I read about this new forum in the latest Tower Hamlet’s Home newsletter “opendoor” dated November 2009. Of course the Respect initiative is a relatively new one, which also has a website here. It is part of the Home Office’s “tackling anti-social behaviour” policy. I am not sure though that many of you can make that connection from just reading that newsletter as it has not got a link to the Respect website that is part of the Home Office website.
As the only Neighbourhood Watch coordinator in Bethnal Green North, I would have appreciated it if Tower Hamlets Homes would at least have offered me membership on the Respect Forum because I could not go to this Open Day as I had another very important meeting to go to. I am sometimes invited to 3 meetings per day and I have to choose one of them.
This is yet another forum that I hope can be integrated well with the current infrastructure of communal crime fighting. We do have the SNT forums and hope to see those 16 volunteers there to meet them.
It is important to let those groups interact effectively and whilst in the rest of the UK Neighbourhood Watches are very much established, Tower Hamlets decided 7 years ago to stop funding them, though a very good national infrastructure for Neighbourhood Watches exists.
I fail to see from the article how the Respect Forum exchanges views with the LAPs and or SNT forums and can’t wait to hear from the appropriate persons what their plans are. Ideally Neighbourhood Watch coordinators would form a central part of such forums. The Respect initiative should also form part of the Justice Seen, Justice done theme that Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to promote this week at the Rich Mix centre with the support of Alan Johnson and John Denham, all very senior government ministers.
It worries me slightly that there is no clear and concurrent strategy running through those groups and hope that there will be one very soon.