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Lenham Kent . Lenham.net Established 2000
Gateway to the East

Neighbourhood Watch - link to Neighbourhood & Homewatch

(Focus Dec2003)

At the open meeting, held in the Dog and Bear Hotel last month, Andrew Cheel, gave a presentation about a new crime reduction initiative. This involved a camera being placed in your home, which when activated by a motion sensor, would send text messages or a picture to a mobile phone. The person away from home would then contact a friend, relation or Neighbourhood Watch to check on the premises before contacting the police, in case of a false alarm. The package can be purchased out-right or can be rented at a nominal fee. Please contact the NW office if you would like more information.

At the same meeting, our Community Warden, Lisa Judd, gave a presentation on her roll within the parish. She will be working closely with NW in the future, on crime reduction. Together we are looking into the possibility of a Youth Shelter for the parish. We will let you know how we get on, when we have further news.

We have managed to get hold of a booklet called “NW Your Future”. This is a Community Support Guide with information ranging from Bereavement Care to Age Concern. If you would like a copy, please call into the NW office.

Another publication we have managed to get hold of is the “Domestic Violence Handbook”. This first came into print three years ago and is now in its second printing due to public demand. This book has been of interest around the country with all family orientated social groups. Again you can collect a copy from the NW office, which is opened by volunteers on Saturday mornings from 10am to 12 noon and Market Sundays at the same times.

As I have said before, if your membership to Lenham NW is due and you do not renew, your household insurance could be null and void if you are claiming a discount from your insurance company, on the grounds of being a NW member.
As you have all read, sheds and outbuildings are being targeted by thieves. We have a new supply of shed alarms for sale, along with invisible marker pens and cycle marking kits.

The AGM of Lenham Neighbourhood Watch will be held in the Function Room of the Dog and Bear Hotel on Thursday January 29th 2004. 7pm start.

(focus july 2003)

Since acquiring the old Police lock-up just of the square, old members have visited to renew their membership, and new members have popped in to sign up for membership.

The crime reduction information we have handed out has been greatly appreciated as well as items for sale. If you want a Shed Alarm, Mobile Phone Marker Kit, Pin Badges, Invisible Markers, Door Restrictors or Spy Holes for doors, you know where to come. We are also holding a supply of pamphlets and leaflets all given free, as well as NW stickers, come and see how we can help. We are open Saturday mornings and Market Sundays 10am to 12 noon.

At this time of the year theft of garden equipment is very prevelent and you should now take particular care to make sure your equipment is safely locked away after use.

Look out for conmen. There are two men offering tarmac at a very cheap price. Not until the job is finished do they tell you the price they quoted is the price for a square metre only and so far they have obtained money ranging from £1500 to £2000 per ‘job’.

Their threatening behaviour has caused their victims to pay up under threats of violence. Should these men call on you please dial 999 to call the Police immediately. The Police are aware of these conmen and are anxious to trace them.

Janet Jennings
Vice Chair

From April 2002- What amounted to a relaunch of the Lenham Neighbourhood Watch, (LNW,) took place on 11th March at Swadelands School. Dr. John Porter, the new chairman, presided. No fewer than 41 people attended. SPC Packman's crime report was dramatically interrupted by a 999 call to a house in Mitchell Close where a resident was being terrorised by some lads. Naturally, they scarpered when 'Bill,' appeared. Mick Packman was accompanied by SPC Harding from Headcorn. There are plans to share the £3300 per annum cost of keeping our own police car on the road with Headcorn as well as Hollingbourne and Harrietsham. Hence SPC Harding's attendance.

Of the 14 reported crimes last month, three were shed break-ins which could have been prevented had alarms been fitted. (£6-50 to members of LNW.) Lawn mowers and strimmers were taken. There were also 2 burglaries, one in which a cash box was stolen, and another where the thief had been disturbed and fled leaving the video and TV unplugged but otherwise intact. Someone had had the spare wheel nicked off his 4x4.
SPC Packman also passed round photographs that had been taken of vandalised daffodils in the High Street. The meeting was both horrified and mystified. Dr. Ian Dunbar, the new secretary, who has studied such problems for many years, will try to throw light on such behaviour at the next meeting.

In the course of familiarising themselves with their new responsibilities, Dr. John and Dr Ian had visited the headquarters of the Maidstone & Mailing Neighbourhood Watch Association at Maidstone Police Station. Dr Ian gave a resume of what they had learned. The primary function of NW is to prevent crime, not catch criminals. Catching criminals is the job of the police. It has been shown over the years that members of NW have been so successful that they are 10 times less likely to be victims of crime. Consequently, they can get discounts of between 5% and 55% on their Contents Insurance. However, he stressed that it is not enough to live in a Neighbourhood Watch area; companies check to ensure that those receiving discounts are paid up members if a claim is made. But the annual subscription is only £2-00 and the potential savings far greater. To simplify record keeping, the LNW decided that in future, all subscriptions would fall due on 31st December each year.
The prevention of crime is to be promoted by local area coordinators. Their main job is to photocopy the quarterly newsletter and distribute it to members in their areas. The subscription is priced to cover the cost. Distribution then provides an opportunity for coordinators to meet members and note those who are particularly vulnerable. For example, the garden of an elderly person may become neglected. This gives a clear signal to burglars of a soft target. We would therefore need to be thinking in terms of organising protection for such people by helping to keep lawns mowed and flower beds weeded. It is here that school pupils, youth club members and particularly their parents, might become involved.

It is also important to keep an eye open for litter, graffiti and minor damage. It has been found that such eyesores are associated with an increased incidence of crime. They must be rectified as soon as possible. Again, pupils, youth club members and their parents could help.

Several of those present took the opportunity of the presence of Chris Smith, the Deputy Headmaster, to complain about the behaviour of pupils. For example, some sneaked up River Walk at their midday break for a quiet smoke but had foolishly blown it by being rowdy and alarming the residents. Chris asked anyone with complaints of antisocial behaviour to ring him - 858267.

Meeting November 12th It was with some relief that S.P.C. Mike Packman was able to report that incidents within the Parish had considerably reduced over the past month. However we still need to be vigilant, checking that sheds and vehicles are securely locked, and that some lights are left on when you are out. Should you be going away this Christmas ask a neighbour to switch on the lights at dusk and to pull the curtains.

Some delays have occurred when people have called the Police on a non-emergency matter. After dialling 01622 690055 ask for extension 2630, who can then deal with your enquiry.
Lenham NW has decided to open the local Police office, located in the Old Lock-up, every Saturday morning between 10am and 12 noon. Members of LNW will man the office, so if you are a member and can spare a couple of hours on a Saturday morning please ring 850308. On the subject of volunteers, the CCTV cameras in the Square still have need of more operators to increase the effectiveness of cover. If you would like to train as an operator, or would like more information, please phone 859910.

The annual general meeting of Lenham Neighbourhood watch will be on Monday January 21st 2002 at 8pm in the 'Dog & Bear' Function Room. This is open to the public and your chance to air your views on anti-crime measures in the Parish.
Of serious concern to the LNW Committee is the proposal to introduce a paid 'Warden' to work alongside our unpaid Parish Special Constables. It was felt the scheme might be detrimental to the parish police concept. The Parish Council Chairman Andrew Barr is to investigate further. If you want to express your views on this, and other matters, come to the AGM on January 21st.

As you know from previous articles in Focus, we have been looking for a new chairman or chairlady to relieve the current chairman Mick Packman, who is already the parish police constable and who also works for Focus. Although only a few hours every two months are required, nobody has volunteered. Jane Grant our current secretary would also like to step down due to personal commitments. Fortunately John and Susan Sharland, who also have heavy commitments, have agreed to act as temporary chairman and secretary respectively.

We do need a new chairman or chairlady on a permanent basis if we are to continue our fight against crime and vandalism. Please give it your earnest consideration and ring either John and Susan Sharland on 850308 or Jane Grant on 859233.

Lenham Parish Council (Law and Order)

Many of the Lenham parishioners will have heard rumours of the proposed KCC Community Warden scheme that should be up and running by next year.
The scheme has been put forward by Cllr. Sandy Bruce Lockhart, leader of the KCC, as a three-year experiment into enhancing the policing of the rural areas.
The Kent Police Authority has welcomed the proposals by KCC for a joint initiative to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Kent's rural areas.

The Kent Rural Partnership will embrace 62 police officers dedicated to rural policing: 12 funded by KCC and 50 from a government grant for rural policing and the Authority's own budget. The KCC funded posts will be known as Parish Liaison Constables and work with District Community Safety Officers, and 12 new KCC employed 'Rural Community Wardens'. The latter will work with parish constables, community organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch and Victim Support to identify solutions to local crime and disorder problems.
They will co-ordinate bids by parish councils and community organisations to match finance from a £120,000 crime reduction and prevention fund to be set up by KCC.

The wardens will wear a uniform clearly distinct from that of a police officer. Their role will be to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, and the fear of crime by working with the local community and the police to identify solutions to problems giving rise to crime and antisocial behaviour, and improving community relations.

They and the Rural Parish Liaison Constables will co-operate closely with the District Council Community Safety Officers, parish councils and community organisations including tenants and residents associations. The wardens will not engage in patrolling or exercise any power of arrest.

The Lenham Parish Council still feel there is a need for greater consultation over the proposed scheme. The Parish Council views on the proposed payment of community wardens is that it will be to the detriment of our volunteer Special Parish Constables, who have all the training and full powers of the regular police officers, but recruitment is at an all time low. Further consultation with the police and hopefully a member of the KCC team will be held at the Eastern Parishes Forum of the Maidstone/Malling Policing Area on 4th October in The Dog and Bear function room. There will be more information on the proposed scheme in future editions of Focus magazine.

Parish Constable - 858850

Following our brief report last month of the LNW meeting on 11 March we can now give further details.

Our second Parish Policeman who briefly joined SPC Mick Packman last year went to South Africa and is unlikely to return in the near future. However, there has been a new application for a Parish Constable which has been forwarded to the authorities for review. The Police operation Westminster - which covers problem areas by Police saturation - reduced crime to four incidents, but sadly since then crime incidents have soared, much of it relating to shed break-ins, car theft and theft from cars. Swadelands and Lenham Primary School have been the targets of vandalism, mainly broken windows. John Paul of Swadelands welcomes any news about these offences. If you could give him information at Swadelands School telephone 858267 with details of approximate age, clothing and identification of the culprits, if known. He will be able to deal with this information in an appropriate manner.

Beacon Road has also had its fair share of hooliganism over the past few weeks. Youths have been using catapults with stones, ball bearings etc. So far they have not caused any damage but their actions could well cause possible injuries. Like all villages we have a small minority of drug takers and pushers and it seems that they are most active behind the Church. Please give details of anything suspicious you see in that area to SPC Mick Packman in 858850.

Richard Greenwood is awaiting a price for our old police car to be credited against the recent purchase of a new one. The police car insurance is due in the next few weeks and Lenham and Harrietsham have contributed £400 to this account. We would welcome any contributions from the outlying areas, which in fact benefit more than most. If this article should reach Hollingbourne we would appreciate a donation! To obtain a discount on your house insurance you are now required to be a member of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and insurance companies can now get information from the Police on which households are members of the official scheme. It is proposed that a registration form will be included in Focus magazine with a registration fee of £2 in the near future.

Lenham is recognised as a hot-spot area and we are hoping that Maidstone Council will approve the purchase of Motorola Radios. These will be used for Operation Catch and allocated to hot- spot areas with a key person as a main focal point and six other people given a radio to target the movement of troublemakers around the Parish. The Westminster team will also hold a radio so that they can listen in to transmission. Although these will be used during our present problem time it is felt that we need these full time for the future.

The bench outside the Dog and Beat Hotel is to be moved to prevent groups, who have in the past, been causing a nuisance.

Don't forget, SEE IT! HEAR IT! REPORT IT! To the Parish Constable on 858850.


From Lenham Focus for Lenham.net


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