A man has slammed police over the “terrifying” lack of control and “unbearable” daily crime he has witnessed living in Watford town centre.

The resident, who wished to remain unnamed, said crime is the worst he has seen in seven years living locally and claimed people are too scared to report it out of fear gangs will target them.

He recounted numerous assaults, stabbings, attempted break-ins, constant drug use, machete attacks he or people in his area have seen, and said he feels constant threat when returning to his building past 11pm.

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He said: “It is terrifying.

“I used to live in London, in an area that was well known for criminality, Watford was supposed to be safer but over the last few years it’s become unbearable.”

He felt compelled to speak out after witnessing three crimes in three days, which have been corroborated by police, and hearing about a man left in a critical condition after being assaulted by five men just over a week later.

Around 4.10am on September 6 he witnessed a lone youth followed and punched unconscious by a "gang", between their mid-teens and mid-20s.

Police confirmed the date and time and said a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.

He has been released under investigation.

The man claimed he saw nobody being arrested and once police left, the kids happily kept smoking weed and drinking outside until 5.30am.

“He was laying on the floor, but when police arrived, they must have thought he was just drunk.

“What should I do, as a citizen, go out there and ask politely for them to stop as I have got work in the morning, and risk getting punched senseless?

“There is no kind of control.

“There must only be a few officers patrolling the whole of central Watford to keep an eye on everything.”

On September 9, at 11am, police responded to a potential break-in, which the man claimed involved youths breaking down the front door and going up to the third-floor terrace while smoking weed.

Police confirmed the incident was reported and that five men were arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug possession with intent to supply.

However, the man added that on the same evening, two more youths attempted to break in.

Despite having a photograph of them, he was reportedly told it would be “pointless” to investigate it as their faces were covered.

Inspector Pete Edwards highlighted that prompt action was taken responding to both reports in September and said: “Anti-social behaviour remains a key priority for us in Watford, particularly in the town centre area, with officers conducting regular proactive patrols.

"Where we can, we will attend and take appropriate action to resolve the problem – however, we must deal with issues in a proportionate manner and allocate resources to locations that require it most.”

The resident also claimed Watford Community Housing is slow to fix damage and unwilling to install extra security, such as cameras.

“They are more worried about getting rents and not having vacant flats than they are about the people who are living there,” he claimed.

A WCH spokesperson said: “We work closely with Watford Borough Council and Herts Constabulary providing all the support we can to help the police tackle crime and anti-social behaviour."

September 6 crime reference: 41/71813/22

September 9 crime reference: 41/72931/22

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