In the bleak midwinter when frosty wind made moan and earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone, one Cllr went above and beyond his duty to catch thieves stealing the Christmas Light bulbs from the Christmas tree in Lydd Church. He lead by action, not words.
In the mid noughties Cllr Clive Goddard of Lydd Town Council camped out in former Cllr Mrs Carol Waters garden to see who was taking the Christmas tree lights from the Christmas tree in the church yard. He was not alone. He was accompanied by a police officer. This is actually minuted in the NOTES of a meeting of the CRIME WORKING GROUP held on Tuesday 5th June 2018 at 11.00am in the Lydd Guild Hall Council Chamber – see page 2
Cllr Goddard and the police officer for all their efforts never caught the culprit/s and Lydd Town Council paid for new lightbulbs at a cost to LTC.
Cllr Goddard’s willingness demonstrates he is a man of action, not just words.
Now we recount this tale of derring do by Cllr Goddard, for a purpose. That purpose is to remind our Town & Parish Council to comply with their statutory duty to comply with s17 of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998 and consult with local residents and businesses on how they intend to reduce crime. Let’s not forget rural crime hits Kent worse than anywhere else in UK
The District Cllrs will take four solutions; which grew out of the Group Discussions, to the Crime & Safety Unit which meets at the Civic Centre each Tuesday.
Now five of the above Cllrs are Folkestone Town Council (FTC) Councillors, just like Cllr Goodard was when he undertook his stake out in Lydd.
Now for those of you who do NOT know, Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, as amended by the Police and Justice Act 2006, requires all town and parish councils to consider crime and disorder (including antisocial behaviour and other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment); and the misuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances in the exercise of all their duties, activities and decision-making. The Act also requires the town and parish council to work with every police authority, probation authority, Clinical Commissioning Groups, social landlords, the voluntary sector, and local residents and businesses. This means that in all policies, strategies and service delivery there is a need to consider the likely impact on crime and disorder. This is a statutory duty which no town or parish can escape.
However, involvement by parish and town councils in consultation and in the development of community safety strategies has been at best patchy and at worst non-existent across our district
Parish and town councils should review how they exercise their powers and deliver their services on a regular basis, in order to comply with Section 17.
Parish and town councils can pay for crime and disorder reduction and initiatives by using their precept (Council tax) for funds, Parish Plan Grants and payments from developers under the Town and Country Planning Act, Section 106.
We believe it is time FTC and other town and parish councils used monies to seek the reduction of crime and anti social behaviour across all areas of the district (pictured – not including Sandgate). WE say this because there has been 3,957 crimes committed and recorded across all town and parishes in our district, between the elections in May and Aug 2019. The figure will be higher as Sept & Oct’s figures are yet to be published.
Crimes committed and recorded across the FTC area alone between May and August 2019, are in excess of 2,600. Across the district the figure was 3,957. So the FTC area makes up 66% of all crime committed or recorded in our district. Of course this figure will be much higher now as two months worth of data is not available yet.
Six months after the elections, it has taken the most serious and henious of crimes to stir some Cllrs out of their slumbers and into action to comply with their statutory duty to Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
We hope our town and parish councillors across the district will heed their statutory duty and ensure their actions, like Cllr Goddard’s, speak louder than their words.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime