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
 

Julian Ware-Lane supports Women in Prison’s campaign and calls for a new approach to criminal justice for women

Julian_2014_headandshouldersJulian Ware-Lane, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Southend West, has today pledged a commitment to support Women in Prison’s Manifesto which calls for a new approach to criminal justice, where the abuse, marginalisation and poverty at the root of so much of women’s offending is addressed and custodial sentencing is used as a last resort.

The campaign is a response to the alarming fact that the UK has one of the highest rates of women’s imprisonment in Western Europe. The majority serve short sentences for non-violent offences. Short sentences wreck lives, a few weeks inside can mean a woman loses her children, her home, and her job. Many women are trapped in an endless cycle within the Criminal Justice System – 45% are reconvicted within a year of release.

Julian has given his support to Women in Prison’s manifesto, which calls for:

• Greater use of alternatives to custodial sentencing
• Cross-departmental Ministerial leadership
• Support for the women-specialist voluntary sector
• Action to ensure no woman leaves prison homeless
• Commitment and acceleration of gender-specific reforms to the women’s prison estate

Women in Prison’s Policy and Campaigns Manager Claire Cain said: “We are delighted to have Julian’s support. Together it’s time to make change. No woman should be in prison as it exists today, community alternatives work, are cheaper and cause less disruption. The current system is too expensive for the public purse, and too expensive for the women’s lives.”

Julian said: “Whilst the public must be protected and crimes punished, it should never be about revenge. We must have a system that properly rehabilitates, a system that sees re-offending as low as we can get it. For rehabilitation to really work we cannot see lives wrecked.”

You can find out more about Women in Prison’s campaign at www.womeninprison.org.uk/ge2015.

ECM

Essex Community Messaging is an Essex Police initiative that allows residents to sign up for email or text message alerts about what is going on in their area.

The blurb says: Sign up for free to receive accurate and up-to-date information, crime prevention advice and notifications from Essex Police officers, Essex Watch liaison officers and other key partners, such as Neighbourhood Watch.

It is fair to sign that it is still in its infancy, but looks like it could be a useful tool in making our neighbourhoods safer.

Ah, neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods (Want to be a victim of crime? Come to Central Southend!)

Essex Police divide the glorious county up into neighbourhoods. The urban paradise that is Southend-on-Sea has six neighbourhoods. The neighbourhoods are not of equal size, and nor do they all share the same characteristics. Therefore, comparison is fraught with all sorts of complications. Nonetheless, given statistical information I am not going to ignore the possibilities.

I represent Milton ward, one of the three wards that make up Southend Central neighbourhood.

The most recent data I have shows the following for the six neighbourhoods in Southend-on-Sea.

Neighbourhood Crimes November 2014
Blenheim 276
Eastwood 106
Leigh 177
Southend Central 647
Shoebury 134
Southchurch 220

The two neighbouring local authorities data:

Neighbourhood Crimes November 2014
Canvey 224
Rayleigh 138
Rochford 118
Benfleet 78
Thundersley 70
Hadleigh 44
Hockley 39
Wakering 26
Hulbridge 14
Ashingdon & Canewdon 12

Highlights from the rest of Essex:

Neighbourhood Crimes November 2014
Harlow Central 318
Clacton Central 278
Ardleigh 5
Bradfield 4
Alresford 1

And there you have it – there were twice as many recorded crimes in Southend Central as in any other neighbourhood in Essex in November 2014. Could be a blip, could be that folks in Southend Central are more diligent in reporting crime. Could be. Could be more crime-ridden, too.

Now you know why cuts to policing are so unpalatable in Milton ward.

The broken window theory

The broken window theory essentially states that even one broken window normalises anti-social behaviour, effectively encouraging a second broken window, and then a third, and etc. The logical conclusion to be drawn is that of zero tolerance. Fix the small things, all small things, and the rest follows.

As a local councillor I am often confronted by low-level vandalism, graffiti, littering and the such like. My role is to encourage the local authority and police to address these issues, and I have had some success. However, in an era that sees local services and public services constrained by shrinking budgets it is becoming increasing difficult to sort out the broken windows; as resources become scarcer prioritisation is necessary. I understand the pressures and I understand that violent crime, for instance, has to be tackled before less serious crimes. However, there are consequences. I suspect we will see untidier neighbourhoods, for instance.

Cuts have consequences. With less money you get less. Of course, some of the cuts can come through services being more efficient, but this can only account for a fraction of what has to be saved. In policing, for instance, when Essex Police has to a more than a £70 million cut to accommodate it inevitably means fewer front-line police. Smarter policing will follow, but fewer police is not something that I have been asked to deliver; quite the contrary.

Invariably people want to see bobbies on the beat, they want the low-level vandalism sorted, they want safe neighbourhoods and criminals caught. They want zero tolerance; they are going to have to accept the reverse.

Austerity has a price.

Labour vigilant in Milton

After a number of incidents in Milton ward over the last year, local Labour campaigners are re-assuring Milton’s residents, and those who work in and visit the ward, that they are working with Police to ensure that these isolated events remain isolated.

Gray Sergeant, Labour’s candidate for Milton at the 2015 elections, said, “I am looking forward to speaking with residents, and to listening and responding to their concerns around crime. Together we can build a safer community.”

Cheryl Nevin, Labour councillor for Milton, added, “Councillors have been in dialogue with local police discussing measures to improve visibility around Park Lane following discussions at the Local Community Meetings.”

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour councillor for Milton, said “Recent incidents are not representative of Milton. This is generally a safe ward and very pleasant part of Southend-on-Sea. However, Government cuts to policing make re-assuring the public more difficult. I am committed to ensuring that residents’ concerns are listened to and addressed.”

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