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Scouse Soldiers: the organised crime gangs of Merseyside

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Like many urban areas in the UK, Merseyside has a long and notorious history of street gangs. From the Cornermen and High Rip gangs of the 19th century, to the Croxteth Crew, Nogga Dogs and Moss Edz, the self-perceived North Face “Scouse Soldiers” of today, all have left a dark and deadly legacy.

As someone who has always lived on a former Merseyside council housing estate in Knowsley, one of the most socially excluded and poverty-stricken areas in the UK, and an academic whose research has focused on youth and gang crime, I have seen both sides of the fence. This experience has motivated me to research gangs on Merseyside – one of the UK’s hot spots for gang and organised crime activity.

In 2018-19, social services assessed 16,132 children in Merseyside County, of which 546 were deemed to be either active members of a gang, at risk of joining one, or at risk of being a victim of gang-related violence.

In 2009, sociologist Hannah Smithson and colleagues examined the extent, nature and causes of young people’s involvement in gang and gun crime. From interviews with Merseyside police, practitioners and young people aged between 16 and 29, they identified two types of gang structures.

The first, a loosely-knit, non-hierarchical group of young people who would get together on the streets at night and engage in antisocial behaviour and potentially violence and criminality. This is the classic, stereotypical assumption of what a street gang is. The second type was structured and........

© The Conversation

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