Clapham Junction becomes City Safe Zone
A new initiative has seen 30 businesses in Battersea become safe havens for youngsters.
Clapham Junction became a City Safe Zone when the scheme was launched on Saturday, with traders offering sanctuary for youngsters who feel in danger.
About 100 members of Wandsworth Citizens, a campaigning organisation launched after last year's riots, attended the launch, as well as Borough Commander Chief Superintendent David Chinchen, MP Jane Ellison and reggae reggae sauce inventor Levi Roots.
Mr Roots's restaurant, Papine Jerk in Ingrave Street, Battersea, has become a safe haven, along with Sunrise Convenience Store in Plough Road, Medleys Cafe in Lavender Hill, and the shopping precinct in Clapham Junction Station Ten more businesses chose to become city safe havens during the launch.
Participants met outside the Party Superstore, which was gutted during the riots, and released 100 helium balloons.
Children then visited participating business and put up stickers to notify passers-by they were safe havens.
The borough commander gave his full backing to the City Safe scheme, which aims to build relationships between police, businesses and the community.
He said: "This is a very important initiative which the Metropolitan Police fully supports. "Our Safer Neighbourhood Teams have been working hard on the relationships between the police and local traders around the Clapham Junction area - and it is good to see the community, through Wandsworth Citizens coming together with the police and local traders to make the streets safer."
Mr Roots provided a free barbecue for attendees, while popcorn, candy floss and face painting was organised by community leaders for people to enjoy in Pennethorne Square, in the Winstanley Estate.
He said: "I think the City Safe campaign is a fantastic idea. It's about making sure that young people have a safe place to be and that young people have the opportunities to get out in their communities and meet up with local traders like me."
Imogen Moore, 23, community organiser for South London Citizens said: "Most people were saying they just wanted to know more about it and want to be supported by the community and the police."
MP for Battersea, Jane Ellison, said: "I am very interested in things that bring the community together and the crime fighting initiatives that I am hearing about from the City Safe campaign.
"It was a pleasure to be here and I have had some great conversations with people."
The scheme will be reviewed later this year by Wandsworth Citizens.