New powers for gang culture crackdown

Gang members could be banned from wearing distinctive colours or from entering rival territory under new powers that will come into force next month.

Gang injunctions will be brought in to break down gang culture and will also give civil courts the power to ban people from going out in public with dogs that have been used as weapons, Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said.

The powers, which come into effect on January 31, will tackle a "higher level of criminality" than anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) but will not lead to a criminal record if breached.

Mr Brokenshire said: "Gangs cause significant and lasting harm to our communities through fuelling violence, creating an atmosphere of fear and drawing young people into criminality.

"These new powers will help police and local authorities tackle local gang problems by placing tough conditions on the behaviour of individuals involved in gang-related violence and providing strong support to those who want to leave violent gangs."

Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, the lead on gangs for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), added: "Gang-related violence causes huge fear and harm in our communities. The introduction of gang injunction provides police and local authorities with another option when considering how to best tackle gang issues."

Under the powers, police and local authorities will be able to apply for the injunctions - which will be issued by a county court and last up to two years - for adults who have been proven to have engaged in, encouraged or assisted gang-related violence, the Home Office said.

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