soLUTioNs Community Safety Partnership Gang Profile

Luton Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police

LARIA Research Impact Award 2015: Best Use of Community Safety or Policing Research


During 2012/2013, Luton suffered a number of serious youth violent crime incidents, some of which were believed to be gang related. As part of this, a number of individuals were identified as being involved in violence or gang related activity.

The Gang Crime Profile built on this early analysis of individuals involved and focused on victim, offender and location. The aim of the analysis was to understand the relationship of these three factors – what was the relationship of the location, community and socio-demographic characteristics? What was the relationship of victims and offenders? What were the relevant factors in each of the areas that linked with this issue? Of particular focus was a detailed study of the history and background of the individuals involved, in order to better understand the early indicators of potential violent behaviour.

The purpose of this analysis was to inform the strategy to tackle the issue of youth violence and gangs, with a particular focus on the prevention of involvement in violent crime. This could then be used to inform the strategy and action plan and ensure that this was evidence based and relevant to the identified local issue.



The methodology for analysis of individuals involved mapping names against a number of datasets. This included police datasets such as crime and incident data, schools attainment and exclusion data, housing information, data from integrated offender management, multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA), familial violence and neglect data, missing person data, and prisons and youth offending data. Using a benchmark of expected levels from the entire population (for example, all offender data from the police, all missing persons data), we identified a number of areas that occurred above expected levels within the violence and gang related cohort in total, and also by age, to identify where these issues may be present earlier or later than expected.

We also mapped location data of known addresses against socio-demographic factors, such as MOSAIC demographic data, housing and employment data from the census, the index of multiple deprivation (and the underlying deprivation factors) and community concerns from local surveys. By mapping each set of data to Lower Level Super Output Areas, we were able to correlate these factors to identify those that were most significant.

Our analysis identified a number of factors that appeared more likely in our youth violence cohort in comparison to the expected levels. The analysis also identified  socio-demographic factors that had strong correlation to locations of interest.

These key findings were published to the partnership in 2014 and presented at a major local conference to increase understanding of the local issue.

The key findings were also included in the strategy to provide an evidence base for the strategy and supporting action plan. This strategy has undergone a lengthy consultation process across the partnership and has included some in depth feedback from the voluntary and community sectors.

The strategy is underpinned by this strong evidence base from local area research. On an operational level, the evidence also supports identification of individuals requiring prevention, intervention or protection activity and we are developing a risk matrix based on these factors.


What should LARIA members learn from this award entry?

That detailed micro level analysis can be achieved within established data sharing protocols and agreements provided that there is a clear and potential business benefit to be obtained as a result of the data exchange.

Undertaking micro-level profiling enables the development of risk-based interventions aimed at diverting vulnerable people from gang related activities and from victimisation. The analysis provided the evidence that such as an approach was feasible and identified some of the key life cycle events that may be determinants of a move towards gang–related behaviour by an individual. This was essential in providing the evidence-based approach of the prevention and protection strands within the strategy.

Photo Credit: ‘When Sky is Falling Down’ by Mantas J Photography