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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 14:12 GMT
Police chief defends gang record
Chief Constable Stephen House
Mr House highlighted steps taken by the force
A police chief has defended his record of tackling gang violence in Glasgow.

Strathclyde Chief Constable Steve House insisted any comparisons between the city's gangs and those in London were "simply not valid".

Mr House said his force had placed officers in schools with gang problems, and was targeting gang members through stop and search operations.

He was responding to a report by the Centre for Social Justice, which said Glasgow had as many gangs as London.

The report from the CSJ, which was founded by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, warned that there were an estimated 170 teenage gangs in Glasgow.

It said that was the same number as in London, despite Glasgow having a fraction of the capital's population.

But Mr House insisted his force had been successful in hampering gang activity across the city through initiatives like Operation Phoenix, which led to a drop of 73% in weekend gang fights in the Easterhouse area.

Although both London and Glasgow have problems with gangs, the nature of the problems are completely different
Chief Constable Steve House
Strathclyde Police

The operation saw youngsters in Easterhouse given the opportunity to try sports like gorge walking and karting in a bid to steer them away from crime.

Mr House added: "Although both London and Glasgow have problems with gangs, the nature of the problems are completely different so comparisons are simply not valid.

"We're putting more police officers on the street, in intelligence-led operations. We're focusing our activity against violent offenders and areas where violence occurs.

"We're also doing more stop and searches in order to help disrupt gang activity. We've got campus cops in schools in areas where there are high levels of gang activity."

Mr House said the establishment of the Strathclyde Violence Reduction Unit three years ago had been key to tackling all forms of violence, particularly gang-related violence.

But he warned that policing alone could not hope to solve the city's violent crime problems.

"The groups who are most at risk of being the victim or perpetrator in a violent act are the same groups that are most at risk of poor educational attainment, poor long-term health prospects and poor employment prospects," he said.

SEE ALSO
Glasgow gang levels match London
05 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Gang fighting campaign 'success'
14 Aug 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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