COUNCIL OFFICE FIRE

I was somewhat concerned to hear on the news, that SODC council offices apparently did not have a sprinkler system.
If this was the case, questions have to be asked – particularly as SODC has health & safety enforcement powers.

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GENERAL ELECTION

With the General Election pending, the political parties will all be coming out with spin in order to get you to vote for them.
I am aware many people are disillusioned with politics, however whether we like it not, politicians basically rule our lives from craddle to grave !
In my view, people should vote in order to get their voice heard – even if it is to spoil their ballot paper.

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CHOICE

As Didcot town centre expands, it does appear that there seems to be less choice than there used to be.
There used to be many independant stores offering various items which now cannot be purchased in Didcot.
Didcot also used to have 3 thriving affordable markets.
Although I personally welcome new stores such as B & M also Aldi – other types of shops need to be encouraged not just more eateries.
I personally think Primark would do well.
However, I think proper affordable car parking needs to be addressed.
Even though the above relate to retail issues.
Less choice even relates to leisure.
Didcot used to have a paddling pool – now we do not even have that nor do we have the equivalent.
Yet surrounding towns such as Abingdon & Wallingford etc have splashpads.
It would be interesting to know how much these activities boost the local economy. From my observations, overall -I would suggest quite a lot. Although this clearly is seasonal.

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TRAFFIC SATURATION- update

Since my last posting regarding the traffic problems in Didcot, a leading Labour Councillor has now spoken out for the need for improvements to the Jubilee Way roundabout in order to ease congestion.
This is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Whilst I welcome the new Aldi store, it’s location is ludicrous. I am surprised that strong traffic concerns were not raised by the Highway’s dept or TVP traffic section.

Didcot is being swamped by traffic. In my personal view, key roads should have been properly in place before a mass of houses were built, not only in Didcot but in surrounding areas.
Much traffic has to come into Didcot before it can go back out ! Had the road structure been properly planned – much of the needless traffic could have missed Didcot & thus reduce the congestion.

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CRIME FIGURES- when is a crime not a crime ?

In the local media recently, it reported that 1 in 7 crimes are not recorded by TVP & it was not good enough.
Shortly after this,in a different press article-it refers to police (TVP) performance rated as good!
Clearly the comments are a contradiction in terms!
A relevent question is – when is a crime not a crime?

The answers in my view, in lay terms, include
1) When the criminal incident does not fit into the
‘tick box’ reporting form used to measure
criminal incidents.

2) When there is a course of conduct, which
covers several of the crime ‘tick boxes’.

Figures can tell an audience anything the author wants – it depends on how they are being reported !

How is the figure of 1 in 7 crimes not being recorded- reached ?
The figure could be much higher because, if people report a crime & it is not recorded thus no action taken, would that deter the same people reporting further crimes against them ?

The danger of not recording crimes are
a) there is a risk of people taking the law into their
own hands.
b) the crime figures would be inaccurate & the
safety of residents being compromised by this.

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TRAFFIC -DIDCOT

Some years ago, I made clear that there needs to be a specific road audit, in the area covering Hagbourne Rd to Newlands Avenue and changes made.
It is clear the development of Didcot has been ill thought out.
The mass of houses that have been built & more that are intended – will mean even more traffic congestion in Didcot ( also neighbouring villages).
In my view what needs to happen is:-
1) A road audit needs to take place with the view
of reducing traffic congestion. Certain areas
need to be made one way & parking of vehicles
to be on one side only.
Wessex Road from Mereland Road to St Andrews is often very difficult to get through due to the anti-social parking. Larger emergency vehicles most certainly would not be able to get through
This is just one example from many.

A road audit should take place from including Hagbourne Road, back to Kynaston Road right across to Newlands Avenue. So all roads in that catchment would be audited & changes made to ease traffic congestion.

2) Houses along the Broadway from Vicarage Rd to
Newlands Avenue should be able to have off
road parking.
The cost of this can be built into future
development plans.

3) Certain areas should be residents only & those
residents have free parking permits.
The main areas this would cover include
a) certain parts of Hagbourne Rd
b) Bourne Street
c) Church Street
d) East Street
But there may be other areas identified in the audit mentioned in point 1.

4) Some of the double yellow lines could be reduced & made specifically into disabled parking spaces.

5) There is an urgent need for a centrally sited
multi- storey carpark. It needs to be larger
than being planned for.
In my view the top floors of the car park could
be used specifically for staff working locally.
This could be free or for a nominal sum.
By doing this would free up, local roads- which
many are congested by local workers.

6) For safety reasons there really does need to be a mirror opposite the Cavendish Park, mobile home site. Access from the site is often difficult & due to parked cars, the driver has no visibility of oncoming traffic coming from the right.
Residents of many of those houses have no alternative but to park on the road.
A mirror placed at the end of Kynaston Road would improve the situation.

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THAMES VALLEY POLICE – Flawed complaints process

Like in any industry, you have good employees/management & also those that are not. The police are no different. From personal experience, there are good officers & some that are not.

An effective complaints process can be beneficial in many ways. These include identifying -
a) training needs
b) good officers.
c) flawed processes
d) the need for new processes to be introduced
but there has to be the goodwill to remedy issues raised.

From experience & having assisted members of the public use the complaints process, the complaints process TVP have / use is flawed.
Overtime, I have raised this with TVP.

TVP investigate complaints ‘proportionately’- which is ludicrous.
Either a complaint is investigated in its entirety – which includes dealing with any issues that arise during the investigation or they are not.

If a member of the public has a complaint against a TVP officer / staff member, there must have been original incident(s) which gave rise to the TVP officer/ staff member interface.
What should happen is:-
a) the incident(s) that gave rise to police involvement should be
investigated & progressed accordingly.
Any other issues that arise from / during the investigation,
also need to be investigated & addressed.
Sadly TVP do not do this, but shut down complaints at the
earliest.

b) complaints against the officer(s)/staff member(s) should be
investigated in their entirety, as should any further issues
that arise.
Obviously a person subject of complaint has the right to
respond.
The complainant should then have the right of reply at the
investigatory level & not have to wait to the appeals process.

What does appear to happen is, unless the complaint / original incident happens to fit into a ‘box’ covering specific headings used to assess crime figures – it will not be dealt with or else accesses to processes are stonewalled to the complainant.

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THAMES VALLEY POLICE – Harassment process

The manner that TVP investigate harassment/ ongoing conduct is flawed in several areas, particularly if the conduct involves more than one person against the victim.
From experience, TVP deal with each incident in isolation, refusing to link incidents up; refuse to look at the overall course of conduct towards the victim.
My personal view, is that the reason TVP deal with harassment in this way, is the ‘tick box syndrome’.
In otherwords, if a crime does not fit into specific headings – which are used to assess crime figures, it will not be dealt with.
Figures can tell an audience anything the ‘author’ wants.

It is recognised, that often harassment is covert & therefore there may not be any direct evidence.
However, by looking at the overall course of conduct, the full gravity of the conduct upon the victim, will be seen.

The deaths of Mrs Pilkington & her daughter, highlighted the failings of that police force in dealing with the harassment as they should have done. Only by looking at the overall conduct, was the full gravity of what the victims had been subjected to, recognised – as were the failings to them.
This case was used as a ‘learning curve’ within the police, to prevent a similar incident arising.

In my personal view, if TVP do not change the way they investigate & deal with harassment & ongoing conduct upon the victim – it will only be a matter of time before TVP have ‘blood on their hands’.
In otherwords their failings will result in a death of a victim.

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U.K.I.P.

Still various ‘spokes people’ from the main political parties attack people who vote for U.K.I.P
They dismiss U.K.I.P. voters for a variety of reasons including the votes being protest votes.

I am personally aware of people who have voted for U.K.I.P & they come from across the political spectrum. Their reasons for doing so have been very clear – they have not been protest votes.

People vote for a candidate for a variety of reasons. These include:
a) supporting a specific political party
b) supporting a political party’s stance on a subject matter.
c) support of a candidate
d) protest vote
It is important for people to vote in elections.

If a person feels disillusion at the political ‘scene’ & feel they can’t vote – In my opinion, these people should go to the polling station & spoil their ballot paper.
By taking the time to actively spoil a ballot paper, will send a message of disillusion etc.

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LOCAL MEDIA

Local residents will be aware that over many years I have raised issues in the local media covering a wide range of subject matter.
Over time, members of the public have raised the fact I have not had articles in the local media. This has not been due to lack of effort.

Sadly over sometime, it has been difficult for me to raise quite specific issues in the media which are often topical & public interest.
In my view, it is a form of censorship – hence me setting up this blog site, so that I can raise any issues.

Also I must raise my concern of what I regard as an outdated policy by one media outlet. This relates to them printing a contributors address.
Why do they actually need to print a contributors address ?
Put simply – they don’t.

Whilst the media is entitled to have a contributor to the letters page, provide a real address, there is no need for the media to print anything other than the name of the contributor & the town/village they come from.

To refuse to print a letter because the contributor does not want their address printed, in my view canbe regarded as a further form of censorship, particularly when over the years, they have printed the same contributors letters without their address .
I recently responded to a letter in the local media from one contributor – as they had asked my views.
Although I provided my address, I asked for it not to be printed.
I do not recall seeing my response letter in the media !
So I will respond to what I was being asked – on my blog site !

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