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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 16:13 GMT
Cash boost to tackle gang culture
Nicola Sturgeon, Kenny MacAskill and police officer in Govan
Nicola Sturgeon and Kenny MacAskill were shown round trouble spots
Funding to help crack down on Scotland's gang culture has been announced by the Scottish Government.

The 200,000 package will be spent on local schemes, including workshops to tackle territorialism and build conflict resolution skills.

The announcement comes a week after a study estimated there were more gangs in Glasgow than in London.

It is hoped the cash boost will help the police and charities tackle gangs and offer young people alternatives.

Specialist training for 72 police and local authority staff will be made available by a charity specialising in tackling gang culture.

The plans were announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill during a visit to Govan in Glasgow.

I hope we can persuade more of these youngsters involved in gangs - or on the cusp of gang membership - to think again about whether gang life is really a protection from harm
Kenny MacAskill
Justice Secretary

The programmes will run alongside a police anti-violence campaign which will aim to disrupt gang activity and will focus on alcohol and the carrying of weapons.

Mr MacAskill said: "I hope we can persuade more of these youngsters involved in gangs - or on the cusp of gang membership - to think again about whether gang life is really a protection from harm.

"And I hope that better-informed professional staff can work with these youngsters to help them resolve conflicts without violence - using banter more readily than a blade.

"We are determined to offer more of our youngsters a chance to get out of this cycle of offending."

Way out

Last week's report - compiled by the Centre of Social Justice, a think-tank led by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith - estimated that there were 170 gangs in Glasgow compared with 169 in London.

It said the problem was linked to poverty and deprivation and called for Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to work together to address the issue.

Det Ch Insp Andy McKay said the police would continue to come down hard on violence and disorder.

But he added: "We need to offer those who are on the cusp of entering this lifestyle other options to harness their energy and friendship, while those who are already involved need to be given the understanding to make informed choices about their behaviour and offered a way out."

SEE ALSO
Police chief defends gang record
05 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Poverty 'hampers' city's recovery
05 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Gang members telling it As It Is
10 Sep 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Gang fighting campaign 'success'
14 Aug 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Gangs 'serious as sectarianism'
07 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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