VicPol Corporate

Coordination in responding to youth gangs

Youth gang offending is complex – it is often visible to the community, opportunistic and spans a continuum of harm, making it difficult to address the issues of youth gangs through a single policing response.

To effectively tackle this complexity, we must adopt a coordinated approach within our organisation and with national law enforcement agencies and external partners.

We need to prioritise openly sharing information, ensure intelligence holdings are accessible, debrief on intervention outcomes and incorporate diverse perspectives.

Strong working relationships will allow us to effectively prevent, detect and disrupt youth gangs and support early identification to promote positive behaviour change.

Evidence-based and responsive approaches

Our approach to curtailing the problem of youth crime must continually mature in response to the evolving nature of youth gang-related activity and the local problems that develop in different regions.

To succeed, we must continue to build our understanding of youth gang offending patterns and the associated harm so we can identify the areas of greatest need across the State and deploy our resources appropriately.

We must establish partnerships with universities, academics, and other agencies to produce research on the drivers of youth gangs, particularly amongst the younger cohort, and their offending patterns to inform the design of evidence-based intervention models.

The ultimate aim of disrupting and dismantling gang and gang-related activity is to break the cycle of re-offending and encourage positive behavioural change. The ultimate measure of that success will always be the absence of crime.

Detective Sergeant, Regional Operations

Case study

Police in the Southern Metro Region responded to a stabbing incident in the south-eastern suburbs involving rival youth gangs.

Because of the nature of the incident and the Region’s strong relationships with Crime Command, specialist resources were contacted and deployed to support the investigation.

Through the intelligence holdings of specialist resources, police were able to identify several youth gang members who lived in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and instigated conversations to corroborate intelligence with the North West Metro Region.

The offenders were then located, charged and remanded.

Strengthening our working relationships and adopting a coordinated approach are key to an effective policing response to youth gangs.

Reviewed 27 July 2023

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