Just an hour ago a local resident talked to LW and told us of her experience when she decided to take a photograph of the vehicle and its occupants parked in Green Bank guzzling nitrous oxide.
LW knows the identity of the resident but will not be revealing it or other details that could identify her or where she lives. We are more than happy to identify the vehicle in question, the one below, Peugeot DS54 DUU, which has featured in LW recently.
The resident told us that she had seen the car pictured above and is, like the rest of us, fed up with this being allowed to happen.
So she decided to take a photograph of the vehicle and the four occupants, two male and two female, who were using nitrous oxide.
Legally she is completely within her rights to do this as anyone in a public place can be photographed on the basis that by being in a public place they do not have a ‘reasonable expectation to privacy’.
Sitting in a car in the street with the windows wound down getting off on nitrous oxide with your mates means your expectation to privacy goes out of the window with the gas canisters.
It is a different matter entirely as to this being a sensible thing to do.
Don’t end up dead for the sake of a photo
LW has often been tempted to take some up close and personal paparazzi style photos of these sorts of people in this sort of situation but does not do so ‘cos the LW Photography Team does not want to end up injured or worse for the sake of a photograph.
We have been there before and it hurts. It ain’t like a Hollywood film people.
So our advice is not to take photographs of these sorts of people. But more on this issue later. Here is what happened this evening.
The resident said nothing at all to the car’s occupants and just took one or two photographs with her phone.
This resulted in the people in the car becoming verbally abusive to the resident and one got out of the vehicle to inform her (quite incorrectly) that she could not take his photo. His language was extremely abusive and intimidating.
Did the resident do the right thing? Well yes and no. Yes because it lets the ASB low lives know that they cannot just do what they want where they want and no because there is an element of risk to the person taking the photo.
The crux of the issue is that the verbal intimidation used by the vehicle occupants was designed to do just what it says on its tin – intimidate honest law abiding people from doing anything.
Thugs like the occupants of this car and the silver BMW being raced around Wapping this morning by a drug addled driver count on us being afraid of them. It’s part of the reason they do it.
Rule of law or rule of jungle?
In the absence of any effective enforcement of ASB in Wapping or anywhere else in the borough then who confronts these people? If they are allowed to do as they please then the rule of law begins to break down everywhere.
By the same token if law abiding people feel they have no one to protect them apart from themselves and their friends and neighbours and have to resort to confronting the thugs themselves then the rule of law begins to break down.
Remember we have it easy in our part of the borough. An acquaintance of ours was recently set alight in the north east of the borough because he has learning difficulties. No other reason. This stuff and worse happens in capital cities the world over, London is not special.
What to do?
As we discussed with the resident involved it seems as if no one in authority cares about basic ASB offences.
Calls to 101 are rarely of use, and as LW discovered this morning calls to 999 don’t seem to work much either.
Residents are confused and angry as to what they can do. LW does not know. The only sensible thing is to report any crime or ASB you see or experience as we have been told to do.
- Do not confront the people involved.
- Do not take any risks with the personal safety of yourself or others.
Easy to write these platitudes but the reality is that continuing inaction by us all means that one day innocent people will be injured or killed in our streets.
This was highlighted to LW this morning as we stood by helplessly for the best part of an hour watching a car speed around our streets. No police response. No nothing.
Considering other methods
The situation was, in our opinion, so bad that we did consider other methods of stopping the threat. But we did not do anything (sensibly although possibly incorrectly) and our recognising the driver was enough to make him go to ground for the day and stop his mayhem. That was just luck, nothing else.
As we just reported the silver BMW is elsewhere now. So what happens tomorrow morning?