Sunday, 21 April 2019

Attack on boy, 10, at skate park

Attack on boy, 10, at skate park

A BOY of 10 was punched in the head at Henley skate park.

Police are investigating the attack and Henley Town Council will consider installing CCTV at the amenity in Makins recreation ground, off Greys Road.

The boy’s father, John Maillard, said his son was playing on his scooter with a friend when he was attacked by a boy of a similar age.

Mr Maillard said: “This boy hit my son and then they were actually chased out of the park by these two older lads.

“It was a smack in the face, causing a little bit of swelling and a bit of a bruise and I now have a child who doesn’t want to go down the skate park again.”

Mr Maillard and his partner had recently decided, along with parents of their children’s friends, to give them more freedom before going on to secondary school. He explained: “We thought we’d give them a couple of hours at the skate park on their own with a phone just in case anything happened.

“My son has met a lot of other friends from his year at school at the skate park but when something like this happens knocks children’s confidence.”

After posting about the incident on social media he said other parents had come forward saying they don’t allow their children to visit the skate park any longer.

A meeting of the council’s recreation and amenities committee on Tuesday heard that parents were concerned about an increasing amount of antisocial behaviour at the skate park, which opened in 2017.

Chairwoman Kellie Hinton said: “There have been incidents of antisocial behaviour, especially because it is such a popular facility. It would be nice to know people are enjoying it and are free to do so without fear.

“We would like to encourage more parents to attend with their children and we are going to investigate CCTV.”

Councillor Donna Crook said: “Teach the children self-defence. If we can encourage them then these kids won’t mess with them. It is not about having fights, it is for building confidence.”

Councillor David Eggleton said: “I think sometimes it is blown out of proportion. Kids are kids and some of them will clash.”

Councillor Sam Evans said: “I just do not feel comfortable with any suggestion that we are dismissing how serious these incidents were. It is real and there are people who are genuinely scared.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann proposed that the council asks Maverick Industries, the firm that built the skate park, for the best ways to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Residents have suggested asking the police to visit the skate park more often, employing a security warden and creating a Neighbourhood Watch-style group made up of parents.

The council has previously considered installing CCTV but the idea was not supported by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Thames Valley Police has said it is investigating an attack on a boy but no arrests had been made.

Anyone with information should call the police on 101, quoting reference 43190064858.

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