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Under-siege residents consider private security around homes

Public meeting told how youths have terrorised area, as police offer reassurance

01 December, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Councillor Andy Hull speaking at the Whittington Park meeting

FIVE youngsters who terrorised Whittington Park by snatching phones and threatening residents have been arrested, according to police officers who spoke at a heated community safety meeting.

More than 200 people packed into the community hall in the park, off Holloway Road, on Wednesday night. Council leaders and police officers reassured residents that they were working to stop the recent spike of anti-social behaviour in the area.

It was also revealed during the meeting that some residents living in Tufnell Park were considering hiring a private security firm to help guard their homes.

The Town Hall’s executive member for crime, Councillor Andy Hull, told the meeting: “I’m not here to pretend there’s been no trouble of a criminal nature in recent weeks. There has been a spike over the last couple of months but we think some of the people driving it have been addressed.”

There have been reports of young people from the schools around the park being targeted for their phones by youths brandishing knives, and doors to homes being kicked down. Others in the meeting shared their experiences of being physically attacked while coming home from work. One resident said his relative was pushed over by two men on bikes.

Superintendent Nick Davies

Cllr Hull said there were a group of around 15 young girls and boys, some as young as 12 years old, who were behind the attacks.

“These are a grouping of young people who live quite locally,” he said.

“Young people stealing can make a lot of money and sadly a lot of people try to make a quick buck.”

Cllr Hull said the Town Hall are working to support the families of the criminal children who he said are often victims of crime themselves.

“We want to help the young people get out of criminality,” he said.

“We are very worried about some of them and the level of exploitation they are being subjected to. In the end, it’s about addressing individual people and their families and diversionary work.”

In response, one resident shouted: “But what about the victims?”

“There have been five arrests made of key players in the last two weeks,” police sergeant Steve Johnson told the meeting.

“I can tell you from the figures, in the last 10 days there has not been one single moped-enabled crime reported in the Junction ward. So I think we are going in the right direction with the work we are doing.”

Cllr Satnam Gill, representing St George’s Ward, told the meeting that a group of residents had asked him for advice on whether they should hire a private security firm to patrol their streets.

“A number of people have emailed me,” he said. “I’m against it. Policing is a serious business. It will split the community by creating a high level of crime on one part of the street and less on the other where there’s private security.”

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