Supplementary written evidence submitted by DCI Debbie Dooley, Xcalibre Task Force & Integrated Gang Management Unit, Manchester Police

Further to my appearance at the HASC on 25th November in relation to providing oral evidence on Ending Gang Youth Violence, please find below the further information requested by yourselves.

Gang Clarification

Firstly, to clarify my references to Manchester, there are currently 11 police areas, North and South Manchester, Trafford, Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Ashton, Oldham and Stockport.   The areas I predominantly have responsibility for are North and South Manchester, which when I refer to Manchester is those specific areas, rather than pan Greater Manchester.

One of the tactics we have used successfully in Manchester is to prevent gang members or associates attending community events such as Parklife, EID, Caribbean Carnival and Mega Mela, where there is the possibility of opposing gang members meeting and trouble developing.  We therefore serve a banning letter on them and ensure that the officers placed on the entrances to the events are aware of who is not permitted entry.   Again, whilst this has made for successful and peaceful events, one criticism is that the banning letters have previously been served on persons no longer associated with gangs.  We therefore have to scrutinise our proposed list for banning letters and ensure each one has a sound rationale and has been served on the basis of the definitions below.    Each year the number reduces as we move towards a future whereby this tactic is no longer necessary.  This year for example in relation to Parklife, we issued 117 letters.  Our considerations would not have included those in prison or with exclusion zones incorporating the event which precluded them from attendance anyway.

The definitions we work to are as follows:-

A Gang

A relatively durable, predominantly street-based group of young people, who see themselves (and are seen by others) as a discernible group.  Engage in a range of criminal activity and violence

AND / OR

Identify with or lay claim over territory
Have some form of identifying structural feature
In conflict with other, similar, gangs.

Active Gang Member (Nominal)

A person is deemed to be active in a gang context, if they fit within the definition of gang member or gang associate,

 

AND


have been subject of XTF attention as the result of an incident, crime or intelligence indicating their involvement in gang related criminality within the last six to twelve months.

A gang member is somebody who is self confessed as such and a gang associate is somebody who socialises and is seen to socialise or frequently be with members of a gang.

In reality it is an extremely contentious issue and one which can change rapidly. Very few people will nowadays self identify or publicly acknowledge their gang allegiance for fear of heavier punishment if convicted of criminal matters.  Individuals can rise in prominence overnight as the result of a single incident and can disappear off the “radar” just as quickly making accurate assessments problematic.  What we have found to be often most critical, is what ‘the opposing’ gang would consider an individual’s status to be i.e. their perception. If they would consider an individual to be a member of a rival gang, then that can significantly increase the risk posed both to and from that person.  As I referred to at the hearing, we have had individuals who have historically been involved in gangs but not in the past few years, whom have taken advantage of opportunistic meetings within the past twelve months, with persons whom they perceived as a rival gang member and incidents of disorder and violence have broken out.  

To maintain an accurate picture, would be an arduous task and one that could not be successfully maintained without somebody monitoring all strands of intelligence and information on a full time basis.  As discussed at the hearing, GMP does not operate a flagging database such as Matrix, which Operation Trident in the Metropolitan Police do, as we are such a smaller unit in comparison and to do so would be resource intensive and impact on our operational activity.    The Matrix system was found to be cumbersome and time consuming, (to accurately record and score one individual takes up to four hours).  Moving forward EGYV have recognised that not all areas can afford the luxury of a Matrix style mapping tool for USG’s, it is therefore a welcome decision to hear that as the OCG mapping tool is reviewed, it will encompass the mapping of USG’s.  Furthermore, GMP have been criticised in the EGYV problem profile commissioned by Probation and the Manchester Metropolitan University as being one of the agencies who flag too many young persons as gang members (sometimes referred to as nominals) in comparison to partner agencies and do so, without basing it in on the current intelligence or evidence picture.

What must be borne in mind is that it is not a criminal offence to be gang member or a gang associate. Many agencies, both statutory and voluntary, as well as many academics have in the past formed the presumption that if XTF identify someone as a gang member or associate, then it means they are being targeted in some way. This is certainly not the case.  The identification process of a person (who is in some way gang involved) by XTF, is in place in order to monitor any criminal activity that may be gang motivated.  For XTF to take action beyond that of monitoring, against any person, it must be as the direct result of intelligence, a crime, or an incident that indicates that individual’s involvement in some form of criminality that is or may reasonably be presumed to be gang related.
 
There is a ‘flagging’ system employed both on the GMP intelligence system (OPUS) and the Prison Intelligence system (PINS) in order to monitor intelligence and incidents involving individuals considered ‘gang involved’, however, it must be stressed that a marker does not denote the person is regarded as a gang member and this system is purely to assist with safeguarding particularly in the secure establishment.

In 2012/13, there were in the region of 300 people who were of interest to XTF because of some form of association to the gang problem. This association could be as a gang related offender, a victim, or a person at risk (because of the dynamics of gang offending a person could well be all three).   The only available official source of data I have secured is from the ACPO National Gang Mapping Exercise which was completed on behalf of DCC Dave Thompson under EGYV.   In January 2012 within GMP there were 66 Urban Street Gangs identified across Greater Manchester in accordance with the ACPO-adapted ‘Dying to Belong’ definition of an Urban Street Gang.  As part of the return each division was asked to estimate the number of members in each gang – the total across Greater Manchester was estimated to be 886 broken down as follows:-

North Manchester =321,
South Manchester =217,
Salford =38
Ashton = 0
Stockport =0
Bolton =38
Wigan = 0
Trafford =30
Bury =11
Rochdale = 42
Oldham =189

Based on what you were trying to work out at the hearing 886 amongst a population of circa 2.7 Million, would give a percentage of 0.03% of persons involved in gangs in Greater Manchester.

CSE Details

During the enquiry I detailed the action plan for GMP to combat CSE.  Each police area (Division) now has it's own dedicated CSE team under the brand of Protect.   I advised there were 553 nominals flagged as victims of CSE and how we identified them.   Below is the breakdown per police area of crimes, victims and offenders.    Please note if you add up the offenders and victims columns you will get a different figure from what I've provided.  This is because some offenders and victims belong to more than one area and are effectively double counted.  

Division

Crimes

Offenders

Victims

A - North Manchester

36

26

86

E - South Manchester

17

61

120

F - Salford

11

15

40

G - Ashton

20

22

36

J - Stockport

34

56

67

K - Bolton

64

30

33

L - Wigan

22

15

22

M - Trafford

14

10

28

N - Bury

12

26

55

P - Rochdale

85

127

84

Q - Oldham

40

40

25

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

355

404

553

 

The make-up of the CSE teams is as follows:-

Phoenix Protect - North, South Manchester and Salford - 8 Police Officers, 14 partner agency members including social workers, youth workers, Young Womens Advocate, Barnados, NSPCC, admin support.  

Phoenix Tameside - Ashton - 4 police officers, 1 x social worker, 1 x health worker, 1 x support worker

Phoenix Pomphret - Stockport - 4 police officers, 1 x social worker, 1 x Senior Practitioner

Phoenix Exit - Bolton - 5 police officers, 1 x social work manager, 1 x social worker, 3 x support workers, Administrator

Phoenix Wigan - Wigan - 4 police officers

Phoenix Trafford - Trafford - 2 police officers

Phoenix Bury - 3 police officers, 1 x social work manager (being advertised), 1 x social worker, 2 x full-time support workers, 1 x development worker, 1 x Sexual Health worker (under consideration)

Phoenix Sunrise - Rochdale - 4 police officers, Service Head Manager, Social Work Manager, 4 x social workers, Business Support Admin, Health Practitioner, 1 x PACE (Parent Support worker – being advertised), 1 x Early Break worker

Phoenix Messenger - Oldham - 4 police officers,1 x Social Worker, 1 x student social worker

I trust the above is everything you requested and should you wish to visit Manchester to visit our Partnership Hub you would be more than welcome.

Any questions please come back to me.
 
Regards

Debbie Dooley
Detective Chief Inspector
Xcalibre Task Force &
Integrated Gang Management Unit (IGMU)

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