Monday, 14 April 2008


Those of a sensitive nature should switch to another post without reading further. My return to Thanet from R &R was marked by two events in quick succession as I unloaded into the house; firstly defecated on by a seagull and secondly, picked up something nasty on my shoe. An ongoing problem in Thanet is the number of anti-social dog owners and letters to the local press on the subject probably exceed moans about TDC.

Dog-pooh; dog-poop; dog-muck; dog-shit; dog-crap; dog-stool; dog-turd; dog-foul; dog-faeces; dog-excrement or 'barker's nests' as ECR so delicately calls piles of the stuff, can be found on our pavements, grass verges, playing fields and parks. The specimen above is a Dane Park dog-turd.

It's comforting to know that Cllr Shirley Tomlinson and her dedicated team of Dog Wardens are on the case with the number of owners fined going up from 38 in 2006/7 to 44 in 2007/8. 9 owners were fined in February this year alone and that appears to be the tip of the dog-stool.

I have no problem with dog-wardens catching anti-social owners in the act of not clearing up but we all need to be aware that TDC may also be snooping on us in more sophisticated ways. According to The Office of The Surveillance Commissioner, in 2007, Councils made 12, 494 applications for 'directed' surveillance under The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). This disgraceful piece of legislation to empower all arms of the state and not just police and security services, to snoop on citizens was of course intended to counter terrorism.

So if TDC applies under RIPA they can track your movements; obtain phone records; details (but not contents) of your e-mail traffic and full details on all web-sites you log on to. Is TDC using these powers and if so for what criminal and terrorist activity? Or are they, like other Councils, using RIPA powers to catch those responsible for allowing their dogs to crap on the pavement. With 9 dog-fouling fines in one month, I wonder if they are?

I would rather have mountains of the stuff on pavements than have Council employees using RIPA powers to snoop on us all. After all, we can do what Lord Brockett did recently; post it back through the offending owner's door!

What do you think?


Michael Child said...

When John Le Mesurier opened an historical exhibition in Ramsgate, he apparently stood up before the Mayor and other dignitaries and began his speech about his love of Ramsgate with the words, “I would like to talk to you about dog shit”.

bertie biggles said...


Anonymous said...

When I taught at St. Stephen's College the head in her wisdom invited Mr Le Mesurier to present prizes at Speech Day. He was so inebriated, notjust on the head's sherry I think, that all he could say was 'Never study Chemistry'and sat down. Cue school governors and head in open-mouthed amazement. He didn't present a signle prize!!

Anonymous said...

or even single prize. Slight typo there!!

Rick said...

I understand that a recent Head of Thanet Police achieved a similar feat at a prize giving (to the delight of the pupils)

"I, of course, failed all my exams at school so had to become a police cadet"

Rick said...

I think there is a need for an embracing cross referencing system for admin of tax and benefits.

Here is a typical case:

Woman in her mid twenties decided to fulfil her ambition of two children by the same father.

So she gets incapacity benefits first. gets through the all work test on stress (as it only needs seven points as opposed to physical disability requiring 15) and is signed as incapacity benefit with no need to furnish further sick notes.

Having got permanent incpacity. She produces two kids. Does not involve CSA in it because she will not need to claim income support so there is no requirement for her to declare the father or assist CSA to enforce maintenance for the two kids from their father.

With Incapacity, rent allowance, council tax benefit, child tax credit and family allowance her "Single mother" contribution to the household comes to about 350 quid a week.

BUT living there all along is the father of the kids.

His salary 24,000 per annum

This sort of situation is occurring by the thousands across the country.

That household has around 730 pounds per week net income.

And grant aid to industry. Can it be right that a company gets seven million of aid yet its supply line via a non ISO quality controlled contractor is in turn contracted to home workers in the black economy ?

With snooping what does it take three months surveillance to catch one cohabitation or collusive separation case ?

Wrong approach.

We need a revsersible tax system which would remove the need for a national id scheme. And we need to make grant aid conditional on standards of production and co-operation with equipment failure inquiries.

Snooping won't solve the problems of people scrounging off the state. Whether they be industrial grant aid scroungers or benefits scroungers.

bertie biggles said...

Couldn't agree more, Rick.