Recently the Croydon Guardian has invited comment on non-environmental stories they have carried. For those people who have read the articles, I feel this blog is an opportunity to expand on what was quoted and explain what principles are behind the comment.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Guardian reporters obtained statistics which showed that despite high profile police operations there were actually twice as many arrests for possession of a knife in 2003-2004 than 2007-2008. Against a back drop of more police 'stop and searches', it does raise concerns about the quality of police initiatives.
A couple of months ago I was stopped and searched and asked to walk through a knife arch at Thornton Heath station. I was happy to oblige and answer all the questions put to me but I wondered about 15 or so black youths who must have been stopped on an earlier train who were ahead of me.
I hope that Croydon Police is not just sticking to perceived profiles when using 'stop and search' and that they are using intelligence to apprehend knife carrying individuals. Essentially, failure to work smart when using 'stop and search' will only lead to certain sections of the community to develop a mistrust for the police. Black people are seven times as likely to be stopped as white people and six times as likely as Asian people.
The other issue I was asked to comment on was the long running saga of the Croydon Gateway. I am pleased that the winning scheme, now announced, ensures that the Warehouse Theatre will remain in the area, albeit in a new location. But the issue is that current planning legislation is weak in encouraging a greater use of renewable energy. When one considers Chatham House's recent report: which predicts an oil supply crunch within 5-10 years, it is outrageous that new developments are only required to source 10 per cent of their energy on site in Croydon.
I predict that Croydon Gateway residents five years from now will be scratching their heads wondering why higher levels of sustainable provision were not considered when fuel bills really rocket.