There’s been a great deal of debate about crime around my little patch of South London over the past week. Sadly first hand accounts of attempted muggings and burglaries have been on the increase. Sign up with the excellent Streets Ahead email network if you want to help to share information within the community.
I witnessed some extreme anti-social behaviour early on Thursday evening around Dorset Road. Local residents will be familiar with Mad Rupert. Six foot six, continual ranting and roars, and a very real, physical threat to the local community.
The poor chap is clearly unwell. He disappears for periods of a couple of months (hospital?) and then returns to spread fear within the community. His weapon of choice is a walking stick, which he isn’t afraid to lash out at random passers by.
Mad Rupert was in full flow as I walked down Dorset Road, en route to Nine Elms. A young mum came out of Bolney Meadow with her daughter, and walked straight into the path of Mad Rupert.
A racial insult, and then a swing of his walking stick at her legs – Welcome to Lambeth.
I walked with the mother and child back towards their flat and waited for the silence. Mad Rupert has a calling card that means he can be heard a couple of hundred yards away.
I spoke briefly with the mum about her concerns. Her poor girl look petrified. I’ve had similar conversations with Goran, my SW8 man with a Licence to Drill. Goran is also six foot six, and equally petrified of Mad Rupert.
And then by chance, I passed three coppers as I walked past the South Lambeth Library. Bingo. I relayed the story, and told them that Mad Rupert’s behaviour / illness was escalating.
Dorset Road remains a Police Dispersal Zone. Although this paints a picture more in line with gangland LA, local residents widely support the move. It gives the police the powers to move on anyone who is acting in an anti-social manner. I suspect the PDZ was brought in purely for Mad Rupert.
The coppers thanked me for the information, radioed for back up and then headed off towards Dorset Road. At least that’s what I think happened. It was hard to tell as half an hour later as I returned, Mad Rupert was bashing an old bloke around the ankles with his stick.
This man is ill. He shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets of SW8, causing genuine terror amongst the residents. I wish I had noted the badge numbers of the police I spoke with. I would genuinely like to know what action, if any, they took.
Meanwhile, Mad Rupert is somewhere within a couple of hundred yards as I type. I can hear his calling card. His bark may be worse than his bite, but it’s a risk that my local community shouldn’t have to be prepared to take.