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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Gangster 'glamour' tackled
Police in Greater Manchester
Police believe Saturday's march could have positive benefits

Demonstrators are preparing to march in Manchester in protest at escalating gang violence which has seen 13 people killed in shootings in three years.

But the gulf between protesters and perpetrators makes the battle against crime a tough one.

Moss Side resident Michael Mc Farquhar, 34, joint organiser of Saturday's peace march along with Gary Gordon from Longsight, believes the glamorisation of gun culture is to blame for the increased use of guns by gangs in that part of the city.

'Cool image'

"Music and television paint a picture that the gangster lifestyle is cool and acceptable which is having a negative impact on the kids," he said.

Moss Side, Manchester
Many Moss Side youngsters have no job or qualifications

"Lots of them see using a gun and joining a gang as something to aspire to."

Mr McFarquhar came up with the idea for a march earlier this year after family members of his own were shot and injured by gangs.

"When someone close to you gets shot it brings home how serious and dangerous guns are," he said.

Guns 'for protection'

"I don't really think people who use guns in this way know the devastating affect it has on family, friends and the whole community."

Gang member "Butcher", 21, from Moss Side said he did not believe the march would stop the killings in either Moss Side or Longsight.

Butcher carries a gun which he says he "uses for protection" - he has been shot in the hand by rival gangs.


Being in a gang provides you with 'easy money'

Butcher, gang member

"The shootings have gone on for too long and too many people are involved," he said.

"The kids aren't really bothered by what the older generation think.

"I've been involved in gangs since 1990.

"Once you're involved in a gang it's hard to get out.

"Most of the kids around here don't have much to do. There's no jobs worth doing without qualifications and school has let me down.

Armed police

"Being in a gang provides you with 'easy money'."

Butcher said he felt let down by the system.

A pilot scheme - aimed at beating crime - has involved officers on patrol on foot in Moss Side and Longsight.

Superintendent Adrian Lee, Divisional Commander of the South Manchester Division, is in charge.

He said armed patrols were needed to reassure the public and protect unarmed police who were being threatened at gun point..

"This march can only have a positive effect. We need to have the support of the community if we are going to tackle gun crime.

"But I would like to reassure everyone that the police, the city council and all its partners are working together to tackle the problem of gang violence and gang activity in Manchester."

See also:

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