• A Criminal Misuse of Public Money?

    Disclaimer – All views are my own, as this is written on my own website, paid for with my own money – These are NOT the views of any Council that I am a member of or a view of the Liberal Democrat Party. They are simply written as a personal view of a Rayleigh Resident. Hope I’ve got the point across….

    There is an idea by the Police & Fire Crime Commissioner, that town and parish councils could now ‘buy’ their own Special Police Constables, to police their local area. Each ‘Special’ would cost the council (or taxpayer) £1000. This is an idea that has been put to Rayleigh Town Council. The role of the ‘special’ is something like this

    Call me cynical, but isn’t this just another way to extract additional money out of the taxpayer? We already have community policing teams, that are paid for from our council tax and the PFCC is now asking if we are willing to pay more in our council tax to increase policing. So it’s a double ask. The town and parish councils have to find the money from somewhere, right?

    If we are so hell-bent on having additional policing, I think someone has missed a trick here. With some crude calculations, I worked out that the £135,000 that has been spent by the district on new public toilets and the £20,000 estimated from the town council to maintain them, then this could have funded 155 special constables for 1 year. Or over the 10 year lease of the toilets, around 15 specials for 10 years. Each special averages 40 hours per month, so on this basis it would have provided funding for around 4 FULL TIME specials for Rayleigh for the next 10 years.

    Did we have a choice? No, because we weren’t asked. Could, therefore, new toilets be a criminal misuse of public money?

    Specials play an important role in the police service, and if you are interested in becoming a special you can find full details on the Essex police website here

     

     

  • Police Crime Commissioner is put in the dock by Councillors

    Last nigh Essex Police Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, gave a briefing to District and Parish Councillors in the Rochford District. The council chamber was fairly full (rather like Southend Police Cells! More on that later) and attended by 13 opposition members and just 9 Conservative members. 

    The presentation started with a brief slide show from Roger Hirst on the revenues received by selling off the police estates and the investment that the police have made in modern technology. I wonder what they will sell off when everything has been sold, but I'm sure someone has already thought of that.

    Members were invited to ask questions to Mr Hirst once his presentation had finished and there was plenty of those!  A usually vocal (ahemmm), Cllr Newport remained quiet throughout, as I had the insight to present my questions to the PCC prior to the meeting and which I had already had responses from Chief Inspector Westley.

    There were some interesting questions presented to the PCC and he was challenged on accusations (as the Echo reported) of the police being too busy to collect CCTV evidence from a recent crime scene. A slightly embarrassed Mr Hirst, could only accept that the police were 'guilty as charged'

    A recurring theme of Councillors went on to report to Mr Hirst that the spiraling drugs problem across the district is not being addressed. (one of the questions I had already put prior to the meeting) Concerned Parish Councillors reported how the lack of police presence in Hullbridge has seemily led to open drug dealing outside the primary school and the persistant Parish Councillor repeatedly told Mr Hirst that the lack of police presence in Hullbridge was acutely noteable. 

    CCTV evidence was another topic of conversation, as members informed Mr Hirst that there seemed to be a reluctance by police to process footage. Mr Hirst explained that the current technology that the police have means that it is cumbersome for the police to process this evidence. 

    Other challenges made to Mr Hirst were made on the 101 service and the severe delays on getting through to report crime (some references to 1hr plus), one example given the caller was asked if they could be called back and to wait until at least the next day! Again the evidence put to Mr Hirst was damning and there was little defence from Mr Hirst only that they need to do better.

    I think it was an uncomfortable evening for Mr Hirst and his defence was weak. He is clearly a 'hands up' guy and he can only be commended for admitting where there are failures - I think he has his work cut out. Will he be able to get the confidence in the police service restored any time soon? I'd be hesitant to think so. 

    If your interested to know more on how the evening went Cllr Chris Black will be reporting here

  • Autumn 2017 e-FOCUS is out!

    Our team has been out busy delivering our Focus leaflets in the Sweyne Park & Grange Ward and Down Hall & Rawerth. However, since we are a progressive party….. you can read our e-Focus (our online edition) which is available here for Sweyne Park & Grange.

  • Local Policing

    What's a Tory doing on a Lib Dem blog?

    Well for those that don't know this is Roger Hirst. He's the police crime commissioner for Essex Police. 

    For sometime there have been comments from residents about policing (or the apparent lack of it). So with this in mind I recently wrote to Roger's office asking if they were planning on visiting leafy Rayleigh anytime soon to answer our residents concerns.

    I had a lovely reply from Roger's office informing me that he will attend a meeting at RDC on the 12th September. I can of course put forward any questions from residents for Mr Hirst to answer at this time. 

    If there is anything you would like to ask then please contact me here and I will pass your question to Mr Hirst.

  • Fed Up Motorists Get Nailed Again

    As my brother often reminds me when I mention the cost of running a car, that it’s “the joy of motoring”, however Rayleigh residents have had no joy recently with the damage to a lot of residents tyres caused by nails left on one particular cut through. On numerous occasions, Station Cresent has had nails left in the road to purposely damage drivers tyres.

    Image Courtesy of Google

    It seemed the police were slow to react and the culprit has yet to be caught, however, whether the Echo’s report of it being ‘yobs’ is accurate remains unknown.

    It seemed the police were slow to react and the culprit has yet to be caught, however, whether the Echo’s report of it being ‘yobs’ is accurate remains unknown.

    Reported in the Echo

  • Cyber Aware

    Don’t Let Your Kids Outsmart You – Be Cyber Aware!

    We often hear residents say that they'd like to see more police on our streets. The reality is resources are limited and the resource they have is spread thinly among many emerging threats. A big shift of their work has moved from being on the beat to 'patrolling' the internet.

    Whilst of course the internet has brought many positives to our everyday lives, the threats to our communities have also increased. You can do your bit to help by simply getting yourself and your family educated about the internet. Internetmatters.org does a very job ​of explaining the dangers you and your family could face and I highly recommended having a browse around their site.

  • Crime Fighting Time

    Police & Crime Commissioner

    Tonight I attended a presentation given by Roger Hirst (Essex Police & Crime Commissioner) and ahem, a couple of invisible police chiefs (not quite sure where they went), about the new Essex Police & Crime plan. This plan lays out 7 key areas that Mr Hirst wants Essex police to focus on.

    1. More local, visible and accessible policing. 

    2. Crack down on anti-social behaviour. 

    3. Be tough on domestic abuse. 

    4. Reverse the trend in serious violence. 

    5. Tackle gangs and organised crime. 

    6. Protect children and vulnerable people from harm. 

    7. Improve safety on our roads.

    I must say Mr Hirst gave an interesting presentation and seemed to engage with the audience members very well. In fact at 9.30pm, Cllr June Lumley had to ask for final questions as poor old Mr Hirst wouldn’t be getting home anytime soon. 

    I managed to get some commitment from Mr Hirst – my question was “Will you reinstate the police liaison officers in schools?” Mr Hirst responded that he would, and when pressed by myself into whether he would commit, he responded that he was committed to a joint police/fire service liaison in schools.

    I think Mr Hirst’s plan targets all the areas most of us would like to see. If you’ve got comments on his plan then follow this link to complete the survey.