Gang crime affects young people from across society, case worker says

Gang crime in Westminster is a problem affecting young people from all of the borough’s backgrounds, a gang worker has warned.

Barrington Wright, a case worker, who helps young people in danger of getting involved in gang activity, says those he works with come from a wide spectrum of society.

“I work with children from all backgrounds, from people on council estates, through to those whose parents have very good middle class jobs,” he said.

“A lot of these young people’s parents aren’t aware as much as they should be of what their children are involved in.”

The former mortgage broker, who has been working with young gang members for three years, thinks people’s perception also makes things difficult in the borough.

“People may have moved into the area and paid half a million for a two bedroom property,” he says.

“What they believe to be a gang may often be young people sitting down laughing and joking, or going to school or to the gym.”

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Mr Wright was speaking at Westminster council’s Your Community Your Choice at Senior Street, Maida Vale on Friday (September 22).

A hired routemaster bus paid a visit to the estate, and also stopped off at Lisson Grove, Marylebone on Saturday, an area troubled by gang crime over the summer.

He believes the rise in problems was likely to be seasonal, with gang trouble often increasing over the summer.

He said: “There has been an increase in crime in the borough, with an influx of drugs and violent crime.

“You often find this happens during the summer when young people finish college or school. If there isn’t anything for them to get involved in straight away, they can find themselves drifting and that might be when they get involved in crime.

“Unless we get out there and let them know what’s available, they are very vulnerable to it.”