Newham pulls YouTube gang videos to tackle gang violence

Enforcement officers in Newham have been trawling through YouTube videos to find those which could b

Enforcement officers in Newham have been trawling through YouTube videos to find those which could be used to recruit new gang members Picture:Newham Council - Credit: Archant

Newham Council has removed 76 videos from YouTube in a crackdown on songs that promote gang violence and membership.

The scheme, which has also involved the Metropolitan Police, has been so successful that officers from the authority have already briefed the Home Office and there are indications that other councils are also looking to adopt it.

Since January last year enforcement officers have examined 500 videos from the site and removed 76 because of explicit use of threats. Their aim is to remove videos that glamorise gangs or deliberately antagonise rival gangs.

One of the videos highlighted in the scheme resulted in someone in a gang being stabbed.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham said although the borough doesn’t have a huge gang problem, 150 people out of a population of 310,000 are gang members, it is focused on them.

He said: “When people make these videos, the motive is to glamorise gangs. So starving gangs of publicity in this way is the right thing to do. It’s important to say to young people that being in a gang isn’t a normal way of life.

“That’s why we get the videos taken down.

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“This is not about censorship: I’ve always been a supporter of freedom of speech. But violence is not acceptable and calls for violence are not acceptable.

“We work very hard to stop young people getting into gangs and we also enforce very heavily against those who think they can get away with it. Behind this are strong partnerships with the Metropolitan Police and other organisations including HM Revenue & Customs and British Transport Police.

“So our message is: being in a gang is stupid. If you’re going to be violent, and you’re in Newham, we will come after you.”

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