Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Plumstead a toilet? 3

(but not doing too well in Plumstead)

I had this response to my previous post, from anonymous, ( I wish people would use a name or pseudonym or something as you can end up calling someone Ann for short, which is all very well, but you just might end up getting the gender wrong!) Anyway Ann wrote in response to my previous post..

'Any statistic can be slewed to support any argument.

What I would say in response to the increased reporting of crime in the Plumstead and Glyndon Wards is that the Safer Neighbourhood Teams have invested considerable resources to tackling recidivist offenders with a high local profile.

By doing this they have encouraged residents to come forward and report crimes rather than turn a blind eye or to continue to live in fear.

I think that many people failed to report crimes through fear and intimidation in past years, the Police and especially the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams are working hard to help residents feel safer and more confident about coming forward.

Let’s look at the crime stats in 3 years time when I believe we will see a downturn in reported incidents, not because people are frightened to report crime but because crime has in fact reduced due to effective targeted policing.

I would prefer high crime stats which reflect a new found confidence in the Police rather than low crimes rates because residents are too scared to report incidents.'

Aside from the fact that this sounds very much like it comes straight from the Met's PR Dept. I agree that statistics of reported crime certainly don't tell us the whole story about crime in the area, but they are a better starting point than having no actual evidence at all to put forward a case. I am also aware that evidence from the British Crime Survey are more reliable measures of the levels of crime, but such information is not available for a borough, let alone a ward level.

However I am afraid that your logic is rather flawed, because to follow your argument, this must mean that in most of the rest of London where reported crime has fallen this presumably is because local Safer Neighbourhood Teams have failed to tackle recidivist offenders with a high local profile and therefore local people in those areas are now failing to report crimes through fear and intimidation, hence the fall in recorded crime.

I am afraid that the person has either fallen for the spin coming from the police or is in fact spinning for the police, that any increase in recorded crime can be explained away as evidence that the police are doing a great job in giving us the confidence to report crime and that any fall in recorded crime is down to the police in doing a great job in reducing the level of crime. You just can't have it both ways. I have never met anyone in Plumstead (and I have lived here for 21 years) who is too scared to tell the police that their house has been burgled, yet burglary is up nearly 20%, ditto their car has been broken into, up 15%. Drug offences presumably are not in the main dependant on reporting by victims and they are up by 40%. I presume that the increased reporting of Homicides is also down to our new found confidence in the police, as I expect a few years ago young people were being gunned down all over Plumstead, and that we just didn't bother to mention it to our local bobby on the beat.

An equally plausible case could be made for the increased crime figures not reflecting the true scale of the increase, certainly the last time I reported a crime in Glyndon ward the woeful response by the police would make me hesitate to bother to dial 999 again. This incident took place at 8.30 pm at a bus stop on Plumstead Road. A slightly built middle aged Asian lecturer who was going home after teaching his evening class was viciously attacked by a gang of youths and was left bleeding on the pavement. I phoned the police immediately and on two further occasions, despite the fact that Plumstead police Station is less than 500 metres away not one policeman was able to attend the incident, I was told 'it was a busy night'. No police arrived at all and I had to leave at 10pm having waited in vain for an hour and a half. If the police are unable to deal with assaults on wholly innocent people by gangs of youths how much low level crime must be going unreported?

As for the effectiveness of local safer neighbour teams in influencing the level of crime in the area I think you should take on board this direct quote from the chair of the Glyndon panel of the local SNT;

'The Safer Neighbourhood team (of which I chair the Glyndon Ward panel!) certainly don't frankly seem to make much difference - they are undermanned have no night shifts and are based in Thamesmead and one vehicle shared with another team (oh yes and of course only three of them are actually police officers with powers of arrest . . . oh yes and once any of those three actually make an arrest they are then off the street for several hours)'

All in all, on the balance of probabilities I am afraid to say that the increase in drug offences, which is massive, is probably linked to the rise in gun crime and homicide, the increased number of houses being burgled, cars being broken into and people being robbed. Even the local chair of the SNT in Glyndon thinks that the SNT is making little difference to the situation, because they are inadequately resourced.

So I absolutely stand by my final comment.

'Either the police are inadequately resourced to deal with the problems confronting them or they are failing to manage their resources effectively to bring about the falling crime levels seen in other parts of the capital.'

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At 1:32 pm, Anonymous nickday said...

I'm appalled (but sadly not surprised) by the report of Police failure to respond to that attack.

One big problem of course with crime statistics is that some sorts of crime that we suffer routinely are never likely to be reported: Graffiti, trail bikes, litter, fly-tipping etc.

People just don't bother trying to reach the police nowadays. If they won't even respond to a vicious beating, then it really isn't worth going through the pain of being kept ontheir call waiting system to report a bit of standard ASB.

I just love that post of totally meaningless PRattle from "Anonymous". Do New Labour or the council run courses on how to spin this kind of anodine twaddle?

At 5:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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