Friday, 30 October 2009

Community Crime Fighters - Thank You!

I was recently invited to the Barking and Dagenham "Community Crimefighters" Thank you meeting. This is due to my work over both borough's, in my role as prospective candidacy for councillor to Chadwell, in the forthcoming local elections. Such a role obviously requires me to address cross border issues.
The meeting went well and I met with local Magistrates and the Barking and Dagenham Community Safety Leader, whilst also meeting with several other leading local figures for the borough. I will continue to espouse good relationships with groups from LBBD in my inclusive approach to tackling our concerns for Chadwell.

I must say, I was very impressed with the new Barking Learning Centre which is designed economically, environmentally and with appropriate application of ergonomic design. I recommend a visit it is truly spectacular and useful.

Redbridge College - Meeting with the Deputy Principal.

I attended a very honest and frank meeting with a Mr Snailham the Deputy Principal of Redbridge College on Tuesday 27th October 2009. At the meeting Mr Snailham advised me of the real details of what transpired during the recent incident at the college.

The incident occurred after a minor skirmish involving 3 or 4 male students in the college. Mobile phone calls were made and within minutes a large group of youths with a number of weapons including a blade arrived - ready to instigate violence. In the incident a college student was injured and 6 arrests were made by the Police of which 5 boys from the group are to be tried for various criminal offences.

The reason that so many students were evacuated from the college was not due to the knife incident. For an unknown reason, the fire alarm had inadvertently been triggered and to date the college cannot identify the reason for the alarm ringing. If I was to speculate, it would seem that it was intentionally triggered as a ruse to find the victim, or to cause confusion for a quick getaway. Whatever the purpose, it did make dealing with the incident significantly more difficult for the college. The staff and students acted calmly in order to return to normal tackling both issue with confidence and professionalism. The police have been very positive about the Colleges input.

The College has been very co-operative with the local Police and have already signed up to the Redbridge Weapons Protocol devised by the Local Police for local schools (since September 2008). They even made some generic amendments to the contract to incorporate colleges and other establishments joining the scheme. They have instigated previous knife arch audits without any finds and will continue their membership to the scheme. I should reiterate, the weapons brought to the college site, were carried by external youths.

The college has made it their focus to return to a normal state and have been liaising with residents, parents and pupils alike to reassure them of safety within the college. It seems their reassurance have worked as Pupils have returned. The partnership with the Local Police who increased their visibility and their deterrent affect accordingly - should be praised and all thanks to Sgt Lowrie and his team. The deputy Principal praised the police for their efforts:
"The police response was rapid and provided an effective deterrent to any repaet incident. It was good to see local police engaging with youth"

Redbridge College has previously held a Gun and Knife Crime event and hold them bi-annually with another event planned for the Spring term

I have been asked to source information on a potential community event held by the College on the local green and hope soon to be able to assist them towards an event next year. The intent is to give something back to the local community and to enable the college students to gain experience in putting an event on. I will keep you all informed on progress.

Thank you


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Great news another NHW!

At the recent Mayesford Avenue, Hickman Road and Reynolds Avenue NHW Meeting we had an enormous attendance of 7 local people. This is not bad for a start up groups and was the product of two letter drops on the road. Since then two other residents have emailed apologies and confirmed they will be at the next meeting – as I am sure will many others as time progresses.

A very good Coordinator and Deputy have been selected (the Coordinator is actually a Magistrate) and things look very promising for this group.

Sgt Lowrie from the Chadwell SNT arrived and was very productive providing several useful leaflets, free tamper proof screws- to prevent licence plate theft, energy saving bulbs and he provided window posters warning people that the police would be called to anyone trick or treating in the area.

After my introduction Sgt Lowrie advised us that there had been 3 burglaries, 1 cannabis detection and 2 vehicle thefts in the last quarter. He also informed us that Chadwell is one of the worst wards for burglary in the borough, although burglary is high throughout and across the country. He surmised that a potential consequence of the recession is this increase in burglary and clarified in response to a question, that burglars that have been caught or spotted are of a rich cultural diversity, vary in age and even a female has been caught. In short – you just don’t know what they look like!

Sgt Lowrie confirmed that times vary and that UPVC doors are being targeted by thieves. He provided an information leaflet on how to deter UPVC burglary. I have copies for any viewers that would like one and can email one across on request.

One resident asked if more vehicles could be used to patrol the streets looking out for burglaries. It transpired that the Borough has two additional burglary specific vehicles. These are to be shared throughout the Borough. However, a significant priority has been set for the patrolling of Chadwell due to high level of theft and burglaries.

Artifice burglary is being used which is a technical phrase for people that look professional (in suits or uniforms) in our without a snazzy car, undertaking burglary or casing a property.

Sgt Lowrie also explained that his team would be patrolling the ward during Halloween and that test purchases were being taken on Firework distributors – which provided no end of solace.

All who came felt they had learnt more about their roads and made new friends. A very positive future is in store for this group as every participant agreed to safety involved and offered differing involvement.

Concerns were raised regrading the increase in boy racers within the Halfords Car Park on the High Street. Sgt Lowrie informed visitors that this crime was on their schedule of work.

Having a Sergeant at a NHW meeting is a rare and wonderful thing and Sgt Lowrie expressed his confidence in the need for NHW's whilst confirming that although his team could not attend every meeting, they would try to be at as many as possible and would provide support and feedback to coordinators. There are few Sergeants like him!

The usual suspects!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Another stabbing in Chadwell Heath!

Stop the knives!

A knife crime incident occurred at Redbridge College (20th October 2009) around lunch time. As alarming as this it was not a fatal incident and both the College and the local crime prevention agencies, including the Police, are working hard to increase community confidence and remove the threat of reprisals. Today and tomorrow a full police presence will be present, as our extremely hard working Chadwell Safer Neighbourhoods Team, have rearranged their shifts to facilitate this. I have been advised that the college has been very professional and cooperative with the Police and that this incident has shocked them too. This is the first incident of its type on college grounds and the management are working hard towards a return to normality.

Only recently a school boy stabbing occurred between pupils of Chadwell Heath Foundation School. Arrests have been made for both incidents with 6 boys arrested yesterday near the college and the perpetrator of knife crime arrested in the School boy incident. Early reports suggest the perpetrator of the crime was not a college student. Crimes of this nature have a demoralising and intimidatory affect on local people causing much distress.

Somehow, we must get across a message of community cohesion and the futility of knife crime to this our young people. One way in which we will be engaging with young people is via the use of the Redbridge Youth Bus, which will be providing, counselling, sexual, health advice and a number of activities including a DJ workshop and gaming consoles in a stewarded atmosphere. The bus has been at Christie Gardens for the last two weeks, but will now be parking in Crucible Close every Thursday till the end of December. The times of the activities are from 18:00 - 21:00 and I would encourage people to send any young people they know to the bus - for what is one of the few youth engagement programmes in the Borough. I am working with the Police, Parks Police, Parks Management Team and the Detached Youth Worker's of Redbridge Youth service for a longer more productive scheme to be held during the same days and times next summer.

I will also be working towards the initiation of two new NHW' one in the Seven Kings roads adjoining crucible park and one at the roads from Little Heath, Chadwell Heath Lane, Tendring Way, Freshwell Avenue, Chafford Way and Rochford Avenue, in an attempt to create a better communication network between crime reduction agencies and local people. Perhaps this would be a good moment for parents to speak with their children, or to invite them to the watch meetings, to directly communicate with Police and ASBO officers with a view to uncovering the extent of youth knife crime. This could encourage good community citizenship at an early age and would reduce the propensity of crime. Letters will be sent to affected roads shortly.

Here are details of another peace project I am working towards - the Redbridge peace Monument.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Grove Farm planning application to be heard on 26th October- please register

Bad news I am afraid! Grove Farm Development rears its ugly head again!

Please click here to see latest letter from the planning department.

A new Planning application has been submitted by East Homes for Grove Farm. The project is still up to 6 storeys high and has been reduced only slightly to 104 dwellings. Some of the issues I personally have with this project include:

  • The development is too large for an area deficient of school places and parking and will create excessive logistical burden.

  • The proposed Right hand filter lane will increase an already congested area and introduce an element of danger to crossing children visiting Chadwell Heath Primary School.

  • 104 dwellings and a 6 storey development will reduce sunlight to other neighbouring properties, induce antisocial behaviour due to density of population - peer and group culture. Moreover, it will only increase the existing over development of Chadwell ward and will not be in alignment with neighbouring properties, reducing the privacy of existing residents.

  • The site is said to have stag beetles a protected species and a priority under the Redbridge Biodiversity plan. Has an investigation been undertaken by an appropriate body..?

  • Parking allocation is at 90% but does not take into account that many homes will have more than 1 driver.

  • I raised a suggestion at an Area 5 committee meeting during the formation of a pre-planning brief, that the properties should be limited to 3 storeys. This was agreed by all Councillors. How then, are 6 storeys now acceptable…?

  • The 104 properties are of a variety of sizes ranging from 4 bed properties to 1 bed properties. The overall number of rooms for the site is over 300. Both the parking and local facilities cannot support a scheme of this size.

  • What safety measures will be taken to prevent arson attacks and reduce bulky waste deposits to bin areas - a pervading social malaise affecting all large residential estates in Chadwell?

    A link to the Planning application where you can learn more can be found on my blog (do write comments on the blog as well as the Council website as I will use this as evidence) - following this link:

Friday, 2 October 2009

Depravities of the human mind!

I have received reports from local residents that one man from the frequently reported group of homeless drunks often seen around the Green Lane, Gordon Road and Connaught Road area is now purportedly frequently sitting at the bus stop on Green Lane near the betting shop and ogling children coming from the local schools and their mothers. Mothers and children alike are finding the behaviour both offensive and rather frightening. I have reported the insidious activity to the Police and hope for a positive outcome in removing the individual. I will keep you informed of progress.

If anyone else has seen the activity and can identify the man please get in contact as I wish to build a portfolio of evidence for the Police - to empower them to be able to take appropriate action. My details are on the right hand side top of this blog. I have an image from a previous story on the blog that might help with an image of the regular group of drunks. Click here.
The police have responded and the most excellent Sgt Paul Keely of Mayfield Ward Safer Neighbourhood team has spoken to some of the victims and has stated:
"I have tasked my officer to complete daily patrols in the area of the betting shop and the off licence in Green Lane over the next three weeks."
Should you wish to contcat him directly please call 020 8721 2028.

Community Crime Fighters - the next step!

Wilson with Chief Inspector Peter Crowcroft of Chesire Constabulary
In September 2008 Jacqui Smith the former Home Secretary devised the "Community Crime Fighters" programme. This was following the report from Louise Casey , the Government Crime and Justice Advisor when commissioned to look at how crime could be better tackled in the country. Louise's advice was "Crime is tackled most effectively when local people work together with Police and other criminal justice agencies"

The Community Crime Fighters began in December 2008 and to date over 2000 people have been trained with proven results. The course provides opportunities in learning:

  • What the Policing pledge mean locally.
  • The tools and powers local authorities could and should be using to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime.
  • The help provided to victims and witnesses of crime and antisocial behaviour.
  • Ways to get the best out of local crime fighting agencies.
In a previous post I talked about a series of road shows, that included seminars from leading Police, ASBO and Home Office officials. I was invited by our local Police to attend the event and attained knowledge of how better to work in partnership with other agencies when tackling crime. I was then invited to attend a two day training course in Manchester which finished yesterday. The trainers provided information on the laws that we can use to benefit us when tackling local crime, they provided a more in depth understanding of local crime agencies, their roles and responsibilities and how our council fit into the overall crime prevention picture. The tools they have provided include a list of laws that we can use when tackling specific incidents and we went through a number of interactive awareness exercises. All in all it was an excellent event and very rewarding.
Of course we had fun too and the Home office covered our subsidence and travel expenses. Moreover they are looking to train 3000 people in total on their comprehensive two day course. There are still places left and the next central London -1 day seminar- road show, is scheduled for the 25th November 2009. If you would like to attend contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team - call 0800 197 2965 or view: quote ref: ccf02

As you can see the entire group really enjoyed the course and we were really buoyed by the efforts the Home Office, Police and Local Council's are putting into what should become a really worthwhile scheme.

Hope not Hate!

Many of you will have seen the debate in the Ilford Recorder in which I wrote about the persecution that I and my family suffered in the 80's when racism was rather more widespread. This week a Mr Wood from South Park queried my write to suggest that the BNP was a party for hate. Yet here is a copy of an email I received from The Hope not Hate campaigners:

"Hi Wilson,

I just wanted to drop you a quick reminder about our HOPE not Hate events across London tomorrow. Following the conviction of Richard Barnbrook last week, hundreds upon hundreds of people donated money to the HOPE not Hate movement so that we can let the voters know the real truth about the BNP. I'm now writing to ask you to donate your time - so that we can get this message out. There are events across London tomorrow - we need to use this moment to stand up against the lies, fear and hate of the BNP. Please find your local event here.

We need to act - the BNP highest elected official in London, Barnbrook, made up the murder of two teenagers. He was prepared to lie about young people dying - insulting all the parents who have actually lost a child because of knife crime.
And why did he lie? To whip up hate in our communities and to get votes for the BNP.
We have a responsibility to let every Londoner know the depths the BNP are willing to plunge to spread fear and hate. We believe in hope, fairness and justice. And the differences between us and the BNP couldn't be clearer.

I'd like you to donate an hour or so of your time tomorrow.

Find details of your nearest event here.

Together we can distribute thousands of leaflets across the whole of London and make sure that everyone knows the truth."

Do please follow the links by clicking on underlined words and take part in the protest to make Britain a safer, and more integrated nation. The BNP has a woeful impression of what women are for, they are a party of hatred directed towards ethnic minorities, homosexuals and other groups. The hope not hate website is full of highlighted instances describing just some of their distasteful comments and actions.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Richmond Estate - Finally a response!

I have returned from a 2 day training course in Manchester - which also saw me lose the entirety of Tuesday. So please do not be perturbed by the recent deficiency of posts. I am pleased however, to see that RMG are now choosing to respond and include a response received from a lead officer within their organisation, after my recent relay of emails including listed defects (sic):

"Dear Mr Wilson,

Thank you for your email.

As the Block Buildings Insurance has just been paid there is currently insufficient funds to proceed with the works required to attend to the issues listed below.

We are actively pursuing non paying Residents and the Directors are aware of the situation.

Please be assured that we do take all complaints seriously but can only take action where the Management Companies funding will allow us. We have already spent well over £5000 on the removal of bulk refuse this year, which is out of our control, if we do not remove it, no one else will.

To keep the development up to scratch we would need to do bulk refuse removal every week and this is just not viable, we are going to implement into the new budget a monthly removal, we can not do more then that going forward.

I can not at this time issue instructions to contractors as we can not pay them. This is not mismanagement by RMG, this is down to individual leaseholders not being able to currently afford to pay there service charge, and so are going to court over the coming months.

I hope the above is of assistance to you."

I have, of course, requested a copy of the latest set of accounts for the estate and will keep you informed of any findings.

Fields Park yellow line

The dangerous bend on Fields Park Crescent is finally to obtain the yellow line promised. this will be advertised in the papers this month and should be implemented shortly after, subject to their being no obkections.

Here is an email received from a senior Highways officer:

"In relation to your email concerning the above, I can confirm that the formal order is to be advertised in October enabling the restriction to be introduced, providing no objections are received as to this proposal."

I hope this is good news...?