Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Springfield PACT

The first PACT meeting for Springfield last night was a well-attended and lively affair.

The police had advertised the meeting in local shops and meeting pl;aces, and we had promoted it via our newsletter and our e-newsletter (which I'm in the process of revamping). I guess there were about 20 residents there, of whom 15 lived in either Springfield or Whinfield.

As well as the police and the Haughton West ward councillors (Geoff Walker was there from Haughton East as well) Glenn Caley, one of the Council's Anti-Social Behaviour Officers was there too. He helped answer some inportant questions on how the agencies respond to the problems of disorder in Springfield and more widely.

The PACT agreed that the three priorities for Springfield would be the riding of illegal motorbikes around the ward; problems with anti-social behaviour; and speeding, especially on Thompson Street East and Hutton Avenue.

Some of the difficulties residents talked about weren't new - problems on Springfield Park and along the river go back years. At various times, there has been success in damping down problems, only for them to reappear at a later date. Understandably, there was some cynicism as to whether anything could change now. What was stressed over and over again (and it was really helpful that Bev Hutchinson, the excellent secretary of Whinfield Residents' Association was there) was that it is only when residents report individual incidents that resources will be targetted to address the problem.

So one resident reported regular examples of illegal motorbikes riding up and down Green Lane. The police however, knew nothing about it because no-one had rung in. As Bev pointed out, Whinfield Residents' Association had only managed to get action taken when members had laboriously phoned in each example of a local problem. The point was well-made.

Of great interest was the news that the police are piloting community speeding cameras were being piloted across Darlington, and could be trialled in hot-spots around Whinfield and Springfield. They will be operated by local volunteers, under the supervision of a police officer. That's likely to be introduced in the New Year.

I was also struck by the information relayed by Sgt. Daryl Edmunds about research undertaken with local kids as to their drinking habits; - they were asked whether they drank alcohol?; if their friends did?; and did they feel under any pressure to use alcohol themselves? In fact, the survey showed that a relatively small proportion of young people drank alcohol - a far higher proportion thought their friends did, however, and so young people felt under pressure to use alcohol too.

As a result, the police and members of the council's anti-social behaviour team have been going into schools to tackle these perceptions. Addressing outlets that might still be selling alcohol to young people via the Challenge 21 scheme will play a key role too. Helpfully, the myth that "there's nothing to do" for young people in the area was exploded. This is a really difficult issue, and something fellow Darlington bloggers have been commenting on recently - it's something I intend to return to here very soon.


Anonymous said...

Cllr Wallis, it was good to see such a detailed breakdown of the “hard work” carried out by you in your ward over the last eighteen years in your ward with fellow Cllr What’s his name, see


Seven pieces of work over 18 years that’s 0.19 pieces of work a year or 0.0158 a month or 0.00365 a week and you get paid over £15,000 for that!

Even by public sector standards that crazy, I can even break it down into how little you do a day or week my calculator hasn’t got enough space on its screen to display that many decimal points! Jeez no wonder he spends so much time blogging and offering flawed advice to anyone who’s daft enough to listen, I mean it’s not like your busy is it!

Pay your wages back immediately for the past 18 years your a disgrace who doesn’t deserve to be a Cllr! I’ve read you blog over the past year and all it’s done is politicising me away from you and your ilk. I’m now considering standing as a Cllr against you and your cronies in the next elections (2011 my wife informs me) all I need to do now is decided between the Lib Dems and Tories!

Darlington Councillor said...

Dare I say 'Hmmm'...?

The instances I gave of the kind of hands-on work David, Andy and myself have done over the years on Mike's blog was limited to one small (though very important) part of the ward - Springfield Park (and it was a truncated list of work at that). You seem like a fair-minded and generous sort of person, anonymous, so I'm sure you'd agree that our record here has helped shape the park for the better on behalf of local residents.

If I were to try and list everything we've done over the years across the ward, I'd be sitting typing here for hours!

The residents of Haughton West have been good enough to re-elect Labour ward councillors over the years, and it is of course entirely up to them to keep us or throw us out in 2011. Their's is the only opinion that really matters.

miketually said...

Do we report incidents on the Durham police number: 03456060365?

Are reports to the streetscene email address passed on to the police?

Darlington Councillor said...

The number I have Mike is 0845 60 60 365.

As ar as I'm aware, there is good liaison between Street scene and the police - did you have a particular issue in mind?

james said...

Am reminded of the term "tacit knowledge" - stuff people know that public services need to know to work properly and also, stuff one service knows that another doesn't. PACT meetings help in this process of allowing people to give this tacit knowledge, the research does too, and the crime reduction partnership, come to think of it.

Reporting of incidents is something I've heard mentioned before, and it's about the same thing. It's natural to think, well there's no point in me putting in a call but the more information, the more chance of dealing with an issue.

ianw said...

0345 6060365 NOT 0845 anymore

I know I have used it lots lately and met only last night with Mr Thompson of the Police authority.

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks, Ian.

In fact (confusingly) you can use both - we used the 0845 number yesterday to report an abandoned car.

I tried checking on the Durham Constabulary website, but this is down after a hacking attack, apparently. A 'cached' google search shows 0845.

miketually said...

Just an idiot on a motorcross bike on the field opposite Riverside Way while I was walking the dog at the weekend.

I started to phone it in (using the 03- number), but I'm 'allergic' to using telephone menu systems while trying to walk and watch out for a motorbike and dog at the same time, and I wasn't 100% certain it was the right number.

Once home, it didn't seem worth phoning in as he was long gone by then. An email would make more sense, but there's no indication of a direct email address on the police website and I had no response at all when using the contact form.

If I can email Streetscene, I at least know the figures will probably be collated by the council, as well as being passed on to the police.

Darlington Councillor said...

That's a really interesting point, Mike.

Clearly, if there is risk to life and limb, then 999 would be appropriate. The police have explicitly made clear however, that they would such incidents as you describe to be reported to them, even after the event - this will allow them to build up a picture of when and where incidents are taking place, and also (hopefully) a description of the perpetrators.

The new beat team will have a key 'intelligence' element within it, and the information that you could provide might lead to a bike being seized and/or crushed at a later date.

Emailing the police is another issue I've raised with our local beat sergeant Daryl Edmunds. I am emailing officers about incidents, depending on their severity, but I think that for the time being, the police would rather we all phoned in problems using the 0845/0345 number.

ianw said...

Perhaps the waitng time is to give the officer "head start" time to start pedaling as I assume they already know your location once the system puts you on hold.

Why have so many numbers there is more numbers than Police.

While I am on Nick I have not seen any posts from you on the new private security company many Skerne Park residents have employed...any thoughts/comments