A POLICE Chief has made a “promise” to deal with the gang violence which claimed a 17-year-old boy's life on Walthamstow High Street.
The Met’s Borough Commander in Waltham Forest Richard Tucker came under severe criticism from the St James street community at a highly charged meeting on Monday.
Emotions were running high after Elijah Dornelly's murder little over a week ago.
Police have now arrested and charged two teenagers in connection with the fatal stabbing which shocked the community.
Esra Abeka-Soares, 18, of Caxton Road, Southall and a 17-year-old boy from Walthamstow will both appear in custody today at Thames Magistrates' Court.
At the meeting organised by incoming council leader Clare Coghill, residents called on DCS Tucker to put more officers down the St James Street end of the market, which is a “no-go zone” for some at night.
One woman said: “The fact is our high street has been ceded to a violent drug dealing gang and has become for many people a no-go zone.
“At the moment they know they can act with impunity and are escalating their intimidation of people because they know the police are 20 minutes away.”
A mother-of-two said her sons can’t walk up Coppermill Lane without being stopped and offered drugs.
She added: “My son is in his thirties and they still stop him.”
A small business owner, who moved to London 12 years ago, said he has never seen drugs so obviously dealt and taken as seen in Walthamstow.
He added: “There is no fear. There are broken down CCTV cameras and very little police presence.
“As a younger resident and small business owner in the area I am seriously considering leaving the area to go somewhere safer to go to work and live.
“For cllr Coghill, if you want to attract jobs and investment into he area, serious action needs to be taken.”
A father-of-three who moved to Pretoria Avenue in 2013, said: “It breaks my heart to see my children seeing these boys selling drugs every day.
“Can you please do something about these people because we really don’t feel safe at all, it’s really affecting our lives.”
DCS Tucker said he would not go back to the “bad old days” of stop and searching hundreds of kids.
He said: “We need to be more sophisticated in how we police this problem.”
The top brass said seven officers had joined his team in the past few weeks, and he expects another 30 to join over the next 12 months.
DCS Tucker added: “I’m a cop through and through, I’ll listen to you and do something about this.
“Be patient and I will come back here in two months when I’ve dealt with these people.
“I promise you we are looking at them and we will deal with them.”