It was towards the end of 2017 that I had picked up on many local crime issues that were being posted on the "SoBo" Facebook page for Southbourne residents and friends. This lead me to create a separate Facebook group specifically for people to mention issues that were happening or had happened, which I named as BH6-CAT. You can read the story behind the naming of BH6-CAT.

From that point I began to reach out and get more involved, using Social Media to make contact and to show what we were doing to help and inform each other.

Local Policing Meetings

I was then invited to attend a neighbour policing meeting that the Pokesdown traders had organised. That was very enlightening in many ways. To hear what the Pokesdown traders have to endure with regards petty crime was a bit of a shock, as someone who sits pretty at their desk in an office miles away. It was also the first time I have heard directly from Police officers about the successes they are having, the on-going investigations and cases, plus the constraints they are under in terms of resources and actions that they can take.

I had already met the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and the notes from both meetings were reported to the SoBo group and they were received quite positively. To be honest, it was the first real communication that many people have had. I make the point that the local police do attend community meetings, such as the Southbourne Forum, but Social Media is an easy outlet for people to voice their sentiments, positive or otherwise.

I noticed that in 2018 that the Bournemouth East Police team are making more use of Social Media. I'm sure it is a new, and an additional, task for them to deal with, but the outputs have been well received. This sort of digital transformation would be natural nor maybe comfortable initially, but with support from the Dorset Police Force, as well as the local community I hope the effectiveness will increase very quickly.

The Importance of Reporting Crime

One very important fact that bears repeating here, as done so on Facebook, is that people should report all issues of crime whether they think it is minor or not. Emergencies should be reported via 999 immediately but other issues can be done via the Do It Online page of the Dorset Police website.

The Policing team have said it is important to do so, so we have a clear picture of what's going on, the resources that may be required and therefore asked for, and the value of the intelligence it can bring. Some people don't think it's worth doing unless they need a crime number to make an insurance claim. Thankfully more of the group members understand this and promptly ask people to do so.

What I constantly read from members is that they want to see more of a presence of Police officers on the ground, especially when there are spates of lead thefts, car damage and so on. I also read in the news of online crime where people can be defrauded of tens of thousands of pounds very quickly. That area of crime poses less risks for "real" organised criminals with greater rewards compared to burglary at the commercial or residential property level.

Communications is Key

That's a National policy level issue that isn't going to rapidly change, but what can change quickly is the communications between the Police and the Community, which will be one step forward in building those relationships. I certainly see that improving but it also means that we, the public, need to lean in and get involved also.

Facebook: Bournemouth East Police

Instagram: Bournemouth East Police

Twitter: Bournemouth East Police

 

It's took a while but I have managed to finish writing up my trip to Spain last year where I spent a few days to myself, enjoying the food and drink scene from Girona to Barcelona, before meeting up with Angela and friends in La Zenia after an eventful trip.

Link: 2017 Girona-Barcelona-La Zenia trip

<update> You can now see a series of videos I've made on the SoBo Mile YouTube Channel or keep up to date on the southbournegroove.com website.

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I know Harry from Chaplins Bar wants to put Boscombe forward as a foodie destination (Bournemouth Echo article), but I counter that with Southbourne being much more of a destination for foodies when it comes to bars and restaurants.

Let the SEO wars begin in good banter - I want our area to show up when people are searching for "Where to eat in Bournemouth?".

Southbourne has always been a sleepy corner of the Bournemouth food scene, and a lesser know property bubble as well, but it has never reached the heady heights in prominence but maybe for some residents that's a good thing. Even the Financial Times said Southbourne was an area to watch way back in 2008.

As a concept the SoBo Mile runs from Pokesdown train station through to Southbourne Crossroads via the Grove. However, in reality, I have taken some artistic licence as the stretch from the other side of Lloyds Bank to the station is technically not in "Southbourne" if you take the voting wards. Hey ho, we are good neighbours and want to promote that whole stretch as #sobomile

A brief history of SoBo time follows...

I have time now to write a few words on my enjoyable artsy weekend. Definitely not my usual weekend but something I'd like to try more of. Angela was away for the weekend, so I had the freedom to just book and explore.

It started off on the afternoon of Friday April 27th. As part of the Westbourne Book Festival, which was part of the Bournemouth Emerging Arts Festival, I hosted an author for an hour and a half. What that entailed was, well me having to read a book and finishing it on the night before! It put me under pressure, which I liked, because having been to technical seminars and presentations before it can fall flat when a host asks if the audience has any questions and there is silence.

It was a good job that I had a meeting in London the week before and was able to meet with the author, Helen Fry, and have a good discussion about her book The London Cage. It gave me time to prep some questions. The book is about the main interrogation centre used by the British secret services during the World War 2 to gain military intelligence vital for combat, as well as gathering vital evidence for the war crimes tribunals afterwards.

Standing up in a room full of strangers to make the introduction is not my favourite thing, and on something not techie or digital made it even more out of my comfort zone. This year however, I said I would challenge myself to new things.

It went well. Audience didn't have any questions at first after Helen's talk, but after a few of mine people started to join in. The preparation paid off.

I ended up buying a few more books and I wonder if I will be able to read them by next year's book festival. I hope the event returns and I get asked back.

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I also haven't been to the movies for ages and I had a free token from the purchase of a wall planner to make use of. I was hoping to see the film about Churchill (Darkest Hour) but things had moved on from them, so fancied something silly instead. Rampage with The Rock it was. Errrm, nothing more to be said about a film of oversized rampaging animals.

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On Saturday meanwhile, I booked to see a play called "Mountains: The dreams of Lily Kwok" at Poole's Lighthouse. A new tick on both accounts in going to a play as an adult and visiting the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is a beautiful venue and will go back for sure.

The play is based on a book written by Helen Tse about her grandmother Lily Kwok, called Sweet Mandarin. The play centres on an interplay between Helen and her grandmother, following her life in Hong Kong/China before coming to UK.

As the first generation of Chinese immigrants that came to Britain in the 60's, the play was very, very touching and I could identify with so many elements.

I guess plays are there to really touch the emotions and the performance is a vehicle for that. I did wipe my eyes a couple of time but styled it out.

Although there was not a huge amount of people in the evening performance, probably less in the afternoon one, but I was happy that the pensioners of Poole came to support a niche play. A Thank You from me.

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Sunday came. Timo Peach came. I don't know how to describe Timo as I fear I would do him a disservice. A man of many talents he is.

As part of the Bournemouth Emerging Arts Festival, Timo put on a musical production called, Five Songs to help us Unsee The Future. The event was held at Talbot Heath School.

You can see some of his works here the Momo Tempo Videos page.

We were lead, blindfolded, into the school's main hall in readiness for the production, holding hands with another person to await the start of the performance. Funnily enough, the person next to me asked my name and I said Gordon, to which she replied Gordon Fong, from SoBo. Go SoBo!

Well that was an interesting few days, venturing into the arts..

Started off on Friday hosting an author as part of a literary festival and afterwards I went to the movies for the first time in ages. Then there was a play at Poole Lighthouse on Saturday and finally on Sunday attended a music/art performance.

I tested my blood pressure this morning and it was under 80 for the first time for a while. Related, who knows? I do know that an evening spent listening to my music collection really did help bring it down.