The UCS Academy is a high quality events programme featuring world-renowned speakers, showcasing academic excellence both inside and outside UCS. The events include conversations with, lectures and guest lectures by experts across a wide range of disciplines.
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Gangs, Weapons and Violence: Reviewing the Evidence, Learning the Lessons - Professor Simon Hallsworth. Professor Hallsworth, drawing on two decades of research conducted on urban violence, critically addresses questions about gangs, weapons and violence. In recent years the gang has established itself in the eyes of many as the UK’s premier public enemy. Gangs are seen as major players behind the trade in illegal drugs and blamed variously for dangerous dogs, the mass sexual abuse of women, shootings, weapon-related violence more generally and being master minds behind the wave of urban disorder that engulfed England in August 2011. Indeed, so dangerous a menace have urban street gangs now become that they have been identified as responsible for literally helping ‘break’ Britain. The Coalition Government has made ending gang violence a key national priority, establishing a task force to drive it’s policy of gang suppression. But just how responsible are gangs for the social problems being blamed on them? Does sober reading of evidence stack up to suggest that the UK today is facing a potent, growing gang threat? And will gang suppression currently touted as the magic bullet that will help mend ‘Broken Britain’ really work?
Profile: Professor Simon Hallsworth is an expert on urban violence and street gangs and advises government, the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers. Before joining UCS as a Professor of Sociology he was Chair in Social Research at London Metropolitan University, very successfully publishing and generating funding for research. He was Director of the University’s Centre for Social and Evaluation Research undertaking work for agencies including the Home Office, Youth Justice Board, Transport for London, Metropolitan Police Service and Council for Europe. Here he studied a range of high profile social issues, including the police’s exercise of stop and search powers, street crime, the illegal taxi trade and urban street gangs.
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