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The last few weeks have been tumultuous in the UK with terror attacks in Manchester and London, an uncertain election result and the tragic fire in London last week which claimed so many lives.
Terrorism is sadly part of society today although St Albans is not immune and was the victim itself of an IRA bomb attempt in 1991 although thankfully we got off lightly.
Today’s terrorism is a whole new ball game: random, vicious personal attacks in our major cities yet the evil could spread and we should all remain vigilant even in towns and villages.
What perhaps has struck me most over these past few tragic months is not the division which causes the violence but the unity of togetherness when violence happens to good communities.
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It is perhaps a true measure of the strength of our society, not an indicator of its weakness, when, in times of great tragedy, we all come together to pray, pay respects, assist, feed, clothe and save lives. It is the hallmark of what makes our very multicultural Great Britain, great. We do not know what the future holds with regards to further attacks - and it is highly probable that there will be more. However, to the evil that perpetrates these vile acts, you will never win, you will never change, stop or alter our democratic way of life. You don’t scare us. Moreover, and this is a message you should understand, there is so much more love that unites us than divides us as a community so your mission will always be a futile one. I thank you! BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans
I was not surprised to read, in this week’s Herts Advertiser, that Anne Main is still supporting a housing development and community facilities near Redbourn.
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It is a great shame that Mrs Main doesn’t feel that the former Radlett Airfield site in Park Street would also provide the same space and opportunity to deliver such a development. It would be nice to see our St Albans MP outside the entrance to the proposed SRFI development on the A414 holding the same banner!
ANDREW LOVE Warren Road, St Albans
It seems our council has given permission for a new housing scheme in Harpenden in exchange for a sum of £495,000 to be spent on affordable housing elsewhere – a derisory sum compared with the price of property in the area.
Flats in Gabriel Square - another new development approved by SADC - appear to start at £675,000 though affordable properties were promised.
The profits made by developers in these schemes are grotesque - it is time to call a halt on such excess and demand more for the privilege of being given planning permission.
We need compact, super energy efficient affordable houses to rent and buy with optimum energy efficiency which would deliver savings to householders year on year and reduce our contribution to climate change. SADC is squandering brownfield sites while proposing erosion of precious Green Belt land for more building and failing to plan for residents with moderate incomes.
St Albans District Green Party
Sandridge Road, St Albans
First Sandy Walkington, now Daisy Cooper. Tory attack dog Mr Chivers certainly has the Lib Dems in his sights. However, all is not quite as black and white it may appear from his letter.
Re: the accusation that the Lib Dems “parachuted” Daisy Cooper into St Albans: may I suggest Mr Chivers raises his eyes from his vat of venom, and directs his baleful gaze northwards, where a certain Conservative candidate Bim Afolami, banker, not remotely from Hitchen or Harpenden or with any connection to either town, was similarly “parachuted in”.
He never moved into the area during the campaign, and has not moved into the area, to my knowledge, since.
I also gather that Anne (dog poo) Main STILL doesn’t live in St Albans.
Of far greater concern, however, is the fact that during the run up to the election, several Lib Dem posters were defaced with Conservative stickers, which is both illegal and unethical.
Flyposting is a prosecutable offence. I am happy to supply Mr Chivers and your readers with photographic evidence.
Perhaps your correspondent might consider, in future, leaving the politics to those who, as he states, are “far cleverer” than him. His comments are distasteful and shame nobody but himself and his political party.
Playing the man, not the ball does seem to be a tactic the Conservative Party likes to employ. Some might infer that it shows a lack of imagination. Some might just think it is downright nasty.
CAROL HEDGES Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden
In response to the letter from Nick Chivers entitled ‘What’s the point of the Lib Dems anyway?’, the point Mr Chivers is democracy.
Other than being a rather spiteful missive from the husband of a Tory councillor, the “point” of your letter is less easy to divine. My suggestion is that you man-up and use your freedom of speech more positively for the good of the community. DR LESLEY PERMAN-KERR By email
In his eagerness to dismiss over 18,000 St Albans residents who voted for Daisy Cooper, Nick Chivers completely misses the point.
What is wrong with the electoral system is not that the Liberal Democrats are ‘bed blockers’, in his words, but that the preferences of the electorate aren’t reflected in the number of seats a party gets under the first past the post system.
How can it be right that the DUP, with just over 290,000 votes, has 10 seats and gets to hold the country to ransom, while the Lib Dems’ 2.4 million votes gave them only 12 seats?
If Mr Chivers wants smaller parties to have an influence, as he seems to be advocating, he should campaign for a change in the electoral system rather than mounting silly personal attacks on candidates.
Boundary Road, St Albans
Regardless of Mr Chivers’ party rhetoric – what this country needs now more than ever is people in politics to be inspiring, with a moral compass, with vision, with heart and energy.
Daisy Cooper has all of these qualities and many more besides. I believe, at the grand old age of 37, she moved to St Albans from the south coast last year for personal reasons, largely to be located between work in London and parents in Suffolk - without the aid of any” parachute”.
Our current MP lives in a different county altogether, parachuting in frequently during the election run-up.
I would like to point out that my vote was not stolen. It could not, in all honesty have gone to the Conservatives, who with only a small majority of people in favour of Brexit, viewed that as a strong mandate to do whatever they wished.
Indeed, even now with the clear message that the voters do not have faith in the Conservatives, they are still ploughing on with Brexit come hell or high water. The NHS is on its knees, the welfare system is falling apart and only this week we have seen all too clearly the effects of Conservative cuts. Yet their focus is still fixed. Mrs May is fiddling while Grenfell Tower burns.
Neither was my vote stolen from Labour. Mr Pollard has had many years behind him serving the community, however, his voting record would not allow my vote, In addition, the current Labour Party, in my view, is insufficiently pro-business.
I am very much in favour of changes to our voting system, so that people may vote for the party they support rather than our current two party system, however, I am grateful that our democratic process has allowed me to find a party I am politically aligned with and a candidate that possesses qualities I am so very proud to support.
Can you say the same Mr Chivers?
So, what is the point of the Lib Dems? Democracy, Mr Chivers, democracy.
Nick Chivers (June 15) asks an interesting question; “What’s the point of Lib Dems anyway?” He makes an interesting observation, that we might correctly regard Lib Dems as little more than “political bed blockers”.
For my part, now that the General Election is done and dusted (well, for another couple of years, anyway, when the Tories decide they have had enough of Theresa May and Basher Boris shows his true colours), I shall be glad not to have my letterbox bombarded several times daily with leaflets and circulars from Daisy Cooper (two of which, strangely, arrived after the election).
I am all for enthusiastic campaigning, but Ms. Cooper’s sudden interest in my wellbeing was becoming suffocating, and I can’t deny my relief at not having heard from her for a while.
My hallway is no longer the shade of yellow it was rapidly becoming under the weight of her onslaught.
As it happens, I voted Labour, and was therefore sorry Kerry Pollard wasn’t elected to parliament. (That’s Kerry Pollard who actually lives in St. Albans, incidentally.)
Maybe, when Michael Gove has completed another round of back-stabbing and the Conservative Party is (yet again) in disarray, Kerry can try once more. I hope so.
Until then, I’m afraid we are stuck with Anne “Stick & Flick” Main as our representative in Westminster.
At least, if nothing else, we who begrudged her lazy campaigning and complacency will know what to do with our dog poo during her tenure.
As the Tories snuggle up in bed with their new-found friends in the DUP, we have that for which to be grateful. I’m afraid I can’t think of much else.
Wetherall Mews, St Albans
I write in response to Nick Chivers, whose letter was published on 15 June asking ‘What’s the point of the Lib Dems anyway?’ I would like to remind Mr Chivers, that 18,462 people in St Albans exercised their democratic right in voting for Daisy Cooper and saw the point of the Lib Dems, I being one of them.
For me, Daisy represented hope for change and someone who was willing to listen and work hard for her constituents. Her cleanly-fought campaign demonstrated her energy, empathy and intelligent insights to a great range of issues.
I made a decision to vote at a local level for a candidate who represented me - a vote for Westminster bed-hopping was not on my agenda. Mr Chivers, what you suggest is doing away with a credible choice for voters in St Albans to suit your own politics.
In the process of doing so, you disrespect 18,462 people in our community and, indeed, democracy.
DEBBIE BIGG By email
I wish to respond to the Herts Advertiser’s front page article last week carrying the disturbing headline ‘90% of burglars get away with it’ (June 15, 2017).
As Chief Inspector for St Albans I am concerned that this article may have left residents with the worry that this district is an unsafe place to live, particularly as the article was accompanied by an alarming photograph of a burglar carrying a firearm.
I can assure you the article is not an accurate reflection of reality.
St Albans, like the rest of the county, remains a safe place to live and work.
Nevertheless, the prevention of burglary and the apprehension of conviction of offenders remains a top priority for me and officers.
Although I accept that the city’s burglary detection figures may appear low to residents, these must be looked at in context with the challenges faced when investigating this type of crime, the ongoing work that is being carried out to identify offenders and the considerable amount of effort the police invest into promoting crime prevention advice to protect people from criminals.
St Albans’ detection rate for residential burglaries is 12 per cent, which is the average for the county and above national averages.
The district, which has a population of more than 140,000, has the third lowest number of burglaries per 1,000 head of population in Hertfordshire. Indeed, the number of dwelling burglaries fell last year by 13 per cent and this is a continuing trend.
Our response to burglary may not always immediately result in arrests of suspects, but everything is done to ensure that all possible evidence is captured and the police never give up on a case.
Officers use the full forensic toolkit available to build a profile of offenders.
This includes, where possible, recovering DNA samples and other identifying material, which is kept on a database that is constantly referred to when offenders are arrested for any offence and brought into custody.
Often, when a suspect is arrested on suspicion of committing one burglary offence they will later be forensically linked or admit to carrying out a whole host of other break-ins and we always communicate with victims to update them of this.
Safer neighbourhood officers work with victims of burglary to help prevent them from becoming repeat victims and officers share crime prevention advice with neighbouring properties through door-to-door enquiries.
Our work to promote crime prevention advice among the local community never ends and we are continuously reminding residents of the measures they can take to make their property less appealing to thieves.
For example, St Albans has an ever-expanding active Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and I would encourage everyone to get involved and register via the Online Watch Link (OWL) at www.owl.co.uk.
I would like to take this opportunity to stress that St Albans is not a comfortable area for thieves to try and operate, and residents should absolutely not feel unsafe in their own homes. Whilst statistics give us an insight into crime trends it should be remembered that they are just one part of a more complex crime picture that doesn’t fully reflect the extensive work that is being carried out behind the scenes to bring offenders to justice and reduce crime. Finally, it is just a few offenders who are responsible for the great majority of our burglaries and you have my assurance that we will relentlessly pursue these criminals.
The photograph of the ‘burglar’ carrying a firearm in his back pocket shown by the Herts Advertiser is not reflective of the burglary offences that happen in Hertfordshire and I am unsure why the newspaper would choose that image as it is not accurate.
If you are concerned about burglary and would like to speak to police, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team via 101 or www.herts.police.uk, where you can also find valuable crime prevention advice.
CH INSP SHANE O’NEILL