We've had our fair share of gang related killings in the Bush in the last year or so, and we continue to have a problem with young lads wandering around looking for opportunities to prove their manliness by carrying blades. On my way home from a run a few weeks ago I saw someone who happened to be standing in the way of two wasters running to get on a bus threatened. The lads, no older than 18 or 19, stopped the closing doors of a 207 to yell "if you f. with us, we'll open yer throat up". This was on the north side of the Green at no later than about 7pm. They didn't seem remotely bothered that they were shouting this stuff in front of hundreds of people on and off the bus.
We don't actually have such a major problem in the Bush. I work in Stockwell in south London, which is an area that has a much worse problem. It's quite normal to see the police suddenly pull up in force to search groups of youths hanging around the shops. So we should keep our issues in perspective. But we should also be concerned that of the two gangs who arranged to meet for a fight at Victoria station which left one schoolboy dead, one of them was reportedly from next door Acton, just up the Uxbridge Road. The victim was Sofyen Belamouadden, who lived in Acton and went to Henry Compton School in Fulham. He was 15.
Back at last year's otherwise excellent Acton Carnival we even had to push a buggy through a knife arch because of this threat, which the police to their credit take very seriously. They seem to have a handle on who is responsible for the Victoria incident, with 20 people having been hauled in for questioning already. Let's hope some good comes out of it and some very dangerous people are taken off our streets.
Twelve people have been charged with Sofyen's murder and will appear at West London Youth Court later today.