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Action plan for to tackle youth gangs welcomed

19 September 2006

New action plan for to tackle youth gangs welcomed

The launch of a new plan to tackle youth gang crime has been welcomed by Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis.

The plan covers a number of “hot spots” in the Auckland region. It includes Manukau, which has been hard hit by the growth of youth crime, often linked to gangs, reflecting the large youth population and a mix of social factors such as low educational achievement levels. Over 40 per cent of Manukau’s population is under 25.

The plan was announced by Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope today. It will involve coordinated action by a number of government agencies, including the Ministries of Social Development, Justice and Education, along with the NZ Police, and was developed by the Auckland Youth Support Network Group.

The plan has 26 action points and is divided into three areas: crisis management, intervention and prevention of youth offending. It aims to reconnect disaffected young people with schools, training and jobs, and provide intensive intervention from an early age.

Sir Barry says although a relatively small percentage of youth are involved in gang-related crime and criminal offending, the impact is widespread and the whole community is very concerned. “We need to act on this problem and only coordinated action is going to work. I am pleased at the intensive commitment from the government to finding a solution.

“We have too many young people in the city who are aimless, unemployed and disaffected, and becoming attracted to crime and gangs. While they need to be steered back onto a positive path in life, they have a whole range of issues such as peer group pressure, parenting and personal safety that need to be addressed.

““Wrap-around” intervention is required and that is what I hope this new approach will achieve.”

ENDS

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