Chairman Val Clark had gone through the preliminaries: “Who is going to film the
meeting” etc. (no one strictly speaking) she introduced Sergeant Osborne from the
Safer Transport Team based in Bexleyheath (but commanded centrally) who had
been asked to demonstrate his handheld speed gun. Unless
Paul Holloway was
to drive the Mayor’s limousine around the chamber it was hard to see how he
could do that. Sergeant Osborne was only able to switch it on and show us some green lights.
Police officers being in short supply he was looking for volunteers to use the instrument. Offenders caught by volunteers would be sent a letter warning them not to do it again. It’s a system familiar to any councillor who might be caught breaking the law. Please don’t do it again.
Councillor John Davey (Conservative, Crayford) asked where the volunteers were coming from to which the answer was via Twitter. “A leaflet drop was too expensive.” Councillor Davey suggested the Bexley Magazine. Councillor Stefano Borella (Labour, North End) suggested that Neighbourhood Watch would be another avenue worth exploring.
Sergeant Osborne said there was “a problem with anti-social behaviour on the Broadway between three and five”. School pupils were congregating and becoming a nuisance. TfL was cooperating with the police but schools were not. St. Columba’s Catholic Boys’ School was given a special mention. Schools had been asked for help but “we have not had much of a response”. The Catholic boys especially were running serious road safety risks.
Both the police officer and the chairman remarked on the reduction in shopper numbers between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Councillor Esther Amaning (Labour, Lesnes Abbey) asked if speeding offences were on the up or not. Unfortunately the reporting system was too complex for Sergeant Osborne to be able to provide a figure. One wonders how resources can be sensibly allocated without such basic data. The earlier discussions strongly suggested that speed traps were set up according to the loudness of public complaints.