Taking a Stand Against Domestic Violence

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

With the festive season fast approaching, not everybody’s Christmas is festive. For victims of domestic abuse it can be stressful, frightening and even abusive.

Local officers and agencies were out-and-about staffing stalls during Domestic Violence Awareness Week, 23 to 27 November 2009 to remind people that help is available. Various agencies such as police, Womens Aid and Essex Probation Service offered free, confidential advice and support at stands across the Epping Forest, Harlow and Brentwood areas.

Beth Knight from VAEF and PCSO Shelley Cole on a stall at Epping

Picture caption – Beth Knight from VAEF and PCSO Shelley Cole on a stall at Epping (picture used with kind permission from Essex Police).

Domestic Abuse Liaision officer, Sgt Shirley Cole said: “Raised tensions leading to violence and abuse can occur within families spending long periods of time in close proximity during this time of year, in particular over the festive period. Essex Police will take positive action against all offenders. We will be working over this period and will arrest and remove anyone committing any offences. We will also be there to provide support for families and any victims of abuse.

Domestic abuse is a crime more common than people realise and even if you are not experiencing it yourself, the chances are, someone you know is.

Domestic violence is any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship, or between family members. It can affect anybody, regardless of their gender or sexuality. The violence can be psychological, physical, sexual or emotional.

If you, or someone you know is experiencing any abuse, contact the Domestic Abuse and Hate Crime Unit on 01279 625493 or Harlow police station on 0300 333 4444.

Victim support helpline: 0845 4565 995 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Safer Communities Conference

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

Anti-social behaviour was voted the top priority by residents at the Safer Communities Conference held at Waltham Abbey in November. Road safety and drugs came second and third as people`s concerns.Safer Communities Conference 2009

The panelThe District`s top police officer Divisional Commander Alan Ray was one of a panel of experts and councillors to field residents questions at a special `question time` filmed for webcast on Epping Forest District Council`s website. Hosted by BBC Essex presenter Dave Monk, the panel answered questions from residents across the district.

In an audience dominated by young people, the panel was asked why the media often portrays them in such a bad light. Statistically, Epping Forest District has low levels of crime and anti-social behaviour compared against the national picture.

Alison Cowie of NHS West Essex discussed the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on health services. John Gilbert from Epping Forest District Council and County Councillor Anthony Jackson of the Essex Police Authority discussed road safety -another issue often associated with young people but actually more often a problem with older drivers.

Wells Security Officer with a drug sniffer dogEarlier in the day, Waltham Abbey Town Hall hosted a range of displays. Among those taking part were Lee Valley Regional Park and the Olympic Delivery Authority who showed off a scale model of the new White Water Canoe facilities being built just outside Waltham Abbey.

Essex Police set up a knife detector arch. A Team from Wells Security gave demonstrations with their drug sniffer dogs, Willow and Beamish. Children from Upshire Primary School, Holy Cross Infants School, Leverton Junior School and Hill House Church of England School with winning entries in the Fire Engine colouring competition received awards from Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Penny Smith.

First prize went to Adam Freeman of Upshire Primary School who won a day at Waltham Abbey Fire Station for his whole class.

Essex County Council Trading Standards, Essex Fire and Rescue, the Essex Young People`s Drug and Alcohol Services, Waltham Abbey Town Council and many other organisations mounted displays.

Younger children were entertain with puppet shows while their parents learned more about the service available in the District, discuss issues and pick up information leaflets and guides.

For very young children, the children`s centre provided a dressing up zone for the emergency services and an opportunity to leave with a personalised calendar.

Adam Freeman receiving his prize from Penny SmithColouring Competition

4 Primary Schools in Waltham Abbey participated in a colouring competition.

Children were asked to colour in the fire engine and complete the picture.

Each school had one highly commended pupil. The winners were as follows:

1st: Adam Freeman of Upshire Primary School

2nd: Jason Baratta of Holy Cross Infants Primary School

3rd: Molly Blackman of Holy Cross Infants Primary School

High commended were Ruby Cairns of Upshire Primary School, Nelli Shafrane Bullen of Holy Cross Infants Primary School, Yasmin Bramble of Leverton Junior School and James Fitzpatrick of Hill House C.E School.

Safety Tests Uncover Faulty Blankets

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your home

The free electric blanket testing service provided by Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council has been hailed as a success and worthwhile service. On 20 October 2009 residents were invited to bring their electric blankets along to Loughton library to be tested.

Eleven blankets were tested on the day, two of which failed. A faulty electric blanket can be the cause of a house fire and having it tested is a quick and easy way for people to ensure they are safe.

This free service is organised by Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Team in partnership with Essex County Council`s Trading Standards. It takes place every year and always proves to be a beneficial service to local residents.

Also at Loughton Library on the day were staff from Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), C.A.R.E. – Caring and Repairing in Epping Forest – the Council`s Sports Development Team and Essex Police. They provided support and advice to people on how to keep themselves safe and promote community wellbeing.

Residents Offered Free Security Advice

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Residents, Your home

An exciting new initiative offering free security advice has been launched by the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership.

Residents considering making improvements to their security will be able to request a free survey from experienced officers by contacting the Councils Safer Communities Team.

The free independent security advice is being offered to all householders in the district by Essex Police together with Epping Forest District Council.

Contact Details

Community Safety and Transport Portfolio holder Syd Stavrou said: This is a practical initiative designed to help residents with their security. The advice is free and impartial from two officers who have over 60 years of policing experience between them. We hope that by introducing this as a service we will prevent residents falling victim to crime.

Chief Inspector Alan Ray District Police Commander for Epping Forest District said: This is a very good partnership initiative, fittingly launched during Not in my Neighbourhood week. These officers have been carrying out joint security surveys for some time when crimes have occurred and they have proved very reassuring with householders. This initiative will extend this service to a wider group of residents.

Meet the Team

Tony Ellis

Tony Ellis, Essex Police Crime Reduction OfficerEssex Police Crime Reduction Officer

Tony joined Essex Police in 1966 where he worked as an operational officer in Thurrock until being promoted to Sergeant and moving to Ongar in 1977.

Tony has spent most of his 30 years service stationed in the Epping Forest District he has a very good local knowledge of the area. He became a Crime Reduction Officer with Essex Police in 1998 and has worked in that role ever since.

Paul Gardener

Paul Gardener, Epping Forest District Council Safer Communities OfficerEpping Forest District Council Safer Communities Officer

Paul joined Essex Police in 1976 and was posted to Epping in 1978 after working at Basildon. He worked most of his career in the Epping Forest District.

Paul has been involved in local community policing and was trained at the Home Office Crime Prevention Centre. He served on a number of specialist departments before retiring from Essex Police in 2006 and joining the Epping Forest District Council Safer Communities Team.

Record Recycling and Fire Safety Discussed at Council

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Democracy, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Your council, Your home

Increased recycling, council housing fire safety in communal areas, accord to support local businesses and cutting carbon emissions were all on the agenda at the meeting of Full Council on 3 November 2009.

Record Recycling

Councillor Diana Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council, presented a short summary of the latest increase in recycling. Figures for the first three weeks of the new domestic recycling services have exceeded expectations with residents boosting monthly levels to around 60 per cent. Should this trend continue, recycling levels for the year could reach 47 per cent with subsequent years potentially reaching 50 per cent.

Equally encouraging has been the 28 per cent reduction in the amount of rubbish sent to landfill. In the written report to Council, Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Mary Sartin thanked residents for embracing the new recycling services so wholeheartedly.

Fire Precautions – Communal Areas of Council Flats

A petition by tenants of Torrington Drive, Loughton is to be considered by Members of the Housing Scrutiny Panel. Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council, told the meeting of Full Council on 3 November that he would decide what response to make after receiving the Panel`s views.

Torrington Drive tenants submitted the petition in response to letters issued by the Council in relation to Health and Safety in communal areas of flats. The Council has asked tenants to ensure they do not leave personal items in communal areas which could obstruct their escape in an emergency. Although the District Council carries out regular routine inspections, the latest request comes soon after a Ministerial report into the Camberwell fire in London earlier this year in which six tenants died.

Councillor Stallan said: The health and safety of our tenants is our top priority. None of us would do anything to compromise the safety of our tenants. However, I have received feedback from several Councillors and tenants who want us to look at the policy in detail and therefore informed the Council of my intention to ask the Housing Panel to look at the issue. The Panel should be able to report back to me with recommendations in the next month or two. In the meantime, we have an obligation to ensure we do all we can to keep escape routes clear and will continue to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of our tenants.

Small Business Accord

The Chairman of the Essex Federation of Small Businesses has signed an accord with Epping Forest District Council to support local commerce. Council Chairman Councillor Penny Smith and Business Champion Councillor Chris Whitbread signed the accord on behalf of the Council.

Councillors then went on to support motions asking the Government to review its actions in raising the National Non-Domestic Business Rate locally. They called upon the Government to reduce the multiplier to the greatest possible extent and at least 20 per cent, increase transitional relief so that no business sees its bill increase by more than 2.5 per cent between the current and the new financial years and doubling the limit that restricts entitlement to small business rate relief.

Councillors also supported the case of Buckhurst Hill businesses which had been particularly affected by the latest business rate increases. Members voted to invite the District Valuation Officer to explain his actions to Overview and Scrutiny.

10:10 – Cutting the Council`s Carbon Emissions

Councillors agreed steps to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent by 2010. The Council supported the 10:10 campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage other individuals, businesses and organisations to do likewise.


Designated Public Place Order Starts

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Your area, Your community

Image of bottles used on DPPO signs

A Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) covering the Stonards Hill and Lower Swaines recreation grounds in Epping started on Thursday 20 August 2009 to help deal with problems of alcohol related anti-social behaviour.

The DPPO does not make it an offence to consume alcohol within a designated area but it does make it an offence for anyone to drink alcohol after being asked by a Police Officer not to do so. It also provides powers for the Police to confiscate and dispose of alcohol in any person’s possession and arrest them if they fail, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the Officer’s request.

Pictured from left - Councillor Syd Stavrou, Bill Towers, Caroline Wiggins and PC Gary Harrington

A DPPO may be enforced by a police officer, a police community support officer (PCSO) or an accredited person. If they suspect a person has recently drunk alcohol or intends to drink alcohol in a DPPO, in order to prevent public nuisance and disorder, police can require a person to stop drinking alcohol (or anything believed to be alcohol), hand over the containers they are drinking from (sealed or unsealed) or hand over any other containers believed to contain alcohol.

Pictured from left to right are Epping Forest District Council Councillor Syd Stavrou, Epping Town Council Town Superintendant Bill Towers, Epping Forest District Council Safer Communities Manager Caroline Wiggins and Neighbourhood Specialist Officer PC Gary Harrington

    The 2 areas covered by the DPPO are:

  1. Epping, Stonards Hill Recreation Ground, Stonards Hill, includes car park, scout hut, Jack Silley Pavillion car park, tennis courts, football stand and ground.
  2. Epping, Lower Swaines playing fields, incorporating the public footpath running along the boundary of St Johns School from Lower Swaines to Bury Lane. Garages behind 2 Lower Swaines, Epping and public land and highway extending from St Johns School outside numbers 2 to 18 and 1 to 43 Lower Swaines.Pictured from left - Bill Towers, PC Gary Harrington, Councillor Syd Stavrou and Caroline Wiggins

The Community Safety and Transport Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council Councillor Mrs Syd Stavrou said: “August 20th marks the start of a very welcome initiative to give police more powers to stop this minority of anti-social drinkers from causing a nuisance in these areas. The Order is not designed to ban people from drinking and enjoying alcohol in a responsible way, it is designed to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere in our open spaces and reinforce the message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Signs have been erected at both locations showing the areas subject to the DPPO. Penalties for non-compliance include a penalty notice for disorder of £50, arrest and prosecution for a level 2 fine (maximum of £500) or bail conditions that can stop the individual from drinking in public.

Epping Forest District Council with support from Essex Police and Epping Town Council agreed to adopt a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) under Sections 12 to 16 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 as amended by Section 26 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and the The Local Authorities (Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places) Regulations 2007.

Crucial Crew Pupils Learn Personal Safety

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

Over 1,300 pupils visited Gilwell Park in Chingford from Monday 8 June to Friday 19 June 2009 to take part in the annual Crucial Crew event.

Crucial Crew is an interactive safety initiative based around key life skills that target 10 to 11 year old children. Crucial Crew teaches children how to tackle the dangers they may encounter in everyday life and helps prevent them, in a very interactive way, becoming involved in crime.

Pupils were taught how put somebody in the recovery position

It is designed to help the children to cope with dangerous situations, accept responsibility for their own safety, learn social responsibility and make sensible decisions based on acquired knowledge.

Pupils shown a mock up of a road accident involving a young cyclist

    Crucial Crew is based very firmly on four principles:

  • Children learn by doing
  • Crime prevention and personal safety education can be challenging and exciting
  • Everyone is concerned about crime prevention and personal safety
  • The most effective way of tackling the problem is a partnership approach

Chairman Penny Smith with Crucial Crew 2009 staff

Superintendent Simon Williams, Essex Police said: “Crucial Crew is a fun way to prepare children to remain safe in a variety of emergency situations and to be aware of dangers they are likely to encounter as they advance through life. Messages are conveyed through interactive role play allowing children to react to the problems they encounter and to learn how to make the correct choices about their personal safety.

Pupils shown the importance of recyclingThis year children each received a copy of our new personal safety workbook with further information and advice on dealing with dangerous situations and how to make positive choices regarding behaviour. The publication, with an introduction by John Gilbert, Chair of the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership, complements the Crucial Crew experience and will act as both a classroom and family resource.

David J Bailey, Head Teacher at Stapleford Abbotts Primary School said: “Pupils and teachers both found Crucial Crew to be an exciting and informative event. It raised issues around crime prevention and personal safety that schools find difficult to address in the classroom. The feedback from pupils who attended was extremely positive and I hope that all the children take on board the importance of personal safety.”

Debbie Towns from the All Ways Educating said: They all really enjoyed the way the scenarios were presented and they have discussed it at length ever since! All parents and children were extremely impressed at how well organised the session was.

James from All Ways Educating wrote: Dear Crucial Crew, I learnt very much including how to put somebody in the recovery position, how to avoid peer pressure and many more interesting things to do. I enjoyed it very much and I hope you can do this again.

Sally Smalley from All Ways Educating wrote: My boys were buzzing when they came out of Crucial Crew this morning. They were really impacted by it and keep mentioning things they had learnt. They particularly liked the discussion on bullying as they have experienced this and were glad to hear they did the right thing.

Feeling Good Keeping Safe

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Older people in the Epping Forest District will soon be entertained by a touring play informing them of how distraction burglaries are carried out, and to help them to recognise bogus callers and refuse them entry. A preview of the play ‘Feeling Good, Keeping Safe’ was performed at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Wednesday 29 April 2009. It was organised by the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership and performed by volunteers from the Roding Valley U3A (University of the Third Age).

Volunteers from Roding Valley U3A performing the Feeling Good, Keeping Safe at Theydon Bois

The aim of the show is ‘to improve doorstep crime awareness and avoid becoming a victim’ through the powerful medium of drama. It shows how burglars work and provides audiences with the necessary techniques to keep themselves safe on their doorstep.

 There were 162 offences of distraction burglary reported in the Epping Forest District between 2006 and 2008. In most categories of crime, younger people are more likely to be the victims but with distraction burglaries the trend is reversed with the average age of victims being 81. According to national figures on doorstep crime there are 19,000 offences against older people reported every year, but the real figure may be much higher. A `Help the Aged` survey in 2002 suggested the number of people falling victim to bogus callers in the UK could be as high as 300,000 in the previous 12 months. Research has shown a large under-reporting of incidents as to victims can often feel foolish or embarrassed or even not being aware a crime has been carried out.

Audiences are shown techniques to keep themselves safe on their doorstep

John Gilbert, Chairman of the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership attended the preview of the play and said: “I found the presentation ‘Feeling Good, Keeping Safe’ to be very informative and entertaining. It’s a great way of getting this vitally important message to those who are most at risk from doorstep crime. Whilst the Epping Forest District is a very safe place to live, this does not prevent criminals from targeting the most vulnerable within our communities, particularly the elderly and infirm who often live alone. It is our priority to inform and protect those who may be at risk from bogus callers both at the doorstep and on the telephone.”

Mr Gilbert continued: “We (the Safer Communities Partnership) will continue to support this initiative and look to see how we can provide the same information and support to those unable to attend the shows.”

U3A are committed to lots of shows in the District this year are looking for suggestions for future venues and audiences. If you have a suggestion please contact Caroline Wiggins by email to cwiggins@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or by telephone on 01992 564122.

    Future performances are listed below:

  • Wedsnesday 3 June 2009 at 9:45am
    Buckhurst Court, Albert Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex IG9 6EH
  • Wedsnesday 10 June 2009 at 9:45am
    Leonard Davis House. Kiln Road, North Weald, Essex CM16 6BS
  • Tuesday 7 July 2009 at 1:45pm
    Frank Bretton House, Bansons Way, Ongar, Essex CM5 9EY
  • Thursday 23 July 2009 at 1:45pm
    Pelly Court, Hemnall Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4NA
  • Thursday 6 August 2009 at 2pm
    Chapel Road, Epping, Essex CM16 5EE
  • Tuesday 22 September 2009 at 2pm
    Epping Methodist Church Hall, 119 High St, Epping, Essex CM16 4BD
  • Monday 28 September 2009 at 2:15pm
    North Weald Village Hall High Rd, North Weald, Epping, Essex CM16 6BU

Crime In Your Community Survey Prize Draw Winner

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Congratulations to Shelagne Sheldrake of Ongar, the lucky winner of a £100 Marks & Spencer voucher for completing Epping Forest District Council`s `Crime in your Community` online survey.  Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman picked the winning number from the replies received.  

Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Partnership undertook the survey between February and March this year via the Council`s website. The aim of the survey was to establish the public`s perception of crime and whether they felt safe.

The results received were measured against local and national indicators to establish the public`s perception of anti-social behaviour. The results showed 94.6% of people feel safe during daylight while out in their local area and 62.5% of people feel safe after dark while out in their local area. 74.1% of people requested an increase of police patrols, 9.8% feel people being drunk or rowdy in public places is a very big problem and 75.9% feel property crimes (vandalism and theft) is the biggest problem where they live.

The results of the survey, carried out over a month from mid February to mid March, will be used to assist in the setting of priorities for the coming year for the Partnership.

Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman said:  I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to our survey.  It really is very helpful when planning where to direct resources to know what our residents think about crime and safety.

Civic Awards 2009 Community Service Medals

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Crime and safety, Loughton, Ongar, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

Community Service medals are awarded to members of the Emergency Services who have made a special contribution or shown care and dedication well above and beyond the call of duty.

Police Community Support Officer Hayley Toye

Chairman John Knapman with PCSO Hayley ToyeEpping Forest District Council supports its local PCSOs, and works in partnership with them and Essex Police, and provides funding. As a result there has been real benefits from the introduction of PCSOs. No-one illustrates that better than the winner of the Epping Forest Police Community Service Medal for 2009.

Hayley Toye is a dedicated Officer serving the neighbourhood of Debden. Well known by local Councillors, residents and young people, she has made a particularly strong impact on anti-social behaviour. Her strength lies in talking with people and listening to them.

Building relationships and trust, Hayley has tackled problems as diverse as graffiti, racial abuse, shoplifting and inconsiderate parking. She uses her initiative to find new ways of communicating with local young people, one particular notable example being her Halloween disco.

Essex Ambulance Service Paramedic Brian Clark

Chairman John Knapman with Louise SamouelleBased at Ongar Ambulance Station, Brian Clark has been saving lives since 1980.

He is described as a `lovely, caring gentleman ` and he can be unaware of his impact on the people around him. Attending a minor emergency, Brian was surprised when the patient recognised him as the man who had saved his life years earlier. He has a reputation for remaining calm and level headed in pressurised and extreme situations.

Brian plays a big part in the social calendar of his station and the same friendly approach has endeared him to many of the new recruits he has mentored and trained over the years.

Brian is unable to receive his Community Service Medal in person but representing him at the awards presentation is Brian’s manager from the Essex Ambulance Service, Louise Samouelle.