Recorder letters: Swan Libraries Bookshop, heart attack victim, armed officers, open space and more.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 January 2020

Protestors on the Dovers Farm Estate village green

Protestors on the Dovers Farm Estate village green


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

How will council protect open space?

Matt Stanton, Gisborne Gardens, Rainham, writes:

Following Havering Council's belated decision to listen to the community of Dovers Farm regarding our open space, we are still waiting to hear how the council intend's to safeguard it from future development.

Cllr White's acceptance that to build on it would have an unacceptable impact on the quality of life of residents should be matched by concrete action to secure the open space for future generations.

What do you think about the decision? Email

Parking polices are final nail in coffin for our shops

Malvin Brown, Corbets Tey Road, Upminster, writes:

I have just heard the sad news that Swan Libraries Bookshop in Upminster is to close after trading since 1937.

Another shop closure!

It has been driven out by excessive rates, unfair competition from the internet, specifically Amazon who pay peanuts in tax and against whom the government has given UK traders no protection.

But the final straw that broke the shop's back was the removal of the 30 minute free parking which has reduced footfall to the shops dramatically.

Damian White the leader of the Conservative Council was careful not to treat everyone in the borough the same.

It was not introduced in to Rainham where he stood and lost in the general election nor in Harold Wood or Hill where he lives. But it was alright for Upminster and Cranham because the Conservatives never get in there at local elections.

This council is a disgrace and some Conservative councillors have the good grace to be embarrassed by the stupidity of the destructive nature of their parking policies in particular.

Response to dad's heart attack was simply 'fantastic'

Julie Wilkes, Hornchurch, full contact details supplied, writes:

I would like to say how pleased I was by the response team on Christmas Day to my father John Kerr Jones of Hornchurch who suffered a heart attack on Christmas Day morning (dad lives with me).

He was admitted to Queen's Hospital A&E where the festive mood continued with the staff and then he was moved to the Elders Receiving Unit where he was shown the upmost respect.

They cared and sent him for test after test as well as liaising with Bart's Hospital where dad is a permanent patient ad hoc - I cannot praise the ambulance team, the staff on A&E plus the Elder's Receiving Unit enough.

Dad was finally released to come home on Friday, December 27 after everyone was happy that he was fit and healthy enough to return home.

I would like it publicly known how fantastic the teams were.

Leader in MP bid not accessible

D Ainsworth, Barnstaple Road, Romford, writes:

In his article in your January 3 edition, Cllr Damian White states how much he enjoyed meeting so many during the election period.

Hmmm! If this is to be believed, why was he the only Dagenham and Rainham constituency candidate not appearing at a hustings meeting in the Rainham area. Cllr White was replaced by an empty chair with his name in front of it - whereas as all other candidates quickened their footsteps towards this meeting, as they wanted to meet the locals!

This missing candidate also failed to show when BBC Sunday Politics London and then BBC London Local TV News came to this constituency for in-depth campaign features - each time explaining that he'd been invited to appear, but declined.

Perhaps he can explain a difference between his comments in the Romford Recorder and a failure to meet folk at major opportunities during his campaign!

Labour must take the 'centre ground'

William Swain, Barnstaple Road, Harold Hill, writes:

During the month of December 2019, the Labour Party suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935 and in all probability will not recover from that humiliation for the foreseeable future.

The Labour Party needs to move to the centre ground in politics and stop pandering to the extremists and zealots within the party. Unpopular policies such as lowering the voting age and taking away the right to vote for senior citizens over a certain age are ridiculous and immoral. Has the Labour Party become the Nasty Party? The electorate and the country need an effective and viable parliamentary opposition if democracy is to thrive and flourish. The Labour Party in its current from is basically the Communist Party.

We now have a Conservative "one nation" government in office who have promised much and must now deliver on those promises.

Show support for our armed officers

Terence F Matthews LL B (Hons), ex-Royal Navy & retired police officer, Hornchurch, writes:

I agree 100 per cent with the author of the letter in the December 13 edition of the Romford Recorder, shown as a Romford Resident.

It is obvious that Cllr David Durant has never served his country in the armed forces and has never been in the position where a instant decision has had to be made to save peoples lives.

I was a Royal Navy marksman and taught to shoot to kill, as a wounded enemy could still kill or maim you and others.

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I suspect this instruction is given to those armed officers, put in danger when doing their job.

Police officers do not shoot people for fun but only when members of the public, their colleagues or themselves are put in mortal danger. I can assure you there were times in my police service I wished I was armed. Anybody who suggests using a taser on somebody suspected of having any type of bomb on their person obviously do not have the necessary qualifications in explosives and how they work.

For David to criticise the police officers at the latest London Bridge incident shows poor judgement, I suspect due to his lack of knowledge. Maybe he should ask permission to spend some time with the Metropolitan Police firearm branch and find out how things work before showing his ignorance in the local newspaper.

Police inspectors working as duty officers do not call for armed response assistance unless they think it is necessary to protect officers under their command or members of the public.

People who have the same views as David Durant need to ask themselves, that if they were being threatened with death or serious injury, would they want the officers to take the threat away instantly or hold fire hoping the criminal can be talked into submission?

To my ex-police colleagues; serving the public as a authorised firearm officers, keep up your excellent work and be assured that the views held by Cllr Durant are in the minority.

Calmer approach to tackling crime

Cllr David Durant, Crime & Disorder committee, writes:

So Alan Cauvain thinks it's tough on crime to support the deployment of armed police with machine guns to deal with children stealing from children in the high street and by implication is also happy to see armed police patrolling school playgrounds.

At least he is prepared to put his name to such nonsense and defend this alien form of policing being promoted by successive governments, unlike the two unnamed letter writers who think claiming someone is a terrorist is enough to allow the authorities to throw away the rule book and do as they please, allegedly to keep us safe!

The fact is an effective police force is one that operates with consent as this ensures the public provide them with all the information they need to tackle crime, whereas armed police act differently and become distance from the public and mistrusted, particularly if armed police with machine guns kill innocent people, by mistake! When people close to you are victims of gung-ho tactics you realise the benefits of a calm approach to crime, rather than "shoot now, ask questions later" which undermines public safety!

Do others have parking concerns?

A Romford resident, full address supplied, writes:

I wonder if anybody else has had the same experiences as me with regards to parking tickets in car parks across the borough.

The following have happened to me so many times:

1) Going into a car park (normally a fairly large one) only to find after much searching that, for example, three out of the four machines are out of order, and what a surprise the furthest machine away from the entrance is working. Most people, and with respect, particularly with elderly and less abled body people, probably gave up after trying two or three machines and assumed they were all out, and end up not paying and later receive a fine.

2) All machines not working (I have experienced this even at the start of a day). After spending some time ascertaining this, you then have to resort to booking by phoning in. That's ok for those who have phones, have them with them and are competent in using them, but what about those who are not in these positions? (again possibly elderly people or less abled body people, or even people who cannot afford to own a phone.) Dare I say, that may be in frustration they do not get tickets, but inevitably a fine will follow. NB: I note that when you do phone up (which I do not want to do) you then have to agree to pay an additional fee of 10 pence for using the service!! Maybe this is why so many machines so often are conveniently not working!!

3) A machine appears to be working so you spend time putting in all your car details and the money only to find that no ticket comes out (presumably because out of paper). You get your money back but in the meantime other people waiting behind you then realise that their time queueing has been wasted because the machine is not working properly as they first thought. Then their only alternative is to try other means (hopefully then not experiencing points 1 and 2 scenarios!!)

The abolishing of the first half hour free parking is already upsetting a lot of local businesses and all the people who only want to stop for short periods of time, particularly school parents picking up children?

So the system in my opinion is becoming more and more unpopular.

Am I the only one with these experiences above? Is it me, or do people generally think these points raised are relevant?

Support 'amazing' ambulance staff

Paul Cooper, address supplied, writes:

London Ambulance Service has recently been rated Good overall but Requires Improvement in some areas by the Care Quality Commission, as reported on your website.

In many key measures (effective, caring, responsive and well-led) it's rated Good but is falling down on a few crucial but fixable points.

Importantly, it seems to suggest that front-line ambulance staff numbers were adequate and staff were well trained and managed.

Therefore, we should not be alarmed because it seems, although important, the problems can be fixed quite quickly.

A quick injection of time and energy to stock take medicine and identify and replace out of date stock should not be problematic - likewise with equipment.

Storing medicine and securing vehicles seems to suggest more care and attention is needed. And a better rota system surely cannot be beyond the wit of the service.

If each area tasked someone with identifying the relevant issues to their area and set about addressing these it would bump all areas up to Good.

With the immense pressures in London - and without further investment - I think we owe the amazing women and men working in this service a huge show of appreciation.

Help keep more children safe

Sarah Lambley, NSPCC, regional team leader for fundraising, London and East, writes:

The NSPCC has had a very successful 2019. Through our Speak Out Stay Safe service we've taught 220,185 primary school children in London about how to stay safe from abuse.

We want a whole generation of children to know what abuse is, that it's never a child's fault and who to turn to if they ever need to talk.

On top of that, trained Childline volunteer counsellors have delivered approximately 35,900 counselling sessions to children in London who felt they had no one else to turn to.

We rely on public support to help us continue our work and it is only thanks to the fantastic generosity of people in London that we have been able to reach so many children.

The New Year brings with it the opportunity to make a fresh start a chance to make resolutions and if any of your readers haven't yet supported us, we would love them to think about getting involved in 2019. There are so many ways to do this.

Why not take part in a sponsored event? Volunteer for our Speak Out Stay Safe service or Childline, or join your nearest fundraising group and organise your own fundraising events?

To find out more visit

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