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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Waltham Forest Town Hall

Contact: John Williams, Democratic Services Officer  020 8496 4344 Email: |john.williams@walthamforest.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

19.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Jacob Edwards (Vice-Chair), and from Councillor Sharon Waldron, Portfolio Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion.

 

20.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are required to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting. Interests are defined on the inside cover of this agenda.

Minutes:

None.

 

21.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2017 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

22.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Minutes:

None.

 

23.

PROMOTING THE COUNCIL'S ACHIEVEMENTS AROUND COMMUNITY COHESION AND PREVENT pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Communications and Communities.

 

Eddie Townsend introduced the report and said there was an important distinction between the Prevent programme aimed at tackling violent extremism, and the more general counter-extremism agenda.  There is a particular focus on countering extremist messages on social media.  He referred to an article by the Chief Executive to appear in the LGC (Local Government Chronicle) about co-operation and an information-sharing approach across East London boroughs.  Other articles will appear in Waltham Forest News, the local Guardian, and the Waltham Forest Echo.

 

Mr Townsend apologised for the omission of the Chingford Weekender from the list of Big Six events and acknowledged its importance to the community.

 

The Committee welcomed the Chair’s suggestion that press releases and other relevant information should be shared with the Ward Forums across the borough.

 

Chingford Guardian - Councillor Berg pointed out that the Chingford edition of the Guardian also covers Epping Forest, and information relevant to Waltham Forest is sometimes overlooked.

 

Waltham Forest News - He also felt that the Council’s newspaper Waltham Forest News, although a quality publication, was too political in nature and gave undue prominence to Council policies and the views of senior Members.  Many people he knew in North Chingford threw it away or only looked at it for traffic control notices and planning applications.  Given the cost and effort that went into it and the fact it was delivered to every house, it seemed to him a missed opportunity. 

 

Notwithstanding this, the Chair believed the Leader of the Council had the right to convey her views.

 

Mr Townsend acknowledged the views expressed, and said he wanted Waltham Forest News to become more of a champion for residents.  Philip Dundon added that this could be enhanced by having a letters page, although it was explained that letters about particular services would be referred to the department concerned.  Mr Townsend agreed with Councillor Mahmood that it had its part to play in both tackling extremism and in publicising the achievements and services of the Council.

 

Prevent and counter-extremism, arts and culture - Mr Macorkindale expanded on the distinction between the Prevent programme and the general counter-extremism agenda.  He provided the example of arts linked to regeneration, and how an arts-based project could help people view themselves in a more cohesive way and shift perceptions.  It was not about terrorism, but about challenging views in the community that might be Islamophobic, homophobic, or supportive of practices such as female genital mutilation.  He suggested that a community advisory group would be needed to ensure the work was of genuine value and relevance.     

 

Councillor Mahmood referred to positive efforts in his ward led by Queen’s Road Mosque, and suggested that talks and activities aimed at inclusion could be publicised in advance rather than just reported afterwards.  He welcomed the suggestions and said the nature of Waltham Forest made it fertile ground for pioneering good practice in the capital and nationally.  Mr Macorkindale  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

THEMED REVIEW: PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE NIGHT TIME ECONOMY pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Community Safety.

 

Alastair Macorkindale introduced the report.  He said it looked at national and regional patterns of night-time economic activity and associated behaviour, then examined the local picture.

 

Because Waltham Forest had come relatively late to the night-time economy, it has been possible to see what has happened elsewhere, take what has worked, and leave what has not worked so well.  On balance the experience has been for the good: it has created jobs, is an important contribution to the cultural life of residents and encourages people to move to the borough and stay.

 

Crime - Nevertheless, there is a correlation between the night-time economy and crime.  Men drinking too much in certain environments may assault one another.  Although most research has gone into men’s behaviour and pubs, there is also a rise in sexual violence against women. This can be anywhere on a spectrum between unwanted attention and harassment, to rape at the other extreme.  There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence and an increasing concern expressed by local women.

 

Male violence is typically associated with establishments that allow drunkenness: serving people who are already drunk, bad design and layout, and poor management.  In many instances these risks can be ‘designed out’ and addressed through licensing conditions.  For example, serving food tends to act as an inhibitor of heavy drinking and violent behaviour.  More careful thought to the public realm can avoid problems when people congregate at cab ranks leading to jostling and fracas.  Many of the traditional trouble-spots have been managed down.  For example, the entire borough south of the A406 is now subject to a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

 

Mr Macorkindale said that the night-time economy accounts for five per cent of Waltham Forest business, although it might be surprising to learn that it is growing more slowly that the economy as a whole.  It is also much more likely to be focused on town centres.  Chingford has proportionally the greatest number of violent incidents at night

 

Risks to women – Mr Macorkindale referred to tow specific campaigns within the umbrella of the Safety Pledge.  ‘A Good Night Out’ deepens the pledge in terms of the safety of venues and staff training.  The ‘Ask for Angela” campaign provides a codeword whereby someone can go to the bar and discreetly ask for help if they are being made to feel uncomfortable, and staff will then keep an eye on them. 

 

There is increasing scope for smart solutions such as an app for reporting sexual harassment not unlike the one available for reporting flytipping.  These point to future safeguarding initiatives to deliver greater general community safety across the board.  This includes work with GALOP, the leading LGBT organisation specialised in preventing violence.  Members referred to the ‘Owl’ app in this context, and the Committee wondered whether its use could be explored and piloted using Safer Neighbourhoods Board/MOPAC monies.

 

The Leader of the Council has asked for a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

WORK PROGRAMME & ACTION LOG pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Noted.