Conference session recording, featuring Junior Smart, Prof John Dickie, and Dr Keir Irwin-Rogers, from our 2019 Police Conference

Published Date: 
Wednesday, 26 June 2019

A 45-minute recording of guest presentations that opened our discussion session on 'The Attraction of Gang Culture', at our Understanding and Policing Gangs conference in June 2019.

This recording features three, 15-minute presentations:

  • Junior Smart, Head of the Gangs SOS Project at the St Giles Trust (00:05) 
  • Professor John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College London, author of 'Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse' (from 14:10) 
  • Dr Keir Irwin-Rogers, Lecturer in Criminology at the Open University (from 30:10) 

Junior is a former gang member who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and went on to become a prisoner mentor and Head of the SOS Plus project at the St Giles Trust, working in schools. He offers his own perspective on the attraction of gang culture and intervention strategies to encourage desistance. He also talks about the importance of information sharing across partnerships.

John presents the case study of an Italian mafia organisation, the 'Ndrangheta from Calabria in southern Italy. He talks about its history, structure, governance, membership and rituals.

Kier goes on to present data from a social media analysis project he undertook, working on posts made by gang members on social media over a six-month period, as well as findings from interviews with young people involved in gangs, youth workers, teachers and other professionals. He talks about how we might respond to growing drugs markets, the crisis amongst young people about their place in society, and the need to change the approach to gangs and drug dealing.