Attacked in Russell Square

After I posted my last entry, I headed for the Globe for their free open day. After that I went by tube to Russell Square, which is fairly near an organic food shop where I intended to do some shopping. On the way there, some girl tried to pick a fight with me.

The girl was only about 10, and accompanied by two boys of about the same age. The girl was of dark eastern European appearance, that is, probably Romany, and was wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms (I think they were grey) which revealed her underwear (which is depressingly fairly common nowadays); her coat had a hood, with a lining of Burberry pattern. The two boys were white, one with ginger hair, and a bit fat. The girl put her fists up and started challenging me for a fight. To begin with, I started to walk away, as I thought she was joking. I have no idea why a girl of that age would attack a grown man who was just walking past and minding his own business.

I made my way from Russell Square towards SOAS and Malet Street, with the girl following me, continually challenging me and threatening me. I held my newspaper out in my hand, and waved it at her as if to fend her off, which she also took as some sort of threat. The boys kept telling her to come with them and on one occasion pulled her away from me. At the end, she aimed a kick at me, missing me but hitting my newspaper. Then the boys managed to get her to go with them.

This is the first time I’ve ever been attacked in any way on the streets of London (before this, the only confrontation I’d ever had in the street was in Cardiff). But a few weeks ago, I was asked for money by a girl of the same complexion outside Vauxhall train station in south London. That girl was only about seven or eight years old, and when I refused her money, she got mouthy. I told the station staff, who said they knew about her and had not been able to do anything about her.

The girl who had a go at me in Russel Square today did not have a weapon (I suspect she’d have used it if she did), nor did she ask me for anything. She just challenged me for a fight. Three people in Thornhaugh Street who must have seen most of this did nothing - they just carried on chatting. After going to the organic shop (and leaving more or less immediately after seeing the queue), I headed for the tube station. When I got to Edgware Road station I called 999 on my mobile. The woman had a go at me for calling for a “non-emergency” purpose as this was probably well over 20 minutes after the attack. (The problem is, there is no known number for a non-emergency police call. And supposing this girl had gone and picked a fight with somebody who would have given her a proper fight, or worse?)

After I got off the tube at Westbourne Park, I asked the guy in the station if I could see a phone book, as I needed to call a police station to report the incident. He told me I could go to the police station on Harrow Road, which happened to be a “five-minute walk” in the opposite direction to the one in which I was going. So I called directory enquiries and got the number of Camden police station. I got put on hold, and had to walk all the way from there to Golborne Road with my phone to my ear. This is a part of town in which it’s considered inadvisable to carry a mobile phone prominently. There were also no police to be seen - there never are, except in areas where there are a lot of tourists, like Westminster.

The woman I finally got through to was quite courteous, and it seems she knew about the abortive 999 call. It put the dampener on an interesting day, though. Where has our society got to that we have young girls attacking people in the street for no reason? Something needs to be done with these girls, because we can only imagine what they will do when they become teenagers and grown women.

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