Gazette letters: Election results, Bunhill moped crime, complaints, Cllr Webbe’s twitter and word festival

Islington Council elelctions. Picture: KEN MEARS

Islington Council elelctions. Picture: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

The people of Islington have spoken, writes Cllr Tricia Clarke, St George’s ward.

On May 3 they voted overwhelmingly for a Labour Council. The Labour Party received 61 per cent of the vote, a 5pc increase from the 2014 result and the best result for Labour at a council election in Islington since 1974. And, for the first time, the majority of Islington Labour’s councillors will be female - 26 female and 21 male.

People voted for a council that will build more council housing and fight to do so, as in the landmark case against developer Parkhurst Road Ltd.

On May 3, people voted for a manifesto that included support for our young people, helping them into training and employment, support for our older people and for protection of our public services.

I am proud to have been elected as a Labour councillor in St George’s ward and given the chance to help to implement Islington Labour’s manifesto, to work hard for the people there and to make Islington a fairer place for all.

After our story last week that Islington’s Bunhill ward had the highest number of moped crimes across the whole of London, Cllrs Phil Graham, Troy Gallagher and Claudia Webbe write:

As Bunhill councillors, we want to make sure people in our community feel and are safe. We are committed to supporting and working with the police reducing the level of moped related crimes in our ward, which is a key priority for everyone.

While the rate of moped related crimes in Bunhill and Islington is high, police action is seeing results. Locally, the police have responded with a dedicated team of officers tasked with catching the offenders, enhanced by a team of officers from commands across London. Since the introduction of this new initiative, we have seen a 67 per cent reduction of theft snatch offences in Islington compared to the monthly averages seen in 2017.

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Unfortunately, this is not just an issue in Bunhill, but is one that covers large parts of London. While it is primarily a policing issue, the council is fully engaged in supporting our colleagues in bringing an end to the crime.

The deputy mayor of London has been chairing a series of meetings of senior police and local authority officers from across the capital to agree a collective approach to tackle this issue. Islington has been fully involved in these discussions to develop new strategies and approaches for tackling this high priority crime.

Due to cuts made by the Tory government, Islington has lost 240 police officers and the Met Police will have had its budget cut by £1billion in a decade by 2020. However, there have been successful prosecutions of moped thieves, and we would encourage every resident always to report incidents they witness to the police to help them target resources and catch the perpetrators.

It was refreshing to get an insight into the life of the editor where people phone up to express their dissatisfaction with the paper’s performance (“Think before you dismiss the local press”, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Finsbury.

Perhaps in the future these type of calls will be recorded and placed on the Islington Gazette site so readers can observe the concerns of ex-councillors, and the anonymous.

Why these calls are not made by serving councillors is interesting. After all there are 47 of them. (Editor’s note: There are 47 Labour councillors and one Green.)

However, if I recall there are rules at the town hall Labour department that clearance must be given before they write to the paper, is freedom of opinion in politics an illusion?

Perhaps they are not allowed to make these calls, even though they might like to. It would be nice to know, but even better to listen.

After Cllr Webbe’s campaign to become Lewisham East MP ended, Anita Frizzarin, of Wedmore Gardens, Upper Holloway, writes:

Compare and contrast: Claudia Webbe’s Islington job (environment and transport exec) has reappeared on her Twitter account.

Why did she remove it during her Lewisham (disastrous) campaign? Too embarassing?

This year’s fantastic Word2018 Festival is a celebration of how reading and writing transforms lives, writes Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington’s economic development leader.

Reading is linked to greater wellbeing, life satisfaction and social connectedness and nearly 50 per cent of adults say reading makes them more empathetic and reduces stress levels after just six minutes.

I’m looking forward to Word2018 and encourage everyone to get involved. From story-telling sessions and poetry to circus sessions and dance, there is a huge range of mostly free activities across Islington for all ages.

For more information, visit