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01/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

British Gangs Getting Younger And More Violent

The country's leading police officer on gang culture warns today that gang members are getting younger and that they are resorting to lethal violence much more swiftly for the most trivial slights.

In an interview with the Guardian, Commander Sue Akers of the Metropolitan police identified other trends, including the emergence of a small number of girl gangs, and how women are being used to carry and conceal weapons.

Speaking at the end of a week in which Sean Mercer, 18, was convicted of murdering 11-year-old Rhys Jones, Akers said the only way to counter the threat of further violence was long-term investment that offers gang members a real alternative to crime. Mercer was 16 at the time of the killing.

Read more on The Guardian