Thursday, 18 October 2012

Communities First - Past, Present & Future

Hat tip to Valleys Mam. Although everyone is no doubt focusing on AWEMA at the moment, I'll be looking at that next week.

What is Communities First?

The First Assembly decided concrete action needed
to be taken to tackle deprivation, but had to do so within
their limited powers.
(Pic :
Every three years or so, an audit's carried out to determine how deprived council wards in Wales are compared to one another across several indicators, including : health, employment, access to services, education and housing - the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation. Similar surveys are carried out in the rest of the UK.

Communities First was established by Rhodri Morgan's government during the First Assembly between 2001-2002. It was set up to tackle deprivation in the 100 most deprived council wards in Wales, which has risen to around 150 today.

The overarching aim, was to provide a "bottom up" way for these communities to combat poverty, by allowing them to take strategic decisions at a local level themselves, using a set pot of money distributed by the Welsh Government.

Around £300million has been spent by successive Welsh Governments, and roughly £40million annually, since Communities First was established. It remains one of the more memorable flagship policies of Welsh Labour since devolution.

The Assembly circa 2001-2002 was a different beast. This sort of thing was, largely, the extent of the Assembly's powers – they could only administrate and make slight changes. Considering that context, Communities First was quite ambitious.

In many respects, it's a little government's big idea.

However, you could argue that - while it's done some good things - it's an example of everything that's gone wrong in Welsh public policy since devolution.

How does it operate?

Communities First areas are designated by the Welsh Government and local authorities. Sometimes they encompass entire council wards, but more often that not, they'll consist of deprived parts within wards called Local Super Output Areas (LSOA's). These could be a rundown housing estate, a former mining village or a deprived area within a wealthy ward.

Communities First Partnerships oversee the scheme at community level. These are specialist community regeneration teams, who coordinate projects and provide a level of professionalism. They're supposed to anyway.

The Welsh Government oversees a Communities First Trust Fund, which provides grants and loans to the Communities First Partnerships for projects in their areas.

For example, the funds could be use for : local litter clean-ups, equipment, environmental schemes, sports schemes, food co-ops, job matching schemes or to fund other unrelated community groups. Locals would come up with an idea, or an issue, and the Communities First Partnership would bring the right people and organisations together, source the funding, and make something happen.

s deprived areas gain a greater sense of control over their own communities, they might take more pride in themsevles and community. They might find a job, seek out help they need, or re-skill – knowing they'll get Communities First support and minimal interference from Welsh and local governments, neither of which they might necessarily trust.
Positives & Negatives
One big plus from Communities First has been improvements
to the physical environment of some communities.
(Pic : Communities First Llangeinor)

Most of this is based on anecdotal evidence, but I believe most of it would stand up under closer scrutiny.

  • It's made a noticeable difference – I live next to a Communities First area in one ward, and there's also a Communities First area within my own council ward. The physical changes in ten years are, in some cases, quite remarkable.
  • It's given some pride back – Some of the people in these communities who worked with Communities First Partnerships are now local or community councillors, or have run for office. I do think the scheme has given people a sense of ownership – if still reliant on the Welsh Government.
  • It's impacted crime – The area I live near to was once a very run down, drug-ridden estate with serious problems. It's still has problems, but thanks to things like Communities First, the residents stand up to criminals a lot more now. Things like drug offences and anti-social behaviour are treated more seriously, and a level of trust has built up between residents and the police/authorities that wasn't there before.
  • It's improved the environment at community level – This has been one of the big plus points, in particular work with the likes of Groundwork, Tidy Towns and Keep Wales Tidy.

  • It's open to corruption/cronyism – There are well known cases at Plas Madoc (Wrexham) and now in the Cynon Valley too. That's not to say the whole thing should be judged by a few isolated cases, but personally, I think it's the tip of the iceberg. There seems to be very little oversight, and the Partnerships – if they wanted to – could become a cliquey law unto themselves.
  • It's "top down", just at a lower level – Communities First schemes are ultimately led by "missionaries", spreading the good word of the Welsh Government. They usually have small teams of administrators and coordinators. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but I wonder how much money and effort has been spent administering the scheme instead of on outcomes?
  • It spreads funds thinly - £40million a year spread between 140-150 areas works out at roughly £260,000. Take away the costs of employing the staff mentioned above (for arguments sake, four people earning an average of £16,000 per year) and that falls to £196,000. It's not as clear cut as that, obviously. The Welsh Government are changing this (see further down), but I'm willing to bet most local authorities spend that on pavement repairs each year.
  • It hasn't tackled many of its core aims – Time to investigate that further....

The wider issue : Does it work?

Communities First was set up to work towards the "strategic outcomes":
  • Prosperous communities
  • Learning communities
  • Healthier communities

There are no definitions of what would constitute "success" here. If you go by raw deprivation figures (2005, 2008, 2011), the answer to the question has to be no.

The areas are, generally, as deprived now as they were when the scheme started. However, thing have improved in a few cases. Butetown was the most deprived council ward in Wales in 2005, it's now "fallen" to 68th (so it's still amongst the most deprived wards). Very few areas have come out of Communities First after ten years.

The same names crop up year after year at the top : Rhyl West & Rhyl South West (Denbighshire), St James (Caerphilly), Gurnos (Merthyr Tydfil), Riverside (Cardiff), Townhill (Swansea), Tylorstown & Penrhiwceiber (RCT), Pillgwenlly (Newport)....

In Bridgend, you have : Caerau, Sarn, Blackmill, Llangeinor, Bettws, Morfa (Wildmill Estate) and Cornelly – joined in 2008 by Brackla (Meadows Estate). Of these, only Blackmill and Llangeinor have made noticeable progress on the deprivation index.

Ten local authorities had more than half their LSOA's in the 50% most deprived areas of Wales in 2008. Four (RCT, NPT, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent) had more than 70%. This hasn't changed in 2011, and I'm willing to bet it hasn't changed much since 2005. In fact, probably due to the recession, the situation has worsened in some authorities.

Things like education attainment levels have improved - the numbers leaving school without qualifications have fallen. That's likely down to national initiatives, not Communities First.

Maybe ten years just isn't enough time, or maybe the Welsh Government's flagship anti-poverty scheme just isn't working. The Assembly's Public Accounts Committee found in February 2010, that Communities First "wasn't providing value for money", criticised the lack of leadership from the top (which it wasn't supposed to do anyway, in fairness) and the lack of progress indicators.

Like many measures to tackle Wales' big issues, Communities First looks like another well-meaning initiative, that promises a lot, but perhaps wasn't set up the right way to do its job. Another tinker measure, from a government of tinkerers.

What's Communities First's future?

The Plas Madoc scandal in Wrexham has been symptomatic of some
of the problems relating to Communities First, which the Welsh Government
now hopes to tackle.
(Pic : BBC Wales)

The Welsh Government undertook a review of the scheme between 2011-2012.
Communities First areas will be clustered, so they cover larger areas and larger populations (up to 15,000), creating economies of scale. The idea is that management structures will be simplified, there'll be stricter guidelines to receive funding from the Welsh Government ( i.e.better delivery plans, guaranteed positive outcomes) and they're going to take other factors other than the deprivation index into account (i.e. school & hospital performance, rural sparsity).

I think the Welsh Government have realised, perhaps pushed by the Plas Madoc scandal, that Communities First couldn't continue as it was. I wouldn't be surprised if the scheme is re-branded post-2015, or leadership handed over to local authorities. Labour are unlikely to admit defeat on this, opening them up to claims that they've wasted up to £300million of public money, which would be harsh - they tried at least - but accurate.

I think there's a quiet acceptance that it hasn't worked out as planned. The new proposals will reduce administration and promote more "joined up thinking" between Welsh Government, local government and various public bodies. I'm not sure that would make that much of a difference.

The only other proposal to match Communities First's aims, so far, has been Leanne Wood's Greenprint. On paper, they sound similar.

The difference between Communities First and the Greenprint, in my opinion, is that Leanne has been specific in the Greenprint's goals (communities benefiting from the green economy), and sees potential from a co-operative and perhaps an entrepreneurial perspective - not just an anti-poverty measure.

The Greenprint seems more "permanent and self-sustaining", while Communities First is always going to be reliant on Welsh and Local Government for funds, and "appointed experts" for leadership.

I think, if there's going to be a replacement for Communities First post-2015, the Welsh Government (whatever the colour), would do well to take some of those points on board.


  1. My own limited involvement was from my perspective as a community activist in Butetown - Communities first in Cardiff was very much seen as a top down affair, run by and for Cardiff Council with some input in the local partnerships. The people of Butetown were highly suspicious of yet another group imposed on them from outside, and while workers were found partly from within the community it was the same self selected group that provided the local input.

    I often wondered if what was actually needed was community councils being formed in the urban areas, and these to have democratic oversight over community first teams, which would be professionals who could work with the community councils in identifying funds and helping local groups in capacity building so local groups could help with the objectives. Everyone knew what Butetown needed, that is quality jobs and training. What Butetown got was people employed but little sign of the quality jobs or training.

  2. Thanks Cibwr.

    I'm not sure if the people involved within the partnerships are a clique of sorts, with the same faces turning up over and over again to get involved in activities. There is some logic in having "outside experts" lead things - at least at the start - but maybe that's using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    I've noticed big differences between different areas too. In some areas, you wouldn't know Communities First are there other than a noticeboard, and in others, they might have a dedicated drop in centre. I think existing community councils do work with them, but community councils are rather weak. Also, if you're dealing with large sums of money it makes sense to have the local authority oversee it.

  3. utter waste of money in my opinion. Here, a large log cabin was built (yes a log cabin) at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Mainly maintained by the council by now. Staffed by mainly council paid employees, through some odd under the table scheme that no-one can explain. It offers training courses, again paid for through ESF schemes, to the same unemployed people who have no intention of ever getting a job. The council own and run an official adult education center about 150m up the road, which people in this Communities First village won't go near, so the duplication is ridiculous and costly. All in all, it's artificial and by and large the only jobs 'created' are those of people employed to run the scheme itself. Needless to say, Labour councillors are heavily involved, from Community Council to County Council, plus WAGs and hangers on. Just adds to Labour's client state if you ask me!

    1. It may be that you are talking about the 'Woodlands Field' cabin in Penygarn, Pontypool. This is run by the local council at a tremendous cost, with so few outcomes!!

      The3 local labour councillor dominates alongside a 'coordinator' who is paid nigh on £700 a week. No interview process was realised, and is eclusive to most of the area. It has fulfilled no obvious benifit, other than providing a 'drinking club' and advice on claiming benifits. Anyone who does not conform is bullied out.

      This cost £800,000 to build and has you say is just another labour support base.

  4. As you say, the same wards keep cropping up all the time. So obviously the medicine is not working. Therefore money is being wasted that could be better spent.

    As Anon 00:18 says, the only jobs created are for those running the schemes. All part of the Labour Party web. But this goes beyond Labour, for everyone on the political Left seems to unquestioningly support the Third Sector.

    I guarantee that the next round of EU structural funds comes with instructions reading: 'Don't waste this like you did the first two rounds - anywhere but the Third Sector!'

  5. I'd say the money spent is "hit and miss" with most of it, but not all of it, being wasted. It seems to be window-dressing the deeper problems, and as you've all said, there are more jobs created administering the scheme than in the long term. The "outcome indicators" are so vague for CF though, it's hard to tell if it was even set up to create jobs in the first place, just "get people active in their communities."

    The EU explicitly set up the funds for "social investment". But while the Slovenes, Irish, Poles and Romanians built motorways with their funds, we "develop skills" for jobs that don't exist yet.

  6. is there a different level of quality from one area to another.
    i'm sorry to look on the 'negative' side but my local communities first has may done some good in some quarters but on the visually side, they have caused a lot of damage with these projects making a neighbourhood look worse than it was in the first place.
    As anonymous above was mentioning about the log cabin.

    here is an example, communities first went around some peoples houses a while back with a questionairre asking some residents what would the like to see as an improvement in the area - in other words a suggestion list. a year later when a project starts, people are asking why didn't they know about this, why weren't they consulted? who is doing the work...must be the council. turns out to be a communities first project. why didn't all of the residents know about it? why weren't they consulted? the official explanation is communities first did consult the residents? baffled?? when was this? when they came around with the questionairre and suggestions... the 'survey' acted as the consultancy.

    why couldn't people object to it? because nobody knew about it until it was too late. and the only people who knew about it were communities first and the small handful of people who attended the residents meeting since it was up on their noticeboard.
    Build something and if nobody likes it, tough luck.

    so, who decided to build something and where is the democracy? how would it have been possible to object to something when there is nobody there to object to? in that respect, i mean when comparing to a normal planning app. People can object to the council, so when communities first do a project, there seems to be no avenue to take with an objection as it's not a council application for works. It maybe council assisted with funding and that is it. Concerns were mentioned to the council and that was fobbed off.

    Communities first officer's words were after completition, i suggest you go to the town in a different direction (meaning their project is so grotesque that is such an eysore it is detrimental to the eye and the best thing to do is to avoid passing it or looking at it and restrict your freedom of movement by going in a different direction you normally would, and avoid your own community).

    The self destruct button already pressed.

    over 20 thousand pounds worth of work that is not worth it, and unfortunately it was a bad job

    there is nothing stopping a school or a youth club, a sports club, scouts etc from doing litter picks. communities first are not needed in those circumstances. all it is doing is boosting their own profile.

    community councils do work with them. if a community council can't do something, they go to communities first. maybe they manipulate each other, but all sorts of groups are involved the outreach is unbelievable.. but who is at the centre of the activity. who is the missionary? certainly not a resident.

  7. here is another example. whilst on a mixed council estate area, there are some real issues that makes my blood boil.
    what comes through the post is an a4 monthly magazine that incorporated healthy eating suggestions.. what's wrong with that may you ask? well, nothing if you can afford the suggestions they were making. people cannot afford the ingredients as they did provide a step by step guide cooking guide.. Somehow i think it was pretty insulting to suggest anybody on low incomes to afford the luxury menus on their list.

    Once in a blue moon the councillors are in the local newspaper with a photo of their cake baking excercises at the community first centre just to get themselves in the paper to boost their profiles.
    Who is for again?

    I just wish i could be more positive about communities first but i can't. Not that i didn't want to but there isn't much there to suggest a postive say.

    Knowing what i know, i stay well away from communities first. If the self destruct button has been pressed, i'm staying well away from the consequences.

    Communities first reducing crime? people can do that already by attending pact meetings etc.
    Funny how communities first prevented a person from bringing up a subject that involved some anti social behaviour because they didn't want to be embarassed of the nature of the subject.

    yes, that is true. communities first will bully out someone out from attending meetings, but are very quick to evict a person who was a bit of nuisance because mainly through having one too many through problems now and then and was arguing with his girlfriend now and then and slightly disturbed the neighbours. maybe they got the council involved because they were entitled to but it seemed strange to involve police as well, and were pretty sharpish to relocate him instead of coming to an amicable or an improved solution. then again, i heard them arguing once, i've heard worse..

  8. sometimes there is a clique within a clique. the other areas a communities first has tapped into are areas outside the town itself. some 8 miles worth.

    what else do they provide? a debt counselling service with an email address at a county council if you need to contact the adviser again
    Hardly independent and confidential if they record the information using a particular programme to calculate how much comes in and how much goes out.

    Some of the information they give is incomplete on other advice matters they post out. Whether they are being helpful or not, it is no wonder there is an element of suspicion.

    The next involvment they have got their finger in is foodbanks.
    Do they really need communities first involved? Maybe they are doing the jobs the council couldn't do or a council is relieving their role and leave it to another organisation to do their job?

    the communities first in ammanford is inside a purpose built workshop. firstly they were situated in an upstairs office at a bible church. then they moved into a larger building partly shared with amman valley enterprises in the town centre, but was closed down late 2008 due to finance. the council rehoused them in their own council business centre, then some units were built nearby a stones throw away, and communtities first moved in. funny how the council got the bulder to install disabled access around the back whilst it was being built that wasn't on the plans.

    Some of the schemes CF have done is baffling. Another example is muscling in on a school field - long story but...

    getting the council to put up signs but after guessing what it means, you work it out.. on the right hand side of one field is a sign with no dogs. a few yards further up is another sign saying dogs permitted. after working it out, what it means is dogs are permitted on one side of the field but not the other, with no dividing mark between the two sides.. further complications arise on the top end of the field where there are no signs at all and the people with dogs are coming down the side where no dogs are permitted on the up side lol, and they don't know about it..

    we've had so many signs put up by communities first via the council that it has blighted the area.

    after years of campaigning since the 1980's regarding a zebra crossing by the childrens playground. the same thing now as it was then, not enough traffic to warrant it, which is fair enough.
    so, somehow matrix signs were being mentioned instead and sleeping policemen. since it is residential and would annoy the people having cars reving or noise bumping outside their houses, they decided to install a slow sign on the road in a large red box. it works on the up road side because i has open space. the downside where the opposite side slow sign is painted outside people's houses close to the park as it's a long row of terraced houses, and when people come from work or wherever park their cars over the signage, and when they do this, all you can see is the words OW or just the W and the remaining edge of the red box.

    As for thiat 20k job they done, the quality of it is not worth the money. The worst thing is the wall they knocked down was solid and did not need replacing. and what they did with the embankment was outrocious. apparently the botanical gardens were paid to come up with designs and advice. no doubt the contractor had their share.
    If they did an excellent job and a good design would have been something, and even then i'd still be suprised at the cost. i don't see how it's over £20,000 for what they did... maybe an audit is required for communities first projects? then again, it's governement money, say no more...

  9. before -
    after -

    i don't know if it's an illusion or just the way the photo turned out, but one side looks dark and the other side looks bright - two tone lol

    and they buried the lampost inside all that stuff. if the lampost needs replacing, they will have to knock the wall down to get it out lol.. plus the new walls started liming soon after it was put up. they built a retaining wall when there was nothing to retain

    two tone?

  10. wildmill community centre, bridgend. at first it looks like an old but tidy building,'not sure the bill came to over 350k -

    for some reason, the old building looked nicer than the new one.
    how bad the interior was i wouldn't know, but i wouldn't want to crticize anything unecessarily so i'll read the best that i can.
    So far, it mentions asbestos was present, they had underfloor heating, new kitchen, the old building suffered vandalism and lack of maintainence.

    Wildmill Community Centre was until 2011 a typical mid 50’s community hall, well used and loved by the community but in dire need of updating and expanding. The internal and external condition had suffered from years of vandalism and lack of maintenance. There was asbestos present and the layout did not allow full use of the space. The hall was used by a crèche, an after school club, private hires, weddings, meetings, social events and as a central meeting point for the community of Wildmill, Bridgend.

    With a total of over £350,000 available we were eventually able to construct an extension to the rear, replan the internal layout, introduce insulation, install a ground source heating system and underfloor heating loop with new wooden floors, bar, kitchen, activity rooms, stores and extended toilets, redecoration, and external through colour render.

    Michael Cox and Company provided project management, quantity surveying and CDM Co-ordinator services for a design build contract. The project was completed in five months.

    Looking at the then and now photos, all i can see is that they took out the 2nd window out from the right and replaced it with a door, removed the window and replaced it with a double opener. Otherwise i would say the remaining windows are the same ones, and the brickwork was cladded over. i actually thought at first they demolished the old building completely and rebuilt it but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. I would have thought the design was a typical very late 1960s or early 1970 but the firm reckons it's 1950's so there we are.

    The newly-enhanced centre, which will play host to an array of communal events, benefitted from a full range sound system, stage lighting, multimedia projection equipment, a public address system, CCTV and television screens.

    I just read the last bit, rendered the outside, which was close to cladding. That may expain some of the cost, cementing over the original bricks whilst leaving the original windows intact.

  11. swansea has a different set up - In Swansea there are ten Communities First Areas, six of which have a City and County of Swansea employed Communities First Co-ordinator.

    six council employees are the co-ordinators?

    Our key areas of work include:

    •Helping to reduce child poverty through increasing access to services, support and activities for children, young people and their parents.
    •Improving the health and well being of local people through locally run health programmes, and increased access to information and support.
    •To increase participation in activities and programmes linked to education, skills and training – helping individuals reach their potential.
    •Supporting residents to gain employment, helping to increase household incomes and develop greater business opportunities.
    •To help people feel safer in their community.
    •Improve to quality of the local environment.

    To increase participation in activities and programmes linked to education, skills and training – helping individuals reach their potential. Isn't this supposed to be the jobcentreplus's role or a career advice? the Communities First team in conjunction with the Job Centre have previously held a community job fair for residents looking for employment, where local businesses and employers came along to chat with residents about job and training opportunities available in the Swansea area.

    Ammanford communities first has expressed a desire to be part of neath cwmdulais cluster which is around 17 miles away, but then again cwmdulais is developing links with ystradgynlais and forming their own cluster footprint.

    Ultimately, everybody will be clustering in with each other and suddenly a south wales branch will have links with wrexham.
    It does look like an assimilation.

    if i was living in swansea, i would not be happy disclosing my personal details to a council employee if i need advice.
    independent and impartial confidential service? pffttt

  12. if communities first are serious about antsocial behaviour etc, usually a police representative is present during a residents meeting. I know for a fact that they blocked someone from speaking when advice was about to be asked regarding something. why? maybe they didn't want to address the issue.

    Cut a long story short, what to do in a situation where a neighbour was constantly swearing left right and centre and causing distress and bad feeling because most people do not want to hear that kind of thing while relaxing in their garden and home and were losing the comfort and enjoyment of their own home. In effect, the programme is just a sham.

    Another issue was when there was a theft. the police were called and the officer said to a youth who had appeared that if the item was returned soon there will be no questions asked. After a while, the police say they found what was stolen, but the people the youth was with said they found it. So, who is telling the truth? Something was not right with that set up. At the end of the day, the theft was captured on cctv and the police didn't even bother, and leaves an awkward situation where the thief was neither apprehended, charged, cautioned or warned. Which would be fair enough, so if none of the actions were taken, next time a crime occurs, don't bother because it could well be the same thief..

    So when the police turn a blind eye to crime, i don't know what to say.

    The plaid cymru councillor was contacted to see if he can make any sense of it and even he didn't want to know and ignored it.

  13. Anon 04:07 - If the item was returned, then the police probably see it as "job done". I suppose it depends on the value of the item.

    On noise and anti-social behaviour, that is, as far as I know, the council's responsibility under environmental health. I'm not sure what the exact criteria are, but I think it has to be consistant noise/nuisence between 11pm and 6am.

  14. the value was over £400 but that's not the point. does it matter if the value is £10, £100 or a £1000? A part was missing as well so technically caused damage. and who is to pay for this damage? the victim. so a thief not only steals a bike but also causes damage, and nothing gets done.

    what is to stop the thief from doing it again? nothing. because the police didn't do anything, so a thief is roaming the streets in daytime and it'll only be a matter of time that something else is caused, if not already. so much for public protection when the police do not even issue a caution, the very least the public can expect or even a word in the ear.

    That is the point. So how the heck are thieves deterred from commiting something when nothing at all gets done?

  15. maybe the thief was already known to the police and has committed previouly and the police couldn't be arsed to catch him?
    maybe the cctv was not operative at the time and said it was on to cover their arses as it's meant to be on 24/7 as it has come under the spotlight in the past when there were no operators..
    Or it could well have been local gangs and trouble makers known to the police and councillors et al, hanging around in the park and got bored and decided to go on a spree.

    Or it could well have been a 25 year old male after all, who knows.

    So, if it was done by a person who has committed previously, all the police are doing is defending a purputrator and diminishing public confidence

  16. a councillor approached the police regarding this matter, and the councillor was told that the officer who did not follow up the theft had a rollocking..

    by the way, another theft occured in ammanford last month from the main shopping street, a very quiet afternoon when some male came out of the blue and decided to steal a bike. he is on cctv and the police do not know who he is etc.. or he maybe local but they don't know where he lives.

    an interesting situation has arisen where the police are possibly massaging the crime figures.. take note, the recent bike theft occured on saturday october 27th...the council meeting was on november 6th

    carmathen journal november 14th:

    Police catch up with all crimes

    ALL crimes in Ammanford were solved by police last month.

    At a town council meeting last week, Ammanford police officer, PC Kevin Jones, told councillors that the town had a 100 per cent crime detection rate during October.

    All of the 26 crimes carried out in the Ammanford area, including four assaults, five drug offences and seven thefts, were discovered by police.

    PC Jones said: "It shows that the boys and girls are working hard to try to keep Ammanford safe. A total of 26 crimes for a town the size of Ammanford is not too bad and a 100 per cent detection rate is great."

    All crimes? is the police officer sure about that ?what else has been undisclosed? is the police officer misleading the council?

    by the way, the officer who disclosed to the council that all crime had been cleared up in october is the same officer who didn't deal with the other incident and had a rollocking..

    so why was the theft and any other incidents hidden from the public?

    1. They have either, as you suggest, "massaged" the crime figures, or the cut off date for the monthly crime figures was before the bike theft. It's pretty disgraceful that they wouldn't have followed up that crime, especially if there was solid evidence like CCTV.