Yesterday saw a textbook example of how Wapping residents can use the 101 system to work with our Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) to eliminate (Anti-Social Behaviour) ASB and reclaim our green spaces.
Wapping Gardens has recently seen some extremely unpleasant ASB incidents including threats of violence to our friends and neighbours.
Every day for the last two weeks residents (and visitors) have been excluded from areas of the Gardens by groups of Bangladeshi youths (Note: other ethnic groups are available) who take over benches for hours at a time and do nothing but intimidate people by their presence, take drugs and leave a carpet of litter.
Yesterday was a lovely summers day in Wapping Gardens but there seemed to be a distinct lack of families enjoying the open air, having picnics and just having fun. Odd, huh?
One reason for this was the group of 8-12 Bangladeshi youths who occupied the three benches in the sandy area by the Turks Head Cafe. One of the many pleasures of the Turks is that all the family can turn up and the children can play on this area while mums and dads can keep and eye on them while having a little time to themselves.
Not yesterday. The few families who were in the Turks Garden were keeping their children close.
Reclaim our parks (#reclaimourparks)
LW arrived at around 13.15hrs to have a cappuccino and do some work inside the Turks. Noticing the ASB group we (and other residents) kept an eye on them, tweeting out occasional updates.
It was both heartening and sad to see that after a while other residents wrote the tweet below urging other Wapping families to get out into Wapping Gardens to reclaim our public spaces by their presence. Well done those families.
Let’s not leave our parks to these idiots. Please come out and play with your kids. #Safetyinnumbers . Were here playing football kids in the playground and some other people have set up for a birthday party. #reclaimourparks
— Isabell Moessler (@IMoessler) September 1, 2018
And shame on the politicians whose inaction, complacency and incompetence who made that tweet necessary.
A little while later and four hours after watching the ASB group LW thought enough was enough and at 17.10hrs called 101. (We tried the online ASB reporting process which just led us through a loop.)
When you dial 101 you will find there is a new menu system. If you are reporting ASB you need option 9.
Unit assigned to deal
Not sure if the new system was the reason but within 60 seconds of dialling 101 we were through and explaining the situation to a very experience and helpful operator.
We made it clear that while there was nothing major going on the group in the park were part of an ongoing situation over the last few weeks, in return we were told a unit had been assigned to deal.
With no great expectations we sat back to wait the arrival of the police. Trouble is they turned up so quickly we did not have time to get comfy. Within 10 minutes of our call, possibly less, a flurry of small kids doing a runner heralded the arrival of two officers from Wapping SNT. (We are convinced we heard Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ at the same time but that might have been our imagination…)
Wapping SNT strikes again
Pete and Ana did an ace job having a word in the ear of the remaining ASB group and then suggested they might be on their way. ASB oiks took up the suggestion and with a cheery “Bye! Missing you already!” from Moley ringing in their ears shuffled off towards Vaughan Way.
Result? Children could now play in the sandy area by the Turks Head and their parents could chill out. Which is what it is all about. Well done Wapping SNT!
All was not done yet though. Within a couple of minutes of Pete and Ana leaving the scene to follow the group towards Hermitage four of the original group who had run off returned to the park bench.
To retrieve the drugs one of them had thrown in the bushes. Moley didn’t spot this but the families in the Turks garden did and so we called 101 again to provide the police with details and descriptions. No prizes for guessing that the person with the drugs was riding a Boris Bike.
And that was that.
One football could have solved the problem
So next time you are subject to ASB you need to get on the phone to 101 ASAP. Wapping residents showed that it worked to the benefit of all yesterday, we need all other residents to do the same thing. Call it in.
You might not get a response (and result) as soon as we did, but if you don’t try you will never know.
Of the 12 youngsters in the group probably six of them were just there because the big boys were, another three because they think it is hip to sit on a park bench and look well tough (what?), three were the real trouble makers and it seems one was the drug dealer.
Daft thing is that ASB Group were just bored and incapable of amusing themselves in any other way than smoking drugs, causing hassle and generally being a pain. We are seriously considering providing them with a football to kick about next time.
Not complicated really.
We are considering suggesting to the council that they try something similar, maybe they could call it something like ‘Youth Services’? Just a thought.