According to TES, a new report from Anne Longfield’s office, published today, estimates that some 27,000 children across the country are part of a gang.
Using official statistics, it found that self-reported gang members aged 10-15 were 5.5 times more likely to have been excluded or suspended in the past year.
It said many parents described exclusion as a “trigger point”, which pushed their children from some involvement into full gang membership.
But only a fraction of these children are known to authorities, many of which have no idea of the number of gangs in their area or what they are up to.
The report cites the case of “Chris”, whose short life was marred by domestic abuse and exclusion from school before he was shot dead aged 14 in an East London playground in 2017.
“This report shows there are thousands of children just like him, putting themselves in the same kind of danger,” said Ms Longfield.
Her report says government red-tape, fragmentation of policy response and a lack of funding mean that many local children’s boards have little or no understanding of the gangs in their area.
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