Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Police Commissioner Off To A Poor Start

Police Commissioner Who?
Did you know that the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner (Yes, honestly, some people actually voted in the 13.3% turn-out last November. Anyone remember his name?) is responsible for producing a Police and Crime Plan for the Thames Valley which covers his term of office from until 2017?

The plan must set out the Commissioner's strategic police and crime objectives for the Thames Valley with regard to:
  • the policing of the area;
  • crime and disorder reduction, and
  • the discharge by Thames Valley of its national or international functions
The Plan must also cover:
  • The policing of Thames Valley which the Chief Constable is to provide
  • The financial and other resources which the Commissioner is to provide to the Chief Constable
  • The means by which the Chief Constable will report to the Commissioner on the provision of policing
  • The means by which the Chief Constable's performance in providing policing is measured
  • The crime and disorder reduction grants which the Commissioner is to make, and the conditions (if any) of those grants
The Commissioner says he is "keen to hear your views" - but how many people even know that this consultation is under way, or that it ends on Friday 8th February?

What has the Commissioner done to promote this consultation exercise - he has been virtually invisible in Reading since his election. Is this all we get for £85k a year?

Is it arrogance or ignorance that so little has been done - and what if you are not on-line: do your views matter, or do you get left behind (Note: the government's universal credit is set to be on-line only too ... yet poorest and most vulnerable least likely to have ready access to the internet). It's certainly not been mentioned at the local NAG meetings.

Commissioner, this is a very poor start. You really must up your game or else the next five years will not go well for us who live in the Thames Valley.
Here is the draft document - Draft Police and Crime Plan          
Yet on inspection, it is paper thin on specifics, hardly more than a fag packet of details or ideas.

Responding to the consultation
You can respond to the questions using our online survey.
Alternatively you can email your response to (using the subject title 'Police and Crime Plan Consultation') or write to:
c/o Jemma Graham
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley
The Farmhouse
Police Headquarters

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Town Hall Summit On Youth Unemployment


The Local Government Association (LGA) and Reading Borough Council are hosting a joint event on local approaches to tackling youth unemployment and disengagement. This will take place on Tuesday, 5 February 2013, from 4 – 6pm at the Town Hall, Victoria Room.

Following on from the Council’s Building a Better Future for our Young People event on 20th November 2012, the discussion will continue with participants including local young people, local political leaders, decision makers and key business representatives.

Long-term youth unemployment is too high. Over 260,000 young people have been out of work for over 6 months, doubling since 2008, over 100,000 for two years. In Reading the numbers of young people unemployed for more than 6 months have gone up four-fold in that time period, from 70 to over 280 as at the end of 2012.

Tony Jones said "Even in a relatively affluent town like Reading, too many young people are facing an uncertain future. I'm glad that the council is open to hearing from others on what can be done to help young people break through the frustration of unemployment."

The LGA’s Hidden Talents campaign is local government's proposition to Government for reducing long-term youth unemployment. There is a lot to be positive about. Some councils, colleges, employers and national agencies are already developing new models that are already having real impact on young people. We now need to work together to broaden this out to all parts of the country.

Reading is in the vanguard of this work. The Productive Pathways programme is drawing together partners from business, education, statutory agencies and voluntary organisations to tackle these problems. An innovative partnership with mobile technology leader O2 will deliver a ‘one-stop shop’ smart phone app and related social media tools, providing information on job opportunities, work placements, apprenticeships, practical help with CV-writing and interview skills for young people. This will empower them to plot their own productive pathway into education, employment and training.

Please come along on 5 February and join in the discussion.
To book your place at this event please click here

Monday, 28 January 2013

Huhne: Date With Destiny

Chris Huhne and Daisy Benson: It Was All Good Then
Senior Lib Dem Chris Huhne will stand trial on Monday next week over a charge of perverting the course of justice - an offence that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The events which led to the charges date back to March 2003, when Huhne's car was allegedly caught by a speed camera on the motorway between Stansted Airport in Essex and London. Huhne and Pryce are accused of falsely informing the police in 2003 that Pryce was the driver of the car, thereby accepting responsibility for the offence so Huhne could avoid prosecution.
Allegations of wrong-doing were not made public until 2011, after the Huhne admitted an affair with his press agent, and ended his 26-year marriage tp Pryce. Following an eight-month police investigation, Huhne and Pryce, a prominent economist, were charged in February 2012 with perverting the course of justice.

Huhne has entered a not guilty plea. Pryce also denies the charge and has already lodged a defence of marital coercion.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

That Try

The greatest rugby union try of all time: 40 years ago!

"Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! Oh, that's brilliant! John Williams, Brian Williams, Pullin, John Dawes. Great dummy! David, Tom David, the half-way line. Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start. What a score! Oh that fellow Edwards!"

Friday, 25 January 2013

Redlands: New Transport Ideas Revealed

New Ideas In Redlands: What Do You Think?
A range of Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) schemes are proposed in East Reading, specifically along London, Kendrick, Redlands, Erleigh and Alexandra Roads, and Southampton and Silver Streets.
All the measures are aimed at encouraging cycling and walking as realistic alternatives to the car. The proposed improvements will be paid for from Reading Borough Council’s Successful LSTF bid.
The plans include improved street lighting in and around these roads, meaning roads and footpaths in East Reading will benefit from the new ’whiter’ lighting which greatly improves the clarity of lit objects, which improves the feeling of safety during the evening hours for pedestrians and reduces the power consumption of the lanterns.

Concept drawings of the proposed measures can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

One Nation Health And Care - Guest Post

A Guest Blog by Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary

Today I want to start a discussion about the future of health care in Britain.

Over the last two and a half years we've fought for our NHS and exposed David Cameron's broken promises. We've opposed the Tories' unnecessary and damaging top-down NHS reorganisation, with nearly 5,000 nurses cut and more patients waiting longer in A&E. And we've spoken out against the Tories' marketisation and fragmentation of healthcare.

Labour always has been and always will be the party of the NHS. But in 2015 we'll inherit a damaged NHS, fragmented by Tory privatisation and cuts - so we need to talk about how we're going to deliver One Nation Labour health and care in this environment.

Our vision is an NHS committed to 'whole-person care' - physical health, mental health and social care brought together into a single service to meet our care needs.
I've started a discussion today about what that means and how we can build it at - and I want you to join in.

This is a true One Nation vision – a health and care system shaped around people, not around the bureaucratic structures and market dogma the Tories have introduced, putting at risk one of our most beloved institutions which binds us together as a society.

The Tory way is leading to fragmentation – making it even harder to tackle these problems. Labour will build a single service, improve patient rights and protect the NHS for future generations.

And when money is tight, a single service is cheaper. Untreated mental illness costs the NHS £10 billion each year, and hospital care for people who cannot be discharged because there’s no help at home costs the NHS£4 million a week.
We can do this – but we need your engagement and support. So please go to, read my plans in detail, tell your friends about it, and join the fight for the future of our health services in Britain.

Thank you.

Andy Burnham

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Alternative Queen of Reading

The Alternative Queen of Reading contest on Friday, March 8, is in support of Berkshire Women’s Aid
Friday 8 March fund-raiser for Berkshire Womens Aid
Are you an Alternative Queen?

Sick of being judged by your looks? Got what it takes to impress a roomful of people with nothing but the sheer size of your talent, personality or even ego? Then sign up for your chance to be crowned the Alternative Queen of Reading!

On March 8 2013, Shehnai will play host to a celebration of all that is different. The event organisers say they welcome all acts and talents – all they ask is that you do something related to the theme of, you’ve guessed it, women – “Wild and Wonderful Women” to be precise. It doesn’t have to be PG-rated but we do ask that it’s respectful – after all, it’s meant to celebrate, not denigrate…

And yes, they know March 8 is International Women’s Day – but Alternative Queen of Reading is open to EVERYbody – male, female, trans, straight, gay, bi, etc. So long as you’re happy to stand in front of an audience, then they want to hear from you!

This year’s event will be hosted in association with Zuloo Productions, and held at the Olympia Ballroom at Shehnai, the largest banqueting suite in Berkshire. As well as being an exclusive wedding venue it also plays host to a variety of entertainment events, including the monthly Comedy and Curry, and an annual celebration of International Women’s Day. The venue is accessible for wheelchairs.

Address: 75-77 London Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4QA

Tickets are £5 with all profits going to Berkshire Women’s Aid

More on this in Reading Post (& photo courtesy)

Event website:

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Redlands: New Pedestrian & Cycle Schemes Exhibition - 24 January

24 January: Improvements For Redlands' Pedestrians And Cyclists
Reading Borough Council will soon unveil a range of new proposals to benefit pedestrians and cyclists in the Redlands area.

Officers and local councillors will be at St Lukes Parish Hall, Erleigh Road, on Thursday 24 January between 2.30pm and 6.15pm to exhibit a raft of proposals for possible improvements in the area.

All residents are welcome to drop in and discuss the ideas - no appointments are necessary.

Watch out for the detailed plans soon.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

East Reading Crime Update

This is a message from Thames Valley Alert Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police
Message sent by
Liz Herbert (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Reading LPA)

Over the past few days there have been a number of burglaries in the East Reading Area:

23/12/12-03/01/13 00.00: Bulmershe Road:

Unknown offender has kicked in cat flap and forced PVC door removed property exit through patio door which was insecure.

04/01/13 15.40-21.20: Eldon Road:

Unknown offender has forced door and stole laptop.

07/01/13 16.30-16.45: Eldon Road:

Unknown offender has entered by insecure means and stole laptop and charger.

Please report any suspicious incidents or sightings to The Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101 quoting URN1306 07/01/13.