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 ….

Victoria Voice Summer 2015


Tom and Jerry demonstrate the need for AWS

Perhaps one lesson learnt from the recent leadership elections is that without positive discrimination women have a difficult task in attaining senior positions within the Labour Party. Both leader and deputy are white middle-aged males, and whilst this demographic deserves representation as much as any, it does rather continue a long-line of such types.

Two of the four leadership contenders were women, and they came third and fourth. Three of the five deputy leadership contenders were female; here at least second, third and fourth spot were their lot.

Labour has never had a female leader, although both Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman (twice) have temporarily held that position. They, of course, remain the only two female deputies (from a list of seventeen who have held that position).

Eighteen leaders of the party, eighteen men.

It has been noted that the really big jobs in the shadow cabinet have gone to men, although what constitutes the big roles is a subject of some discussion. Nonetheless, the rules that apply to constituency parties and local authority groups do not seem to apply at the top of the party. This is not a phenomena of the Corbyn leadership – it was ever thus.

We, in CLPs up and down the land, struggle with All Women Shortlists and rules that mean half of our winnable seats must have women candidates, half of our executive committees must have women officers – rules that whilst sometimes frustrating I do go along with. We even have questions on our assessment forms which have to be completed if we wish to be candidates in local elections that specifically ask what we have done to ensure gender equality (“Describe how you have promoted equality of opportunity within the council – in employment and service delivery, and state how you have assisted with the recruitment of representative councillors for the party”, for example). It is galling to find that whilst we, locally, go through all sorts of hoops to encourage women into senior positions it seemingly is not something that troubles those in Parliament.

I accept the argument about choosing who is best for the job, but note that this argument is not used in the grassroots of our movement. The leadership election shows just how innately conservative (note the small C) party members are, opting again to ignore women.

Perhaps we ought to consider a rule alternating gender for the most senior roles – Jeremy this time, a women when his time is up. For a party of fairness to have never has a woman leader seems almost incredible; we really should have had nine woman leaders by now. Whilst women are contending for senior positions, there is no sign that they are about to break through. Like it or not, I suspect that without positive steps to ensure a woman leader in the near future we may be in for a long wait.

St Luke’s Voice Summer 2015


The malingering disabled (or so those that issue blue badges would have you believe)

Twice recently I have been contacted by Milton residents in respect of their blue disabled badges. These badges are issued to those whose disability means that they have to park near to home or where they are driving or being driven to.

Gentleman A has had his blue badge for eight years. This year, though, he was denied a renewal.

Lady B had had her badge for six years. Again, her re-assessment has meant that this lifeline to the outside world was removed.

Both Gentleman A and Lady B are elderly and, unless they defy all known medical science, are not getting better. The health conditions that saw them issued originally would have worsened rather than improved in the intervening years. This suggests one question: why are their blue badges no longer considered necessary?

The answer put simply is that goalposts have been moved. This must be part of an agenda, encouraged by a Conservative Government that sees society’s ills as being down to its most vulnerable members. Thus, those once considered to have disability are now considered fit – a no mean transformation.

Of course, no such transformation has actually taken place. Gentleman A and Lady B are as much in need of their blue badges as ever, more so considering that their conditions are worsened.

Those that change the assessment criteria must, one presumes, seem malingerers everywhere. It would also seem that the distribution of blue badges to people such as I have described is a sin against the more able, younger, and the fit.

Do not grow old and infirm is the clear message here – for a caring society is being replaced by one that treats such people with ill-disguised disdain.

On Syrian refugees and why we must take more

I cannot claim to enjoy seeing images of dead people; every death is a tragedy. That tragedy seems to increase if the dead person is a child. Some are revolted by images of dead children, in fact most people are. Sometimes, though, we have to revolted. Sometimes we need to be shocked and appalled, because sometimes that is what is needed to right wrongs, to make change happen.

Whatever reason lies behind a person’s desperate need to get to Europe, to travel stormy waters in flimsy boats, their reward should not be death. If they are fleeing war and persecution then we are obliged to help.

Too often refugees and asylum seekers are conflated with immigrants. Each is a distinct category. Whilst it is appropriate to set limits and entry criteria for immigration, no such limits should exist for either those who seek asylum, or those fleeing terror and war. The United Kingdom has a proud record in welcoming those forced to flee their homelands (q.v. the Second World War), a proud record that I hope we can see continued. In this regard I am pleased that the Prime Minister has done a U-turn on his original intentions for the Syrians refugees. I hope that he will do more, and ensure that the UK is seen to embrace as many of those fleeing for their lives as possible. There should be no cap on compassion.

I would hope that Southend-on-Sea would see a number of Syrian refugees made welcome. It is my belief that Southenders would extend a warm welcome to these people.

Cllr Cathy Kent’s press release in respect of the recent Fire Authority Cultural Review

Following the release of a report by Irene Lucas into the culture of the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, Cllr Cathy Kent, a Thurrock representative, and Labour lead, on Essex Fire Authority, said:

I would like to put on record my thanks to Irene Lucas for the hard work she has put in to this report.

Nobody reading it can fail to be aware that action needs to be taken … and now.

That is why I also appreciate the comments of, both, the authority’s chair and Acting Chief Fire Officer that they too welcome the report, although I would have preferred it if they simply accepted the recommendations here and now, rather than saying they need to “examine it in detail”.

I can assure everyone that myself and my Labour colleagues will be unstinting in maintaining pressure of the Essex Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Authority to ensure these recommendations are acted upon rapidly.

It is no good to say – “we need to study in detail” – that’s what the report was for and that is what Ms Lucas did.

Her report states that what she found “creates a danger to individuals, equipment and property” which “may in turn put the communities of Essex at risk”.

It says this bullying intimidating culture “pervades the culture in ECFRS from the bottom to the top” and that there is a culture of fear.

Since my appointment to the Fire Authority in 2009 I have spoken to many dedicated fire fighters who have raised concerns with me. In turn I have, consistently raised these issues and asked why it is that people appeared afraid to speak out, and why nothing has been done to change the culture.

This is our chance to put things right. Ms Lucas accepts that things are improving – albeit slowly – and that many people want to move on against the “very small, malignant minority”.

Delaying the approval of these recommendations by even one day puts at risk the best opportunity we have to provide the service the people of Essex deserve.

Let’s not waste it. The time to act is now.



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