There's some bickering occurring in the London Assembly over just how much crime is occurring on London buses. While Tory transport committee chairman Roger Evans is saying that crime levels have risen on buses, Labour Assembly members John Biggs and Murad Qureshi are contesting this, accusing Evans of scaremongering and twisting the findings in the transport committee report to provoke fear and support prejudices. Biggs and Qureshi have produced a separate report that backs up Transport for London's claim that crime has actually fallen on buses.
What are we to believe? It's not clear what counts as crime in the report that is dividing opinion: vandalism? Assault? Mugging? Littering? Loud, intrusive music? Smelly food and standing on the top deck? Is it crime from drivers towards passengers, vice versa or among the passengers only? Is crime at bus stops included in the findings? It might be better for all involved to stop arguing about numbers, figures, statistics and who is keeping score in the committee meeting room and actually get on the buses to make things better for passengers and drivers, whether the bad and unpleasant stuff is criminal or not. Any regular bus user in London can think of a dozen ways to improve bus travel and make it safer - and surely that's why the committee and these reports are created.
While crime on the buses continues to be contested, there's a chap who has just been honoured for keeping crime down on the streets of South London. David Oligbo is also known as the Pride of Plumstead for his 15 years of intervening in street crimes including drug deals, pickpockets and muggings. Oligbo has just been awarded the Certificate of Merit which honours acts of heroism by members of the public and is pleased to receive it for tackling up to 30 criminals in his time. His humbleness is just lovely: "I know I won't kill all the ills of the society but somehow I'm contributing something positive to the society." And his advice to other potential local heroes is just right: "If you feel you can do it go ahead and do it. If you are not sure or are scared, then please don't do it, call the police. The right procedure is to always call the police." And then hope they don't take it to committee for report writing. Congratulations David Oligbo! Plumstead sleeps safe at night!