Tuesday, 16 March 2010
ICSF back in business
It was a pleasure to attend the first meeting of the Isleworth Community Safety Forum (ICSF) to be held for some time, I think possibly for a couple of years. It's Chair, David Freeman, was on top form and is clearly eager to get things back into the swing.
The Forum has had an interesting and at times troubled history. Having begun its life about a decade and a half ago as the Isleworth Policing Forum, originally a police initiative, it became the ICSF for reasons that I can't quite remember. For most of the '90s it became the focus of some political shenanigans of a kind with which people who go back that far in Isleworth are depressingly familiar, with politicos ambushing meetings en masse and having their apparatchiks elected to all the key positions. When the residents wrested power from the politicians the Council, then under New Labour control, withdrew its support from the Forum (the officer assigned to it was himself a key New Labour activist so needed little persuading) and pressure was placed upon the police to stop attending its meetings. All this because "ordinary" residents had had the temerity to want to run their own Forum!
All that, as they say, is history. Now the Forum enjoys the backing of the elected local councillors who support its activities when asked to without seeking to dominate or control. With the advent of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) some of its work has been replicated and its priorities have needed to be realigned, but there is still a role for an exclusively resident-led, independent vehicle through which the general public can express their views and ask questions.
Inevitably after such a layoff yesterday's meeting attracted a modest attendance, but the important thing is the show is on the road once again.