Sunday, 16 May 2010
So welcome to my world the police state!
I don’t have to say that Newham is one of the poorest boroughs in the country and in two years time host to the Olympics, which I think is a real contradiction, thousands are out of work or struggle on low pay and add to that the problems of homelessness into this melting pot, we then have a real state of difficulty that needs to be resolved instead of the millions sunk into this extravaganza, instead it would be better used attacking the social issues that very much blight the lives of many.
I’ve said this many times before: Newham has one of the highest rates of child poverty in London and is one of the top ten most deprived boroughs both in London and nationally.
Particular issues that Newham faces include high levels of unemployment, lack of affordable childcare, high levels of debt and a poor living environment.
That’s the background and undying issues that lie behind my thread and observations in and of my enclosure; which is a good description for Canning Town my back yard and home. If I lookout of my window I can see the planes arriving and taking off from the city airport that was built on an old dock, It principally serves the financial district of London and is the fifth busiest airport in terms of passengers and aircraft movements serving the London area after Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton and the 15th busiest in the UK. As I watch in dazed and absorbing intrigue, often thinking that many of us down below in Canning Town have never stepped foot on a plane or let alone taken a trip to another destination. But this post is not about travel, far from it; it’s about harassment and yes enclosure!
During the past month or so; the police have been purposely targeting young people and street drinkers in Canning Town just on and off the Barking Road and around the MacDonald’s drive-in/takeaway restaurant, and directly across the road a corner parade of shops that’s fronted by raised greenery and an open well that for some considerable time has been used by people having a social drink; not to be confused with antisocial deeds.
Many of my friends and neighbours often get together and, have a chat and enjoy a social drink in this location, causing no harm and troubling no one. However it seems that Newham council and the police have decided that this is deemed antisocial behavior and have started recording, issuing tickets and ordering people to move on out of the neighborhood. I’ve even told the police officers that this is our neighborhood; that we are residents longstanding of Canning Town, and one friend has been issued with 8 tickets over a few weeks whilst yesterday a fence has ringed off the greenery as the council has resolved that demolition and flattening the area will discourage social gathering of persons - neighbours coming together in one place.
However that’s nothing in compare to the treatment and harassment handed-out to our youngsters. Like most youngsters these day’s; they love their fast food and MacDonald’s open 24 hours makes a killing out of them, but this week I was shocked to have been witness, to what I will describe as blatant policing that’s gone over the top and without any justification. Whilst MacDonald’s have been serving up happy meals the police have been handing-out cautions and carrying-out body and bag searches, on one occasion they used police dogs filmed, photographing and generally humiliating, harassing the youngsters without any real good reason in my opinion!
Were this is going to take us is anyone’s guess, but this comes when the press reported only this very week spending on the police rose from £9.3billion in the financial year 1998/9 to £14.55 billion in 2008/9 - an increase of 50 per cent.
Most of the bill is picked up by local taxpayers through the police precept element of their council tax.
The cost of overtime pay is the one single factor revealed in a report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College, London. Over the decade, the number of officers rose by more than 15,000 to 142,151 with more than 16,000 police community support officers being recruited.
The report noted that this 'did not bring about the expected decline in overtime'.
This raises many questions, but one thing that I’m certainly sure of and that’s that the government will not be cutting the numbers of police as they will do to other subsidiarities of the community!
So welcome to my world the police state!
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