A police unit has been set up to stop children as young as 10 being recruited by organised crime gangs.
South Yorkshire Police said the team would work with partners in housing, education and justice to identify those at risk of being exploited.
According to government figures, 2,738 gangs involved in drugs and violence operate across England and Wales.
The force said it hoped identifying children at risk and diverting them away from gang life could “save lives”.
Det Supt Una Jennings said there were 52 gangs in South Yorkshire, including 20 operating in Sheffield, one of which had links to 30 children.
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