Support during COVID-19

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If you wish to support those affected by Corona Virus please register via the central register  on this webpage. If you have ideas on how to improve things please email: covid19@towerhamlets.gov.uk

General council webpage links and advice on http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus

Help for Victims of abuse against women and girls can rely on getting help. If you are in an emergency call 999, if you cannot speak on the phone press 55, which refers your call to a specialist helper who will assist you.

Local support:

  • Tower Hamlets Victim Support IDVA 020 7364 7957/2448 (Monday to Friday 9-5)
  • Victim Support 0808 1689 111 (24 hours)
  • Tower Hamlets Crisis Intervention Service 020 3222 4027 (Monday to Friday 9-5; and weekends 10am-6pm)
  • Legal advice regarding domestic abuse and family law, such as non-molestation orders, child arrangements or divorce – Bowling & Co. Solicitors family@bowlinglaw.co.uk 020 8221 8000 in emergency 07464 925 083
  • Tower Hamlets VAWG Team 0800 279 5434 (Monday to Friday 9-5) or email domestic.violence@towerhamlets.gov.uk
  • Tower Hamlets Housing Options Service Team (HOST) will no longer have a drop-in service. For those at risk of homelessness contact HOST on 020 7364 7474 Monday to Friday 9-5 or after 5pm the emergency number 020 7364 4079
  • Adult Safeguarding team 020 7364 5005
  • Children Safeguarding team 020 7364 3444

National Support

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247; 7 days a week 24 hours
  • LGBT specialist advice on 0800 999 5428 (Monday to Friday 10am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 4pm or email help@galop.org.uk
  • Specific Men’s Advice line 0808 801 0327 Monday – Friday
    • 9am – 8pm Monday & Wednesday
    • 9am – 5pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
    • email info@mensadviceline.org.uk
  • Women’s Aid online support service https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/
    • Monday – Friday 10am – 12 pm
  • Hestia provides a free-to-download mobile app, Bright Sky, which hides as a weather app but provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.

Other VAWG support

  • Girls aged 14+ or woman and have been a victim of sexual assault you can contact
    • Rape Crisis 0808 802 9999; 12pm – 2.30pm and 7pm-9.30pm each day.
    • for victims age 16+ use the Live online Chat helpline Monday – Friday.
  • Beyond the Streets, support for women who are involved in prostitution 0800 133 7870 or email support@beyondthestreets.org.uk
  • Female Genital Mutilation FGM Engagement Service 020 7377 8725 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.
  • Forced Marriage Unit 020 7008 0151 or email fmuoutreach@fco.gov.uk
  • Stalking and Harrassment 0808 802 0300 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 4pm except for Wednesday when it is open 1pm – 4pm.
  • Trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation 08000 121 7000

Perpetrators of abuse who want help

If you are worried how you are treating your partner or family member and want to stop your behaviour, you can contact Respect on 0808 802 4040 or email info@respectphoneline.org.uk

What a lot of rubbish

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Image courtesy of the Tower Hamlets Residents Facebook group.

It is very concerning that despite all emergency measures, put in to deal with the spread of Corona virus, that the council is not doing anything – as known now – to collect all the amounts of rubbish left behind by the bin personnel strike.

Clearly it doesn’t help preventing a pandemic of a virus if rubbish hangs around our estates for days.

Isn’t it rather cynical to be told ‘wash hands’ but in fact we are not to worry about the growing mountains of rubbish.

Obviously staying clean means cleanliness on our streets included.

European sewers contain more drugs

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Sewage was tested for traces of four illicit drugs: amphetamine, cocaine, MDMA (also known as ecstasy) and methamphetamine. Source.

drugs-found-in-sewers

Pic shows highest drug concentration found in sewers, looking at the picture and knowing the concentration of Corona virus in northern Italy, I wonder whether there is a corrolation?

Measuring drug consumption is probably one of the most difficult things to get richt. As they are sold illegally, there are no till receipts or legal evidences to be found. Yet measuring the amount of drugs found in our sewer waters is an indicator of its use. Perhaps the odd dealer or two flushing drugs down the toilet in case of raids may increase the density of drugs found in that water, but in general it is concerning that more people regularly seem to be using class A-drugs.

You can’t complain if you use. Or rather if you use, then complaining may find out but why use in the first place?

As a teenager,  I never smoked, I didn’t even fancy the cigarettes, but when I visited a relative and saw the cigarettes laying around, feeling bored, I took one. Since everybody else did it, it seemed alright.

I suppose it is a similar scenario with drugs these days. Just, I wouldn’t be tempted. Is that the reason why I find it so important to have an effective Neighbourhood Watch system in Tower Hamlets? I don’t feel tempted because I have been through the stopping smoking scenario and do not want to go through the whole thing again about drugs.

Drugs probably weaken the immune system and influence our decision-making processes. Because of that I don’t even drink alcohol (Holidays being the exception).

Nextbase dashcam uploads

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Nextbase is an Internet service, which allows motorists to upload dashcam footage of irresponsible driving or accident witnessing.

Nextbase currently works in 14 countries. TheUK version is very popular with the police as it saves a lot of police time.

With the new Dash-cam portal you can upload your footage. You can sent footage directly to your local police force, once you select the region you want to send footage to.

Phishing criminals now want crypto currency

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round gold colored and black coin on person s hand

Photo by Worldspectrum on Pexels.com

Over the years, working as webmaster, I received a fair amount of criminal attempts to extract money from me.

I knew it is possible to use another person’s email address from some servers and disguise the true sender’s address.

Criminals now pretend to send the email from your own address and ask you to send money in Crypto currency to a crypto mail box. They pretend to have hacked into your email, which is not necessary for that purpose. They just have a server that allows them to use any email extension.

Normal people can only use an email address that they have registered with a service provider. However, these criminals have a direct web access server.

For example if your email is john@greatguy.com. They will send you an email from john@greatguy.com to john@greatguy.com. That means they have come across your email address and think you may pay them. But, they are trying it on.

Of course they pretend to have watched some embarassing behaviour of yours. Don’t fall for it, they are bluffing. Even if they are not, don’t pay.

Report all email crime to ActionFraud.

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.