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Joe Kilker

Meeting to discuss prostitution in the ward, little progress

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Re-posted from Tredworth's Facebook page:

Same reason as I went - to find out if anything positive would come out of the meeting, or, at the very least, something self-serving to be guarded against, by the people who ran the neighbourhood partnership into the ground last September. It turned out that nothing came out of it, just excuses about lack of resources. The base line is that prostitutes are seen plying their trade most days around the Sinope St carpark, and it *shouldn't* be beyond the capabilities of a genuinely 'caring' and united community to end this trade, even without the police's involvement, if they are just going to cry poverty every time they are asked to act. To say nothing of drug dealing, which was barely touched on, and the fly-tipping epidemic in Barton.

What that will take, though, is for members of the community to start communicating with each other in a way they haven't done much of so far, to coordinate efforts, and that means online. Remember, the police offered an online forum, which they promptly banned me from for posting the 'confidential' information of Alan Myatt's and Tony Ward's names (in a totally neutral context), then scrapped it due to 'cost', when small forums cost nothing these days. The meeting showed that residents have stories to tell, but that means nothing if they aren't shared with the wider community.

It will also take another, better, partnership or residents group, which welcomes the views of residents, and isn't ran by people who hide in closed 'committee' meetings, from 'troublemakers', as Gordon Barrington apparently put it. In the unlikely event of that ever happening, I probably won't be involved with it, after a promise to my wife, but I'll still be keeping an eye out for the likes of Ismael Rhyman and Philip Lowery to sink their hooks into such a group, and shut residents out again.

Transparency and accountability should, always, be the dual watchwords. Apparently, Saj Patel only sent those notices out to people who had complained to him about the issues dealt with, when the meeting should have been for everyone in the ward, because what's happening is out on the street. The days of police meetings as standard are over (cost). Back to discussions online, without the police (who 'haven't got the spare time'). If it doesn't happen in the run-up to the elections, it probably won't happen at all.

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