Holmewood Neighbourhood Association

Newsletter - February 2001

Holmewood Neighbourhood Association
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February 2001


Future HNA Business

Our next HNA meeting is likely to be the AGM at which you get a chance to review the year, plan the next and elect your committee. PLEASE if you have ideas of what you would like to happen: issues we should discuss, parties we should have, speakers we should invite, articles you should write for us, things for the website, pictures we should publish … jot them down and drop them in to Duncan at 44 Holmewood Rd.


REMEMBER its YOUR Association and YOUR Newsletter.


Please Return Our Seesaw

A slightly sour taste was left at the end of the PlanIt Weekend by the theft of heavy carved chair that was left by its maker in the middle of the gardens. He kindly donated us the rocking duck that he had carved on the Saturday and for several weeks it was enjoyed by children of a wide age range.

Over the Christmas holidays it was stolen. Its return, perhaps to the play area in the gardens, would be wonderful although unlikely. The willow sculpture in the gardens remained undamaged for quite a long time but has recently disappeared.

This is sad as it was decorative and the uprights might well have rooted in time to give a rather wonderful living sculpture. If amenities are to be developed in the gardens it would be good to know that they will survive.

(UPDATE: The seesaw was rescued by a local school as it was being loaded onto a council van to be disposed of. At least it is continuing to provide entertainment for local children)


Children’s Play

Matt Davis at Planet Earth is about to begin designing the children's/play areas for the Green. The questionnaire returned by playground users identified some priorities, including separating the large swings from the toddler play area and providing more interesting climbing frames for older children i.e. children who attend primary school. These probably fall into two groups - roughly infant and junior age groups. It will not be possible to meet all the needs of all these children on one small green, but we can try to provide some interesting play opportunities for some of them for some of the time.


We are still looking for examples of excellent play equipment from other playgrounds. Please bring photographs, catalogues or suggestions of good playgrounds to visit to Kristin Stott at 12 Holmewood Gardens.

Once we have agreed an ideal design, there may be additional money available from Lambeth as last year the Council identified safety reasons for improving the existing playground. We will also be seeking other sources of funding in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Ideas for this would also be welcome.


Crime and Safety

There have been a number of burglaries in the neighbourhood recently, although we are advised that the number of burglaries is actually down. Two of these burglaries used forcible means of entry such as hammers applied to doors. We are not dealing with cat burglars. You are encouraged to be extra vigilant and to take additional security precautions.


We are advised that a high front hedge actually creates a hiding place for the burglar while he is breaking and entering. If it is high, now is the time to reduce it.


Statistically many burglaries happen to occupied houses while the residents are sleeping upstairs. You will not necessarily hear them and the knowledge that an intruder was burgling you while you slept will not encourage sound sleep thereafter.


A door which is only on the 'Yale' lock is easily burstable. If the door has thinner parts or glazed panels these can be broken down to allow the burglar to reach in and unlock the door. If the door is deadlocked and the key removed from the lock this becomes more difficult and also prevents it being used as an easy exit with stolen goods if entry has been gained via a window. That may even be a condition of your insurance policy. REMEMBER to leave a key accessible at a low level where all the occupants know about it so that an exit can be made in the event of a fire.


If you have an alarm it may be a good idea to leave a key with a trusted neighbour with a contact or mobile number. Having the phone numbers of neighbours could be useful if you hear intruders. DO NOT ENDANGER . YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY BY TACKLING A BURGLAR.


Prevention is The Best Method

The vastly overstretched Crime Prevention officers at Brixton are on 02086493484. There is an answer phone. If anyone has immediate worries, local residents will do what they can to advise - contact Duncan on 020 8678 6617. Alternatively Fortress Lock and Safe Co at 107 Brixton Hill (0208674 6657) will offer advice, sales and fitting at a 10% discount negotiated by HNA. Just present this Newsletter.


Our beat officers for the St Martin's Ward are Paul Laing 880LX and Colin McDonald 618LX (South Lambeth Police). They are based at Gipsy Hill Police Station and their number is 020 8649 2396. There is an answerphone and they will endeavour to respond within 24 hours except over weekends. If it is an emergency dial 999. As an indication of our productive co-operation they hand delivered the crime prevention leaflet which we are passing on with this newsletter. In the spring they will supply us with leaflets on 'Security in the Garden' .


They reported that in targeting street robberies in Operation Tippett, street crime figures in the ward have dropped slightly. Unfortunately some of the robbers may have 'diversified' into burglary and burglary figures have risen very slightly. Paul Laing looked into the crime figures for our immediate locality and discovered that our burglary figures have gone down! We had 3 in the last 3 months as against 6 in the preceding 3 months. In that period we had 4 robberies which is low for the area and 11 thefts from cars which is considered quite high.


They recently had a meeting with the new officer in charge of Lambeth policing, Commander Brian Paddick, who is determined to get more officers on the ground. He has a higher profile in the police hierarchy than previous Lambeth chiefs and so something is likely to get done.


Police Consultative Committee

We should have a local resident on this important body. Our beat officers encourage us to be represented. As we gathered from meeting the members of the Vice Squad who kindly came to talk to the last HNA meeting Lambeth police are under great pressure of resources. Certain crimes are prioritised over others. Street robbery may be prioritised over burglaries and prostitution.


We need to stay in touch with our local police force. We must represent our concerns to them and help them focus on areas of need and lever in resources to tackle problems. We can also help them by knowing what they need in the way of information and by finding out how to channel it to them.


We are the peacekeepers on the ground, the local eyes of the police and a force in our own right. I was greatly heartened by neighbours rallying round when my alarm went off before Christmas. Other neighbours prevented a full scale burglary when a door was broken down in the Gardens and guarded it until the police arrived.


We are a Neighbourhood Watch Area but only in name. Keeping our ears and eyes out for our neighbours will encourage people to return the favour when we are in need.


Don't forget -10% OFF @ Fortress Lock & Safe Co.

107 Brixton Hill   SW2

020 8674 6657


Guidelines for Reporting Prostitution

Do I call the police station, the local beat office or dial 999?


At the last HNA meeting Brixton Vice Squad members reported on the developments in the Prostitution problem and how the Police are dealing with it.


Local Beat Officers have repeatedly asked us to report every incidence we see of prostitution. We are their eyes and ears and they can only act when we tell them and only build a view of any pattern of behaviour from our reports. Particular information is necessary:

1. Time

2. Exact locations

3. Description of parties involved, prostitutes, pimps and punters, with any car registrations if possible.

The police can trace punters via their car number plates, as was recently done in Streatham, which will act as a major deterrent. Some pimps are operating on mountain bikes.

4. Details of any harassment or verbal ex- changes that took place.


Call Brixton Police Station (0207326 1212) and ask for the 'CAD room' (Communication and Dispatch) who will get the nearest squad car to attend. They can then take action or communicate with the Vice Squad - whichever is most appropriate. (Vice Squad shifts are variously 6pm-2am, 10pm-4am or one that covers the very early morning).


Alternatively please call the Brixton Vice Squad on 020 8649 2319. At present you are likely to get an answerphone. Please leave your name, address and phone number together with the details of what you want to report. (see above) As soon as vice squad members have their pagers we will publicise the numbers.


Sources close to the police suggest that it is the thoroughness in reporting incidents that will make the local Police sit up and take action. It was suggested that we should ask for and note name and number of the officer we speak to and actively seek to speak to them on any further occasions. If they are not there or we do not seem to be getting satisfaction then ask for the Duty Officer. If an officer knows he is identified and traceable s/he is more likely to follow up your call efficiently.


It has also been suggested that it would be useful to make representations to Superintendent Jarrett at Brixton Police Station, 367 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7DD about the seriousness of the problem that we are experiencing here. This is one way of ensuring that resources are devoted to addressing this problem.


CCTV is due to extended all the way up Brixton Hill to join up Brixton and Streatham. As predicted CCTV on the main roads has driven some of the criminal activity onto the side roads. We must not let it take root in our streets.


The meeting on 24th March 1998 asked that the men, the punters and pimps be targeted. The police are looking into the legality of videoing the numberplates of kerb crawlers and sending letters of warning to the home address of the kerb crawler. To help crack down on these people reports from local residents are very useful. A kerb crawler must talk, or attempt to talk, to a woman or women at least twice. They must speak or obviously be trying to attract a woman's attention. If you are accosted or see kerb-crawling happening notify the Vice Squad with time and place and car numberplate if possible. (tel 020 8649 2319). South London Press recently published names and photos of kerb crawlers.


The business of charging the pimps is long and difficult and the magistrates are often lenient. The Brixton Police acknowledge that the prostitution, robberies and drugs are related and that a combined campaign is need to deal with the problem. They are now actively targeting pimps.


If you see any dangerous or threatening behaviour do not hesitate to phone 999.


Christ Church


Christ Church - Church and School - has launched a £ 322,000 appeal for building development and for a computer suite for the school.

The church and school were planned together from the start and the buildings are linked by a block that contains the "Parish Rooms" (the only meeting and social room that the church has) and the school staff room (which is part of the church property). The plan is to extend this part of the building to provide:

·         a hall nearly three times the size of the present parish room with small kitchen;

·         disabled access to church and school hall;

·         toilets, including disabled, for church and school;

·         information and communication technology suite with 15 computer stations;

·         school staff room;

·         storage and cleaners' facilities.


A single storey extension, in the tarmac yard between the school hall and church will provide the entrance to the school hall and the new church hall, and include the toilet facilities. A two-storey extension on the east side will contain the new part of the extended church hall with the new staff room above. The ICT suite will be built in the existing staff room.


This is an exciting project for the church and school and will improve the facilities that we can offer to the local community. Sources for about half the cost have been identified - we're still looking for over £ 160,000. Further details and a fund raising brochure can be obtained from the Vicarage or from the school office. Donations to "Christ Church School Fund" or to "Christ Church PCC (Building Fund)". If you are a tax payer please ask for a Gift Aid envelope.

Chris Ivory


Template letter to send to Brixton Police



[name and address of sender]





Commander Brian Paddick

Brixton Police Station

367 Brixton Road




June 2001


Dear Commander Paddick,


I write as a resident of the streets around Holmewood Gardens and a member of the Holmewood Neighbourhood Association to complain about the prostitution problem that plagues our local streets. We understand there was recently a murder at the end of Holmewood Rd associated with prostitution. Residents have been frequently propositioned and harassed by both prostitutes and kerb crawlers and some are afraid to go out after dark. We find condoms in the gutter and among the bushes in the Gardens.


We ask you to prioritise the fight against drugs and prostitution by dedicating more money and officers to it.


We applaud the efforts made so far and the dedication of the officers concerned. But we know that the Lambeth Vice Squad consists of 5 officers. This is too few. We welcome the extension of CCTV all the way up Brixton Hill but are conscious that this can have the effect of pushing the crime more into the residential streets .We also know that the people monitoring the CCTV are often overstretched and underpaid. We support the planned poster campaign against kerb crawlers on Brixton Hill.


BUT unless money and officers are made available to support these initiatives with action on the ground they will very soon come to be perceived as empty threats.


We believe that the prostitution problem is intimately linked with the crack problem in Brixton. One pound invested in reducing drug crime will repay itself many times over in reducing other crime and the misery and financial loss associated with it.


We look forward to hearing your plans for tackling these twin problems of drugs and prostitution which render our streets seedy and dangerous especially to women.


Yours sincerely







copies sent to: Cllr Toren Smith, Cllr Tom Franklin, c/o Lambeth Town Hall SW2 1RW Keith Hill MP c/o House of Commons. SW1A 0AA

[delete if not applicable]













Holmewood Neighbourhood Association


c/o 44 Holmewood Rood, London, SW2 3RR. Tel: 020 8678 6617. Mobile: 07958 635181


WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, residents of the Holmewood Neighbourhood, wish to complain about the severe PROSTITUTION PROBLEM that afflict us in our local streets. WE URGE the Police and Lambeth Council to dedicate more resources and officers to tackling these problems and the related problems of drug trafficking and addiction.