Haringey blogger: Am I losing faith in the police? Yes, and this is why

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:04 25 April 2013

Tottenham Hale resident Martin Ball

Tottenham Hale resident Martin Ball


Tottenham Hale resident and community activist Martin Ball responds to the borough police commander’s surprise at a fall in public confidence

I was puzzled by the Haringey borough police commander’s assertion that it was ‘peculiar’ that half of our residents have no confidence in the police.

Yes, it could be concerns over officer cuts and station closures. But it could also be because people are despondent at the lack of action against non-trivial day-to-day anti-social behaviour.

For example, in the Bruce Grove shopping area there are people frequently urinating in public and there appears to be no action being taken to prevent this.

Recently, I and a friend witnessed a person emerge form the side door of Bet Fred and urinate against the Holcombe Market stalls.

I raised the matter with the police, who, (unlike the council officer I also informed) responded to say that there is little law to evoke. I am also grateful to them for raising the matter with the manager of BetFred, His honest and action is welcomed, but until the prevalence of street urinating is reduced to (almost) zero, then you can see why people are not confident in the police force.

I would like to know from the borough commander what measures will be taken against this.

In addition, another example from the Bruce Grove shopping area might explain why the public are not confident in the force. Despite there being a ‘no alcohol’ order in place, the sight of street drinking is all too frequent. And the consequences of too much alcohol are also all too frequent. Urinating (of course) and people lying zonked-out on the high road pavement.

I am sure police records inform them that there is a hardcore of street drinkers who regularly gather on Brook Street. I would like to know what measure they will take to stop this happening. In addition, I would like to know what work they are doing with other agencies to not just move the problem on to another area, but also to help these people deal with their alcohol mis-use. The consequence of their dependency needs police action, but they also require medical and other support.

I mention these two day-to-day occurrences because not only are they a blight for people, but because there is about to be a £500,000 spend (of your and mine taxpayer money) on regenerating the Holcombe Market and surrounding area, including Brook Street. It could all be a waste if they don’t help us reclaim our living space.

Another reason why people might not be confident with the police - again from the Bruce Grove shopping area. During the recent Bruce Grove ‘Week of Action’, carried out by the police, council and fire brigade, I had to pass through a metal detector (positioned in the passage linking Circular Road/Holcombe Road with Stoneleigh Road). This was at approximately 1-2pm. While I understand the desire to have such a strong display of police presence, I question the appropriateness of it in a residential area, and I am not happy to see the area oppressively quasi-fortified. Such a heavy-handed approach looks good for photo opportunities, but is often a sign of impotency against crime and probably does little to re-assure people.

Can we have less PR policing and more intelligent policing?

I am happy for the police to be happy in their work and smile, but their job is to keep the environment safe so that the public can smile more. The reduction in crime across the borough is welcomed, though sadly we never caught the gang who stole my sister’s mobile phone, and I hope to see better figures on the above issues in the future.

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