Safer Neighbourhood Public meeting

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Tower Hamlets residents are cordially invited to attend a

Residents Question Time on
Wednesday, 29. January 2020
18:00 – 20:00 (doors open at 17:30)

Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS Map.
nearest underground station Aldgate East.

  • Meet the Police Superintendent for Neighbourhoods Policing and the Divisional Director of Community Safety.
  • Share your local experiences and views
  • Current action being taken to address key issues
  • Contact details for further details Jon Shapiro 07811 482731 jon.shapiro@zen.co.uk

This event is funded by MOPAC and is organised by the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Baord. SNB.

 

Appeal to everyone

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I want to ask each and everyone of you who love your peace and freedom to get involved and report anything suspicious or disturbing you may find important to report.

The recent spate of graffiti daubing in North London against the Jewish community brings us to the brink of a social breakdown. Any type of discriminatory activity against any type of ethnic community brings discontent and disturbance to our city and interupts our daily lives. It leads to problems and makes people unhappy.

What keeps our great city  going is discipline, tolerance and understanding and this helps our supply and service chains to stock our shops with items we need to buy on a daily basis.

Whether you are a registered Neighbourhood Watch volunteer or not is really not important. Those who are out and about and see things they find concerning, you can report them.

Tower Hamlets Council have a nice App called ‘Love your Neighbourhood‘ LYN for short, you can download that and use it to report matters using photos. I suppose anybody with Data on their phone or using an Internet connection can use this to report concerning issues.

Sometimes I feel scared to take photos, it is not wise to always get the camera out, I would not want you to endanger yourselves. If you cannot take a photo, memorise the situation, the people involved, the time, the place, the details and report them as soon as possible.

With the Freedom of Expression we have, you may come across Conspiracy Theories. They often do sound plausible, but please dont’ forget, if they victimise or encourage discrimination against one group of people, it is not in our interest to tolerate hate against anybody.

We should follow one simple principle, if it

  • destroys
  • attacks
  • disrupts
  • discriminates

don’t do it, don’t support it, report it.

Furthermore concern is warranted about homeless people. There are groups of people who organise themselves to regularly beg and occupy advantageous locations but there are also those who genuinly need help and there may also be dangerous individuals who are up to no good. It is not possible for the onlooker to determine the cause of a person’s actions but it is possible to report them to the authorities. There are charities out there who approach homeless persons sleeping rough in the strrets and help them.

Street Link is an online facility by the Mayor of London to report rough sleepers. But you can also the LYN App as mentioned above. All homeless persons under the age of 18 should be reported using the 999 system.

Another service is run by St. Mungos, who also have a website to communicate through.

Of course the Met Police website now has a large section which allows immediate online reporting also and I encourage you to use it.

Neighbourhood Watch is about keeping your Neighbourhood safe and you are the person who can make it happen. Don’t wait, Report it.

 

Enjoy your community and neighbourhood

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The whole point of living somewhere is that you feel it is your home, you feel safe and secure.

For most people going to any type of meetings is quite unachievable. Often meetings take place in regular intervals in the evenings and a lot of us simply cannot make them.

People work shifts, commute long hours, need to do shopping, sort out those housing/repair issues or simply just have time to cook a meal and do the daily wash before getting into bed, ready for the next day.

A lot of us no longer work 9 – 5 and since we have on demand contracts can be working at all hours and no longer be able to meet.

That all doesn’t matter because anybody has now the ability to communicate any concerns online and neighbours even can create their own WhatsApp groups or other communications systems, just as they are appropriate.

You just need to take care not to share images publicly, which are of people who deem suspect, only share such pics with law enforcement in a confidential manner.

You do not need to think that you need to be able to make regular meetings to be part of a local neighbourhood. Everybody can report a crime or concerns to law enforcement, even in an anonymous manner.

Nobody can take the law into their own hands, always communicate with your local law enforcements any concerns you may have.

Of course getting regular bulletins from the local, regional or national crime agencies can be improved by registering with OWL but if you do not want to do that, you can follow your local SNT on Twitter. Neighbourhood Watch.

Neighbourhood Watch changing

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As I mentioned in my previous post, Neighbourhood Watch is changing, the way it is organised and administered.

I am not fully happy with the new solutions but want to publish my concerns and let you make up your own mind.

Previously Neighbourhood Watch was directly aligned and administered via the Neighbourhood Watch Network, which is the nationally recognised head organisation and still is.

Neighbourhood Watches could be established by polling neighbours, residents directly and meetings, which were often ad hoc and/or spontaneous or planned. Neighbourhood Watches could be independent of Residents Associations or were aligned to them. A local SNT officer would then visit the elected local coordinator and verify the membership of the watch regardless of whether that watch was member of a local residents association. I really prefer this method and I helped establish over 100 watches in Tower Hamlets with that method.

Some Neighbourhoods do not have any Residents Associations and so Neighbourhood Watch could be the only organisation available to disucss crime in an area.

When I was voted as Chair person of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association, this happened during an open meeting held at Bethnal Green Police station and I was democratically elected.

Now the system has changed in that it is only open to Chairs of local SNT panels to become eligible to chair the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch group.

The chair of my local SNT panel, Chris Weavers, also mentioned that there is a plan to register all Residents Associations with Neighbourhood Watch as members.

I have strong reservations against this plan because there are privacy and consent laws, which must be observed. Also some areas do not have Residents Associations and some residents are not able to attend SNT panel meetings.

At the moment all Neighbourhood Watch members or those interested in it, are encouraged to register with OWL, a messaging system now in place. OWL is created by Direct Path solutions, which is(according to an email received on 29/12/19 from Gary Fenton) not associated with Zen hosting services. Jon Shapiro the chair of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Board has decided that my ability to help with Neighbourhood Watch in Tower Hamlets has to be determined during a private coffee meeting, which I declined.

This way of determining suitability for Neighbourhood Watch activities is not a democratic system and I am refusing to get involved with it further. I believe that Neighbourhood Watch should be determined by local residents and those local residents should have the choice to elect whom they want to be in charge and who is directly accountable to the national Neighbourhood Watch system.

The whole system of Neighbourhood Watch was independently run and tailored around the needs of local residents to fight crime. Local Safer Neighbourhood Officers usually are in direct communications with Neighbourhood Watches.

The good news is, that anybody can report crime anonymously or directly via the Met Police  and does not need to be associated with any organisation to do so.

There are now online reporting systems, directly linked to confidential MET Police servers, which are safe to use for people. I recommend that if you have something to report use the direct police channels.

 

Public accountability

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The independent Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association as such no longer exists. There are plans to register members of local residents associations with the National Neighbourhood Watch Network. However I feel that this must be done with full consent of those concerned to address privacy laws.

Whilst there is no longer an independent, democratically elected and resident led Neighbourhood Watch Association for Tower Hamlets formally, I take it upon myself to keep on running this blog, to inform those who are interested of facts.

Currently the police have developed the OWL messaging system that replaces the previous Neighbourhood Alert system. Anybody registered with the website, will receive the messages from the Met Police and whoever runs the website. There are plans to integrate OWL with the Neighbourhood Watch Network.

The Safer Neighbourhood Panels are currently the meeting point for those able to go to the meetings, which happen quarterly. The chairs of the SNT panels are members of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Board.

The current chair of the SNB, Jon Shaphiro, contacted me yesterday to inform me that a chair of a local SNT panel will be put in charge of Neighbourhood Watch in the borough.

Whilst I was in charge Neighbourhood Watches were verified and registered via a local SNT officer who completed a form to regulate the membership. Neighbourhood Watch groups were independent groups, who met with police when the necessity arose. This is now no longer possible.

I have been told that I am unsuitable to re-take my position as chair of the Assocation as it was known and the new system will be chaired by a member of the Safer Neighbourhood Board. John Shapiro’s e-mail was this: “However, if you would like to have coffee with me some time in Spitalfields I would be delighted to discuss whether there might be some way you can assist our efforts.”

Unfortunately I had to decline that offer as it seems rather undemocratic to be selected for assistance by a single individual who has the power to delegate voluntary jobs in the borough.

People may like this or not. What is important that residents are aware how to report crime and hold the police and other service providers to account for solving problems. Please do not hesitate to browse this site for ideas or contact me directly via the form.

ACT – Terrorist reporting

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There is an online reporting facility to report any suspicious details directly using this ACT government website. Phone number 0800 789 321.

I am saying thank you to all who helped prevent further injury and death at yesterday’s London Bridge terrorist attack and want to express sincere condolences to the families of victims.

If you find online terrorist material please report on this Yougov. website

knife crime at 11-year high

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It seems unstoppable, this wave of knife crime that is afflicting our young people of today. Recent statistics show the upward trend.

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Mohammed Usman Mirza, 19, was killed in Ilford on Tuesday night and became the 23rd teenager to be fatally stabbed in the capital this year.

I can only suggest that not only a reduction in police officers, the scaling down of the stop and search panels but also general policies and a lack of social care are to blame for this catastrophy. Increases in school exclusions also push kids out of the mainstream.

It is possible to blame drugs and gangs but what is most important is that we need to stop our children becoming susceptiple to joining dodgy groups.

Yet, with the increase of working hours for parents there is less time for our children, who often come from school to an empty home. There is also not enough investment in youth schemes to find youngster a place they can belong to.

Street gangs become an unwelcome alternative. Though sometimes kids seem to become victims without having had any apparent affiliation with gangs.

We need to support a change in general government policies to enable our communities to regenerate.

hidden-kniveWhilst I want to praise our local officers for tirelessly searching for hidden weapons around our areas, as you can see if you follow your local police’s twitter feed, we rigorously need to ensure that pupils do not carry any weapons into schools, regardless of age and reintroduce more stop and search.

Even though this may upset some people, the chance of random searches will reduce the incidence of carrying weapons.

The other day, I saw a boy walk strangely, with one of his legs appearing rather stiff. There is a high chance that he had a baseball bat or long knife in his trouser leg. I think the general public needs to look out for strange behaviour and report it immediately. Take details of date, time, description of individual, if possible a photo (do not share on social media but only sent to your police officers).

The public has helped a lot with constant reporting please continue to do so. The online reporting tool will result in monitored reports, which are followed up immediately.

 

Source BBC report

preserving crime scenes for forensics

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The Metropolitan Police Service are pleased to announce an upcoming free event open for local residents to attend.

Wednesday, 6. November 2019, 5pm – 7pm

Aviva Digital Garage, 33 – 35 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN

You will be given advice on what to do if you become a victim of crime and how to preserve the scene for forensic examiners. There will be the chance to meet and talk to local police officers and Scotland Yard detectives and ask any questions that residents may have.

The aim of the event is to provide information to the local community on the police use of forensics in crime.

There will be live and interactive demonstrations of forensic practices from the Met Forensic Command where you will get an opportunity to try these techniques.

 

Beware of the Thomas Cook scam

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THOMAS COOK REFUNDS ARE A SCAM. BEWARE of being contacted offering a refund. This new scam was highlighted today in Parliament during questions. The Secretary for Transport mentioned OWL can be used to alert people of these new scams. So please be aware – any refunds being offered, especially if someone contacts you by phone or email, will be a scam to extract bank and other personal details from you.

The CAA is running a flight program for Thomas Cook customers, please visit this website.