ALTHOUGH I attended the discussion meeting at the Kenwood Hotel in Netheredge, Sheffield, that took place between the South Yorkshire Police and members of the Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG), I failed to take the opportunity to put something to the police representatives.
The police spokesman mentioned that the policing of the tree-felling work had cost them £48,000 in overtime payments. They made small of the fact that in addition to this amount, of course, officers of several ranks, plus their vehicles, were paid their salaries to support contractor Amey, thereby depriving the wider community of police engagement and support.
And it is not just about the money... or the trees. I would like to give an example of how Amey’s work is impacting upon individuals in a destructive and unhelpful way.
On Rivelin Valley Road, a conversation took place between a campaigner and a police officer.
The campaigner was a volunteer who worked for a bereavement charity... he had had to reschedule some of his appointments to allow him to demonstrate against the ongoing destruction on a road very important to him. He was unhappy about the choice he had been forced to make.
The officer was a school liaison officer and child protection specialist. He had had to cancel his scheduled work to be on duty.
SYP has had issues around child protection and so the officer’s attendance at the felling site was potentially not a great idea.
At least one school had had to cancel an assembly involving that officer that day.
It is not just all about trees or money but also about ordinary people suffering.
On behalf of ordinary folk, I would have asked the police representatives to do their utmost and talk to Sheffield City Council leaders and implore them to change their approach to the maintenance of Sheffield street trees.
Cuts hit crime response time
From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.
SOUTH Yorkshire Police is doing a U-turn and restoring area policing in the hope that crime protection and detection will improve (The Yorkshire Post, April 24).
When I served, there were sufficient officers to at least attend every crime or incident that required our presence.
In 1983/4, I was the inspector in a small town that had a number of country beats attached to it.
We were able to provide cover for 24 hours a day and the rural beat bobbies would turn out during off duty hours if required.
The Miners’ Strike caused us problems of cover as men were taken away to police that dispute.
Nevertheless, by means of myself and my sergeants, we continued to give a reasonable level of service and attended every incident even if the public had to wait.
Today, should a similar event take place, the already sparse cover would be completely gone. Crime soars and yet Theresa May can’t see that it is her actions that have brought the once proud service this low.
More roads not answer
From: Chris Broome,
Sheffield Climate Alliance, Hackthorn Road, Sheffield.
STEPHEN Joseph makes the understatement of the year in his column “Putting North on right track for better transport” (The Yorkshire Post, April 17). He discusses Transport for the North’s (TFN’s) strategy on which a major consultation has just finished.
In the 13th paragraph, he finally gets to the key issue, saying “there’s an opportunity for much stronger environmental leadership”. We, at Sheffield Climate Alliance, agree – to the extent that TFN should go back to the drawing board and abandon the bulk of its road building plans.
Since devising them, TFN has belatedly modelled the carbon emissions its plans would be likely to lead to.
A rate of reduction in line with Northern transport’s “share of effort” needed to meet legally binding carbon budgets is crucial.
Unsurprisingly, emissions would be far higher than this. In the meantime, as this newspaper reported on April 18, the Government has just asked the Committee on Climate Change to advise it on how far decarbonisation needs to be accelerated to meet new, much stronger obligations under the international Paris Agreement.
Our transport system does need transformation – but through expansion of rail and other public transport networks, as Mr Joseph advocates.
In the meantime, careful planning should ensure that by providing more jobs and facilities closer to where people live, the need to travel is reduced.
An increase in road miles cannot be accommodated in a “carbon-constrained” world.
Tackle care, not bullies
From: Duncan L Long, Coxley Crescent, Netherton, Wakefield.
YOU carried a short article entitled ‘One in four staff has experience of bullying’ (The Yorkshire Post, April 21).
It related to Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust, an organisation with far bigger problems to worry itself about other than the odd case of natural bullying that occurs in any organisation with a hierarchical structure such as exists in hospitals.
MYHT is rated by the Care Quality Commission as requiring improvement.
It is also a trust heavily criticised for not having enough staff actually looking after patients.
Instead of draining staff time with ridiculously named ‘bullying champions’ and ‘freedom to speak out guardians’, let alone a pointless anonymised email address, the trust should instead concentrate on discipline among its ranks.