Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I'll Tackle Gangs, Says Tearful Smith; Pledge: The Home Secretary Appearing on TV

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I'll Tackle Gangs, Says Tearful Smith; Pledge: The Home Secretary Appearing on TV

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH

HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith is to bring forward plans to crack down ongang membership after revealing she felt "terrible" about the death of RhysJones.

Ms Smith fought back tears in a television interview after watching the parentsof the 11-year-old talk about his murder.

She said that she felt a sense of responsibility and would consider anymeasures to get information from witnesses and toughen the law on gangs. MsSmith said she would look at new laws to compel witnesses to give evidence inhigh-profile shooting cases. Plans to make gang membership an aggravatingfactor in criminal offences, subject to longer prison terms, were also beingconsidered.

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Ms Smith called on the public to help police catchthe killers and said she felt "terrible" about his death. She said: "I amwilling to consider anything that will help us to get the information to putpeople away." She pointed out that some people in inner city communitiesplagued by gun crime were unwilling to come forward to the police.

"I'm sorry about that," she said. "I do think that unless people are willing toreport to the police and unless they are willing to give informationand that doesn't necessarily always involve becoming a witnessthen we won't be able to tackle this."

economy, Mr Cameron said able to tackle this." Tory leader David Cameron willkeep up the pressure on the Government over gun and gang crime today with afresh speech calling for ministers to act to reassure the public that thecriminal justice system could tackle the issue.

Mr Cameron said yesterday that Britain's "broken society" would be a centraltheme of his general election campaign. In a shift away from traditional Toryemphasis on the economy, Mr Cameron said that "It's society, stupid" would behis party's slogan when Gordon Brown decided to go to the polls.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said the Government had long promised to gettough with gang, gun and knife crime but had frequently failed to carry out thenecessary measures. …

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