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Recorder letters:

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 January 2018

The problem of knife crime is growing in outer London. Picture: PA

The problem of knife crime is growing in outer London. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent it from Recorder readers

Anyone carrying a knife must be severely punished

Cllr G Williamson, South Hornchurch Independent Residents, writes:

Your in-depth investigation into knife crime was enlightening but depressing.

Inner London has been plagued with this phenomenon for a while. Outer London has up to now avoided it but, as we know, it is growing.

As your interviewee, Jermaine, states it is due to population movement and that “.... kids are being sent out (to Havering), from Hackney, from bad boroughs, re-settlement from gang affected areas, and they take gang culture and gang ethos into the borough. They access young vulnerable kids”.

Quite apart from the effrontery of the authorities “infecting” our previously safe borough with this criminal culture, we desperately need to prevent it mushrooming and becoming as prevalent as in other areas.

The Mayor and others focus on pleading for youths not to carry knives and the police appeal for community intelligence is welcome but largely ineffective.

Quite obviously we need to implement a zero-tolerance approach to carrying knives.

Anyone caught doing so, whether by stop n’ search or arches etc, needs to be severely punished.

That the Home Office and others have not increased sentences for the offence is disappointing but the police chief view that “we can’t arrest our way out of youth knife crime” is plain defeatist.

Havering is a tranquil borough compared to many, it is the police, courts’, and council’s duty to keep it that way!

Council has no control over police

Cllr Jason Frost, councillor for the Mawneys Ward and deputy lead member for community safety, writes:

Your correspondent (Letters, December 29) who criticised the Leader of Havering Council for problems with local policing is wide of the mark and may have been listening to misguided comments from local opposition politicians. The council has no control over policing, which answers to the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

When it was announced that the tri-borough command was to be introduced into Havering, Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge and another group of London boroughs (Camden and Islington) it was stated that it was a pilot scheme planned for the whole of London, that it would last for six months and it was reversible. It was also said that the boroughs would have influence over it.

However, these assurances have not patently not materialised. The scheme did not end after six months, there seems to be no willingness to reverse it and little or no notice has been taken of views and concerns expressed by Havering.

To further add to our local concerns, Mayor Khan declared that, even before the conclusion of the proposed pilot period, Hornchurch Police Station and all neighbourhood team police offices were to be closed.

These plans were presented to the council effectively as a fait accompli, there was to be no discussion or debate, nor had there been any warning that such measures were due to be brought forward.

Any opposition to such plans, including those made formally by the council, was simply to be ignored.

If anyone should accept responsibility it is Mayor Khan, and any change of leadership should be there.

Tell us why Lodge is being lost

Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents Group, writes:

Your Recorder article on the History and Heritage page 28, January 5, about Hare Hall was a timely reminder why Hare Lodge should be saved from demolition.

Hare Hall was saved by becoming home to the Royal Liberty School, but Hare Lodge is a related building to Hare Hall and should be saved as part of the historical heritage of Gidea Park.

The failure of the Conservative council leader to respond to an appeal from the Conservative Romford MP to save Hare Lodge, shows the present coalition administration have no intention of Keeping Havering Special.

The Independent Residents Group have submitted the following motion to council on January 24: “Council regrets the failure of the Executive to defend the Local Plan by appealing the Inspector’s decision to demolish Hare Lodge and calls on the Executive to make public the external legal opinion on which the decision was reputedly based”.

The motion is too late to save Hare Lodge, because the appeal deadline was January 10 and it was the council leader, Cllr Ramsey’s executive decision alone, not to appeal the inspector’s decision to demolish Hare Lodge, but it will provide councillors with a chance to protest and ask for the legal opinion on which the council leader’s decision was based, to be made public.

Beware fake tax refund emails

Cllr Clarence Barrett, Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association, writes:

It’s a new year and, once again, fraudsters are actively trying to dupe people into believing they are due a tax refund.

The fraudsters typically send an email saying, “We have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of £218.34 GBP.

“Please click on this link to submit your tax refund request. This must be actioned with five working days from receipt to ensure payment.”

Clicking on the link will usually take the recipient to a fake website where personal and banking details are requested with the intention of stealing the contents of that account.

The scammers use ever more convincing websites and email addresses, for example taxrefund@hmrc.gov.uk, rebate@hmrc.gov.uk or email@hmrc.gov.uk and even the fake HMRC website looks genuine with logo, references and an official address.

Please be aware that HMRC never contacts customers who are due a refund by email or phone, always a letter by post.

Nor do they use agents to undertake this work.

In summary, if you receive one of these emails it is FAKE, do not click on the links and delete. Incidents can also be reported to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk for further investigation.

Share PANTS rule with your children

Emma Motherwell, NSPCC local campaigns manager, writes:

For many parents and carers, the idea of sitting down with your children and speaking to them about sexual abuse is a scary thought.

Some may make an attempt but others might keep putting it off.

But with the help of the NSPCC’s Underwear Rule – also known as PANTS – it doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t even need to mention sex.

From P through to S, each letter stands for an important rule for children to remember
Privates are private
Always remember your body belongs to you
No means no
Talk about secrets that upset you 
Speak up – someone can help.

Helping us to spread this message is Pantosauraus the cartoon dinosaur, who was recently introduced to the world with a catchy song and activity pack and now has his own game which is free to download from the iOS and Android app store.

The game features four mini challenges where children test their skills against Pantosaurus and his friends whilst learning the PANTS rule.

The game enables children to have fun while learning about staying safe and what to do should anything happen that they feel uncomfortable about.

Parents know their children better than anyone, so they’ll know when they’re ready to have a conversation about PANTS and how much detail to go into.

But downloading the new game is a great place to start.

The more you talk about it the less awkward and uncomfortable you will feel and you will also have the peace of mind that you are equipping your child with vital knowledge to help keep them safe now and in the future, both online and out in the real world.

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