As of the 2nd of November 2022, there have been a recorded 90 homicides in London alone, and 127 in 2021. The majority of these were the result of gang activity.
Gangs are not solely found to the Capital and the problem is rife throughout the country. Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 223 fatal stabbings across England and Wales (according to data from ONS). The West Midlands has seen a significant increase in gang-related crime over the years, so much that in July 2021, the CPS opened its first of kind Serious Violence, Organised Crime and Exploitation Unit (SVOCE) to tackle their caseload.
Gang culture often involves serious and widespread criminal offending with drug dealing being at the root of it. What consists of a gang is not easily defined, however Section 34(5) of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 (as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015) provides that something is ‘gang related’ if it occurs in the course, or is otherwise related to, the activities of a group that:
-Consists of at least three people; and
-Has one or more characteristics that enable its members to be identified by others as a group.
One of the identifying features of gangs is their propensity to use social media to glamorize their criminal lifestyle. Members post photos or videos of themselves holding weapons and cash (usually the proceeds of their crime).
Of recent years, drill music (replacing grime) has exploded in the charts, YouTube and social media. Gang members often use drill music to blaspheme and provoke rival groups which result in serious violence. Police forces are nowadays using drill music videos to help them investigate gang activities and associations. When it comes to Prosecution, the evidence presented to a jury at trial usually revolves around eyewitnesses, CCTV, cell cite and call data records, ANPR and DNA. However, the Crown Prosecution Service now states that drill music will be introduced as admissible evidence.
Imran Khan & Partners is a leading serious crime practice, and its highly experienced Specialist Crime Defense Team regularly represents individuals facing gang-related murder charges, with Pratik Patel and Lynda Fonteneau currently defending on a 5-handed murder in the Midlands.