Blackheath Under Attack

Many people who live in Blackheath Westcombe will have been concerned at the incidents which took place in Coleraine and Westcombe Park roads on the nights of September 11th and 12th.

A group of 20-30 youths massed in the street and broke into two flats, forcing the owner of one of them to flee to a neighbouring flat for safety.  They trashed his property.  The following night, those youths returned and circled the area for several hours. 

According to those who witnessed those events and dialled 999 the initial police response was slow and, although police apparently took some names and addresses, it is still not clear whether or not any arrests have been made.   Subsequently, police discovered a “cannabis factory” in the area and think that the disturbances were related to this, the youths involved mistaking its address for those of wholly unconnected properties.

In the weeks since, smaller groups of youths have congregated in the vicinity.  People living nearby are naturally concerned – they feel intimidated by these gangs.  Yet there has been no obvious increase in police patrols and no action to restore local confidence in the police.

Cllr Rhodri Harris has written to the borough commander asking what measures are to be taken.  Despite ample time for the commander to reply, at the time of writing this, Rhodri has received no response.

As Rhodri commented “For a ward as big as this, covering an area from the Greenwich Railway line to the Cator Estate and from the A102 to Greenwich Park, one beat officer isn’t enough.  What’s more, when that officer is ill, on leave, or abstracted for urgent duties in London, - for example, anti-terrorism work, the ward is effectively without proper police cover.  It is therefore not surprising that gangs think they can roam our area unchallenged.  The police need to nip this in the bud so that it does not become a chronic problem.”