This is actually not a joke, it’s true. Norfolk Constabulary have written a guide about gang membership. It goes like this (with a few of my own comments thrown in for good measure):-

A gang is a group of people who may be involved in crime and violence (or not). Many young people will not realise they are in a gang, they will just think they are in a group of friends. (OMG – you’re a gang!) It’s important to remember that being in a gang is not illegal, only the criminal offences committed are illegal.

Advice for parents

Even with good parental support and despite our best efforts, our young can be easily attracted into dangerous friendship groups. While it is important to recognise the negative elements of becoming involved in a gang, we must also see why our youngsters are attracted into joining them in order to try and understand and ultimately deter them from becoming involved.

Be on the look-out for warning signs that suggest your child may be involved in a gang:

Visual signs

* Gang symbols: on schoolbooks, pencil cases, bags, bedroom posters and personal possessions. (Whatever you do don’t let them scribble!)
* Clothing: young people wearing certain colours relating to specific gangs. (Especially school uniforms.)
* Hand signals: sometimes hand signals are given by individuals to show which gang they are aligned. (Sometimes hand signals are given by individuals to show you what they think of you.)
* Post codes: young people often align themselves to post codes. (Like the Sloanes?)


* A rise in truancy. (So a little bit of truancy is OK then.)
* Sudden changes in your child’s selection of friends.
* An increased number of social groups with unusual ‘gang’ names your child is hanging around with. (Like the Scouts, Girl Guides or the Brownies?)
* Your child may experience bullying and pressure to join a gang.
* They may be vague or secretive about their activities. (That’s normal!)
* Possessing relatively large sums of money or bringing expensive items home.
* Getting in trouble with the police.


* Be aware of the websites your child is viewing. Social networking sites can give access to images and words glorifying gang culture. (Like the Gangshow that used to be shown on British TV every year?)
* Chat rooms and texts can be used to bully young people to join gangs. (Virtual gangs? Whatever next?)


* Rap music associated with gangs can be threatening and violent. (So can Carmina Burana.)
* Know what your children are listening to. (Spy on your children and never give them a moments rest and you will be certain to drive them into the welcoming arms of local gangs.)