Brake Boosts British Policing

Tom Brake, local MP for Carshalton and Wallington and also Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on ‘Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities’, published Trusted, Professional and Effective: British policing at its best’.

Tom said recently:  “We have fantastic police officers who are dedicated, able and trying to do their best by the community they serve. Yet as an organisation, the police suffers from a lack of confidence and trust.

“Many of the criticisms relate to a perceived lack of fairness in the way people have been treated. Labour’s legislative assault on our civil liberties has been disastrous for the reputation of the police who enforced it.

“It is essential that we clear up Labour’s legacy and end people’s feeling that they are both over-policed and under-protected. This (government) paper demonstrates how the Liberal Democrats would do the right thing to restore public confidence.”

The (government) paper proposes a number of changes to police forces in England around three key areas, which will make the police:

  1. More trusted – listening to local people and making policing much more responsive to communities’ priorities.
  2. More professional – setting up the new police professional body with a key responsibility to recommend detailed national minimum recruitment standards for the police.
  3. More effective – making evidence based policing the defining feature of 21st century policing by establishing the world’s first Institute for Policing Excellence.

Through this report, Tom hopes to improve the relationship between the public and the police, as well as make his constituency and the country as a whole a safer and more habitable place.

The proposed reforms including measures to:

  • Make Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) more accountable to the public between elections
  • Create safeguards against the expansion of the role of PCCs
  • Create an Institute for Policing Excellence
  • Create a Police First development scheme based on the success of Teach First
  • Encourage Police and Crime Panels to veto plans to cut police numbers unless all measures to cut bureaucracy have been exhausted.

Tom Brake MP for Carshalton & Wallington

Recently Tom Brake, local MP for Carshalton and Wallington and also Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on ‘Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities’, published Trusted, Professional and Effective: British policing at its best’.

Dog Fouling Patrol in St. Phil’s Alley, Carshalton Park, and The Grove Park

Officers from Sutton’s Safer Parks police teams were out and about in the borough on Tuesday (14th February) to issue £50 on-the-spot, fixed penalty fines to dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets.

The officers in plain clothes were in Carshalton Park and Grove Park, Carshalton. The previous week officers were patrolling the long alleyway by St. Philomena’s School, between Shorts Road and West Street, Carshalton.

The police action follows concerns raised by members of the public and indeed your Lib Dem FOCUS team councillors about dog fouling.

Safer Parks Sgt Gavin Weldon said: “Over the last few months we have worked with dog walkers to make sure they are aware that members of the public expect them to pick up after their pets.

“Most dog owners do clear up but there is a small minority of dog owners who refuse to do so – and we want this operation to send out a strong message that this behaviour won’t be tolerated.”

During the operation on Tuesday (14th February), all the dog owners picked up after their pets.

Tackling dog fouling has become a policing priority in a number wards across the borough – priorities which are set at Ward Panel Meetings, which are made up of representatives of local communities.

Cllr Colin Hall, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change on Sutton Council, said: “Dog fouling is unhygienic, anti-social and can be a serious health threat. There’s no excuse for leaving dog mess littering public areas. Most owners are responsible and pick up after their pets, but there’s a small minority who still let their animals use our parks and pavements as a sewer. These patrols serve as a reminder that dog owners have a duty to clean up after their pets.”

Encouraging responsible dog ownership
Police in Sutton have launched a multi-agency partnership initiative to encourage responsible dog ownership of all breeds of dog called Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs (LEAD). Key partners include Sutton Council, Sutton Housing Partnership, Registered Social Landlords, the Riverside Animal Centre and the RSPCA. The LEAD initiative was prompted by the fatal dog attack in Demesne Road, Wallington, on 23 December 2010, when a 52-year-old woman died after being attacked by a dog.

Seeking support from residents
Police are urging members of the public to report any dog related issues in their neighbourhood: for example, where dogs are being bred, about any welfare or mistreatment issues and about dangerous dogs and illegal breeds. Safer Neighbourhoods officers will then make contact with owners to offer support or advice to help them look after their dog with information from organisations like the RSPCA, Kennel Club and Battersea Dogs Home. The aim is to make owners aware of their responsibilities to their pet and the wider community. Police are working closely with Registered Social Landlords who have signed up to share information with police about dog related anti-social behaviour.

Taking action
Whilst encouraging responsible dog ownership, dog owners are advised that continued anti-social behaviour by them and their pet could lead to them being invited to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract. This may require owners to undergo dog training and their dog having to be walked on a lead and muzzled in public places. It is also likely to mean that their dog will be monitored by the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team. For tenants any dog anti-social behaviour issues may have implications for their tenancy.

Putting the PRIDE back into our area – Graffitibusters Factsheet

How you can help, please!

Graffiti blights many of our roads in the borough. However, it isn’t something we have to put up with. There are many simple steps which residents can take to help in the fight against graffiti.

The more of us who report graffiti, the better the chance that it will be cleaned up quickly.

If graffiti appears on their own property, people are often unsure about how to get it removed. You will find details on this factsheet about how Sutton Council can help you get graffiti removed.

Don’t forget, if you leave graffiti it can attract more graffiti, make the area less attractive, have an adverse affect on commerce and property values

Please contact Sutton Council on 020-8770 5070 to let the Council know about a particular graffiti hotspot.

Getting graffiti removed

  • Removing graffiti is the responsibility of the person or company on whose property it appears but to support local people and business, Sutton Council will only remove graffiti that is in public view (from the highway or for example, a public right of way) or that is under three metres high.
  • You can report any such graffiti on private or commercial property to Sutton Council’s Call Centre on 020-8770 5070
  • If you discover graffiti on Council housing property, please contact Sutton Council Customer Services on Freephone 0800 195 5552.
  • To assist the Council please state where it is, whether it is abusive or offensive, how much there is (e.g. single word or tag or an entire wall/fence), and what surface it covers (e.g. concrete, brickwork, wooden fence etc).
  • The Council does need permission to remove graffiti so will obtain permission from the property owner wherever they can.
  • There are number of other organisations responsible for Graffiti removal from their property. The organisations listed have very varying approaches to removing graffiti – some will act very quickly, others can be reluctant to act at all.
  • Adshel Bus Shelters 0800 731 3699
  • British Telecom 151 (Options 9 *)
  • London Buses – Bus Stops 020 7222 1234
  • London Underground 0845 330 9880
  • National Grid Transco 0800 111999
  • Network Rail (Tracks/ stations/ bridges) 08457 114141
  • Royal Mail 08457 740740 (Option 4)
  • Southern Electric 08457 444555
  • Telewest (Street cabinet repairs) 0800 953 2244
  • Transport for London Roads 0845 305 1234

Reporting graffiti to the Police

  • If you see someone carrying out graffiti ,they are committing criminal damage, so the police advise phoning 999. If there are police nearby they will go to the location. This will, however, be a low priority so get a good description as the perpetrators may be gone by the time they arrive.
  • Otherwise, reporting the graffiti incident to the police and getting them to record it will help the situation. It will bring evidence of the full costs and extent of the problem to people’s attention. You can ring Sutton Police on 020 8643 1212 Sutton Borough, 6 Carshalton Road West, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4RF, open 24 hours a day – 7 days a week

Why remove graffiti quickly?

  • Quick removal of graffiti has been shown by studies in the USA to be very discouraging to the vandals. A graffiti artist wants his or her work to be seen by as many people as possible. Removing the work fast frustrates this desire.
  • Uncleaned graffiti will attract move graffiti to a wall or surrounding area. Furthermore it is easier to remove graffiti from a surface quickly as paint and pen ink becomes harder to remove as it dries.

Preventing graffiti

Simple design considerations such as:

  • Opening areas up so they are overseen by passersby or the property owner
  • wooden trellis to break up the outline of a wall
  • planting at the base of walls to restrict access
  • thinking about lighting if it’s a dark area
  • making an area look well cared for and so well used etc.

There are two treatments that can make your life easier if you suffer an attack by graffiti vandals. These are available through Nordic and other suppliers.

  • Active surfaces are chemical coatings which are designed to slow the drying times of the spray paint or marker pen used. They are cheap, easy to apply to a wall and usually don’t require specialist equipment. However these surfaces are often known as sacrificial coatings as they dissolve when graffiti remover is applied and must then be recoated.
  • Passive surfaces are more robust coatings which do not need to be recoated after an attack. They are more expensive than active surfaces and have the advantage of being available in a variety of colours like paint.