‘Gang alliances means more violence’
Estate meeting is told how ‘changing gang picture’ is causing fear among terrorised residents
09 February, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Councillor Joe Caluori speaking during Monday night’s community meeting in the Bemerton estate
GANG members are forming alliances with other gangs from outside the borough, bringing more violence to the streets, a leading councillor has warned.
Dozens of residents raised their concerns about the escalating violence in Caledonian Road on Monday night at a community meeting in the Bemerton estate.
One bar owner said his staff had been terrorised by three youths wearing face masks just 10 minutes before the meeting began.
“The gang picture in Islington and the surrounding boroughs is changing. Boys from around here are getting close to gangs in Essex Road who in turn are involved in the Hoxton Boys gang,” said Councillor Joe Caluori, Islington’s youth services chief.
“You start to see a bigger enterprise forming. Where there are alliances they are threatened by other people in other gangs which are also bigger.
“The young people look tough but they are scared, it’s hard for them to move around London. One of their mates was stabbed last week but it could be them next. As much as these young men present as being tough, they are being groomed by older men.”
A teenager was taken to hospital last Sunday after he was stabbed by a moped rider near the junction with Bridgeman Road. No one has been arrested.
Cllr Caluori, who represents Mildmay ward which borders Hackney, said the resources were there to target at-risk youths.
He added: “It’s not right to write them off. What young gang members are struggling to identify is what a good life looks like for them, what it means to be a man or an adult in a society they live in now and how they can get the lives they want.”
Cllr Paul Convery, who chaired the meeting and represents Cally Road, said there were 12 key young people who were on the wrong side of the law in the area.
He added: “People are scared of walking down the street. You won’t see children playing in the park. We have a very profound problem in the neighbourhood. We are very, very short of police.”
He said he was in talks with the Metropolitan Police to provide them with a permanent base in the Bemerton estate, off Caledonian Road.
“We are looking at two or three available spaces in the estate. Over the course of 15 hours, depending on their shift patterns, you will have police officers coming and going. This is where their lockers will be,” he said.