What price one man’s death at the hands of police? What price one man’s privacy at the hands of the media? Simon Harwood, Ian Tomlinson and “harassment”.
Since yesterday’s blog post, the picture supplied by PC Simon Harwood’s solicitors to the media has been published in the mainstream media – well, The Sun and the Telegraph. Both reports even – unlike the BBC’s recent articles – refer to Harwood beating Mr Tomlinson with a club as well as pushing him to the ground.
But no mention of the letter to which the photograph was attached (reproduced above).
As Kevin at Random Blowe blog puts it:
Now personally, I’m not interested in what Harwood has to say about anything unless it is in the dock and in front of a jury. Equally, anything that prevents his lawyers from trying to argue in future that a fair trial is impossible, because of intense interest from newspapers more interested in headlines than justice, has to be good. After all, there still remains a realsitic possibility that the DPP’s decision may be subject to legal challenge and that Harwood may yet have to account for his actions in court.
But given how shocking this case is, it is still important to be able to put a face to the name. Anonymity granted to police officers normally extends far beyond what ordinary members of the public can ever expect – not unlike the kind of different treatment routinely granted to policce whenever they are accused of causing someone’s death.
What Simon Harwood did had terrible consequences, and clearly his culpability needs to be judged, as would the actions of any member of the public in similar circumstances.
Indeed, we know – our common sense screams it at us – that had the roles been reversed, and it had been Ian Tomlinson who beat Simon Harwood from behind with a club after his friend set a vicious dog on him, and then shoved him hard to the ground, and then walked off, all whilst wearing a ski-mask, then Harwood’s family would not be rending their garments in public over the failure to prosecute.
So the attempt by Harwood’s solicitors to stamp on any coverage of their client. There is a genuine public interest in this, and no amount of whining or ‘Not For Publication’ letters is going to stop that.
But equally the buck does not stop with PC Simon Harwood. In many respects he was doing exactly what he should have been. He was an experienced Territorial Support Group officer. He had been selected for the TSG because of his aggression and willingness to use physical force. During Glencoe, the G20 policing operation, TSG units were clearly deployed by senior officers to control space and people, not to prevent crime or maintain order; Simon Harwood was there not as a warranted peace officer, but as an anonymous paramilitary footsoldier.
Nor were these ‘inexperienced junior officers panicking under pressure on the frontline’ as was the line fed to the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons – these were experienced full-time public order specialists (TSG), backed up by volunteer reservists (Level 2s), directed by officers who spend their time surveilling and monitoring political protests (Forward Intelligence Teams), and under the on-the-ground supervision of a formal public order policing hierarchy (such as the Bronze Commander).
Simon Harwood should pay for his actions.
But so too should Commander Bob Broadhurst (Metropolitan Police), who was in overall control of the G20 policing.
So too should Chief Superintendent Alex Robertson (City of London Police), operational commander on the ground, witness to and possibly the one who ordered the assault on Ian Tomlinson.
So too should Chief Inspector Peter Mills (Sussex Police), another senior police officer with a long background in policing protests who was present at or in the near vicinity of the Tomlinson assault.
So too should PC Alan Palfrey (Metropolitan Police), Forward Intelligence Team officer who was a direct witness to the assault on Ian Tomlinson, who would have known Mr Tomlinson was not even a protester, but who did nothing to help him, and who did not make a statement about the incident until after he was named by non-police officers. So too should PC Palfrey’s FIT colleague PC Steve Discombe.
So too should the many other police officers who were witness to, who covered up, or who were complicit with, the assault on Ian Tomlinson.
And no number of solicitors’ letters from any one of them shall stem the public interest in, or the public anger at, the killing of Ian Tomlinson.
Fire chiefs have defended controversial plans to reduce the number of fire engines which serve Norwich.
While the public ‘consultation process’ which is nothing other than lip service continues to be under way for the next few weeks, Fire bosses are making sure that the media give full weight and air time to their proposals whilst barely a mention of the actual bureaucratic red taped claptrap the consultation actually entails…it’s a funny old game!
As usual bosses know best and the fire fighters themselves ought to just put up and shut up!
We aren’t in this instance even going to bother commenting on Mike McCarthy, acting chief fire officers ridiculous recent statements on call out and arrival times, other than to say on your head be it Mike!
Meanwhile this from Jamie Wyatt, Fire Brigades Union secretary in Norfolk
“The proposals not only cut the number of fire engines and firefighters but also remove the attendance times for second fire engines reaching certain types of incidents.
“That means that for some incidents there will be no time limit on how long it will take for sufficient resources to arrive, and therefore puts the public at increased risk.”
We at Norfolk Community Action Group ask that concerned residents in Norfolk not only take part in the online ‘consultation‘ but get firmly behind the FBU and support them in whatever course of action they see fit to take in the coming months.
Health Inequalities Worst Since The Great Depression – With The Cuts Still To Come (I.W.C.A. Article).
Inequalities in premature death are as high as they have ever been in this country, and this is before the cuts. The Lib-Con coalition thinks that deep, swingeing spending cuts are the only way to get this country out of its economic hole, but is there any justification for that view? Or is there another agenda at work?
Research published this week in the British Medical Journal looking at inequalities in premature mortality between the richest and poorest areas of the country found that “inequalities in premature mortality between areas of Britain continued to rise steadily during the first decade of the 21st century. The last time in the long economic record that inequalities were almost as high was in the lead up to the economic crash of 1929 and the economic depression of the 1930s… geographical inequalities in mortality are higher in the most recent decade than in any similar time period for which records are available since at least 1921”. By 2007, for every 100 people under 65 dying in the best-off areas, 199 were dying in the poorest” (link).
The research also found that “Recent government interventions have aimed to reduce these inequalities, but, the evidence suggests, to little effect”. This is amply borne out by a report from the National Audit Office earlier this month, looking at the success (or otherwise) at the Department of Health’s efforts to reduce health inequalities in England (link). By way of contextualisation, the report begins by stating that “In the early 2000s, in England, people living in the poorest neighbourhoods, could on average expect to die seven years earlier than people living in the richest neighbourhoods and spend far more of their lives with ill health.”
Addressing health inequalities was something that New Labour made a priority, at least rhetorically. Their target was to reduce inequalities in life expectancy between the poorest areas and the national average by 10% by 2010. The outcome of their efforts has been that:
“life expectancy in spearhead areas has not improved as fast as the whole population and the gap in life expectancy between the two has widened since the baseline by 7 per cent for males and 14 per cent for females. Life expectancy for the whole population now stands at 77.9 years for males and 82.0 years for females”, with the result that inequalities in life expectancy “can still be 10 years or more depending on socio-economic background… In Blackpool, for example, men live for an average of 73.6 years, which is 10.7 fewer than men in Kensington and Chelsea in central London, who reach 84.3 years. Similarly, women in the Lancashire town typically die at 78.8 years – 10.1 years earlier than those in the London borough, who reach an average 89.9 (link).”
One does not need to look too far to find the cause of Labour’s failure. By now there is a good deal of research literature on the ‘social gradient’ of health: that “health inequalities result from social inequalities… the lower a person’s social position, the worse his or her health” (link; see also http://www.iwca.info/?p=10011). As the socioeconomic gradient steepens, so the social gradient of health steepens, something that Labour allowed to happen on their watch (link).
This brings us to the present day pass where Dr Sam Everington –a former deputy chair of the British Medical Association, and now a GP in Tower Hamlets- can state of his patch that “We estimate probably a half of our children are malnourished; vitamin D-deficient, iron-deficient. We have a massive problem right next to the City of London. It’s very similar to what you would find in developing countries in big parts of our communities” (link). That ‘Third World’ conditions should be emerging in London, cheek by jowl with tremendous wealth, simply shouldn’t be possible, but it is happening, demonstrating that “Inner London is by far the most unequal of all regions in England” (link).
Recent research has shown, that the Cockney accent –the accent of working class London- is being forced out of the capital, to surrounding areas like Hertfordshire and Essex (link). This gets called ‘white-flight’, but it’s not solely white-flight anymore, and has far more to do with affordability and economic opportunity than race. With the decline of industry, the rise of finance and its offshoots, and the decline of social housing, the working class is being increasingly priced out of the nation’s capital, with the city becoming increasingly the domain of the wealthy and welfare dependent. And even this latter group will come under increasing pressure once the cuts in housing benefit kick in.
“Slashing spending in the midst of a depression, which deepens that depression and paves the way for deflation, is actually self-defeating”
Will the cuts do anything to reverse the appearance of child malnutrition in London? The Lib-Con coalition and its supporters argue that the cuts are for the patients’ benefit, that the long-term effect will be to purge the economy of waste and inefficiency, restore market discipline, drive down the cost of government borrowing on the international bond markets, lowering long-term interest rates and allowing the private sector to power us back to prosperity.
That’s the justification that is being given, but is there any truth to it? The medicine certainly doesn’t appear to be working in Ireland. Ireland has been undergoing deep spending cuts for almost two years now, yet this week saw the Irish government’s credit rating downgraded by the ratings agency Moodys. The reason given was “the Irish government’s gradual but significant loss of financial strength, as reflected by its deteriorating debt affordability”. As the Financial Times explains, “The country has suffered a dramatic contraction in GDP since 2008, causing a sharp decline in tax revenue. The general government debt-to-GDP ratio rose from 25 per cent before the crisis to 64 per cent by the end of 2009, and is continuing to grow” (link).
The austerity which has helped devastate the Irish economy has not appeared to help one bit: the proportion of government debt in the economy hasrisen, and the Irish government is still paying 5.5% to borrow on the international bond market, compared to around 2.5% for Germany. We see no evidence of Ireland reaping any rewards, from the bond market or anywhere else, for its masochism. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has said “It’s almost as if the financial markets understand what policy makers seemingly don’t: that while long-term fiscal responsibility is important, slashing spending in the midst of a depression, which deepens that depression and paves the way for deflation, is actually self-defeating”(link).
Why, then, are the Lib-Cons so gung-ho about making cuts so soon and so deep? As Will Hutton has said of the cuts in store for us, “No country has ever volunteered such austerity” (link). Certainly, no such measures are being planned in the US. What we are seeing in Britain is a rerun of 1929, when the Treasury argued that domestic fiscal deflation is an appropriate method of pulling a country out of recession. In the words of Robert Skidelsky, “The implicit premise of the coming retrenchment is that market economies are always at, or rapidly return to, full employment. It follows that a stimulus, whether fiscal or monetary, cannot improve on the existing situation. All that increased government spending does is to withdraw money from the private sector; all that printing money does is to cause inflation” (link).
Such market fundamentalist thinking is, almost unbelieveably, back in the ascendant after the financial crash. So weak is the left that, in the wake of the worst crisis of capitalism since the 1930s, neo-liberal ideology is coming back even stronger. There is currently a robust debate taking place among economists and academics on how fiscal deficits should be tackled (link), but the Lib-Cons are apparently as unaware of this debate as they are of what’s happening in Ireland.
What is happening is the triumph of ideology over pragmatism, in the name of shrinking and remodeling the state along neo-liberal lines. New Labour were hampered in this quest by their dependence on the public sector unions for finance, votes and their activist base. The Lib-Cons have no such obstacle. In 1929 there may have been the excuse of inexperience. Now, only the most blinkered ideologue can unquestioningly laud the benefits of cutting spending in a recession, and blinkered ideologues it is who are in the Treasury. In 1929 it led to tragedy. In 2010 it will do so again.
A benefit night to raise money for the family of Ian Tomlinson who was killed by police is in the process off being organised to raise much needed funds. Monies raised will help with the attempt to take on a private law suit against the TSG police officer responsible after the British state blatantly rallied round and prevented justice from prevailing.
One of the organisers says
“Anyone who wants to be involved in anyway, whether its to play as a band or acoustically, speak on the subject, poetry or wants to have anything at all to do with the Innocent Ian Tomlinson Benefit please contact us on IanTomlinsonBenefitGig@hotmail.co.uk to help raise money for his family who are still fighting for justice against the cop that brutally attacked him as he was walking home from work at the G20 protest last year.”
Well done Norwich!
Friday is gearing up to be an interesting day if promises of pickets and protests are anything to go by.
Apart from the main London event, call outs have come from Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bristol and even San Francisco.
Our thoughts will firmly be on the family and a growing commitment to not let this miscarriage of justice be forgotten or brushed under the carpet.
Justice for Ian Tomlinson campaign
On April 1st 2009 PC Simon Harwood randomly attacked and killed a member of the public during the G20 protests. The victim, Ian Tomlinson, was not a demonstrator but a local resident on his way home form work as a newspaper vender to watch a football match. He was struck by Harwood and thrown to the floor resulting in his death.
Tomlinson’s killer has been protected from prosecution by unreliable medical testimony and policing and judicial systems that clamour to protect their own.
-The prosecution of PC Harwood
-The resignation of Keir Stramer, Director of Public Prosecutions
-The striking off of Dr Freddy Patel from the medical list
-An overhaul of the IPCC and a fully independent public inquiry
-More accountable policing and changes to the policing of protests, starting with the dissolution of the Mets Tactical Support Group
-A public apology and justice for Ian Tomlinson, his family, his friends and his supporters
To donate money to the Tomlinson family to fight for a private prosecution go here
South Norfolk planning meetings in spotlight
Calls for councillors to ban the holding of political briefings immediately before planning meetings fell on deaf ears yesterday after members unanimously rejected officer advice on the issue.
Members of South Norfolk district council’s scrutiny meeting yesterday voted 12-0 against a report from the authority’s monitoring officer Tim Mobbs recommending that holding political ‘pre-meetings’ before planning committee sessions should be banned “in order to remove a potential obstacle to public confidence in the planning system”.
The report followed a complaint by members of the Carleton Rode Community Support Group last year following two planning meetings where applications for a gipsy traveller site in the area were considered.
Jim Wilson, from the Carleton Rode community support group and former chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, complained to the council following the second meeting which approved the plans last August about the “secret” political meetings taking place before the planning committee.
Mr Wilson said while there was no evidence the decision had been pre-judged, it was equally impossible to prove that it had not been and the meetings were not in the public interest. In the complaint submitted to the authority, he said that at worst they provide a “covert opportunity for pre-determination, bias, even hidden whipping of members’ votes”.
Mr Wilson said: “We asked the chief executive of the council to what the purpose of these meetings were and she said it was an exchange of information. But what information could be exchanged that couldn’t be exchanged in an open and public hearing?
“I’m disappointed that the main recommendation of the monitoring officer on councillors holding these before planning hearings has been overturned,” Mr Wilson added.
Though political pre-meetings are not illegal, the local government association has advised that the use of political whips to influence the outcome of a planning application is likely to be regarded as maladminstration.
No other district council in Norfolk holds them before planning committee meetings, while Norfolk County Council, stopped them following the election of the new council last year and concerns raised by a member of the public.
At yesterday’s meeting, Christopher Kemp, scrutiny committee chairman, temporarily stood down from the post so he could speak out in favour of the current system.
“Our group rules make it quite clear there can be no pre-planning discussions, however the main planning committee has to do other things as well such as determine policy issues,” Mr Kemp said. “There is a danger that it is open to misguided interpretations, but you do not know about what private conversations there might have been, whether it is at a group meeting in someone’s house of down the pub.
“We are not open in the sense the public can come, but we are open in the sense we are telling the public we are having these meetings.”
Murray Gray, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said the monitoring officer’s report was quite finely balanced.
He said the purpose of the pre-meetings was not for members to be whipped on which way to vote, but to provide an opportunity to share information and raise policy questions.
“If we didn’t have group meetings, you wouldn’t necessarily stop members discussing it by phone or by email,” Dr Gray said. “The main planning committee is the guardian of policy and it’s important to understand what the policy is and what the argument is for overturning it. Some times you can clarify issues like that.”
Councillors instead agreed that future agenda papers will make it clear that the way members intend to vote should not be discussed at pre-meetings.
The leader of Norwich City Council today launched a stinging attack on the government as a plan for massive cuts edges nearer to approval.
Council staff have been consulted about a blueprint that could see job losses at City Hall and cuts to frontline services as the city struggles to save £7.5m in the next two years.
The cuts, which amount to 15pc of the council’s controllable budget, will have an unavoidable impact on services and staff, who face a fresh period of uncertainty about their jobs.
The authority, which has already cut spending by more than £10m in the last two years, said the changes were needed in the wake of government plans to cut public spending by 25pc in the next four years.
City council leader Steve Morphew called the plans “a great disappointment”, adding: “They are ill thought out and will be damaging.
“Much as we will resist being scapegoated for the deficit problems caused by the failure of the banks, we are nevertheless faced with having to deal with the problems.”
He admitted that the severity of the situation would affect the quality of services offered to Norwich families, saying: “There is no way we can continue to deliver the same services to the same level with the resources available.
“It is too early to say exactly what the impact is but we are pledged to protect the most vulnerable in our city and continue the fight for jobs, homes and prosperity.”
And he lashed out at the description of some council positions as “non jobs”, saying: “Suggestions for cuts made by some because they think they are services not worth bothering with are actually vital services for others in the community.”
Strategic managers, trade unions and other staff members have been consulted on the council’s draft blueprint, which will guide the authority through the straitened times ahead.
A revised version with their comments taken into account will go before a meeting of the Executive tomorrow.
Once it has been through the approval process the document will be used as a guide to help identify more specific efficiency proposals.
The council is proposing a timetable from June to April 2011 which envisages a “new staffing structure” to be in place by then.
And it believes it is well placed to make the changes thanks to the work of the corporate improvement and efficiency programme it set in train last year, set up in the wake of criticisms about how it was operating.
Staff will learn their fate in December after an assessment and selection process is carried out.
Officers are also now looking at where to make savings in a number of areas including sharing services with other councils, ICT and “income maximisation and collection”.
No longer do Norfolk residents need to actually ever see a police officer in the flesh to report crime or seek advice.
Apparently it’s now going to be easier to keep in touch with your local police officers thanks to a newly-launched community messaging system…other wise known as text messaging, an initiative being launched across the country.
According to Norwich Evening News
For the first time people can sign-up to be sent information on crimes, safety advice, Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) meetings and successful convictions relevant to their town or village in whatever format they wish – be it via email, over the telephone, texts on your mobile or through the fax machine.
The system, called Police Direct, was unveiled yesterday and is being hailed by police chiefs as a way of increasing the force’s communication with residents and encouraging more people to report crimes, while also driving down costs.
Norfolk Constabulary must find £1.4m in savings by the end of this financial year and £24m over the next three years.
Meet Sgt. Mark Woodward from Gloucestershire Constabulary explaining the Police SMS texting service and how it works….
WE DO HOPE THEY DON’T RUN OUT OF CREDIT…..
Report on opposition to Fire Brigade and Council plans to cut £1.5 from front line fire services in Norfolk
It may have past you by but were you aware that your council has voted to reduce Norwich’s fire cover along with cuts and damaging restructuring across the rest of the county?
Were you even aware that there is a public consultation going on? No we weren’t either until this morning.
According to Fire Brigade Management
Norfolk is one of the safest counties in England and our fire and rescue service is helping make it even safer. Since 2005 the number of significant fires in Norfolk is down 11% and the total number of incidents our firefighters attend is down 8%.
Now that is fantastic we hear you say, but wait for it…this therefore justifies losing one fire engine and a whole crew from the city of Norwich alone.
It is pretty evident to most of us that these ‘consultations’ are nothing more than a game council plays with us. If nobody knows about the consultation, nobody opposes it, therefore there’s no argument, the cuts go ahead.
Apparently the public have been well informed of the proposed changes, yet we haven’t been able to find anybody aware about this.
We’ve decided to help Fire Brigade management out on this score.
But before you do lets leave you with a few words from those who know best, the men and women on the ground who actually get their hands dirty shall we…
Nationally, reduced call volumes have been used as a justification for reductions in fire cover. As a result, the ratio of deaths and injuries to fires, the rate of injuries to firefighters and the cost of fire to the economy has increased.
Norfolk Fire Brigade Union
There’s only one fair response to give the Council and Fire Brigade Management to these proposed changes and that’s a firm and resolute ‘Jog On!‘
Please fill in the online ‘consultation’ and support the men and women of the FBU! You just might need them one day…
As the Con-Dem government begin to live up to their name it is the Norfolk Connexions service that finds its head squarely on the block, with 65 jobs to be cut.
Yesterday a coalition of Unison members, community groups, employees and users of the service picketed outside County Hall to raise awareness of their cause and to urge councillors to enter the fight to save the service.
About 150 demonstrators turned up despite the 9am start! Decked out in the purple shirts of the Connexions service the only thing louder than the the garb of the protesters were their chants and the songs performed by a local trio of musicians supporting the cause.
After an hour of picketing a large contingent went to sit in on the meeting of the county council, to create a visual pressure on the elected representatives to do some justice for the people of Norfolk. This quickly proved futile as the best part of the first half hour of proceedings were taken up by councillors declaring interest in BP before the discussion of the Norfolk pension fund. We promptly left in disgust.
Here’s how the EDP reported the event…
Hopes fade for Norfolk careers service
Hopes of saving a lifeline Norfolk careers service from drastic cuts are fading after council members voted in favour of a plan to cut its funding.
Scores of young people joined forces with redundancy-threatened workers and union activists as they descended on County Hall yesterday in a bid to urge members of Norfolk County Council to vote against a plan to cut the Connexions service.
Their protest looked to be in vain as a two hour debate saw members vote in favour of the recommendations put to the council, which could lead to 65 job losses.
But after the meeting, campaigners vowed to continue to press against the cuts ahead of a meeting on September 6.
Ruth Thacker, a Unison steward, said: “Some of the comments made were very positive which was nice to hear.
“Obviously it doesn’t sound too hopeful in the long-run but it was an emotive meeting and there were some abstentions. It’s a slow process of getting people to understand what we do.
“It’s definitely a financial issue that has to be explored and hopefully common sense will prevail.”
As previously reported, the county council plans to axe £2.8m from the service, which provides advice and guidance to thousands of young people aged from 13 to 19, as part of a £10m package of savings.
Supporters of the service fear the move will severely affect the crucial support offered to young people and lead to a big increase in youth unemployment and teenage pregnancy.
During yesterday’s full council meeting, Paul Morse, county councillor for North Walsham East, said: “This is out and out salami slicing.
“The way the council has approached this whole episode is the easy option. There are three reasons why the council is going for Connexions – members in this chamber are not really involved in the service and don’t know much about it, Connexions is fairly recent so it has not got many friends high up and it’s a preventative service so the client group does not have a voice.”
Members heard how the service does not only provide young people with careers advice but also a range of support from healthy eating to homelessness, anti-social behaviour to sexual health.
In 2009, it helped 1,300 young people get work and apprenticeships.
Tory councillors argued that the savings were necessary and although the service will be reduced, it is not going to be scrapped completely.
Daniel Cox, leader of the council, said: “There’s no reason why young people wouldn’t receive the same advice they currently need. It’s not being abolished, just reshaped. We are not taking away advice, we are looking at the best way of providing advice to young people with the money available.”
A meeting will be held at County Hall on September 6 after consultation with trade unions.
The news that our local fire service are planning major cuts is not going to come as too much of a shock to anybody in our region.
Once again essential services are being cut short threatening the lives of the public.
Norwich is set to loose a whole crew and fire engine, something the FBU are vowing to fight.
There is currently a ‘public consultation’ (where have we heard that before) going on with public meetings around the region which ends on the 15th August 2010.
Please get along to these and support our fire fighters against the stupid and dangerous cuts in services NF&RS are proposing which they have titled their ‘Draft Safety Plan’-we kid you not!
If you wish to comment on the permanent removal of a fire engine in Norwich you can visit the Norfolk Fire Service website or come to the public meetings at 13:00 and 18:00 27th July Kings Centre, Kings Street, Norwich.
Other meeting dates are
29th July 1800 Fakenham Community Centre
Community Centre, Oak Street, Fakenham, NR21 9DY
3rd August 1800 Wymondam – Ketts Park Community and Recreation Centre
Harts Farm Road, Wymondham NR18 0UR
Here’s a piece from the FBU site
FBU fight Norfolk fire cuts
Norfolk fire crews are warning that frontline cuts will put the public and firefighters at greater risk. The Fire Brigades Union say Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service propose to reduce emergency response fire cover in Norfolk to save £1.5 million between 2011and 2014.
Jamie Wyatt, Norfolk FBU Brigade Secretary said: “These proposals are at a very early stage but they have still come as a very big shock to local fire crews. We are still assessing the full impact of the proposals but it is clear that they will mean a large reduction to emergency fire cover in Norfolk which will put firefighters and the public at greater risk.”
The proposals are presented in a complex and technical way but the union believes their impact will in reality mean the loss of 8 front line fire engines. Some stations would see the number of fire engines available halved.
Cut the number of wholetime fire crews and fire engines covering Norwich from four to three.
Cut one of the two wholetime fire crews and fire engines covering Great Yarmouth.
Cut all the retained firefighters at Gorleston and replace them with a wholetime crew.
Cut 2 retained firefighters by replacing one full-size fire engine with smaller vehicles at:
A total of 63 frontline firefighter posts will be lost, both Wholetime and retained (on call). There are currently around 750 frontline station-based firefighters meaning a loss of one in eleven frontline crews.
The union has been told further cuts to response times for second fire engines at incidents will mean they will take longer to arrive at some emergency incidents. This will mean the first crew will have to deal with fires and other emergency incidents for a longer time without proper resources, meaning that fires will spread further, cause more damage and other types of emergency becoming more dangerous.
Peter Greeves FBU Brigade Chair said: “In financial terms business and home fire losses have reached yet another new high. Government rules require the fire authority to undertake professionally integrated plans to improve community safety but what they’ve come up with are pure and simple cuts proposals. We believe these proposals will lead to a worse service and increase risk to the public and fire crews at emergency incidents.
“The fire service does a lot more than attend fires, there are a whole range of emergencies these cuts will have an impact on. Not only do we save lives and reduce injuries, but we also protect businesses and workplaces from damage.
“These cuts plans are the worst we have ever faced in Norfolk and are targeted at our emergency response capability. Politicians from all parties say they want to protect frontline services and we will challenge them to do so.
“Norfolk fire crews are well aware of the current financial pressures that the country faces. We are happy to work with the fire service to see where genuine savings can be made which protects our core work of frontline emergency response.”
FBU Regional Secretary Adrian Clarke said “Yet again the cart has been put in front of the horse when it comes to changes in the fire service. An Integrated Risk Management Plan for Norfolk has yet to be produced and we see something more akin to an Integrated Resource Management Plan where cash is king and safety considerations are a very lowly servant.
“These proposals will go out for public consultation and we call for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to be one of the first Fire Authorities to have the courage to actually produce a document that spells out clearly for the public the actual cuts in 999 provisions they propose for which communities. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is paid for by the businesses and communities of Norfolk to protect the businesses and communities of Norfolk and they have every right to be told the facts clearly and their voice listened to by their locally elected Fire Authority Members.”
Pete Greeves FBU Brigade Chair 07971151957.
Jamie Wyatt FBU Brigade Secretary 07825327331.
Adrian Clarke FBU Region 9 Secretary 07917017713.
Norfolk police spent more than £10,000 on a rebranding that saw its motto change from “Keeping Norfolk Safe” to “Our Priority is You”, documents reveal.
The new motto was introduced as part of “the drive to be more customer-focused” and to put “the public at the heart of all we do”, according to its response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Campaign for Plain English criticised the change and the money spent on it, but the force maintains that the new black-and-white corporate identity reflects a “professional, efficient and modern police force” and is cheaper to reproduce and more environmentally-friendly than a colour logo.
The force is one of more than 200 bodies, including councils, fire brigades and Whitehall departments to have replaced their mottos in the past five years, according to research by a Sunday newspaper.
The new logo and motto were introduced in April 2008 as part of a major modernisation programme. Developing and designing the new corporate identity cost £2,995 and production and printing came to £945.
Rebranding all 280 of the force’s vehicles with the new logo will cost an estimated £6,762.30. “No additional budget is being made available for this – it is being absorbed within the standard fleet budget,” the force said.It said the “refreshed identity” was being phased in on a “replacement as required” basis and incorporated into scheduled repair and replacement work to avoid unnecessary cost
Marie Clair, spokesman for the Campaign for Plain English said: “Who decided that ‘Keeping Norfolk Safe’ was no longer relevant to the police? Why change it to a blanket statement? ‘Our Priority is You’ could apply to any organisation.
“How is that actually improving the service they are providing? Where could the £10,000 it cost have been spent to make some really constructive differences?
“We all need information but surely at a time of public cuts it’s absolutely essential that it’s about clear informa-tion rather than luxury statements.
“We want our public services to do what they do best: serve the public. We want the boys in blue to stop giving us the blue-chip lingo.”
In a statement, a force spokesman said: “Norfolk Constabulary has gone through a radical transformation of its structure and working practices in order to serve the public better.
“It was appropriate to replace a coloured crest that was costly to reproduce with a monochrome version and strapline that reflects the force’s determination to put the public, its customers, first.
“This was achieved in the most cost-effective way possible with the use of an additional grant from the Home Office to use in the communications campaign to promote local policing teams, specifically, ‘A name in every neighbourhood.’”
Other bodies to have changed their motto include Breckland Council, which added the strapline “A better place, a brighter future” to its logo in 2005 to “highlight our vision for the district”.
Graphic design work cost £479, but there were no additional costs other than officer time. Stationery and documents were changed as supplies of the old versions ran out.
“There are currently no plans to change the design in the future”, said Rob Leigh, assistant director of communications and communities.
Waveney District Council adopted a “revised vision” to “Make Waveney a great place for anyone to grow up, live, work and visit” in September last year.
Communication manager Phil Harris said: “We wanted it to be value for money. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on consultants but also we wanted to dovetail with the Suffolk vision as well as the Waveney Sustainable Communities Strategy.”
Great Yarmouth Borough Council adopted the mission statement “Provide excellent services that are accessible, responsive and sustainable to ensure Great Yarmouth is a healthy and vibrant place to live, work and visit” in 2008.
“There was no cost in creating the mission statement, apart from officer time. No consultants were used and no signs or stationery needed changing,” it said.
Picket against DPP-Solidarity with Ian Tomlinson-12 noon Friday July 30th, London
Ian Tomlinson was killed by police action at the G20 and not even any charges brought. The utter disgust at what has happened by the general public has been encouraging and so to show support towards Ian’s family and the complete hatred and contempt we have for the legal system that works in the favour of them and not us – we have decided to call for a mass demo outside the Department of Public Prosecution.
If you work, try and get half a day off like many of us are doing. Most importantly spread the word to all your friends and family.
Everyone to the streets! Never forget Never forgive!
Office of Department of Public Prosecution
Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, SE1 9HS
Supporters and users of the careers and counselling service for young people Connexions are being asked to head for County Hall on Monday, by unions, teachers and activists to give weight to the fight to save the service from cuts.
Sixty-five jobs are facing the axe which will lead to an already struggling organisation having to half it’s service to young people in our area. The proposed reduction of the service is part of a £10m package of savings that will be decided by full council on Monday.
It’s likely to be a very busy time in the coming months fighting against attacks on essential local services, but it’s imperative that wherever the attacks on these services occur, we put our full weight behind the fightback, especially where services for some of the most vulnerable in the community are going to be affected.
Thanks to the twenty or so who turned out at short notice to start up a local response to raise money and profile for the Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign.
An assortment of individuals from various political persuasions, an ‘ist’ here and an ‘ist’ there, those with no political views at all, football supporters on their way to the local friendly, and a good response and support from passers by.
Discussions ongoing with Norwich City supporters about collecting for the campaign at the upcoming season local fixtures.
£40 donated and in the pot to be sent to the campaign and a decision to keep up a monthly vigil at Bethel Street station and to build more local events.
Please feel free to join us on Saturday the 21st.Aug. 12 noon, same place, bring your banner/musical instrument and next time a loud voice.
Norfolk Community Action Group will be holding a dignified vigil outside Norwich Bethel Street Police Station in solidarity with the family of Ian Tomlinson on Saturday the 24th at 12 noon.
The despicable decision by the Director Of Public Prosecutions to bring not one charge against the police officer who attacked Ian Tomlinson in London while walking home from work, must be fought against.
We support fully the Tomlinson family campaign and the following statement by Inquest
“Today’s decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to bring any criminal charges over the death of Ian Tomlinson follows a line of previous decisions when police conduct has resulted in death or serious injury and no charges were brought.
Ian Tomlinson died on 1 April 2009 in the context of a heavily-policed and high profile demonstration that generated significant public interest. The failure of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to initiate an independent investigation until seven days after the death, on 8 April 2009, led to the potential for the loss, suppression and/or distortion of crucial forensic evidence in the ‘golden hours’ following Mr Tomlinson’s death. This repeats a pattern in previous contentious deaths following police contact where the death has not been treated from the outset as a potential homicide. INQUEST believes there should be an inquiry into the role of the City of London Police, the coroner, the pathologist and the IPCC, who have all played a part in ensuring no charges were able to be brought.”
How many more ordinary working people going about their daily business must die at the hands of the police and the police officers responsible are found to be immune from any prosecution?
Norfolk Community Action Group call on all well-wishers of the Tomlinson family and all Norwich groups and Trade Union branches along to show their solidarity in what we plan to be an escalating and uniting campaign until justice is finally won.