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The Star reported on its front page this week that the RAC now refuses to visit the Manor Estate at night, following an assault on one of its rescue staff. I sent the following letter in response.
I was not surprised to see your headline on Tuesday 24th
(RAC Manor no go area) but am very disappointed with the
RAC's attitude. If emergency services refuse to go to the
Manor it means that the yobs have won. I am under no illusions
about the difficulties. As a candidate in the local elections
I have spent much of this week delivering election leaflets
on the Manor. I have been threatened and verbally abused by
two different gangs of youngsters. I came across a resident
who had just found that her car window had been smashed and
the contents stolen. I have visited blocks of flats where the
corridors were strewn with broken glass and the stairwells had
puddles of urine.I have noticed "home made" road blocks,
presumably to prevent police cars following stolen vehicles.
However, on my travels around the Manor I have also met polite
and friendly young children, found immaculate, beautifully
cared for, front gardens and talked to many residents, old and
young, who are concerned about their community and want to
improve it. The Manor is a massive estate, and most of it
does not deserve the stereotype of a "sink estate" that is
often given to it.The emergency services have a duty to the
many good decent folk of the Manor to help and protect them.
What I have not seen, in all my time leafleting, is a single
police officer. If we are to restore order to this community,
we need a much bigger police presence, not just in cars, but
on bikes and on foot. What is also very relevant is that the
Youth Service has been decimated. If we can't engage young
people in useful activities, then they are likely to get
up to no good.
I have written to the RAC asking them to change their
policy of not visiting the Manor at night. Most Sheffield
drivers will at some time or other go along Prince of Wales
Road, even if they don't venture into the estate. My advice
to all Sheffield drivers would be to leave the RAC and join
the Environmental Transport Association,that not only offers
an excellent breakdown service to all areas of the country,
but also campaigns for environmentally friendly transport.
Manor Castle Green Party
I have as yet not had a reply from the RAC.