January 2016 Community Meeting

Community Meeting held 20th January 2016 in Muirhouse Millennium Centre

After receiving many notifications from concerned residents in Muirhouse and West Pilton regarding various serious issues that appeared to be escalating in the area, the Chairman of TRIM, together with Friends of West Pilton, requested an urgent meeting with #StrongerNorth and all other partners.

 

Our Councillor, Cammy Day, recognised the importance of this and suggested this morning – and Muirhouse Millennium Centre were brilliant in accommodating us at short notice. To be fair, all the partners must have realised the importance of the meeting because there were 16 other representatives from our partners – #StrongerNorth, Total Craigroyston, Social Justice System, Social Work Department together with and Councillors, Housing Associations and community reps.

 

Robert (TRIM) opened the meeting and thanked everyone for their time. He outlined the concerns expressed by our residents. He listed the perceived rise in crime, the lack of communication with #StrongerNorth and the lack of response to requests for environmental issues – fly tipping, waste removal, potholes and lighting etc. He said that it felt like #StrongerNorth were reducing their focus and our communications were falling on deaf ears.

 

Peter (#StrongerNorth) said that he could appreciate how these concerns had come about and explained that due to current re-organisational issues he did not have the staff resources, that there had been a couple of months where no community meetings had taken place and that there was a backlog of complaints about waste and environmental issues. He did agree that there had been a lack of communication with TRIM / FoWP. He further said that a lot of work was ongoing – particularly with the feedback from the focus groups and that the Silver (community reps) meetings would reconvene.

 

Cammy Day (Councillor) said that the Gold (strategic) meetings would re-convene after a change in structure.

Our New Divisional Commander at Drylaw Police station spoke passionately about his resolve to improve the safety of the residents in our area and would not tolerate any no-go areas. He told us that he had violence reduction officers on nightly patrol and officers committed to checking those on curfew and tags. He also told us that he could call on extra resources when necessary.

 

Cllr Lesley Hinds spoke of the difficulties the Council were under with funding cuts but the commitment to fund the Police was not at risk.

Julie (Linkup) made some valid points about the spike in crime. There was so much negative press about ‘North Edinburgh’, together with the Police saying that there is no rise in crime, and perhaps crime not being reported.

Harry (Criminal Justice System) said that their department worked closely with the Police and would continue to do so – especially focussing on the few that cause the most amount of anxiety in the neighbourhood.

Christine (TotalCraigroyston) said she would speak with the Streetwork team and try to focus on a particular area in Muirhouse where gangs of youths congregate so that dialogue could be started with them.

Our other community reps all contributed to the discussion and supported what TRIM/FoWP were saying.

 

The following agreements were reached

  • 1 Peter committed to better communication with Trim/FoWP and would review the environmental issues with the relevant departments. He would also facilitate the Silver meeting for community reps and would review a resource to keep the feedback on social media more reliable
  • 2 The Police committed to giving us feedback about crime and outcomes (where possible), at community meetings and via email, so that we can pass this on to you. They also acknowledged that we have a significant part to play in assisting them.
  • 3 Cammy committed to facilitate better communication through the Communications Department at the Council
  • We had been accused of ‘a knee jerk reaction to a perceived spike in crime’. However, we stated that we were re-acting to the very real and evidenced concerns of our residents and that the attendance (at very short notice) of so many senior people from all our Partner involved in our area, who have the remit to make things happen, re-assured us that it was a constructive and valuable meeting that achieved a lot.

Addendum

#StrongerNorth have put out a post on Social Media fulfilling their commitment to improving communications. Below is their post

 

UPDATE – We’d like to confirm that ‪#‎StrongerNorth‬ is still going, and you can report any problems or issues to us on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll let you know we’ve received your contact, sort it out ourselves if we can or pass it on to the right people if we can’t, and let you know the outcome. We’ll monitor the Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly during office hours. For out of hours emergencies Council services can be contacted on 200 2000. You can also save time and do it online by using the Council’s website – edinburgh.gov.uk – to report everything from missed bins to faulty streetlights. ‪#‎StongerNorth‬