Gang fight in Brent Magistrates Court was ‘disaster waiting to happen’

Youths clash in ‘postcode wars’ battle

A violent clash between rival youths in a court house was ‘a disaster waiting to happen’ because of postcode wars, it has been claimed.

Three teenagers were arrested after a fight broke out in the public waiting area in Brent Magistrates’ Court on Monday afternoon.

The court was forced to close as a result of the brawl which according to an insider, who asked not to be named, had been predicted following the closure of Harrow Magistrates’ Court.

He claims concerns had been raised that postcode war disputes, in which youths from one area clash with their counterparts in neighbouring districts, would be fuelled.

He said: “There were objections from many agencies but it was ignored.

“If youths have to travel to an area where they don’t get on with people they will inevitably clash. This has been a disaster waiting to happen. It’s amazing no one was seriously injured.”

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During the fight, in which a 16 and two 17-year-olds were arrested for affray, several other people fled before they could be detained.

The arrested trio have been bailed to return to a police station in March.

Patrick Jacobs, chairman of Not Another Drop, an anti-crime organisation, said: “You will always get this kind of problem when you have rival youths in the same place. This shows that there is a gang problem in Brent despite continual denials.

“The court needs to step up their security and their scheduling to avoid this sort of thing happening again.”

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said: “The closure of Harrow Magistrates’ Court and the movement of work to Brent Magistrates’ Court will mean court services in the area are much more cost-effective.

“Brent Magistrates’ Court provides vastly improved and modern facilities. It offers good facilities and accessibility for court users with a disability and there are separate waiting facilities for victims and witnesses.

“Furthermore, the court has secure video link facilities so that vulnerable and intimidated witnesses do not need to go into the court room to give evidence.

“The government is committed to supporting local justice, enabling justice to be done and be seen to be done in our communities.”

He added: “This week’s incident is a matter for the police, but it should be noted that all the youth cases on the day were from the borough of Brent.”

Brent Police are appealing for witnesses to the fight to come forward.

Anyone with information should call DS Russell Norval on 0208 733 3709 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.