Home Secretary Theresa May has outlined plans to tackle gangs and youth violence following the summer riots in England.
Mrs May said successive governments had not done enough to deal with the problem and the riots showed "how serious" it had become.
Announcing a series of new measures to MPs on 1 November 2011 the home secretary acknowledged that gangs were not the sole cause of the disorder, "but they were a factor".
Labour supported the government's intention to tackle gang and youth violence but warned that spending cuts could undermine its strategy.
Mrs May told the Commons that early intervention in vulnerable people's lives was the most cost-effective way to reduce violence later in life.
She said the government was recruiting 4,200 extra health visitors and doubling the capacity of family nurse partnership schemes to help 13,000 young mothers. £18m would be used to identify and support victims of domestic violence and their children, she added.
A 100-strong task force, made up of "ending gangs and youth violence teams", will be set up to provide "intensive support" to gang-affected areas to "help them understand their problem and develop their own solutions". This will involve community activists, NHS experts and police officers.
She also reaffirmed the government's intention to strengthen weapons possession laws, including a mandatory custodial sentence for offenders caught carrying a knife, and announced a lengthening of prison sentences for supplying guns to gang members and a new offence of possessing an illegal firearm with intent to supply.
Labour supported the measures but claimed that the reality of government policy did not live up to the rhetoric.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper hit out at the coalition's policy on sentencing, describing it as "completely confused" when it came to jail terms for gang members. She also condemned the abolition of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos).
She told MPs: "The government is making it harder, not easier for the police and communities to tackle gang violence and cut crime."
Mrs May said she regretted Ms Cooper's decision to be "party political" on the matter. She defended the decision to scrap Asbos telling the Commons they would be replaced with more effective measures that would "put communities back in charge".