New Window Smasher!

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Friday 3 May 2013 11.17pm
Good evening all,

I live on Bath Terrace, off Harper Rd and last night, sometime between 8.45pm and 1.20am my living room window was smashed by a concrete brick. It must have been hurled with some force from my shed roof, which would have been accessed from garage roofs behind my back garden.

I’m not aware of having any enemies, so am hoping it was random.

I discovered the carnage after getting home around 1.20am and I called the police, who arrived quickly at about 2am. Despite being sympathetic and friendly, they said they would be unable to fingerprint the smooth-ish concrete block. They gave me a crime number and left, giving the impression I would not be hearing from them again and that nothing could or would be followed up / investigated.

I slept in the living room, as I could not go upstairs with a wholly open and vulnerable downstairs.

At 8.45am I called Southwark Council Housing repair dept., who said someone would be with me within 2 hours to board up the house to make it safe. 2.5hrs later I called again to ask whether they were still on their way and was told that they had already been. I insisted this hadn’t been the case as I had been waiting downstairs vigilantly, even popping my head out to look for them every 5 minutes or so. I was told the job would need to be ‘re-raised’ and I would need to wait another ‘up to 2 hrs’, this call took 26 minutes, mainly on hold.

Another 2 hrs passed then I received a call from a building services engineer to tell me he was outside my home, so I immediately went out to greet him. He wasn’t anywhere to been seen and it transpired he had been sent to ‘Bath Close’ – in SE15. He told me that he would come to the right address and be with me in 20 minutes-ish.

Another hour passed, so I called Southwark Council again, to ask if their engineer was still on his way. It was now 2pm (more than 5 hours later after I first was told ‘2 hours’). I was told that because the job had been ‘raised’ to the wrong address, it would need to be ‘re-raised’ for the THIRD time. They were unaware that the engineer still hadn’t attended, or that he’d been sent to the wrong place. I explained I was not able to wait in a further 2 hours, as I needed to pick my child up from school, yet I couldn’t leave the vulnerable property as it was. So (another 25 minutes on hold later), I was promised someone would be with me in 20 minutes.

Luckily someone finally arrived 30 minutes later to ‘board’ me up (a good look!) and was able to complete the job in 10 minutes. He told me that he had ‘been sitting in his van all day and hadn’t been given any jobs’. I privately despair… As he leaves I am handed a card saying that I need to wait 5 working days to be contacted by the council about the re-glazing. It’s Friday on a Bank Holiday weekend and they don’t work on Saturdays, even in emergencies. He says it could be weeks before I am re-glazed. He advises me however that the council can send people quicker, if I am a high priority case (which for various reasons he says I am) and to call again to try and speed things up.

So, at 4pm I call the council again and they agree that my appointment with the ‘engineers’ should be booked in for ASAP - but even then the earliest would be Tues / Weds / Thurs next week. However, the lady tried for over 20 minutes (with me on hold again) to contact ANY engineer, but was unable to, because they had all finished for the day. I’m told that I’m not permitted to find a private, registered emergency glazer as the council will not be reimburse me for any private work, even though the repair is supposedly covered by buildings insurance. I must wait until Tuesday for an update.

During the course of the afternoon I found 2 community support officers, who I asked to come to my flat. I asked if there could be a possibility of them personally, or the police, being able to ask the neighbours - or the residents of the properties which directly overlook ‘the scene’ at the back of my home - if anyone saw or heard anything. Again they were friendly, but explained that they were finishing soon and that they wouldn’t be back on duty until Tuesday. After some persistence, they said they would try and ask around after the Bank Holiday. I pointed out that people probably wouldn’t remember specifics / anything by then (people and kids climb on the roofs every day to add to confusion) – they agreed, but they said they would be in touch on Tuesday. I don’t know if the ‘other team’ on duty over the weekend will be made aware… I’m told that an investigation cannot take place without ‘information’, I wonder how they come across ‘information’ if they do not do any kind of investigation…? I’m also told to call 999 ‘if I see them again’ - this is after they knew that I was out when it happened, so I had been unable to ‘see them’.

I feel really disheartened at the general incompetence I’ve encountered today - and the lack of effort or genuine care by ‘our’ council and police. I’ve been a leaseholder for 9 years and paid all my Service charges, council tax (and income tax etc…).

Negligence to deal with issues effectively, or to a conclusion, must breed a wonderful air of confidence in vandals / criminals. No-one will catch them, no-one cares.

More and more people that care about their home environment and having a community will leave the area and degeneration will inevitably spiral further? Ironically this will lead to more 'issues' for the council and the police to deal with, with increasing ineffectiveness...?

Ho Hum!

Anyway, thanks for reading my vent – and please get in touch if you heard or saw anything or anyone climbing on the garage roofs behind Bath Terrace, I would be very grateful of information!
Saturday 4 May 2013 8.24pm
ZuZu, this is a very distressing story: it really does expose the shortcomings of the LBS Housing Repairs service.

From your account, they come across as box-ticking bureaucrats who cannot care less about the people they are bound to serve.

I hope they will be able to pull their finger out and do what is right.

I note you are a leaseholder: is there not a TRA you could involve in your grievance? If not, I would suggest you take the matter up with your Councillor and even with our Westminster representative Simon Hughes.

Wishing you the very best outcome,

Sunday 5 May 2013 12.46am
Zuzu, i've recently had dealings with the LBS repair team who are often completely negligent, my heart sinks every time something goes wrong with my flat as I know that any dealings with them won't be straightforward. Email this woman: Lesley Callaghan <> with your grievance about this, she's the Customer Experience Senior at Customer Experience Division at LBS, log your experience as an official complaint if nothing else.I've got to the point where I cc everyone in about a repairs problem - otherwise nothing gets done. It's a complete joke.
Sunday 5 May 2013 2.41am
I am appalled by this and you have all my heart, Contact Stephen DuttON at Southwark Community Police= he will be disgraced about the way you have been treated I am sure
Sunday 5 May 2013 4.41pm
LilaSE1 wrote:
my heart sinks every time something goes wrong with my flat as I know that any dealings with them won't be straightforward.

You are so right. I have very very rarely rang Southwark repairs and they have come when they are expected. I always have to chase them. I make sure I get a reference number and the name of the person taking my call. I have lost count of the number of repairs that were supposed to have been 'fixed' when no one has come.

LilaSE1 wrote:
Email this woman: Lesley Callaghan <>
Thanks for this contact LilaSE1
Sunday 5 May 2013 5.34pm
Jules, Kory, Lila and Eileen,

Thank you so much for responding and for your kind words of advice, support and the good wishes!

The world's not so bad...

No, sadly there is no TRA for our block. After a spate of incidents about a year ago, I spoke to a few neighbours to see if they would be interested in starting, or being involved in such a group (I offered to host / do admin etc), but the response was mainly negative. Many residents are tenants staying only a year, most were apathetic, several were frightened that they may suffer repercutions from being part of a group that tried to deal with local vandalism / roof climbers / stairwell loiterers / fly tippers etc... Maybe I should try again.

Thank you also for the contacts for complaints - I just wish it wouldn't come to that and that people cared enough to do a through, decent job...

I'd like to say that throughout my dealings with LBS Repairs and the Police / Community Support, I was very polite, jovial and patient - NOT in the least bit demanding or rude. Maybe they thought I was an easy one to ignore / mess about?

I'll see what happens on Tuesday and keep my fingers crossed!

Thanks again, for your responses.

Guessing nobody saw or heard anything?

Have a happy Bank Holiday all!


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