Notes from the GLERA ‘Community Conversation’ held on Wednesday 27th February 2019
Community Safety and Anti-Social Behaviour
This is a new format for the Golden Lane Estate Resident’s Association where we will be discussing matters that concern residents living on the Estate. The first of these conversations was centred around community safety and anti social behaviour in and around the local area. We live in an area where at different times of the day we have people coming in from all other areas for different reasons and this creates opportunities for uncertainty and every now and then we encounter crime and anti social behaviour which can leave us feeling unsafe and at times intimidated and vulnerable.
This evening’s guest speakers were Inspector Pete Lucas of the City of London Police, standing in for Christine Phillips our community officer and David Mackintosh, Head of Community Safety at the City of London Corporation. Jason Pritchard, who is a Common Councillor for the Portsoken Ward and a resident of Middlesex Street, came along to tell us about some of their experiences and to talk about the neighbourhood watch scheme they are piloting over on his Estate. Also present were two of Cripplegate’s Common Councillors, Mary Duncan and Will Pimlott.
Issues that arose which were put to the conversation by residents included safely on the Estate and how it is monitored and managed, rough sleepers in particular around Barbican Station which then lead into our vicinity, the impact it has on youngsters living on the Estate having to witness drug taking and paraphernalia left behind, the upcoming new build of the YMCA and how that will be managed, filming on the Estate in large groups and the aesthetics of the Estate and why it is important for the Corporation to maintain the upkeep and presentation.
Inspector Pete Lucas discussed the importance of reporting crimes to the police no matter how small either by dialling 101 or in more extreme cases calling 999. The view from the police is that they need to be made aware of certain undertakings then they are in a better position to allocate officers in these areas or at these particular times. If unreported then the provision of staff will be positioned in areas where they have had reports. He was also able to confirm that knife crime generally was not an issue in this area but was well aware of the borough boundaries in close proximity. He confirmed that nationally moped crimes had gone down dramatically in the last six months.
David Mackintosh gave some useful feedback on the work he does around co-ordinating the different bodies involved in creating a safer community. He spoke about the need for drug rehabilitation programmes and wider drug education.
Jason Pritchard spoke about the high levels of drug use around the Middlesex Street Estate and how residents were tackling ways to keep themselves safe and the need for the Corporation to be quicker in responding to ‘fixing’ communal areas where, say, a door entry system may have broken. They have started up a neighbourhood watch scheme which is the first of its kind on any Corporation Estate. And in particular communication is done via a WatsApp group where residents can share information if they have spotted something that has taken place or need information on what to do. It also acts as a look out for their neighbours particularly those that are vulnerable or in need of support. Whilst WattsApp is not available to all residents as you need to have a smart phone to download the App, it is one way of communicating and keeping in touch as well as holding regular get togethers for those that prefer to do so.
Everyone who attended found the session useful and liked the new format. Some suggestions which came from the session going forward are communication with the Corporation regarding community outreach especially with regard to youth provision, children and youth services, use of the communal areas by members of the public, crime prevention - root causes, the Estate Office, repairs and a follow up on what was discussed on this occasion. We would of course welcome any additional ideas. These can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org