collapse of public accountability

I have just received an email from the chair of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Board (SNB) asking me to meet him for coffee to see if I can be of use. He copied in 3 serving police officers at the Met too.

I refused. It is abhorrent to think that one person can decide who gets the local voluntary positions. That is not democratic and there is no accountability.

There is now a collapse of democracy evident so far as the voluntary sector is concerned.

I used to be the chair of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association. That was a post created out of a network of elected local Neighbourhood Watch panels, who democratically elected the chair of the local Association, which in turn worked in partnership with the local Metropolitan Police.

The then Mayors Office for Policing in Crime (MOPAC) funded the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association.

When my daughter became a successfull performance athlete in her sport, I needed to spend a lot more time to bring her to training sessions, starting at 6am, ending at 9pm and in between there was schooling.

I had a good relationship with local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Neighbourhood Watch was set up through the SNT officers verifying the residents who registered as Neighbourhod Watches. I helped establish over 100 Neighbourhood Watches in Tower Hamlets.

Now my daughter has grown older and no longer needs as much help to get to and from places and I have more time to commit to the community again.

Unfortunately my successor in Tower Hamlets dissolved the Association. A new system called OWL was established, which is in fact just a communication system that works one-way. The police use it now to communicate with registered users only to give information on current situations and distribute news letters and invites to events.

I have been in communications with the national Neighbourhood Watch Network and attended one of their seminars. The former London Neighbourhood Watch Association has also been dissolved and there is no infrastructure left as it was previously.

Local people now often use WhatsApp to communicate among themselves, which is quite effective. Meetings with police are held via the SNT network and take place 4 times per year.

The SNT panels have a representative with the local Safer Neighbourhood Board.

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