Windrush anti-social behaviour ‘out of hand’

Windrush Square by day
Windrush Square by day

Brixton Society logoAnti-social behaviour in Windrush Square is “out of hand” according to the Brixton Society.

In a post on its website yesterday (15 November), it said that large crowds of drunks frequently build up in the square at night, leading to fights, public pissing “and worse”.

Residents of Rushcroft Road that leads off the square have complained to brixtonblog about the use of their doorways by public pissers.

The society said there were rumours that the public toilets in the square, which were closed in 1986, are to be sold off and brought back as a “yuppie wine bar”.

“Pubic urination in this prime location is an annoyance that residents should not have to endure,” the society said.

Street drinking in the square had reached a “chronic state”, it went on. “This is obviously partly a function of the derelict and lonely being priced out of Brixton’s trendy bars. But it has been going on since the 1980s and getting steadily worse.”

Council by-laws making street drinking illegal in central Brixton had been introduced in 1997 – against the advice of the police, said the society.

Police did not arrest street drinkers or confiscate their drink unless there were aggravating circumstances like fighting and indecent exposure.

But now that police intervention in Windrush Square and its vicinity is required regularly, said the society, the police safer neighbourhood office is seeking views on the issue. Community consultation has already identified “anti social behaviour in general” is the top priority for police in the area and figures largely in the latest crime figures for the area.



All crime



Anti-social behaviour



Bicycle theft






Criminal damage and arson






Other crime



Other theft



Possession of weapons



Public order









Theft from the person



Vehicle crime



Violence and sexual offences



The office can be contacted at



  1. It is about 10 years since the then head Librarian at the Tate Library told members of the Brixton Society that she was having great difficulties getting people to the mothers and toddlers reading group because the women felt intimidated by the street drinkers and others who crowded around the library entrance. Officers and councillors were not very interested and I and the then chair had to have several stand up rows with officers before £50000 appeared, to be spent in a month or two before the end of the financial year. The fountain and its syringe infested waters were removed; the low walls taken out to improve lines of sight and the benches that allowed congregation.taken away. Our aim was to make the square safe so that mothers and toddlers and other citizens could use it .

    A year or two later the council suddenly decided that what was needed was not just a safe, secure and pleasant space but a WORLD CLASS square..Yet another expensive consultancy told us that we should look at Siena. We told them that whatever was done must have money for regular cleaning and maintenance.
    But what did we long in the tooth residents know compared with 24 year old design consultants and gullible councillors. No money on maintenance,no natural surveillance and here we go again; street drinkers and drug dealers back on parade.
    If some people do not see it, that does not mean it is not there.
    So another pretentious and expensive project is in trouble.Can we now talk about the conceit and the costs of the new civic quarter? Another white elephant! Just keeping the centre clean would be a much better start.

  2. The public toilets for this area are sign posted to use McDonalds’ toilets (who have an agreement with Lambeth). You don’t have to buy anything there to use the toilets there, so you can’t say people who pee in the square have been ‘priced out’. They just can’t be bothered to go to the toilet in a toilet. That’s all.

  3. The problem of drunkeness and urination is all too common in Lambeth: it’s no better in Clapham and reflects Lambeth Council’s greater concern for late night licensing than quality of life, even though there is no economic benefit. Anti-social behaviour is largely ignored by Lambeth’s feeble ‘enforcement’ officers. Instead Councillors like Jennifer Brathwaite ignore the problems and undertake ‘photo-ops’ with enforcement officers who are never normally around with pointless ‘not on our street’ hashtag tweets.

  4. I remember very clearly the time I was mugged in Windrush square by some drink-addled lunatic, and thinking to myself as he threatened to stab me over a fiver that if only there were fewer bars on the high street and more traditional pubs, then this would-be killer would be an altogether different character.

    I mean come on. The suggestion that pissing in people’s doorways is some sort of leftist show of defiance against a Yuppie takeover of south London is beyond infantile.

  5. …I actually would like to ditto Lauren’s comments regarding the assaults on women. That is much much important than “anti-social” behaviour on Windrush Square which may I just add, have not personally witnessed myself and not heard any of my friends mention this and we have lived in Brixton for years and years!! I’ve never found it intimidating and walk through the square constantly in the late evenings.
    I personally would like to comment on the fact that there is so much vomit around the Brixton vicinity, much more than there were a few years back! As for the peeing, well isn’t that everywhere in Brixton, I’ve seen people doing it publicly – yuk! Another disgusting activity that has increased over the last couple of years!!!

  6. It doesn’t help that the council doesn’t maintain the place. When was new and clean, it attracted more ‘non-antisocial’ people to stop there, so it had a positive mixed feeling. With the place being filthy, lots of the lights not working, and the grass getting bare it’s got back to how it was in the bad old days. The planning approval for the new square came with conditions to implement management and maintenance plans. Some chance!

  7. Windrush Square has to be one of the most dimly lit public squares I know of. Perhaps if it were better lit it might deter this sort of thing going on?

    I’ve only walked through the square once (in the early evening) before. Me and my wife were spat at. When I complained, we got a tirade of endless verbal abuse. We don’t go through the square any more.

  8. I accept that this is an issue, as it is in many areas in the borough. I live near Acre lane to get home I walk through a large group of drinking and smoking men openly selling drugs. then turn down a newly paved street where the first doorway is their urinal and food dump (that they buy from the bloke who has set up his street barbecue that is how many men are loitering there.
    The story on the street is that they have targeted a shopkeeper and have taken over his lock up to grow their weed.
    The police are largely absent, although after two successive nights of ambulances they deigned to turn up.
    As I said this is a problem borough wide. What I suspect though from a policing perspective at least is they know where they are so why bother and move them on to disturb anyone else. So we will be stuck with these pissing drinking men until the gentrification has finished and rich people will get them moved on but then again so will the rest of us, be moved on.

  9. Going from the figures and most recent events, I think time and resources should be aimed at reducing the startling number of sexual assaults in the area. This is far more worrying than the set up in Windrush square….

  10. Another great article from the Brixton arm of Pravda. Of course don’t blame the people actually committing the offences, how can they possibly be expected NOT to get blind drunk and urinate in the doorways of people’s homes? I’ve been ‘priced out’ of buying a Ferrari, perhaps I should find one and piss in the petrol tank to demonstrate my outrage at this social injustice.

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