On Wednesday night at the full Council we will spend 30 minutes debating a motion on how to improve the Councils response to ASB. Peter Golds & I have proposed:
Reducing our reliance on 101 by:
A new Council run 247 telephone number to report ASB like in Newham (all of our neighbouring Councils provide a phone number on which to report ASB, not all 247), only TH only uses 101
An email address to which ASB issues can be sent like our neighbours (currently we only have ward level SNT emails) for non urgent reports
A new app & online reporting tool to which ASB reports/photos/videos can be spent using a map to mark locations like is provided in Sunderland
Fine people using NOX canisters in public or selling them like Lambeth does already (it is currently not illegal to use them)
Review the location and number of CCTV cameras as many areas in E14 have none. Other parts of the UK use trained volunteers to help view CCTV camera feed but not TH as the main argument against having more CCTV cameras is the need to have more staff to look at the feed
We have used examples from our neighouring Boroughs to prove that the ideas are practical and affordable
The full motion is below
Motion regarding Anti-Social Behaviour & Crime in Tower Hamlets
Proposer: Councillor Andrew Wood
Seconder: Councillor Peter Golds
The Council notes:
The results of the 2018 Tower Hamlets Annual Residents' Survey show that the top concern for residents was crime with 41% concerned. Only 48% rated Policing as excellent, very good or good, the lowest rating of the subjects surveyed. 60% felt drug use or drug dealing issue was a big problem.
It is clear that residents are deeply concerned about the impact of ASB and drug dealing on their neighbourhoods.
We have four core problems as regards ASB and the issues that affect people’s quality of life
1. Reporting difficulties leading to frustration from residents and probably under reporting
2. The use of NOX canisters and the limited means the Police have to control their use
3. The distribution of CCTV cameras with heavy concentrations in some areas and few elsewhere
4. There being different processes and contact methods for different issues which affect residents, a noticeable example being the 7 different steps in the Councils ‘Who do I call Crime & ASB reporting in TH’ flowchart or the flowchart used by Limehouse SNT mapping all of the different contact methods.
5. That the council requires a 1-page flowchart (with links to other information) to document the information indicates that there is a communication problem.
Given the reductions in Police numbers and funding we need to find ways of using the resources we have more effectively.
The main method for reporting ASB is the 101 service but this has fundamental problems:-
• It can be difficult to get through especially at night
• It is one dimensional and cannot easily be use it to share locations, video or photographs.
• It does not record other quality of life issues, in particular noise
• It’s lack of integration frequently results in SNT teams requiring residents to report issues twice:
o Firstly on 101 to get a CAD reference
o Secondly, to the SNT via email or their own phone perhaps using WhatsApp to share photos
Tower Hamlets is disproportionally dependent on the 101 service unlike our neighbours who usually provide other methods for reporting ASB.
• Newham residents are able to call their Enforcement and Safety Team on a 24 hour number. There is also an online reporting tool.
• Greenwich residents are able to report non-urgent incidents to the Anti-Social Behaviour Team by email and phone number.
• Southwark residents have access to an Antisocial Behaviour Unit contactable by telephone or email
• Hackney residents have an ASB team for streets, public spaces and parks contactable by phone and email
Other London Boroughs also have online reporting forms prominently displayed when residents undertake an internet search on the boroughs name and ASB.
Tower Hamlets by contrast provides no central email address or phone number to call and only has an online reporting form at the very bottom of a long web-page.
This may explain why the Borough Commander’s report for 2016 showed Tower Hamlets had the worst rates of ASB in East London.
This Council therefore proposes the following:
1. The establishment of a 247 phone service together with a central email address for all ASB and quality of life related issues
2. This service to be fully integrated, dealing with noise and other related issues to ensure that residents only need to know just one number/one email
3. The Police agree that ASB reported to the Council is included in any allocation of resources to ensure that residents do not have to also call 101 in order to secure the allocation of Police resources to their area
4. The development of an online tool + app allowing residents to report a range of issues online. This could be based on the 'MyStreet' App rolled out in Sunderland this year. Other possibilities are the FiFiLi app, OWL. The council could simply buy the license for ‘My Street’ which would be the equivalent of an online One Stop Shop for quality of life issues. As with FiFiLi this would have the ability to tag precise locations on a map and to share photographs.
These solutions will:
Ensure that residents have the ability to share precise locations, videos, pictures across multiple platforms but that it would all go to same place.
That easily obtained software solutions which are now available will help integrate and share this data with partners
The Council notes:
That the Labour manifesto for 2014 pledged “A 24hr noise and ASB hotline to help tackle rising crime – Nuisance noise doesn’t sleep, that’s why Labour will introduce a 24h hotline to report noise and anti-social behaviour at weekends to ensure people’s complaints are addressed.”
By instituting proposals outlined above will reduce pressure on the 101 service, allow the collection of more data, reduce the frustration residents feel as they have multiple methods for reporting issues and provide the council and partners with more intelligence as where to focus necessary activities.
The Council resolves to follow the example of Labour controlled Lambeth Council and:
Implements its Public Space Protection Order for Novel Psychoactive Substances, which allows Police Officers, PCSO’s and THEO’s to issue fines up to £1,000 per incident Borough wide. The order prohibits the “ingestion, inhalation, injection, smoking, possession or otherwise use of intoxicating substances” in public spaces. The order also provides powers to stop the selling or supply of intoxicating substances.
Such has been the success in Lambeth that the council is now extending their PSPO for another 3 years having first introduced it in 2015
This, if introduced in Tower Hamlets will provide the Police and Council with more tools to combat the young men often in cars who litter our streets as they party.
The council notes that:
The Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect in May 2016 and makes it illegal to sell or import Nitrous Oxide for human consumption (exempting medical supply). However, the use of Nitrous Oxide, as opposed to the import and sale of nitrous oxide remains legal. Equally whilst driving when intoxicated may result in fines or a custodial sentence, Nitrous Oxide is not one of the drugs with a specified limit within the Road Traffic Act.
The legal situation with regard to Nitrous Oxide remains confused which is why the adoption of a targeted Public Space Protection Order while we work alongside our local MP’s and Ministers, London Councils and the Local Government Association for an enforceable solution to this ongoing problem
This council institutes a review of the current CCTV and lighting network.
The Council rightly highlights on its social media the successes the cameras have had in arrests (3 a day). Those areas with little or no CCTV feel left out. Criminals and boy racers know where the holes are in the CCTV network i.e. Limehouse Op Naga or Wapping High Street. Temporary cameras can help but the Borough has changed a great deal in the last 15-30 years but that the locations of our CCTV cameras has not followed to the same extent. Given the S106 and CIL resources the council has in the bank, it should also be possible to add new cameras as well.
The council calls upon the further use of LED bulbs would also help reduce costs and improve visibility on our streets.
The council notes that Norfolk County Council have recruited local residents as unpaid Police Support Volunteers to help with CCTV monitoring. This would be an opportunity for Tower Hamlets residents to take part in assisting the fight against ASB.