police organised a follow up to
last November’s community meeting at the Yarnton
Way Baptist church. I’m giving the police the credit because PC Chris Molnar was
very active in publicising it whilst Bexley council did nothing - or if not, not a
lot. Beyond councillor Hackett’s energetic Tweeting I saw nothing.
This time the venue was the rather magnificent Link building where some 50 or 60 people had gathered to hear what councillor Alex Sawyer and Chief Superintendent Peter Ayling (Bexley) had to say.
Andrew Green from Gallions Housing was also present and the meeting was chaired by Joyce Sutherland from Bexley Community Safety Partnership. As usual at these sort of meetings, if you exclude the police officers and councillors from both boroughs, the leaders of Neighbourhood Watch groups and the clergy, the attendance is rather disappointing.
At the last meeting, road safety in Yarnton Way and lighting levels in Wolvercote Road were concerns. Alex Sawyer said his council officers had looked at the traffic collision data and measured the light levels and found no justification for the complaints. He was challenged on the more than reasonable grounds that the footbridge had been taken away with no alternative other than dashing across a dual carriageway, but Alex was unsure of the dates for his data. Residents said that one adult and two children had been injured since the bridge was taken away. Councillor Sawyer said he will revisit the issue and the lighting levels.
Chief Superintendent Ayling said that the Safer Neighbourhood Team had been uplifted by one sergeant and five constables and was optimistic about sustaining the new levels. When the Baptist minister, Vic Lambert asked what the term ‘One Thamesmead’ actually meant in practice, Peter Ayling said it allowed his Team to liaise with the Greenwich Team directly instead of escalating everything up the chain of command to Commander level and then back down again on the other side.
As a result, in January alone, there were 15 arrests, two knife confiscations, three cannabis warnings, two thousand pounds’ worth of stolen goods plus two motorcycles seized and many thousands of pounds of cocaine etc. removed from the streets.
Andrew Green (Gallions) said that Peabody was taking security seriously. There would soon be a consultation with residents and he was investing £400,000 around Coralline Walk alone.
A resident of Fendyke Road said that there had been burglaries there since Network Rail had opened up a passage between his house and the railway line. He alleged he had met difficulties when trying to report the crimes. CS Ayling said he would make a note of the problem and another police officer provided security literature.
There was a plea for more Neighbourhood Watch coordinators but there were not enough questions to sustain the meeting to 20:30 and it ended a few minutes early.
As is the case on everything right across the borough, apathy is often the winner. But full marks to the police for trying, and their recent successes.