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Calls for tighter security after police shut down party in Royal Docks

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 29 August 2020

A line of officers heads down Western Gateway. Picture: Submitted

A line of officers heads down Western Gateway. Picture: Submitted

Archant

Calls for tighter security have been made after police were called in to shut down a mass gathering.

Officers block a road outside The Oxygen building. Picture: SubmittedOfficers block a road outside The Oxygen building. Picture: Submitted

Video posted online shows more than 20 officers forming a line down Western Gateway in the Royal Docks heading towards a crowd outside The Oxygen tower block on Saturday, August 22.

The footage shows police blocking the street and a woman shouting, “Relax, just relax” while the sound of a helicopter can be heard overhead.

A neighbour from The Oxygen, who asked not to be named, said about 100 revellers were trying to get to an event in a penthouse flat.

A Met police spokesperson said: “At about 7.21pm police were made aware of reports of a large gathering at The Oxygen, Royal Docks.

A crowd gathers outside the apartment building. Picture: SubmittedA crowd gathers outside the apartment building. Picture: Submitted

“A number of people were made to leave the location. One man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.”

A spokesperson for nearby ExCeL London said they empathised with those affected and that their team helped restore order.

ExCeL is supporting the estate management company and building manager with an investigation.

The party organiser, who asked not to be named, said it was a private party and that, while the number of people attending went beyond what was expected, he complied straightaway with a police request to switch off the music and send guests home. He added there were four other parties in the building that night.

A line of officers heads down Western Gateway. Picture: SubmittedA line of officers heads down Western Gateway. Picture: Submitted

“I am very sorry at the disturbance I caused my neighbours. It was not my intention as I was simply having a private party,” he said.

The neighbour said the noise didn’t stop until gone midnight, but that it wasn’t the first time residents had to put up with noise and anti-social behaviour at the building.

“This weekend was the first time it genuinely did not feel safe,” the 36-year-old said.

She added that neighbours planned to leave their homes this weekend, expecting more of the same at the building over the Bank Holiday.

Residents at the block, where the average price of a property is more than £400,000, report revellers in the past dropping cigarette butts, glasses and nitrous oxide canisters over the side of balconies. Suspected drug dealing and substance abuse is an issue too, the neighbour added.

Party-goers even knock on people’s doors asking if they can use the toilet, she said.

She called for tightened security at the private estate and for vetting of people who rent short term lets there through sites including AirBnB and Booking.com to prevent apartments being used for parties.

A three month-long closure order has since come into force barring all but the owner, tenant, contractors, utilities and emergency services from entering the property where the party was held.

There are fears people are hiring out flats to party at because nightclubs and music venues are closed because of the pandemic.

Ward councillor, Rohit Dasgupta, said the problem at Royal Docks had been raised with him “a number of times”.

“I think it is wrong during a pandemic to be having these parties and would expect, in addition to council enforcement, the private security of the estate to take immediate action,” Cllr Dasgupta said.


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