CONCERN ABOUT CHANGES TO COMMUNITY / POLICE CONSULTATION

Sutton police station

Sutton police station

In Sutton we have an effective model for community / police consultation, with the Sutton Community and Police Forum covering the whole Borough and Ward panels covering each Ward, including the panel for our own South Sutton Ward. See the page on this site on “Sutton Police” for information on the Ward police panel.
Now the Mayor, and the Mayor’s Office for Policing (MOPAC), want to change this, abolishing the Forum and setting up a new set of bodies, Safer Neighbourhood Boards. 
The Boards will replace existing groups such as our Community and Police Forum, long-standing groups that were established in the 1980’s as a result of the Scarman Report, which identified a collapse in relationships between the police and local communities as contributing to the 1981 Brixton Riots.
More worryingly, our South Sutton Ward Panel, where the police discuss crime trends in the Ward with local community groups, will no longer set the policing priorities. This is a backward step.

Policing priorities for the Ward – no longer set by the local panel – are burglary, motor vehicle crime and violence with injury. This last priority is not relevant to Sutton South, which is a low crime area with few such crimes. The police have agreed, at the Ward panel meeting on 11 December, to continue action on local priorities such as traffic and speeding.

We remain concerned that these changes will not help community / police consultation on crime and policing in our Ward.

CANNABIS, DOGS, SPEEDING, DRINKING, ATTEMPTED BURGLARIES – BUT SUTTON SOUTH REMAINS A LOW CRIME AREA

police station

Heather and Richard attended the Sutton South Ward police panel on 12 June. There was discussion of current crime trends, including recent burglaries and attempted burglaries in Mayfield Road.

While the police were unable to give a reason for these incidents they commented that sometimes there is a “clustering” of crime in an area for a short period for no obvious reason, but it would be unusual for it to persist as a problem. They have moved quickly to re-assure residents and have knocked on doors in Mayfield Road, and left a feedback form where there was no-one in. If you have any observations you want to make to the local police you can contact them on ztsnt-suttonsouth@met.police.uk

Also, nine local residents attended their recent street briefing.

While no-one can ever be complacent and we must all maintain our vigilance, it remains the case that this Ward is a low crime area, indeed one of the safest areas in south London. Burglary, along with theft from motor vehicles, remains a police priority for the area, but the most common form of burglary in our area is theft from garages, and residential (house) burglaries are mercifully rare.

The meeting also discussed future action on speeding, a dog seizure in Cumnor Road, a cannabis factory in Westmoreland Drive and the success of the extension of the “No Drinking Zone” to our Ward.

We also discussed the introduction of the “London Policing Model” on 24 June. While the implications are not all positive, these changes are not going to damage the excellent service we generally get from our local police.

 Next street briefing: 12 July outside Lavender Court in Cavendish Road.

CRIME FALLS FURTHER IN SUTTON SOUTH

Sutton police station

Sutton police station

One of the themes Richard and Heather return to from time to time is the good things about Sutton.

In his speech to the Council on 4 March (you can find the text of this on his blog under 4 March) Richard mentioned how employers he has met through the “Opportunity Sutton” programme tell him of the things their employees like about Sutton – low crime, good schools, voted the best place in London to bring up children, a pleasant green and suburban atmosphere.

This week we met the local police for the quarterly consultative meeting of the Sutton South Police Panel. Again, the police were able to present statistics showing a fall in crime in the Ward.

There is a full report on the meeting on the page on this site titled “Sutton Police.”

POOR ATTENDANCE AT POLICE PANEL MEETING

SUTTON SOUTH WARD PANEL MEETING, 5 DECEMBER 2012

The panel is the consultative mechanism by which the police discuss with the local community crime trends and policing priorities.

The most alarming aspect of this meeting was that only 3 panel members, plus the police, turned up – the Reverend Mark Pullinger, Heather and Richard.

The crime figures indicate South Sutton continues to be a low crime area. They showed crime down 19% on the figures for the same period in 2011 – burglary down, theft much the same. There were increases in assault and in harrassment (in this context, this being an umbrella term for a variety of forms of anti-social behaviour) but some of this is close to the station and, while in the Ward, not involving our residents.

Anti-social behaviour in the Ward is, overall, down. Other matters discussed included incidents involving dogs, pizza delivery drivers, proposals we made for use of “Community Payback”, the pressure from the “centre” in London for more action on drug enforcement (which is stretching local resources), and the reasons for the decline in anti-social behaviour incidents in the Ward.

It was agreed that the priorities would continue to be burglary and motor vehicle crime.

BETTER LIGHTING IN WELLESLEY ROAD

Wellesley Road: the passageway

Wellesley Road is divided into two with a passageway linking the two sections. Residents in Wellesley Road have mentioned to us the quality of the lighting in the interconnecting passageway.

We took this up with the lighting engineers. Aiming to improve matters, they are going to replace the existing light fittings with units that provide a better light distribution. In addition they will arrange for a tree that is affecting one of the lights to be trimmed to remove blocking foliage.

The work may take six to eight weeks to implement. We have asked residents to let us know if there are other ways we can help as hard working local Councillors.

DEALING WITH LATE NIGHT DISTURBANCE

A number of residents of Cedar Road have drawn our attention to problems of late night noise and disturbance, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. We believe this is often from people walking along Cedar Road to get home from nightclubs in Sutton town centre, often in the early morning. We have resisted efforts to open more clubs and extend their hours of operation to yet later in the early hours of the morning (see our post below “Late Night Noise Danger Averted”).   

We raised the matter at a recent meeting with the police. The police say that their planned use of resources are mainly influenced by the priorities set in the ward (currently non-residential burglaries and vehicle crime) and what crime or anti-social behaviour is reported. They pointed out that they had received few reports from residents of noise problems.

We suspect residents are not reporting these incidents to the police at the time as they believe the police can do nothing immediately, or that it is not a serious enough issue with which to bother them. However it is still worth  reporting these incidents to the police – using 101 not 999 – as it gives the police a better picture of behaviour in our Ward and they can target their resources accordingly. 

We have written to residents in Cedar Road with this advice. If you want to discuss any aspect of local policing with a police officer you can contact our excellent Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 020 8721 2497, but let us know your views.

A BUSY COUPLE OF DAYS

 

Richard and Heather with SHP staff inspecting the Sutton Court estate

Every day we are involved in some activity as Councillors, be it on behalf of our residents in Sutton South Ward or in respect of our responsibilities as Vice-Chair of the Council’s Adult Social Services and Health Committee (Heather) and Vice-Chair of the Council’s Housing, Economy and Business Committee (Richard). The 12th and 13th of September were no exception.  

On 13 September we attended the police consultative panel for the Ward. The attendance was a little disappointing, though with new members representing the Sutton Court residents’ association and the Highfields residents’ association. The panel congratulated the police on the latest crime figures, showing an overall drop in crime in the Ward in the year to date of almost a quarter. There were some significant variations between categories, with assaults causing injury and harrassment both up. However, there were large falls in non-residential burglaries and criminal damage, which mainly accounted for the overall reduction. The area remains a low crime area with the police confident they are on top of the overall situation.

The panel discussed the three Ward priorities – drug use in the Brighton Road, motor vehicle crime and theft from garages. Theft from garages and motor vehicle crime have fallen but it was agreed that we want to keep it that way and these should remain priorities. It was agreed that drug dealing and drug use in the Brighton Road would be put into a “normal vigilance” category for the immediate future. Significant action also continued to be taken on the theft of metal.

Other issues discussed included:

– late-night noise problems at the weekend in Cedar Road

– the application of a nightclub in Sutton town centre to extend its opening hours from 2am to 3am

– cutting of a hedge at the ball court at Sutton Court to increase the visibility of the ball court and its surrounding area

– fencing at Sutton Court

– petrol theft from a local garage

– speeding in Cavendish Road

– security arrangements concerning some specific locations

– a cannabis factory in Ferndown Close. 

The meeting was pleased that the local police had kept things under control when the Olympics had placed a strain on resources, though the Sergeant felt this had been less of a strain than expected. While we were pleased the Olympics were now over and demands on police resources would return to normal, we felt the police had done a superb job during the Olympics.

On Thursday 13 September we both went to Sutton Court to the estate “walkabout” with staff of Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP). These are essential to keep on top of the repairs and maintenance work needed on the estate. We met a number of residents who have problems we have taken up and were able to check on the progress of issues as varied as the work on the fence separating Sutton Court from Forest Dene Court, the cutting of the hedge separating the children’s play area from the ball court (discussed yesterday with the police), the repairs to the garages and the operation of the lighting system. We then went to Beauclere House where there are various issues of concern to us raised with us by residents, including the arrangements for disabled residents to enter and exit the building and how they can make better use of the grass area at the side.

Resident served with Sutton’s first ‘Acceptable Behaviour Contract’

A resident has been served with Sutton’s first ‘Acceptable Behaviour Contract’ for the alarm and distress caused to her neighbours by her dogs.

The 24-year-old female dog owner, who lives in a block of flats in Langley Park Road, Sutton, allowed her two Staffordshire Bull Terriers called ‘Roxy’ and ‘Governor’ to:

  • Run out of control off the lead
  • Jump up and intimidate residents
  • Carry on barking for long periods

In addition, she also repeatedly failed to clear up after her pets.

Police decided to take formal action following an incident on Friday 30th March when her dogs ran out of their home in pursuit of a man making a delivery in Langley Park Road. The man was forced to run and jump onto a vehicle to avoid being bitten.

As a result the resident was sent a letter on the 13th April advising that this incident had come to the attention of police. A second letter was sent on 2nd July after her dogs had continued to behave in an unacceptable way.

This second letter included an Acceptable Behaviour Contract – a voluntary agreement between the resident and Sutton Council, the Met Police in Sutton and London and Quadrant Housing Trust – the resident’s landlord.

The contract only named one of her dogs – Governor – as she had given up Roxy at around this time. The conditions in the agreement include:

  • The dog being kept on a lead no longer than three metres in a public place including Langley Park Road, public footpaths and roads within Sutton borough
  • Clearing up after her dog
  • Regularly exercising her dog

Failure to comply with the agreement may result in an Anti-Social Behaviour Order being obtained to stop the resident causing harassment, alarm or distress and the tenancy agreement being reviewed and even revoked.

The action is part of borough’s Local Environmental Awareness of Dogs (LEAD) initiative to make owners of all breeds of dog aware of their responsibilities to their pet and the wider community.

Since August 2011 a total of 27 letters have been sent to residents whose dogs have come to the notice of police.

PC Heath Keogh, of Sutton Police station, who is co-ordinating the LEAD initiative for the borough, said: “Whilst we want to work with residents to reduce the nuisance and concerns caused by their pets, we are equally determined that we will take whatever action we need to make sure that this happens in reality.

“The bottom line for Sutton residents is a breach of an ASBO which could result in five years jail or a fine or both, and a possession order leading to a tenant’s eviction, for those in rented accommodation.”

The LEAD initiative was prompted by the fatal dog attack in Demesne Road, Wallington, on 23 December 2010, when a 52-year-old woman died after being attacked by a dog.

LATE NIGHT NOISE DANGER AVERTED

We were recently approached by residents in Worcester Road concerning the licence application to re-open the former “Academy” public house in Grove Road as a nightclub. They were concerned at a likely impact on late night noise problems in the area.

Following discussions with residents, Richard submitted representations on the prevention of public nuisance to Sutton’s Licensing Committee, and spoke at the public hearing held on 28 March.

He pointed out that it would be a matter of concern for premises so close to many residential properties to be offering music, dancing, films and sale of alcohol (for consumption on and off the premises) until 4.30am, seven nights a week, and then – after a break of just a few hours – starting again at 9.00am.  The application, if approved, would lead to an unacceptable degree of public nuisance, particularly due to noise from people coming away from the premises into neighbouring streets in the early hours of the morning.

Although the premises are not in Sutton South Ward, some of the people coming away from the club in the early hours would walk through our Ward. Concerns had been raised by the police about disturbance and noise late at night, drunken people walking home, alcohol-related brawls and anti-social behaviour. The application should be refused. 

We are pleased say that the application was refused, the Committee citing in particular problems with noise, community impact and alcohol-related crime.

SOUTH SUTTON WARD POLICE CONSULTATIVE PANEL: 18 APRIL

 

Sutton Police Station

On 18 April we both attended the consultative panel, at which the representatives of the local community discuss police priorities with our local “Safer Neighbourhoods” police team.

The panel welcomed Sergeant Geraldine Costello, our new sergeant, whom we share with Belmont Ward.

The latest crime statistics show Sutton South remains a low crime area and crime has, overall, fallen further, but with a small increase in residential burglaries, many from garages. There is a welcome reduction in thefts from motor vehicles and criminal damage.

The panel confirmed as police priorities for the next three months:

– theft from motor vehicles, to keep on top of this following the recent reduction

– drugs and anti-social behaviour in the Brighton Road

– garage burglaries

– support for “Operation Ferrous”, which relates to the theft and trading of scrap metal, a particular problem due to the escalation in the price of scrap metal.

The panel discussed “community payback” work by offenders. It also had a discussion of ways of improving how it represents the local community and provides information on its work, to have a better dialogue with the police on behalf of the community.