CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Plea for help after stabbing on Rowley Way Estate

15-year-old treated for knife wound

26 September, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

RESIDENTS on a South Hampstead estate have made a passionate plea for more resources after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed nearby at the weekend.

The teenager was rushed to hospital with stab wounds after reports of a fight near the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate on Sunday afternoon.

His injuries were not life-threatening. But the latest stabbing in the borough, and second incident on the estate, also known as Rowley Way, in months after Abdullahi Hassan was stabbed to death there in July, has sparked renewed calls for investment. Police have been bringing in officers from neighbouring wards to try and tackle anti-social behaviour.

A spokeswoman from the estate’s tenants and residents association said: “The Alexandra and Ainsworth estate is heartbroken by the recent spiral of violence that has engulfed our area. Crime and drugs disproportionately affect the weakest and the poorest, and after 10 years of cuts to council services, to policing, and to youth services, our resources are wearing thin.”

She added: “We see the results of austerity literally on our doorstep, in the midst of one of the most affluent areas in one of the most affluent cities in the world. We have worked very hard to keep this place a good place to live, which it still is for the majority of us. But we have reached a point where unless the area becomes a priority, in terms of additional resources being invested for the purposes of contrasting and preventing criminal activities, it will be virtually impossible to address this sad state of affairs through sheer grit and community cohesion.”

The estate has the ARC youth club, run by the South Hampstead and Kilburn Community Partnership (SHAK), which is open three evenings a week during term time and for longer periods over the summer.

But John Boyle, SHAK’s chief executive, said extra funding would allow them to extend their opening hours to help more young people.

He added: “We recognise that the rise of knife crime is a national phenomena which we cannot hope to solve alone, but we are working with residents, the council, other local groups and local tenants’ organisations to continue conversations about what we can do to improve the situation.”

One resident said he had seen an escalation from anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in recent weeks.

He added: “I keep saying this to everybody on the estate – it’s very civil with very good community support so when something like this happens people think this estate has a bad reputation, but it actually has a good reputation and there is a big demand for private buyers. This really lowers the tone of the place. I live alone but if I had children, if I had a teenage child, I probably would be concerned.”

In a statement, Cabinet councillors Abdul Hai and Nadia Shah said: “We share residents’ horror at the recent violence affecting young people in Camden. This has to stop and we stand with residents in calling on Government for more resources to help keep our young people safe.”

A Met Police spokeswoman said there was no evidence to link the recent stabbing with the fatal stabbing in July.

Acting inspector Dave Hodges, of Camden Neighbourhood Policing Teams, said: “The local neighbourhood team have been utilising officers from neighbouring wards in response to residents’ complaints of anti-social behaviour.”

He added: “These patrols have resulted in numerous arrests for drugs and an increase in stop-and-search. There is more work to do, though, and I urge the local community to email the ward sergeant if they can provide information Wayne.Bell@ met.police.uk but please call 999 in an emergency.”

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