Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dirty habits

Local resident Jade contacted me recently to bring her petition to my attention; she's asking people to support her efforts to highlight the problem of anti-social behaviour in New Butt Lane North. This little stretch of lane is the bit that runs around the back of the Paddy Power between Reginald Road and Hales Street, and is being treated as a (very) public toilet by the groups of people who hang around on the corner.

Jade is a resident of the lane, and as she explained in her email, she is not normally the campaigning type. "To be honest I was not going to start a petition or write any letters even though I was beginning to get very frustrated with it. I changed my mind though when I saw a woman with her knickers round her ankles crouched down in broad daylight - doing her business! Very upsetting especially with kids running around after school!"

She has set up a petition which she is asking people to sign, to show their support for her campaign.

She has also written to Boris Johnson and Mayor Steve about it, and recently received a response from the neighbourhood community safety service on the latter's behalf, explaining the steps the council is taking to address the problem, which it believes is due to the groups of street drinkers using the lane.

"Last year, the Safer Lewisham Partnership introduced a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) across the whole of the borough. The DPPO gives the Police and other accredited officers powers to help them crack down on drinkers who disturb and intimidate other residents through their anti-social behaviour. The order does not ban drinking in public places but enables police officers to ask people to stop drinking where they are causing anti-social behaviour, nuisance or annoyance. In addition an Officer has the power to ask that person to surrender the alcohol and any other opened or sealed container in their possession.

The DPPO can now be used in tandem with Police Dispersal powers that allow Police Officers to disperse individuals causing alcohol related disorder from a particular area for up to 48 hours. If the individual returns to the area within this time they will be arrested. The enforcement of these dispersal orders will begin shortly and it’s hoped this will have a significant impact on the drinking habits of the problematic drinkers in the High Street area.

Officers from the Council’s Neighbourhood Community Safety Service are gathering statements from local businesses, residents and visitors to the area about the impact of the problem on the community. We are already aware of some of the key individuals that are causing alcohol related anti-social behaviour and the intention is to target these people using various agencies such as the Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team so that we can look at addressing their behaviour and offer the opportunity to sign up to treatment services.

Of course, enforcement does remain a consideration and the partnership will continue to work together in seeking Anti Social Behaviour Orders, where appropriate, against prolific drinkers in order to ban them from the area and prevent further alcohol related disorder.

A further action from the Safer Lewisham Partnership will be the introduction of Responsible Retailer Agreements with off licenses in the High Street. These will encourage the responsible sale of alcohol and remind retailers of their duty not to sell to those already intoxicated or to those individuals who are likely to cause alcohol related disorder outside their premises.

Finally, I’d like to tell you about a new scheme being introduced by the Council called The Deptford High Street Charter. This scheme seeks to encourage local businesses to sign up to a commitment of working with the Council and Police to improve the safety and environment of the High Street and the surrounding area. The Charter outlines what the Council and Police are doing to keep the High Street safe and tidy, and asks businesses to pledge their commitment to reporting crime, anti social behaviour and environmental issues such as fly-tipping and poorly disposed waste (anonymously if preferred)."

Some of this backs up the 'zero tolerance' approach witnessed by Crosswhatfields in recent weeks and is a welcome step; whether it will be effective in the long-term is another matter. Enforcement cannot be carried out 24/7 and even if it was, the problem would simply move elsewhere.

Is it time for a more practical solution - pop-up urinals as seen elsewhere in the UK?

It's obvious that the presence of groups of street drinkers in this location is exacerbating the issue, but in my experience they are not exclusively the problem.

I also live close to the high street, on a main walking route for shoppers, and regularly witness individuals urinating at the side of the street (in the middle of the day) as if this was something normal and acceptable. They are often in full view of a block of 20 flats. These are not street drinkers, they are just selfish individuals who can't be arsed to walk to the public toilets or wait until they get home. If it was down to me I would have them flogged publicly and made to stand where they have urinated for at least 24 hours.

But until I'm voted into power on this ticket, perhaps you would consider showing your support for Jade's petition; while heartened by the response from the council she would still like to keep it going to demonstrate that other local people support her efforts.


Billy said...

"If it was down to me I would have them flogged publicly and made to stand where they have urinated for at least 24 hours"

Well, I'm glad it's not down to you. Flogged!? A bit harsh?! I'm not sure if it's meant to be a joke but if it is you need to do some work on how you structure comedy. If not, wow. Just wow.

If I wanted to read tripe like that I'd trawl through the Daily Mail. I normally avoid that though. As much of a useful resource as this blog is for local issues, I think I'll have to avoid it too from now on.

Millhaven said...

Billy seems to have a rather over inflated view of his own talents as to what is or isn't considered comedy. Perhaps I may suggest that Billy has taken a rather humourless view of what was a throw away comment. Unless of course flogging is still a viable form of punishment? I have heard no news of its possible reinstatement into British law.

Is the Dame's lack of comedic prowess more important than the fact that people are using a public area as a urinal?

Such a humourless knee jerk reaction is just the kind of thing the Daily Mail would love. Billy and the Mail have more in common than he thinks.

Billy said...

1.My point was that it's not clear if it comedy or not. As you were not the author of this piece you don't know what the intention was, so, "throw away comment" or not, it's not really your place to comment on it.

2.Rather than attempt to belittle and patronise me, it might be better to consider that it is unclear if it was a "joke", "throw away comment" or genuine belief. The fact that I'm unsure means I have every right to suggest that the author should make the structure of her work clearer. Failure to do so leaves people unsure as to what the actual motivation behind the comment was. As this is not a comedy blog people are likely to take comments on face value.

3. "Is the Dame's lack of comedic prowess more important than the fact that people are using a public area as a urinal".

No, but I'd rather wade through a golden river each morning than live in a society where violence and humiliation are suggested as soloutions to a problem.

Deptford dame said...

@billy sarcasm and what you have clearly explained to be rubbish, badly-signposted humour is part of what I do on this blog. I could refer you to many other posts exhibiting similar 'humour' but I fear for your blood pressure.

I'm afraid I'm not planning to introduce a system of asterisks or any other way of pointing out when I'm actually joking since that would make my attempted humour even more lame.

I'm glad you find the blog a useful resource for local issues, but ultimately it's only a blog and as such is subject to the usual flaws of the human condition.

Incidentally the initial draft did include the line 'hanging's too good for them' but I thought I should tone it down a bit*.

*this is a joke

Deptford Pudding said...

Go Dame!

Ron madsky said...

Is someone taking the piss?

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear Dame!

This is absolutely repugnant and as as a very local resident to the problem I can attest to its endemic nature - how can these people think it's acceptable?

Jade said...

Thanks for posting this Deptford Dame!

This isn't a joke, its a serious matter and we need to do something about it.

I will be posting updates on the petition,

Thanks to those who have already signed!

Anonymous said...

Jade I have a suggestion mate that may help, as you may or may not know the Met employs an MSC department or "specials" who are fully fledged police officers but do not receive payment and are not contracted to a team or unit, like myself, so as a supervisor I am farely free to police where and when I want to provided it's in my borough, e.g I am planning to set up high visibility foot patrol with a handful of officers in Greenwich town centre on Friday and Saturday nights to combat anti social behaviour and I think you should try and do the same, I have done patrols in Deptford and I know what you mean. I think if you write to the local safer neighbourhood team asking for a contact point for specials I think you might get some support. Good luck and good work. Gooch