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Young people are 'easy prey for criminal gangs during coronavirus crisis'

By Thomas Parkes | Crime | Published:

West Midlands Police's chief constable said young people impacted by the coronavirus outbreak are “easy prey” for criminals who want to recruit them into gangs.

Chief constable David Thompson says gangs could target young people amid the coronavirus fallout

Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Dave Thompson raised concerns that teenagers will have nowhere to go and nothing to do due to coronavirus – potentially leading them to crime.

It comes as Government rules currently say secondary schools will not fully re-open until autumn.

In an open letter Mr Thompson said: “A hot weekend has seen many large groups of young people gathering.

"Staying apart is so much harder for young people at the time they want to mix.

"We are likely to find ourselves in conflict with young people as we deal with calls and gatherings – this is going to be tough for us.

"There is a level of violence surfacing between gangs and individuals as temperatures pick up and competition in the drugs market is intensified.

"Young people on the street are easy prey to those who want to recruit them into gangs. Enforcement will create tensions.”

Mr Thompson said officers would likely find themselves at odds with teenagers. It comes after mass gatherings across beauty spots in the Black Country and Staffordshire – and beyond – with people reportedly ignoring social distancing.

Unemployment levels – created as furlough potentially moves to redundancy – is expected to hit young people very hard, Mr Thompson said.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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