Police have expressed “real concern” that Birmingham gangs are involving children younger than ever in deadly violence across the territory. While social media is ‘feeding’ the culture that appears to be imitating turf wars in the United States, a detective said.

It comes after two teenagers were convicted of manslaughter for their part in the murder of 16-year-old Sekou Doucoure in Hockley. The talented footballer who played for Nottingham Forest’s academy was said to be associated with gangs that aligned with the B20 postcode, but on July 12 last year he rode an electric scooter into the neighboring B19 area of ​​Newtown to search for the called rivals.

At around 6:30 pm, he was stabbed to death in the forecourt of the Esso petrol station on Nursery Road. The man identified as the one who allegedly delivered the fatal blow has been identified but has not yet been arrested. After trial, 18-year-old Pierre Thomas and a 16-year-old boy whose name cannot be identified were found guilty of manslaughter and possession of a firearm or imitation firearm that helped hunt down Sekou in the streets.

READ MORE: Birmingham gang secret meaning behind number 6219 decoded in court

During his defense, Thomas claimed that he had been exploited by gangs since he was 10 years old and was afraid to go against the orders of older members for fear of violence towards him or his family.

Speaking to BirminghamLive, Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, from West Midlands Police, said: “It’s definitely a case involving gang affiliation, but I think it almost obscures the fact that the victim was actually 16. It’s really worrying that these young people are affiliated with gangs in the way that they are, the level of violence and the use of knives and firearms in the streets at such an early time of day when everyone is going about their normal daily lives.

Detective Inspector Laura Harrison of West Midlands Police(Image: Birmingham Live)

“It’s a really concerning part of the whole thing that it all comes down to where people can go based on zip code. Where do they feel safe? I’m under no illusions. Sekou knew he shouldn’t have been in that area and the probability that it was going to elicit the response he got.

“Whether he expected it to go this far, I don’t know, but because they feel like they’re doing something that’s gang-affiliated, there’s almost no respect for others or themselves. It seems to be passing time and time again throughout the city. We’re all actively trying to do something about it and there’s a real joint partnership approach, but no one person or organization has the answer to how it can be addressed.”

She emphasized the work being done in the community to highlight the danger of carrying a knife, but stated that the consequences are not ‘appreciated or understood’ by those who arm themselves due to the peer pressure they were under.

The scene on Nursery Road near where 16-year-old Sekou Doucoure was killed.(Image: BPM Media)

DI Harrison said gangs in north Birmingham, which is a “very deprived part of the city”, are getting “younger and younger”. He stressed that the local police unit along with children’s services were working to try to divert children “from gang membership as the most attractive way to earn money or be exposed to other areas of crime such as trafficking.” of drugs”.

He said there was “definitely” an American influence coming through in the slang terms used among young gang members, as well as in their music. DI Harrison added: “Social media has perhaps fueled the culture around it.

“It’s about it being a bit Americanized. It’s a way of expressing people that has made it more appealing to young people because of its association with social media, rather than older people. Rap ​​music is known to be a way to communicate with each other and express themselves. Social media is a platform that’s a little bit easier to spread than being on the street.”

Sentencing is scheduled for March.

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