As knife amnesties, community projects and ASBOs severely limit the places in some of Britain’s best hoodie fraternities, parents are being driven to ever more extreme lengths to ensure their children are allocated a spot in the country’s finest criminal gangs.
‘We were living in a detached four-bedroom house in Virginia Water,’ said concerned mother of two Martha Chester. ‘But the gangs around there simply didn’t compare with other parts of the country. So we’ve moved the whole family to a sink estate in Moss Side to give our children the best possible chance.’
With demand for the coveted places far exceeding supply, gangs have started instigating stringent entry requirements to ensure the quality of their intake. ‘There was a time when mugging the odd pensioner would have got you into most crews, but that’s not good enough any more,’ said Andrew Mason, who is launching a legal appeal against his 11-year-old son being denied a place in the Crips.’
‘Our local gangs are now insisting on written tests, with graffiti being marked on spelling, content and quality of target. I’ve had to take my boy down the council offices with a can of spray paint every day after school just to make sure he’s prepared.’
But although some parents face criticism for placing too much pressure on young children with hours of extra-curricular weaponry training, elder abuse and shopping centre loitering, others have resorted to more devious tactics to help their progeny’s application.
‘We’ve started attending regular BNP meetings to prove our Martha’s credentials for getting into a white supremacist gang,’ admitted one mother, who insists she was raised a racist, but lapsed during her rebellious teenage years. ‘But I know parents who are doing much worse things than we are. My neighbour attended a Millwall game to boost her son’s chances. Talk about a pushy mother!’
8 Sep 2009