Epping Forest crime and policing issues discussed

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex discussed local policing issues with residents at a public meeting on 2 August 2018 in Epping.

Roger Horst spoke about the latest crime trends and what Essex Police are doing to proactively police the Epping Forest district. A panel of senior representatives from Essex Police and Essex Fire Service explained to residents the demand on budgets, current successes and where improvement is needed.

Work together

Representing the Epping Forest District Community Safety Partnership Councillor Sam Kane said: “We always appreciate feedback from local residents on how our district is policed. There’s a strong sense of community in Epping Forest but we must all still work together to make our district a safer place to live.

Councillor Kane added: “I’m pleased to report that 3 new Police Officers dedicated to the Epping Forest district have started. They have been directly funded by Epping Forest District Council to look at 3 of our local policing priorities which are dealing with anti-social behaviour, burglaries and hate crime. They have been with us just a month and have been very successful already in solving crimes.”

Questions and answers

Questions put to the panel included

Find out more about the PFCC

Epping Forest Community Safety Hub opening

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chairman, Chigwell, Civic events, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Crime and safety, Democracy, Doing business with the council, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Noise, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

A new joint District Community Safety Hub bringing Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police closer together in the fight against local crime was officially launched on 20 July 2018.

Community Hub opening

(L-R) Council Leader Chris Whitbread, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Sam Kane, Epping Forest District Council Chairman Richard Bassett, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, and Dame Eleanor Laing MP, at the official launch of the new Epping Forest Community Safety Hub.

The Council and Essex Police joined forces, together with other agencies, to create the Hub, at the Civic Offices in Epping.

Guests, including Rt. Hon. Dame Eleanor Laing MP, Roger Hirst (Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner), Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Council Chairman Richard Bassett, and local councillors, joined Council and Police officers to open the Hub which has been in operation since the end of June 2018.

Stronger partnerships

The launch marks an even stronger partnership between Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police. The Hub comprises the Council’s Community Safety Team, a Police Sergeant and two experienced Police Constables all funded and tasked by the Council. The team is already working together with other partners involved with crime prevention and community safety.

Coordinated approach

The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Sam Kane, hosted the Launch and said: “Over recent years there has been a sustained demand for councils to increase the use of their powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, disorder and environmental crime. At the same time, the Government has introduced significant new legislation giving police and councils effective new powers to deal with these issues. Epping Forest District Council is already making use of the new powers but enforcement is often the main responsibility of the Police, which can lead to a disjointed approach. Better coordination through the creation of this unique Community Safety Hub will prove to be revolutionary for the District.”

Brilliant initiative

Rt. Hon. Dame Eleanor Laing unveiled the plaque for the Launch and said: “This is a brilliant initiative. I am genuinely delighted to unveil the plaque to mark the launch of the Epping Forest Community Safety Hub. There is in our area increasing fear of a rise in crime and I am pleased to be able to tell people that Epping Forest District Council in conjunction with Essex Police and our local community are doing something about it.

“I would like thank the district council, Essex Police and everyone who has been involved in making this ground-breaking initiative come together.”

First initiative of its kind

Councillor Sam Kane said: “I believe this is the first initiative of a district council both funding and tasking police officers anywhere in the country. I am confident it will become a flagship for others to follow. The Council and Essex Police are proud of the close links that we already have. The new Community Safety Hub is a powerful demonstration of our continuing and innovative partnership working.”

Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, District Commander for Epping Forest and Brentwood added: “This commitment is a fantastic demonstration of what local partnerships can do. It means more police, more problems solved, better engagement and ultimately safer communities.”

Epping Forest District Council will review its commitment to fund the three police officers after three years.

Further information

Man fined for failing to clear nature reserve site

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A man from Waltham Abbey has been prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council for failing to clear waste that was adversely affecting the character and visual attractiveness of land within Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve.

Prosecution

Click on an image below for slideshow

Former underground bunker site

Mr Raymond Sturgess of Stanford Court in Waltham Abbey was successfully prosecuted in June 2018. He failed to respond to a notice served on him requiring him to remove waste, plastic, card, building materials and household items from the former Royal Observer Corps underground bunker site, which he originally intended to renovate when it was bought in 2015.

Fined

Sturgess pleaded guilty and received a reduced fine of £200, was ordered to pay £200 towards the Council’s prosecution costs together with a statutory victim surcharge of £30.

Ample time to comply

During mitigation Mr Sturgess told the Magistrates that was unable to comply with the notice because he had injured his knee, he claimed that vandals and fly-tippers had gained access to the site and were responsible for the mess.

The Magistrate concluded that Sturgess had ample time to comply with the notice and they did not accept everything he had told them.

Largest remaining water meadow

The bunker site sits within the Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve. The Wildlife Trust manage the site and describe it as ‘the largest remaining water meadow in Essex’.

It is reputedly famous for it’s beautiful wild flowers, butterflies, invertebrates and birds. It is important that this site is preserved for its resident wildlife and for future generations to enjoy.

Have your say on rural crime

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is urging people to have their say and take part in a national survey which helps to paint a picture of rural crime nationally and locally.

Rural crime survey

It has been three years since the last National Rural Crime Survey revealed the huge cost of crime to rural communities – both financial, at £800 million per year, and fear, with chronic under-reporting, anger and frustration at the police and government.

Steps taken to improve

The National Rural Crime Network produced a series of recommendations and, in many areas, the police took steps to improve matters. Essex has been one of the few forces in the country to introduce a dedicated rural team to work with communities to tackle specific rural issues. Essex Police along with partners also launched the Rural Crime Strategy in 2017.

Have your say

Safer, Greener & Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane explained: “If you have an opinion about policing locally and want to have your say, now is the perfect time. Complete the survey before Sunday 10 June 2018.”

What has changed?

Roger Hirst said: “Now we want to know what’s changed. Do you think rural crime has gone up or down in Essex? Do you feel safer? What’s your view of the police in your community? In short, we want to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural communities across Essex – and the impact it has where you live or work.”

The survey is now available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open for submissions until Sunday 10 June 2018.

Are you a good listener?

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your home

Victim Support are looking for reliable volunteers with great listening skills to join their local team, providing emotional and practical support to people affected by crime.

Victim Support volunteer poster June training

Help people in your local community and learn new skills. Full training provided.

The next 4 day training course is on 22, 23, 29 & 30 June 2018.

If you have 4 or more hours a week to spare, they would love to hear from you.

Contact Victim Support

Victim Support are an independent charity, who work for a world where people affected by crime and traumatic incident get the help they need and the respect they deserve.

Your rubbish, your responsibility

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Media, Our countryside, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

If you give your rubbish to a rogue trader who dumps your rubbish illegally, you could end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine. Fly-tipping drains more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year in Essex.

Your rubbish is your responsibility and it’s a #CrimeNotToCare.

Check to protect yourself

Don’t fall foul of the law, here’s some tips to help you dispose of your waste correctly

  1. Ask to see a waste carrier registration number
    If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a licence. Check their credentials here.
  2. Get a receipt
    Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away. Businesses that produce commercial waste must keep records for 2 years.
  3. Ask where your waste is going
    Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning.
  4. Be careful with your waste
    Protect yourself by being careful with your waste and always keep a record of who you give your waste to. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops.

How to report fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste.

Basildon woman guilty of housing fraud

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing, Media, Out and about, Performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Fadimana Altinsoy of Basildon Essex was successfully prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council in March 2018 of three offences under the Fraud act 2006 and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime act 2002.

Landscape

Change of plea

Initially pleading not guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court in February 2017, the Magistrates declined jurisdiction and transferred the matter to Chelmsford Crown Court.

Ms Altinsoy maintained her not guilty pleas at a number of hearings in that court but on the first day of a trial listed for six days in January 2018 she changed her pleas to guilty.

Fraudulent applications

The basis of the prosecution was when applying for Council housing in 2003 Fadimana Altinsoy had failed to declare her ownership of two properties jointly owned by herself and other relatives in Forest Gate London E7 and Grays in Essex RM17.

She was granted tenancy of a property in Copperfield Chigwell 22 January 2007, the following day she completed a further Housing Application form seeking a move from a flat to a house and again failed to state that she jointly owned the properties.

Had the Council been aware of her ownerships, she would not have been given the tenancy of the property at Copperfield Chigwell.

Home ownership grant

June 2010 Ms Altinsoy applied for a home ownership grant to assist her in purchasing a private property and again failed to reveal that she had an interest in two other properties.

Epping Forest District Council awarded Ms Altinsoy one of six available grants of £28,000 which she used to purchase a property in Basildon, SS13 in June 2011.

However having not been entitled to the tenancy of the property in Chigwell, she was  therefore not entitled to have received the home ownership grant.

Over £40,000 worth of fines

After the hearing in January Ms Altinsoy agreed to pay the sum of home ownership grant £28,000 back to the Council together with the prosecution costs of £12,500 before 5 March 2018 and a sentence hearing was fixed for 9th March 2018.

On that date she was given a 2 year suspended sentence, together with 200 hours unpaid work with a probation supervision order for 12 months.

Do you think someone is committing fraud?

Don’t let them get away with it. You can report it anonymously. You don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Landlord fined £21,575 for illegal HMO

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council successfully prosecuted and fined Mr Veli Bunul £21,575, when found operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) and breaching legislation designed to protect tenants.

HMO Licence

The Council was called to inspect a three storey family town house in Tillingham Court Waltham Abbey, found to be occupied by three separate families, each with young children, all sharing one kitchen and two bathrooms.

Potential tragedy

Housing 11 occupants, the property was overcrowded, had inadequate fire precautions or a safe means of escape in event of an emergency.

Basildon Magistrates court was particularly concerned about these failings which could have potentially led to lives being at risk and tragic circumstances.

The Court heard that Mr Bunul of Chase Side, London E14 had ignored all of Epping Forest District Council’s warnings about his responsibilities to licence the property and his obligation to make it safe.

He alleged he was unaware that the property was being occupied by several families, claiming someone else collected the rent on his behalf. The court did not find this a reasonable excuse and so carried his conviction alongside a hefty fine.

Zero tolerance

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said, “We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards.  The Council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in the Epping Forest district do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk.  We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants”.

New licensing rules

The Government are bringing in an extension to the  current licensing regime. From 1 April 2018, any property with five or more people from two or more households will require a licence regardless of how many floors there are in the property.

Landlords must comply with licence conditions to ensure properties are safe for the amount of people occupying them. In addition, minimum space requirements are to be imposed to prevent exploitation by overcrowding.

Advice to Landlords

Landlords that currently operate a licensable HMO in Epping Forest District (3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more people living as 2 or more households) but do not currently hold a licence should contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team immediately to avoid prosecution.

Anyone operating such an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence, risks a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.

Other landlords operating or thinking of operating an HMO that will fall under the new licensing regime from 1 April 2018 are encouraged to contact the Private Sector Housing Team for further information and advice.

Advice to tenants

If you think you may be living in a property that requires a licence and one is not displayed in the property, or you are concerned about the property conditions, please contact the Private Sector Housing team on the details below.

Contact

Update on council services

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Updated plans for refuse and recycling collections

As the severe weather continues into Friday 2 March 2018, we are adapting operations to maintain waste collection services, making allowances for reduced resources and challenging conditions for our waste collection crews.

We are continuing to focus on fortnightly black wheelie bin, recycling sacks and blue box collections. Access to residential roads can vary in these conditions with properties located in rural areas or down narrow lanes are likely to experience more disruption than others.

Black wheelie bins, recycling sacks and blue boxes

  • Please leave your waste out on the boundary of your property until 5pm on Friday 2 March
  • If your waste is not collected by 5pm, please bring it in over the weekend
  • On Monday 5 March extra crews have been laid on to try and catch up any missed areas, so please make sure your bins are out again by 7am
  • If your bins have not been collected by 5pm on Monday, please take them back in and out in time for your next scheduled collection

Please accept our apologies for this disruption. We will endeavour to collect any waste that has been missed.

Food and garden waste

We will continue to focus our resources on the fortnightly collections throughout Friday 2 March as above. Therefore

  • We are not collecting any green lidded bins for food and garden waste
  • If you were expecting a collection this week, please take it back and put it out again on your next normal collection day.

Our customer service team is continuing to operate with fewer staff  due to the adverse weather so you may experience longer hold times on the phone than usual, so please only call if it is urgent.

Minimising disruption to residents

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Biffa’s tremendously dedicated and hardworking staff. Despite the terrible weather we’ve experienced over the past few days they’ve been out on our streets, battling the elements, doing their best to ensure our waste and recycling is still collected.”

“I want them to know that their commitment to delivering the service and minimising disruption to our residents is greatly appreciated. I’d also like to thank our residents for the understanding and patience they have shown as we contend with these very difficult conditions.”

Contacting the Council

Not urgent?

If your enquiry is not urgent, please contact us by email or use our online reporting tool to contact us to help us reduce waiting times. Someone will be in touch with you as soon as they can.

If your enquiry is urgent and you need to speak to someone, please call us on the telephone numbers below.

If it’s urgent

  • General and refuse – 01992 564000
  • Benefits – 01992 562059
  • Council Tax – 01992 564188
  • Council housing – 01992 564716
  • Housing repairs – 01992 564199

Please keep checking the website and our social media channels for updates and further information.

Check for updates

Essex Police advice for road safety

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Essex Police are advising motorists to stay safe on the county’s roads this week during the poor weather conditions. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for Essex with further snowfall and freezing temperatures predicted up until Friday 2 March 2018.

Snow - February 2018

Advice for driving conditions

The Safer Essex Road Partnership (SERP) has issued the following advice to keep you safe during the difficult conditions

  • Plan your journey in advance and make sure the roads you are using are on the salting route (visit www.essex.gov.uk/gritters)
  • Check up-to-date information and listen to local and national radio for travel and weather information
  • Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and drive at appropriate speeds
  • Overtaking vehicles in wintry conditions can be extremely dangerous. Be patient and allow extra time for your journey
  • If you are in charge of staff at work, have a contingency plan before the bad weather arrives
  • Drivers should check their tyre pressures and tread, that their vehicle lights are clean and working, that wiper blades are effective and that your battery is in good condition and fully charged. Clear windows and mirrors of ice or condensation before leaving
  • Keep items in your car including warm clothes, ice scraper, de-icer, torcher, phone charger, first aid kit, food and drink, high visibility jacket, shovel and blanket

Contacting the police

During poor conditions, Essex Police control officers deal with an increased number of calls.