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After murder of Justin Mclaughlin ‘cops must intervene on battleground railway’

An MSP has called for an urgent intervention into the rise of “young team” gangs and knife crime.

Labour’s Paul Sweeney said the recent high profile cases involving teenagers with knives and committing extreme violence means we have to address the situation today as an emerging crisis.

Sweeney said he was outraged at the vile gesture made at the scene of Justin Mclaughlin ’s death, with youths taunting his grieving family with photos taken at the scene of his death.

MSP Paul Sweeney

The Record told how youths in mask took a Rangers flag to the scene, then sent photos to Justin’s grieving aunt.

And Sweeney has urged an immediate crackdown on a section of the North Clyde train line, which runs from Glasgow city centre to Coatbridge, which has been identified as a “battleground” for teen gangs.

He said: “We have had success in this area before via the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and the principles forged there should be brought to the fore with a proper intensity.

“We need to be careful of complacency, of going backwards, and we need to start thinking about the very best interventions we can make in the east end of Glasgow, where this highly concerning evidence of violent gang culture is emerging.

After murder of Justin Mclaughlin 'cops must intervene on battleground railway'
A picture sent to the family of murdered Justin McLaughlin by rival gang thugs posing beside the tributes left at the scene of his death.

“There seems to be a clear resurgence of the ‘young teams’ and all the destructive violent patterns they bring, all supercharged by social media.

“The lack of empathy running through the recent exchanges is something we have to treat with the utmost seriousness. We are talking about the death of a child here.

“There seems to be an utter lack of regard for other people’s lives or families’ suffering here and we need to try their best to make positive connections with the young people perpetrating this if we are to make a difference.”

Sweeney said he was horrified at the “brazen impunity” of youngsters posting offensive and inflammatory material online.

He said: “The willingness of some to post photographs on Facebook or Instagram or wherever is pretty shocking.

“There seems to be a badge of honour with this and it is driving even worse behaviour and tit-for-tat offences.”

After murder of Justin Mclaughlin 'cops must intervene on battleground railway'
Justin, 14, died at High Street station

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Sweeney said the North Clyde line section from Charing Cross to Coatbridge has been described to him as “a battleground”.

He said: “We need to make interventions in places where we know the violence is occurring and with the young people who are committing the crimes.

“This train line should be made safe and I hope to hear from British Transport Police about any work being done to achieve this.”

A spokesperson for BTP said: “We completely understand the two violent incidents in Glasgow last week will have caused concern, and passengers will have noticed enhanced patrols on trains, as well as the use of knife arches in stations, in response to this.

“Thankfully incidents like this remain rare on the railway in Scotland and we are working tirelessly to ensure the network remains a safe place to travel.

“Passengers continue to be our eyes and ears and they can help us by reporting crimes and concerns by texting 61016 or calling 999 in an emergency.”



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