1. A Safe Community - (A) Home 1 (A): A SAFE COMMUNITY IN AND OUT OF THE HOME This section is about feeling safe in Otford. People may have concerns, even in a village as peaceful as ours. (Road safety is dealt with in the next section) These are the concerns that the community indicated as most needing action: (These are the views indicated by the majority of numerical responses received to the questionnaire) MORE EFFECTIVE MEASURES TO REDUCE DOG FOULING IN PUBLIC SPACES: A NEED FOR ADDITIONAL LITTER BINS THROUGHOUT THE VILLAGE These were all the verbatim comments added to the questionnaire: (We would point out that these are individual comments and do not necessarily represent the views of the majority of respondents) 1: Safe Community Vandalism: Our community officer is wonderful. But we need more of a police presence in the village. Our fence gets destroyed and our windows chipped with stones from passing boys. Though they have been caught, the courts do not prosecute. Not only do I get graffiti sprayed on my fence, but vandals have knocked it down. Now they are kicking a hole in it and will gain access. I feel far from safe. I have notified the police but it keeps happening. Beware of tarring every innocent group of youths with the same brush. Walking in a group is not a crime. Graffitti and vandalism at Otford station is a disgrace and tough positive action is needed. Better facilities in the village might stop children vandalising in the primary school grounds. I am very concerned about the number of burglaries in West Otford. Vandalism near scout hut/station. · Lots of loud and unruly boys and girls congregating outside our houses in the evening making me feel threatened and uneasy. Damage is being caused to cars fences and gardens when they have fights – Hale lane Although there is a Thursday club (and sometimes Tuesdays) at the top of Hale Lane, it ends too soon and is for only 1 day/wk – it needs to run until 10.00 -10.30 to keep them off the streets. Groups of youths in the station at night can be intimidating as they are usually throwing things and jumping across the rails. Can there not be more police patrols? · Late opening at One Stop draws gangs of youths there who leave a massive litter trail – and noise behind them on the footpaths. There is just one small band of youths who cause the majority of the problems (kicking in fences, frightening old couples, vandalising the station, jumping on cars.) Regrettably our community support officer is not empowered to do anything about them. Why can’t the police do something? Find out/punish culprits rather than just clean up. Dog Bins: A dog bin is needed in Pickmoss Lane. More dog bins please or people will continue not to care. Dog bins and ltter bins are needed at either end of Pickmoss Lane. Dog Fouling is disgraceful. The Parish Council should Name and Shame offenders. Dog fowling on the rec needs far greater control than at present. Dog fouling binsare needed at each end of Pickmoss My main gripe as a new resident, is the amount of dog poo – particularly on Palace Field where I have to keep my children off the grass. Can you not designate one area for dogs to do their business in and allow the kids to enjoy the rest in safety? Would like more dog bins around the village. Just having them on the Recreation Ground does not answer the problem elsewhere. Too many dogs are allowed to run off the lead and owners do nothing about clearing up their mess. · Dog fouling especially on footways Dog fouling is everywhere – horrible. Must catch and shame culprits.Never hear of any prosecutions for this. Need heavy fines for offenders. It’s not the pets fault. Dog fouling. As a mother of a 1 and 2 1/2 year old this is a horrible problem. Dog mess on shoes and buggy wheels is offensive and unhygienic. Pickmoss Lane is the big problem area for us. Dog mess not being picked up - could there not be more signs around - the small round ones? We are dog owners but always pick up. Fine owners who allow their dogs to foul. Litter: One Stop appears to be the major cause of the increase in litter in Palace Field, the Parade and Pickmoss Lane. Picking it up as a resident is a daily chore. Can nothing be done? More litter bins throughout the village – Larger litter bins or empty more often Far more litter bins are needed all around the village – and on Pilgrims Way West. I pick up litter when I walk but there are too few bins in which to put the stuff. · An extra litter bin is needed in Palace Field. Children are always throwing their wrappings down as there is nowhere to put them. · Litter is steadily getting worse at Bubblestone Parade and into the field. Cannot One Stop be held responsible? There are still insufficient litter boxes in the village (particularly on the North of the High Street) · Need much bigger litter bins at key sites. · MacDonalds litter gets everywhere esp PWE Bigger litter bins essential. One-Stop shop should be prosecuted for not looking after their patch. Every day there is a pile of cigarette ends and litter outside the Crown Pub which is just left there. It is an eyesore for what should be one of Otford’s nicest areas (if ever the Pond is fixed) Litter from McDonald’s is an eyesore and it is increasing left near Bubblestone Road. This is becoming an increasing problem. The council do try and keep the A225 clear but it seems to be getting worse. McDonalds used to have someone to do this clearing but he hasn’t been seen in the last 2-3 years. Can you do anything? Police Patrols More police officers patrolling and dealing with persistent anti-social behaviour. We need greater police/community warden presence during the dark hours. No police presence after 10.30 pm is an invitation to crime. Help is too far away. Our local community officer is really helpful and it is reassuring to see him on the streets. Crimes and disturbances take place more in the evenings. We need a patrolling police presence. · More police presence day/night, in residential roads not just High St. · More police presence is needed. Never see police foot patrols late evening/night. · Ask local community police to give updates on bogus callers etc and give info on their vehicles: this will help Neighbrhd Watch to spot/identify them and advise authorities. Green belt at bottom of Tudor Dr should be patrolled (drug pushers, motor bike riders). Security at Otford Station Station very dark at night, unsafe for women, especially walkway to Kemsing Groups of children at scout hut/station/Chalk Pit are problem. No policing there. A lack of a porter or guard at night causes fear for safety Discourage gangs of drunken youths at station Youths smoking/drinking at station · Also youths using m/bikes illegally esp behind Tudor Cresct. · Station has become a hotspot for crime. Need patrols at station after dark – yobbish minority has taken it over Can the graffiti not be cleaned off the station platform sides. It is so unsightly. Graffiti: Our community officer does a really good job in cleaning off graffiti Drink: · Beer can problem – often see 2 individuals walking around drinking from cans Complacency: We have lived here for two years and, as a commuter, found the alleged rape near the station very frightening for all who travel. Our car has been vandalised and a hanging basket stolen. All this in the High Street. Lack of lighting encourages anti-social behaviour and thieves. Something must be done. We should fine Macdonalds for litter left by their customers. Cigarette butts on the pavement outside The Crown. Groups of youths regularly make people feel uncomfortable, especially in the park. The community police person should be on patrol when vandals are active namely at night and mainly after the pub closing time.