St Peters NM read this article with interest. http://bit.ly/c0Ki5m
What we found fascinating about it is the way a story gets warped from fact as it gets written about, rewritten and published through various iterations often by totally detached commentators who only have second or third hand accounts on which to base increasingly fictional accounts.
The story above twists reality in a number of areas. We will address each in turn.
First of all the resident concerned was not throwing ‘bread crumbs’. What she was throwing over the railing of her Highfields Leicester home was big pieces of chapatti.
This same spot is the precise place where we have often seen piles of mouldy bread and rancid rice. It could only be her to put it there.
The word ‘sprinkling’ minimises the action I observed. She came out of her front door, walked to the railings a blithely caste her food waste onto a public walkway that we ALL pay to have cleaned.
The above story referred to also says that neighbours condemned the fine as heavy handed.
Again this really does twist the truth and imply that all her neighbours were against her being fined when the truth is that many of us who live here demanded that action be taken against those who have ignored all pleas, education, information, advice, signs and letters not to throw food out into the streets wand walkways of our neighbourhood due to the issue we have here with rats and cockroaches.
We wonder if those who felt this was heavy handed are the same ones demanding action be taken to tackle the rats and cockroaches over running the neighbourhood the previous summer.
All the “neighbours” here we know of, welcome the fine and hope it not only deters her but also those others who also dump food waste.
We dare say that those neighbours who may feel it is heavy handed are probably others who also discard food waste in a similar manner.
They were all warned in every single language from Hindi to Gujarati to Urdu and English. Even sign language posters went up. They have no excuse and no right to plead ignorance no matter what language she speaks.
Another fallacy uttered in this report is the proposition that the birds would have eaten the bread anyway.
We can only invite people to come and view the piles of rancid decaying food waste laying here in our neighbourhood and nearby park with all colours of mould over it and often with maggots pouring out of the festering mounds of waste in the hot summer sun or spread across the pavements in a slimy, slippery mess in the rain.
In our neighbourhood itself, that sight is actually rare as we now have an extra member of staff to clean those piles up before they get too bad. But wander up to Spinney Hill Park nearby and you will see food waste blighting a beautiful public park unrestrained and unchecked.
The next point we would raise is the calling St Peters NM members who act as neighbourhood monitors, “spies” as it really does show ignorance to the work we do and why we do it.
Monitors first of all are responsible local residents who pay rent or mortgages to live here and pay several hundred pounds a year each at least for the services to make the area pleasant to live in as well as safe and secure.
We pay. And other people for whatever reason treat our neighbourhood with contempt with litter, fly tipping, graffiti, anti social behaviour and crime.
Neighbourhood monitoring is about identifying those responsible for such actions across the full spectrum of seriousness and providing either the city council or the police with the evidence in order to take action.
It might be evidence of littering or it might be evidence of a pensioner being attacked and robbed by louts. It may be theft from a motor vehicle, or a burglary. At other times we have filmed bullying, a lad being surrounded by thugs and taking the beating of his life. There was a young lady who was subjected to violence in the street from a man who felt he could beat his girlfriend up in public with impunity. Weapons being carried and used from clubs, baseball bats, screwdrivers, knives and even firearms being discharged.
So before commentators call us ‘spies’ consider the facts of the work we do. This is not a neighbourhood where the Fiona Pilkington’s of this world would be subject to abuse and everyone would turn a blind eye because detached commentators calling them ‘spies’ or similar.
The presence of neighbourhood monitoring means that all behaviour that blights the lives of those who live here would be tackled head on.
Residents have a role to play in all communities whether it is in the form of a neighbourhood watch or in the form of neighbourhood monitoring or other local groups. The Police and local authorities cannot manage without support from people in communities inner cities up and down the length of this country.
The main difference with neighbourhood monitoring is that we deliberately and proactively monitor our neighbourhood and do so with the capacity to obtain and secure video evidence.
Neighbourhood Monitors are not paid staff, neither are they uniformed as one commentator suggests. We are simply residents who donate our time and skills to improve our neighbourhood by identifying those who blight our neighbourhood’s environment or its residents.
The above article linked to, also uses the phrase “name and shame”. This is a phrase that you will never find St Peters Neighbourhood Monitoring as having ever used on any of our extensive websites or social networks.
The reason you will never find it, is simply because that is not what we are out to do and have never used the phrase.
What we do, is to show media across our websites and social networks of people who have blighted our environment and ask people to let us have their names and addresses or workplaces.
That information is then ultimately used to take action against them.
We never publish their names once we have them or warn them.
As for the birds here, they tend not to be thrushes, sparrows or song birds but pigeons. Vast numbers of pigeons. The rats of the air.
We invite “Devonshire Dumping” who commented on the above linked article to come to Spinney Hill Park in Leicester and take a look at the piles of bread and rice the birds don’t eat. We assure him it lays there festering in the hot sun on most days at the moment.
Anyone wanting to take time to know about the work of St Peters NM before coming out with easy to make uninformed comments should read our blog article here… http://stpetersnm.co.uk/?p=262
You may also talk to us or comment on our work on twitter by following us on @stpetersnm
Those interested in reading the original blog article on which the press reports were originally based can read it at http://stpetersnm.co.uk/?p=224
Those wanting to see photos of the littering, fly tipping and food waste on the ground (even at the entrances of buildings here) should take a look at this slide show http://stpetersnm.com/issue_4_gallery.html
We are sure you will see why neighbourhood monitoring was formed here in St Peters, Leicester.