Antisocial behaviour blighting island lives

Tower Hamlets residents upset by anti-social behaviour

Antisocial behaviour in Tower Hamlets is double the London average. Photo: Daisy Bowie-Sell

Isle of Dogs residents said they feel “terrorised” by antisocial behaviour in their ward at a meeting with police and councillors this week.

One resident, who refused to be named for fear of reprisal, said: “They come into our block and terrorise our neighbours on a daily basis.” He added: “We’ve contacted the local council and we’ve contacted the local police and they say the situation is being monitored … they know who the families are but they won’t do anything about it.”

Another resident said she thought the problem was getting worse: “They put burning paper through my letterbox at 1:45 in the afternoon. We’ve got the feeling that the council don’t care.”

The meeting, organised for people living in Blackwall and Cubitt Town in collaboration with Safer Communities Teams, was held to tackle issues of antisocial behaviour. Timothy Archer, Conservative Councillor, claimed the problem had been exacerbated by the recession.

“I hear of kids hanging around street corners throwing eggs and stones or spitting at residents. There is a lack of respect and people are feeling intimidated,” he said.

The meeting was the first of its kind held in the ward for several years. It came as central government announced a new £10m package to tackle antisocial behaviour in 130 boroughs across England. Three of them are along the East London line.

Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney will get £54,000 to boost training for frontline staff such as police and neighbourhood wardens, as well as pay for clean-up campaigns and community-led projects to create attractive public spaces.

Cllr Archer claims the money will not go far enough. “The amount of money is a drop in the ocean,” he said, “less than 20p per person. What we really need are more police on the beat.

“It’s low level stuff, but it’s the thin edge of the wedge. If the kids are getting away with setting a bush on fire today then what will they be doing next week?”

Figures collected by the British Crime Survey over the last six years up to the second half of 2009, suggest people’s perception of antisocial behavior as a local problem has fallen. However, data released by the Metropolitan Police on Sunday showed a huge rise in crime across Tower Hamlets between September 2008 and 2009, with a 45 per cent increase in Blackwall and Cubitt Town wards.

Antisocial behaviour in Tower Hamlets is twice that of the rest of London. There were 1,710 incidents of antisocial behaviour reported across the borough last month.

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