Parent is 'frightened' to take children to Kingston Rec park in Portsmouth amid 'threatening behaviour' of youths
PARENTS with young children say they have been left ‘frightened’ at ongoing anti-social behaviour by youths at a popular park.
Users of Kingston Recreation Ground, Fratton, have complained of teenagers stealing bikes, pushing children off the play area, cycling menacingly towards disabled people on mobility scooters, as well as shouting and swearing.
The ‘threatening’ behaviour from the group has prompted officers to attend the area ‘often’, according to residents.
One said: ‘It’s awful up there. I’m frightened to take my child there on my own and I wouldn’t feel safe letting them go there by themselves.
‘A group of boys went over to another group and broke the chain off their bike and then took the bike off them. The [second group] were so polite and kind and thanked us for offering to help.
‘The group also push kids off the play area and ride their bikes at people and won’t get out of the way, even to people on mobility scooters.
‘It is frightening and threatening especially if you are on your own. There’s also been lots of vandalism - the toilets have been wrecked.
‘The language is bad with lots of shouting and swearing when there are toddlers in the park.’
The resident added: ‘I have lived here for several years and I’ve never noticed problems like this before.
‘The problem is ongoing. The police make their presence known often.’
A police spokeswoman said the force did not have specific reports logged but for a group of young people playing loud music on Friday, May 7 - with the matter ‘filed pending further lines of enquiry’.
But she confirmed the police will respond to any incidents in the area. ‘The local neighbourhood team will continue to review and monitor all reports of this nature and will target extra resources where necessary,’ she said.
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Kingston Rec has been blighted by problems over the years with the catalogue of issues ranging from residents and councillors raising concerns over drug taking and anti-social behaviour.
The new toilets at the site were also vandalised within a day of opening in August 2019, while a large knife was found by concerned parents in April of the same year.
A 23-year-old man was left hospitalised after being the victim of an attempted knifepoint robbery in January 2018 by a woman and two men.
A woman was found dead at the park in July 2019 resulting in a police probe that saw a man arrested for manslaughter.