This blog is all that remains from the former website which was closed after 8 years of providing a 'wiki' of urban street gangs in London.

An unfinished history of modern urban street gangs in London has been used to replace some of the content of the original site, beginning here

Friday, 28 June 2013

Council could turn to YouTube to break up Croydon gangs

Croydon Guardian

2:20pm Friday 28th June 2013 in By Chris Baynes, Reporter

The council could request gang videos to be removed

YouTube could be the next battlefield in the war on gang crime in the borough, the Croydon Guardian can reveal.

The council is considering deploying staff to trawl the video-sharing website in search of gang-related footage.

YouTube could then be requested to remove videos deemed likely to encourage gang crime or lead to recruitment of new members.

Croydon Council is contemplating the strategy after it was trialled at another London borough.

Newham Council has forced the removal of 76 videos from YouTube since it began the scheme in January.

Enforcement offices working for the East London authority, which has operates in one of the country's most deprived boroughs, have found more than 500 gang-related videos.

Croydon Council confirmed it was looking at employing a similar scheme.

A council spokesman said: "Croydon Gangs Unit regularly monitors social networking sites and the content is used to inform enforcement action where possible.

“We recently became aware of the work undertaken by Newham and are now considering whether this approach may be useful or achievable in our borough to help disrupt gang activity.”

Croydon has some of the highest levels of gang-related crime in London.

There were 105 gun crimes in the borough in the last 12 months, the fourth highest in the capital.

It has the fifth highest robbery rate, at 2,016 in the last year.

A YouTube spokesman said: "YouTube's community guidelines prohibit content that's intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous, illegal activities, and we encourage all our users to flag videos for our attention.

"We review videos against our guidelines when notified and remove anything that breaks the rules."

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Borough's United - On Tour


 "The Crib is already doing excellent work with young people in Hackney to prevent gun, knife and hate crimes. Setting up this exciting new project means it can unleash the creative potential of youngsters in every borough across the city, helping them to raise their aspirations and to increase their confidence as performers."  The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Boroughs United is a youth led campaign for peace. It is produced and managed by the independent youth charity, The Crib, who conceived and developed the programme to promote an inclusive platform for all communities to share, express and enjoy the inspiring and exceptional talents and achievements young people contribute to our society every day.

Boroughs United is a three-phased, pan-London, urban arts showcase, produced by The Crib, in collaboration with the producers of the legendary talent shows Hackney Empire’s 291 Club, C4’s Nights out at the Empire and The New Acts of the Year

  • On Tour! – 33 London borough Summer season
  • Urban Quest – North, South, East, West – London regional Autumn heats
  • Showcase & Awards – Hackney Empire – Winter Grand Finals

Boroughs United - On Tour! is a professionally produced music-based urban variety show, presenting original work performed by: singer/ songwriters, MCs, poets, speciality acts and dance groups, aged between 15 and 24 years.

On Tour! premieres this year.  It will be performed to audiences of at least 15,000 people, including preview performances at City Hall in June, Hyde Park Live and Open East at the Olympic Park in July and going on to play afternoon matinees, throughout August, in art centres, studio theatres and festivals, performing once in each of London’s 33 boroughs.


Friday 21 June:           Celebrate at London’s Living Room, City Hall
Sunday 7 July:            Hyde Park Live Family Day
Thursday 11 July:       Hyde Park Live, On Tour! Youth Network Preview
Saturday 27 &
Sunday 28 July:          Open East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
29 July to
31 August:                   33 London Borough Tour (Mondays to Saturdays)  

Urban Quest plays four regional heats in middle-scale theatres, in north, south, east and west London, between September and December. The Quest showcases emerging acts to a talent selection panel comprising of inspirational peers, leading artists and top industry professionals who are tasked with the responsibility to select the final line-up that will perform at the annual Boroughs United Showcase & Awards.


½ Term:                      Four venues TBC

Showcase & Awards:

Sunday 26 January or Sunday 9 February 2014, Hackney Empire Theatre

 “The success, at the Boroughs United event, of local singer “Little Red” and the potential benefits of such success offer the potential for this person to become a role model for other similarly gifted young people from the area.” PC Philip Poole (2002)

Boroughs United has been running annually since 2000.  It has received grant funding from the Youth Opportunity Fund, Arts Council of England Grants for the Arts, Lottery Awards for All and the Metropolitan Police.  It strives to be an inclusive and grass-roots, peer-led programme that is delivered by young people, aged up to 24 years, with support from youth workers and creative facilitators.

Each year, it brings together a pan-London network of approximately 200 young volunteers who participate in creative and administrative skills development programmes including: fashion, singing, dance, MC-ing, performance poetry, music and film production and event management to deliver a first class production at the Hackney Empire Theatre.

It is a creative industry that each year provides a diverse mix of at least 350 young Londoners with accredited training, volunteering, work experience, apprenticeship and employment opportunities and engages them in a range of employment experiences, such as: artistic performance, business administration, event management, marketing, public relations and digital media. It is delivered in partnership with a pan London network of programmes services, including: independent peer led youth programmes, voluntary youth and community projects, local authority and public sector youth services, private sector CSR led youth and community programmes

Boroughs United has consistently played to capacity audiences at venues including: Hackney’s Ocean Music Venue, the Hackney Empire and Indigo2. To date, over 2,500 young Londoners, including Leona Lewis, Diversity and Twist & Pulse, have performed in the show and managed the backstage production. Audiences of over 10,000 have watched the shows.

Direct annual engagement

350 young artists and practitioners directly engaged through participation in performances, training and volunteer programmes

165 youth engagement initiatives and organisations across the 33 boroughs

20,000 live audiences attending On Tour!, Quest and Showcase & Awards

The Crib

Formed in 1999, The Show Crib (The Crib) was created as a charity to address a recognised deficiency of youth provision in the Shoreditch area of Hackney. By January 2001, it was established as a detached youth project, offering a non-threatening environment for local young people from culturally diverse backgrounds. By 2002, the Crib’s youth membership grew to 430. It currently has over 600 young people aged 9–25 on its books, and sees them in a rotating pool of around 150 each week at different sessions and activities. Although these attendees are primarily from Hackney, many come from further afield, drawn by word of mouth and the reputation of the project.

The Crib has established working relations with the Youth Justice Board, the Youth Offending Team, the Drug Action Team and the Metropolitan Police. Working with the Hackney Crime Disorder partners the Crib engages in programmes to reduce re-offending and to tackle persistent offenders.

Staff work with borough based agencies to engage in early intervention initiatives. These interventions are based upon the themes of health, education, family welfare, drug awareness, bullying, professional advice and counselling. These initiatives are delivered by a combination of outreach workers and project-based workers.

The Crib provides a range of development opportunities and project-based activities, designed to promote social inclusion and enhance the social and personal education of the young people participating.

The Crib co-ordinates an active youth forum whose members, conceive and participate in a range of arts based development programmes, including: drama, dance, singing, DJing, MCing, spoken word and video workshops, and the forum produces the "One Voice" youth magazine. Other participatory activities conceived by the forum include the ground breaking “Trading Places” role reversal programme run in partnership with the Metropolitan Police.

The Crib enables, encourages and promotes the participation of socially excluded young people, between 9-25, who for varying reasons are unable or unwilling to access existing services and opportunities. The project provides a non-threatening environment to those young people, from diverse cultural backgrounds, which have real difficulties maintaining continuity in mainstream education and employment.

The Crib works with:

• Young single parents
• Those who do not regularly attend school or have been excluded
• Those at risk of offending or have offended
• Young persons who are in danger of, or have been placed on ABC orders (anti-social, behaviour contracts)
• Those who are directly or indirectly affected by drug and alcohol abuse
• Black, ethnic minority, Gay and Lesbians and asylum seekers.
• Young people who are looking for help and advice to further their social and educational achievements.

The Crib provides a supportive environment that gives young people a voice and a stake in their community and enables them to increase their self-esteem and raise achievement so that they can realise their full potential as young members of the community.

The Crib manages a number of innovative and participatory activities, aimed at the social, educational and personal development of its users.

Activities are suggested by the young people accessing the project and developed by them. Activities are also often managed with young people in a lead role, working alongside project staff, volunteers and peer mentors in project delivery.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Prisoner to the Streets, Hackney Empire - review for those that missed it!

"Bad come easy, being good is the hardest thing I've ever done" - Robyn Travis 2013

On Sunday the 9th June 2013, the much anticipated “Prisoner to the Streets” (P2TS) book launch took place at the Hackney Empire, east London. Author Robyn Travis, once perceived to be a gang member, although will always refuse to be labelled as such, as a youth carved himself a bad boy reputation with the Holly Street Boys.

The Holly Street Boys and London Fields Boys from E8 in Hackney, separated by less than half a mile laying either side of Queensbridge Road, was the first ever gang war within a post code. It was the beginning of a phenomenon that the media would later dub ‘postcode wars’, and it triggered a breakdown in the relationships between groups of young people across neighbourhoods within the borough of Hackney, a trend which later followed across London like an abhorrent epidemic claiming hundreds of young lives. In fact, between 2001 and 2010 more people were killed in London by gun and knife violence, than British service people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined[i].

P2TS is a brutally honest reflection of Robyn’s own life and that of his peers who grew up to be part of the London Fields and Holly Street rivalry. Robyn’s life has taken him close to death, he has lost many people close to him and has served time in prison. He can now reflect on the rivalry that still burns to this day between Holly Street and London Fields, and can see it for what it is, pointless. Groups of boys who once were friends and attended school together fighting for the title of Hackney amidst two run down council estates owned by a system they so openly detest, yet continue to play into the hands of.

Yesterday, the man Robyn Travis made another milestone in his journey to administer the medicine to cure the violence that stems from those who have become prisoners to the street - a state of mind that Robyn has worked assiduously to overcome. Up to 1,000 people turned out to show love and support for Robyn’s cause. Whilst it was an event for us to all look forward and take us as a community a step closer to making the changes we want to see, it was also close to the 13th anniversary of the day Robyn nearly lost his own life.


As far as I am aware, there were no regional media representatives here, such as BBC London, to capture the event. They missed the positive and cohesive energy of a community, that has on occasions been torn apart by gun and knife violence, standing together to say enough is enough. Whilst people from all four corners of London were joining to support the movement, BBC London was reporting on Lambeth Council’s decision to reject a planning application concerning the relocation of Southbank’s Skate Park.

Although it was said in jest, Robyn and I joked that the only hope of getting BBC London to come down to Hackney Empire was if someone was shot outside the venue. The sad truth is that good news does not sell. Looking at the headlines today, you’d be forgiven if you came to the conclusion that positivity must not be profitable as it is largely absent. Instead, I am sat here looking at the news faced with a list of human misery. I know it’s biased and an unfair representation of what is actually going on today, but still, it makes me feel anger.

I was once told that you should give recognition to the behaviour that you want to see more of. If you recognise and praise a person for being good, then you should expect them to continue displaying good behaviour. If you only give recognition to bad behaviour then you should expect bad behaviour to continue. I don’t know how much truth there is in that, but of the 15 headlines currently showing on BBC England more than half concern human misery, giving recognition to societies demons. Well, yesterday, I saw something you won’t see in the newspaper. It was inspirational, promising and moving; one man might even say that it was a WOWgasm!

The Show

Firstly, let me apologise, as I do not remember the exact running order of the events, but I’m certain that I have mentioned everybody. There were a dozen acts, displaying a combination of music, dance, poetry and motivational and inspirational disquisition – broken up by the amusing, energetic and animated hosts Gabriel Alozie and Rochelle.


First up was Platinum Performing Arts from north London, an organisation which provides children between the ages of 5 -19 with a platform to boost their confidence through dance, singing and drama. Opening up, the young people performed a dance routine from the anti-knife crime theatre production DMPO, also known as ‘The Power To Make A Change’. Three of the entourage later returned to the stage to read a chapter of Robyn’s book. Another of north London’s talents, artist Cel22, @Cel22UK on Twitter, came to the stage spitting nothing but the hard hitting truth on the state of current affairs in the UK.

From Hackney, there were performances from Ghetto Luv and Charm, supported by some great musicians. Charm is a UK singer and songwriter on the verge of releasing her independent debut album, Under Lock & Key. Talented keyboard player Shane, rewarded the audience with his rendition of Jah Cure’s Reflections, and gained the admiration of the audience for his own song Choices.


Rochelle Loro delivered two immensely thought provoking spoken word performances.

Check out one of them here, "Revolution", spoken word performance.


Legendary Lyndon Walters inspired us all with his intimate tale of Robyn’s journey and story Prisoner to the Streets, and his realisation of what he calls a WOW moment, articulating just how remarkable and how significant this movement is, and will become – the continuous progress of course is WOWgasms.

Mark Prince shared his story of how he ‘accidentally’ became one of Britain’s most high-profile spokesmen in the fight against knife and gun crime. Mark founded the Kiyan Prince Foundation following the tragic death of his 15-year-old son in May 2006. For me, his was the most powerful and inspirational talk of the event in that it struck a chord I could relate to best, and left me fighting back a tear. Such a compassionate guy, I am in awe of his strength for being able to share with us all his most painful memory in losing Kiyan, and for being able to forgive and advance change.

Finally there was Peaches. Peaches, who as a young woman was no stranger to crime, came out of prison in 2000 and never looked back. In 2003 she set up her own charity, Reality Bytes, and has worked tirelessly to tackle the social ills that affect young people ever since. Peaches spits nothing but real talk, I would elect this lady. I first had the privilege of listening to Peaches preach several years ago in south London. True to the cause, she is still doing this thing, leaving a trail of peace, positivity and realness wherever she goes. Words you will feel when you hear Peaches are dignity and self-respect, no matter what wrong you’ve done in your life, she will empower you with positive energy.

Babatundé Aléshé

After a brief interval, Nigerian comedian Babatunde was splitting sides throughout Hackney Empire with his hysterical anecdotes on everything hood, notably the intricate differences between black house parties and white house parties, Tulisa’s recent arrest and how teaching gang members first aid might look in a real life situation (see video for sample of talented comedian Babatunde).

Robyn Travis/Prisoner to the Streets

Robyn has selflessly planted a seed, sharing his inner most thoughts and feelings with us all, in his powerful book ‘Prisoner to the Streets’. Help that seed continue to grow by spreading Robyn’s message and words with those who need it the most...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Prisoner to the Streets, Hackney Empire

Article to come...


Platinum Performing Arts

Cel22 @Cel22UK

Lyndon Walters

Charm @CharmIsOfficial

Peaches @PeachesPresents

Mark Prince Kiyan Prince Foundation (

Rochelle Loro

Ghetto Luv 

Babatunde @BabtundeComedy

Researcher - Catch 22 Dawes Unit

See here for details:

£20,796 - £25,689 + £2,241.15 London Weighting
London EC1

Funded by The Dawes Trust, our recently formed Dawes Unit drives forward an understanding of how we can effectively tackle problems caused by gangs. Working with individuals, families, schools and communities, it brings together research, policy and practice to help reduce the harm caused by gangs and gang-related crime. Your input will help us ensure this innovative programme is a success.

As a Researcher you will:

• Play a key role in evaluating the programme and raising the profile of the Dawes Unit
• Support the development of research proposals, undertake desk-based research, carry out literature reviews and write reports
• Analyse qualitative and quantitative data and develop research tools such as interview guides and questionnaires
• Promote our work by producing a newsletter, managing our Twitter account and writing blogs
• Provide vital administrative and communications support

As a Researcher you will need:

• A degree in a relevant or associated field i.e. social sciences, social policy/criminal justice policy and excellent report writing skills
• High level research experience that includes managing and analysing qualitative and quantitative data
• Good knowledge of the criminal justice system
• Excellent communication and team working skills and the ability to work autonomously
• A well-organised, proactive and positive approach, lots of initiative and a proven ability to provide administrative and project support
• A flair for solving the range of problems that arise during different types of research
• A willingness to travel in order to ‘get the job done’

If you’ve got the skills we’re looking for, this is a great opportunity to make a difference to young people at a crucial time in their lives.

A forward-looking social business, Catch22 has over two hundred years’ experience of providing services that help people in tough situations to turn their lives around. Our programmes help those we work with to steer clear of crime or substance misuse, do the best they can in school or college and develop skills for work, live independently on leaving care or custody, gain new skills and confidence as parents, and play a full part in their community.

Closing date: 28th June 2013. Interviews: w/c 15th July 2013.

For further details about this post and other vacancies visit

No agencies please.

If you’re successful you may be required to consent to relevant checks by the Criminal Records Bureau and the young people you’ll be working with may have a say in your appointment. Equal and diverse, we see the potential in everyone.


As a charity we are keen to reduce our costs and so encourage all applicants to apply online. However, if you are unable to for any reason, please email the contact person on the advert for further assistance.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Newham pulls YouTube gang videos to tackle gang violence

Enforcement officers in Newham have been trawling through YouTube videos to find those which could be used to recruit new gang members Picture:Newham Council

Kay Atwal Friday, June 7, 2013

Newham Council has removed 76 videos from YouTube in a crackdown on songs that promote gang violence and membership.

The scheme, which has also involved the Metropolitan Police, has been so successful that officers from the authority have already briefed the Home Office and there are indications that other councils are also looking to adopt it.

Since January last year enforcement officers have examined 500 videos from the site and removed 76 because of explicit use of threats. Their aim is to remove videos that glamorise gangs or deliberately antagonise rival gangs.

One of the videos highlighted in the scheme resulted in someone in a gang being stabbed.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham said although the borough doesn’t have a huge gang problem, 150 people out of a population of 310,000 are gang members, it is focused on them.

He said: “When people make these videos, the motive is to glamorise gangs. So starving gangs of publicity in this way is the right thing to do. It’s important to say to young people that being in a gang isn’t a normal way of life.

“That’s why we get the videos taken down.

“This is not about censorship: I’ve always been a supporter of freedom of speech. But violence is not acceptable and calls for violence are not acceptable.

“We work very hard to stop young people getting into gangs and we also enforce very heavily against those who think they can get away with it. Behind this are strong partnerships with the Metropolitan Police and other organisations including HM Revenue & Customs and British Transport Police.

"So our message is: being in a gang is stupid. If you’re going to be violent, and you’re in Newham, we will come after you.”

Below, an example of the type of videos being removed

Thursday, 6 June 2013

These Eyes of Mine

This song is an anti-knife crime track written by Jada Peaarl, to express how she felt about losing her cousin and someone that she knew to knife crime.

"I hear of these tragedies all the time and wanted to sent out a positive message to listeners"

Jada Pearl - These Eyes of Mine

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Young girls exploited by gangs in Brent

Jun 5 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer

WORRYING anecdotal evidence presented in a report by the partnership and place overview and scrutiny committee’s task group suggests that girls are at risk from gangs in the borough.

The group found that although there is little evidence to suggest that Brent has a girl gang problem, there is anecdotal evidence that there is a developing problem, across London, of sexual exploitation of young women by men associated with gangs.

It also reported that gangs are grooming boys as young as 10 years old.

The report states: “In Brent, gang members are usually young, male, a victim of bullying or violence, lack positive role models, have a drug or alcohol problem, have mental or emotional problems and grow up in poverty.

“Women can be involved in gangs as foot soldiers, as carriers of drugs or weapons, as mother figures or as girlfriends to perform sex acts. They are often passed around gang members and rape is not uncommon.”

There are 15 recognised gangs in Brent, which are normally on or near social housing estates.

The task group investigated the issue and made recommendations to the council’s executive that extended services are created for prevention, intervention and exiting gangs.

The report went before Brent Council’s executive on Monday, May 20.

Victim Support told the committee there was a big link between domestic violence and women and girls associated with gangs and said they were seeing enough girls about this to be concerned about the issue.

Councillor Zaffar Van Kalwala (pictured), who chairs the committee, said: “Tackling gangs is one of the biggest challenges we face as a community. They are having a devastating impact on the lives of local residents.

“The shootings and stabbings leave our communities living in fear and feeling vulnerable.

“Up to 4,000 local youngsters could be affected by gangs and we are seeing a worrying trend where more and more young girls and being sucked into the gangs lifestyle.

“This report brings together local agencies, police, the voluntary sector and the community to provide the services needed to stop gangs in Brent.”

People involved in gangs were asked about the prevalence of gangs in the borough and a majority rated ‘nine out of 10’ and others said it was ‘off the scale’.

The report states: “Recent police statistics also highlight that despite London-wide reductions in gun crime, Brent is seeing a 10.8 per cent increase and is also experiencing increases in knife crime, well above the London-wide figures.”

The task group has recommended the council prioritise tackling gangs and youth violence and work closely with partners and the community to reduce gang membership and violence.

Further work will be done by the council to research this issue.