Friday, January 19, 2007

Police report on Casino effects

It is being suggested on the GreenwichWatch site that Greenwich Council may have had something to do with the "suppression" of a report by the Metropolitan police into the effects a Casino at the Dome would have on crime and police resources locally. Parts of this report, apparently fed into the earlier PWC study, were leaked to the Observer newspaper at the weekend (see here).

I tend to suspect cock-up rather than conspiracy in these matters, so I'm not getting too indignant about this yet. I wasn't aware of the report before, but it is clearly of public interest for it be made available, so I have requested a full copy from Council officers under Freedom of Information. In the meantime, a source linked to the Observer/ Channel Four investigation has sent me a PDF file of an extract, quotes from which form the basis of the Observer story.

I reproduce a part of this below, from which you can see that the police officer's assesment is that 'There is nothing at present to suggest alarm', and that the casino itself is unlikely to have a significant impact on crime. The bigger problem he identifies relates to alcohol licencing in other parts of the development. His final point is that the developer, AEG, should be made responsible for funding any increased police resources which become necessary, an idea which I fully support, and which I will be pushing hard if we win the licence. Anyway, here's the extract:


Indigo said...

For crying out loud, Nigel, will you stop spraying red herrings around and reinforcing the disinformation. Please engage your brain.

One, we are not talking about "a casino" but about a "resort-sized casino" (equivalent to five casinos in one place). Two, alone of all the new gaming venues, the supercasino will be allowed to operate unlimited-stake, UNLIMITED JACKPOT, machines. Where there is lots of money, you will get organised crime. Three, the "biggest increase in crime" will not be on the operators themselves but (as all the published research evidence shows, as well as the experience of other large casinos, eg in Melbourne) in every sort of violent crime in the community round about: eg people stealing to feed their addiction, and organised crime preying on the desperate.

This looks like someone's notes on the suppressed police report. I think it's disgraceful, the way you are trying to protect NuLabour.

Nigel said...

I'm sorry if Indigo thinks I'm protecting New Labour - not something I think I've ever been accused of before! The extract reproduced does indeed mention organised crime, but also the officer's view that other forms of crime are not likely to be affected. It is one view - there will also be a wealth of other views and evidence, as opponents like Indigo frequently point out.

My position remains one of qualified support, but we must have all the information in the public domain so that we can have a proper debate about what the effects will be and how we adequately deal with them.