Doing a Canute on gangs?

p02pm564The latest news report from Birmingham is that 18 members of two rival gangs have been banned from parts of the city for two years.  The gangs, the Johnson Crew and the Burger Bar Boys, have been fighting each other, with frequent collateral damage, for years, and the police and judiciary have clearly had enough.

It’s an interesting solution to the problem, and will give the police somewhere to start: find one of those gang members in the wrong place at the wrong time and they’ll be able to arrest them.  This should be made easier because the 18 will have to register their mobile phones with police as well, presumably making it possible to track their movements at all times.

I do wonder, though, how easy the ban will be to enforce.  What exactly stops one of these people simply wandering down the street one day and ending up in a banned area?  Who will report them if they do?  How will the police know?  Short of placing them under house arrest (expensive) or fitting them with electronic monitors, I can’t see how it will work.  Interesting that the lawyer interviewed in the article I quote above has similar concerns, and thinks it may even encourage the gang members to play ‘chicken’.

I guess in the end the authorities will have to hope that, unlike Canute, they don’t get their feet wet.

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3 thoughts on “Doing a Canute on gangs?

  1. That is an interesting solution to the problem, and if it stops the bloodshed and, as you say, the collateral damage, that’s a good thing. You do raise a good question, though, about how easy it will be to enforce, and what the implications will be.

  2. I suspect there is no real intent to enforce the ban against individuals at all times – the main thing is, as you point out, the police do not need any further evidence of criminal behaviour if they want to arrest single members or groups of either gang. This gives them much wider powers of control and should be a matter for some relief for other city dwellers!

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