Tackling Crime in London's Parks


London's boroughs are starting grasp the nettle of anti-social and criminal behaviour and vandalism in public parks. Many London parks have been renovated in recent years making them attractive to both social and anti-social elements in society. Unfortunately park authorities then all too often fail adequately to police and manage their parks, allowing an undesirable criminal element to flourish, particularly after dark.

Head-On in Haringey

In the LB Haringey, police and the local community are co-operating to tackle the problem head-on. A string of crime prevention measures has been implemented in Down Lane Park, Tottenham in response to a series of robberies in and around the park.

Police officers are working closely with Haringey Council to improve public safety in the park, closing it temporarily during hours of darkness, and undertaking work to cut back overgrown trees and shrubs to reduce the number of hiding places for potential robbers.

New high-quality lighting will also be installed in the park. Det. Insp. Nick Simpson said: 'We are continuing to reduce the number of robberies in Haringey and tackling this problem will remain one of our main priorities."

Vauxhall Park

How (most) people want their parks: families enjoy Vauxhall Park, Lambeth, while a gardener tends the grass around the model village.

Jubilee Parks in Enfield

Still in North London, where two 'Golden Jubilee' parks have been planned by LB Enfield in Forest Road, Edmonton, and Elsinge Green in Enfield, a council spokeswoman said, "The new Jubilee Park in Edmonton will be a community resource that will be designed for both adults and children to enjoy. We hope it will be a busy park with many visitors and activities - which is often the most successful security measure in an open space."

 Details of what will be included in the parks have not yet been released, but a plan to include a 'youth shelter' in the Elsinge Green park has been shelved after opposition from residents.

Cllr John Boast, who represents the local Turkey Street Ward, said: "There has been fairly wide consultation and the views of people have been taken into account. I am pleased that, as a result of a decision we took not to build on Elsinge Green, it is now to be kept and enhanced in accordance with the wishes of local people."

In  Waltham Forest, a questionnaire in September's Waltham Forest Magazine recognised the problem, asking why people are shying away from the 205 hectares of parks, open spaces, playing fields and children's playgrounds in the Borough.



Paradise Regained in Holloway

In LB Islington, councillors hope their plans to re-vamp the under-used Paradise Park will help tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour in and around the park and assist in regenerating the area.

Proposals for transforming Paradise Park include a series of new routes across the Park, new gates to open up the park and prevent 'joyriding' and additional sporting and recreational facilities.

A former building has been earmarked as a new shared facility fo ra community café, a Neighbourhood nursery, SureStart facility and a Greenspace Ranger base. This building will also be designed to be sensitively transparent to the park by having green 'living' walls and roof areas which will also promote habitats for wildlife.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Bridget Fox, Executive member for Sustainability, commented: "We want Islington to have the best parks we can. We're making our parks places for the whole community whilst protecting Islington's valuable green space. Improvements like these will help to make our parks cleaner, safer and smarter."