Jane Birch

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Cllr Jane Birch would like to say a big thank you to the people of Trinity who voted Labour in the recent election.

Jane says, “I am delighted to have been elected by people in Trinity to represent them on the council.

I am committed to working with all the residents in Trinity for the regeneration of the town and to make life better for the people of Northampton.

During the campaign you told us your priorities –

 

  • To tackle the housing crisis
  • To make our streets safer and cleaner
  • To curb street drinking
  • To bring trade back to the town centre
  • To make access to schools safe at the beginning and the end of the day
  • To get pot holes filled in
  • To get a better deal for bus passengers

 

We will be campaigning on all these issues to get the best deal for people in Trinity.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Check out Jane's blog

 

 

If you need help

Please come to my Surgery

 

First Saturday of the month

Committee room,

Holy Trinity Church,

Edinburgh Road,

Starting 4 July,

from 9.00am to 11.00am

 

Latest News From jane

Crime and the Fear of Crime

There is an often used response to any questions about the rise of criminal activity that' the fear of crime is much greater than the actual reality of crime itself.'

Whether this is the case or not the fear of crime is keeping our residents in their homes at night, preventing parents taking their children to parks and recreation spaces, and stopping the residents of our town enjoying all the amenities our town has to offer.

This reluctance to enjoy all our town has to offer ranges from residents not going out at night and on dark winter evenings, parents avoiding parks and open spaces due to alcohol and drug use in full view, perpetrators ignoring the PSPO due to lack of information and enforcement, offensive graffiti, ASB in the town centre and shopping areas to real fear of violence and crime.

When asked for the crime figures to be included in the Community Safety and Community Engagement report to Full Council, Councillor King said, " find them yourself."

I did just that and the findings are alarming.

This is just one month's figures for Northampton.

Overall crime figures have dropped from May 2106.This may well be due to the change of reporting.

But, Violent Sexual offences have risen from 2016 -606, 2017- 704, 2018 -730 .

And alarmingly Drug Crimes  - 2016 - 58, 2017 - 43, 2018 - 65

Possession of weapons - 2016 - 14, 2017 - 23, 2018 - 30

From these figures the worrying escalation of crime in the town is around violent sexual offences, drugs and possession of weapons.

The three non domestic murders recently are also a break in pattern which should raise alarm bells. Two of these were around drugs and gang related incidents and involved stabbings.

We have evidence of an alarming increase in gang and knife crime nationwide and now in our town. The reasons for this are many and complex. Cuts in funding and reduced police presence are the visible and easily indentified reasons.

According to a recent report  'POVERTY, unemployment and family breakdown are pushing a significant group of young people beyond the fringes of society and into a world of 'inertia, cynicism and crime'.

Gangs are being run like a business and rivalry between gangs often leads to innocent bystanders being victims of violence. The levels of violence are increasing. Indicators of this is the recovery of firearms. In a 6 month period in Northamptonshire 25 guns were recovered. Mostly shotguns but also hand guns, which are far more rare. 

The movement of London gangs along County Lines  with drug dealing controlled from main cities, Birmingham, Leeds, Cardiff is moving into our town with local police working with the Met. and sharing information across borders.

The associated criminal activity around cuckooing, sexual exploitation, human trafficking,  modern slavery and the exploitation of vulnerable people of all ages with drugs, alcohol and mental health issues is growing in our town. Last month there were 40 cases of cuckooing in Northampton alone.

The night time economy has received much attention over the past few years. This is an issue due to the levels of alcohol and drug misuse and other negative behaviour. The tragic case of India Chipchase in January 2016 prompted the 'Nights out in Northampton' campaign and the recent Purple Flag award, for which the CSP team should be congratulated. But the ASB and violence around the night time economy had been with us for over 30 years. It should not take this tragic murder to prompt a reaction  from our CST.

I am concerned that in a similar way the response to the present and real threats to the safety of our communities will be too little and too late.

The Northampton Community Safety Plan aims to-

 'Deliver a safe, confident Northampton by working together to improve the quality of life for local people'.

It is a sound policy addressing all the priorities of such a plan. It sets out all the things we would hope to achieve for our town with the one exception of a real policy on Organised Crime. It highlights the problem but beyond saying that 'partners are working together'  - that's it.

Looking deeper in to the Customer and Communities Service PlanThe Corporate Plan Priority on Community Safety and Engagement section the outcomes have failed to deliver due to partners failing to deliver, lack of engagement from community and partners, the network fails to engage with the team and council, limited Police resource to support the ASB unit.

These are all failures to deliver around priorities for Community Safety. The objectives are laudable but objectives need to be delivered.

This is hugely worrying. If we are failing to achieve these objectives the people of our town are being let down and we are open to exploitation by criminal gangs who see a weakness which they will exploit.

I would urge the Community Safety Partnership to work with the PCC to bid for funding  from the Home Office's £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for youth and community groups who support early intervention and prevention activity in children and young people. We need to build strong and resilient communities.

The Association of Town and City Management who awarded the Purple Flag have a Violence and Vulnerability Unit which is looking at the changing patterns of crime. We must learn from work done in other parts of the country to reassure our residents that this is an issue which is being taken seriously.

We need to encourage partners to take action to reduce the opportunities for crime to take place, including raising awareness of the key issues and how best to respond and build positive relationships. This will include young people affected by violence.

Everybody wants to live in a place where they feel safe. Crime and the fear of crime are still big concerns for a lot for people and it is not something we should take lightly.

Crime and the Fear of Crime

Crime and the Fear of Crime There is an often used response to any questions about the rise of criminal activity that' the fear of crime is much greater than...

Unitary- Two Years On.

Let's turn the clock forward two years and imagine that Northampton is in a Unitary Authority with Daventry and South Northants. This is a situation forced on the majority of the population of Northampton residents, against their will.

Northampton residents will form the larger part of the population of this new Unitary.

 60% of the residents in the new Unitary will live in Northampton.

The current spend per head of population in Daventry and South Northants is £310 per head of population. In Northampton it is £446. If the rate of spend in Northampton was reduced to fall in line with Daventry and South Northants the service offered to our residents would be reduced.

Northampton has the greatest income generation and the greatest income spend. Would repair to the potholes in Northampton be prioritised over the Towcester by-pass?

How does the councillor in rural Brackley relate to the homelessness and housing needs in some of our deprived communities?

Where does the democracy lie? Is it with the mainly rural South Northants and Daventry or are the people of Northampton represented fairly? Is Northampton  outvoted at every move? Daventry and South Northants have no experience of working on the scale of Northampton.

How similar are the needs and demands of the residents of Daventry and South Northants to those of the residents of Northampton. What do we have in common?

Locally accountable leadership is the only way to ensure that the services are delivered to our residents and communities in the most appropriate way and give the best value.

The Deloitte Report states that a separate Unitary Northampton is the best model to secure the quality of life for local people.

The proposal of an East and West Unitary authority is a stitch up by the failed Tory County Council and the Government.

Where does the loyalty of the Town MPs sit?

 Not to the people of Northampton if the Two Unitary model goes through.

We want economic self-containment, locally, responsive and accountable leadership.

If we do not fight for this Northampton Town will not forgive nor forget.

Unitary -Two years On

Unitary- Two Years On. Let's turn the clock forward two years and imagine that Northampton is in a Unitary Authority with Daventry and South Northants. This is a situation forced...

Community Safety-  Council 24.4.18

There is increasing concern about the levels of crime in the town. The number of PCSOs and police officer has been cut drastically leaving us with 50 Neighbourhood officers for the whole town; 28 PCSOs, 15 Police Constables and 7 Sergeants. With shift work, holidays and sickness we don't see many on our streets. Crime and the fear of crime are a big.  The police and other services are reduced due to funding cuts at both County and Borough levels.

As the support for our communities diminishes our most vulnerable families are suffering. The loss of Sure Start and children's centres, reduction in mental health provision, the imminent closure of our libraries, the patchy funding for youth groups, the low wage economy and the 15,000 children living in poverty, in our town, provide the environment for the gangs to move in form Birmingham and London to exploit our fragile communities.

The police direct their resources based on the Vulnerable Localities Matrix which ranks areas in the county from 1-490. 20 areas within Northampton are in the top 44 labelled Very High. The top three, the only ones in the Extremely High category , are in our town. The matrix is based on several factors - deprivation, poverty, social housing, drugs, gangs, sex workers, violent crime, domestic violence, rapes - these will direct resources to emerging threats.

There is alarming evidence of children as young as 7 years old being drawn into criminal activity. The drug dealers pay them to deliver drugs and they can be seen doing just this on their bikes in full view,  in our parks and residential streets. With both parents possibly juggling two jobs and no spare money for the children, peer pressure to have the latest phone and fashionable trainers pushes these young people into the hands of the criminal gangs.

The Early Intervention Hub, run by the police, has been piloting a project in Northampton North East since September 2017. Nine PCSOs and officers are working with 46 schools in the area. They work with children as young as five who have been identified by school staff.  There is an acknowledgement by the PCC that the timely help for children and their families who need it will prevent long term, traumatic and costly changes to themselves, their communities and society.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) refers to the sources of stress that children may suffer in early life. These include abuse, neglect, violence between parents, alcohol and substance misuse, and peer and community violence.

 Considerable and prolonged stress in childhood has lifelong consequences. It can increase the likelihood of involvement in violence and a range of other problems. Early intervention programmes, such as parenting support can enable parents to provide safe nurturing environments for their children.

 Promoting social and emotional learning in Primary schools is critical for supporting children who are at risk of gang involvement, youth violence and other poor outcomes. These social and emotional skills are vitally important for children's life chances. These skills include the ability to understand and manage emotions and regulate behaviour - skills which help children to develop resilience and avoid risky situations.

This council will therefore take the following actions :

  • We need to know and understand from the PCC and a new chief constable the full picture of crime in the town.
  • We will  support the continued funding of the Early Intervention Hub and its expansion to other areas of the town.
  • We will ask our Community Safety team to work with partners to assess the risk and produce an updated  community safety strategy to include the risk of gang violence and crime to our young children.
  • In the recently published Serious Violence Strategy Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, states 'I am also clear that Police and Crime Commissioners have a pivotal role to play and I want to see them prioritise and work in partnership to tackle the serious violence that damages communities'.
  • We will  urge the PCC and the Community Safety Partnership to bid for funding  from the Home Office's £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for youth and community groups who support early intervention and prevention activity in children and young people.

This was my speech to our Labour motion. The motion was amended by the Tory administration and turned into a self congratulatory motion about what is happening - not what should done.

We are worried about escalating crime

Community Safety-  Council 24.4.18 There is increasing concern about the levels of crime in the town. The number of PCSOs and police officer has been cut drastically leaving us with...

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