Police using 300 year-old law to target gang violence

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Officers in London are targeting youth violence with the so-called Joint Enterprise law which allows them to charge any suspects present at an incident with the same offence as those directly involved.

It means a youth who encourages or watches another gang member kill someone could also be charged with murder.

Detective Superintendent Simon Morgan, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Standing by is not a defence.

"Anybody and everybody that is involved in an incident of violence, we will look to identify them and if the evidence is there, we will look to prosecute them."

But the move has met criticism, including the Law Commission which warned it is being used to scoop up anyone present at the time of an attack instead of focusing on those responsible.

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