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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Gun gang members 'die by age 24'
A man with a gun
Xcalibre is the largest anti-gang operation GMP has ever launched
Young people in Greater Manchester who get involved with gun crime should not expect to live beyond 24, police claim.

The shock statistic has been revealed as part of a new crackdown on gun crime by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

The operation - dubbed Xcalibre - aims to unite police intelligence across the region, and involve community action groups in the battle against gangs.

GMP says Xcalibre is the force's biggest ever campaign against gun and gang violence.

The life expectancy figures come from comparing the number of active gunmen thought to be in Greater Manchester with the death toll of gang members.

In the last three years, eight people under the age of 20 have been killed by guns on the streets of Manchester.

Although many of these incidents have been due to rivalry between known groups of people, they are still too young to die,
ACC Dave Whatton, Greater Manchester Police
Seventeen people under the age of 30 have also been killed.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Whatton said the campaign aimed to help youngsters who have got involved with gangs to escape.

"Although many of these incidents have been due to rivalry between known groups of people, they are still too young to die," he said.

"But what they don't think about are the consequences of getting involved. It's not just about dying - last year alone we had 13 cases of serious woundings because of guns.

"At best, they can expect a long time behind bars."

But he added Xcalibre will also have a strong emphasis on high-profile, tough operations.

Intelligence unit

More of GMP's resources are to be ploughed into gun crime operations than ever before.

The Force Intelligence Bureau, Armed Crime Unit and the Tactical Firearms Unit will be targeting divisions where gun crime is affecting the local community.

A new specialist intelligence cell unit is being set up to concentrate on gathering firearms-related information to identify, locate and jail the main gangmasters.

Xcalibre will also develop links with local community groups, including Manchester Multi-Agency Gang Strategy (MMAGS) - the only gang intervention project of its kind in the UK.

MMAGS aims to prevent people from becoming involved in gangs in the first place and prevent current gang members from offending.

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