Drug and crime related ASB meeting

The date when the London Borough of Hackney and Tower Hamlets formally joined in a common policing administration, incidentally also was a date of a multi-SNT panel meeting at the Glasshouse. The three wards of Bethnal Green, St. Peters and Weavers were represented. A further meeting is planned in 3 months time.

The meeting was very well attended and the hall was filled to the brim. In attendance were non other than Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs and our local councillor and Deputy Mayor Sirajul Islam, Cllr Eve McQuillan, Cllr. John Pierce, Cllr. Asma Islam with support from London Assembly member Unmesh Desai. Further representatives of our local SNT team were present as well as officers from local housing providers.

The discussion ranged around budget pressures for the police, Anti-social behaviour and what can be done about it.

The minutes of the meeting were sent to the representatives of our Residents Association if anyone has an interest in seeing them.

There is a strong desire to rid the borough of drug dealing and related crimes, which is often expressed in gang related activity, also rough sleeping is attributed to drug related behaviour.

The main emphasis conveyed to the general public was collect evidence, forward it to Tower Hamlets Homes ASB team, your local SNT team or 101. Of course when a crime is in process always call 999.

So far, through “Operation Continuum” which was carried out in waves of house searches throughout the borough, 160 people have been arrested and around 60 have been given jail sentences.

 

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Homelessness Strategy 2018 – 2023

Homelessness and especially manifested and prolonged homelessness has a big impact on our borough and the quality of life for everybody in the borough.

It has emerged that some homeless groups now start to wear high-viz vests and look like officials of some sort and congregate around certain areas with aggressive begging becoming concerning.

Tower Hamlets Council currently holds a consultation on the forthcoming strategy to tackle the issue. A decision is due by 28. November 2018.

Consultation via the

  • homelessness Partnership Board
  • Mail out and presentation through the Tower Hamlets Housing Forum
  • Workshops with residents
  • online consultation with the general public, draft document and survey
  • internal Briefings

An Equality Impact Assessment is due by 17. September 2018

Any additional information can be obtained through mark.baigent@towerhamlets.gov.uk

I strongly recommend that all residents take part on the online consultation once available.

 

Safety recommendation

Because the spy-hole system is not reliably telling a resident that a caller outside is safe for opening the door to, I recommend that residents when ordering online for home-delivery use companies, whose delivery is being made by a courier that allows tracking to the address online or have their items delivered to a store pick up point for collection.

A life-tracking service allows us to follow the courier path and shows us when he is near our address and about to deliver to our address.

Many residents, even if they have a door entry system cannot rely on callers wearing high-viz vests having honest intentions. Through a door spy hole all residents can see is what a caller wears. It has also been reported that residents are afraid to turn others away who want to follow them into a block with door entry systems. It is not advised to start an argument with anybody wanting to get into a block. That may end in aggressive behaviour and further problems.

However, if a person, you do not trust, follows you to your door, do not open your door, but leave the area and call 999.

Housing inspections or repairs are announced via previously arranged appointments and so we at least know when to expect a caller. It is better not to widely announce when residents expect official visitors to others.

The network of permanently displaced people in Tower Hamlets is getting bigger and desperation and often drug addiction are a definite problem. Local housing shelters have closed.

We need to keep ourselves safe in our homes and whilst I thoroughly recommend charitable organisations and helping as volunteers for such, it is essential to keep our homes safe.

Beware of nuisance callers

At the last area Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting, it was mentioned that some home-less groups are now using high-viz vests and wear them on a regular basis. There is a high concentration near Stepney Green Station and around the Sainsbury’s there.

I do not want to vilify the homeless, however if behaviour becomes concerning in that somebody, wearing a high-viz vest to pretend being an official from a housing organisation and attempts to enter resident’s flats using that pretence it becomes a worry.

Yesterday, a man, wearing a high-viz vest, knocked on my door, handed me a cooking thermometer and asked me to hold it under my bathroom sink for 10 minutes to give him a reading.

He pretended to be from Tower Hamlets Homes. THH thinks it is a bogus caller.  I do remember a THH letter going round, saying, that they do not check the water on resident’s taps regularly.

Many couriers and work personnel also wear high-viz, it is hard to distinguish them and the ID that man yesterday took out of his pocket, was quickly put away, before I could even see it.

It makes a resident weary to even open the door to a caller because if everybody now wears high-viz, good and bad, there is no longer any proof that a caller, who visibly wears a high-viz and can be seen through the spyhole can be trusted.

How are residents supposed to be happily opening the doors to delivery couriers if the person outside could easily be a potential criminal also?

We do not have any entry system in Rosebery House, couriers may find it hard to even place one of those new delivery box systems into our block.