Sunday, February 28, 2010

ASB Roadshow Report

Here’s the official Redbridge Council version, complete with picture of visiting bigwig.

And here’s the unofficial version of the "Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour" Seminar at the Town Hall on Thursday 25th February.

I am writing this report from the notes taken by John Walden, who on arrival in the Lambourne room was greeted by three people “well known to the local Police” – the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Barkingside 21 and our mascot Cllr Moth. I was unavoidably detained being stuck to a mattress.

The early morning session was about the "package" of "powers" and "tools" available for tackling Anti-Social Behaviour. They were actually talking about "joined-up thinking". (Not before time?) Unfortunately John doesn’t specify what these “tools” are but it’s nice to know we are being “tooled up” with, I suspect, nice glossy leaflets outlining the procedures to follow when we confront somebody dumping their rubbish outside our house, parking across our drive, letting their dog foul the footway or entertaining “Woodstock” in their living room.

There is no new legislation, [thank heavens for that], but there are changes to the Council’s Organisation and it’s liaison with the Police. The Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officers [sic!] are now expected to attend Neighbourhood Watch Ward Co-ordinators Meetings. These are effectively a return to the Sector NHW meetings that were abandoned when we went to Ward Policing. Funny that! As John says, people need to know where to report Anti-Social Behaviour issues and those Sector meetings were quite effective.

After coffee there was a presentation on "Community Problem Solving". The latest buzzwords are about "Intervention - at the right time" - working together with people having problems in order to get them to change their behaviour. "Firmness not Blame". Local Authorities must "think smart" and take responsibility - get grass cut, get streets cleaned and argue afterwards as to who should have done it and who will do it in future. Give Communities ownership of problem areas, provide resources and support their decisions. Said the heavy control freaky hand of the state!

After lunch groups were divided up into "Workshops" and brain-stormed some issues. John’s table was allocated "What Makes a Good Neighbour".

The conclusions were :
Tolerance
Help not criticise
United by values and common causes
Mutual respect and understanding.

A Government Junior Minister was there to do some cheer-leading and give Councillors a photo-opportunity. A nameless person attempted to buttonhole said Junior Minster about getting Government money (our money) for a new Swimming Pool and then chased the Ilford Recorder reporter into the Gents Loo. Meanwhile, another nameless person was amusing the Table by recounting stories of National Service in the RAF. I wonder who they were?

2 comments:

  1. Anti-social behaviour

    Using hand-held mobile phone while driving.
    Flossing teeth while driving.
    Breaking the speed limit.
    Jumping red lights.
    Ignoring “no entry unless clear” hatching.
    Ignoring advanced stop lines for cycles.
    Parking at junctions.
    Double parking.
    Blocking the footway. 4w up.
    .......

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  2. I did John Denham MP a disservice by referring to him in my notes as a "Junior Minister" when he does in fact have Cabinet Rank. But it was indeed he who was almost buttonholed about the Swimming Pool.

    B21 refers to my not specifying what the "powers and tools" actually were - this was in order to reduce the waffle factor. I am not sure from what I heard that there are actually any real powers and tools - just a reapplication of what we already knnow.

    The general conclusion about the day was that a number of dedicated and motivated members of the Public plus a few school kids (only joking, Oaks Park) managed to teach the highly paid Council Officers how to do their jobs - which was presumably the point of the exercise.

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