Rufford Street came under siege this evening. For about 30 minutes a gang of 20-30 young people pelted the buildings with apples and stones. Two windows were broken (click on picture to enlarge). They tried variously to get into numbers 2,3 and 4. I had a calm word with the kids afterwards who came up with some nonsense about a person disrespecting them over a mobile phone but they didn’t seem to have a reason. They knew they had done something wrong but there was no real sense that they shouldn’t do it. There was a real ‘Lord of the Flies‘ mob mentality about it. A complete mystery to those of us who live here. The kids were from about 8 to 12, boys and girls all white. Some older (black) kids did manage to calm them down a bit. We had to wait ages for the police.
The Council need to look urgently at increasing the capacity of the excellent youth workers in the area, who have no core funding from the Council and are constantly chasing their tails to raise money week by week. If parents don’t instil basic community values in their children then the community desperately needs to through outreach – policing of youth crime, though important is only palliative.
It has been five years since i last saw a gang this size up to no good (then they stuffed a car full of fireworks and set light to it in Rufford Street – a bit like the opening of Shameless). The street is littered with large stones and apples. I am only glad that we don’t teach cricket any more – if they had better throwing arms they would have broken a dozen windows.