A recording of guest presentations by Lord Victor Adebowale and Professor John Pitts, at our 'Understanding and Policing Gangs' conference in June 2019

Published Date: 
Tuesday, 9 July 2019

This conference session on 'Social Divisions & Identities' featured guest presentations from:

  • Professor John Pitts, Vauxhall Professor of Socio-legal Studies at the University of Bedfordshire's Institute of Applied Social Research (from 0:50)

  • Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chief Executive of Turning Point (from 17:52)

The session was chaired by Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney QPM, national policing lead for children and young people, and the guest presentations were followed by group discussions and questions for the panel.

Prof Pitts shared some of his wide-ranging research into the changing face of youth crime and gang culture in the UK today, drawing on examples from across the country.

He addressed the question of how a sense of alienation, inequality and lack of belonging in disadvantaged communities can propel individuals to join high-risk groups. He also talked about the 'racialisation' of disadvantaged communities.

Lord Adebowale described his work on youth crime prevention and with gang members, including his work on the London Youth Crime Prevention Board. He talked about the 'flow' and 'stock' of gang membership, touching on knife crime, fear as a driver, declining youth service infrastructure, and the influence of parenting, as well as rehabilitation of repeat offenders and behavioural interventions.

He described gang culture not as a 'youth problem', but as 'an adult problem, which makes it our problem'.