CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The Safer Neighbourhood Board lacks transparency

25 October, 2019

• CAMDEN Safer Neighbourhood Board’s next meeting is on October 28 in the Crowndale Centre at 7pm.

The first meeting I attended was an absolute shambles and the residing chair, I believe, little more than a bully.

The agenda allowed 20 minutes for the Camden Policing Report, 15 minutes for the Community Safety Partnership Report and 35 minutes for the Camden Dog Hub.

The first two items were abandoned as many attendees were greatly concerned with what was happening on the Mayford estate.

Details were related of drug users injecting beneath residents’ bedroom windows and children being robbed on the estate.

It also emerged that the Camden Dog Hub had been provided with office space, courtesy of Camden Council, when such accommodation would have been better utilised for residential activities.

My sympathy is with the residents and I fully support them for speaking up. The chair appeared to have lost control and kept on telling people to “Be quiet”. I gave up counting after at least 12 to 14 “Be quiets”.

However it did emerge that the Camden Dog Hub is funded by the council to the tune of £40,000 per annum.

Apparently it deals with bad behaviour in mainly “status” dogs. The funding will continue for a couple of years and indeed previously it was funded for four years at £30,000 pa.

Information from the council regarding the dog hub has been both contradictory and obfuscatory.

However the council does extol the virtues of the dog hub and so one can rest assured that the distribution and monitoring of public funds are in the safe hands of Camden Council.

Having attended two meetings of the Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board (CSNB) I was intrigued as to how the trustees set the agenda.

Apparently when asked about notes or minutes of the public meetings the CSNB do not minute such, and a record of what was raised is not available to the public attendees.

How what was raised at the public meetings is carried forward, and an update given, is a mystery as no update is provided at subsequent meetings. The trustees set the agenda based on their own preferences and in private.

When the secretary of the CSNB was asked for copies of the minutes of the trustees’ meetings, his response was that trustees’ meetings are private, it’s a forum where they have a frank and open conversation with both the police and council. He added they do not publish the minutes.

At the last meeting I also openly requested such directly from the chairman and was refused copies of the minutes of the trustee meetings.

The published information about the CSNB states it “is a community-led charity that brings together the community, police and council with the aim of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in Camden.”

It is certainly not community-led and lacks transparency. I believe it is manipulated by the council and the local police to achieve what they want and the community is a poor last.

Attending such meetings appears to be a waste of time under the current circumstances. On the agenda for the next meeting, point 4, appears to restrict questions to two subjects. The information I have stated here is either gleaned from the meetings or published material.

PETER
Camden Road

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