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Last Updated: Monday, 10 September 2007, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Gang members telling it As It Is
Police said gangs intimidate communities in Glasgow
A film containing CCTV footage and graphic images of gang fighting is to be screened to primary school children.

Police said pupils as young as 10 were joining gangs and the 15-minute film exposed the grim reality of alcohol abuse and fighting in Glasgow.

An expert in community justice warned graphic images and CCTV footage could "excite and enthuse" children.

The DVD called 'As It Is' features real life accounts from former gang members, victims and their families.

Police hope their stories will reveal the consequences of gang fighting and deter children from getting involved.

Strathclyde Police Assistant Chief Constable John Nielson said territorialism was simply not acceptable.

'Criminal lifestyle'

"It both disrupts and intimidates members of the community," he said.

The danger of using violent imagery is there is a risk it might make young people excited and enthusiastic
Professor Mike Nellis
University of Strathclyde

"Sadly, involvement in gangs can begin as early as primary school and often children as young as 10 years old are drawn into a criminal lifestyle.

"We believe that if they can relate to its content, they should see it."

The DVD was piloted in north and east Glasgow.

Mr Neilson added: "Youth workers have used it to show young people actively involved with gangs and territorialism.

"When confronted with the impact of their own behaviour - it left them with an uncomfortable reality."

The DVD is available to schools, community and youth groups.

Mike Nellis, professor of criminal and community justice at the University of Strathclyde's school of social work, described the DVD as useful.

But warned graphic imagery and CCTV footage of gang fights could backfire.

He said: "The danger of using violent imagery is there is a risk it might make young people excited and enthusiastic. There isn't a a great track record in using shock visual techniques.

"It doesn't have a significant deterrent effect and may backfire in term of glamourising the very thing your trying to turn kids against.

"The whole issue of trying to shock kids with imagery is very fraught but if you wrap it up with victims and former gang members you can't be accused of not trying."

He added: "It is an essential thing to do in Glasgow, we have do do something, we have to take risks."

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