Integrated Gangs Unit update name to Community Gangs Team

Hackney Council’s gangs unit changed its name today (1 December) to better reflect its role in the community.

Hackney’s Integrated Gangs Unit (IGU) has now become the Community Gangs Team  – 13 years after its creation, and after helping over 2,000 people at risk of becoming involved in gang violence.

Established in 2010, the IGU was created to support people involved in gang violence through methods of prevention, diversion and enforcement. 

Today – although the work of the team remains the same – the Community Gangs Team has developed its approach to become more proactive and less reactive. 

The Community Gangs Team tackles gang violence as a public health issue. This means it seeks to address the social, educational, mental health and employment factors that can lead to violent crime, and is done by working in partnership with the police, probation officers, the Council's youth services team, and voluntary agencies.

This more holistic approach is working: Hackney has seen gang-related violent crimes decrease from 129 in 2017 to 31 in 2022.

Examples of how the Community Gangs Team have taken a more community-focused stance include:

  • Expanding its community outreach team to focus on mentoring and help finding work, employment and training opportunities;
  • Working on ‘clean up’ projects, in collaboration with community organisations, in targeted areas to improve the surroundings (for example removing abandoned cars and painting over graffiti);
  • Working with third sector organisation Mentivation to help educate young people in schools on how they can be responsible members of the community;
  • Offering extra police patrols for community reassurance;
  • Holding events with local employers. 
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulatory Services

We’re proud of the incredible work our Community Gangs Team does to prevent gang violence, provide employment and education opportunities to people at risk of committing crime and make Hackney safer. 

The work they do relies so heavily on strong links with Hackney’s communities, which is why we consulted with the community on changing the team’s name. Going forward, the name will better reflect the team’s positive ways of working in partnership with community members to prevent and divert people away from gang violence.

Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulatory Services

The name change follows a community consultation, involving 2,000 residents, which concluded the words ‘Gangs Unit’ made the team sound like it was a police unit, not a multidisciplinary team. 

This reportedly resulted in some barriers within the community for people who were wary of the police.

For more information, visit: https://hackney.gov.uk/preventing-gang-crime