Monday, October 29, 2012

Parks Police Replacement
– Good or not? Your say


These two items appeared in my RSS feed in the last hour.

Redbridge Community Police Team celebrate success in first year

By Redbridge Council, the people who replaced the Parks Police with the Community Police Team under a 3 year BOGOF deal with Boris and which will probably appear in the next issue of Redbridge Life.

Fears realised by Redbridge park users over park police replacement

By Melanie Attlesey of the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian reporting actual experience of park users.

Anyone like to comment?

44 comments:

  1. Haringey did away with its Parks Police, in the face of protest, but plugged the SNTs into "Community Neighbourhood Watch" and "Friends Groups" set up to champion local open spaces. Click here

    This maintains liaison with the local community and enables the setting of priorities.

    The lack of this liaison my be at the root of disaffection about the performance of the "Redbridge Community Police Team".

    Hillingdon Borough has Parks Officers employed by the Council to patrol open spaces and, presumably liaise with the local Police.

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  2. It just goes to prove what we've all been saying: Redbridge Life is a propaganda tool and should be scrapped. It's a waste of public money as all it does is lie to us about the Council's performance.

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    1. Precisely why some of us refer to it as "Redbridge Lies".

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  3. used to see the PP all the time, even outside the parks helping local plod. haven't seen hide nor hair of this lot.

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    1. Yesterday I bumped into two of the CPT officers in Barkingside High Street - they were between parks on bicycles - and had a chat.
      The thing is that the old PP had a distinctive livery both for uniforms and their vehicles, whereas the CPT do not and look like any other police officer. So unless you know them personally you wouldn't know they were the CPT.

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  4. Parks representatives do meet with Police and have a chance to imput at the weekly tasking meeting. However not all the Parks have their own representatives and more are sought. The system is very different than that with the Parks Police, but the figures of arrests/warnings are similar and attendance times very good.

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    1. It would be nice to see some figures as to what exactly they are doing.

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  5. I think we should all just calm down... have a cup of tea... and forget all about it.

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  6. Wanstead & Woodford Guardian reporting actual experience of park users.

    One statement is from the partner of an ex-parks police officer so surely biased ?

    That leaves 1 park users to base a failing on the whole service, they are obviously very well informed?

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    1. And probably wants to be anonymous......

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    2. And how do we know that anonymous of 11:53 above does not have a vested interest?

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  7. The bit about the memorial gardens is simply not true either - I asked their representative and he hasn't seen anything like what was described. Mind we all share the worry of what will happen once the funds run out

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    1. Representative? On your own admission on the Redbridge Forum there was no election and there is no electorate. So he/she is not a representative, but is self-appointed.

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  8. Residents may be interested in the fact that the Police Force in UK (including Senior Officers and Backroom Staff) achieve an arrest rate of 10, per year per Officer,

    It would appear that the Community Police team, despite all being on the beat achieved an arrest rate of 7 per year per Officer

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    1. My wife attended the fireworks event in Barkingside Rec on Sunday, she went for the 7.00pm show with our daughter and 3 year old grandson. She was concerned about the groups drinking their cans of stella lager and being a bit over the top, especially as this was for the younger children, but when she wanted to report something, she stated that there was no security not even any sign of the Parks Community Police, which this would have been an ideal event for them to attend.

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    2. And had they been there then it would appear they might have witnessed what I believe to be an offence under the parks bylaws.

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    3. Isn't it the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure there is adequate security?

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    4. I can confirm that the Police Team were indeed at the fireworks event and dealt with incidents there

      Ian

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    5. So, Ian, how many did they apprehend/warn about drinking in a public place?

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  9. Hi,
    Having been away I couldn't let this article pass me by without comment. I think it is really good that the service introduced to replace the Parks Police are doing so well. It is also very pleasant to see Cllr's Bond and Patel, two of the architects of the PP demise, coming out to stand shoulder to shoulder with 'their' team. Wonderful. I don't remember Cllr Bond ever doing that with the Parks Police. To be fair to Cllr Patel he did have his photo taken in South Park once. I remember when asked by a Park Co-ordinator if the PP were safe in his hands?? Guess what happened next. Still water under the bridge. The published results don't say too much. I would be more interested in the number of byelaw offences witnessed/detected and the results and of course warning letters/advice. That was what the Parks Police were there for. Everything else was a bonus and of course helped the MPS in their targets. But we were nearly all ext MET after all. Just to update those that may be interested. The majority of the FORMER PP have moved on to other things. Some of us spent a very good year working at the Olympics where we witnessed 1st hand teamwork, ambition and resilience. Made a change. Redbridge I don't think has heard the last of the Parks Police. Not in terms of them coming back. None of us would want too. Finally to all those that have an interest in the Parks ask the right questions and you might get the truth. Who knows.

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    1. Cllr Bond never had his photo taken with the Parks Police? So they were at least lucky in that respect then.

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    2. To be fair to Cllr Bond he does not seem to be as keen as some of his colleagues to be "in the frame" of a camera lens. Think back to the "old" Redbridge Life.

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    3. Wasn't he recently on contract to the New York Times?

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    4. Only because he was "in the eye of the storm".
      Now can we please return to topic ...

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  10. Our Community Police Team is doing some very useful work supplementing the resource originally available to our Met Police, and the partnership between the Police and Council has wider benefits in terms of co-operation and joint working. Whilst it wouldn't be appropriate to go into all the details behind the decision on the Parks Police, we've never suggested that they didn't do some great work. It was also good that we were able to redeploy a number of the staff to other worthwhile roles within the Council. Nevertheless at the end there were numerous issues and concerns that meant that the status quo was never an appropriate option, regardless of the BOGOF offer made by the Met Police at that time.

    Also worth remembering that as part of the same budget proposal we were able to supplement our parkkeeping resource.

    As for Redbridge Life, the current quarterly publication focused on local news and information for residents is better received than the old monthly publication which, as suggested above, did some years back have a tendency to pursue a not always appropriate agenda.

    Regardless of people's views at the time of the budget decision on policing and the parks, I hope that everyone would want to see the Redbridge Community Police Team becoming a success.

    Ian

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    1. Well of course, Ian.
      I had two of the RCPT team call by this very afternoon on their way to Claybury Woods to see if there were any local issues.
      One of those mutual interest issues was what happens when the BOGOF offer expires ....

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    2. I am reliably informed that when PP were in operation, there were some 28 or 30 parks staff, but it appears that there are currently only about 23 or 24. So what happened to the extra 3 keepers that were promised? and what happened to the staff between 23 and 30 then?

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  11. Ian,

    In terms of the resourcing of the Parks service. What was the end result of that proportion of budget reallocation that was to be used to increase the number of Park-keepers. How many additional park staff were recruited? You and your political colleagues have praised the success of the Police Team. What prosecutions have they undertaken against those breaching the byelaws? Who is the prosecuting authority. Is it the CPS or LBR? As all park staff transfered to Vision is it not right they are not council officers and cannot enforce byelaws? Who in council enforcement enforces the byelaws. I understand that there are not too many summonses for such offences. I noted that their had been some action against fisherman. Was that for rod offences, theft of fish (maximum £25 fine)fishing without paying the appropriate Vision fee? Bit more detail in all these things would be useful I am sure to the people of Redbridge.

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    1. A freedom of informatioin request has been lodged with LBR Community Safety regarding facts and figures for the RCPT but these are still being put together. The council have even said that there may be a charge for this information!!

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    2. They usually say that, but rarely (if ever) charge. Tell them to visit a taxidermist.....

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  12. Janeyairoil,
    That's a very interesting piece of info in your unpublished comment. Was it reported in the public domain at the time?

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  13. I hope that your FOI was specific. You really do need to extract anything that occurred outside the parks and open spaces. Then you can compare like with like. The Parks Police held very detailed data about what they had been involved with, outcomes, prosecutions, warning letters etc. In addition they also held details of all stop and account enquiries and other arrests that they were entitled to make. Remember they had no power to stop and search so it is probable that this new team will have achieved a 100% improvement over the PP who did none.

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    1. Adsey, this is what was written to Kathy. I do know that all the facts and figures for the PP as was are still available if you ask the right person !!

      Now that the RCPT have been going for a year, I would be grateful if you would send me the facts and figures as to exactly what they have achieved in the Parks and Open spaces in this time in order that I can make comparisons with the work the Parks Police used to carry out.

      Some of the information I would like includes :

      How many warnings given, what for, and where.
      How many bye-law prosecutions undertaken (were they through the councils legal team) what for and where
      How many arrests in the parks / open spaces, what for and where

      Other facts and figures for work carried out beyond the parks boundaries.

      As head of Community Safety, I would like to think that Supt Williams would have passed all these figures to yourself and if you don’t have them, I would appreciate you obtaining them for me, From Supt Williams.

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  14. No, I'm sure it wasn't, but it might have made a difference to the PP if it had been made public

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  15. Clearly the remit of the Police Team is wider, geographically and generally, than the former parks police, and they can support the Police across the Borough in a way that wasn't possible previously. Nevertheless I understand that they have issued about 50 LBR fixed penalty notices over the past year, over a further 150 notices for disorder and nearly 400 cannabis warnings. They have prosecuted people for illegally fishing at Claybury Woods and for taking the fish, and issued penalty notices for fishing at Fairlop and Hainault without a permit.

    As far as the extra money for parkkeeping was concerned, this was provided against the background of budgets that had already been cut by decision of Council, so has helped avoid staffing reductions we would otherwise had to make. We have also recruited six seasonal park staff to work in parks between April and September, when they are busiest. Vision staff can educate and advise the public on byelaws, and deal with many potential offences in this way, but do not have the power to issue penalty charge notices.

    Ian

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  16. I refer to Ian's response at 12.11 yesterday. One of the questions asked but not answered was how many offences under the council byelaws has this new team dealt with. What prosecutions for byelaw offences have been undertaken and how many warnings have been given for breaching byelaw offences. There is no facility to issue a fixed penalty for council byelaw offences only other matters under CNEA and Dog Control. Both the later were used by the Parks Police but in addition they prosecuted numerous byelaw related matters. In terms of additional park keepers clearly there have been no additional staff and all the words used only seek to cloud the clear intention in the Council paper to employ more. In terms of seasonal staff the public should not be misled. Seasonal staff have always been engaged in the months quoted and in fact if my memory is right we used to employ upto ten such staff. But of course this can be checked with current and past supervisors. The response above is nothing more than an attempt to hoodwink people into believing they got a good deal. Sorry they didn't. Irrespective of what Ian, whoever he is, is posting.

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    1. "Ian" is Councillor Ian Bond, Leader of the Council's LibDem Group, Deputy Leader of the Council, and Cabinet Member for Resources.

      To his credit Ian does respond on this and other blogs to questions about the council. The Leader and other cabinet members simply cannot be bothered.

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  17. Morris,
    Thank you. Having that information now and knowing the role that he took in the disbandment of the service is somewhat disheartening. He stood up last year in council and fully supported an inaccurate, misleading and somewhat contrived report. A report that proposed two options only when there were many others and probably the brainchild of others in the coalition and I don't mean the cabinet member for community safety. I doubt that he had the guts to challenge the leadership on this matter even though he had fully supported the PP in his role. In fact he wasn't their cabinet lead it was Leisure and I also doubt that they would want to risk their position by challenging something that others were set upon. This was something done behind closed doors without the knowledge of the very officers who undertook the PP role. Done in a way that kept them in the dark. The cloak and dagger of politics. Keep them in the dark for as long as possible sharpen your dagger and then plunge it so deep that the wound cannot be healed. I also wonder how many phone calls were made on the day of the final decision to those members of the majority party who were wavering. I have been informed that there might have been as many as five abstentions but each thought more about the consequences of failing to support the leadership. The way it was said was that had one abstained then others would follow. Clearly no one set the mark and after that the result was inevitable. Still that is politics. I cannot wait for the next local election. The thought that some of these decision makers may appear on my doorstep fills me with anticipation. Public meetings, Area Committees all hold such opportunities for exposing inadequacy. We'll see.

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  18. I'm not sure there is that much that I can add to my earlier comments. I recall that significant issues were emerging from the parks police at the time that the offer from the Met Police was received. The reality of the decision was that there wasn't any great conspiracy as alluded to above. The idea that I wouldn't 'challenge the leadership' will doubtless cause some amusement to various readers of this blog. I wasn't aware of any 'browbeating' behind the scenes, and certainly none was originated (or received) by my own colleagues. There isn't a majority party on the Council. And the real issue now is getting the best service and value we can from the Parks Police...

    Ian

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  19. Yes, Adsey - an accurate description of the corrupt nature of the payroll vote.

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  20. Ian,

    Am I to assume from the very last comment in your entry that the Parks Police are making a comeback? Or is that just a mistake (yet another). Interesting you mention 'significant issues emerging at the time' of the 'MET POLICE' offer with the Parks Police. No great conspiracy. I thought that by using that term would indicate that there was a conspiracy albeit a small one. Its all in the words. I thought the offer was from the Mayor in a letter to Council dated the 22/12/10. Are you saying that because of these significant issues Council decided to cut and run. After all the only issues I am told were in the forefront were people issues that happen in all employment. It is how you deal with them. Browbeating. Not perhaps in your group but certainly elsewhere. I understand that one councillor got 3 phone calls to ensure he towed the line. Still as I said that is politics. I wonder what else you don't get told by your partners. Good luck with that.

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