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Murderous bastards

I am not sure of the accuracy of my words, but I can only described those murderous bastards as psychopaths.

I was in an American Diner in Berlin, watching France beat Germany 2-0, when it became clear that something was up. The commentary, naturally, was in German, but a newsflash at half-time seem to suggest a terrorist act somewhere, and it became obvious something had happened near the stadium when so many went onto the pitch and stayed there, after the final whistle.

I am a fighter for the causes I believe in, but I choose words as my weapon. I do not arbitrarily attack innocents. Nor do I choose to throw my own life away. I am also minded to add that I accept that I have no right to demand that everyone do things my way or else. I accept that I will often be out-voted; I only ask that I be heard.

There will always be psychopaths, and there seems little we can do about that. We live in a world, though, that makes being a murderous bastard quite straightforward. In a world with as many weapons as we have, and more being produced every day, it is inevitable that these will fall into the hands of psychopaths.

I accept that there has to be weaponry; even my pacifist father would say that “Hitler had to be stopped”. Taking action to prevent further crime, murder, etc is one thing, and enabling the police and security forces to be able to carry out their duties is a must. But, we produce far more weapons than is needed. I do not believe I am an isolated voice when I wish for fewer weapons to be produced.

Guns ultimately are useful for one thing only, killing. Do not be surprised when they are used for these purposes. We have got to make the world a more peaceful place. We can start by stop manufacturing quite so many weapons. (You can add your voice to this campaign, for example.)

We will have ever more sophisticated means of tracking organised murderous bastards, and this will help keep us safe. However, this comes with the sacrifice of some of our civil liberties. Our freedom is threatened on many levels by the proliferation of objects of killing. We ought to be able to put a check on this.

Essex police faced with yet more government cuts


I will struggle to assure when community policing numbers are slashed in April

I have not assiduously recorded every conversation or correspondence with residents regarding police numbers, but I think I am on pretty sure ground when I say that I have yet to hear from anyone who wants fewer police. Certainly, if my memory has failed to recall such a conversation it is certain that those who desire less of a police presence are in a minority. A tiny minority.

I represent a ward that is part of a trio that has the worst crime statistics in Essex. It has been this way for some time, and the central Southend wards are not just number one for crimes in Essex, the numbers here are more than double the next most blighted community. Of course there are special circumstances that go some way to explaining this, but this is scant consolation for the 35,000 or so who reside here, as well as those who visit and work in the centre of Southend-on-Sea.

I am less certain when I say that ward councillors and residents really appreciate community policing, although I have yet to hear a word against it. Certainly I am grateful for the work that the community teams do, especially in Milton ward. To hear that they will be reduced to less than a third of their current strength come next April is appalling news.

Community policing teams are an important link in the battle to combat crime and keep our streets safe. Quite why the Government is cutting police budgets so that these sorts of decisions are being forced on those that run police forces throughout Essex is beyond me. Is Mr Cameron under the illusion that the war on crime is won already? It certainly has not been won in Milton ward.

I am not one to spread alarm, and I am sure that the police that remain after the latest round of cuts (and who knows what is in store in the years ahead) will work smarter and harder to keep our streets safe. But police presence on the ground is going to be affected, and with more police stations closing visiting your local police will be that bit harder. Many that I know want to see the reassuring presence of a bobby on the beat, and whilst I will try for a bigger share of resources I can understand the arguments that competing wards will doubtless make.

I am sure that Southend-on-Sea will remain a safe town. I am also sure that I am bound to disappoint residents who ask for more visible policing in their area. This may have the knock-on effect of keeping indoors those who will feel vulnerable when wandering out and about. Is this what those who voted for cuts want – residents made virtual prisoners in their own homes by the fear of crime?

July 2015 crime figures

Here are the latest crime figures for some of the communities in Essex. Those in Southend-on-Sea are highlighted in red. Neighbouring local authorities are shown in green.

Once again, the area that I represent, which falls within Southend Central, comes out on top; or perhaps that is bottom. The aspiration is to have little crime – as it is Kursaal, Milton and Victoria wards see more crime that any other area in Essex.

I live in Blenheim, which also rides high (low) in this chart.

The communities (areas) are not equal sized, or necessarily similar. Nonetheless, this list does show the challenges we face.

I last wrote about local crime figures here.

850 Southend Central
396 Clacton Central
334 Harlow Central
319 Canvey
311 Colchester Town
307 Blenheim
271 S W Thurrock
271 Clacton West
246 Southchurch
238 Brentwood North
236 Harlow West
232 St Andrews St Annes
230 St Martins
227 Clacton East
215 Leigh
205 Harbour Berechurch
196 Highwoods Mile End & St. Johns
195 Marconi
189 Tilbury
185 Fryerns
182 Shoebury
177 Lee Chapel North
175 Grays South
173 Waltham Abbey
165 Harlow North
163 Loughton
157 Brentwood Town Centre
155 Harwich
153 Epping Town
151 Nethermayne
148 Rayleigh
134 Ockendon
131 Rochford
130 Eastwood
130 Springfield
126 Laindon Park
110 Vange
93 Corringham West
84 Grays Central
82 Hadleigh
78 Thundersley
74 Hockley
72 Benfleet
69 Billericay East
58 East Tilbury
52 Billericay West
40 Chelmsford Town
29 Corringham East
27 Wakering
26 Hullbridge
21 Ashingdon & Canewdon
5 Thorpe Le Soken

It is a good job that we are not facing police cuts …. oh, hang on ….

Yesterday at the Southend Central LCM

Southend-on-Sea is a safe town, but there is undoubtedly crime, and sometimes it is nasty. In my ward we had an (alleged) murder recently, and attending last night’s police meeting (more properly known as the Southend Central LCM) this came up. I am pushing for increased resources in the area which was the scene of this most violent of acts.

Apparently burglaries are up in Milton ward, with twelve reported in the last eight weeks. This compares to two in each of the neighbouring wards. Burglaries remain a policing priority, as does prostitution and begging.

We still have a dog warden in the borough, which surprised me because I thought it went some time ago owing to the cuts.

The stats (below) are interesting/worrying/illuminating/puzzling – take your pick. I think that again Southend Central has more crimes reported than anywhere else in Essex . However, I should point out that the various communities are not equal in terms of either physical size or numbers of inhabitants, and that Southend Central is not only very densely populated, it also has four rail stations, two high streets, many clubs, pubs, etc. Nonetheless, though, I would like to see this number shrink considerably.

Crimes reported in April 2015, by neighbourhood in Southend-on-Sea, Rochford, and Castle Point.

706 Southend Central
335 Canvey
267 Blenheim
243 Southchurch
211 Leigh
151 Shoebury
143 Rayleigh
109 Rochford
98 Eastwood
71 Benfleet
60 Hadleigh
58 Thundersley
39 Hockley
37 Wakering
20 Hullbridge
17 Ashingdon and Canewdon

Open letter against Conservative cuts to Essex front line policing

Dear Sir/Madam,

Neighbourhood policing is fundamental to ensuring the safety of communities across Essex. Going door-to-door over the past year and listening to the people in Essex, it is clear to us that policing is a key concern. People want to feel safe.

Conservative cuts of £50 million to the Essex Police budget, with a further £20 million of cuts to come, are undermining that safety. As a result, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has undertaken a review into closing police stations across the county.

The review is now complete, yet the Police and Crime Commissioner will not share the findings until after the General Election – denying our communities a say in how their neighbourhoods are kept safe. The review’s conclusions should be made public immediately so that Essex can make an informed decision between Conservative cuts or Labour investment in frontline policing.

David Cameron promised to protect front line policing, but since becoming Prime Minister, 520 police jobs in Essex have been lost. With police forces warning that they are increasingly overstretched, further cuts in the service will put the safety of our communities in Essex at risk.

That is why we are speaking out against further cuts to front line policing. Under Labour, Essex saw an investment in policing. There were 595 more police offices in Essex in 2010 than in 1997 and 445 Police Community Support Officers were introduced to help protect neighbourhoods. Crucially, this led to a 23.05 per cent fall in police recorded crime in Essex.

This has been eroded under the Conservatives.

As Labour parliamentary candidates for Essex we will restore neighbourhood policing at the heart of our local communities. If elected, we will protect at least 750 police jobs from cuts in the East of England over the next three years. Labour has a better plan to back neighbourhood policing and restore confidence in our criminal justice system. This includes:

  • Committing to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years from extreme Conservative cuts.
  • Introducing a new “Local Policing Commitment”, which makes sure police forces guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area.
  • Abolishing the Conservative’s unpopular Police and Crime Commissioners, saving £250 million, and putting the savings back into frontline policing

Labour will provide a better plan for policing in Essex for a better and safer future.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Callaghan, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Basildon and Billericay

Malcom Fincken, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Braintree

Liam Preston, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Brentwood and Ongar

Joe Cook, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Castle Point

Chris Vince, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Chelmsford

Tim Young, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Clacton

Jordan Newell, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Colchester

Gareth Barrett, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Epping Forest

Suzy Stride, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Harlow

Edward Carslon Brown, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Harwich North Essex

Peter Edwards, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Maldon

David Hough, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford

Ian Gilbert, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Rochford and Southend East

Dr Jane Berney, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Saffron Walden

Mike Le Surf, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Southend West

Polly Billington, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Thurrock

John Clarke, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Witham


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