Local authorities have been urged to work with schools, the police and other organisations in their communities to tackle the problem of gangs.
Ted Cantle of the Institute of Community Cohesion said that recent work carried out by the institute had led it to believe that gang culture was definitely a growing phenomenon.
“We found that kids refer to their gang as their family,” Cantle said. “The extent to which they have become racialised was also quite a shock.”
Cantle said that nobody in authority appeared to have any understanding of this growing problem, with the police only becoming interested in gang activity once it involved criminal activity.
“It’s up to every school to work this out in partnership with local authorities and other agencies,” Cantle told conference delegates.