A couple of weeks ago there was a group of about 20 or 25 teenagers, nearly all boys, fighting in Leathermarket Gardens. I called the police and was told by the operator 4 other people were also calling the incident in. I was asked to stay on the line and decribe what was happening, and was asked several times if anyone had any knives or other weapons, which as far as I could see they didn't. However, the police didn't respond....at all....even 40 minutes later there was only an ambulance....so good effort boys in blue...great response. Did you need to get enough of you together to deal with the kids, or was it shift change and you couldn't get "organised" or did you all hope it just would go away, which it did as the amubulance arrived...5 stars for the guys in green. Even the phone operator was surprised that no-one responded...what exactly do the police do these days? I'm sure they have a lot on their plate but here was an example of where a police response/presence was so obviously called for and what happened...nothing...nothing at all....why exactly not? I'm sure the lad walking off bleeding as the ambulance arrived would have appreciated a bit of effort from the Met.
I have sympathy for the people hurt by these incidents but what I find awful but inevitable is that, although within earshot of where I live, I can disassociate myself from these crimes. It happens to people in specific circles of my community which I feel are so removed (in all ways except geographically and obviously the fact we're all human)from my life. Its an unfeeling way to be but the alternative would be to find it so frightening that I (a)don't want to leave my home, or b)don't want to live in the area anymore.
Hmm. I'm guessing you don't have children if you're able to feel no connection to 'these people'. I don't know any details of the victim or the perpetrators, but they are the children of our community and I am fearful that my son could easily get caught up in violence like this.
I don't know what the answer is, but it's too easy to blame the police. I think it's something that needs to be resolved at a community level, and this might involve more than just posting messages on a community website.
For those of you who are dissatisfied with the police, go along to your community council to talk to them, or find out when your local safer neighbourhood meeting is http://www.met.police.uk/saferneighbourhoods/boroughs/southwark/saferneighbourhoods.htm