Sunday, November 04, 2007

Safer Streets

After kicking-up a fuss with both the Chief Constable and The Prime Minister, I have a meeting with the police tomorrow to discuss, among other things, the control of alcohol on our streets.

Figures released in the papers today reveal an alcohol abuse crisis among children and show a 40 per cent rise in the number of under-age drinkers in treatment in just one year , thanks, experts say, to the example of so-called hard-living celebrities.

If it's not alcohol, then its drugs and this worries me even more, given that 50% of all crime in the UK is committed by around 200,000 drug addicts. Last week's conference on Organised Crime that I chaired, showed me how the peddling influence of "Yardy" gangs is increasingly 'reaching-out' in our direction and so I was appalled to see an email from one of our readers this morning, making an allegation of open dealing in Westgate's Station road last night, among up to 20 youths and after the police had attempted moved them on and left.

This being Britain in the 21st century and as a simple ward councillor, I'm not expecting miracles, just a polite hearing as we have a successful programme of partnership between the council and the Police in regard to the tackling of anti-social behaviour in Thanet. However, if you have any local experiences of this kind you would like to share, either as a comment or by emailing me - see sidebar - in confidence, then I'm happy to include it as material for discussion.


Anonymous said...

Anon Again!

Get rid of the Drugs - Get rid of the Dealers - get rid of the problem!

John said...

We have all, for some time now, been painfully aware that our laws in respect of drug control have failed - and as everyone knows it is getting worse. Why do we not sell drugs in Govn shops to licensed users? Quality/cost would be controlled, criminals cut out and there would be the chance to help people move away from the habit.

Living in the Far East for a while I was aware of their answer to this problem. Mandatory death to convicted dealers and compulsory cold turkey clinics for addicits - and it has worked!

Anonymous said...

Mandatory drug testing for police officers.

Concerned members of the public should have the power to detain officers for the purposes of blood tests.

Reasonable suspicion, of anabolic steroid abuse, could be formed by observing aggression coupled with lack of judgement or from irreversible mandibular development.

Breaches of Police Law,that officers maintain fitness to serve, would also apply. Steroid side effects including testicular atrophy, enlarged heart etc.

In short I recoimmend that both police and public be scrutinized. We call this our double barrel or shotgun approach.

Anonymous said...

You might like to raise with them the different response to 2 incidents in my road seperated by a 4 month period.
incident 1. theft of wallet by pizza circular deliverers from outside window ledge of my house on 31 Jul. all the civilian at maidstone was interested in was 'was the wallet taken from inside the house?' If it had been it would have been burglary and responded to. I in fact pursued the 'suspects' and apprehended them 'empty-handed' but useless cards from wallet were found discarded on pavement on their delivery route and subsequent fraudulent use of my barclay card was made at barclays bank in Canterbury an hour later. kent police were informed 11 days later(on my receipt of statement) and said they would go and get CCTV. i had a phone-call last week stating that as barclays bank only keep CCTV records for 31 days they were not able to follow up and investigate this 'crime' any further. So I had tried to investigate this theft in 'hot-pursuit' myself and kept kent Police informed with all info I had and THEY DID NOTHING. I have not even been asked to give a statement.

Incident 2: same street 31 October. A neighbour has fallen out with his brother and brother broke into the others house to recover his own property. hthe brother whose has had been broken into reported this to kent police and a car was sent immediately. Another neighbour was asked by CID officers two hours later to give a witness statement when they called at her door; she declined to do so as she regarded this as a 'domestic' problem between family members.

i would like to know why Kent Police seem to have Government targets to follow (technical burglary will get attention) and will pull out stops to wrap up a domestic but do nothing about the 'sharks' that walk our streets. Is the one a dead easy case (despite a domestic) whilst the other one actually involves some quick thinking police work? Or are they sensitive about following up a complaint of theft when two Afghan nationals are involved?

Anonymous said...

I sympathise with your problems, we have abandoned any hope of Kent Police sorting out the ongoing problems caused by recent arrivals in the Dalby Sq area.
We have a particular problem in the small road running at the back of Ethelbert Crescent between Dalby Sq and Athelstan Rd.
Garages in it have been repeatedly vandalised and broken into, walls have been scaled to steal kids toys from back yards, gates have been repeatedly torn off their hinges and destroyed, windows have been broken, graffiti everywhere, and to cap it all the place is used as a toilet.
If you now go down there you can see the amount of barbed wire the residents have used in an effort to contain some of the problem. Its getting more every week.
This is a no go area for decent folk, just have a look if you dare, but I wouldn't recommend doing so at night.
We need more Wardens - if we have to accept we won't get more police.

Michael Child said...

I have had my 5th shop window broken, since the 24 hour licensing came, I am not certain if the two things are related but prior to that we hadn’t had one broken for 7 years.

On Friday the police officer came along to take the details and we had a long and to me at least, fairly interesting chat, she seemed to think a lot of the points I raised were valid.

This is not an issue purely local to Ramsgate, we were in Canterbury recently I counted 15 broken shop windows in the town centre and the woman in the card shop said she was now frightened to go outside her own front door after 9 pm, please appreciate she is a business woman who mostly trades in her shop on her own dealing with everyday problems like shoplifters.

I don’t think the problem is exclusively one of 24 hour licensing laws, but a combination of that, security cameras no longer being seen as a deterrent to crime, (there is one immediately opposite the shop that hasn’t picked up the 4 previous window breakages) but most of all the lack of firmly dealing with the drunk and disorderly people in our town centres.

I suggested that police officers should have video cameras fitted to their uniforms, that the drunk and disorderly should be picked up and put in the cells, come up before a magistrate when convenient, be fined an amount that paid for the policing with the option that if they wanted to plead not guilty the video of the offence could be shown in court, if found guilty the extra costs would be added to the fine.

I also suggested that the prisons could be freed up by offering fines as alternative to imprisonment in all cases of non-violent, non-aggressive crime or crimes that don't put others at physical or psychological risk.

I pointed out that there have been several high profile cases where politicians, journalists, wealthy businessmen etc. have been imprisoned, causing no benefit to society and considerable expense to the taxpayer, these people could well of afforded to pay substantial fines which could help pay for better law enforcement.

We then had a long chat about the drug problem, alcohol abuse is just another drug problem, different drugs produce different problems and different related crimes. With alcohol the problem being that the very drunk can become violent both to people and property.

The highly addictive drugs heroin, cocaine, crack etc while they don’t usually produce violent behaviour often cause addicts to steal or to deal in drugs to finance an addiction that is so strong as to override normal moral values.

As a society we have a serious drug problem, which causes a considerable amount of crime and antisocial behaviour, with misuse of alcohol the front-runner in making everyone’s life unpleasant.

On the whole our politicians to seem to lack solutions that make sense, for instance, David Cameron having tacitly admitted to smoking cannabis, wishes to make it a class B drug, making something he has probably done punishable by 5 years imprisonment.

I am not here trying to particularly criticise David Cameron, merely using it as an example of how muddled politicians have become over the subject.

Something that concerns me considerably is that the type of drug testing that has been done in our prisons for a considerable time, is working its way into our schools and large companies. The problem here being that it has a tendency to make cannabis smokers move on to harder drugs, which are much easier to flush out of their metabolism in a short period of time.

Don’t misunderstand me I am not against testing, but think it would be much better if the more recently devised method of testing that relies on analysing hair should be used, as it shows up all forms of drug misuse equally.

Frankly as far as the poor souls who misuse drugs but don’t engage in other crime and are only harming themselves go, (I am myself addicted to tobacco) as a taxpayer whereas I am happy to contribute to their cure, I am not so sure about paying an enormous sum of money to keep them in prison, where they are likely to move onto harder drugs.

I was interested that the police officer understood the implications of what I was talking about and agreed with much of what I had to say.

Anonymous said...

Simon, I cycled along the Westgate Bays yesterday to find dozens of broken glass bottles all along the prom. in both bays, they were beer and wine bottles mainly....... the area in St.Mildreds Bay gardens bordering Sea Road were especially "glassed up" near the little bridge where the rubbish was thick with bottles and bags, this must be a meeting place for drinkers, under aged or otherwise. I am sure if the road cleaner were asked they would be able to pin point the area where bottles are found.

DrMoores said...

Thaks Barrie..

Comments were printed-up and handed in at a very constructive meeting at Margate Police Station. I'll shortly be writing an update entry but I'm just waiting for some information from Kent Police before I do.

Thanks for contributing everyone!

tony flaig bignews said...

I'm sure that Gordon Brown is extreamly worried over your concerns, my solution is to leglise all drugs and let those who wish to kill themselves do so without resorting to crime.

If these drugs were sold legally at a reasonal profit inclusive of tax where the problem. In fact many of these criminals might become respectable wage slaves like the rest of us.

Just imagine the effect on some of your colleagues in the council were they to be denied a Gin and Tonic, just what depths would they stoop to.

We live with alcohol abuse which kills many thousands every year, so why not extend the freedom to abuse with other dangerous substances.

DrMoores said...

Think about the problem a little more deeply Tony.

What would happen if alcohol was free or even cheaper than it is now..?

Extend that to drugs and then see what happens? Millions of addicts? Are you prepared to take the risk?