Minutes of NHW meetings

 The second NHW meeting for our road took place at the Dogpool Hotel as planned.

Paul Rickards opened the meeting welcoming all those persons able to attend to those who would speak on behalf of the NHW team that included Garry Sayers, Lisa Barnett from the Guild of Students Warden Scheme based at Birmingham University and, PCSO Jenny Lloyd and W.P.C. Zoe Packer from West Midlands police.

The opening comments dealt briefly with the background to the formation of this NHW scheme along Warwards Lane emphasising that we need to increase the membership further still to reflect the views of over two hundred and fifty households and businesses that currently live or operate there.

Part of this push for more subscribers must come from those who have already joined talking with their neighbours and displaying the window stickers prominently at the front of their downstairs bay windows rather than at the side where it is not so easily seen. The NHW signs are one element but the stickers reinforce NHW.

There was a brief outline of the police working with the NHW to communicate the level of recorded crime along Warwards Lane figures for which were being notified to all subscribers on a month by month basis and those attending were able to view the breakdown for the past twelve months or so during the meeting.

The majority of the crimes committed consisted of burglaries, car damage and theft although there were three assaults along our road during December of last year, although none to actual residents although the perpetrators were caught and there has not been a repeat of these isolated incidents since.

Emphasis must be placed on continued vigilance by all persons living on or operating out of our street and this is doubly true for the reporting of suspicious activity or actual crime. The newsletter catchphrase - "Somebody should!" will be the main by-line of our request for everyone to take responsibility in improving our street environment and security.

Questions were then raised on some points pertaining to these issues and subsequent comments made before Garry Sayers began a brief outline of the actions the NHW had taken to date. These included working with the Bournbrook Community Safety Project who can be contacted through Barry Toon on 0121-472-6671.

This organisation undertakes home security visits and install free enhancements to doors and ground floor windows and are based locally using skilled workers to carry out this activity, having done this for at least one resident so far. Given the likely budgetary constraints for this year, please contact them for details.

We have also had work carried out - again at no cost to the householders concerned - of a security gate being installed at the end of last year by BCSP and they also did two more of these the previous year. We have advised subscribers previously of this and if anyone wishes to express an interest in this, please contact us by e-mail.

We have also been working closely with some of the landlords to generate interest and activity in upgrading the physical security of their owned properties and for them and other residents in our street, we now have a crime prevention security product catalogue endorsed by the police that anyone is welcome to view if they contact us by e-mail.

The Guild of Students are now working with our NHW scheme co-ordinators to monitor the interaction of their students within the local community and this can only be a good thing as Lisa Barnett explained later in her presentation. We are also seeking to identify further vulnerable residents along the street so the police are aware of those who might need additional help.

The subject of advancement was raised, this is where individual households allow rubbish to accumulate before 6.00pm on the previous evening prior to our normal Tuesday collection. This practice is illegal and can result in a fine of up to £1,000 and not only encourages the incidence of rats but also contributes to the untidiness of the road .

Having discussed these matters. Jenny Lloyd and Zoe Packer went on to talk to us about the police role within our community providing us in the first instance with a commentary on the figures that had been distributed amongst those who were able to attend the meeting. They also touched on their wish to be made aware of vulnerable residents in order to support them.

Intelligence provided to the police contributes significantly to the detection, prevention and apprehension of those individuals who threaten the environment and security of our street. The same can be said of the importance of reporting crime and suspicious activity to the Crimestoppers number unless it is an emergency in which case, dial 999.

There will be significant policing zones of operation changes in the forthcoming months where essentially whilst our street will still come under the jurisdiction of Bournville Lane, the area in which we are mirrors the constituency boundaries that makes more sense when you consider it and perhaps might elicit more favourable involvement from our politicians!

The penultimate section of the meeting was provided by our guest speaker; Lisa Barnett, who we had invited to talk on the role of the Student Warden scheme operating on behalf of Birmingham University. In essence, student peers visit residences they occupy to maintain the level of responsibility at first hand when there has been any anti-social behaviour.

There are a number of avenues pursued where following an initial visit, no improvement in behaviour is evidenced and this can include police involvement and referral to the University where the ultimate sanction is removal from their course. Please remember however, that it is not just students who can be anti-social and they are still part of our community.

The summary was then taken up by Paul Rickards in relation to notification of the £5.00 household membership of the NHW scheme being an annual cost levied from 1st July each year unless the owner is over sixty years of age when this becomes voluntary. We spent £97.50 of the £152.50 collected to date on our second newsletter.

We have applied for additional funding from the police that is claimable from local taxation revenues in effect which will be used to communicate our activities through the newsletter. An appeal was made not only for stories for inclusion but also in the delivery of police warning messages to those not on e-mail and for the Community Speedwatch due to restart shortly.

The meeting then closed.