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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Children 'caught in gun violence'
Manchester anti-gun march
Residents have marched against gun violence
Children as young as 10 are getting caught up in gang-related gun violence in the North West, says a report.

The age young people are becoming involved in such crime has fallen in the last five years, according to researchers in Manchester.

Not all of those children and teenagers are joining gangs but many are getting caught up "in the margins" of the culture.

Greater Manchester Police said that they have a number of strategies in place to target gun related crime.


[Youngsters] see it almost as a career option if you like

Steve Shropshire, research consultant
Steve Shropshire, who co-authored the report, said Manchester's"thriving economy" was contributing to the rising problem.

He told BBC North West Tonight: "About five years ago the gang member was becoming involved at the age of 14, 15 and 16.

"But now people as young as 11 and 12 are getting involved, or even younger still.

"There have been some incidents where individuals of 10-years-old have become involved."

He said the problem was made worse by relatively economically deprived areas like Longsight, sitting alongside affluent districts such as Didsbury.

Community differences

"This makes the differences between these communities more stark and that serves to encourage younger people to join the gang culture as a life option," he said.

"They see it almost as a career option if you like."

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman did not want to comment on the report, but said gang members in the city have recently been jailed.

"In the last 15 months 20 people have been jailed for more than 200 years between them.

"Of those, four are now serving life sentences for murder."

He said the force was working with other agencies, such as the probation service, to develop programmes to help stop young people joining gangs.


Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

01 Jun 02 | England
01 Jun 02 | England
29 Apr 02 | England
10 Jul 00 | UK
10 Jul 00 | UK
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