News that a special police unit had to be drafted in to deal with persistent anti-social behaviour in Canada Water seems indicative of the biggest problem with policing right now – resources.
Rather than being able effectively to get a handle on issues before they spiral out of control, it seems that the Met can only respond urgently to top priority crimes, leaving other issues to smoulder on until the fire has well and truly broken out.
Anti-social behaviour isn’t just loud parties and a few litter louts – in this case it’s targeted attacks on businesses, vandalism, reported thefts, and violence. Fireworks are incredibly dangerous – as the young woman who had one launched at her face knows.
In this case, residents have been very open with police about identifying who is responsible, and have complained for years about the worsening situation generally in Canada Water. Apparently a new group has decided to get in on the action – presumably because they’ve seen their pals get away with it for so long. The kids behind the violence don’t seem to be particularly bothered about being caught on camera, in broad daylight, terrorising Canada Water.
Apparently those responsible have been identified and all have received ‘home visits’, with one ringleader brought into a station to answer some questions. Police have also dismissed reports minors were not being arrested due to their age.
Either way you do have to wonder why, years on, so little progress has been made.