Last week I attended the regular Northwood Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting. Thanks to Rev. Chris Skingley at St. Mark's Church who facilitates this and many other coommunity activities. Pictured are Steve Ladyman MP who also attends regularly, with PCSO Dan Mimran. Dan lead the meeting covering a whole range of matters.
I am interested that some other councillors think the way to tackle anti-social behaviour in their areas, is to broadcast problems as widely as possible. The problem with this approach is that it can mean that an area is talked down, whether it be for shoppers or people thinking of moving into a street.
Publicity is such that it can be 5 minutes to win a bad reputation, and 5 years to lose it. So if there are one or two roads with a small scale problem does it benefit people living there to seek the maximum media coverage? I do not think it does generally. What is important is that those affected are advised by knocking on their doors, and delivering leaflets. Indeed the best form of policing is when a community shares information and sets standards amongst itself, knowing that it can work closely with the police.
Those engaging in anti-social behaviour thrive on creating a climate of fear, and I would suggest sometimes media coverage can exacerbate this, so that certain areas are avoided even when problems have been resolved. I am reminded of a survey which showed that it took almost a decade for all M1 users who were frequently stuck in traffic to learn that the M40 was another parallel option for many of the journies from London to Birmingham. People are creatures of habit, and it can take quite a while to change patterns of behaviour once habits are established.
I am also disappointed when I hear lazy and untrue statements by Council officers saying that a crime problem has been resolved, when I know that is not the case as do many others. So what I am trying to say is that Northwood like everywhere else has problems from time to time, but sensationalising them is not the way to address them. Local people working together with the authorities is.