New gang exit programme for immigrants proposed

Current strategy is too focused on biker gangs, SF argues

Gang members from the immigrant community need their own programme to help them start new lives without crime, argue coalition partners Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF).

The party's legal spokesperson, Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt, argues that the existing gang exit programmes are geared too much towards the biker gang community.

“We have overlooked the fact that the current strategy is not as successful with non-ethnic Danes,” Dehnhardt told Berlingske newspaper. “If we want them to leave gangs, we need something different. We need to develop a more nuanced idea about what these exit programmes should consist of.”

In an editorial in Berlingske, she proposes increasing the support and guidance for the parents of gang members, establishing businesses whose sole purpose is to employ immigrants who want to leave the gang community, and supplying former gang members with training and education to improve their skills and abilities.

Dehnhardt explains that a central aspect of the current exit programmes is relocating gang members whose lives are at risk after leaving their gang.

“But young gang members need their neighbourhood and might experience that their best friends have been caught up in the gang community," she said. "Moving them to another council is not a solution.”

The current gang exit programme has been criticised for being deployed prematurely two years ago and has resulted in only 20 gang members successfully using the programme to start new lives. The national police, Rigspolitiet, have 1,600 registered gang members.

Opposition parties Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti are both positive about Dehnhardt's suggestions.

“The council and police can already do a lot of what SF is proposing if they want, but it is up to the justice and social ministries to ensure that the gang strategies maintain momentum and constantly make councils aware of initiatives that are working in other councils,” Konservative's legal spokesperson, Tom Behnke, told Berlingske.