A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Tories 2


Good to see the audience at Tory conference reflecting the dynamic, youthful, regenerated Cameron-style party.

11 Comments:

Blogger kris said...

Whilst interesting to read your ripping the piss out of the tories, I'd be more interested in your take on the ASBO kid murder of a 40 year old dad who had the temerity to ask them to be quiet.

As hackney council are the prosecuting authority for noise / ASB in the borough, is there any chance of hackney labour re-instating a 24 hour manned noise nuisance?

12:49 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Kris

The man's death was a tragedy - I didn't want to post something trite that pretended I had anything meaningful to add to what has already been said about it in the media. As you know noise is the least of the ASB problems facing Holly Street and round about - most of which have been connected to drug dealing. Further in the future we need a real debate about how all the massive investment in better housing that has improved the physical environment there only temporarily reduced the crime problem in the area.

But on the specific point you raise: the Council's noise service is a technical team which tackles domestic and industrial noise nuisance such as machinery and loud music. They do not tackle ASB. The Council has an ASB hotline, and the local strategic partnership chaired by the Mayor have put significant funding into ensuring that each ward has a six strong Safer Neighbourhoods Team of police officers/PCSOs. The Queensbridge SNT are doing a lot of work on ASB, and local residents can call them to alert them to problems. As the Mayor made clear in all his media interviews yesterday, if people feel under threat they should call 999.

1:34 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Anonymous observer said...

So Luke Akehurst posts something trite that pretends he had something meaningful to add to what has already been said ...

"the Council's noise service is a technical team which tackles domestic and industrial noise nuisance such as machinery and loud music.

The Noise Patrol used to be well-manned and operated 24 hours a day. The team had technical skills, yes, but their biggest asset was "people skills" or diplomacy. To ignore that is to insult the great work they used to do. Mayor Jules "there have been no cuts in services" Pipe substantially reduced the hours the Noise Service operated and the number of people working on it.

Responsibility falls squarely on his shoulders and your weazel words can't change that fact one bit!

3:12 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

What weazel words?

A 24 hour noise service was a Lib Dem idea. We consistently said that it was not good value for public money to have a 24 hour solution to a problem that is focussed on a particular period of time on particular nights of the week.

The idea that the diplomatic skills of the noise service could have dealt with the kind of thugs who were happy to kill a man is nonsense. If you read the press coverage of the history of ASB in this man's block it was clear they were non-residents who broke into the block regularly and noise was just one small part of a wider pattern of intimidation and drug use.

Noise services are for dealing with nuisance neighbours, not potential murderers.

3:53 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Blogger kris said...

Luke said: "As the Mayor made clear in all his media interviews yesterday, if people feel under threat they should call 999".

Like I've said, blaming the dead punter is not the way forward. Read this and tell me you haven't come across anyone in your travels with a similar experience.

We don't need a "real debate" as to why architecture has failed to solve criminality. People make a decision to commit crime-buildings don't.

We need action.

The kind of action this borough is crying out for requires more than a glib "call 999".

You could start by having a bit of joined up thinking. That's local authority speak for getting the community, the cops and the council together to identify Hackney hot-spots- and deal with it.

I don't any of us need a lecture from any hackney councillor about "noise being the least of [hackney's] problems. I get that. I live that.

Here's an idea for the councillor who has been trawling for some new ones only months after the may election: take down those idiotic posters of smuggy police boy blunder with his knitted I heart hackney hat and replace them with details of the names and telephone numbers of the council officials we need to contact to report ASB.

And please, oh please, don't try to fob us off with call 999. We all deserve a bit better than that.

5:17 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

You are right - it's not the solution - but it's sensible short term advice to call 999 rather than try to confront anyone. That isn't blame - it's trying to stop anyone else ending up in the same situation. The joined up thinking already happens through the Local Strategic Partnership - the council, police, and community groups do all work together on one strategic body.

5:27 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Blogger kris said...

Luke, seriously, this could be YOUR issue. You could be the guy who sorts out hackney. You've gotten the votes- take the challenge- get out of your collective new labour comfort zone and make crime your top priority- starting today.

Also, realise that criminality manifests itself in several different ways. Hence the need for the social landlords, the noise people, the asb people, the police and councillors all need to be involved.

Otherwise, you have, as we do here in Hackney, the left hand not knowing what the right is doing.

What a deal- you get all this great ideas for free and you can even claim them for yourself in your next campaign.

5:28 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Blogger kris said...

Luke, if it's all "already happening", then what's not working? Do you want to find out where your weak link is- or are you just going to wash your hands of it and maybe I should just go fuck myself and dial 999?

5:31 pm, October 04, 2006

 
Anonymous observer said...

Errrh ... Weazel words like this: "A 24 hour noise service was a Lib Dem idea. We consistently said that it was not good value for public money to have a 24 hour solution to a problem that is focussed on a particular period of time on particular nights of the week."

Who the hell cares whether it was a Lib Dem, Tory or Monster Raving Looney Party idea? If it stopped strife and saved lives - of course it was a good idea. What you are trying to say is it was a good idea for Mayor Jules "there have been no cuts in services" Pipe to cut the hours, the number of people (in particular, the most highly skilled and highest paid members of staff) on the service, and resources for the service - because you would rather fritter away money elsewhere and you thought you could get away with it. By cutting the service, a clear and unambigious message was given to the anti-social people of Hackney: "It's OK to make noise at anytime except when we choose that the Noise Service (with its limited staff) may operate.

My life became a living hell because of a crowd of youths who made me and my neighbours suffer noise on a daily basis, similar to that suffered by Steven Nyembo-Ya-Muteba.

Worst of all is the torture they impose via their in-car hi-fi systems and the deep boom boom bass noise that penetrates every room in my house and even makes my wisdom teeth vibrate.

In the days when we had a decently manned 24-hour noise patrol service, something could be done about it; I'd call and the Noise Service would turn up and deal with the kids. Bizarrely, the kids now know the hours that the Service operates and think this means it is acceptable to make noise at any other time.

Now that Mayor Jules Pipe has reduced the Noise Service to a pale shadow of its former self (personel cuts and operating hours vastly reduced) we are left to deal with it ourselves or suffer "in silence" (no pun intended).

I've been attacked, physically and verbally, and kids have threatened to kill me, for complaining (in a civil manner) about the noise. The police response is either: "Call the Council's Noise Service" or "Well, what do you expect, this is Hackney". One of them even pointed me towards a Sunday Times interview with Dianne Abbott in which she said: "Living in Hackney, you can have it [dance and soul music] on very loud and nobody's bothered."
http://tinyurl.co.uk/vaps

With apathy from people like her, Hackney's Mayor and Labour Councillors and the Police ... what are we to do?

When we no longer have a decent Noise Service, have to do the job ourselves and suffer from threats and attacks; responsibility for failing to provide a decent service should fall squarely on the shoulders of the man who cut the service; Mayor Jules "there have been no cuts to services" Pipe.

From the safety of his armchair Luke Akehurst smugly says: "Noise is the least of the ASB problems facing Holly Street and round about".

So, Luke,why don't you tell that to the widow and children of Steven Nyembo-Ya-Muteba (murdered when he went to deal with excessive noise from kids outside his flat)?

6:52 am, October 05, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Observer - email me at luke.akehurst@hackney.gov.uk and I will take up your personal case and pursue it.

Kris - I will feed in what you have said to the Cabinet Adviser on community safety.

My instinct is that the bottom line is that we have to keep looking for new funding streams to increase the size of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in areas where there are specific problems - the only way you will stop gangs using the stairwells of flats is by keeping them out by constantly repairing the security doors (though even the toughest doors can be bust open) and by a policeman turning up on patrol so regularly that it is too risky to sit their taking drugs and harassing the residents.

The press reports say the stairwell in this case was being used for drug-dealing, prostitution and had a fire lit in it on the night the guy was murdered - that isn't a range of problems that a noise service can tackle.

9:54 am, October 05, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Kris - I promised I would pass on your comments about publicising the ASB hotline etc.

I've been told the Council leafleted Holly St Estate in the wake of the events of last weekend with an appeal from the Mayor for residents to aid the police investigation, and have included numbers for ASB hotline, crackdown team, Safer Neighbourhood Team, incident room etc. The Council id also running a piece in next week's Hackney Today promoting these numbers. The A-Z of services which has gone to every home in the borough includes these numbers and we run regular features in HT on ASB with contact numbers.
On posters, banner style posters need to present a very simple message and are not great for promoting individual services and phone numbers. The I Love Hackney campaign is there to promote the positive things about the borough, one of which is a dedicated local police force. Lamppost banners highlighting anti-social behaviour wouldn't make residents feel safer or present a positive image of the borough to visitors.

2:46 pm, October 05, 2006

 

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