September 23 2014 Latest news:
by David Churchill
Friday, August 16, 2013
The Stone Roses concerts were this week blamed for an almost eight-fold surge in crime in Finsbury Park after “shock” new figures emerged.
Figures for June – the latest month available – show overall incidents soared to 195 compared with 20 in May and 16 in April.
The crime wave hoisted the park into one of the top 10 worst crime-ridden hotspots in the country for that month, raising fears the authorities will again fail to poilce disorder at future concerts.
Police this week had nothing to say about the rise, despite being slammed for “not being prepared” for the tens of thousands which wreaked havoc at the concerts on June 7 and 8. Islington, Hackney and Haringey councils had also joined forces in a bid to keep anti-social behaviour to a minimum.
But revellers reportedly started brawls, urinated in the park and the surrounding streets at will, caused travel chaos and disturbed local residents with foul-mouthed language into the early hours.
Dog walkers even complained the park was still “sticky” weeks after the concerts while local councillors were counting piles of complaints a month on from the bash.
Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The Finsbury Park ward is the one I remain concerned about.
“We have had a dispersal zone in a part of that neighbourhood, but there is a great deal that has happened around Finsbury Park and we are trying to take action.
“But this rise may well be something to do with the Stone Roses gig. There was a lot of disorder and unpleasant behaviour with people urinating everywhere.”
The crime figures, which cover the park itself and its surrounding streets, involved incidents of violence against the person, personal robbery and thefts from motor vehicles.
Many more types of crimes were committed but a police spokesman said they could not provide a full breakdown of the incidents without a Freedom of Information request being submitted.
Richard Wilson, Haringey council’s leader of the Lib Dem opposition, said: “It’s quite shocking. We had lots of residents complaining over the event, particularly on what was going on outside the park after.
“People were urinating in the streets while there were lots more concerns about anti-social behaviour.
“It’s also a concern the police didn’t seem as well prepared as they ought to have been and not patrolling the local pubs and surrounding streets as much as we wanted.
“It’s really, really worrying that there has been such a big spike around the event and we need to ask questions of the council and police seeing as they want to increase the number of commercial concerts going on there.”
The organisers, SJM Concerts, have already faced criticism from Islington residents concerning the shows they run at the Emirates Stadium.