Recorder letters: Council tax, police, clear masks and cycle challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 August 2020

'A policeman's lot is not a happy one', according to Chris Hobbs. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

'A policeman's lot is not a happy one', according to Chris Hobbs. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

First, collect council tax owed

Andrew Baikie, Nigel Road, Forest Gate, writes:

The current Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, and the current Newham Council Administration (as it calls itself), either has, or proposes to, increase Newham’s council tax by a whopping 20 per cent in four years.

This is after Sir Robin Wales’s administration froze council tax for many years.

Over a month ago I put in a request to the current administration in Newham - asking about their collection performance for council tax.

They have not provided an answer yet. In a whole month.

Surely the current administration, first and foremost, should be collecting the revenue that is due to them?

If they do not know, or seem unable to tell, council tax payers even this, how can they then reasonably ask Newham council tax payers to fork out more in council tax and parking charges ?

Over to Newham Council (current administration).

Be careful what you wish for

Chris Hobbs, retired Metropolitan Police officer, full address supplied, writes:

It could well be argued that a police officer’s lot has never been such an unhappy one.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis they’ve have been spat at, coughed upon, bitten and accused of being over-zealous despite each force issuing an average of just seven penalty tickets a day.

They were then vilified for not being firm enough when dealing with Black Lives Matter protests and continually criticised for being ‘soft’ when responding to so called ‘block’ parties.

After a brief interlude when they were hailed as heroes following their response to manic, deadly knife attacks at Reading and Glasgow the pendulum has swung back as the Met and indeed the entire British police service has been ‘collectively smeared’ as being racist following contentious, filmed ‘stops’ in London.

Activists who criticise police, conveniently ignore the fact that officers will respond on ‘blues and twos’ to deadly knife and gun attacks not knowing whether, on arrival, they will be confronted by a murderous criminal or a person or persons needing urgent, life-saving treatment.

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Those critics, who label police as racist, should perhaps ask themselves how many lives have been saved by their arrival at horrific scenes before paramedics and administering that vital first aid, or how many lives have been spared by taking deadly knives and guns from the streets or how many lives have been turned around by police interventions at incidents involving those with suicidal mental health issues.

Activists calling for the defunding and abolition of police may wish to ponder the following - ‘Be careful what you wish for’.

Clear masks are crucial for deaf

Sally Etchells, a campaigner, National Deaf Children’s Society, writes:

We’re delighted to see MPs like Tulip Siddiq speaking out and supporting the vital Keep It Clear campaign, calling for the widespread introduction of face masks with clear panels over the mouth.

Almost all deaf people rely on lip-reading and visual cues to understand what others are saying, but opaque masks make this impossible and deaf people could face months of misery as a result.

It’s absolutely crucial that clear face masks are made widely available and we’re calling on governments across the UK to make this happen.

In the meantime, if the public show good deaf awareness, such as writing things down, being patient and using gestures, this would also make a huge difference to deaf people everywhere.

Join our charity cycle challenge

Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK, writes:

Diabetes UK is looking for people from to get on their bikes and take on the UK Wide Cycle Ride.

This September take your fitness up a gear and complete a coast to coast virtual challenge. You can pick your distance from one of four routes.

The aim is to challenge yourself – at your own pace – and pedal towards a stronger, healthier you. You can also get family, friends or colleagues along for the ride.

During the past few months, demand for our services has reached unprecedented levels and our own funding has been significantly impacted. People with diabetes need us now, and so we need your support to be able to continue fighting. Join us, and your support can change lives.

There are an estimated 4.7 million people living with diabetes in the UK − a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed carefully, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including sight loss, amputation, kidney failure and stroke. There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes.

Cycling is a fantastic way to help you get fit and healthy, have fun and set yourself a challenge. Our team will be on hand to offer cycling tips and fundraising advice.

Every mile you complete and every pound you raise brings us closer to our vision of a world where diabetes can do no harm. To register, visit There is no registration fee and no minimum sponsorship.

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