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.
Residents have started to move in to the the block in the Brighton Road just south of Sutton station that we all knew as Sutherland House but which now has a new name – Northumberland House. Perhaps the owners changed the name as – after it being empty for five years – they want to signal a new beginning for this building. They have spent money on the renovation and certainly improved the way it looks, as the pictures above show.
The apartments in the block, a few hundred yards south of Sutton station and in our Ward, are available to rent. The Acorn Group are in charge of renting out the flats. If anyone is interested in renting they can contact Kimberley Ellen (email@example.com or ring her 020 8315 6917). The flats are also advertised on the website Rightmove.
On 14 January Richard visited the block. It has been refurbished to a high standard and it is good to see it occupied. There are 128 flats with parking spaces.
As long ago as December 2015 we met with Council officers and the developer to discuss renovation of the front, to fit in with the Gateway scheme further north. We have sought agreement that the owners fund the renovation of the area in front of the building, to bring it up to the same standard as the area renovated during the “Gateway” project just to the north. The shops at the bottom are not fully let out and we have hopes that the area just south of the station will include of a mix of good restaurants, shops and maybe a wine bar as the area will have so much more footfall. We are pleased that the Rose cafe and Sofra are surviving. We look forward to the area in front of the building being renewed and improved in due course and the vacant shops let out. However Sainsburys have pulled out of opening a store at the bottom.
The area has in the past suffered from a group of “all day drinkers” who walk the streets drinking alcohol from cans. However, one of Richard’s first acts when elected in 2010 was to get the “no drinking” zone extended from Sutton town centre into Sutton South Ward. This makes it unlawful to drink alcohol in public in the area if a police officer asks you to stop.
Sutton South Ward has one of the lowest crime levels in London, but we cannot be complacent and need to take the simple precautions necessary to avoid making life easy for the criminal.
We are well served by our local police, and we meet them regularly to assess crime trends in the Ward. There are many blocks of flats in the Ward and recently there have been a small number of incidents reported to us of rough sleepers spending the night in stairwells.
The problem of homelessness has, of course, increased recently due to Government housing policies. We have been involved in discussions with housing managers and the police about precautions such as entryphone systems and sought to help local groups that are trying to deal with the problem of homelessness and rough sleeping. If you observe rough sleepers in stairwells it is best to contact the police on the non-emergency 101 number. They can also be directed to sources of advice such as the Salvation Army (02086429862), Shelter (02034686293) and the Sutton Civic offices (02087705800).
On 12 July Trish and Richard attended the police consultative group meeting for Sutton South Ward, held in the church hall at Christchurch. It is a pity these public meetings attract so few members of the public, only four tonight. The police priorities for the next quarter will include seeking Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators at Farm Close and Audley Place, and tackling the problem of rough sleepers in Ambleside Gardens and Beauclere House, in Brighton Road. There was also discussion of the theft of bins at blocks of flats in Brighton Road and in Christchurch Park. The overall level of crime in the area remains low.
The police are very keen to monitor any community tensions that might have arisen as a result of the EU referendum. Emotions may run high for a while and there have been some reports in the national media about a rise in hate crime and harassment in some areas. We have not heard of any such incidents locally; but obviously the police rely very much upon the community and the Neighbourhood Watch to monitor things like this for them.
If you have detected any such issues – or know of anyone who has – please do not hesitate to contact Sutton police to report them.
If anyone wishes to make an anonymous report they can always call Crimestoppers at any time – day or night – on 0800 555 111, in complete confidence.
On 6 July Richard, by invitation, attended the Eid celebrations held annually in Overton Park (see picture above) at the end of Ramadan, to show his support for multculturalism and opposition to hate crime.
Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, Niall Bolger, Chief Executive of Sutton Council, Cllr Tim Crowley, Leader of the Opposition at Sutton Council, and Sutton Borough Police Commander Dave Stringer said in a joint statement on 30 June:
“Since the EU referendum result there have been media reports of hate crimes against people living in this country. However, there has been no increase in hate crime incidents reported to the police in Sutton and across London.
“We are grateful that Sutton has not seen an increase in such intolerant and antisocial behaviour. The vote is not a licence for racist and xenophobic behaviour. We would urge residents to be vigilant to ensure that all borough citizens continue to live together in a peaceful, harmonious and responsible way.
“We are aware that certain events can spur intolerance, hate or extremism. Anyone who witnesses or suffers any hate incident of any type should report it immediately to the Police so that they can take action and deal with any incidents quickly.
“Sutton is a popular place to live, in part because we are a tolerant, open society that values people of all cultures, nationalities and religions. At this time it is more important than ever that we show solidarity with our neighbours of all different faith and cultural groups to ensure that extremist views and behaviour have no part of our community.”
Trish is continuing her campaign to seek action on the allegations that pornographic films have been shot at locations in the Borough. She has recently been interviewed by both BBC radio and BBC television about these allegations, that pornographic films have been shot at public locations in the Borough, including one close to her home. Trish rightly said she was outraged by this, as it was an act of indecency in public, and children or other members of the public might observe it. The police should take action if they encounter such behaviour and seek additional powers if more powers are needed.
There is, of course, no evidence that this type of filming of obscene acts is any more prevalent in Sutton than elsewhere, as no-one is collecting data, but one has to have a concern about the people taking part in such filming (are these trafficked women?) and the possibility that such public acts of indecency might be observed by people, who will of course be horrified. And we all deplore pornography.
On 27 January we supported Holocaust Memorial Day. There was a moving event, a meeting and discussion held at Sutton Boys’ Grammar school. There were interesting presentations on the Holocaust and some discussion of other acts of genocide, including those in Rwanda, Bosnia and Dafur.
SUTTON SOUTH WARD POLICE/COMMUNITY PANEL MEETING 5 JANUARY 2016
Trish and Richard attended their first local meeting of 2016 when they attended the consultative panel for Sutton South Ward set up by the police, on January 5, in Christchurch hall.
The police had reported at the previous meeting that that there had been a further fall in the total number of crimes in our Ward in the most recent three month period, a fall of 1.5% compared to the period a year previously. The downward trend has continued and data were presented to the meeting to show that the number of residential and non-residential burglaries in the last four months are down compared to the figures for the corresponding period in 2014. Sutton South Ward continues to have one of the lowest crime rates in London. It will be difficult to reduce it further.
Priorities remain tackling burglary, anti-social behaviour and speeding. The police are continuing to conduct some evening and night patrols with the objective of tackling rough sleepers in certain blocks of flats.
The threat to the future of PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers, the backbone of our neighbourhood policing approach) remains a matter of concern.
An exercise to test public satisfaction with the police has found that satisfaction rates are highest in Sutton, of all London boroughs.
Crime remains low in Sutton South. This was the conclusion of the consultative police Ward panel meeting attended by Trish and Richard at Sutton police station on 2 October. Sutton is in fact a Borough with one of the lowest crime rates in London and Sutton South is a Ward with a low crime rate even by Sutton’s standards.
This was not a well attended meeting. We spent part of the time discussing the recent changes to consultation arrangements introduced by the Tory Mayor. They are not popular, and have led to the demise of the popular local Borough-wide consultative group. We discussed how we might meet in public in the future. The crime statistics presented by the police continue to show the Ward has low crime levels, with theft from vehicles one of the most common offences. Agreed priorities are burglary, theft from motor vehicles and anti-social behaviour.
This followed on from the first meeting since the election of the Ward police panel on 9 July at Sutton police station, a meeting Richard and Trish attended. We are considering the mechanics of making this meeting open to the public, or combining its meetings with those of the local committee, to make the meetings open.
On 11 February action by the police team from Merton that is helping combat speeding in our Ward led to 13 drivers being stopped and spoken to about the speed they were travelling at in Cavendish Road.
Following the speed survey we arranged in the area, funding is now in place for the coming financial year for two width restrictions in Cavendish Road – “Road narrowing with one lane and informal crossing, with pedestrian centre-refuge island” outside Fiske Court and Hampton Lodge, with the same outside Richard Sharples Court. In Cedar Road there will be “Raised zebra crossing, with road narrowing, one lane and informal crossing” close to Forest Dene Court” and “Road narrowing with one lane and informal crossing” outside Ashdown Court. We have arranged for additional 20 mph roundels in the road (see picture above) and 20 mph signs on lamp-posts (see picture below) to further reinforce the message.