Policing plan for Harold Hill teen terrors

A CRACKDOWN on teenagers hanging around a shopping area is to be launched after a man was assaulted by a group of children.

Large gatherings of youths aged between 10 and 18 have been taking place almost every night in and around Farnham Road, Harold Hill, making many shoppers afraid to go out in the evenings and leading to some residents wanting to move out of the area.

In an incident this month a group of young people were caught on CCTV assaulting a man.

Police later arrested one man for actual bodily harm, who has since been bailed pending further enquiries.

Following the attack, and complaints from businesses in the area, police are working with Havering Council to put together a plan of action to target troublesome youths.

One shopper, who has lived in Harold Hill for 25 years and did not want to be named, said: “I never walk around here at night. The groups put people off going out, even if it’s just to get fish and chips for dinner.

“This was such a lovely area, but it’s got worse over the years.”

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Sainsbury’s in Farnham Road has had regular problems with the youths, who come into the shop in large groups to steal items including alcohol.

Duty manager Khan Karim said: “The teenagers will try to disturb our security guard by splitting up into different aisles so they can’t all be seen at once.

“They will steal things and run away, or they will hang around outside. It puts customers off from coming into the shop and is a real problem.”

Heaton ward Cllr Denis O’Flynn believes the problems are because youngsters are bored. He said: “When you’re bored anything becomes an attraction and we have had an upsurge in trouble.

“We have had residents coming in and saying they want a transfer to another house out of the area because they are intimidated. People are worried when they go out if the groups will be there when they get back.

“Unless we find an answer it’s going to get worse. The more it happens, the more people it attracts and the worse it gets.”

Among the measures the Safer Neighbourhood policing team plans to use will be high visibility patrols, stopping youngsters and asking them to account for their presence, overt filming and the handing out of warnings for antisocial behaviour.

Inspector John Leeson said: “We will robustly manage young people who are found to be causing issues in and around the Farnham Road area.

“Young people will receive red and yellow card warnings for antisocial behaviour as part of this management.”