Agenda and minutes
Venue: York Railway Institute RUFC, Hamilton Drive
Contact: Michael Hawtin
Surgery: 6.30pm - 7.00pm
1.1 During the surgery residents were able to speak with: the ward councillors; the Neighbourhood Management Unit; Kathryn Robinson, Housing Services; PC Jon Bostwick, Safer Neighbourhoods Team; Michelle Watling, Street Environment Services; Simon Haddock, York Young People’s Services; Dawn Clarkson, Trading Standards and Bernard Everett and John Coulson from York Magistrates.
Introduction & Minutes
2.1 Cllr Bowgett welcomed everybody to the meeting.
2.2 The previous meeting’s minutes were agreed and signed.
Ongoing ward issues and renewal of priorities.
3.1 PC Jon Bostwick delivered an update on police activity within the ward:
3.2 PCSO Adam Wood will shortly be transferring to Selby. His replacement, PCSO Louise Scott, will be starting shortly.
3.3 Crime stats for this quarter compare very favourable with those for the same quarter last year, with reductions in burglary dwelling & other, damage and anti-social behaviour.
3.4 A number of drugs warrants have been issued recently, based on information received from residents, with some big successes resulting. The police rely on intelligence from the community for these warrants and PC Bostwick encouraged residents to be forthcoming with anything they might know.
3.5 Police are launching the ‘Light Up, Lock Up’ campaign. Residents are urged to be aware that burglars will target homes with no lights on during the evenings. As part of the campaign, the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams are giving out free timer switches and energy saving light bulbs to those attending.
Residents had the following questions:
Q There was a public disturbance on Manor Drive South last night. Are police aware?
A Yes. PC Bostwick will look into the outcome of this.
Q A resident of Poppy Road received a phone call from somebody claiming they were coming to check on security in the area.
A There are bogus officials who will make these claims, and the public need to be wary.
Q Is information available on how the crime stats in Holgate compare with the rest of the city?
A As far as detecting crimes goes, Holgate are 28% compared to average of 31%. Holgate is particularly good at detecting drug crimes, however.
Q The resident commented that the statistics are really impressive. Who pays to repair the damage when properties are searched with drug warrants?
A The occupant, if drugs are found, but the police if not. Therefore, good intelligence is important.
Advice from Dawn Clarkson, City of York Council Trading Standards.
4.1 Dawn Clarkson, Trading Standards, was present to talk about cold calling and the traders directory:
4.2 Cold calling control zones are a national initiative. There are 94 zones in York, covering 4,272 properties, and 13 zones in Holgate, covering 489 properties.
4.3 Cold calling is not an offence. The zones work by residents asking the callers to leave the area. If they don’t then a Trading Standards officer will come to the area, as well as writing to the trader and looking into offences they might be committing.
4.4 A zone can be established by residents nominating their area. A survey will be conducted, and if 50% of residents are in favour with none rejecting, then the zone will be set up and information packs, signs etc. distributed.
4.5 Religious groups and companies like Avon are not covered by this. The scheme exists to prevent rogue traders from doing business in the area.
Residents had the following questions on cold calling:
Q The scheme exists on Windmill Rise. Eon claimed that they had a right to cold call. Also, some clothing collection firms visit the area, but are a actually a business.
A This firms aren’t actually committing any offences, but Trading Standards do pester them.
4.6 Trading Standards also produce a directory of traders. Prices are listed up front, and any listed trader that has a justified complaint made against it is removed from the directory. Traders must sign up to terms and conditions before acceptance.
Residents had the following further questions:
Q Can organisations be given a large batch of these?
A Yes, but they will need notification in advance.
Q What kind of vetting is carried out on the directory traders?
A They will search the database for previous offences, as well as conducting a CRB check, asking for 3 references, and they must have been trading for one year and have public liability.
Q Is there a directory of cold calling control zones for traders to know to avoid?
A Yes. Check the CYC website.
Q Not sure if many people are aware of the directory.
A It has been mentioned in Your Ward as well as information being given to libraries and Age Concerning publicising it. A press release was given to The Press but was not used. The ward councillors invited Trading Standards to help publicise it further.
Q Resident is a cold caller and finds that people complain about religious groups rather than sales people.
A The scheme is aimed at stopping rogue traders, not regular businesses or religious groups.
A representative from the Housing Department will talk about their response to anti-social behaviour and their policy towards it.
5.1 Kathryn Robinson, Housing Services, was present to talk about the anti-social behaviour policy they are currently putting together, with the aim of releasing a public document and action plan for April:
5.2 The causes of anti-social behaviour are often complex. Housing Services are aiming to work with all tenants (including those who are behaving in an anti-social manner) in resolving problems.
5.3 They would like to know what residents think about anti-social behaviour and how it should be dealt with. There are questionnaires, customer panels (in which private and council tenants provide feedback on policies, leaflets etc.) and drop-in sessions planned for the future.
Residents had the following questions:
Q ASBOs have been in existence for some years now, and it has been a big drive of the current government. Why is it only now that a strategy is being formed? Are the police involved?
A The Safer York Partnership do have a strategy. Housing Services have not pulled everything together until now, so they are looking to be more ‘joined up’ and to work better with other departments.
Q There is a national concern with ASBOs being broken. Are they useless? How many are there in York?
A Very rarely given out in York. They are only a small part of the tools used to deal with anti-social behaviour, and so to quote the number of ASBOs would not be a proper indicator of anti-social behaviour in the city.
Q Could you elaborate on the causes of anti-social behaviour being complex?
A Don’t want to generalise as there are lots of other issues. 5 or 6 people will be involved in dealing with some cases. The aim is not to evict people, but to create neighbourhoods that people will want to live in.
The co-ordinator for the Magistrates in the Community and Community Engagement project will tell the meeting what magistrates do, their powers and how they decide on sentences. They also want to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have about the courts.
6.1 Bernard Everett and John Coulson were present to talk about the magistrate system:
6.2 Inside Justice week will be taking place from October 19th to 23rd. People are able to book court tours and listen in on cases. Also, there is a court open evening on October 22nd where mock trials will be held.
6.3 Magistrates form the backbone of the English and Welsh legal system. They are all unpaid representatives of the community who have to complete a lot of training, but are not required to have a background in law.
6.4 In determining verdicts and sentences they take into account the need to punish, protect the public, rehabilitate and provide a suitable deterrent.
6.5 95% of cases are concluded in the Magistrates Court. Only 5% go to the Crown Court. Summary cases are only dealt with in the Magistrates Court, Indictable cases are only dealt with in the Crown Court and some cases can go either way.
Residents had the following questions:
Q Do magistrates have to follow what the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) say?
A There are guidelines that have to be followed in coming to a conclusion, but the magistrates reach their own verdict and make their own decisions on sentencing.
Q Can they not send people to prison because of the overcrowding?
A That isn’t taken into account in the decision making process. To do so would be making a political decision.
Q Some reports are saying that a proper jury is hard to assemble due to people not knowing right from wrong.
A Magistrates don’t use a jury.
Q Do the CPS only get involved in Crown Court cases?
A No. All.
Ward Funding Scheme Suggestions For 2010-11
This is your opportunity to find out more information about the scheme suggestions included in this newsletter. If you have made a suggestion that is included in the list this is your opportunity to make sure that everyone has the information they need to make an informed decision.
7.1 Residents were reminded that the forms inside Your Ward needed to be returned by October 15th.
7.2 Cllr Crisp noted that scheme HD 9, the grant towards a composting toilet for allotment users, should have featured in all three newsletters and not just the Hamilton Drive edition. The councillors will take this into account when making their decisions on funding.
7.3 A resident spoke in support of the composting toilet scheme, stating that the allotments were well used by groups and families.
7.4 Simon Haddock spoke on behalf of the Street Sport scheme. Previous sessions in the ward have been held on Balfour Street, and have been attended by 147 young people over 9 sessions (averaging 16 per session).
Residents had the following questions and comments:
Q What is the total budget for this year?
A It has not yet been set. Would likely be enough to fund all schemes.
Q Residents are unable to rank schemes across the three ward areas.
A They have been split into three as some smaller areas of the ward felt that they did not receive much attention.
Q Why should residents vote if there is enough money to fund all the schemes?
A That isn’t guaranteed. It is important for councillors to see how residents feel about these ideas.
Q Wouldn’t a better idea be to vote by ranking all the schemes? ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ responses could lead to tactical voting.
A This may be a better idea, but it is not the councillors’ decision.
Q How is the money split between the three areas?
A An exact percentage can’t be achieved, but it is roughly proportionate to the population. Councillors have to prioritise where the money goes. Residents asked for area specific funding, so this was given.
Q The Luncheon Club is open to all Holgate residents, not just Hamilton & Poppleton Drive.
A Yes, the results will be weighted accordingly.
Have Your Say
Your opportunity to discuss local issues and concerns with your ward councillors.
8.1 Residents had the opportunity to raise any points not discussed on the meeting’s agenda:
Q Is it possible to get some dropped kerbs along Poppleton Road to allow cyclists to cross it in order to reach the cycle path?
A Point noted by councillors.
Q There is an issue with people cycling on paths in the ward.
A The police run occasional operations, targeting specific areas of the city, as well as going into schools to speak with children about the issue. They would welcome any suggestions for hotspots that future operations should target.
Q What is the age limit for cycling on the pavement?
A There isn’t one. Police use discretion. Obviously, it is often safer for children to be on the pavement rather than on the road.
Q Hamilton Drive between Madison Way and the fish shop is suggested as a potential hotspot.
A Noted by PC Bostwick.
Q Can the councillors have any impact on doctors and medical practises in the ward?
A Not directly, but Cllr Alexander is chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee. The resident can raise the issue with him.
Q Regarding the previous minutes, is anything happening with the bus company attending a ward committee meeting, grass cutting or the unused Family Centre?
A Nothing has been heard back from the bus company. All councillors visited the Family Centre. In the short-term, it is being used in a property guardian scheme, so it is occupied. There has been a change in staff at the Neighbourhood Management Unit which may have resulted in some action points not being picked up, but they will be examined at the next ward team meeting.
8.2 Cllr Bowgett closed the meeting. The provisional date for the next ward committee meeting is January 25th.