Last Thursday was the first in a series of television documentaries called "Neighbourhood Watched" filmed by Raw Television for the BBC. It included work carried out by two housing providers namely New Charter Housing Trust and our very own City West Housing Trust based in West Salford.
The first programme that went out last Thursday concentrated on two individuals an elderly lady in Tameside and a gentleman living in Eccles living in a City West Housing property that use to be owned by Salford City Council.
I have sent the following letter to the Salford Advertiser which I hope they will print :-
I am extremely concerned about the television programme "Neighbourhood Watched" by Raw Television for the BBC as highlighted in the Advertiser 16/08/2012 which spotlighted our very own City West Housing Trust in West Salford and its staff and some tenants. It also showed the work of New Charter Housing based in Tameside.
The first programme that went out on the same day clearly concentrated on two individuals that the majority of people would agree that they were living with mental health and/or learning disability issues. The housing providers in the programme state that they do not breach Data Protection Laws but whilst these two individuals may have consented to being filmed for the programme, where one lady clearly was struggling to look after herself on a day to day basis, the other gentleman described as "eccentric" in the programme perpetrating anti-social behaviour - I believe it is morally wrong whether these persons consented or not to go ahead and film their struggles or wrong doing for the nation to see.
It is irrresponsible of both housing providers to do so for many reasons, including the clear vulnerability of at least one of the persons concerned.
Michael Moulding, 92 Wyndham Avenue, Clifton, M27 6PY Tel No - 0161 7948483"
The lady in Tameside living in a New Charter Housing property was struggling in a bad way to look after herself on a day to day basis. The programme filmed her struggles and her clear vulnerabilities. Whilst I accept the Housing Officer did everything he could to help this lady, it was clear for all to see that as a result of mental health issues and/or learning disability this was clearly affecting her ability to cope on a daily basis.
The programme did not show any risk assessments or support plans or even explained that they were done. If they were done, I have to say they have been extremely poor in their assessment because for a "vulnerable" lady to be left in housing conditions that were clearly a health & safety risk, not only to herself but everyone that lived in her block of flats was appalling. I hope the ladies clear vulnerabilities that were exposed for the nation to see have not put her future safety at risk of crime in what is a dangerous and unsafe society we live in ?
A tenant living in Eccles was filmed living in a City West Housing Trust property and was clearly perpetrating anti-social behaviour which City West Housing Trust was dealing with. The gentleman concerned on national television was "happy" to walk about Eccles Town Centre with a crown and unusual clothing which would suggest to me alone that all does not seem right in relation to this man's mental health ? His behaviour of him dancing in his living room with extremely loud music with strange clothing and the wearing of a crown and him believing and telling the nation that the victim of anti-social behaviour somehow fancied him, was so ridiculous that most people must have concluded the man has serious mental health issues ?
I support all work carried out by all agencies to combat anti-social behaviour and the Community Action Party has a zero-tolerance to the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour and fully sympathise with the victims.
But nor would I support the filming of individuals with their landlords consent which could clearly have serious repurcussions to any individual who was going about their daily routines of potentially being attacked as a result of any programme or filming of their conduct ?
Again, what this programme did not illustrate is whether any risk assessments and/or support plans where put in place to help all concerned. That City West Housing Trust were prepared to disclose that this gentleman had already a criminal record on national television which only exposed the fact that they house people that some would say, should not have been rehoused in the first place, if there was evidence that they posed such risks to their communities ?
In the programme City West Housing Trust decided to move the victim of anti-social behaviour which I fully support but they say when they agreed to on national television, they prefer to deal with the perpetrators and I can tell you at first hand experience, rewording what they said on "Neighbourhood Watched" is that unfortunately, nomatter how long it takes or the suffering you have to endure, in normal circumstances, victims of anti-social behaviour have to stay put nomatter how competant or incompetant a housing provider may be in dealing with the matter.
So my final comment on the matter is was this family moved in this instance because this is in fact the easiest and most compassionate way to help victims or was it because the issues were being filmed by the BBC ? I hope future victims of anti-social behaviour in West Salford of the most serious kind are treated fairly and equally by City West Housing Trust when the television camera's have moved on, as they have demonstrated on national television, if they want to, it can be done ?
It is total irresponsibility by both housing providers to agree to expose these issues in the way they have which has clearly increased risks as a result of having their time exposed on national television and hope the people concerned are not the victims of serious crime in future.