London – Walthamstow Central fight: Up to 200 teenagers present face off against 100 Metropolitan Police officers
Up to 200 teenagers were present at a fight near an east London Tube station on Tuesday evening, police have said.
The disturbance was between Hoe Street and Station Approach in Walthamstow.
A 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl were arrested on suspicion of affray and an 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.
Police remained at the scene on Wednesday to “ensure the group remains dispersed”, said the Met.
There were no reports of injuries after the fight, but clumps of hair were found on the pavements near Walthamstow Central station.
Video posted on social media appeared to show several girls fighting.
Paul Ellis, switchboard controller at Central Radio Cabs in the borough, said: “We couldn’t service the station all night because of the traffic caused by police closing the roads, it was really bad from 17:00 till about 21:00 and we lost custom because of it.”
Police said most of the youngsters were there to watch a fight or film it on their phones.
The disturbance started at about 17:00 and the teenagers had dispersed by 20:45, police said.
Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy tweeted: “I am furious because these young people have so much at stake and hate to see it wasted in afternoon of madness.”
She wrote on Facebook that police were deployed “due to the large numbers of calls about a fight”.
“At the time of the police arrival, the group were not committing offences but their presence in such numbers would be alarming to members of the public as would the volume of police vehicles,” she said.
Ch Insp Jon Simpson at Waltham Forest confirmed officers were working with the council and local schools to find people behind any criminal acts.
He said: “The vast number of children who congregated in the area yesterday were merely there to watch and film on their phones rather than to participate in any criminal activities.”
He said the force had increased patrols to reassure local residents and businesses.
A spokesperson for Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow said it was “investigating and working closely with local police to find out if any of our students were involved”.
The college said it had a “zero tolerance” approach to unacceptable behaviour inside or out of the college.
“If any of our students are found to be involved in any way, they will face serious consequences,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Leyton Sixth Form College said it took such incidents “very seriously” and would “respond accordingly” when more information became available.
Local resident Martha Buckley said she was coming out of a tube station and a “huge group of teenagers” which looked like “mostly girls” started running up the road from behind the station car park.
She said the group “definitely” looked organised.
Ms Buckley said: “I didn’t see anyone fighting but there was definitely a very tense and volatile atmosphere, as though something was going to kick off.”