Recorder letters: Charity light display, traffic cameras, homeless, violent crime and more.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 December 2019

The Noak Hill Christmas House turned on its lights on Sunday, December 1. Picture: Lesley Haylett

The Noak Hill Christmas House turned on its lights on Sunday, December 1. Picture: Lesley Haylett


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Your children will love charity display

Claire Hooper, Upminster, writes:

I visited the fantastic Noak Hill home the other weekend to see the stunning Christmas display.

It's a great way of raising money for charity and a good way of explaining to young children that Christmas is not about greed and excess - but about giving, especially to those less fortunate.

Through the pages of the Recorder, I just wanted to thank the family who've run this for nearly four decades. My kids and the whole family absolutely loved it! I encourage all readers to visit with their families and get in the Christmas spirit.

Vulnerable patients unfairly punished by traffic cameras

P Powell, Hornchurch, writes:

I have just paid £65 (£130 if paid after 28 days) for my crime of gaining access to the oncology department by turning right off the access road from Oldchurch Road.

I had my first appointment having been diagnosed with cancer and was understandably feeling a little stressed.

This was not helped by the tailback from Rush Green Road traffic lights to the front of the hospital, which precluded access to the multi-storey and the disabled car parks.

Knowing oncology and their dedicated car park were at the back of the hospital my driver managed to get in a lane that enabled us access from Oldchurch Road thus helping me get to my appointment on time.

Indeed, the only people who would turn right from the Oldchurch Road entrance (incurring a fine) would be cancer patients.

They are being penalised and targeted when at their most vulnerable.

If the aim is to manage traffic flow, which I have no problem with, then moving the camera just 15 yards or so would preclude fines for cancer patients and penalise only those who could perhaps create traffic issues by driving into the main hospital estate.

The council should also suspend cameras when it is apparent there are significant delays in parking and thus missed appointments.

It's impossible to talk to anyone at the council about this as there is no telephone number on the letter outlining the circumstances of the alleged crime, and the attendant appeals procedure is deliberately difficult.

Many like me just pay up.

Firearms officer had no option

A Romford resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

It was with a weary heart that I read Cllr Durant's diatribe regarding the London Bridge terror attack in your most recent edition.

For several years I was a supervising officer within the Metropolitan Police's firearms branch.

As such I was a qualified firearms tactical advisor.

In my tenure I have had my officers shot twice and heard a man's last words as he expired from gunshot wounds, justifiably inflicted by my officers.

I have at times shouldered London wide firearms responsibilities and I am a published author on the subject.

Initially I must say how reprehensible it is of the councillor to make such judgements from the safe environs of his office. Most people face nothing more intimidating than their tax return.That, for the sake of the public, is a situation these brave officers strive to maintain.

The cllr should remember that the officer who opened fire did so according to the strict protocols of his training.

Not withstanding that up until the point that shots were fired, the suspect was already a double murderer. He was suicidal, there is nothing more dangerous than a man who wants to die.

We should also remember that with even a dying man, the movement of merely a finger can destroy multiple lives.

Furthermore the officer has to react to what he perceived in a few seconds, was the gravity of the threat. The suspect's intention was to present the apparent presence of a "bomb vest".

I can tell you now that those shots were designed to isolate the brain from the body. A tazer cannot be used. An electrical discharge is likely to detonate an explosive device.

The fact the suspect will be killed is not desirable, but it is incidental. Had he lived he might have yielded useful intelligence.

I would venture that the suspect's mind was filled with such poison and fanciful notions as to completely beguile him. I have heard speculation that promises of a place in heaven and 23 virgins would be the terrorist's reward.

True or false, the propelling force, the poison tongue, is close to home.

This is maybe closer than we realise, perhaps in our local environs.

The actions of brave individuals from diverse backgrounds have shown how courageous varied but cohesive our proud London populous can be.

Let's not denigrate that with uninformed, divisive, speculative piffle.

Swift action by gun cop justified

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An Upminster resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

David Durant was way off beam when he suggested (Recorder, last week) that the police marksman who despatched terrorist Khan on London Bridge should have stood back to examine what appeared to be a suicide belt and thereby risk the lives of many more people.

The swift action of the police officer was commendable.

Furthermore, the government should not have permitted the body of the killer Khan to be repatriated to Pakistan but cremated it and his ashes despatched to Gerpins Lane tip.

Don't kill terrorists - arrest them

Cllr David Durant, Crime and Disorder committee, writes:

Last week I questioned whether deploying armed police with machine guns to deal with children being robbed in South Street was necessary or proportionate.

I await a response by the borough commander, but the incident at London Bridge shows how such deployment can result in summary justice, "shoot first ask questions later" and the de facto reintroduction of capital punishment without due process.

Footage of the incident shows armed officers racing towards a melee on the bridge and quickly shooting a subdued suspect being held on the ground claiming the person was a suicide bomber about to detonate explosives!

This was followed by extensive media coverage and a government instruction for all UK government buildings to fly flags at half mast and hold a national one minute's silence in respect of the victims of the attack!

No doubt there will be a full Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the shooting.

But the coverage of the attack just before a general election shouldn't hide the fact someone was killed rather than arrested and questioned due to the deployment of armed police contrary to our proud tradition of unarmed policing with consent.

And let's not pretend only the guilty get killed!

We must be tough on violent crime

Alan Cauvain, St Andrews Avenue, Hornchurch, writes:

I am amazed at the weak thinking of Cllr D Durant who is on the crime and disorder committee with his letter "Shot first, ask questions later" last week.

If low-life rats are robbing children then they should be hunted down by police with guns, they deserve no less.

Left to Cllr Durant the police would probably be armed with water pistols and asking the robber to come and have a chat.

Then he wrote about the London Bridge incident where he feels that the police should have arrested and questioned the low-life rat. What a way to protect us.

The police and members of the public who confronted the evil thing are heroes, so one rat is dead but had the explosive vest been for real then maybe a number of people would have been killed.

To me Cllr Durant should be with the Labour Party as he sounds exactly like Corbyn who would shoot people with questions.

Both are out of touch with the public. No wonder our justice system is not fit for purpose, just weak.

What do you think? Email

Help homeless this Christmas

James Hickman, director of Crisis Skylight Centre, London, writes:

As the cold nights of winter draw in it becomes more apparent how important home is to us all.

While most of the country will be getting ready to celebrate with loved ones and looking forward to a home cooked Christmas dinner, there will be thousands of people facing the struggle of having nowhere safe to call home.

Many of us will have noticed the rising number of people sleeping on the streets where we live or work.

But what we don't see is that for every person on our streets there are another twelve families or individuals stuck in hostels, on sofas and in unsafe and insecure accommodation.

No one should be forced to live, or spend Christmas, this way.

That's why - outside of our year-round services - Crisis runs special Christmas centres which offer hope where previously there might not have been any.

At our centres guests are provided with warmth, food, companionship and access to vital services such as advice on benefits. They can also see a doctor or dentist, have a haircut, and get their clothes repaired.

But we don't stop there.

At our Christmas centres, we introduce people to our year-round training, education and ongoing support with housing, employment and wellbeing.

This long-term support helps people to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

But we can't do it alone.

We're asking members of the public to help support our work this Christmas and year-round - so we can be there for everyone who needs us.

So, whether you attend one of our carol services, become one of our essential volunteers or reserve a place for someone at a Crisis Christmas centre, you'll be helping to make someone's wish to end their homelessness a reality.

To find out more or to donate to Crisis this Christmas please visit

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