensus definition developed over 5 years and agreed on by more than 100 gang research scholars in the United States and Europe. It is a minimalist definition specifically designed to enhance comparative street gang research.

“ A street gang is any durable, street-oriented youth group whose own identity includes involvement in illegal activity. ”

Some common descriptions of gangs are:

"Durable" Many gang-like groups come together and dissipate within a few months. The durability refers to the group, which continues despite turnover of members.
"Street-oriented" implies spending a lot of group time outside home, work, and school—often on streets, in malls, in parks, in cars, and so on.
"Youth" can be ambiguous. Most street gangs are more adolescent than adult, but some include members in their 20s and even 30s. Most have average ages in adolescence or early 20s.
"Illegal" generally means gangs which will get you in trouble. New laws proposed in some states define criminal gangs as groups of individuals who engage in patterns of coordinated illegal activity.[4].

Personally, I think there's a serious point here. If we demonise all groups of youngsters that hang around in groups. What will the effect be? Youngsters have always done that, and there's always been a criminal sub set within that. Its not always easy, but dangerously lazy not to bother, to differentiate between the two.

Anonymous said...

The Government comes up with the maddest ideas to hide the fact that the law & order in this country has gone to s--t. But its Cllr Green's GANG and he'll support ANYTHING they come up with!!!!
Soon he'll be able to prove that up is down, black is white, day is night and gravity is a fascist invention to keep the workers on the ground!

Anonymous said...

Well, thats the Scout's gang shows knackered!

Anonymous said...

Stop grouping up on Cllr Green!

Anonymous said...

I found myself in Shawlands , Glasgow in the early 60s where our local gang was the 'Tongs'; much graffiti around with 'Tongs ya bas' featuring highly. These guys were serious with cleavers, knives, knuckle dusters and bicycle chains standard tooling. They were an identifiable group who regarded themselves as a 'gang'. According to BEBO and a number of incidents, we do have a number of 'gangs' in Thanet. They are quite distinct from 'groups' chilling out on green, booze and under-age sexual fumbling to be found in corners all over the Isle. The problem is that we have nothing for these youngsters to do on warm clear evenings. Perhaps the Doc has the right idea with basketball courts all over Thanet?

Doctor Doom said...

Spot on, Cllr Green!

David Cameron unsuccessfully tried to articulate similar ideas some while ago, but was ridiculed in the press for the "hug-a-hoodie" image it unfortunately acquired.

But the underlying issue of demonising all young people for the sins of a tiny minority of thugs and criminals that fall into the same category is an important one - and one that differs from the similarly unpleasant demonisation of immigrants, Muslims and other minorities in one crucial aspect: we were all young once.

Few among us will be able to look back on their teen years as their finest hour, and many of us will have been teddy boys, mods, rockers, punks, new romantics or any of myriad other youth movements that we would now class as gangs. In every such group or gang there were a tiny minority of trouble-makers who gave the rest a bad name.

No different today.

But the terminology of "group" or "gang", as Cllr Green rightly says, is more pertinent today, at a time when the term "gang" has become synonymous with violence and crime, in large part because of association with the American black ghetto rap culture.

I suppose we should at least be thankful the media hasn’t yet latched on to the cliche of immigrant gangs or Muslim gangs, though I’m sure the Daily Mail is just waiting for the right moment...

Disappointing, though, that Simon should have begun this posting with such a reactionary opening, implying muggings are an every-day occurrence on the Isle.

The attacks on foreign students are despicable and criminal, unquestionably, but are also thankfully few and far between, and are the acts of a tiny minority of individuals, most evidently with no “gang” association.

Teen hooligans, yes, and no doubt fuelled by alcohol. But also fuelled by other factors for which we all must share the blame, directly or indirectly. Lack of policing for one (what possible action would a so-called community police officer be authorised to take had they been there to witness the attack?).

Perhaps more significantly the fact that we have collectively allowed our younger citizens to grow up in a culture and climate, particularly here in Thanet, of xenophobic Little Englander BNP rhetoric that readily sees any “forinner” as a scapegoat for social and economic ills largely of our own making.

I wonder how many immigrants are similarly assaulted but do not report the incidents or make the news, rather accepting this is the price they must pay for having the misfortune to end up in an area where such Neanderthal views are so prevalent...

In the long run such attitudes merely perpetuate the problem.

Because of such attitudes mmigrants and foreign students alike are denied the opportunity to integrate with the local community, rather preferring the company of their fellows, creating yet more cliques and groups which inevitably become branded and demonised as “gangs”.

Which in turn fuels the xenophobic BNP Little Englander mentality within the Isle, in a downward spiral of social tension so frequently reflected in the Thanet Life contributions.

Perhaps Cllrs Green, Moores at al could help defuse some of that tension by using their privileged positions to provide more statistics with which to challenge, or indeed confirm, the prevalent mood of impending doom amongst Thanet residents.

Simon, you mentioned in a previous posting the number of housing applications in Westgate. Just how many new houses are now being built across the Isle as a whole? How many are private, how many “council”? How does that compare to a few years ago? Or to before the big sell-off of social housing under Thatcher? How many are to be built in the future?

Just how many “forinners” are actually getting social housing or claiming benefits and crucially what are the criteria for them doing so? Are there any instances at all of them getting priority treatment simply because they are immigrants?

How many local residents are waiting for social housing? How many are on benefits?

How many community police officers are there in Thanet, and how many “real” police officers could we have had for the same cost? What are the statistics for crime among immigrant and resident communities on the Isle?

Just how many immigrant children are actually flooding our schools, and were those schools achieving any differently before? How many class-room assistants as opposed to “real” teachers are there in Thanet schools? How many of our “real” teachers are actually qualified to teach their specialist subject? How can we have so many high-achieving grammar schools in the area and still turn out an illiterate, innumerate youth destined to be branded as gangs?

Without facts and figures the xenophobic Little Englander rhetoric will continue to ferment and pervade local society, to the detriment of all. Genuine statistics (not from the Daily Mail, please!) will go some way to defusing those tensions and, where they confirm the worst, let us focus on remedying genuine problems.

Over to you, Councillors.

DrMoores said...

I haven't got the overall housing figures I'm afraid but it's a question, I will ask when next I have a chance.

I don't expect that social housing allocation is broken down by origin etc but I think that a visit to Northdown road and central Margate will quickly illustate that a remarkable change in population has happened in Thanet over the last decade without the people of Thanet having any say in the matter. This also presents the council with an onerous and some might say unreasonable burden in regard to social services provision in a community that has no money to spare.

As for muggings, I published the police figures some months ago and so did the Gazette and they were dismal reading given the growing number of assualts by teenagers on teenagers.. the figure of 700 springs to mind.

I'm afraid in the eyes of Mr and Mrs ordinary citizen, a gang is still a gang whether it's a group or not.

James Maskell said...

That video was brought up in the press yesterday (I think the Mirror). According to the paper, it was a joke by the group and one of the group lived there.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that the liberal response to this is to blame it on the "little Englanders" and to portray the decline in standards of respect on BNP and other bigots.

The truth is the liberals brought this about. The liberals brought in human rights laws. The liberals block the building of prisons and scream "prisons don't work." Now today we learn three potential terrorists have absconded from their Mickey Mouse control orders.

The liberals don't want to label gang members as such because they might be stigmatised. Boo hoo. How much more of this crap will we have to swallow? The police aren't useless as some have claimed; however it appears they are run by an organisation that values the rights of criminals above those of law abiding people.

The days of laying the decline in our country at the feet of the Conservatives are over. Labour has been in power ten years and what have we got to show for it? A country where old people fear to go out. Dr Doom you should take a stroll down Northdown Road at night. Maybe then you would gain some appreciation for what people in Cliftonville have had forced on them. The influx of foreigners is not imaginary and though you may believe all immigrants are well meaning and bring a positive influence. I am sorry to tell you that there are some who do not. How else do you explain the fact that 15% of the prison population is foreign. Is 15% of the UK population foreign?
Shame on you and all the other misguided buffoons that brought Britain to this shameful pass.

Anonymous said...

Dr Doom is it gangs or groups who violently attack the emergency services regularly, or doesn't your theoretical world conceive of such things?

chris wells said...

As Cabinet member for Safer Neighbourhoods I suppose I should comment. The report has much more in it than this issue, but so many of these reports today seem to begin with political correct ideology at their heart and even if it is not so, seem to impress us that that is the most important element.

We must be tough on those who terrorise our streets; but aware that does not mean all those who gather on street corners are up to no good.

In Broadstairs we have just implemented through the police a dispersal order for the summer with these issues in mind, having had real trouble last year with groups/gangs of youths, under age drinking and criminal damage. Trouble is, often when these young people are carted off home by the police, the 'parents' care less about their condition than the officers taken off the streets to look after them.

We have to engage young people with useful activity, and take a tough line with those who wreak havoc on our streets. Rest assured I will endeavour to do both.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's alright then. We can all sleep soundly in our beds knowing that Councillor Wells is on the case.......NOT !

DrMoores said...

That's an uncalled for comment in reply to Cllr Wells post. With the limited resources available the council is doing its best to tackle a national problem with local implications. I'm sure that Cllr Wells shares with me and I'm sure, most of or readers, a strong desire to do what we can to create safer neighbourhoods but the challenge is enormous, in a society where any sense of social responsibility for many families died with the previous generation.

Doctor Doom said...

Well said, Cllr Wells!

Alcohol as ever features large in many crimes, and while we, as a commercial society, continue to glamorise alcohol consumption and while supermarkets continue to slash prices, these problems will continue.

More effective policing of under-age drinking laws would be a major step forward, as would responsible selling, but while potential profits far outweigh penalties that is unlikely to happen. Maybe if supermarkets faced the same penalties as public bars for supplying under-age buyers then things would change...

But Cllrs Wells and Moores sum up the real problem succinctly: David: “Trouble is, often when these young people are carted off home by the police, the 'parents' care less about their condition than the officers taken off the streets to look after them.” Simon: “The challenge is enormous, in a society where any sense of social responsibility for many families died with the previous generation.”

In response to Anons 9:12 and 12:03: If Northdown Road by night is anywhere near as bad as is suggested (and I do not doubt the perception), then let’s lay the blame clearly with the policing policies in the area which have apparently allowed a tiny minority of criminal elements to get out of hand. Perhaps if we spent more money on real policing instead of community officers, and actually had police patrols in these areas then such problems would not arise.

I think you’ll find it was the Conservatives who sold off most of the social housing stock, which is not in any way to excuse the current Labour Government from their share of blame.

The issue of prison population breakdown is an interesting one. The Met Police Force has already been established to be institutionally racist, so no surprise they should devote their energies to arresting foreigners when given the chance. What chance would a foreigner have round here of getting a fair trial if some of the recent contributors were on the jury? Not much, I suspect. Quite easy to see how the prison population might be disproportionate...

I seem to recall a recent survey showing quite clearly how most foreigners / immigrants were actually far more respectful of law and order than their indigenous counterparts. That’s certainly born out by my experience.

I care not what you call the idiots who attack the emergency services. I’m sure it happens. And when it does it is wrong and those so-engaged should have some sense knocked in to them. I’m at a loss as to why not wanting to blame every young person for the actions of a minority can be interpreted as excusing that minority.

But let’s be clear about the real issue here, which all three councillors have alluded to:

The real breakdown in social fabric in British society has very little to do with gangs, be they youth, immigrant, Muslim, foreign or any other demonised minority.

It’s about what Simon called “social responsibility” – or more accurately the abdication of same by what are overwhelmingly white, working class parents who sadly respect the authority of neither the police, teachers nor anyone else.

Anonymous said...

You speak much sense, Dr Doom and then insert utter prejudice about the Met and offer lame excuses for why we have a disproportionate number of foreign prisoners in our jails who are not British citizens;"our police must be racist" is your clear implication. Remove your blinkers. 'Institutionally racist' is a meaningless description unless racialism is a stated policy of an organisation. The Met and other police forces have all but eradicated any racist officers in their ranks. Our lax border controls and freedom of movement has meant that many criminals from other countries have flocked to our shores un-detected and have carried on their criminal activities here and continue to do so. The detection rate of much crime is low and the punishment in the un-likely event of detection is almost risible. On the basis of proportion of the criminal fraternity doing porridge our 7000+ foreign criminals locked up have possibly 70,000+ foreign colleagues outside still doing crime.

Doctor Doom said...

Anon 11:32 – Utter prejudice about the Met? I merely referred to official definitions as made by the McPherson Report -

“Our police must be racist” is not MY clear implication. It is a FACT acknowledged and accepted by the then Chief Constable Sir Paul Condon and the then Home Secretary Jack Straw –

and by the head of the Met’s anti-racism unit, Commander Cressida Dick -,,941167,00.html

and myriad other sources should one care to remove the blinkers.

That in no way suggests that all police officers are racist, but was intended to go some way towards explaining the balance of foreigners and British citizen in our jails, although the real ssue as regards figures is that of white and “ethnic minority”, not foreigners and British citizens.

A cursory study of demographics will show that the vast majority of the non-white prison populace are in the London jails, reflecting more closely the white / ethnic minority population in that area. Forty-five per cent of all ethnic minorities in the UK live in London –

Taking figures for the whole of the UK population and comparing ethnic minority prison numbers centred on a few major cities will of course give an inaccurate reflection of crime statistics.

As regards actual non-UK passport holding foreign nationals in our prisons, almost half are for drugs related offences, mostly smuggling –

It isn’t rocket science to work out that custodial sentences are going to be more readily handed out to foreigners than to residents, for the simple reason that non-custodial sentences would be unenforceable in their particular circumstances.

Nor is it rocket science to work out that many, particularly Jamaican and Nigerian women, are smuggling, at great risk to themselves, because of poverty at home, and are hardly likely to contribute to muggings and vandalism on their releaase, nor to have colleagues who will do so.

It is by no means the only explanation of the imbalance in prison population and crime figures. A cursory study of demographics will show that the vast majority of the non-white prison populace are in the London jails, reflecting more closely the white / ethnic minority population in that area. Forty-five per cent of all ethnic minorities in the UK live in London –

Taking figures for the whole of the UK population and comparing ethnic minority prison numbers centred on a few major cities will of course give an inaccurate reflection of crime statistics and fuel the mentality that ferments racism and exenophobia, institutional or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

And if its so grim here for ethnic minorities why are they queing up and attaching themselves to moving lorries to get here?
All the poor "oppressed" ones can leave. After all, it is still a free country and Europes borders are wide open. Yet they choose to stay in this terrible place and "suffer" its harsh regime of benefits, health care, housing, education, and religious freedom! How selfless of them.

Doctor Doom said...

A free country?

Not if you're a fifteen year old living in Broadstairs this summer...

Anonymous said...

Oh Please!
Doubtless Dr Doom can prove anything in theory, but if he really wants to know whats happening in the world he will have to stop reading endless reports and leave the house one day!!!