A police officer has helped to secure a landmark court injunction against suspected gang members - after becoming an expert in deciphering their slang and hand signs.
Pc Gaz Evans, of West Midlands Police, regularly monitors social media - watching videos and viewing exchanges - to collate information about gangs across Birmingham.
The force said Pc Evans' evidence had helped in getting a court injunction against 18 men from two Birmingham gangs who were suspected of being involved in gun and drug offences, as well as securing long custodial sentences against several of the men.
The full injunctions mean the men, aged between 19 and 29, are forbidden from associating with each other and entering areas of Handsworth, Newtown, Winson Green and Lozells for the next two years.
PcC Evans, who is part of the Force CID Prevent Team, said: "Having worked within the Multi Agency Gang Unit from 2010 I came into contact with young people associated with inner city gangs, so started to pick up what the hand signs and phrases mean.
"Since then I have taken it upon myself to further research and build up a high level of knowledge around this and share any intelligence I can within the force. It can be difficult to know what is meant through hand signals and words which are not the traditional English as we know it."
Pc Evans said some hand signals can be inflammatory and threatening, while others can represent a particular postcode area, helping officers establish gang affiliations. "Being able to understand a message either verbally or through hand gestures can be used to prevent further violence," the officer added.