Archive | September, 2012

A quick re-brand for Newham’s phony coppers?

27 Sep


A Newham Council “community safety officer” on patrol

An article in this week’s Newham Recorder (from which the above picture was *ahem* borrowed) about yet another ‘crackdown’ (yawn) on crime and anti-social behaviour in Newham refers to the mayor’s brigade of fake plods as the Community Safety Team.

When we were introduced to these fine people (pun intended) in the Newham Mag they were referred to as Enforcement Officers, or even ‘Law Enforcement Officers’.

Has the mayor done a swift about-turn and decided to make them sound a bit less threatening? I wonder what might have caused that.

Not a Communist

26 Sep

Earlier today the Newham Recorder tweeted the headline of a story running on its website, “Communists call for resignations over Silvertown’s London Pleasure Gardens flop”.

This caught my attention. Clicking through to the story, I read:

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales has declined to respond to a threat from the Communist United Party in relation to the London Pleasure Gardens fiasco.

Leader Kamran Malik has written to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles asking that the Mayor is removed from his role over the council’s involvement in the botched Silvertown venture.

It went on to say that Mr Malik had come third in the 2010 mayoral election, polling 6,600 votes.

I remember the 2010 mayoral election and there wasn’t a communist candidate, but there was a Communities Welfare Party candidate. Using the mighty power of Google I discovered that Kamran Malik was in fact the leader of the Communities United Party. My immediate conclusion was that the Recorder was guilty of a howling error; they’d made a silly typo and then repeated it in an over-dramatic headline.

I tweeted them about it, including a link to the Communities United Party website. Time passed. Nothing happened. I tweeted them again. This time I got a reply from Luke Jacobs, the author of the story who has recenty left the left paper to work for

@mwarne Hello. The letter we have (from the party itself) describes itself as the ‘Communist United Party’.

— Luke Jacobs (@lukemjacobs)

Wow. That was odd. They definitely weren’t called that in 2010; nothing on their website suggests such a dramatic shift in policy, or any change in name. I seriously doubt they’d have got 6,600 votes in Newham as communists.

Then another tweet from Luke Jacobs:

It appears the party is registered as the KM Communities Welfare Party. maybe a typo on their letter?

Well, it wouldn’t say much for the competence of the party – or its leader – if it was, would it?

Just checked, and it was a mistake on their letter. Thanks (on behalf on my former paper) for alerting them!

Ha ha! So I owe the Recorder an apology for assuming this was their sloppy journalism. They have now corrected the story.

There’s a lesson here for political parties – read your press statements carefully before sending them out.

And a lesson for the people of Newham – don’t vote for people who are so incompetent that they get the name of their own party wrong.

Canary Wharf seen from Poplar DLR

25 Sep

on Instagram – September 25, 2012 at 02:16PM

£40 million doesn’t buy much these days

24 Sep

So, according to the Standard, the mayor thinks our investment in the Olympic stadium is worthwhile because

local people would get priority tickets to the stadium and access to its facilities for athletics meetings and sports days

That’s not much of a return on £40 million.

Any local politician worth his salt should have been able to get that from a publicly owned stadium located right in his home patch without spending a penny.

Met police commissioner asked about Newham uniforms

11 Sep

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee met today to discuss security at the Olympic Games. Among the witnesses was Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.

He was asked by Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, about the importance of the public not being confused about who was and who was not a police officer and in particular about the new uniforms being worn by Newham’s ‘law enforcement officers’. 

The Olympic stadium lit up at night

10 Sep

on Instagram – September 10, 2012 at 10:16AM

Olympic Rings

4 Sep

on Instagram – September 04, 2012 at 02:21PM


4 Sep

on Instagram – September 04, 2012 at 02:19PM

Olympic Park

4 Sep

on Instagram – September 04, 2012 at 02:16PM

The Enforcers

4 Sep


Contrary to what what you might think at first glance, this is not a picture of four police officers. It accompanies a double page spread in the latest Newham Mag (issue 257) disturbingly headlined “Power to the Enforcers.” These ‘Enforcers’ are, in fact, Newham council staff.

The article explains the role of these 52 new ‘law enforcement officers’ (formerly known as the anti-social behaviour team) who will “work side-by-side” with the 66 extra Metropolitan Police officers the council already pays for to target anti-social behaviour and other ‘low level’ nuisances in the borough.

While the article takes great pains to explain what the powers of these ‘enforcement officers’ are and how these differ from the powers of real police officers it says nothing about why the mayor and council find it necessary to dress them up in police-like uniforms.

As we know from previous experience with Newham’s “Community Constabulary” if you dress people as police officers and have them patrol like police officers they will start to believe they are actually police officers, and they will behave accordingly (and not in a good way).

Dressing relatively untrained civilians as police officers does nothing for public safety and may even put the enforcement officers in physical danger. It certainly puts them at risk of committing offences under section 90 of the Police Act 1996. I wonder what, if any, legal advice the mayor asked for before ordering the uniforms? It would have been foolish in the extreme to go ahead without any.

Given what happened with the Community Constabulary I don’t understand why we are going back down the same path. Why is the Mayor so intent on running his own private, uniformed police force?