Senior police officers did not attend last night’s stop and search group meeting at Waltham Forest Town Hall.

The meeting’s chairman, Sandra DaCosta, quizzed the inspector who did attend, Kevin Kane, on the whereabouts of his senior colleagues.

Detective constable James Bartrum and others were said to be at a police briefing.

Following multiple stabbings in Walthamstow over the last two weeks, residents expressed their anger and concern over the situation.

Sandra Miller is a Walthamstow resident and a social worker.

She said: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve already got.

“I’m so angry. What are we doing to stop the catastrophic annihilation of our young people?”

In response, inspector Kane said: “I’m not the best person to answer that.”

Residents and politicians present at the meeting, including Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, understood the difficult position Mr Kane had been put in, but were still worried.

Ms Creasy said: “This is not a new challenge for us and we’ve had waves of violence within our borough. One of the things I think we’re seeing now is a slightly different type of challenge.

“We know that exploitation is now an issue on the borough in a way that it wasn’t four or five years ago. Now it’s something very different and that should be driving a different response.

“I think people are right to be concerned. We’ve had a number of very serious incidents, not just in the last month, but actually over the last year and that hasn’t led to reassessment.”

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The meeting was held after multiple young people were stabbed in Walthamstow this month.

A lack of training for police officers in how to handle vulnerable young people was highlighted by the MP and residents alike.

Suenaila Akhtor is a member of the Waltham Forest Residents’ Group.

She said: “You’re arresting these young people without understanding their mindset.

“We all need to work together, these are our children, these are our future.”

In recent weeks, the police have repeatedly placed Section 60 orders on the borough. A Section 60 is a blanket authorisation for police officers to stop and search individuals whenever suspicion arises.

On March 29, a Section 60 order was in place. It resulted in 43 stop and searches and 14 arrests, eight of which were for carrying an offensive weapon.

The need for a Section 60 is constantly reviewed by senior officers. The next Section 60 order wasn’t reinstated until April 3.

Since then, a Section 60 order has been in place across Waltham Forest for five out of the last eight days.