Letters to the editor

‘Keep safe, know your neighbour’

Brian Paddick

Former police chief

MY experience of community policing showed me that improving your neighbourhood environment and getting to know your neighbours are two key steps to creating safer, less isolating communities.

I’m urging the nation to tackle graffiti, organise street parties, create a neighbourhood watch and host coffee mornings to encourage people to get to know their neighbours.

Research suggests that 70 per cent of people don’t know their neighbours’ names and wouldn’t recognise them on the street.

This year’s Make a Difference Day on Saturday October 29 is the nation’s biggest day of volunteering and we need you to start thinking about how to make a positive difference in your area.

Activities from reporting faulty street lights to creating community gardens or helping isolated neighbours all make a huge difference to the lives of others.

Take part in CSV Make a Difference Day this year and make where you live a happier, more welcoming place.

Making small changes for the better really does make a difference.

I have seen first hand the positive impact it can have on people’s lives.

This is the 16th Make a Difference Day organised by CSV the UK’s leading volunteering charity.

More than half a million people have taken part so far. You can register for CSV Make a Difference Day now to receive free resources to help create an inspirational volunteer project.

So whether you want to take part with your company, school, community group, or even go it alone, get in touch now by logging on to the website

Alternatively contact by telephoning FREEPHONE on 0800 284 533.

Government’s questionable legal aid plans

Name and address supplied

AT present, individuals acquitted of criminal charges are able to claim back reasonable out-of-pocket legal expenses.

The previous government made proposals seeking to remove this established right as a cost-cutting measure.

Members of the current government quite rightly opposed this move during 2009-10, and it was dropped after the General Election.

Unfortunately, tempted by cost-cutting, the government is reviving the plans, adding questionable restrictions on legal aid.

Prosecutions can cover relatively ordinary matters such as motoring where the authorities are less than perfect.

As many as one in five crown court cases has been found to be ineffective.

It is quite wrong that the government should wish to see innocent people out-of-pocket when they have to defend their reputation, particularly those thrifty enough to build some savings.

As the government has just reduced the interest payable on an Irish loan (losing up to £75 million a year income), it can’t be that desperate.

I urge readers to check the Law Society website for more details, and to write to their local MP, in this case John Howell, at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.