Gang activities in the UK have become prevalent in UK schools with more than a third of schools indicating that they suspect gangs have infiltrated their system according to a new study.
A new investigation on gang activities in schools has revealed that a third of teachers in the UK believe that their students are involved with gangs. Reports of drug distribution in schools, violent gangs who use knives to harass students and thieves thriving in schools have made headlines in the past, but its extent has never been determined.
Gang activities study
A survey conducted on teachers from 1,300 schools representing around half a million students by Times before the spread of coronavirus in the UK is now shedding light on the extent to which gang activities have penetrated the UKs educaiton system. The survey aimed to find if there was any evidence that gangs were operating in schools, if teachers were aware of such activities and how schools were responding to these threats.
The study found that in the academic year 2018-2019, 61 percent of UK schools conducted searches on their students to determine if they had carried any weapons in schools. Depending on the situation, the study found that some schools involved police officers or security guards with sniffer dogs to find students who were bringing weapons in the school.
The study also found that in the same academic year, more than 60 percent of schools that took part in the survey indicated that they had carried out student searches in a bid to smoke out gang members. Of the schools that carried out these searches, the study found that 52 percent of schools indicated that they were able to find gang activities being carried out by their students.
The study also showed that in secondary schools, gang activities were more prevalent as compared to primary schools. Data showed that only two percent indicated that their primary schools were involved in gang activities. However, for secondary schools, that figure jumped to a third of secondary being involved in gang activities.
The report also indicates that children as young as eight years old were being used as mules to distribute drugs in schools. This was recorded in Hampshire primary school, where an eight-year-old was caught distributing drugs.
On what schools did with students caught distributing drugs, the study found that 24 percent of schools referred students caught doing gang activities were referred to either police or social service for potential gang involvement.
In oxford, at least one primary school indicated that they had received a warning from their police department indicating that teenagers as young as 13-year-olds were suspected of engaging in gang activities.
In September, schools will reopen countrywide and a warning released last month by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson indicates just how volatile the situation of dealing with gang activities in schools has become. The department said it expected more young people and students to engage in gang-related crimes due to months of lockdowns and many losing their jobs after most of their places of work were closed down.
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