Sunday, 22 November 2015

Report on Extraordinary Police ward panel meeting.

Steve O'Connell AM, Simon Densley (Chair), Paul Scully MP
and Cllr Paul Wingfield addressing the meeting.
On Friday the 30th October an extraordinary Police Ward Panel Meeting was called to discuss the possible savings needing to be found from the police budget and the effects this might have on local Neighbourhood policing in Worcester Park.

The meeting in Maple Lodge was well attended by local residents with representatives from all parts of Worcester Park as well as Cllr Paul Wingfield. (Other councillors had long standing appointments and weren't able to be there.)

It was also attended by Steve O'Connell, our London Assembly member and Paul Scully, our local MP, both of whom spoke expansively and were able to provide some insight.

Steve O'Connell, being our representative to the London Mayor, told the meeting that "Boris would never simply sit back and allow the successful neighbourhood policing in London to simply be taken away."

Paul Scully promised that he would talk to the chancellor George Osborne about the issue and do all he could to safeguard our great local police here in Worcester Park.

The meeting resolved with everyone in agreement that the Chair, Simon Densley should write to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to express the views of the meeting and ask that the existing policing situation in Worcester Park be retained.

The main section of that letter, sent on the 17th November is set out here below:

Dear Sir Bernard, 
As chair of the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team Ward Panel in Worcester Park, London Borough of Sutton, I recently called an extraordinary ward panel public meeting (Friday 30th October) to discuss concerns about possible changes to local policing in the face of reportedly expected budget cuts. This was attended by Paul Scully MP and Steve O'Connell AM. 
There are two things that came out of this meeting which I would like to make you aware of, plus the outcomes we would like to see locally.
First, the general conclusions drawn about what is going on was seen clearly as a negotiation in public with the opening position being every possibility on the table including the unpalatable ones.
We can see that the recent ominous headlines are a result of political game-playing by the Met and the politicians.  Essentially the pitch to the politicians is ‘make any more cuts and we’ll destroy your showcase policing policy and blame you’.  Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation, the main losers will be us, the public. We note also that the HMIC has criticised the police in general for expensive budget failures.  Poor planning on future staffing, wasteful computer systems and a paranoid fear of the private sector. We accept that money needs to be saved and these failures should be addressed before taking the axe to PCSO’s and the success of Neighbourhood Policing. At the same time we asked our MP Paul Scully to raise our concerns with the Chancellor George Osborne to ensure that the police budget allows our Neighbourhood Policing system to continue in as unchanged a state as possible.
Second and more importantly, our existing Neighbourhood Policing setup in Worcester Park is an example of why it is so important not to lose our Neighbourhood Policing system.  Gary Weaving is our own dedicated PCSO in Worcester Park ward. Gary is well known in the local area and provides a valuable bridge between the police and the community. He knows the area well, he knows who the local trouble makers are, and he knows who the local vulnerable people are. He is always friendly and approachable and has a rapport with the local traders in the high street as well as local residents. We believe his understanding of the local community is a source of invaluable intelligence which has been instrumental in helping bring and keep crime down in Worcester Park. Additionally in 2013 Gary received a Met Police ‘environmental efficiency’ commendation award for his leading role in creating the ‘fishery’ in the wetland area of 'The Hamptons' part of the ward, something he did in his own time for the local community he wishes to serve.
It would not only be a terrible loss to our local community to lose PCSO Gary Weaving, that loss would be hugely disproportionate to any financial gain from such a change.
I have no doubt that the majority of London Borough wards have similar stories to tell and that our dedicated ward officers and PCSOs have proven themselves to be both an effective and efficient tool in reducing crime locally. In light of recent events in France, I would also argue that such officers are our intelligence foot soldiers and that without them, a vital source of information for our security services would be cut off.
As the Worcester Park ward panel we are resolved to ask as the highest priority, the retention of Gary Weaving as our dedicated ward PCSO. We would also ask that our current system of Neighbourhood Policing remain unchanged and lastly the retention of our Police Office at 154 Central Road, Worcester Park, KT4 8HH.
I look forward to a positive resolution to this current set of negotiations, which will see both sides take a sensible position bringing both the necessary financial benefits while retaining the effective and efficient aspects of Neighbourhood Policing.

Yours sincerely

Simon Densley
(Chair, Worcester Park Police Safer Neighbourhood Team Ward Panel)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Extraordinary Police Ward Panel public meeting

There has been concern recently about possible changes to the local neighbourhood policing due to possible savings needing to be found from the police budget.

Simon Densley, as chair of the Worcester Park Police Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel (as well as the WPRA), has called an extraordinary Ward Panel meeting and it has been recently decided to open this up to the wider public so this important issue can be discussed in public so we as a community can make known our views on the future of local policing in Worcester Park.

Both our London Assembly Member, Steve O'Connell and our new MP Paul Scully have agreed to be present and speak at the meeting to give us an inside view of the situation, and also listen to our concerns and take our views back to the next level on our behalf.

The meeting has been organised for this coming Friday 30th October at Maple Lodge in the Hamptons at 7:30pm.

Please feel welcome to come along and air your views.

Friday, 17 July 2015

WPRA AGM says goodbye to committee members and welcomes new ones.

The WPRA is sorry to see Hughie Byrne step down as chairman and Tom Higgs step down from his role covering three committee posts: Treasurer, Membership and Communications, as of the AGM on 15th July. Hughie took over from Arthur Hookway when he stood for a council seat but was also working with both the WPRA and the HRA (Hamptons Residents' Association - before it became the HEC) before this. Tom has been the backbone of the WPRA for the last 7 years - taking on and completing whatever needed to be done. Both Hughie and Tom will be greatly missed.

The WPRA would like to welcome the Revd Andy Cain to the committee as Deputy Chair as well as welcoming Angela Marriot, Bob Sparrow and John Clare to the general committee. Simon Densley took over as Chair while Alison McDonald has stepped into two roles: Treasurer and Membership. Revd Andy Cain has also taken on to the Email Communications job. Mick Byford continued his role as Minutes Secretary. Everyone was elected unopposed and the WPRA would like to welcome everyone elected or re-elected to these positions. The full committee list can be seen here.

There were also a number new members who signed up at the AGM. The WPRA would like to welcome all new members and also remind existing members who have not renewed that you only have until the 1st October before your membership lapses. (It's only £1 per household!) Download membership form here.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Next WPRA Meeting - AGM - Wed 15th July 2015

This year' s Annual General Meeting will be held at Christ Church with St.Philip, Ruskin Drive on Wednesday 15th July 2015 commencing at 7:30pm. PLEASE NOTE this meeting will take place in the church congregation area and not in one of the halls. Please make every effort to attend this meeting as it is the most appropriate time to comment on any issue that you have or could affect you. We look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Application refusal overturned by inquiry

On Wednesday the 13th May 2015, members of the Worcester Park community received the news that the application for a Mosque at 2-4 Green Lane, which had been turned down twice by Sutton Council, had been granted for a 4 year trial on appeal. The decision had been postponed from February due to a close family bereavement of the Planning Inspector. See the planning decision notice here.

The WPRA worked very hard in objecting to this application and many local people are bewildered as to why the planning inspector saw fit to ignore the nearly 8,000 petition signatures and the near 1,000 letters of objections we worked so hard to collect. We all know the parking and traffic problems in Worcester Park (particularly in that area) are already appalling and the change of use at this site will make it so much worse.

As much as we disagree with it however, we must accept the decision and work with all parts of the community to try to limit the detrimental effects and continue to promote a positive and inclusive community spirit.

There have been conditions placed on the planning permission including five that require submission of appropriate plans to the council and their approval. We need to work with our local councillors to monitor the situation and ensure any breach of those conditions are brought to the council's attention.