Police to target lovestruck Hampstead private school pupils on the High Street

PUBLISHED: 17:28 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:34 12 April 2017

Teenagers have been meeting at around The Coffee Cup for years. Photo: Polly Hancock

Teenagers have been meeting at around The Coffee Cup for years. Photo: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

Officers will be taking firm steps to move along the giggling hordes of Hampstead private school pupils – who are so excited to speak with one another that they are blocking the pathways around Oriel Place on a Friday afternoon.

Teenage girls and boys may have been swapping numbers around Hampstead for decades, from schools such as South Hampstead High School, University College School, City of London and Channing – but they can now expect a stern word or two.

PC Nick Dayton, officer for Hampstead Town, said he understands it’s just a “boys meets girls type thing”, which has been going on since time immemorial, but he wants the teenagers to show some self awareness and look around them.

The pupils, in years seven to nine, are standing in the way of buggies and zimmer frames and blocking cafés like the Coffee Cup.

PC Dayton wrote in his newsletter: “Hampstead Schools are on their Easter Holidays, which is a relief for some of the businesses in the High Street.

“The team are well aware that Friday Afternoons can be chaotic close to the junction with Oriel Place, with two groups of students in particular obstructing the thoroughfares and byways.”

He told the Ham&High that he will be speaking with the headteachers of two schools, which he did not name. He will also go in and speak to pupils if necessary.

PC Dayton said: “It’s an issue that the police shouldn’t have to deal with. The children should know that they are representing their schools and should really be conscious of their surroundings, however I can understand why they congregate.

“Boys like to meet girls, and girls like to meet boys for the weekend...

“We’d like to think the schools will say, look, when you finish on a Friday, you’re still in school uniform, please consider the reputations of yourselves, and the schools.

“Try to be a bit more understanding of the comings and goings and businesses of Hampstead High Street.”

He added: “They’re not the sort of kids who are going to drop litter and cause trouble, they’re just the sort of kids who are going to sit there and ‘yackty-yack’ on a Friday afternoon.”

Edward de Mesquita, owner of La Creperie de Hampstead, which has been the scenic backdrop for many a rendezvous, said that he has “never seen the slightest hint of aggression or bad behaviour, just very happy children, sometimes a bit boisterous or noisy perhaps”.

He added: “What worries me more is that this extremely noticeable crowd of teenagers gathering on Friday afternoons could attract people who would be more dangerous to them than the other way around.”

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