Recorder letters: Police cuts, rubbish, utilities, parking, safety, autism award and shipmates
PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 November 2017
Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.
Please stop messing up our streets
Mrs F, Elm Park, full name and address supplied, writes:
Waiting for a bus at stop G, Coronation Drive, today (October 26) I took a photo of a bag full of what was, clearly, household waste. Food boxes etc.
This is, sadly, a common occurance at this bin, so, could you, please, remind the general public that leaving household waste in a public bin is a fineable offence up to £2,500. Leaving it propped against said bin is actually fly-tipping which carries a penalty of up to £50,000 in Havering. All for the want of a £1 roll of black bin bags.
Do the maths and stop messing up our streets and leaving litter where it doesn’t belong.
Outer London always gets the raw end of the deal
Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, writes:
May I address John Francis QPM’s letter in the Romford Recorder (October 27, 2017) regarding police cuts.
First of all, I am grateful for your previous service in our emergency services, the police do an amazing job in difficult circumstances.
However, I must disagree that criticising the current mayor is scoring a cheap political point. Outer London boroughs always get the raw end of the deal, this is why the mayor needs to consider the resourcing across the outer boroughs.
If the mayor wants to find more immediate funding for the Met then he could use some of the £0.6billion of the GLA’s usable reserves he is sitting on which have increased by £250million since 2011/12, or by deploying some of the £298million of revenue reserves held by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which represents around 12 per cent of the Met’s total funding.
I have heard that the Home Office is planning to cut the Met’s budget by £700million.
However it is clear spending on the policing budget has been protected in line with inflation until 2020.
Red tape still needs to be cut so the police can focus on what matters, putting local communities in charge of local policing.
I was at a parliamentary debate last week to discuss police funding in London.
The debate between London MPs remained heated while several politicians criticised the opposing parties’ record on crime.
While Labour MPs said the most recent spike in violent knife and gun crime is due to government savings, Conservatives were quick to reply that under the previous Mayor of London, burglary and murder rates were reduced to record lows.
Under Boris Johnson neighbourhood crime went down 20pc between 2008 and 2016, and police officer numbers were also kept high with over 32,000 police in London.
However most recently, we have seen an annual 24pc increase in knife crime, a 34pc increase in gun crime, and a 79pc increase in acid attacks.
We are particularly lucky that Havering starts from a base of historically low crime. My constituents wish to keep it this way and aggressively tackle all of the social violence which is encroaching from inner London.
There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the closure of police stations. I totally oppose the closure of Hornchurch police station; I think that is ridiculous, there needs to be a physical, central point in every town where there is a police station so people can report crimes and talk to the police face to face.
I am glad that overall police spending is protected in real terms until 2019/20, once local income is taken into account, which will enable the police to continue to adapt to emerging crime threats, and to train more firearms officers, while all the time taking further steps to improve efficiency.
The fact remains that crime was continuing to fall since June 2010 with reduced budgets, at a time when many – including the Opposition – said that it would go up.
The decision to protect overall police spending in real terms over the Spending Review period works out as an increase of £900million cash by 2019-20.
This includes technology and transformation funding, supporting forces to reform and improve efficiency.
I agree that the issue of neighbourhood policing has been neglected, and have been assured by East Area Command that non-urgent response times are improving within the tri-borough system.
“Low level” offences must be policed proactively to challenge the culture of criminality and antisocial behaviour.
It is clear that stopping low-level disorder and petty crime helps prevent the invitation to more serious crime.
Doing all we can to help Orchard
Rochelle Dickson, head of customer services, SSE Enterprise Utilities, writes:
I wanted to respond to your article of October 17, 2017 which drew attention to some issues at Orchard Village for which SSE Enterprise Utilities provides heating services.
We take any concerns that residents have very seriously and we are writing to each of them to clarify the function of the heat and hot water system on site and the help and support we can provide.
It is a matter of regret that last month the estate was left without drinking water for a period due to a fault with a water pump circulating cold water throughout the estate. This water pump is operated by a party separate to SSE.
Finally, I would also urge any residents who might be struggling with bills to contact our dedicated heat customer service team on 0345 078 3215 as soon as possible, we will then provide all the help we can to manage any issues they might be facing.
Parking penalties a threat to shops
Cllr Graham Williamson, Independent Residents Group, writes:
Who to blame for the latest traffic fiasco – drivers, wardens, council (Tensions between drivers and traffic wardens, Recorder October 27)?
Regardless of the detail in this case, in the increasing absence of government grants, councils are encouraged to raise finances by other means.
Whilst there are issues of highway safety and traffic flows, the vigorous pursuit of penalty charges against the motorist is increasingly irritating our residents.
Apart from the potential to strangle the life out of our small shopkeepers it threatens to bring our council into disrepute.
I just hope that the right balance can be struck and we find a way of maintaining our highways without unduly punishing our shopkeepers and resident motorists.
Littering is blight on communities
Cllr Clarence Barrett, Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association, writes:
Following my letter of September 1 regarding fines for littering, I was pleased to note the government announcement that maximum litter fines will increase to £150 from April 2018 (from £75).
In addition, councils will be able to impose fines on owners of vehicles from which litter is thrown, without the need to identify exactly which occupant threw the litter, bringing the rest of the country into line with London.
Littering is a blight on our communities, is an environmental hazard and wastes money which could be better used fixing our pavements, looking after our vulnerable and supporting our local economies.
How can flowers be threat to safety?
Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents Group, writes:
I asked the cabinet member for housing, Cllr Damian White, to review his order to remove all doormats, pots and flowers from communal areas of our council and social housing and Cllr White replied saying fire services had advised all clutter in communal areas should be removed for our tenants’ safety.
Fair enough, but the definition of clutter is “a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass that can impede movement”.
Where this applies it should be removed, but ordering the removal of doormats and decorative flowers that are practical, tidy and not an impediment to movement illustrates a lack of leadership and common sense.
I was alerted to this situation by a vulnerable resident, who was dismayed by the removal of colourful flowers on a low rise walkway balcony that enhanced their quality of life, which is why Cllr White should ask tenants if they agree their safety has been improved or whether their wellbeing has been undermined by what appears to me as health and safety gone mad.
Nominate someone for autism award
Carol Povey, director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, writes:
The National Autistic Society is thrilled to announce that the Autism Professional Awards are back this year.
We are looking for people and organisations in your area that make a difference to the lives of autistic people and their families.
We are looking for your stories so that we can increase public understanding of autism and inspire others to support autistic individuals.
Do you know a teaching assistant that has helped an autistic child to achieve something amazing? Or perhaps you know of a business that has made adjustments for autistic employers? Or even an inspirational social worker? We want to recognise all the great work in your community so get nominating!
Reconnect with old shipmates
Mike Crowe, RN Shipmates, Heath Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight (rnshipmates.co.uk) writes:
Many of your readers would have served in the Royal Navy and having left, possibly quite some time back, are now missing the camaraderie they had with their old shipmates.
To relive that camaraderie and possibly meet up with their old shipmates, they should get the monthly mailing list of Royal Navy Reunions giving the dates, which H.M.Ship’s Association, where it is being held and who to contact. Have a look at www.rnshipmates.co.uk and check out the Reunions section, there are currently well over 30!!
Reunions listings is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.