Gangs and violence

Are you involved in gangs or group violence?

Of course, not all ‘gangs’ are involved in crime or violence; you may simply be hanging out with a group of friends.

But think about how other people see you:

  • Other people might find you and your friends frightening.
  • They might think you are up to no good.
  • Maybe you are quite loud and this is disturbing people in their homes.
  • Someone might report you to the police, even if you are doing nothing wrong.
  • Dropping litter and swearing will be seen as disrespectful.

You can do things so people know you are not a threat:

  • Stick to areas you know you are allowed to go, don't wander onto private property.
  • Don't appear as a threat or behave like a gang member.
  • Don't shout at people, swear and act aggressively.
  • If there is any trouble, walk away.

Watch how you go:

It does not take much for a group to start changing and taking bigger risks. If you start to see this happening, you should remove yourself from that group. Remember a few simple things:

  • You are in control of what you do.
  • No-one has the right to make you do anything you don't want to.
  • While you may think a gang will protect you; it will actually put you in greater danger.
  • Your real friends are the ones who care about your safety.

What can you do?

Maybe you are worried about leaving a gang because of how you might be treated. Remember, if you think you could be hurt by members of the gang for leaving, those people were never your friends in the first place. The important thing is to talk to someone about it:

  • your parents or a responsible adult
  • a teacher, or your Safer Schools Officer
  • or consider speaking to a professional in confidence at ChildLine on 0800 1111

Report it

There is absolutely no excuse for violence so if your friends have hurt someone you must report it, even if you think they might get into trouble. It's better that they get into trouble now than get into more serious trouble in the future - or worse get themselves or someone else seriously injured or even killed.

  • You can go into your nearest police station or speak to your Safer Schools Officer or local Safer Neighbourhoods Team - if it's an emergency and someone is in immediate danger you should call 999.
  • If you feel unable to talk to the police, you can call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 (you won't have to give your name and your call will not be traced).
  • Or for more information visit the ‘Reporting crime’ section on the Metropolitan Police website or the ‘How to contact us’ page on this site.

Getting more help

There are also many trained professionals who can offer confidential help and advice to both your friends, and to you. Visit our ‘More help and advice’ page.

For other related topics, take a look at our sections on bullying and knife and gun crime.

Group violence