Gangs are not running riot in Littlehampton

The Littlehampton Gazette’s headline – “Police are not running this town – gangs are” is complete rubbish and nothing more than scaremongering.

Negative headlines sell newspapers and let’s be brutally honest here, the Littlehampton Gazette needs all the help it can to sell what is little more than a weekly advertorial rather than a readable, quality newspaper. The Press Gazette latest circulation figures for the Littlehampton Gazette, shows sales plummeting by  -7.9% on the previous year with circulation now at a paltry 8,988. Drastic times lead to desperate measures with the closure of the Gazette’s Littlehampton offices and a culling of the paper’s reporters.

The Gazette reporter who wrote this story doesn’t live in Littlehampton and could hardly be considered to know what’s really is going on here. Last week he attended the annual Littlehampton Town Council public meeting. I’ve mixed views on the benefits of this type of public meeting as invariably it’s little more than an opportunity for the public to vent at the local authorities, particularly the police.

When a number of years ago I attended the annual town council meeting, I came away wondering what the point of Littlehampton town council is, and indeed, still do. The meeting was dominated by a few vocal locals who complained about cycling on pavements and lack of police action in tackling this supposedly huge and dangerous problem. I left the meeting thinking if all you have to worry about is kids cycling on pavements, how lucky we are to have none of the real crime problems that plague other areas.

In any event, this year’s annual meeting led to one local business owner describing how 12 and 13-year-olds had run through his cafe and threw eggs and he’d witnessed drug dealing outside his business. He concluded by telling the police chief inspector present at the meeting, that in his view  ‘the police are not running this town, but gangs are.’

Cue Littlehampton Gazette, who used this quote as their paper’s front page screaming headline.

While I have sympathy with the business owner’s frustrations and do agree that Littlehampton currently has a small number of youths who are acting in a threatening and anti-social way, we’re still a  long way from the sort of youth gang culture that is destroying other local towns and particularly evident in areas of London.

Personally, I think it’s highly irresponsible of the Littlehampton Gazette to lead with such a negative, scaremongering headline, which I know has already put people off visiting the town centre.

We need to keep things in perspective.

Littlehampton needs a return to high visible proactive policing, which contrary to claims made by Police Commissioner Ms Katy Bourne and Sussex Police’s Chief Constable Giles York who describe bobbies on the beat as being an outdated policing method, bobbies on the beat do work.

The public is always reassured by high visible policing on our streets, which prevents anti-social behaviour. No app or twitter feed or social media platform can take away the important work done by bobbies on the beat.

But please, let’s not elevate these gobby little idiots to the undeserved status of gang leaders. Most of them would wet their nappies if someone were to shout back at them, as I’ve done on occasions when they have created a nuisance in and outside my shop.

 

Whatever the Gazette would like you to believe, Littlehampton remains a safe, welcoming town with the many hard-working, proud people who make our area such a great place to live.

Nothing better proves my point more than a picture of Littlehampton’s War Memorial above, which is lovingly attended to by the council’s contractors and demonstrates all this positive and wonderful about Littlehampton. Surely if gangs were ruling our town this amazing floral display would be impossible?

While we  need to keep pressure on local police management to ensure we get the support from our police and local authorities to ensure that  good and hard work of many is not undermined and destroyed by the few, lets not fall victim to the lousy scaremongering tactics of a newspaper who cut and ran from Littlehampton when their sales declined.


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Hit the Downs MTB Mountain Biking Event, 7th May 2017

Saddle up for a great day’s Mountain Biking and raise funds for St Barnabas House, Worthing.
St Barnabas House,  an independent charitable hospice located in Worthing, West Sussex, providing end of life care services, both at the hospice and in the local community, to adults with advanced progressive life-limiting conditions – are staging a terrific Hit the Downs MTB, mountain biking event.

The event, which will take place on 7th May 2017,  is open to all, aged 16 years and above.Registration is only £33 and riders can choose from either a 20 mile route, ideal for beginners and those just looking to enjoy a Sunday mountain bike ride in the very beautiful South Downs, or a 40 mile ride, which is guaranteed to deliver a thrilling day in the saddle.The event is open to riders of  all abilities with professional support available on the day to ensure you get from start to finish with the maximum enjoyment, minimum fuss.Refreshments will be provided en route and not only do you get to enjoy a great day out, but raise valuable funds for St Barnabas House.This really is a great way of getting out and enjoying the South Downs on a mountain bike whether as individually or as a group whilst raising money for a very worthwhile cause.

Find out more about this exciting event here where you can also register online.

About St Barnabas House

The hospice team consists of nurses, doctors, social workers, counsellors, our Chaplain, physiotherapists, complementary therapists, an Artist-in-Residence, our Hospice at Home team and our friendly volunteers.

The hospice staff will discuss your treatment and care with you, giving you the opportunity to express your wishes and address your concerns. We appreciate that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and that some things may be difficult to talk about. We aim to be sensitive and supportive in our conversations with you by respecting your individual beliefs, lifestyle and culture.

Services provided by the hospice care team

We offer palliative care services for patients with cancer and other life-limiting conditions. Our services include:

• 20 bed In-Patient Unit

• Day Hospice with 18 places

• Community Palliative Care Team

• Family Services Team

• Education Department

• Hospice at Home

To find out more about the care services provided by St Barnabas house, visit the our care section of their website.

Further information on the mountain biking event and details of how to register can be found  here.

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas from Pier Road, Littehampton.

Sadly as I write this final post for 2016, Pier Road’s Mooring’s Tea rooms has closed its doors, with proprietors, mother and daughter Kay and Hannah, heading to Cornwall for a well-earned rest.

There’s no doubt that this has been a very tough year for small independent businesses everywhere. We’re especially lucky here in Littlehampton to have such loyal customers who visit Pier Road and Littlehampton’s town centre and support our network of local shopkeepers (myself included) and restaurant owners.

May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your custom and support and beg of you to continue supporting your local small businesses, wherever you may be.

At times it’s difficult to see how town centres can survive given the fierce competition from online retailers, supermarkets and super-supermarkets that we now have in abundance in Littlehampton – pretty much located on every one of the four corners leading into our lovely seaside town.

Yet, despite it all, there’s a real feeling of positiveness amongst the local business owners that I speak to and on this positive note, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and every good fortune for the New Year.

If you’re spirit’s a bit broken or perhaps you’ve lost faith in the spirit of human nature, may I invite to you take a moment to listen to Kaylee Rogers, 10 years of age from Killard House School in Ireland singing with her classmates their own beautiful and haunting rendition of my favourite all time singer, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Kaylee who is autistic and ADHD has in 3-years gone from a girl who wouldn’t speak in front of her classmates to a powerful solo vocalist.


As always, thanks for reading, your comments welcome.