Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Wapping residents consider direct action to stop thugs in cars

By on May 11, 2017 in ASB, Boy Racers, Crime & Policing

Despite the recent meeting with Tower Hamlets police to discuss the speeding cars Wapping residents continue to fear for their lives when they walk the streets.

The two recent incidents described below illustrate why some are advocating direction action to stop the thugs in cars before one of us is killed.

John Orwell Car Park is a favourite turning point for thugs in cars

Incident One

Yesterday at around 3.30pm two blue cars were speeding around the Tench Street and Green Bank area of Wapping in such a dangerous manner that residents were screaming at them to stop before they killed someone.

The occupants of the two cars, described as Bangladeshi youths, shouted abuse back and continued driving recklessly.

Because the cars were driving at such speed it was impossible to get the vehicle registrations, but residents rang 999 because of the immediate and very real risk to life.

Other witnesses said even people inside the Turks Head Cafe in Green Bank were scared because of the speed of the cars.

View from outside Turks Head Cafe towards John Orwell Sports Centre, Tench Street

Incident Two

A resident was walking from Reardon Street towards Wapping Gardens at 11.30 this morning and was just about to step out into Tench Street when she heard a car speeding towards her and jumped back as it sped past at speed narrowly missing her.

Seconds later the same two blue cars that were causing havoc yesterday zoomed past her.

“If I had stepped into the road I would have been killed,” she said today, still visibly shaken. “I was in tears when I dialled 999, I was shaking I was so scared.”

View from outside John Orwell Sports Centre along Tench Street towards Watts Street and Reardon.

The first car was described to LW as being a silver BMW. It drove into the car park at John Orwell Sports Centre, turned around and sped off again.

LW has noticed this happening on several occasions previously and has informed the police of this behaviour.

Another resident managed to get partial registration details and informed the police.

We talked to the manager of John Orwell and they are very aware of the problem of speeding cars too. Staff have repeatedly reported cars driving into the car park, doing a speed turn, then racing back out again.

Although John Orwell want to stop this they cannot close the gates to their car park as it is a public car park which needs to remain open when the centre is open.

LW Comment

Talking to residents who witnessed the above incidents today a common sentiment was expressed – that if the authorities are incapable or unwilling to stop this problem residents would stop it themselves, by tracking down the cars and destroying them.

Drastic measures? Yes. Illegal? Yes. Understandable? Yes.

Us and them

This is not the first time that residents have said to us that taking direct action is their right but now it seems that people see it as a simple choice between us and them.

Do residents stand back and wait until one of our own is killed? As was repeatedly stated at the police meeting it is only a matter of time before a death is caused by the thugs in cars.

Proper speed bumps on the roads in Wapping was dismissed by a council officer at the police meeting. LW and every resident we have talked to in the last few months disagrees with this opinion.

Bits of battered rubber no use

Proper speed bumps are needed on our roads, not bits of battered rubber that achieve nothing.

It may be that in addition to installing speed bumps we need to change the road layout of Wapping to stop the speeding.

If the authorities are incapable of working together to fix the problem then it would seem sensible for residents to adopt direct action tactics to take back their community and make it safe.

Any sane person would prefer to be tried by a jury of twelve than see a loved one carried to their grave by six.

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