Glasgow gang project cuts violent crime

media captionAn initiative aimed at tackling gangs in Glasgow is being hailed as a success after leading to a reduction in violence

An operation targeting gangs in Glasgow has brought about a significant drop in violence, according to police.

They said the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) had resulted in a 50% reduction in violent offending by those taking part.

Even among gang members who refused to participate, data indicated a 25% fall in the number of offences committed.

The project is based on Boston's Operation Ceasefire, which was introduced by the US city in 1996.

CIRV has been focused on the north and east of Glasgow. To date, 400 gang members have signed up for the programme.

It works with the gang as a unit, rather than just as individuals.

Ch Insp Robert Stevenson of Strathclyde Police said: "These men, predominantly young men, are quite frankly unemployable.

"There is no way they are going to gain any meaningful employment any time soon.

"We offer them a range of personal development and employability programmes, if they continue not to offend."

Knife carrying

A key success of CIRV has been to reduce the prevalence of weapons. Among those taking part, there has been a 59% decrease in knife carrying.

One former gang member explained how he spoke to young men about their involvement in violence.

He said: "The best way to get these kids to open up is to share your own experience, to open yourself up to them.

"That honesty is infectious. They reveal themselves to you.

"If you were to sit them down in front of a social worker or a police officer and say 'tell us about yourself', they probably wouldn't say anything."

Plans have been drawn up to extend CIRV to other parts of Glasgow.

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