Police chiefs have promised action on a series of teen girl gang attacks after complaints from parents in Twickenham.
The gangs targeted young girls aged 12 and 13 in a series of horrifying assaults which were often filmed and shared on social media.
In some cases weapons, including a rock, knuckleduster, bat and broom, were either used or threatened.
Parents have expressed worries about the safety of their children as there have been at least five reports of assault and antisocial behaviour.
Most of the attacks occurred at a playground in the centre of Twickenham less than 200 yards from a police station.
Shocked residents have talked about carrying out street patrols to ensure the safety of youngsters.
Initially, the police were unable to identify details of the assaults when asked about them by South West Londoner and subsequently, officers said they were being treated as individual incidents.
However, a new statement from the Met confirmed the police were now treating the incidents as linked.
It said the police were aware of a series of incidents involving a group of teenagers, mostly girls, who have been involved in assaults and antisocial behaviour.
The police press office said that, following a review, the incidents are being linked with the result that investigations are ongoing and arrests have been made.
At the same time, local Safer Neighbourhoods Team have increased patrols in the areas affected and are working with the Safer School teams to provide visibility.
Neighbourhoods inspector for Richmond borough, Rebecca Robinson, said: “Keeping young people safe is of the upmost importance to us. We are working hard with our partners in the council and schools to combat these issues.
“I would urge anyone to report any incidents of crime through to the police.”
Many of the attacks took place around the Holly Road Play Area, in central Twickenham.
The reports include:
- A 12-year-old girl was cornered and attacked by a gang of girls on 12 April. Video footage posted on social media suggests she was hit by a girl with a knuckleduster and also with a rock.
- A few days earlier, a girl of 13 was threatened with assault and chased to her home. She was subsequently threatened on two occasions by girls, armed with a broom handle and bat, who camped on her doorstep.
- In Redlees Park, Isleworth, a 13-year-old girl was attacked by gang of 15-20 teenagers. She was beaten, required stitches and reportedly spent a night in hospital.
- On 27 March, a mother of a two-year-old dragged away two female attackers, who were being filmed on smartphones as they carried out a frenzied attack on a teenage girl.
- A gang of teen girls and boys was involved in antisocial behaviour at the play area on Easter Saturday and Easter Monday. Fearful parents reported the incident to 999 and Twickenham Police Station.
Concerns were first raised by mother María José Triay, who saw a video posted on social media of one attack on the 12-year-old.
She said: “One of the attackers had a metal knuckleduster. The girl was also attacked with a rock. It is just horrible.
“It is a violent group. The poor girl was at the hospital.
“As parents we should not feel worried when our children go out with their friends.
“We cannot accept this, we cannot ignore it. I have an idea that we should create a walking group of parents, walking around the parks, to keep them safe.”
If anyone has any concerns in relation to these incidents in and around Holly Road and Twickenham High Street, they are asked to contact Twickenham Riverside Safer Neighbourhoods Team by emailing [email protected]