Gazette letters: Snow, police cuts, clean Hackney and festive safety

Snow in Clissold Park on Sunday. Picture: David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

Snow in Clissold Park on Sunday. Picture: David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0 - Credit: David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commo

Puddles. That’s all that snow in Hackney is – future puddles and damp feet. Not that I didn’t wake up on Sunday morning and rush to the window to gape at the transformed world outside, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

My word of the day (thanks to Robert MacFarlane, author of The Lost Words) is hundslappadrifa, an Icelandic word meaning “snow falling calmly in flakes large as dog-paws”.

I went out, wrapped up not quite warm enough, to explore for the hundredth time the shape and sound my feet make in the snow; what it feels like to stick my tongue out and catch snowflakes in my mouth; to meander around Stoke Newington in search of thrills by jumping on each frozen puddle, cracking the ice and then jumping again to smash it into smithereens.

Church Street delivered the festive scene I was looking for – snow providing an extra layer of twee. I walked past Clissold Park, to Abney Cemetery and home through Butterfield Green, each park elevated almost beyond recognition, each tree an icy castle.

Monday morning did not disappoint: puddles, everywhere. Cycle down Essex Road and a car threw up slurry onto my shoes as it passed too close. Sunday’s wonder became Monday’s frustration, and still I look out the window wishing it would snow again.

In the next few days, the Home Office will be making an announcement on the provisional police grant funding for next year, which makes up over two-thirds of police funding nationwide, writes Cllr Caroline Selman, crime boss, Hackney Council.

As part of our Foot the Bill campaign, we’ve been calling on the government to use this announcement as an opportunity to reverse their cuts to the Met and give our police the funding they need.

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So far, their cuts to the police have seen one in four officers lost in Hackney, with crime now starting to go up.

As part of the campaign, we’ve also been asking local residents and businesses to write to the home secretary with their experiences of police cuts so she can hear first-hand the effect they are having on their lives.

We’ve had lots of emotive and powerful responses from residents so far, but the more people she hears from, the better we can make our case for the police to be properly funded. People will also be able to respond to the government’s consultation on police funding, which will follow their announcement in the next few days.

Hackney is still a great place to live, and crime rates remain well below what they were 15 years ago. But unless the government takes action now, more and more people will become victims of crime.

Residents and businesses can write to the home secretary with their experiences of police cuts at

All credit to Hackney Council and their Love Clean Hackney app, writes Charles Webber, Haggerston, full address supplied.

Within two hours of reporting a street litter spill and sending a photo, their teams had removed all traces.

I was sceptical but I have to say I’m blown away – whereas that’s all I was really expecting of the litter.

This year the Safer Schools Partnership team and I have spent a lot of time speaking to students in various schools across Hackney about keeping themselves safe and sharing with a responsible adult any concerns they may have about their welfare, writes Pc Paul Petersen, Safer Schools Partnership, Hackney police.

Although Christmas is a time for celebration, parties and having fun with family and friends, criminals will still be active. By taking the following simple steps, you may help keep yourself and your property safe this Christmas:

• When out, keep your valuables close to your body;

• Do not carry too much cash;

• Carrying too many bags can be a distraction – make smaller shopping trips rather than doing it all at once;

• Do not leave valuables on display in cars or under Christmas trees in public view;

• Try not to return to your car to drop off purchases as thieves may be on the lookout;

• Empty boxes left outside advertise your new gifts – dispose of packaging carefully;

• Register items with a serial number at;

• If going out, leave a light on to make it look like someone is at home;

• Keep curtains closed to stop people looking in;

• Plan your journey home before you go out and never wander off on your own;

• Avoid the temptation of taking an unbooked minicab if you are having difficulty getting a taxi. It’s illegal for minicabs to take passengers who have not pre-booked;

• Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be home;

• Enjoy a drink (adults) but do not make yourself an easy target by having too much;

• Do not drink and drive, or drive when tired.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!