I, like many readers no doubt, was bought up to have manners and show courtesy to fellow citizens and neighbours.
While the vast majority of people in our country still believe in showing respect to one another, there appears to be a growing minority who seem to think they can behave as they like without a thought for others.
But here in Barking & Dagenham we are making a stand for standards; urging people to take some social responsibility is a major policy for us.
It’s about making a real difference in improving the quality of people’s lives. For instance, some of you may have read in the national news recently about Barking & Dagenham LBC looking to trial DNA testing on dog poo.
We have decided to take action on the selfish minority of dog owners who refuse or rather can’t be bothered to pick up their pets’ poo, as part of our determination to take action against those who don’t seem to have a clue about responsibility.
As part of our war on grime crime we will also be issuing fines on those who spit in public. We are not the first London borough to do this as this disgusting habit seems to be on the spread around the capital. Enfield, Newham and Waltham Forest LBCs are issuing fines to the spitters and I understand Hounslow LBC will be doing so too.
This may prove a point to some political commentators who may have presumed a tough stance on antisocial behaviour and crime to be the preserve of the Right – wrong.
Encouraging social responsibility and community spirit is very much in keeping with the left of centre’s values but it also has a real economic benefit for councils in these tough times.
We all know more cuts are on the way and it’s incumbent on us to work out how we can preserve precious funds to spend on our priorities and come up with more ways on how to cut out waste.
What could be more progressive in making the litter-louts, fly-tippers, irresponsible dog owners and spitters pay for their irresponsibility? By reducing the amount of money we all pay for clearing up after the selfish few we can plough more money into our schools, older people and leisure services.
Promoting social responsibility is not only right in making people’s lives better; it’s the way ahead in protecting councils from unprecedented pressure on budgets.
Darren Rodwell (Lab), leader, Barking & Dagenham LBC