CONCERN CONTINUES OVER POLICE NUMBERS IN SUTTON SOUTH WARD AFTER MERGER WITH BROMLEY AND CROYDON

Our police station in Carshalton Road

On 8 March we attended a meeting of the Police Consultative panel for the Ward. We continue to have no dedicated Ward office above the level of PCSO. Two police attended – our loyal PCSO Laura Jogoe and PC Adam Nawol, from Cheam Ward, also came.

As usual, the police SNTs are seriously undermanned.  Over the 4 wards, ie Sutton South, Cheam, Belmont and Sutton West, there are 1 sergeant, 5 PCs, of whom only 3 are “operational” and 3 PCSOs.  There are supposed to be 8 PCs, 2 per ward.  We were told that there is a PCSO recruitment campaign.  Great concern was expressed by all at the meeting and we agreed to write to MPs and the Mayor of London.The police reported that in the period December to March, there were 16 burglaries and 21 vehicle crimes in Sutton South Ward.  Common methods of entry included getting over a back gate and entering from the rear of the premises by breaking a door or window.  We were advised to link a burglar alarm to a call centre, rather than rely on a neighbour.  Car thefts were mainly opportunist, some people forgetting to lock their cars.  Drugs were not viewed as a big problem, incidents being very sporadic and tackled quickly, after which the drug sellers would move on to somewhere else.

RE-LAUNCH OF THE COMMUNITY-POLICE CONSULTATIVE PANEL

Our police station in Carshalton Road

An effort is being made, on 8 March, to re-launch the Community-Police Consultative Panel for our Ward.

This will be a meeting to which the public are invited, at 6pm, at Christchurch in Christchurch Park.

We were concerned after the last meeting of the panel, on 29 November, that numbers attending and the importance the police placed on the work of the panel were slipping. It was the first meeting for a long time as the summer meeting was cancelled at a late point due to it being on the evening of one of the football matches England were involved in in the World Cup. It was a meeting that left us feeling worried. An increase in crime, in burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles, was reported for the first time for some time. This may not be unrelated to problems of police numbers following the merger with Croydon and Bromley. There were a significant number of unfilled posts, vacancies, that the police were struggling to fill, particularly PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers). These officers are important for work on community relations. One member of staff was about to be moved to work in Croydon and we have again lost our Dedicated Ward Officer, Kellie Heath. Kellie has also moved to Croydon.

We hope for a better attendance on 8 March and welcome a new Chair, Aime.

 

A WORRYING MEETING WITH THE POLICE

Our police station in Carshalton Road

On 29 November we attended he first meeting for a long time of the Sutton South Ward Police Community Panel, held in the Parish Office at Christchurch in Christchurch Park. The summer meeting was cancelled at a late point due to it being on the evening of one of the football matches England were involved in in the World Cup. This was a meeting that left us feeling worried. An increase in crime, in burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles, was reported for the first time for some time. This may not be unrelated to problems of police numbers following the merger with Croydon and Bromley. There are a significant number of unfilled posts, vacancies, that the police are struggling to fill, particularly PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers). These officers are important for work on community relations. One member of staff is about to be moved to work in Croydon, though she did not request this move, and we are again losing our Dedicated Ward Officer, Kellie Heath. Kellie is also being moved to Croydon.

CONCERN OVER LATE NIGHT DRINKING

 

On 24 January Richard attended the meeting of Sutton Council’s Licensing Committee and spoke to the Committee about the new licence application submitted by the Noor Jahan Tandoori bar, at 10 Station Parade, Sutton, just south of Sutton station on the Brighton Road.

The bar has a current Premises Licence to sell food and drink, but wanted to extend the hours of trading to 02:30 hours, to sell alcohol and food.  Therefore, instead of varying the existing licence, they submitted a new application.

Applicants for licences are required to stipulate how they will promote the licensing objectives of:

  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Protection of children from harm
  • Public safety
  • Prevention of public nuisance.

The bar is in an area where special considerations apply and applicants have to demonstrate to a high standard how they comply with and promote these objectives. The bar is in a well populated residential area. We had doubts about it continuing to sell alcohol till 2.30am, even though this would be to people consuming food, as there could be noise problems for local residents in the wee small hours when it closes.

​We sought the views of residents before commenting. A significant number of residents wrote expressing concern so Richard registered an objection to ensure the application was considered by the Licensing Committee.

The decision of the Committee was to restrict the hours of opening, so the bar will not stay open till 2.30 am.

SUTTON POLICE STATION SAVED AFTER OUR CAMPAIGN

Our police station in Carshalton Road

After a long consultation, to which the Council contributed, the Mayor of London has announced the closure of counter services at a swathe of police stations across London. We campaigned to save the service at Sutton station, and we have been successful.

Sadly, the counter service at Worcester Park station is to close. Shame on you, Sadiq Khan!

POLICE PRIORITIES CONFIRMED

Our police station in Carshalton Road

Although Sutton borough has one of the lowest crime rates in London – and Sutton South Ward is among the Wards with the lowest crime rates in the borough – we must never be complacent.

We take part in regular consultation meetings with the police to discuss crime trends and priorities for police action in our Ward, and on Tuesday 31 October we met the police at Christchurch hall in Christchurch Park.

Our new Dedicated Ward Officer, PC Kellie Heath, is fitting in to her role and has been very active in meeting local community groups. Although the revised policing model promised by Borough Commander Mark Lawrence promises two Dedicated Ward Officers, supported by a PCSO, by the end of 2017, Kellie is at the moment something of a one woman band.

We were delighted that Frank Berry, who lives in Christchurch Park and was formerly chair of the Sutton Federation of Residents and Tenants’ Associations has agreed to chair future meetings.

The meeting ran through the crime statistics for the last three months. A theme in the four burglaries from houses was windows left open, and in motor vehicle crime carelessness about locking vehicles and leaving SatNavs on display inside the car. Other themes discussed at the meeting were incidents of rough sleeping in stairwells of blocks of flats. The meeting agreed that police priorities should continue to be burglary, anti-social behaviour and speeding.

This consultation meeting was much better attended than recent meetings in this series so our efforts at publicity are bearing fruit.

LOW CRIME AND GOOD SCHOOLS

Overton Grange – a popular local school, in our Ward

Sutton is renowned for low crime and good schools. Like all London boroughs we have had to deal with the bulge in pupil numbers. This has gone through the primary school system and our excellent local primary schools in this area have been able to cope, with most parents still getting their first choice of school. Many secondary schools in Sutton have expanded, including our popular local school Overton Grange, but two new secondary schools will still be needed and are planned. The new Harris Academy, integrated into the Sutton Cancer Hub development, is already proving popular with parents who plan to apply for places next year. Parents can be reassured that Sutton will be able to cope with the increased numbers without a fall in the high quality of local education or unacceptable congestion problems at the schools, which the schools have plans in place to cope with.

SLOWING TRAFFIC IN FARM ROAD AND GRANGE VALE

At the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee meeting on 7 September our main decision was to install a vehicle operated sign in Farm Road to reduce speeding. Richard lives round the corner from Farm Road and vehicles certainly speed down it. This complements other measures in the Ward to reduce speeding, in particular in Cavendish Road and Cedar Road.

We also agreed to install a width restriction at the point in Grange Vale where the road passes under the bridge. The speed of vehicles has a safety implication for pedestrians walking west to east on the narrow pathway, particularly if pushing a buggy. We also agreed to plant a replacement for the vandalised tree in Willis Avenue. The committee also agreed Richard’s proposal to purchase from the Royal British Legion a “Silent Soldier” and install it in the flower beds in front of Northumberland House. These are large silhouettes of soldiers, designed to be installed through 2018 in prominent places to remind us that this is the centenary of the conclusion of the Great War.

We hope the parking consultation will now take place much earlier than anticipated.

TACKLING SPEEDING ON THE ROADS OF SUTTON SOUTH

20mph on lampost sign
Since we were elected as Councillors for Sutton South Ward we have been concerned about speeding in the Ward. Following the speeding survey we promoted in 2011 new traffic islands in Cavendish Road have had an impact on the speed of vehicles using the road. The new zebra crossing with the re-distribution of parking bays along the road – so there is more parking along the road, which generally does slow the speed of traffic – in Cedar Road (between Brighton Road and Langley Park Road) has had some impact on speeds there.
We have also sought to deal with the specific problem of the speed of vehicles approaching the right turn from The Ridgway into Chalgrove Road with better signage on the road and on lamp-posts as your approach the bend.
A proposal now under consideration and discussed by the local committee on May 25 concerns the area of the Ward west of Brighton Road. If fully implemented this would introduce a 20 mile per hour limit in the area east of Overton Road (including Overton Road) as far as the Sutton to Belmont railway line, so including these parts of Worcester Road, Grange Road, Camborne Road and Stanley Road. There would be signage to indicate the speed limit and some raised junctions, and road humps, where roads crossed. This follows a speeding survey indicating some vehicles travel too fast along these roads. There will, of course, be extensive consultation with residents before such a proposal is implemented and, given current funding restrictions and other priorities, action on this proposal – which is a proposal for Transport for London funding – cannot be guaranteed even if supported in consultation.
We would welcome any reactions, particularly from residents who live in the area.
We have also previously floated, in the list of bids to Transport for London, consultation of residents on the inclusion of Christchurch Park in the Sutton South 20mph speed limit area.

CRIME REMAINS LOW IN SUTTON SOUTH

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

 

Trish and Richard attended the Ward police consultative committee meeting on 10 January. The police again reported that crime in our area remains low.

In the final quarter of 2016 there were 3 residential burglaries in our Ward (down from 6 in the corresponding period a year previously), 3 non-residential burglaries (down from 7), 7 thefts from motor vehicles (down from 12) and 2 thefts of motor bikes.

The police had executed a number of drug searches in the last quarter, which they felt had had a positive impact. Priorities continue to include drugs, looking out for rough sleepers in stairwells of blocks of flats, anti-social behaviour at bus stops, speeding checks and aggressive begging around Sutton station.

The police consultative panel next meets at Christchurch hall in Christchurch Park on 9 May. This is a public meeting. See if you can come.

There were several “Speedwatch” events in the last quarter, some involving students from Overton Grange school, using a speed gun to catch and warn speeding motorists.

Richard at an earlier Speedwatch event in The Ridgway

Richard at an earlier Speedwatch event in The Ridgway