The BBC reports that pupils should be taught in school how to avoid being sucked into gangs or exploited by older criminals, the children’s commissioner has said.
Anne Longfield said personal, social, health and economics education (PSHE) lessons should help children spot when they are being targeted by gangs.
It follows reports children are being used by criminals as “money mules”. She said children looking for “a sense of belonging, fast money” or “glamour” were at risk.
Ms Longfield’s research has found 46,000 children in England are involved in gangs.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sunday Breakfast programme, the children’s commissioner said children as young as 10 were being recruited into gangs that could be “extremely violent, usually intimidatory and sexually abusive, particularly towards girls”.
Ms Longfield said the “life skills lessons” should include information on the risks of becoming involved in gangs, an understanding of how gangs target children and help in building resilience to resist them.
The commissioner also called for police forces to work together to produce better data on the number of children targeted by gangs.
The PSHE Association, a national body working to improve PSHE education, said it supported the call for compulsory lessons to help young people understand “the specific risks of gang membership for individuals, families and communities”.
Do you have gang problems in your school? Will covering the subject in greater depth in PSHE help? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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