Last stop for bus station hooligans

Brawling youths a thing of the past as council swoops with dispersal order

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The joint action by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the police follows complaints of rival gangs meeting at Hammersmith Broadway bus station for pre-arranged scraps.

Passengers at the busy interchange rang alarm bells at the town hall after complaining about:

- Youths forcing their way onto buses and knocking passengers into the busy road
- Large groups of more than 50 teenagers blocking entrances and intimidating other passengers
- Older boys egging on younger ones to fight each other and ignore the police
- General swearing, shouting, pushing and shoving on the top deck of the bus station leading to a threatening atmosphere for other passengers.

Cllr Greg Smith, Hammersmith & Fulham Council cabinet member for crime & antisocial behaviour, says, “The attitude of these louts towards other passengers, not to mention authority, is shameful. They have no qualms about squaring up to bus conductors, or even police officers, when they are confronted about their behaviour. This is why we are giving the police tough powers to move them on or arrest them.”

The dispersal zone, which will last for three months from 18th September, means police can banish troublemakers if they are causing or are likely to cause intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress. If they refuse to go they can be arrested. 

Sergeant Paul Goulden, from the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) Hammersmith Safer Neighbourhood Team, backed the council’s tough stance, saying, “These kids are very clued up on police powers and their human rights. They often tell my officers, ‘You don’t have the power to move me on’, but now with the dispersal order that’s no longer true.”

The zone also allows children, under 16 years and not under the effective control of an adult, to be marched home if they are up to no good.

Sergeant Martin Bryant, from the MPS’s Transport Operational Command Unit, which is dedicated to fighting crime on bus routes; tackling illegal taxi-touts; and assisting the control of traffic congestion said, “This dispersal order is an effective tool to prevent groups gathering at the Broadway to behave in an anti-social manner.”

The Hammersmith Broadway dispersal order is the third active zone in the borough following recent successes at Ravenscourt Park and Pineapple Park.

Cllr Smith concludes, “Actions speak louder than words and eventually, through tough zero tolerance measures like this, the anti-social minority in our borough will get the message.”


September 11, 2006