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News and Comment October 2012

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16 October (Part 1) - Crime down in Bexley. Not in the Civic Centre obviously

A meeting of the Bexley Community Policing Engagement Group is probably a bit too far removed from Bexley council business to merit a place here but I succumbed to the encouragement of the lads of the Bexley Council Monitoring Group (BCMG) and took myself off to Crayford last night. If I had known how bad the bus service to Crayford is I wouldn’t have bothered. I waited for a 492 for only 30 seconds which was lucky because there are only two an hour in the early evening.

The meeting hall was filled with seventy or more people, two of them councillors. Alex Sawyer who greeted me like a long lost friend was there to publicise the council’s Crime Survey which I had already completed. Councillor Howard Marriner sat next to me. This is probably no way to gain admittance to Teresa O’Neill’s select inner circle.

Big crime surveyThe Crime Survey (click image to complete it) asks what residents fear most and what their concerns are. That may be laudable but shouldn’t police crime statistics be the more reliable indicator? The general public would probably vote for capital punishment and immediate exit from the European Union but politicians claim they know best. I feel a crime survey lacks logic. However Alex wants to improve on last year’s 1,141 survey completions, so please help him out by clicking the link. It only takes a minute or so and will help the deluded Teresa O’Neill believe she runs a ‘Listening council’.

Twenty five minutes late Police Commander Victor Olisa turned up. As is almost inevitable with his sort of job he had been held up by a previous meeting. He was at a meeting of his own officers and said he had to do “a lot lot more to do to lift morale”, then made a brief reference to the old days when “cops did unsavoury things”. My experience of policemen is that they are uniformed thugs and should never ever be trusted. If anyone is going to change my mind it might be Victor Olisa.

He said crime this year is down 2% overall, robberies down 29%, motor theft 13%, knife crime 23%, serious youth violence 41% and burglary down 23% last year and he was expecting another five or six percent down in the current year. I was left wondering what could have gone up so much that the overall reduction was only 2%. Perhaps the 2% was London wide and not just Bexley where things seem to be going very well. But not in Crayford according to the Acting Sergeant Sharp who showed some slides exhibiting a bit of a problem. I suppose the presence of the self-proclaimed criminal relatives of Crayford councillor Melvin Seymour will be doing his statistics no good at all. Fortunately Sergeant Sharp is getting on top of Crayford’s problem.

Chief Superintendent Olisa repeated what was said at last week’s council committee meeting. That 40 of his officers are being trained in the use of Taser and he expects two to be on duty at any one time in the borough. If you don’t want something else to worry about don’t go Googling for “Taser deaths”.

On drugs Olisa said there was “no particular area where it is prevalent” and seemed to indicate the drug dealers roam all over the place. A lady who said that there had been dealers outside her house in Slade Green for the past 13 years and wanted to know what was being done about them was promised a day out with Victor’s men next time they have a blitz on drugs. He seems to be a man who will leave his mark on Bexley and not the sort of stain we are used to.

The main event of the evening was a presentation by the council’s CCTV manager Steve Farley but I had checked the bus times home on the stop outside the meeting hall. There was a scheduled 69 minute gap in the service at an inappropriate time, so I am afraid I gave Mr. Farley a miss. Next time the BCMG people ask me to go to Crayford for a BCPEG meeting I shall give that a miss too.


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