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Police deny teen gangs are creating 'no-go areas' in borough

PUBLISHED: 17:23 28 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:23 28 September 2016

One resident identified Russell Park as a trouble spot

One resident identified Russell Park as a trouble spot

Archant

Last week's mass brawl has raised concerns about unruly behaviour

Police have denied reports that parts of the borough are no-go areas following the mass brawl that took place between youths last week.

Residents have expressed fears that unruly behaviour by gangs of teenagers is becoming increasingly common, and that the police are powerless to intervene.

But Bexley Police declined to comment, and a spokesperson for the Met Police’s Safer Neighbourhoods team denied there was a problem.

Teresa Rashbrook, who lives in Bexleyheath, claimed there are regular disturbances in Russell Park caused by gangs of schoolchildren.

“The police have been called several times,” she said. “The trouble is they are a community police that don’t have the powers to arrest.

“My partner was walking to Bexleyheath and there was a disturbance and two police cars arrived, but we never know what happens.

“I have lived in Bexleyheath all my life – 71 years – and I have never heard anything like it. In the last 20 years it has been getting increasingly worse.

“In June this year, the head of the police in Bexley said that there was no problem. I don’t agree. It is very intimidating to go on a bus with all these schoolchildren.”

Sharon McHattie, landlady of the Duchess of Kent in Erith, witnessed last week’s brawl and echoed these concerns.

“We have had it for years but no-one takes any notice – they are turning a blind eye,” she said.

“We just get really fed up. Every week car wing mirrors get kicked off. Teenagers can do what they like – they just give you a lot of verbal back.

“I would go to Northumberland Heath, but I would feel intimidated. I would not want my children out there.”

A spokesperson for Barnehurst Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: “Russell Park is not a no-go area. We go out there all the time. At Russell Park we have not had anything. Even if it was once a week, we would be out there every single day.”

What do you think? Email simon.allin@archant.co.uk

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