The problem that John referred to in June seems to be intensifying as the summer goes on. Car crime, bike crime, burglaries, a full scale 9 police car shouting and punching match a few nights ago on The Cut and always the same group of kids on the fringes or in the frame.
Is there anything to be done? Identification seems to be a real problem so how about finding out some of their names.
Perhaps a letter to Peter Truesdale who has a particular interest in the area and some contact with the police.
What sort of time is this happening. Evenings mornings or all day? My youngest goes to cubs in cornwall road (not during school hols) and I have never seen any gangs hanging around at that time (early evening and occasionally weekends).
It may be that school holidays are the difference here. It tends to be early evening onwards and is usually east of Cornwall Road and north of The Cut. Several of the boys live on the estate beside the bus garage.
That said, I understand they torched the bus ticket machine outside Sainsburys over the weekend.
I've just emailed Julian Thorne who is the local beat bobby for the whole of the area and asked if he could patrol there. Maybe if there is a police presence that is not just over a couple of days, it may just deter them. There are tons of things that have been organised for kids over the holidays and a lot of them are free, so they have no reason to be out doing these things unless they get kicks out of it.
Unfortunately, if they can't be bothered to get themselves involved in these things, then it doesn't matter what is on offer or how free they are - it they don't want to be involved, then they just won't! The only other thing left is deterrents!
The local community regeneration trust has recently allocated, as I understand it, over £200,000 for teenagers in Waterloo. I am not completely happy because it is being spent on setting up youth forum whilst I am desperately looking for a much much smaller amount to keep football for this age group going in Archbishops, and where we do get a good attendence.
Anyway it was a community board including young people who set the priorities, and the decision was based on a lot of consultation in the Waterloo area. And I can't be right all the time (?!) The group is called SE1 United. It is run by Natalie Bell who is cool and who works out of works out of South Bank Employers Group offices abouve Thai Silk on Waterloo Road. I recently saw an advert for two workers to support the group so they are well resourced.
Social responsibility is a key skill for teenagers to learn so they might be willing to take this issue on as an early Forum discussion. Plus they presumably know each other from school etc, and the kids who participate might have some ideas of how to get the others involved.
Alternatively Southwark has built up a good reputation for youth inclusion type projects (for the kids who don't engage in mainstream activity). Think its called Karrot. Perhaps with all the money its got Waterloo could buy in some of this experience.
I have known three or four kids of primary age who are pretty much neglected - with the eldest now in care several years after the damage has been done. The youngest appeared to stop attending school aged eight. And I know them because they were feral and and a couple of friends of mine regularly fed the children they knew. My friend who is married to a local GP says he has seen cases of scurvey where small children have only had crusts of bread to eat.
My very small contribution has been to try and ensure that all kids have a park to play in and things to do in that park. The scheme starts at six so kids will stay in the habit of participating. But it much harder work with teenagers. I still hope that with the money (£5 million for community projects over 7 years) there will be a real will to deliver a well thought out and structured initiative aimed at this particular group. Intensive work with excluded kids costs a lot of money - but it costs an awful lot more to do nothing.
Any does anyone have any money to help the footie. Perhaps I should try businesses around Waterloo.....
Lambeth and Southwark councils have both agreed to support the Coin Street people in developing land at Paris Gardens and Hatfields into football pitches - by both leasing them the land and giving money to the project.
as I may have hinted on other postings, my personal view of under-18s is that they are best avoided. But, frankly, parents who are on long-term benefits and who clearly can not afford to have five kids are nevertheless able to rely on the taxpayer to fund their contraceptive incompetence. Now that the Government has tightened up the old IS/HB scam, so that you no longer go on to Income Support, but Job Seekers' Allowence, the parental spongers have all moved on to Incapacity Benefit, the ultimate scam-benefit because nobody of any political party would ever dare suggest that some claimants didn't really have a bad back/depression, because it would make them look uncaring. It is no coincidence that the little street-urchins who are the most trouble all come from council estates like mine, with parents who only ever leave SKY one behind to claim their DLA, or to answer the door when the police arrive. At some point, the woolly liberals will stop bleating that these kids are "victims of society" who need organised extra-curricular activities, and will realise that instead what we need is to put them all in a home- away from their drunken, incompetent, lazy parents who are too drug-addled to care what their kids are up to. Preferably, this home will be located in one of those god-awful rural areas. They could even use the left-over sites that they ear-marked for detention centres recently, before abandoning the idea. They could be let out to rob the likes of Tony Martin, which is fine by me, and then put safely back in their boxes.
I live in some flats just off Baylis road and every evening there are dozens of teenagers hanging around the flats screaming and shouting. The problem has definately got worse since the opening of the Connexions/Living Space community centre. It has become a magnet for teenagers who don't actually use the community centre but hang around the local flats opposite putting graffiti on walls, riping up trees, throwing Macdonald's litter all over the place and generally causing havoc. The estate used to be quite nice but has turned into a slum over the summer. What can be done?....
I think that being summer holidays can't help either. I often see gangs of youths, generally boys hanging around stairwells and the rubbish areas of our estate. Why they think it's "cool" to hang around dark smelly places drinking supermalt is beyond me.