Message from the Deputy Commissioner
Violent offending by youth gangs significantly impacts community safety and confidence.
Violent youth gang behaviour includes inter and intra-gang conflict, and more significantly, gangs victimising the broader community through offences such as aggravated burglary and robberies.
This type of offending causes great emotional and physical harm to our community.
The factors that lead to youth gang behaviour and offending are complex, spanning social, economic, and environmental issues. Youth gangs are often the result of social marginalisation, fragmented family structures or economic hardship.
Young people involved in gangs place themselves at greater risk of harm and negative life-changing consequences. Individuals who are exposed to crime and the criminal justice system early in life are likely to face longer-term developmental, mental, physical and social problems.
In the past, we approached the issues presented by youth gangs at the local level. However, the landscape has evolved. Youth gangs are more mobile, more connected and influenced by technology, and unfortunately, we have seen an escalation in the harm that they can cause to the community and themselves.
As a result, we need a holistic and integrated response that reflects the complexity of the issue and the importance of collaboration - both with our external stakeholders and within Victoria Police.
The Youth Gang Strategy outlines our approach so that all Victoria Police employees, our partners and the Victorian community understand what we will do to respond to the issue of youth gangs in Victoria.
Victoria Police is determined to disrupt groups displaying threatening and violent behaviour to protect the safety of our community. At the same time, Victoria Police recognises the complex risk factors that motivate young people to join youth gangs.
We will work alongside our community and our partners to implement evidence-based responses to ensure that these young people can make a successful transition into adulthood.
We will pair our enforcement activities with an increased focus on opportunities for individuals to address the factors underlying their offending, re-engage with education and seek employment.
This strategy will orient Victoria Police’s response to youth gangs around four key pillars:
The Youth Gang Strategy will direct our efforts to prevent youth gang membership and violent and threatening behaviour from youth gangs, detect their activities through intelligence-led policing and disrupt and dismantle groups causing the greatest community harm.
We are committed to addressing this issue now, before violent behaviours become entrenched in the lives of offenders and the lives of our community.
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We pay our respects to Elders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who continue to care for their country, culture and people.
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Reviewed 27 July 2023