Alastair Roberts (Cambridge City Council Officer),
I am writing to you as you are given as the contact for the “North Area Neighbourhood Policing” agenda item for the North Area Committee meeting held on the 20th of January.
At that meeting I witnessed the councillors voting unanimously to support, unamended, the recommendations for police priorities given at the top of page 7 of the Police report (http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2008/0110arean/07.pdf). The chair introduced the vote referring specifically to the top of page 7.
These priorities were:
- Dwelling Burglary across the neighbourhood
- Robberies in Kings Hedges and Arbury
- ASB in the Molewood and Hazelwood area to continue as a priority and to include dealing with environmental health issues, such as fly tipping
I have today received an ecops message stating:
NORTH NEIGHBOURHOOD PANEL MEETING
From the Neighbourhood Panel Meeting the three main objectives that were
- Robberies throughout the North
- Burglaries in East Chesterton
- Anti Social Behaviour in the area of Molewood and Hazelwood Close
Therefore these issues will be priorites for the North Neighbourhood team
over the next few months.
The first question this raises for me is if the meeting the police call the “North neighborhood panel meeting” what Cambridge City Council call their North Area Committee Meeting? It appears likely to me, but I am not sure.
If the meeting referred to is the North Area Committee, my second point is the omission on the Police’s version of the priorities of: “environmental health issues, such as fly tipping “. If the meeting is not the North Area Committee, how do I lobby this “North neighborhood panel meeting” where the actual police priorities appear to be set?
I attended the North Area committee in May 2007, where Cllr Downham first asked for fly-tipping to be added to the Police’s priorities, at that meeting the police inspector persuaded the committee not to add it and to try and get the council to try harder to deal with the problem (I believe this exchange was unminuted). In September’s meeting Cllr Downham tried again to put fly tipping on the police’s priorities and fought successfully against the police’s (through Sgt. Wragg) reluctance to have this added as a priority. (The minutes of that meeting do not reflect this, but as you can see from the police’s report to the January Committee fly tipping get mentioned in their report, and entered their suggested priorities). At the meeting on 20th January 2008 Cllr Downham asked what the police had done about fly tipping, the policeman there, Sgt. Wragg denied it was on their list of priorities. Now after the January meeting where fly-tipping was again included in the priorities the police appear to be ignoring it.
I massively support local democratic influence over police priorities and think that having Cambridge’s area committees set police priorities has huge potential for making the police in Cambridge work with and for those of us living in the City. However this is no good if the police ignore or misrepresent the priorities voted for at the meetings.
The first time Sgt. Wragg was sent to the North Area meeting in September, he apologies for the absence of the Inspector; in January 2008 the police just sent the Sgt. with no apology for not sending the Inspector. This is yet another indication that the police are not taking these meetings seriously.
I have attended these meetings (three north, and one central/west) primarily because I believe that I have lots of great ideas for improving the policing of the City of Cambridge. At the North Area committee the first time I attended I did not get an opportunity to speak, the second my questions were ignored/dismissed, last week I got an partially evasive and partially inconsistent answer, this was despite emailing my question to Sgt. Wragg a month in advance. At the central/west meeting I attended one where the police weren’t present, but spoke anyway; I had read all the information available about these meetings – but the fact the police only attend every other is not made particularly clear. (Even the fact the Police attend doesn’t make the Police website, council posters advertising the meetings, or the council’s webpages on area committees, or specific committees).
I have copied Cllr Downham as I have referred to her in this email.