Heated Arguments

As I was trying to unwedge myself from Greenwich Market yesterday afternoon (I’d gone to buy an art pad from Bizili, but the place had closed, replaced with a slightly surreal Elephant Parade gift shop) I heard a cacophony of sirens. Now that’s not unusual in itself in Greenwich, so, even when I finally popped out of the scrum at Turnpin Lane and saw a flotilla of police vans, I didn’t really take much notice. But Brenda has just told me what happened,  in case you were curious too.

Depressing scenes in the Park yesterday,” she writes. “A large group had gathered – about 40 of them. A water fight escalated into two boys having a full on punch up then one running away and being chased by about 20 others. He stopped then threw a few more punches and then ran off… right in amongst families having a picnic.”

Brenda escaped to the Plume of Feathers’ garden, and the sirens began shortly after that. But she wonders “Are there still Park Police as we didnt see any all afternoon? I’ve noticed this happening quite a lot now – such a shame as its not relaxing.”

I’m pretty sure there are still park police, but I guess they tread a delicate line over how obvious a presence to be. I mean I wouldn’t want some copper breathing down my spectral neck every time I bit into my egg and cress sandwich or tried to get a kite to fly. On the other hand I expect  them to be there when tedious people have too much to drink and decide to fight each other all over my picnic blanket. It’s my guess that yesterday they were in the shade somewhere. Can you imagine how hot those bullet-proof vests get?

What’s the answer, guys? Cheery plods on the beat, wandering around the park? More cameras? A van on patrol?


14 Comments to “Heated Arguments”

  1. annabel says:

    that sounds aweful, to be honest I try and take my young son to the park in the mornings as beyond that some of the sights I see are just horrendous. Yesterday even at midday there were many ‘Little Brittain’ characters walking around with their intimidating dogs, the sun just seems to bring out the undesireable shirtless yobs. I have also noticed less police visibility in the park, I also notice that teenagers find the childrens playground to be the destination of choice for rolling around on the grass and getting far too physical in a kids environment. I do love Greenwich so much but this weekend has put me off a bit, some locals are so loud and unsociable it means I consider the park a bit of a no go area on sunny afternoons.

  2. will says:

    Royal Parks Constabulary ceased in 2004 http://www.royalparks.org.uk/about/police.cfm

    I always get the impression there are policemen pretty much permanantly in the Park, just that now they are Met officers or PCSOs. I guess if the Mets are busy elsewhere, they may have to leave the Park?

    Sounds very unpleasant though. The answer is permanent police, but that cosst money…

  3. Kat says:

    I didnt see any police presence in the park yesterday at all. Last year they did rounds in their patrol car along the roads and walkways which is a good deterrent for un-favourable characters who might have spent too long in the sun getting tanked up.
    I noticed quite a few groups of shirtless ‘yobs’ in the park yesterday generally being very loud and drunken and spoiling what otherwise seemed like quite a civil crowd of sun-seekers.

  4. Michael Kaye says:

    yeh no police presence that I saw. I did see lots of BBQs burning the grass (thought they were banned) though.

    Not much fun but I stay up near Maze hill entrance – quieter there.

  5. scared of chives says:

    The only time I see police in their patrol car is when there are four people and a dog in the park – just as the aggro is about to…er..kick-off.

    Hot weather, 1000s of people, beer, lads showing off – the plod are rightly filling out forms at the station.

  6. Ian says:

    I did see a police man in the park yesterday but wished there were more. It’s nice to see everyone enjoying themselves but if people want to act like chavs (sorry) then I’d rather they do it at home.

    I don’t have a problem with seeing a handful of police in the park on a day like yesterday… there were thousands of people so it would seem to make (statistical) sense?

  7. frank says:

    I’m using Firefox and at present this post will scroll but Underground Overground doesn’t. Hardy’s pub scrolls now but didn’t earlier today.

  8. Mark Etherington says:

    Greenwich Park does have its own police team, which are part of the Met:

    http://www.met.police.uk/teams/royalparks/greenwichpark/index.php

    Personally, I think there are too many cars, vans and other vehicles in the park. I would like to see the police patrolling on foot more often instead of driving round the park in their cars. Or why not give them bicycles? Or even have mounted patrols on horses?

  9. I have definitely seen mounted police in Greenwich – they seem to fit rather well. At Christmas the horses wear little santa hats. Ahhh….

  10. Brenda says:

    I will choose where we sit a bit more carefully next time but the whole day had an air of tension about it. By the way these kids didnt look like they had been drinking.

    Its these water pistols which are fast becoming a nuisance. This is what led to the fight in the first place. I think we should have a water pistol amnesty – leave your water guns at the gate and you can collect on the way out!

  11. Anon says:

    I suppose they couldn’t give the police bicycles to patrol because most of the paths are no-go zones for bikes and it wouldn’t set a good example if the police were to start using them.

    For what its worth, I once had a run-in with the Parks Police in the mid 1990s when one of my spaniels made a break for it when a builder left a gate open near the duck pond. In a flash, the spaniel was swimming up and down the pond trying to catch a duck (which of course was completely unfazed by a stupid spaniel).

    In the end, the Parks Police arrived and we were all carted off to the slammer for duck worrying and our names taken, including the dog’s. However, the police were very kind and were concerned for the dog who was clearly now very cold from its swim, it being February.

  12. Steve says:

    We were also in the park yesterday, parked under a tree on the slope leading up to the Observatory. No trouble or unpleasantness in sight and we were even entertained by a phone conversation between a loud-voiced darlingette and, we assumed, her man, which went “Whyareyoulying?! Whyareyoulying?! Butwhyareyoulying?! Whyareyoulying?! You’relying! Whyareyoulying?!” and so on.

    The peace WAS momentarily broken by the sound of a dropped bottle followed by two shirtless lads rolling down a slope fighting, which alarmed one of my visiting friends, before they got up and wandered off laughing. Okay, they didn’t clear up the broken glass but someone else soon kicked it all out of harm’s way.

    All in all, just good humour to be seen from our viewpoint. None of the a/m ‘tension’.

  13. Bob Local says:

    Sadly things did get a bit heated in the park last Sunday.

    The Parks Bobbies had only two of their finest on duty having had a number of Officers seconded to Central London for the day, not ideal for a busy hot sunny afternoon I agree.

    Happily the altercation didn’t end in anything serious but not a nice experience for those nearby.

    That said the Council Police got there fairly quickly and were helped out by other scary chaps in dark blue kit with lots of velcro. Thankfully they wern’t needed at all.

  14. Lady Lewisham says:

    Belated picked up on this item. We have always called the Park police the Conker Patrol – and like most police they are unfortunately never quite there when you want them. I don’t think the Park is generally scary, although over the rather too many years I’ve been enjoying it there have been some nasty incidents. A couple of thoughts: sometimes teenagers respond to just being asked to be more thoughtful (yes really they do!) and when I was recently made somewhat anxious by a difficult man with drug/mental health issues, I took myself off to a different area. Fortunately the Park is big enough to do that.
    I wish, however, that the CP wouldn’t patrol in their cars – on foot or bike would be much better as surely they would be more aware of any trouble brewing. And they might notice some of those BBQ grass burners. (How about creating an area for BBQs as they do in many Australian parks?)
    Finally, a few years ago, a son then at Thomas Tallis was involved in a massive snow ball fight in the Park: about 100 kids versus the local police, who used riot shields. It was consensual and very good humoured and probably did more to improve teenager/police relations than any leaflet or talk.