Dazed and bleeding on Monday morning

Unpleasantness this morning, as I saw a mugging at Camberwell Green.

It was about 9am, I was waiting at the lights to turn right onto Camberwell Road when I heard some confusion and a man shouting “Fuck off!”. I looked around and saw some motion over on the corner outside the doctor’s surgery; a man was on the ground and two youths in hoods were running away up Camberwell New Road. A jeep swerved into the kerb and a man jumped out to offer help. The two youths were long gone.

As the lights changed and I turned, I passed the victim; he was bleeding from his scalp. He had people around offering aid. It was all very brief and confusing and nasty. It was also the first act of street crime I’ve witnessed in eight years or so of living and working here.

I know that street crime in Southwark is high, and I know that Camberwell Green is one of the hotspots in the area. And it appears it’s on the rise, although this is purely based on accounts I’ve heard from other people, and I don’t know whether this means it actually is on the rise or just whether there are more people talking about it.

I’m not sure that an increased police presence in the area would cause a drastic drop in street crime, but it’s surely an option worth exploring; I know the one time I needed to find a policeman, it took me ages until I finally saw a pair of special constables on the Green, heading towards the Magistrate’s Court (and there’s an irony there: the centre of justice with a crime hotspot on it’s doorstep). I’d love to know what effect the closure of the police station had on crime.

The CCTV effect seems to have passed; it’s fairly useless against a hooded top. And I think ending theft born of poverty and theft born of greed might just be too big a project for this blog to take on. So… what’s the solution? How do we stop the rot in our spiritual heart?

I just felt so sorry for the guy this morning; 9am at the start of the week, and already he’s bleeding, confused and out of pocket.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

23 thoughts on “Dazed and bleeding on Monday morning”

  1. Well if they were youths they should have been in school. It’s as good a place to start as any. When I was a youth if a policeman saw you between 8am and 4pm they would give you a stern talking to, take you to school where they’d give the head a stern talking to and then give your parents a stern talking to.

  2. I think if they catch kids truanting then the state should book them on an outward bound course or perhaps send them go-karting.

  3. I couldn’t say for sure they were school age, I only saw them from behind, running away. They could have been 17 or 18.

  4. I’ve thought for a while now that some kind of regular police presence around the Green should be the least the police can do until a new home for a Police Station can be found. Patrols, your regular community Bobby, that sort of thing. I don’t recall ever seeing police around Camberwell Green. Which is possibly why the street crime there is amongst the highest in London. There is almost an anarchic atmosphere sometimes.

  5. Yes, the only time I ever see police around Camberwell Green is when they have sealed it off for an “incident”.

    Sadly, I think it will take a very serious and violent crime to occur before anything is really done.

    Must say that I am surprised at the front of these muggers — on the corner of a very busy road in rush hour.

    And here was me thinking that as long as I walked around Camberwell in daylight .….…..

  6. Can’t blame them for running there. Fugitives have an unerring sense for areas which “can go rot” in the words of one Executive member of Southwark. If based at Kings, Richard Kimble would not have far to go to his regular circuit sanctuary of Councillor-Redcar-Wyndham-Farmer’s-Camberwell New Road.

    Camberwell New Road has plenty of CCTV, and sometimes the hoodie has a moment of weakness, a craving for vitamin D, a conscience-stricken gaze heavenward, a belief the trail has gone cold.

    Unfortunately this CCTV is fully dedicated to the capture of bus lane infringements, and has its digital memory wiped on a fortnightly basis 3 hours before each request from the police for disclosure of the footage to solve a crime is approved.

    £50,000 per camera per week isn’t a bad profit for each black anodised steel triffid, although obviously not enough to plough back into the community to mitigate environmental impact.

    Something public private could happen here. Maybe Branson can wirelessly broadcast media content through the TfL digital network and pay TfL ten million pounds a week and this income could be put towards the cost of enabling the police to see TfL camera footage.

  7. I’m no crime prevention expert but surely if you have an obvious police prescence in a crime hotspot then it will cease to be so.

  8. I saw that incident, Peter. It was something to do with the money transfer, etc. shop just down Camberwell Road from the doc’s, near Finch.

    That black bloke in the jeep was great, what a reaction! It was only when he had the presence of mind to mount the kerb that the youths fled. That was a Samaritan, that bloke. He did not pass by on the other side of the road. He mounted the pavement in his Jeep. That was such a good move against hooded youths who might have had knives.

    The African man was joined by his mate from the money transfer shop in the doc’s where they saw to him right away. He was bleeding from the head and very shocked — they’d kicked him in the head. I asked him if he was OK. They asked me if I’d been in the shop — the incident had begun there.

    Yes, it was very shocking to see. I thought we were going to see a stabbing. The jeep man, my God he was good. It’s very hard not to want to see the hooded youth get an absolutely thrashing.

  9. A cop on each corner with a large hand gun, and the ability to use it should do the trick.

    Just blow the F*****s away.

  10. Maigret Thatcher! What would that do for their human rights! I suppose it would prevent the hooded youth from being such miserable stereotypes, albeit terminally.

  11. What we need is (our favourite journalist) Littlejohn to come and sort Camberwell out, perhaps he would suggest compulsory sterilisation and concentration camps for foreigners and members of the underclass…
    check out the spoof LJ article in the Guardian today!

  12. Not sure the top ranks of our elected members of Local Government or our senior and junior Council Officers (some of whom have recently admitted that Camberwell has been ‘ignored’ and ‘overlooked’ in terms of investment and social egineering for decades) are aware of the gritty reality we experience living in Leafy Camberwell.

    Police attending an other incident of random pointless violence on Camberwell Road recently said our area is known as “CAMBER HELL” among their ranks.

    Nice one public servants.

  13. If they can’t be arsed to police us properly then they should at least have the good grace to call us by our name.

    You should have replied- that’s funny because among our ranks you are known as ‘the pigs’. Namecalling is not very helpful is it.

  14. hahaha Alan thats very funny!
    I’m sure that it would qualify you for a kidney beating from the ’ boys in blue, rozzers, filth
    woodentops ’ etc.
    anyone else got any other names for our swiney mates?

  15. They call eachother job.

    Like, if they meet someone and suspect that they may be a copper too then they say ‘Are you job?’.

    In Liverpool they are called ‘the bizzies’

  16. & they don’t eat — but ‘meal’ instead when they ‘job’ — they probably don’t say ” shut it you horrible scrote ” thats just too many episodes of ‘the sweeney’
    All the coppers here seem to be 19 yo skinhead thugs, except a really big lady one i saw on Crutch st yesterday — she was a female equivalent
    of Big Daddy — will sit on ‘Perps’ to extract confessions without leaving marks.

  17. Not good to read about; was robbed outside MacDonald’s over a year ago. The police took over a week to return my call which I had to take in the office, they only call you once. I didn’t speak to a police officer, one of the civilian workers; one question made me laugh out loud — were there CCTV cameras? As if I could remember … I walked round to have a look, yes there were, but directed towards the ATMs outside Barclay’s.

    In hindsight I should have asked why the cameras weren’t directed at the bus stops, or indeed MacDonald’s, the biggest honey pot in Camberwell for our sweet-toothed hoodies.

    The police presence in Camberwell has been non-existent since the police station was closed. In terms of popularity I imagine being a police officer in this area akin to being a journalist for the Daily Wail.

  18. Er. On the point of the lack of rozzer presence overall I have to say I’ve seen a lot of them around during the day recently.

    Usually with one or more Community Wardens alongside.

  19. crime is everywhere in london — the West end has had a problem with organised pickpocket gangs certainly since the C18th, the current gangs seem to be made up of Albanians etc. treading a well trodden historic criminal path.
    I actually find Camberwell /Se london quite respectful in terms of personal space, maybe it is because people are more wary of others — I don’t find myself barged, knocked into/over by rude white commuters as you can be elsewhere.

    I actually have to shield my wife ( SE asian & 4 ft 7 inchs) and take blows to protect her when trying to pass by Clapham Junction Station early evening. I have almost got in fights as a result
    but am built like a brick shithouse and cowe my opponents.
    These white middle class people behave like wankers — SE 5 is much better.

  20. To be far to the police when i was mugged in camberwell a few weeks ago — in my own road no less! They were great and turned up within about 5 mins and have taken an active interest in the case (althoug having said that they haven’t caught anyone yet!!)

  21. when i was victim of an attempted mugging (they tried to steal my dog) the police let me look through their photo’s of about 300 possible local suspects who fit the description. Many of them were in prison but some were still strolling the streets. All this did was make me very wary of everyone I passed in the steet for a few weeks as I was sure I’d seen them on the police records.

  22. If we blame the police for the muggings, we can avoid the embarrassing question of who actually does it. We are, after all, totally out of our depth.

    Still, I agree with John that when there was a police station here, we had immediate access to policemen, whether they were welcome here or not.

    The chap the other day, who drove his jeep at the hooded youth who were kicking the African man in the head as he lay on the pavement, may have himself committed an offence.

    He scared them. They scarpered like cockroaches, it was really something to see. The muggers should make themselves known so that the jeep man can apologise.

    The African man could apologise. So could the police, as they arrest the jeep man. So could their own mothers for having them and not giving them the unconditional love that Camilla recommends for them now, but may yet be found in aptly named penal institutions, where it is meted out by the larger men.

  23. I used to manage a bookshop in the area and had cause to call the police depressingly regularly. They were mostly supportive but unable to effectively help.

    Unless a serious assault was in progress (in which case they would turn up within a few minutes) they would call-in the next day to take statements etc. I got the impression that they were completely swamped by petty crime. There was a local beat officer for Camberwell who was impressively committed to helping prevent crime in the area but a one-woman operation sadly.

    I was always heartened by the community spirit displayed by locals whenever anyone needed help though. People help people there.

    Camberwell is a unique nodal point at the centre of a maelstrom of mental health, drugs, alcohol and crime problems. Iain Sinclair’s Psychogeography anyone? Anyway I’m in Melbourne, Australia now. Differently vibrant. Without that South London edge.

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