SIR, An article headlined “Yobs making life hell for town residents” published in the Ellesmere Port Pioneer on May 14 will have given readers of the Pioneer the wrong impression of Neston and the efforts of local police officers, and I write in an attempt to correct this wrong impression.
The background is that over the previous year up to March of this year, I exchanged letters and e-mails with Andrew Miller MP on the matter of policing and anti-social behaviour (by both adults and youths) in Neston. These exchanges were initially constructive and shared with local police officers. However, in March of this year, I received from the MP a letter full of inaccuracies about me personally, and accusing me of trying to undermine the local officers and this letter was shared with local police officers and others in the community.
I thought others would wish to know about, and so I shared these exchanges with the Pioneer news team. The editor had a choice of doing nothing or looking into the matter. The newspaper chose not to publish details of the poor attitude, and this is their editorial choice. Unfortunately however, the newspaper did choose to reprint almost word for word sections of a letter I wrote to Mr Miller in August 2007 explaining problems of anti-social behaviour in Neston earlier last year, but presented it as indicative of the situation in May 2008.
Over the latter part of last year, discussions with local officers have led to changes in local policing which have had a significant and positive impact. The local police officers are hard-working and sincere in their aims despite the pressures they are under, and the problems previously experienced have been all but eliminated. In particular, the appointment of Sergeant Paul Bluck to the local policing team in January of this year has vastly improved the situation. To illustrate this, in spring of 2007, my neighbours and I called the police on approximately 50 occasions to report incidents. This spring, we have contacted the police on around five occasions and for less serious matters.
I repeat, my intention in contacting the newspaper was to illustrate the poor attitude shown by MP Andrew Miller in my correspondence with him. The article printed on May 14 did not and does not reflect the situation in Neston at this time, and this is thanks to the efforts of the local Police Community Service Officers, Constables, the Sergeant and Inspector Roberts.
I welcome this opportunity to clarify the matter.
Not the staff’s fault
SIR, What the Tories’ recent barrage to discredit Labour’s stewardship of the borough has done is to demoralise members of the borough council’s staff.
I do not have a problem with the Tories and Labour knocking lumps out off each other, but they must avoid drawing the council’s employees into their tribal games.
The council’s employees do not deserve this, especially when they do not have a public right of reply.
Local Tory Cllr Gareth Anderson now makes it clear that his criticism is of the political leadership and not the council’s employees, but his previous statements like, “embarrassing shambles,” and “so clunklingly awful!” could suggests otherwise and, anyway, the Tory leader of the new council, Cllr Mike Jones had already done the damage.
The borough council’s employees are hard-working, conscientious and loyal and Cllr Jones should be working to retain this.
Perhaps instead of trying to score cheap political points off Labour by slagging off Ellesmere Port it might have been more productive if Cllr Jones had written to all employees.
He could have told them what is going on at the moment and explain his plans for the future of Cheshire West.
At the end of the day it will be the employees of the new council who will have to make the Tories’ plans work.
CLLR DEREK GASKELL
Liberal Democrat council group leader
Grave vase is back
SIR, Thanks to the Pioneer which used my letter on the subject last week, my dear wife’s vase has been returned to her grave in St Paul’s churchyard at Hooton from where it had been stolen.