Thursday, May 24, 2012

Police and Hospitals

It's supposed to read 29 degrees today, in London at least, so I'm not expecting many people to be inside reading 'Blogs.'

Yesterday evening, I attended a Kent Police briefing in the council chamber, from the Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Mark Nottage, assisted by local Inspectors, Mark Whitham and Rob Fordham and I thought I would share some of the information with you.

Kent Police are facing a £50 million reduction in their budget which in real terms means 500 less police officers and 1,000 less support staff. In order to to use their dwindling resources more efficiently and meet the expectations of the public, the strategic model has changed to allow them to move officers around between areas to meet demand.

Here in Thanet, what was until recently:
  • 1 Inspector
  • 5 Sergeants
  • 29 PC's
  • 26 PCSO's
Has now changed quite dramatically from this month and become:
  • 6 Inspectors
  • 12 Sergeants
  • 85 PC's
  • 23 PCSO's
I won't dive into the detail but readers will see that we now have more officers available than before although PCSOs have been cut by three along with elements of the familiar neighbourhood model.

If you live here in Westgate your PCSO is now Jim Coleman.

A couple of things that Ch.Supt Nottage mentioned are of further interest. The first was that Government, local and national needs to sort-out the endemic social problems that blight areas here in Thanet and which drain already stretched resources. I assumed this reflected what I have written about here before about the train from Bromley South station, depositing London's unwanted or homeless here in Margate and Cliftonville. The second, was that he had a meeting with the responsible Government Minister last week, to discuss the wider and equally serious challenge of of the large numbers of children and young people in care, which is a problem not only for the police but for our schools as well.

As an aside to this story, Westgate traders were having problems with a couple of troubled teenagers from Ethelbert Homes and following my own intervention and the cooperation of the home, the ringleader has been 'moved-away' to some other ward but the wider challenge still remains, particularly in areas like Cliftonville, where vulnerable young people are exposed to gangs and individuals with extremely negative potential outcomes. I'm reminded of 'The Artful Dodger' and the unpleasant character of Fagin in Charles Dicken's great novel 'Oliver Twist.'

More officers should mean less anti-social behaviour and the Government is taking a much tougher stance on the problem. I will be very interested to see the crime statistics at the end of this year to see how much impact these new changes have had but in summary, we all need to realise that along with other public-sector resources, the police model has to change to match its budget and we can only hope that greater streamlining leads to greater efficiency.

I have written to Ch.Supt Nottage to apologise for the behaviour of several prominent Labour councillors last night. At times, Cllr Johnston, who was chairing the meeting was in danger of losing control and while members may have their valid concerns over local policing, there is absolutely 'no excuse' for the rambling monologues or voluble bad manners of the kind I witnessed last night.

On a completely separate note, I attempted to engage in the Facebook campaign to 'Save the QEQM A&E' but promptly disengaged when I saw that little or nothing could be achieved in that forum by sharing the facts.

I'm concerned by the alarm being spread from the soap-box platform of Cllr Ian Driver (Formerly of Militant, Scargill, Respect, Labour and now a TIG councillor) and a mixture of fringe left-wing and Trades Union interests, 'the usual suspects,' that appear to have little or no interest in the facts but have a much wider anti-cuts and anti-Government agenda.

Cllr Driver does in fact know what the facts are and here's a link to his statement from the TIG's now, 'disappeared' website. I'm not aware of any plans to 'close' the A& E at QEQM. I am aware of some aspects of critical trauma care being allocated to centres of excellence in hospitals around the region and the Council, patients' groups and local MP's are able to feed their own views into the ongoing consultation process which could see QEQM picking-up new specialist treatment areas and losing others to the like of the William Harvey. What the final result will be still remains unclear and will be until the autumn at least but I'm quite dismayed that the fears of local people are being 'played' so very cynically for political gain by the same people who bought you 'Occupy Turner.'

We have an excellent local hospital in Margate and you can expect members of all groups and political parties to fight to keep its essential services intact for the benefit of local people. However, it's quite possible in the near future, that hospitals will specialise in different critical areas of trauma care and while if you break your leg of hip, you will find yourself in the familiar QEQM A&E casualty unit, a major heart attack involving a coronary stent, might involve emergency transportation to a specialist intensive care unit at another hospital once the patient is stabilised.

So let's not jump to pre-judge the results and wait to see what the plans for east Kent actually reveal and whether they make practical and medical sense in the public interest, before the demonstrations against them actually begin.


Anonymous said...

Excellent summary of events, Simon, but sadly you only confirm a lifetime of experience of left wing antics that I have encountered. Invariably engaged in the politics of rabble rousing, class warfare and scaremongering, it concerns me that the Labour party have still not managed to rise above all this nonsense.

To his credit Tony Blair tried but it seems endemic in certain sectors of the party. The 'usual suspects' as you call them, a frequent sight around Broadstairs, seem to be in a perpetual state of anger, forever seeking to object to something. They consistently fail to realise that the world would actually be far less objectionable without them.

Anonymous said...

Mr ClarkeI I take your comment to mean that anyone who is not a supporter of right wing politics and who campaigns for alternative policies, has no right to share the world with you. I think your mask has slipped a little - perhaps its not the Tory Party you should be supporting but the BNP.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the BNP would praise Tony Blair as I have done and I do actually think it is a pity that one of our two main political parties is so frequently hijacked by the more uncouth in society.

It is the behaviour perhaps, more than the policies, I find so objectionable about the left and, if you do not know what I mean, attend a TDC meeting and see for yourself.

Incidentally, I never had a mask to slip. I have never made any secret of the fact that I consider Labour governments the main contributors to the decline of this once fine nation.

Anonymous said...

When are Driver or Worrow or Sober Jack actually going to do anything for the poor sods who voted for them?

Too busy scaring old age pensioners about hospital services so they can say they "saved" the QEQM.

They are no better than those cowboy builders who go around people's houses and say their perfectly good roof is going to fall down and kill them unless they let them deal with it and give them cash.

The same type of broken moral compass as yours Cllr Driver!