Turning the lights out

In my last post about Fraser Pithie’s bid to be elected as Police and Crime Commissioner, I mentioned street lighting plans.

What is happening is that the County Council has announced that they intend to switch off 80% of their street lights in the hours between midnight and 5:30am from April next year.

While there is an ‘engagement’ exercise requesting feedback, that decision has already been made – the question is which ones are affected (or rather, which ones are left on). There are criteria set out, but the real problem is that these are based on a need to move the vast majority of lights to part time.

So, for example under the current plans the Southfields estate in Rugby, where I used to live, will have no street lights on at all after midnight.

The County Council pages going into the detail are here, and there’s a google map showing all of the County Council lights that are covered that will show you how your street is affected.

Police and Crime Commissioner isn’t supposed to back policies that risk more crime

The Tories have unveiled their candidate for the Warwickshire Police & Crime Commissioner. It is Fraser Pithie.

There are currently two major issues around crime and policing in the county. First of all the 20% funding cuts from central government have already led to decreasing numbers of officers, affecting community (and beat) policing. In the last year, burglary rates have shot up in Rugby, and it can’t be ruled out that there is a link.

Fraser Pithie supports these cuts, which seem to be leading to more crime. Read the rest of this entry »

A victim of privatisation – Justice

Forensics blunder ‘may endanger convictions’

Shortly after the Tory-Lib Dem coalition came to power, the Home Secretary announced that the UK’s public Forensic Science service would close. It would save a bit of money, apparently.

Of course, the police and prosecutors still need forensic science done in order to proceed with cases. So they had to go private. Unfortunately, one such private forensic lab, LGC Forensics, has managed to get some DNA contamination into the results in a rape case, leading to a collapsed case and the need to review loads of others.

That’s a false economy, surely.

Police cuts… Crime rises… Who could predict it?

I know it’s been ages since my last post. I’ve been feeling disillusioned with the internet and bogging of late, and have been pretty busy in real life, so let it slip.

But I saw this today that just shows how the Coalition Government’s cuts may be having a directly negative effect:
Police departures led to surge in crime (Rugby Observer)

Basically, Warwickshire Police are faced with having to make massive cuts. To help them manage, they moved experienced officers from Rugby to Nuneaton to cover gaps. But after that happened, the incidence of home burglaries in Rugby leapt up by about 75%. So they ended up having to bring some of them back again.

Which is fine for Rugby, for now, in that the effect was pretty quick and crime went down again. But it strikes me that other parts of the County will be lacking full cover as a result.

When the Tories (backed by their yellow pals) went for 20% cuts in policing, they claimed it could be done without affecting the front line and that predictions of an effect on crime was ‘scaremongering’. But the evidence suggests that, as senior officers themselves said at the time, the cuts are forcing the Police to make tough decisions, with some areas losing vital cover.

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