Thurrock has at least one local gang, as well as known gang members – 'nominals' – or affiliates from other boroughs, usually having been moved to local accommodation by London authorities.
The gang culture in Thurrock is different to that in Essex or London. It is important that parents, carers and those working with young people, know the signs and can get support if they feel a young person is involved, or at risk of becoming involved, with gangs.
How it begins – grooming
Young people are enticed initially by the offer of free drugs or cash, or even just friendship and acceptance into a circle. This can develop into the promise of more money or rewards if they do something in return – for example, taking a parcel or packet to a specific address, selling small amounts of cannabis to friends or holding weapons.
Young people can be approached in:
- the local park
- outside shops
- outside school or college
- at youth clubs
- in communal flats
Girls can be enticed into gang affiliation just as much as boys.
The promise of trust and respect follows. This could be:
- an increase in the amount of money handed over
- larger amounts of drugs being given on a promise of a cash return – with the chance to make extra money for themselves
- being asked to go into a different area for a few days or weeks, to a flat to sell drugs
- being asked to hold a weapon
- being asked commit violent or sexual acts on others as punishment or revenge
With an ever-increasing number of young people wanting to get involved, and a higher earning potential through the ranks, there is a desire among gang members to sustain their place or move to the top end of the chain.
Increasingly, young people can be persuaded or encouraged to out-perform their peers. This could result in them being more open and suggestible to taking greater risks, involving more danger and behaviour of more serious concern – criminal or otherwise.
Vulnerable adults or those with learning disabilities may also be groomed. Gang members may approach them to use or take over their flat as a base – known as 'cuckooing'. Vulnerable people in this situation are at risk, and can be being coerced into behaviour they don't want to be part of.
Ban on C17 gang members
9 members of the criminal 'C17' gang have been banned from entering Grays town centre and park, Lakeside, Seabrooke Rise in Grays, and Grays Beach Riverside Park.
A strict injunction was granted by Chelmsford County Court on 19 October 2018 and will be in place for 2 years for the adults or until any minor under the injunction is 18 years-old.
The injunction on these members of the gang:
- prevents them from going to certain parts of the borough
- stops them wearing hoodies or hiding their faces by other means
- prevents them associating with C17 gang members through social media
- stops them making or featuring online content that celebrates or incites violence or criminal behaviour
- forces them to give Essex Police all details of their social media profiles
If you see the C17 gang in areas of Thurrock where they are banned, or breaching any terms of the injunction, call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information, including the names and photographs of gang members, go to Essex Police: Drug dealing Thurrock gang made subject of tough injunction.