Catherine West calls for patrols, CCTV and lighting in Finsbury Park after gym users robbed by gang of 16
PUBLISHED: 14:49 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 23 September 2019
Catherine West has called for CCTV, better lighting and more patrols in Finsbury Park after six gym users were robbed by a gang of 16 on Monday last week.
The Hornsey and Wood Green MP, whose patch includes part of Stroud Green Road, has echoed calls made by police last year, which are currently being considered by Haringey Council via a public consultation on park safety that ran from June 24 to September 2.
Haringey controls the and runs the park but could ask Islington and Hackney councils to implement public spaces protection orders near their respective Stroud Green Road and Seven Sisters Road Gates, to stop groups like the boys who threatened to stab the gym users during last week's robbery congregating there.
Haringey has a £4million budget to install CCTV across the borough but the earliest cameras could be fitted in the park is "spring 2020".
Former Islington Council leader Ms West said: "There are several worries at the moment. Firstly, the overall lack of police officers. Whereas before we had bobbies on the beat now we are dealing with an environment where people feel emboldened to rob and burgle because they're unlikely to be caught.
"Second, Finsbury Park in particular, because it's a transport hub, people choose it as an area to commit crime - and that's where both the local authorities and the police need to double their efforts and provide more of a uniformed presence in the park, particularly in the early evenings.
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"It's terrible - there's quite a lot of capital resources that have gone into the park and it seems at the moment that's being undermined by opportunistic thieves and robbers, and it needs to be tackled with much more determination by every local authority."
Police called for the gates to be locked at night after Iuliana Todos was brutally murdered by Kasim Lewis, who was jailed for life last year, while walking through the park on Christmas Eve in 2017.
Haringey is considering closing the gates at 11.30pm but says they can't be locked earlier because sports groups use the park's gym and track in the evenings.
It employed a park warden and three park keepers in April, as per police request, who work from 7.30am to dusk on a two-shift basis.
A council spokesperson said; "We're looking to implement the recommendations from the police audit last year, where appropriate, practical and possible. Police colleagues are working across all three boroughs to disrupt and respond to crime and anti-social behaviour in the park as well as the surrounding streets. Other improvements have so far included the cutting back of foliage and lifting tree and shrub canopies to improve visibility."
It's terrible - there's quite a lot of capital resources that have gone into the park and seems at the moment that's being undermined by opportunistic thieves and robbers, and it needs to be tackled with much more determination by every local authority."
A tri borough police operation between forces in Islington, Haringey and Hackney is meeting monthly to discuss Finsbury Park. In July, Islington's top cop Ch Supt Raj Kohli said he was "acutely conscious" of issues in the area - and he promised to "return Finsbury Park to law abiding citizens".
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