The dealers on the doorstep
PLUSH FLATS IN HAYES TERRORISED BY INTIMIDATING YOUTHS
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