But after having had an emergency board meeting – I have been told to explain it all to everyone else.
It all started yesterday afternoon while I was at work. Police Constable Bolter & friend knocked on our door (PMMS – please fix the downstairs security door for once & for all!!!) – and asked Nadira where I was.
Of course – for a woman alone in her flat to be confronted by 2 police men – asking to speak to her partner – is not the most pleasant of experiences – especially when they by-passed the security door. Nadira explained that I was at work – but got the impression that they didn’t believe her.
They then asked her to tell me to call them about the community meeting. She then asked the most talkative one what his name was – and felt that he was reluctant to give it – but he did – and said I knew the telephone number – which I do as Neil & I sit on the local Safer Neighbourhood Team (Community Advisory Panel) meetings.
When I got a tea break at work – I gave him a call – thinking it was still going to be a nice friendly chat about the participants of the meeting – which I have a bit-part in organising as I also sit on the Hackney Wick Partnership meetings helping to organise this meeting.
What followed was a very one-sided conversation with PC Bolter stressing in his very professional manner - that he had been told by his sergeant that there were people using our blog who were organising to disrupt the meeting – and that at the first sign of any trouble – he would personally be arresting the trouble makers.
I listened in stunned silence as he proceeded to make me feel very guilty about having set up a local community blog. However he was trying to sound – he came across sounding as if he was warning me! Telling me – that if I had any influence (wink, wink) that I should dissuade these potential trouble makers from disrupting the meeting. Saying that there was talk of starting a fire – which he would again – personally – extinguish.
All in all the very one-sided conversation lasted about 5 minutes – and I felt like a little school boy being told off by Sir. I managed to get a few words in – but – to be honest – don’t think he really heard me. He said he hadn’t even seen our blog that he was warning me about.
So far – so text book. So far – so just doing his job. Someone complains about a neighbour. Local copper pays a visit to politely warn said neighbour about their behaviour. The more raised their voice, the more direct their language, the more they talk at you – the less you feel like being a bad neighbour.
But let’s look at the slightly bigger picture shall we?
Leabank Square is a stunning place to live. We all know just how lucky we are to have a cleverly designed square that discourages any anti-social behaviour, we have communal barbies, picnics, festivals, gardening clubs, cycling tours – and all the other things that we have written about on this blog. We are proud of Leabank Square – and so when something goes a bit skew – we want to make it better.
We lost Arena Fields – we tried to make it better – but the politicians then sold it off to the ODA.
We then started suffering with the noise & dust from the massive construction site next door – we are trying to make it better – by asking POLITELY for the ODA to be a better neighbour.
When they ignored us – we – STILL POLITELY – got a few more interested parties to ask them to be nicer neighbours.
When they started lying to us – we STILL VERY POLITELY asked our democratically elected representatives to ask questions on our behalf.
Then the fun began.
Some of our computers were co-incidentally hacked into. We started co-incidentally receiving silent phone calls on unlisted numbers. Some phone calls co-incidentally playing personal recorded phone calls made to friends were made. Some very personal messages were co-incidentally sent to me warning me off continuing campaigning for cleaner air & less noise.
And - so now - who co-incidentally suggested to the police to come over to chat to me? If Sergeant Port just happened to be surfing the local blogs & happened to come across our community blog & happened to be interested in the comments section (which I do not write) of one of hundreds of blog entries – then fair dues! He might suggest to his PC that he have a quiet word with the blog entry (which I do write) author.
But then I have met Sergeant Port & as I wrote in (http://hackneywick.blogspot.com/2008/12/safer-neighbourhood-team.html) back in December – I was very impressed with his hands-on approach to street work. I haven’t heard about his web surfing prowess – yet – but I will be even more impressed if he still finds the time to surf local blogs after doing the fantastic street policing I know he does.
So the chat from PC Bolter in itself - is nothing out of the ordinary. He was just doing his job. Sure - he could have tried to listen to me a bit more – but he knows how to do his job far better than I do. But – it’s just that he was co-incidentally asked to chat to me about another instance related to the ODA.
So who is behind all this?
I am not for even a second suggesting that it is the ODA at all. But then who is it? Not the LDA. Not the IOC. Not the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. Not Hackney Council. Not Morrisons. Not Boris Johnson. Not BAM Nuttal. Not David Higgins. Not Carillion. Not some over-enthusiastic Olympic Supporter. Not BOSS (anymore!).
Well…….. there are far more cleverer people than me who are very busy finding out for us. But in the meantime Leabank Square – please be very careful about what you say to anyone. You too might be branded a trouble-maker and may be visited by PC Bolter & friend.
The board of the LSRA is deciding whether or not to encourage the whole square not to go to the meeting. If there really are going to be agitators & fire-starters as PC Bolters intelligence suggests – then it might suggest that we all stay safely here in Leabank Square on the 22nd January.
In summary: The whole reason I am waffling on about all this – is that PC Bolter asked me to use my influence to dissuade any potential trouble-makers intent on disrupting the meeting. He then suggested that I not mention having a phone call with him. I tried by posting that (admittedly) rather confusing post about the meeting – and haven’t stopped taking frustrated phone calls on the Leabank Square Residents Hotline (07535 054 997 as I never tire of reminding everyone!!).
The board then called an extra-ordinary meeting today to discuss this – and insisted I tell all.
We all have to keep reminding ourselves that we are a small, but tight-knit community residential square, and our only ‘crime’ was to engage our anti-social neighbours in some kind of dialogue to sort out the noise & dust.
So….. to all the police, protesters, Olympic people, squatters, construction people, angry Hackney Wickers, council people, bloggers, ‘agencies’, commentators, hackers, buggers & most of all……. firestarter agitators – BE NICE!!!