Finchley Road violence raises concern

RESIDENTS have raised concerns for the locality after a series of alcohol-fuelled incidents in the Finchley Road area.

Three venues – 3one7, Secrets 2 and The Walkabout – have come under scrutiny after serious incidents of violence and underage drinking have occurred in and around the venues.

The latest took place near the O2 centre on Finchley Road and left a 22-year-old man in critical condition with serious head injuries. A police source said the alleged attack happened just after 2am on Sunday. It is thought the trouble started in Walkabout. Two men have been arrested and bailed.

More trouble occurred in and around Secrets 2, a table dancing club, on August 29. The alleged incident occurred at the corner of Rosemont Road and Finchley Road and three men, aged 25, 31 and 37 were arrested on suspicion of common assault. The suspects have been bailed to return to a Camden police station at a later date.

And the Ham&High revealed last week how a 12-year-old girl was rushed to hospital after drinking in the 3one7 bar. Just a few weeks earlier, a 16-year-old was reportedly taken to hospital from the same venue. The bar’s licence is now under review.

West Hampstead councillor John Bryant said: “It would seem that there is a pattern of incidents emerging at certain premises. I would certainly hope that the police would push for a thorough review of their licensing.”

Resident Vicki Bick, of Lymington Road, said the incidents raise concerns for local people.

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“It is an area that I don’t see many police patrolling and it’s a becoming a bit of a no go area.

“Worse still there are lots and lots of schoolchildren around here, both girls from South Hampstead High School and boys from University College School and they should be able to have safe places to hang out after school.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council does work closely with the police and has a joint partnership meeting every fortnight where licensing and safety issues are discussed.

“We have discussed these incidents and the police as a result the police have put in for a review of 3one7.”

A police spokesperson said: “The Camden police licensing unit is proactive in monitoring all on-licence and off-licence premises to ensure the licensing laws that regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol are closely adhered to.

“We are swift to respond to any information that suggests a premises is not operating in accordance with the law.”

Stephen Less, the owner of the Secrets chain, said “We are investigating the incidents ourselves to find out what happened.”

And a spokesman for Walkabout said: “We’re not aware of any incidents taking place inside or outside our venue, but it goes without saying that we wish the young man a full and quick recovery. Customer safety is always our first priority.

“We work very hard with our staff, the police and local licensing to ensure all our customers have a fun and safe night with us, however, as I’m sure you can understand, it’s very difficult for us to control the way people behave after they’ve left the bar.

3one7 was unavailable for the comment at the time of going to press.