"Broken Windows" new policing for Brixton

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Gramsci, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. freethepeeps

    freethepeeps Banned Banned

    Hmm, alcoholism can only be effectively treated if the person wants the treatment. Forced treatment is an extremely unpleasant and odious thought.

    Yes drug dealers generate problems, so move them on eh?

    Its the "tough on the causes of crime" bit thats missing in all of this, no?

    Its all reeking of "gentrification" imho.

  2. hatboy

    hatboy Banned Banned

    I know what you mean ftp, and I'm sure alot of people do. But please do read the beginning of this thread too. I still feel quite optimistic about Brixton policing at the moment. But as I said before, I have no problem with being wrong about it if someone else has direct experience they want to share.

  3. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    It was originally just a local policy about how to deal with cannabis offences (i.e. police would confiscate and formally warn rather than arrest (or, as happened most of the time, make the owner drop it down the nearest drain or turn a blind eye)).

    As far as I know it wasn't actually taken over as such by the new divisional commander but it all got rolled up in the overall debate which resulted in the intended reclassification to Class C which will be accompanied by new powers allowing warnings but also providing a new power of arrest if the possession is causing some form of public nuisance.

    I suspect that like many innovative new ideas it will end up so watered down and hedged around it will be virtually unrecognisable.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, back to those drains (and just hope that Professional Standards aren't watching!!)
  4. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that detective-boy.Sounds like its back to Police turning a blind eye as long as its not causing trouble.Paddicks policy has not been repudiated publicly as far as I know.It however is in contradiction to a "Broken Windows" policing.So as u indicate it going to be a political fudge.

    Hatboys concerns are valid.They are something that Harcourt is concerned about.We can all disagree on what is anti social behaviour but the power to decide that should not be delegated to the Police.

    The role of the Police in "order maintenance" is a political question.In a recent SLP article on Broken Windows a policeman asked some builders to move some rubbish.This apparently was part of making a neighbourhood better.Is general surveillance and control of a neighbourhood a role for the Police?Or should the Police role be restricted to dealing with specific crimes like street robbery for example?

    The role of the Police in this Country is confused IMO.As those of us who remember the Miners strike and more recently the arrests at the "arms fair" in London-the Police have a political role and are not neutral.

    So it concerns me that "Broken Windows" if allowed to continue to long and extended Countrywide could lead to a personally invasive policing culture.
  5. newbie

    newbie undisambiguated

    As far as I know it wasn't actually taken over as such by the new divisional commander

    Surely the cannabis leaflet was after Paddick went? SFAIK that policy hasn't been officially revoked, and so is still in force.
  6. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    Give thanks to Maggie!

    Yet another wonderful legacy of those "golden Thatcher years" (c. Twats like Littlejohn) - the most overt political use of the police in this country for very many years. The phrase "Maggies Jackbooted Stormtroopers" was so true.
  7. Monkeygrinder's Organ

    Monkeygrinder's Organ Dodgy geezer swilling vapid lager

    A bit of an aside, but how is it possible to give a travelcard to a charity?
  8. hatboy

    hatboy Banned Banned

    You bung it in a collection box and they the get a donation of LU I think. By the way, where is the St Mungo's box at Brixton station? Never seen it. Not very prominent.
  9. IntoStella

    IntoStella Banned Banned

    As you come through the barriers it is on your right. It's a yellow container about three feet high.
  10. hatboy

    hatboy Banned Banned

    They should have a sign hanging from the ceiling saying in big letters "Place your used ticket here to help raise money for St Mungo's Homeless Charity" or whatever.
  11. freethepeeps

    freethepeeps Banned Banned

    Any idea how much they give St. Mungos per card?
  12. newbie

    newbie undisambiguated

    Times have changed!

    Actually no, I'd rather have the CSOs. They may not have the full powers or training, but they don't come across as being part of a paramilitary occupying force either. I know there's been a big rebranding effort in recent years, but you'll have to forgive me, I was here when the role was unambiguous and the taste lingers (btw that was pre-Thatcher and the police were hardly a-political then). All the flashing blue vans full of tense looking young men do little to dispel the image.

    The CSOs are a much more mixed bunch than the police. I rather like the idea of middle aged women patrolling, they reassure rather than intimidate. You never see a middle aged black copper on the streets, M or F: they've either been promoted indoors or left, if they joined in the first place. Overall there's a fair ethnic, age and gender mix, more so even than parking wardens. Not a bad thing IMO.

    Whether they do any good I'm not really in a position to assess, but time will tell.
  13. pooka

    pooka Can't Re Member

    Zero Tolerance: We've been told by Dick Quinn (the Borough Commander) that "Operation Refresh" is definately not Zero Tolerance (this was when he was queried what would happen to people like the comb and paper lady). Equally, even those who advocate such a policy emphasise that it needs to be set in a community context ie zero tolerance of what? Bill Bratton, ex-Head of New York Police Dept., addressing senior British police officers, said:
    Source: Police Federation Magazine, March 2002

    Broken Windows: This is another matter. It's one of those soundbite metaphors that means different things to different people. It is itself subjective - a broken window to some will be tolerably, maybe attractively, blemished to others. I don't think the Brixton policy has officially been termed Broken Windows, although the parallel gets bandied about. Rather Quality of Life seems to be the byword.

    I think we should judge the results rather than the rhetoric. And, like hatboy, I'd say so far it's about right. All the things reffered to (the ticket touts, the begging, some of which is aggressive and some of which is supporting drug dealers, the parking on Coldharbour) have all been the subject of vociferous complaint from the community. The explicit emphasis on treatment and support, as well as enforcement, is to be welcomed though we need to be sure that the capacity for support is really there and that St Mungo's is not just being used as an inadaquate fig leaf. I'd be interested to hear what drug workers, who post here, think about the capacity issue.

    Homelessness: There was a big arguement about three years ago when the Homelessness Czarina (Loise Casey, ex-Shelter) announced falls in the street count. At the time I was sceptical on both sides - the Government needed lower figures given that they were spending a bomb on a political hot potato but equally charities are not shy of talking up their issues. Now, charities like Crisis (which was set up specifically to address single, street homelessness) accept the decline and have moved on to talk obout the invisible homeless, "sofa surfing" with friends and family. The Westminster policy has been supported by Thamesreach Bondway (the hostel at Vauxhall) (see here). So the policy in Brixton is not so far out of kilter - as long as the capacity is really there.

    Cannabis: The Lambeth Trial ran from August 2001 to August 2002 (Paddick left in March 2002). Thereafter it was replaced by a modified version whereby all juveniles would be arrested (they can't be issued with a warning without an appropriate adult being present).This has run since then and it apears to have levelled out with 18 adults being arrested for every 100 found in possesion (with the balance being warned). A slightly different regime will come into force at the end of this month, as a result of the reclassification (I'll post something on the Landor Drugs Swoop thread).

    Why didn't Paddick do better? In his time, the borough was 150 officers light (c800) - now its slightly over compliment (c960). That's a lot, when you take out the fixed costs of officers tied to desks and computer screens. Additionally, the Crime and Disorder Partnership (which Paddick was instrumental in setting up - indeed the Commissioner subsequently claimed that was why he was sent here) - has started to work, with the Local Authority doing their share. The £3.5m Communities Against Drugs money (which came in post-Paddick) was extra resource shared between the police and the LA.

    Tough on the causes: At last nights CPCG, the police gave a presentation setting out the Lambeth's position in terms of various social indicators (educational attainment, employment, teenage pregnancies, and so on) as well as in crime terms, relative to other municipalities and (specifically) other Neighbourhood Renewal Areas. Needless to say, it was grim reading. The reaction from the floor was as you'd expect, especially in respect of youth provision and school exclusions. Some old hands did comment though that, given the history of money pouring into Lambeth only to disappear god-knows-where, there would have to be a damn good case for demanding more special treatment. The police's message seemed to be "We can only do so much".

    How much does St Mungo's get? Good question. At last night's meeting there was general bitching about whether Transport for London are doing their bit. Quinn complained that if he wants to put a poster up in the Tube station explaining what's happening locally, TfL want to charge him for it. He also said he wanted to find out just how much St Mungo's gets. If he, and we, find out I'll post it.

    CSO's: I'd agree with newbie. They provide a reassuring uniformed prescence without upping the ante in the way congregations of PC's do. They are also more representative. Why is that - are people from minorities more likely to want to join the CSO's rather than the police?
  14. hatboy

    hatboy Banned Banned

    The crux of the problem with cannabis is that the law is wrong. But I'm wondering whether what's happening in Landor Rd is excessive even given weed's illegality.

    I don't go down that side much now I'm not boozing much and the Greenleaf late-night dos are no more, but when I do I still meet polite weed dealers. They aren't all bad, some are Brixton residents who should have a say too and everyone has to make a living.

  15. pk

    pk drink flounce rinse repeat

    Weed isn't a problem.

    It's the crack dealers, often armed, and the crack dependents, often out mugging to raise funds for their habits, not to mention the prostitution and car crime that goes hand in hand with crack business.

    And I'd sooner see the place gentrified to some extent than the rancid old farts that urinate all over Windrush Square increasing in number.

    Hey, that's just me.
  16. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Post pub pissed anger alert.

    Look pk you live in sodding Epsom or Surbiton or somewhere.... Margot and Gerry country anyway.....You cut out of the city a while ago when you couldn't handle it any longer. There are a lot of older West Indian piss-heads in Windrush Square/Tate Gardens....they've all been kicked out of the Dogstar and Living....leave them alone....you don't know them personally and I'm sure they'd rather keep it that way.

    <edited to add>
    The Dogstar was the Atlantic and Living was the Coach and Horses...both pubs that catered for older West Indians....they were all barred because of gentrification......
  17. pk

    pk drink flounce rinse repeat

    So I don't live in Brixton anymore... doesn't mean I don't pass through... I get around, all over the place, all over the country... I think in some respects you could say I have a more objective perspective on Brixton because unlike some I actually have left Lambeth borough at least twice a year, I cut out of the city because I didn't want my son growing up surrounded by pissheads and dealers, I didn't want his first words to be "yo,yo,wanna buy a Travelcard" and I didn't want his local playgrounds to be littered with filthy fucking needles dropped by scumbags on smack.... you think I like the fact that elderly residents are out on the streets for 8 hours a day drinking and pissing... sure give them a social club... or no, you could just leave them there to do their own thing, then you wonder why shops are boarded up and poverty thrives, I grew up in South London and I try to concentrate on the positives - but to give these drunks and crackheads some kind of "aaah, they're so quaint, so Brixton" is doing them a disservice as well as the residents, just because it's a trendy thing living in an "edgy" area, I'm all for improving community services and facilities - but to say that these perma-pissed people are a better sight than some moderate and intelligent modification to improve the image of the jewel of South London is plain daft... watching junkies openly injecting themselves and crackheads prepare a pipe gets my hackles up and turns my stomach - to see this in the middle of a main throughfare and the central axis of Brixton is just a joke...
  18. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Well. I'm glad you have the luxury of choice pk. I have three kids and five grandchildren and I'm still here making the best of it.........and my kids think they are the better for it. Don't think moving away protects your kids....I know of rural kids with smack habits.........
  19. pk

    pk drink flounce rinse repeat

    And I know of alcoholics here too, there are of course the drug problems, but they're not in your face 24/7, and the parks are not littered with discarded needles, and the streets aren't laced with dogshit, and you do not have crack dealers trying sell you rocks.

    I do have the luxury of choice - but I can't help feeling if people made the effort then these drunk dudes (who I am sure are lovely people!) could have somewhere warm to meet up and drink Kestrel Super, and the community could have it's gardens back.

    I can't help thinking that knowing you and your resolute character has had more of an impact on your children and grandchildren than living in Brixton ever will mate.

  20. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    It's not being resolute, I'm a faffing muddler. But when my ex died of cerebral malaria after 20 years in Africa leaving destitute motherless children in an arid area where the rains had failed for seven years, without being asked, the kestrel super drinkers made a collection that really helped those kids........
  21. pk

    pk drink flounce rinse repeat

    So I guess they've earned their right to piss in the streets then...
  22. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

  23. Ol Nick

    Ol Nick beer in Brixton

    Thanks you two. That was a lovely little cameo.

  24. IntoStella

    IntoStella Banned Banned

    The TGDAG constitute a tiny percentage of the people who piss on Brixton. A lot of those who do are young, reasonably affluent (or effluent?) people passing through who get off the tube after a night out and have a slash before getting a bus on to Streatham, Dulwich or wherever.

    I certainly don't have a problem with the TGDAG. They are no problem at all compared with the crack dealers.
  25. pk

    pk drink flounce rinse repeat

    Naaa, you're right. They're cool.

    I was just in a pissy mood.

  26. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    For those who don't know, this means the Tate Gardens Drinking Advisory Group, a much loved title bestowed by the lovely edgarlesty.......the local kids are not as respectful and just refer to the area and its patrons as Jurassic Park.......
  27. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Ditto pk :oops:

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