balham 1balham 2Six of us came together at Balham Baptist Church around 9 30pm, following our Wandsworth Street Pastor Social. David Wilson, Athelia Martin, Felicity Frankland, Rez Yousef, Veronica Hollingsworth and myself (David Pollendine.) The plan was to do a shorter patrol and focus just on Balham. As we walked towards Balham High Street people were milling about following the World Cup game between Spain and Holland. We passed the Bedford Pub, which was busy as ever with people chatting and drinking on the street. We walked through the Larche Estate, which was quiet and back into Balham. Although the bars were reasonably busy and on a warm summer evening there were a number of people milling about the streets, yet everything felt quite peaceful. We decided to patrol through another estate which is situated behind the Salvation Army building. As we entered the estate it felt like we had just walked in on something and a number of police were standing around chatting to local residents. As we walked back towards Balham High Street, two police vans passed us, stopped and a policeman jumped out. It turned out to be Sgt Steve Miles from the Safer Neighbourhoods team and a recent speaker at one of our socials. He explained that a group of about 20 youth had been causing problems in that area. It brought home to us again that very different communities co-exist in a very small area, the night time economy of Balham High Street with its trendy bars and youth from the local Balham estates. We realise that as we patrol we must be aware of both and not neglect patrolling in an area just because it seems quiet and peaceful. We made our way back to Balham Baptist Church for 11 30pm to debrief and end the patrol. We will meet again on July 11th to patrol in Balham again.