Did You Know

There are over 7000 organised crime gangs operating in the UK

A gang could simply be a group of friends that all like doing the same things. The word takes on a new meaning when a group of friends gets involved in criminal activity.

Although it is not illegal to be a member of a gang much of the activity that criminal street gangs get caught up in is. If caught committing an offence you could end up with a longer sentence just for being part of a gang.

There are many different and complex reasons as to why people join gangs. It could be for status, to feel a sense of belonging, to make money, to earn respect or for protection from other gangs.
Status is a key factor that influences members of criminal street gangs. Having access to weapons provides a gang with an immediate status – as other rival gangs will be fearful. This is why many gangs pose with photos of guns and knives on their social networking sites - to ‘show off’ how easily they can access weapons.

It is illegal to carry a weapon and if caught they will face time in prison.

Many street gangs are involved with the supply and dealing of drugs. This can be a way that gangs make money.

Dealing in drugs, like running a business has many different roles and levels of people controlling the entire operation. Young people are often involved at the street level dealing of drugs – often called runners. This can be very serious and if caught they could end up in prison.

 Some criminal gangs, usually as part of gang initiation, are involved in sex crimes and there has been a significant increase in cases of gang rape in the UK over the past 5 years. The role and relationship of girls in criminal street gangs is very complex. Girls affiliated with gangs are often used by multiple gang members to establish status, seek revenge and even used to lure rival gang members in honey traps.

Although criminal street gangs are predominately male only, there are some girl only street gangs operating in the UK too. 

If involved with a criminal street gang it can be very difficult for members to leave. There are many organisations that can help and support young people with gang exit strategies. Please refer to our related links for further information.

« Back to resources list