The deal­ers on the doorstep


Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By MARTIN ELVERY Lo­cal democ­racy re­porter martin.elvery@reach­

YOU open the door of your flat, go down­stairs and out into the court­yard. Im­me­di­ately you see them.

Groups of young­sters hang­ing around, sit­ting in benches, many wear­ing hood­ies. You can smell mar­i­juana in the air, and you feel in­tim­i­dated when you walk past them. When you get home from work they are still there. If you ask them to leave, they shout abuse at you and make threat­en­ing ges­tures.

You start to feel like you don’t want to walk past them any­more and like you can’t go out­side. It starts to af­fect your life and your men­tal health. Sound like a fa­mil­iar story? Many of you across West Lon­don tell us you are fac­ing this kind of prob­lem. You say it makes you feel un­com­fort­able about liv­ing where you do and that al­though you of­ten call the po­lice, they seem to ar­rive too late or think it’s too low-level to do any­thing about.

This is the story of one res­i­dent at High Point Vil­lage in Hayes who says she gets jeered and snarled at by a gang of youths go­ing in and out of her block of flats every sin­gle day.

She says she can’t go in and out with­out feel­ing in­tim­i­dated and has been shouted and sworn had, had bot­tles and food thrown at her, been the sub­ject of threats and in­tim­i­da­tion.

She says even the se­cu­rity guards at the com­plex – which was mar­keted as a high-end devel­op­ment – seem un­able to get the gangs to leave.

But she says she will per­sist in ask­ing them to leave be­cause they are break­ing the law by tak­ing and of­ten deal­ing drugs on the premises.

“Every time I come home they taunt me. They are scum­bags. They are con­stantly lit­ter­ing, spit­ting, fight­ing, and vis­i­bly tak­ing drugs.

“I can con­tin­u­ally smell mar­i­juana, but I’m pretty sure they are do­ing all kinds of drugs,” she said.

“I have to time my com­ings and go­ings and have to con­sider when I’m go­ing to go out.

“Some­times I de­cide not to come back at night and stay in cen­tral Lon­don be­cause I’m too scared to come back.

“They sit around on the steps or down by the canal, tak­ing drugs. I’ve never been down by the canal here – which should be a nice place to walk–be­cause I’m too scared to go down there.

“I was ac­tu­ally at­tacked by their girl­friends a cou­ple of years ago. They chased me all the way to the en­trance and beat me, pulled my hair and kicked me on the ground. I was black and blue af­ter­wards and al­though the po­lice pros­e­cuted some of them, only one of them got a sus­pended prison sen­tence.

“Every time I come home they taunt me, they shout abuse at me and they throw bot­tles at me. They’ve even thrown food at me and stained my clothes.

“Other peo­ple here say they never go down by the canal be­cause they are scared for their lives. It’s be­cause they sell drugs”

“It’s not about race or skin colour, it’s be­cause they sell drugs.

“Why did we be­came too timid to turn a blind eye to drug use (and of­ten sale)? This is what one would call tol­er­at­ing the be­hav­iour.

“They of­ten have fights in the pi­azza and what if next time they de­cide to use a knife or even a gun? Why do we have to wait un­til some­thing like that hap­pens?

“I do not know what would be the so­lu­tion, more lights by the canal side for sure and per­haps re­mov­able benches for the night-time as they are al­most ex­clu­sively used by the home­less and this gang at night. Also, not such a mild treat­ment would surely help.”

A Hilling­don Coun­cil spokesman told us the coun­cil is well aware of the prob­lems at High Point Vil­lage and is work­ing with the po­lice to try to deal with the drug-re­lated crime in the area.

It also pays for a drug treat­ment and ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery ser­vice which is op­er­at­ing in the area to help deal with the root of the prob­lem.

A spokesman said: “Drug deal­ing is a se­ri­ous crim­i­nal of­fence which is dealt with by the po­lice. The coun­cil pro­vides as­sis­tance and co­op­er­a­tion to help tackle drug-re­lated crime in the bor­ough by iden­ti­fy­ing drug deal­ers and col­lat­ing in­for­ma­tion to use for pros­e­cu­tions.

“We are aware of the prob­lems at High Point Vil­lage, and are sup­port­ing the po­lice to ad­dress drug-re­lated crime in this area. Our of­fi­cers work across the bor­ough and en­sure that the po­lice are aware of any hot spots. We meet fort­nightly with the po­lice to dis­cuss which ar­eas of the bor­ough would ben­e­fit from in­creased pa­trols and higher po­lice vis­i­bil­ity.

“We con­tinue to work closely with our part­ners to re­duce the num­ber of drug-re­lated crimes in the bor­ough. We have com­mis­sioned an in­te­grated drug and al­co­hol treat­ment ser­vice, Ad­dic­tion, Re­cov­ery, Com­mu­nity, Hilling­don (ARCH), which of­fers a wide range of help to Hilling­don res­i­dents with sub­stance mis­use is­sues.

“This ser­vice is play­ing a vi­tal role in pre­vent­ing and min­imis­ing harm to res­i­dents from drug and al­co­hol mis­use.”

The West Area Ba­sic Com­mand Unit which now runs polic­ing in West Lon­don did not is­sue a com­ment.

A mar­ket­ing im­age for the Nav­i­ga­tion build­ing at High Point vil­lage

One res­i­dent says groups of youths hang­ing around leave her scared to go out

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