Having messed up the introduction of a new system which allows residents to use smartphones to report issues (see http://stevegalloway.mycouncillor.org.uk/2012/03/28/not-so-smart-red-face-as-council-leader-flunks-it-test/) it is disappointing to report that the system isn’t producing results.
Fly tipping in Front Street back lane 20th April 2012
We have reported fly tipping using the system on several occasions over the last 3 weeks. Automated reports assured us that the tipping had been dealt with.
But today, far from being cleared, the tipping is still there and growing in size (see photo right).
As we said when the system was introduced, the problem with tackling street level problems does not rest with reporting systems. The web based channel advertised on the Council web site as “report it” works well. The issue relates to having the right level of resources dedicated to identifying and eliminating the root cause of fly tipping and the like.
In the past the Council had a dedicated team of Street Environment Officers who followed up issues like these. They were particularly effective in dealing with problems on private land. But it seems that they are now being starved of resources.
The Council needs to get control of the fly tipping, fly posting and graffiti problems before they reach a level which could permanently debase the image of our City.
It’s just part of the continuing decline in public services in the Acomb area. It makes the “love York” publicity stunt, which is being covered by sections of the media today, look increasingly out of touch with reality.
The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) in York has fallen with the city having one of the lowest number of claimant rates in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
The number of people claiming JSA in York fell by 61 in March to 3615 (2.6 per cent of the working age population). York also had the lowest percentage increase in claimants from March 2011 to March 2012 at 1.2 per cent – significantly lower than the rest of the region with the next smallest increase being in Selby (5.5 per cent).
York also has the lowest number of claimants aged between 18-24 in the region, at only 3.4 per cent.
The Centre for Cities, an independent think tank, has placed York in the top ten cities in the country with the lowest percentage point increase in JSA claimants between February 2008 and March 2012.
More than a third of all burglaries are crimes of opportunity, where the burglar enters through unlocked doors or windows. Keep your home secure.
According to the Home Office, you are ten times more likely to be burgled if you don’t have basic security – even something as simple as putting strong locks on your doors and windows will keep your house much safer.
Nationwide, burglary has fallen by nearly 60% since 1995 – but criminals are opportunists who will take advantage of any chance to steal from you, so you should remain aware.
Securing your home
If you want to be certain your home is as safe as you can make it, here are ten top tips you should follow:
North Yorkshire Police are continuing to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.
Performance figures for the last financial year – 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 – show a 9% reduction in crime.
This is 3,630 fewer victims of crime compared to the previous year, with a total of38,765.
Going by the Home Office-led statistics website, IQuanta, this places North Yorkshire Police as the best performing police force in the whole of England for 11 consecutive months based on crimes per 1000 population.
North Yorkshire Police were called at around 10.10am on Wednesday 18 April 2012 after reports that a cash delivery man had been robbed on Front Street in Acomb.
The man was assaulted by men wearing balaclavas who stole a cash box containing a sum of money before leaving the scene in a car.
It is believed the vehicle made off in the direction of Carr Lane.
The cash delivery man has been taken to York District Hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained in the incident.
Officers are appealing to anyone who witnessed the robbery to get in touch.
Detective Sergeant Mandy Grundy, of York CID, said:
“Clearly we need to identify who was responsible for this incident as soon as possible.
“There will have been numerous people on Front Street at the time of the robbery and I urge anyone who witnessed the incident or knows who the suspects are to contact the police or Crimestoppers as soon as they can.”
Anyone who can help officers with their enquiries is urged to contact York CID on 101.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting reference number NYP-18042012-0103.
Wanted: hard-working volunteers
North Yorkshire Police are looking for volunteers to help extend the front counter service at Acombpolice station.
Acomb police station reopened its doors to the public in March 2011 to allow residents to meet local officers, report crime and discuss any concerns they have about issues in their area.
The front counter, which is staffed solely by volunteers, is currently open for two hours per day, five-days-a-week and due to the popularity of the service amongst local people, officers are looking to extend the opening hours.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering and helping to enhance an already successful and popular local service is welcome to apply.
PC Colin Park, of Acomb police, said:
“The front counter is a service which the community really values and the hard work and dedication of our volunteers has significantly contributed to its success.
“Since the station reopened to the public, we have seen an improvement in the relationship between the public and the police which is helping us to identify local issues and tackle them effectively.
“By recruiting more volunteers it will enable us to extend the service we can offer and be even more successful in meeting the needs of local people.”
During the first six months of the front counter being reopened there were 100 enquiries from members of the public. In the second six months a further 300 people have made use of the service.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and ask for Nigel Drayton, Volunteers Coordinator.
We ran a story earlier in the year which urged the York Council to be more positive about the introduction of low emission taxis and hire cars into the city. See http://tinyurl.com/eco-cabs
We were pleased to see that the Council is being recommended next week to approve additions to the list of approved vehicles which can be used as taxis. They will, for the first time, include hybrid powered vehicles.
Preference for new licences will be given to those who are prepared to register a low emission vehicle.
While this is progress, it does not address the more fundamental issue of infrastructure. Without recharging points at taxi ranks it is unlikely that the plug in hybrids will find favour with drivers, while the limited range of pure battery powered vehicles would make their use impractical.
We hope that the Council will address that issue quickly. They should also ensure that low emission cabs are easilly identifiable by potential customers – so that they can choose them in preference to ordinary vehicles if they wish.
The regulations are also being changed to include the following paragraph;
“The council will be sympathetic towards the introduction of taxi buses for use in rural areas and work with possible future providers to investigate how such services may be introduced”.
There is no reason for the Council to restrict potential taxi bus use to rural areas. Off peak services in parts of the urban area also represent an opportunity for this type of service.
Unfortunately, when tenders were invited to provide such a link to part of the Heworth area last year, the Council received no response what so ever from taxi operators.
North Yorkshire Police will be carrying out mobile safety camera enforcement on the following roads between Wednesday 18 April and Tuesday 24 April 2012.
•A64 between Barton-le-Willows and Jinnah
•A64 between Barton Hill and Whitwell Hill
•A64 east-bound carriageway Bowbridge Farm Tadcaster
•A64 west-bound Carriageway, Bowbridge Farm, Tadcaster
•Ryecroft Avenue, Acomb, York
•Temple Lane, Copmanthorpe, York
•A1036 Tadcaster Road, York
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•Strensall Road, Huntington, York
•Millfield Lane, Poppleton, York
•Beckfield Lane, York
•Green lane, Acomb, York
We have advocated for some time the use of technology to make paying for car parking in the city as easy as possible.
One result was the introduction of payments by mobile phone and subsequently by text.
We hoped to see the introduction of “Touch in, Touch out” systems using the new enabled bank charge cards but is seems that there may be an intermediate step before this becomes possible.
Enter mobile wireless technology which was launched last week in Tunbridge Wells.
Users swipe their Smartphone and enter a 3 digit code. Like payment by phone, there is no ticket issued. The registration numbers of vehicles, whose owners have paid using the system, are displayed on a hand held device by each parking warden.
The system does away with the barrier operated exit arrangements which are so costly to install and maintain at “pay on exit” car parks. Users are automatically offered the opportunity to extend their stay to avoid incurring a parking fine.
The new system can be used with any “near field communication” enabled smart phone. Users have to first download an “app” into their phone.
It is expected that the option will expand to include York before the end of the year.
More here: tinyurl.com/pay-by-phone
The York Council has decided to spend £10,000 on membership of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for 2012/13.
No indication was given by the Council of the expected benefits of membership.
The Council is also a member of a duplicate organisation based in Leeds.