Murder, attack on homeless woman and double stabbing in Finsbury Park were ‘isolated incidents’ with no evidence of gang links, senior officer says
- Credit: PA
Police say a spate of stabbings in Finsbury Park this month that saw a man murdered, a homeless woman attacked and two teens hospitalised are all “isolated incidents” – and there’s no evidence to suggest they’re gang related.
Insp Thomas Ashley, who leads neighbourhood teams in the north of the borough, says police have upped patrols in the in the area, and their ranks have been bolstered by three new cops dedicated to working with homeless people.
Takeddine Boudhane was stabbed to death in Lennox Road on January 3, before a homeless woman was found with a "slash" wound across her face under Stroud Green Bridge the following week and two 18 year olds were stabbed multiple times outside Costa in Seven Sisters Road on January 23.
Insp Ashley told the Gazette: "None of the incidents are linked, which is the one positive. Three incidents in three weeks is not ideal. We have a robust reassurance plan in place with additional officers in the area, some strong partnership work with British Transport Police and neighbouring boroughs, and we're working closely with local authority services like Islington Park Guard."
The three new officers work week-on-week-off in Islington and Camden and typically use dispersal powers, community protection notices and behaviour orders to keep people safe.
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Insp Ashley added: "Its' really to bridge that gap between outreach and enforcement and ensuring those who really need help get the help they need. But also crucially to ensure that those who have accommodation but are out on the streets to commit crime are dealt with."
He added: "A lot of people see a police officer standing over a homeless person on the street, or someone they perceive to be homeless, and consider they're being persecuted. It's simply not the case. A lot of people don't see the outreach work that goes on."
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Islington Council's street population co-ordinator Sarah Turley welcomed the new recruits, adding: "There's a lot of people out there who are vulnerable and aren't coming in [to accommodation offered to them] and they're being prayed on by dealers, so this helps to have a more holistic approach."
Asked about the drugs problem under the bridge, Insp Ashley added: "The reports I was getting at the beginning of last year was the quality of the crack they could get around here was considerably better than anywhere else, however I do not have any evidence to corroborate that."
He added: "Unfortunately over the year Finsbury Park has taken the brunt of a lot of the serious incidents. [...] It's a national transport hub with enormous footfall and with more people your always going to have a higher percentage of crime, it's definitely a challenge."
The prime suspect in Takieddine's murder investigation is alleged to have fled to Europe and an international manhunt is underway to catch him.
Both teens attacked outside Costa, including the one stabbed "five or six times", survived - as did the homeless woman.
No arrests have been made in relation to these cases and the investigations continue.