Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London | Western Europe’s first national gang research has opened in London. Dr Simon Harding, Professor of Criminology at the University of West London, is he

Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London

Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London

Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London

Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London

Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London

Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London
Western Europe's first national research centre for gang crime opens in London
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Western Europe’s first national gang research has opened in London.

Dr Simon Harding, Professor of Criminology at the University of West London, is heading up the National Centre for Gang Research (NCGR).

The centre aims to study youth violence and its causes and help provide advice and research to the discussion about violence and gangs on the UK’s streets.

One of the key issues that Dr Harding wants to address is the use of social media by youngsters and the influence it has on gangs and youth.

Knife crime in the capital has reached a record high, according to the Office for National Statistics.

At a launch event on Wednesday, Dr Harding described social media as a “21st century problem bridled with 20th century structures”.

Tucked away in a side parlour of the Palace of Westminster, the professor spoke to a crowd of other academics, police, former gang members and those who work with people in or at risk of joining a gang.

He told them: “In previously times when there was a gang fight we would hear about it on Monday morning in assembly. Not any more.

“It’s now going to be live streamed to your phone, and young people will be able to view this while they are sitting in their classroom, and it’s going to want to make them get up and run out.”

Dr Harding has spent 35 years researching crime and community safety in the UK and has worked on over 2,500 housing estates.

He has advised the Home Office, Metropolitan Police and the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, among others.

He talks to gang members, he rides on the back of mopeds and he wants to make a difference.

On Tuesday evening while MPs voted just metres away on whether to have an election or not, Dr Harding painted a bleak picture of the online cultures surrounding crime.

“Young people I’ve interviewed say they feel ungoverned,” he said of the current climate.

“Their spaces are ungoverned and unpoliced and they feel unsafe,” he said of social media.

He added: “That stressful world is something they live in 24/7. It is with them when they go to bed and when their phones are on continually.

“And they say and they feel it is a world not understood by adults.”

The professor said: “We face a 21st century problem bridled by 20th century structures. 20th century practices, 20th century organisations.

"These are culturally siloed, operationally slow, unresponsive, unmodernised, unadjusted, out of date, technologically ill-equipped, inefficient, and unsuitable.

"We need a radical new way of working to address this. There is no single solution – but many different solutions which must work together in concert.”

Dr Harding says that the lawless world of the teenage internet landscape leads to paranoia, fear and mental illness - and that this progresses to violence.

Uncertainty about who is a “real gangster” and who is just posing online leads to can lead to brawls being started, he said.

People speak in web forums of “reach being king” and try to get the longest blade to carry and speak of gaining points by stabbing people in different parts of the body.

On the subject of drill music, which has been blamed for a rise in violence especially in London, Dr Harding has a mixed view.

He said: “I’m often asked if drill music is a poetic representation of the lived experience of young people or something that generates violence or revenge.

“And the answer is both. It does both of these things, simultaneously.”

The NCGR will be hoping to bring in all parties concerned the rise in violence to help find solutions to the violence. 

Dr Harding also wants to bring in frontline practitioners who work on a daily basis with those involved and at risk of crime.

It is something common in the US, but not seen on this side of the Atlantic.

James Amadu: Two teens charged with murder of young father in Enfield

James Amadu: Two teens charged with murder of young father in Enfield

Two teenagers have been charged with murdering young father James Amadu in north London.

Mr Amadu died in hospital on Thursday afternoon after he was stabbed in Blossom Lane, Enfield.

Romeo Mapeza, 18, and a 15-year-old boy who cannot be named have both been charged with murder.

Mapeza was also charged with possession of a bladed article. Both suspects are from Enfield.

They will appear in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Mr Amadu, 26, was described as the “backbone of his family” who doted on his daughter, Amaiya.

His mother Josephine told the Standard on Friday: “I am heartbroken and devastated. I couldn’t have wanted a better son.”

Mr Amadu’s brother Franklin, 23, added: “James was the backbone of the family. He was my backbone. He put me on the right path, he made me what I am. 

“We have just launched a clothing business together. He was so talented and funny, he cared for everyone before himself. He was a great businessman, we were really going places.”

Police appeal as woman raped in Perivale Park, west London

Police appeal as woman raped in Perivale Park, west London

Police are appealing for witnesses and information after a woman was raped in a west London park this morning.

The Met was called at 7am on Sunday to reports of a woman with injuries in Costons Avenue, Greenford.

The woman, aged in her 20s, told officers she had been raped by two men in nearby Perivale Park.

She was taken to hospital where she received treatment.

She is now being supported by specialist officers.

Two males have been arrested on suspicion of rape and both remained in custody on Sunday afternoon.

The Met said in a statement: “Anyone who saw or heard anything in the vicinity of Costons Avenue, Betham Road or the adjoining park area during the early hours of Sunday that could assist the investigation is asked to contact police via 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD1873/3Nov.

“Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Colchester crash: Man arrested on suspicion of murder after car crashes into pub leaving one dead and three injured

Colchester crash: Man arrested on suspicion of murder after car crashes into pub leaving one dead and three injured

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a car crashed into a pub in Essex.

Officers were called to The Spinnaker pub in Colchester at 12.50am on Sunday.

A 36-year-old man died at the scene while three other people were taken to hospital.

One of them, a 34-year-old man, suffered life-changing injuries, Essex Police said.

The other two, a 34-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man, sustained minor injuries.

A 40-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of murder, grievous bodily harm with intent, death by dangerous driving and assault.

Essex Police said in a statement: ​"We would like to speak to any who saw a white Nissan Qashqai in the local area before the incident took place, and anyone who was in the pub at the time and has yet to speak to officers."

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