Recorder letters: Knife crime, Kenneth More Theatre and King George Hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 April 2019

Police at Ilford Station. Picture: PA

Police at Ilford Station. Picture: PA


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Books save lives, knife arches dont’

A retired Ilford teacher, full name and address supplied, writes:

I would like to question the effectiveness of knife arches. First, what is going to stop someone passing a knife to a student through a fence?

Alternatively, the woodwork classroom and home economics classrooms are treasure troves of sharp instruments.

Therefore, if a student wanted to do harm, a metal scanner will not prevent them. Perhaps it is better to tackle the reasons why they want to do harm.

I could make a valid point about government cuts which are obviously connected to knife crime, but I would like to make a different point.

Most secondary schools have several entry points.

Not only will the school require several knife arches but several people to attend them. This, I assume, will be fairly expensive.

Although I’m retired, I still do personal tutoring.

When I was teaching, only a few years ago, every student was furnished with several textbooks for one subject. In my tuitions I have noticed that students rarely have a textbooks now, at best they have a revision book often purchased by themselves.

My question is, which is going to be better at preventing crime, a knife arch or a textbook?

It is arguable whether a knife arch has prevented any stabbing inside the school.

On the other hand I think it is beyond doubt that books and teaching assistants have saved and improved lives by the million.

Certainly in my case, whilst it would be poetic licence to say books saved my life, they certainly have improved my life, and are still improving my life.

Make young do National Service

Judy Freedman, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

Where knife crime is concerned, it might be an idea to place police outside every Tube station 24/7 as well as metal detectors inside. Also outside all entrances to venues, ie theatres, shops and hospitals and schools.

More police are needed on the streets, and the re-opening of the police stations which have been shut down.

It may also be an idea to call young 18 to 20-year-old able bodied British males to do National Service. That would be one way of getting them off the streets. This could be the answer we are looking for.

Unless more is done and quickly, this epidemic will escalate until it is completely out of control, which is not too far away.

These people who are committing these senseless crimes are totally ignorant, an absolute disgrace to our society.

Spend our money wisely instead of giving benefits to people who go out and commit murder.

Please invest in theatre and arts

Barbara White, Gants Hill, Ilford, writes:

I wasn’t surprised to read the two letters last week expressing concern re the closure of the Kenneth More Theatre.

Cllr Athwal said that “this week’s news is just the closing of one chapter and the start of a new one”.

Such scant regard for a theatre and theatre company that has served Redbridge residents for forty five years.

Cllr Athwal also said that the council had been subsidising the company since at least 2011. Has he never heard of the word investing?

Investing in our residents, giving young people the opportunity to explore the arts and culture. At a time of so much crime on the streets this investment could surely help to prevent some of it.

We hear talk of a new theatre but what will it be like? Will there be a sports hall one side of the auditorium or will the auditorium be a space used for various other things? It would be good to see a plan, even a rough one, of what is envisaged.

The theatre is a beacon of light in the failing area of Ilford High Street.

Please, Cllr Athwal, reconsider your statement and invest in the arts and culture that Redbridge deserves.

Audience would miss great shows

G H Granding, Brancaster Road, Ilford, writes:

My wife and I enjoyed the colourful and loud musical of Chicago at the Kenneth More Theatre.

With a large jazz band and colourful costumes it made a very enjoyable evening out and all the audience would miss such productions.

The KMT have volunteers and helpers to assist those less able to walk on their own.

I hope that there are ways to continue funding shows and I look forward to seeing the 2019 panto which will be a sellout as soon as tickets are available.

KGH should open one general ward

Cllr Neil Zammett, chairman, Health Scrutiny Committee, writes:

I write in response to Chris Bown’s letter to provide further evidence of the need for more beds at King George Hospital.

February’s published figures show another miserable result for our local hospitals, anchored firmly at the second from bottom place in the London table for A&E performance at 57.9 per cent compared with the standard of 95pc.

Redbridge has one of the lowest delayed transfers of care in the country and generally the outer north east London emergency system is very efficient.

For years our residents have had to suffer a dreadful A&E performance well below the national average and at, or near, the bottom of the league table in London. NHS England figures show things are getting worse not better and vague statements about how complicated things are merely provide smokescreens to avoid action.

Last week also saw the publication of the NHS staff survey where staff rate different aspects of their employment.

Figures are given as a weighted score out of five and the figure for staff who said they would recommend Queen’s and King George as a place to work or receive treatment was 3.58. Once again this is joint second from bottom in London and down from 3.66 last year.

To his credit Chris Bown has publicly addressed some of the concerns the data raises and I agree with much of what he has written but unless we also address the issue of beds and patient flows, we will be looking at another miserable winter.

I recognise the trust has worked hard to improve and has introduced a wide range of measures but the fact is that performance is declining. The one thing that has not been done is to increase capacity.

We have suggested that one general medical ward should be opened at King George this summer followed by another in September. It just needs some planning.

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