Posted on Friday 19th June 2020
Rent Service Charges for Police Teams and Parkguard Patrols on Council Estates managed by THH
1. What is happening?
From the end of September 2020, tenants will begin to see an increase in the service charge element of their rent. This increase is designed to enable THH to continue to fund a dedicated police team and Parkguard to patrol the Council estates we manage. The increase will be the equivalent of £1.20 per week.
2. Why is this happening?
Tower Hamlets constantly features as one of the most affected Boroughs in terms of incidents of ASB. This is reflected in our resident surveys which shows tackling ASB to be one of the top priorities.
In June 2017 the Council invested £2.458 million as part of a Mayoral commitment to tackle crime and ASB. The investment enabled THH to fund the Parkguard patrol services and a Police team, specifically for Council estates managed by THH, for a period of three years. Under the terms of the agreement, THH was able to take advantage of the 50% match-funding (known as “Metpatrol plus” scheme) offered by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). This allowed us to employ a team of 14 additional police officers for the cost of 7. This agreement is now set to come to an end in September 2020.
Why am I being asked to pay?
The 50% match funding scheme previously available for THH is no longer being provided by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). ASB however remains a challenge on THH estates.
The new funding scheme referred to as ‘Partnership Plus’ provides police officers to local authorities with a 21% discount on the full cost per officer. This represents an increase in the amount of funding required to keep this scheme going. If the costs are not recharged to residents, THH may not be able to continue to offer the service, or would have to divert resources from other services we provide.
3. I am in receipt of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit. How does this affect me?
If you are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit, you will not be directly affected by this increase. Your Housing Benefit entitlement will be automatically adjusted to reflect the increased service charge and this will be paid into your rent account as usual.
Iyou are in receipt of Universal Credit you will need to update your claim to reflect the increased charges. This can be done online through your Universal Credit Account or by contacting the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644.
4. Don’t I already pay for this through my Council Tax?
No. This is a bespoke additional service that is dedicated to Council estates managed by THH. Any charges you pay as part of your Council Tax is not used to fund this service. You can still access the regular police services in the borough by calling 101 or in case of emergency on 999.
5. How does this benefit me?
Prior to the introduction of this service, Tower Hamlets had one of the highest reports of ASB incidents in London. Since the introduction of the police teams in 2016/17, we have seen a decrease in the number of ASB reports and significant increases in the number of drug offences being tackled.
The chart below highlights the impact of the police teams across some our ASB hotspots over the last 3 years.
Working with our police team has allowed us to access tools and powers such as the use of Partial Premises Closure Orders (PPCO). These have proven to be a highly successful, leading to large reductions in ASB activity in the designated areas. The Orders include the power of arrest for people found in the block without a valid reason for being there. Between April 2018 and March 2020 36 PPCOs have been successfully obtained.
6. Are only tenants being asked to pay?
No, all residents are being asked to contribute to keep the service running. Leaseholders have already received their service charge bills for the 2020/21 financial year and this already includes recharges for the service.
7. Will I see the additional Police and Parkguard teams on my estate?
Working with the public and providing reassurance to communities is a key part of this service. Our ASB Team hold weekly meetings to agree which estates/blocks the Police and Parkguard will patrol. This helps to ensure maximum coverage across the estates we manage,| and particularly known ASB hotspots. Decisions are made based on intelligence and the volumes of reports we receive from residents as well our staff such as our caretakers. You can keep up to date on all the latest developments by following our ASB, Police and Parkguard teams on Twitter @Parkguard_THH, @THH_ASBTEAM and @MPSTowerHam.
If you are experiencing ASB it is important that you report this to us by visiting our website or calling 0207 364 5015. For emergencies or if you witness a crime, always call the police directly on 999.
8. What happens next?
We are interested in hearing your views and feedback on the additional police team and our plans to charge for this service. You can provide your feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Friday 17th July.
Posted on Friday 19th June 2020