Haverstock stabbing incidents spark extra police patrols

POLICE are stepping up patrols around Haverstock and Gospel Oak wards after a 21-year-old man and 15-year-old boy were stabbed in the same road, in separate incidents.

Raj Kohli, the superintendent responsible for community partnerships at Camden Police, met with community leaders and residents living around Queen’s Crescent and Malden Road, last Thursday, to discuss recent tensions which have flared up in area.

Police were called to Malden Road at 8.39pm on Thursday April 7 to reports that a 15-year-old boy had been stabbed in the lower back and arm. He was taken to hospital.

Less than two weeks earlier, on Friday March 25, at 6.07pm, a 21-year-old man was stabbed in the same road and also taken to hospital.

Supt Kohli told the Ham&High: “On the face of it, this violence does not appear to be gang related. However, we are still treating it very seriously.”

But Supt Kohli denied that the Malden Road area of Haverstock ward was becoming a no-go area.

“The streets of Camden are safe – there are no, no-go areas. In Camden the only no-go areas are the ones police create to stop criminals,” he said.

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However, the latest figures on serious youth crimes in Camden show that the number of offences increased by 6.3 per cent in the last year.

Between April 2010 and March this year, there were 201 offences, compared to 189 for the same period the year before.

The three main offences included in these statistics are robbery, carrying a knife and assault with injury.

Supt Kohli said that Camden Police were aware of the increase and were using resources to address it.

The number of police officers dealing with serious youth crime in hot spot areas increased from 10 to 18 in December. In next the few weeks it will increase again, to 38, as part of ‘operation curve’.

“We are aware, we are responding,” he said.

“The borough commander’s and senior management’s view is that youth violence is wholly unacceptable and we will arrest and ask that people are remanded in custody if they are charged with an offence relating to youth violence.

“Where people are convicted of serious youth violence and they are in social housing we will look at their tenancy agreement and get them re-located out of the borough, if necessary.”

Cllr Matt Sanders, Lib councillor for Haverstock ward, said that there has been an increased police presence in the area, but there needed to be a long-term solution.

“We need a police presence there all year round,” he said.

“There’s something about that cross roads that seems to be attracting crime and anti-social behaviour and we need to take a look at it.

“It’s really distressing that we have young people with the rest of their lives ahead of them who are turning to violence.

“We also need to send a clear message to gangs that we’re really proud of our community and they’re not welcome.”

Anyone with information about either of the incidents in Malden Road should call Camden Police on 020-7404 1212 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.