Highgate couple decide to film ‘rowdy out of control’ under-16s

A Parliament Hill couple plans to covertly film Camden pupils and post footage on the internet to “expose” alleged anti-social behaviour.

Travel writer Robin Saikia and partner Vicki Carpenter (pictured) are vowing to stamp out bad behaviour around Parliament Hill, on the Heath and in surrounding cafes and shops.

They claim to have witnessed threatening and unacceptable behaviour by secondary pupils.

Ms Carpenter, a private drama teacher and voice coach, says that on April 8 she saw a William Ellis pupil swinging a dog chain in a threatening manner as a circle of younger children watched.

She also claims to have seen other pupils drinking alcohol on the Heath and dropping litter and has overheard them using offensive language.

The couple say these were not isolated incidents and claim they have frequently felt intimidated when pupils from secondary schools La Sainte Union, William Ellis and Parliament Hill finish school.

Mr Saikia, 48, planned to start filming pupils in public places once the schools returned from the Easter holidays.

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“We’ll have people at key positions at school letting-out times every day of the week,” he said.

“We’re going to keep a day-by-day video record of bad behaviour and post it on the internet and YouTube until they [the schools] get their houses in order. We’ll invite the headteachers to view a screening of it on the internet.”

He claims that his wife wrote a letter to William Ellis, although the school denies receiving it.

“There’s no more writing of genteel letters, no more politely-reasoned pleas, no more compromise,” he said. “This is going to be an out and out expose of how badly these children behave.”

Mr Saikia, who has three children aged seven, nine and 12 at schools in Hampstead and Highgate, said he felt Camden pupils were not being adequately disciplined.

His partner added: “It’s the tyranny of the weak over the strong. We’ve had this inflicted on us, this behaviour. Even when they’re talking among themselves, it’s abnormal. They’re coming out of school as if they’ve never been there. They’ve got too much energy, it’s way out of control. They’ve got no awareness of anyone.”

But Sergeant Jeff Williams, of Highgate Safer Neighbourhoods panel, warned that filming young people could inflame the situation.

“Obviously people have the right to film in a public place and generally there are no restrictions on that,” he said.

“However, I will be emailing Mr Saikia to remind him that most of the pupils are under 16. The very act of filming might be negative and might stir up a negative reaction from pupils.

“We’ve been working with the school as part of our community panel to try to address the problems of anti-social behaviour.”

He said that the main problem was the sheer volume of young people coming out of the schools and travelling across London.

Fiona Millar, chairwoman of governors at William Ellis, said: “Mr Saikia made a number of wide-ranging and unsubstantiated claims about the behaviour of William Ellis pupils at the end of last term.

“Where there have been incidents of anti-social behaviour on the Heath in the past, and when we have been contacted by the public, we have always acted swiftly with the Heath authorities and local police to address them, as we take our role in the community seriously and have high expectations of the students. We regret that Mr Saikia has chosen to go to the press now, rather than alerting the school to his concerns at the time, which would have allowed us to investigate them.

“It is completely inappropriate for any member of the public to film pupils under the age of 16 without their, or their parents’, consent. We believe most of our parents would be very concerned by this type of behaviour.”