Revealed: Brent councillors who failed to attend meetings with their local police and residents
PUBLISHED: 17:18 11 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:30 11 April 2013
Liberal Democrats representing the Dollis Hill and Mapesbury wards fare the worst
Absent councillors who have failed to attend meetings to discuss crime and concerns with their local police and residents can be revealed by the Times.
Two wards in Brent failed to attract any attendance from their elected representatives at ward panel meetings while some other councillors have only attended one meeting in more than a year.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) act show attendance for the last 11 meetings up to the start of the current year.
Both Dollis Hill and Mapesbury wards, which are represented by Liberal Democrat councillors, failed to attract any attendees from their most recent meetings.
Cllr Alison Hopkins, who is the only Dollis Hill councillor on the panel, has not attended a meeting since October last year, missing three recent meetings, the FOI was unable to confirm attendance prior to that.
Cllr Emad Al-Ebadi, a Labour councillor for Wembley Central has attended just one meeting since December 2011 while fellow Labour Cllr Ramesh Patel (Queensbury) managed just two from 11 meetings.
Conservative councillors for Kenton, Cllr Reg Colwill and Cllr Suresh Kansagra have attended just one meeting between them since January 2010.
Fellow Conservative Harihar Patel has attended five from 17 in his Northwick Park ward.
According to Andy Jones, Chief Inspector Partnership for Brent Police, the meetings offer a chance for representatives of the community to raise and discuss problems facing their area and what police can and are doing to tackle them.
He added: “We welcome appropriate councillor involvement as elected members of the community but meeting agendas and appropriate attendance can change based on what the local issues are. These can of course also differ on a ward to ward basis.”
Willesden Green Cllr Gavin Sneddon (Lib Dem), who has been living outside the borough since last summer, has missed the last five meetings.
No information was available for the Dudden Hill ward where Cllr Rev David Clues (Lib Dem) is still a representative despite having lived in Brighton for more than a year.
Cllr Simon Green, a Lib Dem councillor for Queen’s Park has not attended a meeting since March last year but is understood to be taking time out for personal reasons.
The meetings are held roughly every three months by Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Brent Police.
Explaining the reasons for his and fellow members’ absence Cllr Colwill, who is deputy leader of the Conservative party said meetings often got high jacked for political purposes.
He said: “We used to go when they were a proper debating forum but now we believe it has sadly become a waste of time. We go round our ward and speak to our residents on a daily basis and people can contact us whenever they wish.”
A Labour group spokesman said: “In both wards (Wembley Central and Queensbury) there are three Labour Councillors. When this is the case, Councillors share responsibility for attending the different meetings they need to represent their constituents at.”
A Lib Dem spokesman said: “Councillors get invited to many meetings and events, sometimes at short notice. They often need to make difficult decisions about what to attend on any given evening. Ward panels are just one of the ways in which councillors keep in contact with their local police teams and residents.”
The FOI was unable to release information on the following wards;
Fryent, Barnhill, Welsh Harp, Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Harlesden, Stonebridge, Alperton, Tokyngton and Sudbury.
To see photos of the absentee councillors click on the picture gallery at the top right.
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