In 2004, police and social workers in Manchester identified over 100 young people they feared would be drawn into Manchester's brutal gang wars and attempted to intervene and lure them away from crime.
The names of the youths, some as young as nine, were put on a confidential database run by the city's multi-agency gang strategy (Mags) after intelligence showed they risked ending up either as killers or victims of gangland hitmen.
This proactive initiative has been a success and several of the young people have turned their lives around, according to the Manchester authorities.
"These are kids who, if left to their own devices, will end up with a gun in their hands or a bullet in their heads," said detective inspector Mark Powell of the Greater Manchester Police at the launch of the programme.
Most of the youngsters lived in the city's 'gang triangle' between Longsight, Moss Side and Hulme. There have been over 30 gangland executions in the area as the main gangs – the Longsight Crew, the Doddington Gang and Gooch Close Gang, each named after the districts from which they hail – have fought a bloody battle for control of the city's multi-million-pound drug trade.
Other projects have sprung up to fight for the hearts and minds of the city's youth in Manchester. Those in charge of the schemes are particularly disturbed at the emergence of a breakaway new gang, dubbed the Young Longsight Soldiers, whose membership is said to be made up mostly of teenagers excluded from the school system.
A significant number of the youths identified by the city's gang strategy team have connections to this gang.