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European Youth Gang Policy in Comparative Context

Fraser, A and Ralphs, R and Smithson, H (2018) European Youth Gang Policy in Comparative Context. Children and Society, 32 (2). pp. 156-165. ISSN 0951-0605

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Abstract

© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and National Children's Bureau. The past decade has seen increased reports of street gangs across a range of contexts. In Europe, anxieties over street-based youth has led to the development of gang-specific policies across a range of jurisdictions, most notably the UK. Following a similar pattern of policy mobility in criminal justice, many of these policies have origins in the US system. In this review of international gang policy developments, we critically examine a number of these policies in a comparative context - including gang policing units and intelligence databases - and interrogate their efficacy. Drawing on cogent examples from the UK, we argue for caution in adopting US gang intervention tactics due to the lack of empirical evidence relating to their applicability or efficacy, and the corresponding potential for discrimination toward the most marginalised and socially excluded children and young people in society.

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