Terrified residents have been forced to lock themselves in their own homes as police rounded up a swarm of youths wreaking havoc on their street.
For the second time in as many weeks, police were called to Banjo Paterson Park in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburb of Lynbrook on Saturday night to usher dozens of rampaging youths, predominantly African-Australians, onto trains.
As locals hid, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was vocal in his criticism of Victoria Police’s leniency, saying youths will continue to treat authorities with contempt unless arrests are made.
Police were called to the park on Saturday evening at around 7:30pm after reports of chanting and public intoxication.
One female resident told the Herald Sun she was expecting a fight to break out at any minute.
The youths were reportedly approached by police with their batons drawn and ushered to Lynbrook Railway Station, about a ten-minute walk away.
One man was seen being put in the back of a police van.
Frightened locals watched through their windows as the scene was returned to tranquility about four hours later.
One resident saying they had ‘never had this issue here before’.
But fewer than two weeks ago, on October 3, police were called to the exact same park after a report of African youth gang violence.
On that night, at least 25 riot squad officers were seen near the railway station and the reserve where the youths were loitering.
They were called on reports of violence and assault, but later said no arrests were made and no victims had come forward.
‘Looks the same group of people that were here a couple of weeks ago are back again,’ one local wrote on Facebook Saturday night, leading to concerns for re-offenders.
Mr Abbott has led the criticism of Victoria Police, accusing them of ‘pussy footing’ around youth and gang crime in Melbourne.
‘The problem is that there seems to be a few hundred youngsters in outer metropolitan Melbourne who treat the police with contempt,’ Mr Abbott said.
Legislation was introduced earlier in the year, which restricts youths with no prior convictions from associating with known gang members.