We had a lively evening at the Victoria on Wednesday 12 September, starting with a most unusual mix-up at the pub; they had booked us in for Thursday, despite having previously confirmed the date by email. So we had to have various drinkers and diners turfed out of the upstairs bar – pub staff were very helpful in sorting things out once the mistake became apparent.
Sergeant Ken Taylor, leader of our local Safer Neighbourhoods team, and Jonathan Rowing, head of Roads Management for Westminster City Council, were our speakers for the evening. We had a particular focus on the phone box campaign to clean up or close the public phone boxes in our area. There were plenty of questions for both Ken and Jonathan, and a couple of concrete actions emerged:
- write (on behalf of the HPEA) to the Chairman of BT to draw his attention personally to the appalling state of some of the BT phone boxes
- local resident direct action: we can call BT to report dirty phone boxes and they will undertake to come and clean them. Jonathan will send us the number to call.
Ken also highlighted some of the issues with vice in our area, which seemed to be on the increase over the summer months when police resources were concentrated elsewhere. The SNT should now be able to re-focus on vice, with the priorities being the girls on the street, and kerb crawlers. Members are encouraged to call 101 to report kerb crawlers, giving car registration numbers and locations.
There were a number of questions on beggars, including one based outside the HSBC cashpoints near Paddington Station. Ken reminded us not to give any money to beggars, but instead to support homeless charities. The vast majority of beggars in our area are part of organised crime.
Many thanks to Ken and Jonathan for their contributions, and to all members for attending and being very active in raising their comments and questions.