06.04.2005 Diaspora News

Haringey Ghanaian Community celebration ends in Chaos

By tottenham journal
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UK -- A TEENAGER was shot outside a party where Tottenham MP David Lammy was guest of honour at the weekend.

The 17-year-old boy lay bleeding on the ground for 40 minutes at the Broadwater Centre, Adams Road, Tottenham, on Saturday night. He was taken by ambulance to the North Middlesex Hospital.

The Haringey Ghanaian Community celebration, attended by almost 400 people, ended in chaos.

Mr Lammy was getting ready to leave the building just after midnight when a shot was fired at a crowd of young people who had congregated outside.

He and the Mayor of Haringey, Councillor Sheila Peacock, rushed to the side of the teenage victim, who lives on the estate.

Mr Lammy said: "The atmosphere was tense, scared and angry.

"I attended to the boy with the crowd and I said for the boy not to be moved. People were trying to stem the bleeding with items of clothing."

But Mr Lammy and community leaders are angry at the response of the police and ambulance service on the night.

They say police did not arrive at the centre until 20 minutes after the first emergency call had been made.

A police spokesman said that the officers were instructed to wait on the fringes of the estate until a risk assessment had taken place.

Mr Lammy added: "It was extremely distressing to see a 17-year-old boy bleeding from a gun wound on one of our streets - and all of us who were there were anxious to get him help as soon as possible."

The MP said he had spoken to Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Stephen Bloomfield, and was writing a formal letter of complaint. He added: "I will asking why there was such a long delay in police response."

John Mensah, chairman of the Haringey Ghanian Community, said: "The community is not taking this lightly. We are angered that we had to wait so long for help to arrive. The feeling is that this was allowed to happen because it was Broadwater Farm."

Mr Mensah described the police operation on arrival as a "shambles". He said: "Every person in the centre was herded out in small groups like sheep through one door after each had their photograph taken and details written down by officers.

"It was uncalled for. These were people having a party. The gunmen were long gone. Everybody was so upset. It had been a happy night but then the atmosphere became ugly."

The injured teenager, a pupil at Greig City Academy in Hornsey High Street, remains in a serious condition in hospital.

A school spokesman said that fellow students were receiving "peer counselling" following the shooting.

The incident is being investigated by Operation Trident and officers are particularly keen to speak to the driver and passengers of a silver Fiat Punto seen leaving the scene. There were six other firearms incidents in Haringey on Saturday evening.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Bloomfield cut short his annual leave to deal with the Broadwater Farm incident.

He said: "I understand the concern regarding police attendance at this incident.

"This was undoubtedly a very serious and distressing situation for everyone present, in particular the victim and his family.

"Police officers must assess every situation before responding and have to consider the consequences of their actions on the communities that we police.

"An inappropriate response to such a stressful situation may only serve to make matters worse.

"When police arrived on the scene 20 minutes after the original call, the incident was managed properly."

Mr Bloomfield has called for a public meeting to address concerns on Broadwater Farm.

A spokesman for London Ambulance Service said: "In line with the service's protocol for such incidents, the ambulance crew and fast response car were sent to a nearby rendezvous point organised by the Metropolitan Police Service.

"They remained there until the police confirmed it was safe to proceed to the scene.

"The male patient was taken to hospital as an emergency admission at 12.41am."

Witnesses are asked to contact the Incident Room on 020 8733 4774 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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