When did you last spot a police officer?

Police in Peterborough

The Conservative police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire, recently announced that he intended to increase the Council Tax bills for people in this area.

He also claimed that the increase would see an additional 62 officers being recruited by March 2021 for the county.

But, so far has not detailed how many Peterborough will get, and more specifically how many for the north area of Peterborough?

Worth Noting

Under the Tories and Lib Dems, we have seen a decade of cuts to police and vital public services that have shown you simply can’t keep people safe on the cheap.

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What people told me:

From doing my on-line resident survey last year, I discovered that 60% of respondents could not remember the last time they saw a police officer, 19% had seen an officer in the last few months, 12% in the last 7 days and 9% in the last couple of years.

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What does Darren think?

Every time I read about recorded crime in Peterborough declining, the same thought pops into my head: Is the real story that less people are bothering to report crime?

In Peterborough we need to rebuild the police workforce, we need to recruit more police officers, police community support officers and police staff.

I also believe we need to re-establish neighbourhood policing and recruit more front-line officers than have been planned for by the Conservatives.

Effective police work requires the police to serve their communities and work collaboratively with youth workers, mental health services, schools, drug rehabilitation programmes and other public agencies.

We also need to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities.

We also need to make use of social media and make it easier for residents to report crime and share useful information.

Please Note:

  • The 2019 survey was completed by over 230 local residents.
  • Any submissions from people outside of the unitary authority were removed.
  • To view the FINAL stats please VISIT HERE!

 

3 reasons why 16 year olds in this area, should be able to vote!

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The Labour party believe in reducing the voting age to 16.

Why should the voting age be reduced?

giphy-18The three reasons why I believe people aged 16 or 17 years old, in Werrington, Gunthorpe, Paston and Walton should be able to vote, is because:

  1. At 16, the law already allows a person to; pay income tax and National Insurance, get married or enter a civil partnership, become a director of a company, join the armed forces or become a member of a trade union.
  2. Participation in free elections is a fundamental human right (protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UK’s Human Rights Act).
  3. Citizenship education has been a compulsory part of the national curriculum in secondary schools since 2002 and 85% of secondary schools have school councils. 

What does Darren think?

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In the 2011 Census for Peterborough, 4741 residents were aged between 16 and 17, I should imagine this number is now greater. At last years General Election, the Tories won by just 2580 votes.

Young people aged 16 to 17, are some of the hardest hit, by the austerity polices of the Tories and Lib Dems and the utter failure of the Conservative controlled City Council.

They are the ones who need access to training, housing, proper paid jobs and leisure.

Last year, figures released on behalf of the Government, showed just 0.1% of the 16-17 year olds in Peterborough, were claiming unemployment support, this means the most are either studying or working, and most certainly paying taxes. Thus, they deserve a say, they deserve the opportunity to vote.

In my opinion, Peterborough City Council, the elected mayor for the County and our MPs, should be writing to the Government and demanding the age of voting be reduced and look to be part of any required trials etc

If YOU agree, what can YOU do?

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Very simply, copy the quote below and then visit www.writetothem.com and then paste it and send it to your local councillors and MP! 

“I believe it is time for the government to reduce the age of voting to 16. So that people aged 16 or over can vote in local or general elections, and any referendum that might occur. Please let me know what YOU are doing to make this happen.”

PLZ let me know YOUR thoughts below!

 

Peeing in the street or Cycling on Bridge Street ……

Bridge Street Cycling

The background to this, is that the Council is operating under section 61 of the
Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The Survey ….

Some of the questions include:

  • Do you support the continued use of the City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order to deter people urinating/defecating in a public place?
  • Do you support the continued use of the City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order to deter begging in the city centre?
  • Do you support the continued use of the City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order to enforce unauthorised cycling?

To take the survey NOW simply VISIT HERE!

Useful Documents

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What does Darren Think?

When it comes to the Cycling side of things, the proposals are a literal embarrassment to the city. Whether its the treatment of hard working citizens, being fined on their way back from 12 hour shifts, punishing people trying to do their bit for the environment or the time tourists got a fined for following the national cycle route, which Bridge Street was part of, it really enhances the name Pottyborough!

Not forgetting the fact that there is a cycle way at one end of Bridge Street!!

The fines are also not fair because, essentially if you are a wealthy person, whop can afford to pay £100 max fines, in theory you can cycle around aggressively, defecate in the street or drink six cans of beer in Cathedral Sq, at your leisure.

If you are working class, you can be accused of something you have not even done and end up paying a £100 fine, that could mean you fall behind on your rent or are unable to pay for your weekly food.

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Something you might like to know…

The proposed order calls for “Cyclists to dismount if requested to do so by an authorised officer if they are of the opinion that the cyclist is riding in a wanton and furious manner.”

…. So I’d suggest that if someone was cycling sensibly etc Then if challenged, they would be entitled to acknowledge the officer and then carry on with their day.

Other bits

  • In October 2012, 444 people signed my petition calling for the Tory controlled City Council to introduce a dedicated cycle lane along Bridge Street, Peterborough – they did not!
  • In 2015, I also did a petition calling for the Tories at the Town Hall to NOT ban cycling on a Sunday. Again they ignored it!

Have Tories handed hundreds of thousands of £’s to their Marketing buddies!?

Your Peterborough

This year, the Tories at the Town Hall have announced plans to share their communication services, including media, marketing, internal communications and their website, with Cambridgeshire County Council – with the aim of saving them £2.6m over the next three years.

Sound sensible? Maybe.

But what they don’t tell you is the millions of pounds they’ve already wasted on unwanted publications and the hundreds of thousands they’ve handed out to “certain” local media or marketing individuals in the city!

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For example, in one year alone, and despite cutting services at the time, they:

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Now, I’m sure that the decision to use these companies was completely above board.

However, I would add that a) There are quite a lot of other marketing and communication companies in our city and b) Why did they simply not just temporarily use Cambs County Council (or another neighbouring authority) communications team?

And any suggestions that such contracts are agreed over a pint in a Barnack pub, are I am sure, totally unfounded!

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The Council spent local tax payers money, telling them how well they were doing!

Remember Your Peterborough

The Conservative controlled City Council, launched the Your Peterborough magazine, commonly identified as the Councils own propaganda newsletter, over a decade ago.

When it launched, it used to be published 10 times a year, at a cost of around £12,000 per edition.

They then reduced it down to six editions a year. Then, they reduced it to once a year, then they reduced it’s size and now it seems it’s just available on line?

The bottom line, is that since it’s creation, millions have been spent on it and as far as I can see, the only people to really benefit are the people paid to print and design it!?

What I said ….

At a previous meeting of Full Council, I stood up and said to the Conservative controlled City Council:

“In December 2016 you told me you’d paid Athene Communications over £300k in less
than two years to do work that many in this city believe should be able to be done by
your own Media and Communications Team.

“Since this Tory regime took control of this city council, they have wasted hundreds of
thousands of pounds by providing unused and unrequired websites for Members and
regularly advertise well paid positions in the media machine including once offering
£90,000 for a Head of Communications.

“Presently frontline staff are struggling, the average individual in this city are having their money stretched and the Council tax is set to rise significantly. Does the Cabinet Member agree with me and others that the idea of chucking money at your mates and their businesses or handing hundreds of thousands of pounds at external PR and media
companies to do the work that our own comms internal marketing officers should be
able to do must end now.”

Plz, let me know YOUR thoughts below!

Action now on climate crisis, not more long term targets!

Buses in Peterborough

At the end of last month, the Conservative controlled City Council in Peterborough have proposed that 4 March 2020, as the day Full Council is asked to adopt the Carbon Management Action Plan, is designated as a ‘climate action day’ whereby the council encourages staff and residents to do their ‘extra bit’ to reduce their carbon impact on that day.

At the start of this month, Tory Council Leader, John Holdich, was reported as saying, “The action that we can take individually and as a city can make a difference and it also sends out a clear message that we must all change our ways. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to do so.”

What does Darren think?

The bottom line is that this Conservative controlled City Council has not taken the action that is really required.

  • Why are the Council saying they’ll get rid of the Mayors gas guzzling car in the future, why not get rid of it now?
  • Why are Councillors affording themselves massively discounted car parking passes, rather than discounted bus passes or cycles?
  • Why have the Tories at the Town Hall spent 20 years advocating that the car is king and neglecting and cutting funding to bus services?

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If we are to cut air pollution, tackle the climate crisis and reduce the chances of children in Peterborough getting asthma, cancer or respiratory problems, we need strong action from the City Council now, not more long term targets.

We also need the Conservative government that immediately invests to expand the UK’s charging network, so it can support the majority of vehicles by 2030.

We need a scrappage scheme for polluting cars, and we need measures to enable business and local authority fleets to go 100% electric ASAP.

What do YOU think? Please let me know below!

Knife Crime in Peterborough is not a problem, right?

Knife Crime in Cambridgeshire

Last year it was reported, 150 first-time knife crime offenders were convicted or cautioned in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire in 2018.

At the time, Conservative Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said:

“….we are not seeing the levels of knife crime which are happening elsewhere. I have spoken about the need to educate young people as to the dangers of carrying knives. It may feel like some sort of badge of honour but the consequences, as we have seen, can be devastating both for potential victims and perpetrators.”

Sadly, since then, Mr Ablewhite has stood down from his post as Police and Crime Commissioner and as a Tory councillor.

Violent crimes like knife crime, which has risen to record high levels, up 80% in the last five years.

In Peterborough …..

According to the website police.uk, in August 2019, there were 17 incidents of crime involving “possession of weapons” in the Peterborough area; in September 2019, it was 34, in October 2019 it was 29 and in November 2019 it was 27.

That’s an average of 26 a month, nearly one a day.

So what does Darren think?

I think that youth services transform the lives of young people by providing a safe place where they can go to develop friendships and engage in meaningful activities.

Sadly, such vital services, have been slashed by the Tories, nationally and locally. This has created the conditions in which crime can thrive, leaving young people more vulnerable to violence.

We need a government that will introduce legislation to guarantee quality youth services for all of our young people and give our councils the funding they need to invest in our public services.

Did YOU know?

It is illegal to:

  • sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old.
  • carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, e.g. a Swiss Army knife
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife).

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000.

#Pboro comes TOP of “Worst places to live in #England 2020” chart …. for the 2nd time!

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What’s happened?

Peterborough has claimed TOP SPOT, for the second year in a row, in the Top 10 Worst places to live in #England 2020 chart, run by ilivehere.co.uk – who claim over 80,000 people took part.

One voter in the survey, said: “The atmosphere in Peterborough is draining. You feel totally isolated from the rest of the world and life in general, as though everything else is going on and you’re not part of it as you’re stuck in this dump.”

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What do YOU think?

Mayor of PBoro Charity Fund issued with warning following “adverse” activity!

Mayor of Peterborough
The Mayor is allowed to travel abroad for civic purposes during his/her year of office, and the Council book and pay for accommodation directly.

Synopsis

The Mayor of Peterborough Charity Fund (MPCF), has upset the Charity Commission. It has now been audited properly, “… in order to bring the accounts up to date …”.

It was issued with a warning in July 2018 stating that the MPCF was in default of its legal
obligations. Seems they relied too much on a volunteer to process financial information?

The Council have now had to take on the work, creating an extra cost for them.

Where’s it say that then?

Mayor of Peterborough
The basic pay for a councillor is £10,302. However, the serving Mayor also gets an Allowance Account worth £12,000 a year.

Here’s the main points:

    1. The MPCF is a registered charity in its own right and is independent of the Council. It was registered in late 2015.
    2. The MPCF is required by the Charity Commission to upload its accounts and a Trustees’ report annually to the Commission’s website.
    3. Prior to September 2017, the role of the MPCF Treasurer had been undertaken for many years by a volunteer. this role has been incorporated into the duties of Mayoral Services at extra cost to the Council.
    4. The Council claims there was a “… lack of awareness within the Council that MPCF was a registered charity and confers the obligation to upload to the Charities Commission website by a specific deadline.”
    5. Council reports claims, “…out of pocket expenses have not been clearly identified.”
    6. According to the Charity Commission website, in one of the financial years, the MPCF “SPENT” £70,223?
    7. The MPCF need only worry about having an external audit if it raises more than £25,000 a year.

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What Darren thinks?

At a time when other charities in our city are suffering, having their funding from the council cut, one charity, the MPCF benefits immensely from the bods at the Town Hall.

To quote the report, ‘The Council provides support to the MPCF in a number of ways. These include administrative support from Council employees, provision of Council venues and equipment for fund raising events and printing of posters and tickets.’

I’d suggest that a good few of the local charities that are trying to do some amazing work locally, would love to receive this level of support for FREE!

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Questions

I’ve now contacted the Council’s Chief Internal Auditor, and asked him, why the Mayor of Peterborough Charity Fund has “spent” more in one year, than it raised and exactly who’s bank account does the money raised get kept in?

Let me know your thoughts on this below!

When can we expect to see more bobbies in Gunthorpe?

Police at Brookside methodist church
Police at Brookside methodist church, in Gunthorpe

You may remember last year, that one of the promises made by the Tories during the General Election, was to introduce 20,000 extra police officers across the country – now whilst we know that they had previously cut the force by 20,000 – I for one would still like to know when we can expect to see them in Gunthorpe and parts of Werrington?

Only last month, the Harrier on Gunthorpe Road, was burgled in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

While, according to the website police.uk reports of burglary in this area, averaged around 4 a month between August 2019 and November 2019.

But as I always remind people, reported crime does not always represent the true level of crime? For example, when it comes to burglary, I’ve heard stories about some residents not even realising they’ve been burgled and thus, do not report it.

So where are the Cops?

Police at Cissbury Ring
Police at Cissbury Ring, in Werrington

That is the question I’d like an answer to. Therefore, I have now formally contacted the Police Crime Commissioner for Peterborough and asked him to furnish me with the information.

I’ve also asked for details as to how much coverage we get and when the last roaming police surgery was, if they are still going at all?

As always, if you have thoughts or opinions on policing in this area, please let me know below.

Here’s ONE Council that’s NOTHING like Peterborough ….

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If you rarely leave the city of Peterborough, you might be mistaken to think that all Councils across the UK are the same as the one we have here?

The reality is, this simply is NOT the case.

For example, allow me to introduce you to Hammersmith & Fulham Council:

  • A place with a population of 185,426 (Peterborough’s population is about 202,000).
  • In 2011, foreign-born residents made up 43% of Hammersmith & Fulham’s population (source).
  • In 2016, H&F’s Council announced their councillors had frozen their allowances for the second year, and the salaries remained the same for 2017/2018 and for 2018/2019.
  • In H&F, a Band A property pays £721.68 a year in Council Tax, in Peterborough we pay £896. A Band B property in H&F pays £841.97 in Council Tax per year, while in Peterborough it’s £1044.
  • H&F have a resident-led Climate and Ecological Emergency commission, i.e. more action and less hot air, unlike Peterborough City Council!
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Council is offering local residents of all ages and levels of experience the chance to work as an apprentice. If you search the term “apprenticeship” on the PCC website, you get one link, to an old article, talking about the work of someone else!

Cuts are essential, right?

Remember how the local Tories in our city have been acting like a crazed hairdessers, by cutting services and staff in recent years, and announcing millions more in cuts for 2020/2021?

Well press the play button on the below video to listen to a Hammersmith & Fulham councillor talking about what they are up to!

Why is there a difference?

There is of course one very BIG difference, between Peterborough and Hammersmith & Fulham Councils …… Peterborough is controlled by the Conservatives (has been for 20 years) and H&F is run by Labour!