'Children are involved in organised criminal gangs in Doncaster' social services admit

Social services are aware of children becoming involved in criminal gang activity in Doncaster, a senior care boss has admitted.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 28 June, 2019, 13:20
Social services are aware of children in gangs in Doncaster

Figures published from Doncaster Children’s Services Trust show they accurately identified nine young people involved in organised crime.

But bosses have said the formal figure could be as high as 18 as they suspect a further 12 children could be involved but cannot be sure.

Andy Hood from DCST said there was a concentration of children involved in gangs in the Conisbrough, Mexborough and Denaby areas of Doncaster.

In a report showing a sample of 149 Doncaster children who committed crimes, 61 per cent had ‘mental health concerns’, 32 per cent had ‘accommodation issues’ and 16 per cent were at risk of ‘sexual exploitation’.

Of the sample, 29 were females and all but six of the young offenders of the young people were British.

All six non-British were from eastern Europe which included two Poles, one Slovak, one Lithuanian and one Russian. No young people were identified as having immigration/asylum issues.

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Responding to Bessacarr councillor Majid Khan on the issue of gang involvement, Mr Hood told councillors there is a ‘community split’.

“We come across children who are in the criminal justice system or are on the cusp of it and sometimes they won’t be known to us until those issues escalate,” he said.

“In some communities, that will be children associated with gangs and there will be no gang associations at all - there is very much a community split.

“There is definitely a concentration of organised crime activity involving so many people down the Dearne Valley corridor where the child criminal exploitation teams are. This is the Conisbrough, Denaby, Mexborough areas.

“It is predominantly males in this region but nationally there is a different issue with young women involved in gang violence but we’ve not seen that yet in Doncaster.”