Call To Remove Park Bench To Stamp Out Anti-Social Behaviour
Was place as a memorial to a girl who died of a drug overdose
Hounslow Council may remove or relocate the memorial bench to a teenager on Chiswick Back Common following calls from a number of residents who say it has become the focus for anti-social behaviour in the area.
The circular bench under a tree, which was installed in memory of a girl who attended Chiswick School and died after taking ecstasy at a party, has become a gathering point for the teenagers who congregate on the Common after school. There have been outbreaks of disruptive and intimidating behaviour leading to several arrests in the past few weeks.
The family of the late Isobel Jones Reilly has been approached about the possibility of the bench being removed or relocated but it is understood that they were not initially supportive of the idea. Isobel, known as Issy and who lived in Acton, died aged 15 in 2011 after taking ecstasy at a party and the memorial bench was erected in her memory. Several bunches of flowers currently lie under the tree.
Some local residents, with police backing, believe if the bench were removed it would discourage the teenagers from congregating in that particular spot. However others feel that it would merely lead to them gathering elsewhere on the Common. Hounslow Council is charged with the decision over the future of the bench and is to renew contact with the family on the matter.
Some people have pointed out the irony of a memorial bench to a girl who died of a drugs overdose now being used by teenagers, some of whom are suspected of being involved with drugs.
The police believe that there is low level drug dealing and low-level criminality taking place on the Common.
Inspector Steve Edwards told a packed meeting of local residents at Chiswick Police Station last Wednesday night, that local police teams would patrol the area from 4pm every day for the next few weeks for as long as the problem persisted. A proposal that CCTV should be erected in the area was also discussed and the Environmental team for Hounslow Council is to look into the cost. The area was recently declared a Dispersal Zone, which allows police to order people to leave or take action if they refuse. However this is subject to a time limit of a 48 hour period.
Several people had to turned away from the meeting as there was not enough room to accommodate all those who who turned up. Also present were representatives of Hounslow Council and the acting Headteacher of Chiswick School. A further follow up meeting is to take place in about two months.
The Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited the scene last Monday with Conservative Party election candidate Mary Macleod.
Police have made eight arrests following the recent incidents of public disorder. The most serious incident saw groups of teenagers running amok along the High Road and into Devonshire Road.
Local people have been complaining for several weeks about the anti-social behaviour from young people, many of them in school uniform. Fights have broken out and two weeks ago a man was stabbed. It is believed a significant proportion of the teenagers come from Shepherd's Bush and Acton although there are some from Chiswick.
A two-day police operation resulted in two arrests, one of a 14-year-old boy for refusing to leave the dispersal area and another of a 17-year-old youth for theft of a pedal cycle. Police are also investigating a stabbing in the Common on 9 April. A total of eight arrests have been made in recent weeks.
Police van parked at Chiswick Common
It is not known why the area has become a centre for
youths gathering and causing trouble in recent weeks but it is thought
social media has played a role in getting the word out. There are not
believed to be any gangs involved. Several local residents have complained
about being approached by youngsters asking for cigarettes, and some people
have had chips thrown at them. Elderly residents have also found the behaviour
intimidating and a cause for concern.
May 5, 2017