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MPs brand 'gangsta' video 'moronic'
A group of men describing themselves as ‘Bradford’s most notorious crew’ have been branded “moronic” for posting a video online showing members posing with machetes.
The self-styled BD3 Boyz took to YouTube to upload a film about themselves which included a photo of them with the large knives.
The site removed the video yesterday, saying the brandishing of weapons contravenes its guidelines and adding that it was aware that gang culture was a sensitive issue in the UK.
But West Yorkshire Police said the “immature and misguided” actions of the author of the video should not be seen as indicative of Bradford having a gang culture, adding that the recent Home Office Peer Review found there was no evidence of significant gang culture in the city.
The slideshow of photos set to hip-hop music is a bizarre mix of fairly inoffensive pictures of men trying to appear macho by flexing their muscles, or posing with high-performance cars, and some more worrying images, including one showing a group of men outside on a dark night, posing with two machetes under the caption ‘killerz’.
Another image is of around 30 wads of £20 notes, and a third shows a serious car crash. In the credits, they also try to assert their superiority over rival gangs in other parts of the city, who only “talk”.
The video has been described as “fantasy” and “bragging” by unimpressed MPs, but they said more needed to be done to address gang culture more widely.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins (Con), the former leader of Bradford Council, said: “I have watched the video and can only accurately describe the images as moronic and thoroughly depressing.
“The individuals on parade clearly lack fulfilment and peer challenge, leading them to create the illusion of some sort of fantasy power base.
“These issues do require further examination and the Government did put money into addressing gang culture in the wake of the London riots. But more does need to be done.”
Bradford West MP George Galloway (Respect) said: “I find the whole gangsta culture reprehensible and these lads are clearly playing up to the camera - you certainly wouldn't want to bump into the two with cleavers on a dark night in Sunbridge Road - but how much of it is acting-out and how much is real?
“Of course there is a gangland culture in Bradford, as in other cities, and it's built around drugs.
“We need to be tackling the source, cutting off the supply, providing decent jobs and opportunities for young people and not over-reacting to bragging videos.
“The vast majority of young people in this city are decent, respectful and law-abiding. Celebrate that rather than the few who aren’t.”
YouTube removed the video over the weekend, but not before it had received more than 45,000 viewings. A spokesman said the site was aware of sensitivities around gang culture in the UK.
She said users of the site could ‘flag’ any videos that concerned them, and the clip would then be reviewed by YouTube staff.
She said: “Videos flagged on YouTube are reviewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we act quickly to remove material that violates our policies.
“We recognise the concern over potentially dangerous videos and have developed Community Guidelines that prohibit, amongst other things, gratuitous violence, dangerous and illegal activities, inciting others to commit violent acts, and brandishing weapons.
“Our policies on threats and harassment result in the removal of material containing intimidation or predatory behaviour.”
Bradford District Community Safety Chief Inspector Dan Greenwood said: “Having viewed the ‘YouTube’ clip in question, I think it is important that this video is placed in the appropriate context.
“It is over a year old and is just one of thousands on the internet that show individuals attempting to purport a level of notoriety.
“I have led Operation Sabredale, which has specifically tackled drugs and guns in the Bradford district over the last 12 months and targeted those individuals in our community who feel it is acceptable to lead criminal lifestyles.
“We remain committed to tackling organised criminality in the district, but I feel it is important that the immature and misguided actions of the author of this video, creating a montage of images against a soundtrack of rap music are not seen as indicative of Bradford having a ‘gang culture’.”