Crime Is Merton's Number One Worry

Annual residents' survey is published

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Crime is still the number one concern of most Merton people, according to the borough council's annual residents' survey.

The survey, published on Tuesday (January 10), shows 34% of residents in the borough picked out crime as the issue they were most concerned about.

But this was a 3% fall on the number of people giving crime as their top concern in 2010-11, and was 6% less than the number of people across London giving it as their biggest issue.

Concern with litter/dirt in the streets was also "significant", according to the report, as well as a drop in satisfaction with re-cycling facilities.

The survey, carried out on behalf of Merton Borough Council, involved speaking to 1,000 Merton residents, 250 borough residents under the age of 18 and 1,000 people who lived elsewhere in London.

Overall, the council said it showed Merton out-performed other areas in the services it provides to residents. Eighty per cent of those asked in Merton said the council was "doing a good job", which was a 2% improvement on the previous year and 8% higher than elsewhere in London.

Other key services the council performed well on were refuse collection, libraries, council tax collection, parking, social services for children and families, leisure and sports facilities, the repair of roads and pavements, local health facilities and activities for young people. The survey also shows performance in local policing to be significantly ahead of the rest of London.

Concern about anti-social behaviour in Merton did rise for the first time since 2006, with 51% saying they were "very worried or "fairly worried" about the issue; while only 36% said they felt "very informed" or "fairly informed" about measures being taken in the borough to tackle the problem.

And, following the closure of the Weir Road recycling centre as part of cost-cutting measures, there was a decrease in satisfaction of users of the borough's re-cycling facilities. from 73% saying it provided a good service in 2010/11 to 67% in 2011/12.

Concern with litter/dirt in the street was mentioned by 24% of those surveyed - 9% higher than the previous year and above the wider London rate, where it was a concern for 15%.

Council leader, Stephen Alambritis (left), said: "It is good to be tested and we want to be the best, better than all the rest. There is a long way to go and we mustn't be complacent, but we are pleased with the survey results.

"The result on recycling was always going to be the case because we have closed Weir Road.

"Given the backdrop of the cuts and the difficult economy, being seen as efficient and well-run is something we are pleased with. We should be well-run and business-like."

But Councillor Henry Nelless (right), the Conservatives' Environment Spokesman said: "This is a damning indictment of Labour's failed policies. Their decisions to close Weir Road, scrap the free garden waste service, stop the roll out of food waste collections and remove the road sweeping on the same day as rubbish collections have all resulted in this devastating verdict from Merton's residents.

"Labour told us in 2010 that they were the party that cared about recycling and the cleanliness of the streets. These results show that they have got things completely wrong. They should be ashamed of their performance and apologise to Merton’s taxpayers for their failures."

The full results of the survey can be found on the council's website at: www.merton.gov.uk/residentssurvey.

January 10, 2012