Gazette letters: Acid attacks, family care and Safer Neighbourhood meeting

The scene after the acid attack in Hackney - one of five in quick succession across Islington and it

The scene after the acid attack in Hackney - one of five in quick succession across Islington and its neighbouring borough. Picture: @SARAH_COBBOLD/PA - Credit: PA

I was saddened to hear about the acid attacks in my constituencies, writes Jennette Arnold OBE AM, London Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

It is an appalling crime causing devastating injuries and long-term consequences. I questioned the mayor and assistant commissioner about this issue at City Hall and heard some people were choosing to use acid instead of knives as it was easier to get hold of and the sentences if caught were more lenient.

I therefore welcome the mayor’s call to toughen sentencing guidelines for judges.

It is too easy for people to go into a shop and purchase high-strength acid.

We need to look at licensing for all types of acid and how we can restrict its use.

We also need to look at educating people into the long-lasting damage this type of attack has.

I will continue to raise my concerns with both the mayor and the police until we have tougher regulations and a better understanding behind the reasons for these types of attack.

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Firstly I, among many other residents of Islington, would like to thank the Gazette administration for giving the paper to us without payment on Friday mornings at Holloway. It is most generous, writes Norman MacLeod, Windsor Road, Holloway.

Secondly, it is handed out at Nags Head by a smiling Bulgarian lady who unfailingly wishes the passing recipients a “good morning”.

Thirdly, and this is the purpose of my humble contribution to your letters page, the alleged indifferent attendance care shown to an agency patient or client (“Dying dad’s carers ‘skived for months’”).

May I ask where the family concern exists in such cases?

Both my parents were attended to, in their closing eventide decade on earth, within the family circle. Such a problem as your report highlighted could not have occurred as a member of the family took responsibility for one parent and another sibling gladly attended the other parent.

We would never have considered farming this important domestic obligation to any care organisation. Difficult and self-sacrificial it was, but we felt – and still do – that collective conscience liability is at issue whereby future personal disquiet, blame, culpability and distress is forever averted. So-called family values need a more ethical accountability if they are to mean real family values.

I am contacting you regarding the article covered in your recent issue relating to the Islington Safer Neighbourhood Board meeting on July 11, 2017 (“Kids as young as 5 are carrying blades”), writes Roger D’Elia, chairman of the Islington Safer Neighbourhood Board.

It is important that all reports relating to the board are accurate and concise. We therefore feel it necessary to set that record right in relation to your article.

We hold full board meetings bi-monthly, usually at Islington Town Hall, where we scrutinise crime statistics and elements such as hate crime, faith forum and stop and search reports to name a few.

We also invite interest groups to attend and present themed topics and we thus aim to give the whole community the opportunity to interact with senior police and local authority personnel.

An important part of our work is to seek bids from community groups and charities that demonstrate projects and schemes that will contribute to the prevention and reduction of crime in Islington.

We then help those bidders achieve their funding from MOPAC (the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime).

The meeting on July 11 was chaired by the Islington Safer Neighbourhood Board – not, as you state, the police and the council.

From an open public discussion with the borough police commander and Cllr Andy Hull, these five commitments were added to our other constitutional duties:

1. To further strengthen the inclusion of those who have been victims of crime or have been affected by a criminal event;

2. To properly support and evaluate the Police Pathfinder Project (Camden and Islington) and to encourage strong dialogue with residents in Islington;

3. To encourage clarity and transparency in how police actions are communicated and to allay misunderstanding and misconceptions;

4. To promote zero tolerance in the community for all crime, and in particular hate and knife crime, incidents of domestic violence and bullying of any type;

5. To promote, evaluate and measure all types of cybercrime, with the added focus on how cyberbullying can lead to other crime types.

Your report on the event did especially focus on the passionate and powerful discussion with a local resident in connection with the tragedy of the loss of her son earlier in the year. We on the board feel that this was important. This discussion has demonstrated that the residents of Islington are given voice in the way the borough is policed.

But we think it a shame that our five further commitments for the year were omitted from the article, as they are particularly powerful in their content and address some of the underlying issues in crime management in the borough.