Could Mrs May convince the Superintendents

I watched the latter part of the speech on the BBC life. The Officers clapped at the end but the questions were not transmitted, which I thought was unfortunate. I would like to know what the officers had asked Mrs May who advocated savings on policing and referred the police to part-funding from the Councils. That is what concerns me because it talks about what policing looks like on the ground in each neighbourhood.

In most affluent areas the Neighbourhood Watches can gain a lot of self-policing but they have got the money to finance themselves. In poor areas like  Tower Hamlets funding and regulations means that only housing service providers are under a direct duty to hold residents participation groups, which are not directly linked in with the police. My landlord has gotten such a group but it is impossible to get on it.

I have heard of residents who were bothered by youth for years, they worked with the landlord without any effect because the police were not directly involved.

On the other hand we have the SNT panels who hand-pick people to participate on meetings, which decide what the policing priorities are. They also have open meetings, which are sparsely attended and often do not lead to more communal activity in terms of Neighbourhood Watches.

In the end it has all to do with funding and having the resources to run a Neighbourhood Watch but the funding is not provided by anyone here in Tower Hamlets. I looked at the website, put in my postcode and could find around 50 Neighbourhood Watches in a 10-mile radius and 3 were in Tower Hamlets. There were many in Hackney and the southern and eastern direction but not in Tower Hamlets.

It seems strange to me that no more resources are being channeled into this directly. The council refers people to SNT and SNT gives you forms to start a scheme but at most will print you a few black and white leaflets to distributes and that is all the help you can get. All other forms of support only come via the council and housing funded residents groups who have no direct link to the police. Police may attend their meetings but they do not have to and usually the kind of people who are most willing to preserve their nice neighbourhoods do not attend those public meetings a lot. There is this natural curiosity between tenants and leaseholder over cost of maintenance of estates in those meetings. Whilst in police and law and order meetings all people have to worry about is the ASB and policing, which does not lumber anybody directly with costs and that does take the strain out of meetings.

Mrs May recommended large savings and I wondered how they are going to be achieved in any case if the policing methods themselves are very expensive. The way the riots were policed was very expensive. Because the rioters were allowed to riot as long as most of them were arrested. Whilst had water cannons been used to disperse them early not so much damage would occur and burning buildings would have been put out early. But then again if riots happen sporadically in various places it is not easy to get a water-canon there quickly. And are there enough water canons around to deal with the problem.

It is to be seen what is most desirable to quickly quench any up-risings or not to allow dissatisfaction to take place to this extend. The riot had to do with the policing methods of armed gangsters or presumably armed gangsters and the quick finger on the trigger philosophy and that is a discussion that could be held at Neighbourhood Watch meetings and brought to the SNT to challenge the police on how quickly they press the trigger and how good their intelligence is before they do.

There Neighbourhood Watches are an essential part of the social fibre and neighbourhood watches often know the locals and can bring valuable contributions to the policing of an area if they are established enough. It could save the police and the tax-payers ultimately loads of money to have well-established Neighbourhood Watches but bizarrely in Tower Hamlets the police does not want to finance them and the council does not want to finance them.

The EDL demos saw stewards provided by an Islamic institute but that was only for that part of the population and it is a pretty divisive strategy to rely on support from certain religious groups alone. There must be some uniformity in all efforts to guarantee equality and equal representation of all races, creeds and colours in all organisations to do with the population that is represented in them.

I really hope that I can convince the council leaders and police commanders of Tower Hamlets that funding is badly needed to strengthen Neighbourhood Watch in Tower Hamlets and that the government coughs up the funds.

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