A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
Here is the email we received
My name is Perry LaFrenais and I am taking over as sergeant for Bowes Ward. I know you already have two very good Ward officers in Chris and Simon and I look forward to working with them and yourselves to address any problems that occur on this ward.
I will hopefully meet you all in person soon but in the mean time if you do have any issues please tell Chris or Simon or contact me directly.
PS 15YE Perry LaFrenais
C Team West Cluster NPT
Southgate Police Station
25 Chase Side
0208 345 3846 (external)
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Now that the new Sergeant has had a chance to get his feet under the table I wonder if I might raise a few concerns and ask if you could pass them on to Perry, Chris and Simon as well as your council colleagues responsible for licensee registration and planning.
The major police incident on Green Lanes this evening (Sunday 28th) at the junction of Tottenhall Road served as a reminder to how infrequently the police are seen in this locality.
Their absence is disappointing as I believe there is much to interest them here - mostly from the clientele of the so called "cafe's" in particular Piazza at 111 Green Lanes, and Bujani at 89 Green Lanes. Tonight's incidents (and the re-opening of Bujani after rebuilding) have prompted me to write with a request that the council and police please stop turning a blind eye to the anti-social behaviour in these places and the alleyways behind them.
Over the summer, groups of young men have been sat outside Piazza in the early evening passing comments and leering at women as they pass. Bizarrely these few customers never seem to purchase anything - yet sit at tables with an occasional coffee cup - or bottle of water in front of them (often different brands of water suggesting they were not purchased here). The smell of cannabis from the cafe is clear to all passers by and It is obvious to even a casual observer that the retail sales of this "business" could not be enough to cover their costs.
A report from former Sgt Taylor on the Enfield Council website reveals a "Keystone Kops" style raid on the place over a year ago where police entering from the street were outwitted by clients ... leaving via the back alley! The report makes interesting reading see here:https://governance.enfield.gov.uk/documents/s39611/Funky%20Lounge.pdf despite Class A drugs found on the premises and suggestions of prostitution the place still remain "trading"...
Fancy cars - Mercedes BMW's and the like - often park at the Green Lanes end of Melbourne Avenue in the early evening - it would be surprising that Piazza and Bujani are so fashionable as to attract well heeled clients ... so it's perhaps for the dealing in the back alleys behind Green Lanes that these visitors arrive?
Just along the road the recently refurbished premises called "Bujani" is licensed as a Restaurant their agreement (displayed on the Enfield Council website) permits the premises to " ...operate as a restaurant in which : customers shall be shown to their table; food shall be provided in the form of a substantial table meals prepared on the premises and consumed at the table using non-disposable crockery; alcohol shall not be sold or supplied otherwise than for consumption by persons who are seated in the premises and bona fide taking substantial tables meals there; & the consumption of alcohol by such persons shall be ancillary to taking such meals." These stipulations are being ignored and the premises is used as a private club with local people being turned away and told it is a "members only drinking club". The CCTV cameras which are a condition of their license will, I'm sure, show this happening.
The rather creepy, aggressive man who always wears dark glasses and daily patrols the street outside Piazza, Bujani and Club Planet was today shouting and swearing at pedestrians on the street - a regular occurrence - he too was identified by name in Sgt Taylor's report from last year ... yet still he wanders around abusing citizens and presumably continues to be paid as a look-out for the dealers as Sgt Taylor's report suggested. Is there something that can be done to moderate his obnoxious behaviour?
I realise that as a result of Tory cuts local people are forced to put up with the consequences of far more crime, anti social behaviour and low-level aggression on our streets, but please could you simply send along a council officer as a "mystery shopper" to ensure agreement with license conditions - or shut them down - and please could the police have a word to try and moderate the worst excesses of flagrant disregard for drug dealing laws on our streets.
We have have reached a point where drug dealing and anti-social behaviour on the streets of Bowes Ward continues in public and unchallenged - intimidating local residents and "normalising" illegal activities.
Please don't come back with platitudes ... just tell me what action I can expect to see happening in my neighbourhood to tackle the illegality that has been known about and reported over several years.
Thank you for writing John. Not sure I understand the comment about platitudes - what's the point of being cllr if you're not going to talk straight? - so let's get straight to the heart of the matter.
Look at the Bowes Labour website. You'll see a recent upload where I provide specific details on how our local police presence has been decimated - absolutely decimated - by the recent changes imposed by the Met/GLA/Boris. I've confronted Boris about this unassailable fact and he has looked me straight in the eyes and lied. Talk to Perry, talk to ex-Sgt Lorna (Taylor) and they will spell it out for you. The "restructuring" in the new regime has gutted Labour's bobbies on the beat approach. Next time you read about Osborne crowing about how he has cut the tax rate on multinationals, about the "efficiency savings" at HMRC, this is what it means. Next time you read about Eric Pickles cutting the grant to your Enfield Council by further millions, this is what it means. These things aren't abstract outcomes that happen to someone else. They happen to us.
I will of course share your info - for which I thank you - with the police. I will share it with the Council's already overworked trading standards officers - who due to the cut in our central government grants are getting fewer and further between. They will put it on their already long list of problems to catch up with. As your devoted ward councillor I will lobby them hard to push Bowes to the top of their list. But you know John, let me remain brutally honest with you: the police are already aware of the matters you communicate. The Council officers are too. No need for a mystery shopper. I would love for the police to launch secret operations. I'll remind them for the umpteenth time. And they will listen to me and tell me they will have to juggle this against their other priorities. Because they don't have the resources to do everything
Some day we should discuss whether the Met should be London wide or whether each borough should have its own police force. In the mean time, you can join me lobbying the police, for instance by attending the CAPE meetings we hold regularly in Bowes ward.
Thank you for understanding that I join you in your frustration. Alan
Let me explain. My comments about platitudes meant I am not interested in "blame shifting" nor reasons why things cannot be done... I, and my neighbours, simply want to see action to rectify the problems on our streets ...
... and these are problems that are well known and longstanding. You state that the Police, PCSO's and The Trading Standards officers - as well as our elected councillors - all know about the illegal activities at these premesis - yet day-after-day week-after-week your constituents have to put-up with the effects of your inability to tackle anti-social behaviour.
You state "...what's the point of being cllr if you're not going to talk straight?" Talking straight is all very well - but what's the point of being a councillor if you are unable to command any resources nor utilise any supposed position of power to actually fix a problem you, the police and the council officers have known about for years.
The "heart of the matter" is not your petty squabbles with political opponents - the "heart of the matter" is the daily aggression, fear and upset felt by your constiuents who live alongside a known site of drug dealing, prostitution, crime and anti-social behaviour.
No wonder people are disillusioned with electoral politics...
The only petty squabble I'm experiencing at present is the way this conversation - which was supposed to be constructive - has degenerated. My post was meant to remind friends of who might be able to do what, as well as communicate my frustration at not being in a position to do more at the Enfield Council level. For some reason, you take that as a reason to have a pop at councillors. Not very nice John. Also doesn't make much sense.
1. Clearly certain things do come under the Council's remit and I/we obviously do command resources in those areas. But just as obviously, the Met doesn't report to us. As I write above, I'd like policing devolved to Council level. You would then be right to hold me accountable for their performance. But we don't live in that world John so the criticism is kind of meaningless.
2. You seem to be saying that my being aware of criminality without solving it justifies people's disillusionment with electoral politics. Hunh? I'm an Enfield resident personally facing, day in day out the very same criminal problems you cite. So according to your logic my reaction should therefore be ... to boycott the electoral process? What?
John, I think this thread is finished. Like my fellow councillors I continue fighting the criminality and anti-social behaviour we all have to deal with: for you, for residents, for constituents, for my family, for myself. But I'm not going to promise you that I will be able stop crime once and for all. And I don't think it's very fair of you to have a go at me for not making that promise.
If you might permit to join your discussion...
... it is clear that there is frustration, anger and disappointment here at the ongoing situation, and obviously both of you want the issue resolved.
Whilst an immediate and complete end to all anti-social behaviour is unrealistic - and the reality of limited police and council resources mean that a focus on this particular issue is perhaps a lower priority than many more serious crimes - maybe there is a positive way forward.
Is there any support Councillors, Police or the safer neighbourhoods team could offer residents who might want to establish a Neighbourhood Watch?
Could we perhaps host a Councillors walkabout with concerned residents? Maybe after or before your regular surgeries?
Perhaps the next time Cllr Sitkin and colleagues are out door knocking in the ward is there a possibility of visiting the affected streets and talking about these concerns to local folk?
Is this an issue that could be addressed at the forthcoming Bowes Ward forum?
Working together I feel sure that we can help tackle the antisocial behaviour we all want to see reduced in our neighbourhood.
Any residents who do witness any criminality in any part of our area are encouraged to report it (contact details here) by monitoring anti-social behaviour and reporting it when we see it it is possible to be an active and positive part of the solution.
Good thinking Richard. Over on Highworth the residents have organised themselves - with one woman in particularly leading the charge - and touch wood it seems to help. I'd be delighted to support John if he wants to fulfill a similar role. But let me just repeat something, tonight middle of the night after I've come back from I don't know how many hours of budget meetings. For the past four years we've been able to stave off the worst effects of Osborne's cuts. I cannot overplay the extent to which that is no longer possible, and the direct effects this is going to have on public services - Council, police, you name it. I read that people "just want to see action" and come back from these budget meetings and...well everyone has read the newspaper headlines but clearly not taken them seriously. Which is a mistake.
You know I'm spending all my time trying to reinvent things a Council can do to regenerate its economy/environment in the absence of normal revenue support levels. You know some of thes big and promising initiatives; heat network; Meridian Water; Garden Enfield, things that give our borough and our citizens hope for a better future. But it's a really hard period in history Richard and I just can't lie about that. Add to it Osborne's further cuts in benefits for the working poor and you'll excuse my feeling down in the mouth tonight
It seems there's little that locals (including local councillors and local police) can do about this - we don't have sufficient powers and resources. The people who should be reading this include all members and supporters of the current government and the Mayor of London and everyone else who believes that taxes are too high. Perhaps it might shake them out of their complacency before London and other British cities turn into Mexico Cities.
The discussion on this forum has been picked up and reported on the Enfield Gazette and Advertiser
(click on image below to open online version)
I am surprised that this story contains a claim from Detective Superintendent Paul Healy that Police have not been made aware of any anti-social behaviour issues in Bowes Ward. Whilst thankfully very rare - these specific locations have been subject to calls to 101, discussions with PCSOs and discussions on this website over a couple of years (for example this story or another discussion here).
You're right that the gentleman is wrong Richard. Maybe he didn't get the info from Bowes police past and present but we've brought this info to them on many occasions. There are CAPE minutes attesting to this for instance...