Trouble in Albert Road Park

Surgery all Friday morning and then rush to meeting in the Pavilion in the Albert Road Recreation Ground where yobbery is ruining peoples’ pleasure and intimidating adults and children alike.

I brought this up a while back and wrote to the police along with my Lib Dem councillor colleague for Alexandra ward – Wayne Hoban. At the time the Chair of the Friends of Albert Road Park led a blistering attack on us in the press for so doing saying there was no yobbery and that I was scaremongering. Perhaps the fact that Wayne had taken the seat off him in the previous council elections clouded his judgement?

Anyway, the views of residents are very clear – there’s a problem. A key local group like the Friends can’t ignore this – so the chair has now done the right thing and gathered all the partners needed to sort out what is turning into a serious problem.

Around 30 youths are terrorising the users of the recreation grounds and the surrounding area. There are two ring leaders who according to the police are actually setting fire to things and carrying out criminal activities. Although they are in the system of criminal justice, they are currently on bail and out on the streets.

Local residents describe the muggings and the threats and the thefts and it is clear that this is a case where they need to gather evidence to issue an ASBO on the ring leaders so that a clear message goes out that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated. There is also a clear need for engagement by the partners with the youths in the wider groups in terms of activity and possible Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (a much better and broader approach to problems than ASBOs).

I leave the meeting with some confidence that appropriate action will now be swiftly taken.

Run to Haringey Civic Centre to sign book of condolences there – and then go down for meeting with Labour’s Leader on the Council. He seems keen to form a good working relationship with me – which is a sensible approach. After all – I am a resource for the constituency and he would be stupid to ignore the benefits of a lobbying voice at parliamentary level albeit from someone of a different party.

Last act of the day is to take my daughters and a friend to Hampstead to Waterstones at about 11.10pm and to queue along with other insane Harry Potter fans for the shop to open at midnight to purchase the sixth in the series.

Whilst in the queue the photographer from the Ham & High came past and much to the childrens’ embarrassment thought finding the MP in the queue with them was too good an opportunity to pass up. Happily, one of the members of Boyzone (apparently) was also in the queue and I dare say the Ham & High will use the celeb and my kids’ blushes will be spared.