A popular street patrol group in Failsworth, which is often described on social media as ‘crime-ridden’, has been shut down for a second time by Greater Manchester Police.
Failsworth Street Patrol are no strangers to GMP. The large group of volunteers regularly patrol their town in Oldham – which is a neighbouring town of Newton Heath – and are often present before police officers arrive when inevitable criminal activity is spotted.
It’s their community, they know it like the back of their hand – crime hotspots, who to look out for, and where somebody might bolt on foot after they’ve tried someone’s back door. With a huge rise in crime in the Failsworth area over the past few years, the patrol group was literally born out of a desperate cry for help from residents.
Cars are being taken from gated drives, often following burglaries in which patio door handles are decimated (while families sleep upstairs), or the use of simple technology that allows keyless cars to be opened and driven away with ease. Gangs of youngsters with nothing to do and plenty of time to kill are leaving knives and axes in bushes and joyriding is becoming a fun activity up and down the busy A-roads that take you from Oldham to Manchester – or right through Failsworth.
Like most towns on the periphery of town (or Manchester city centre), crime and antisocial behaviour is currently through the roof – and community groups like FSP and its many variations in towns like Ashton, Gorton and Droylsden are filling in when rising crime reports are overwhelming responding police officers.
But after some recent activity in Failsworth which saw a young man arrested for trying car doors with “an offensive weapon” in his bag, it has been reported that Failsworth Street Patrol has been asked to stand down by GMP.
Writing on their Facebook page this evening (3 March), GMP Failsworth and Hollinwood stated: “Shortly before 12.30am on Tuesday 2 March 2021, police were alerted to reports that a man was acting suspiciously and trying the handles of cars in the Failsworth area.
“Police attended Burgess Drive in Failsworth where they arrested a 24-year man on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and vehicle interference. Enquiries are currently ongoing to establish the circumstances of how the man was detained.
“The Failsworth Street Patrols group have shown a willingness to bring community issues to the attention of GMP for resolution.
“However, their passion to help their community must not stray into vigilantism, and we would discourage them becoming involved during police incidents where they may be placing themselves and others at risk.
“The group is not a formally recognised registered group or charity and activity that strays into the realm of vigilantism is not supported by Greater Manchester Police.”
In response to the GMP post on Facebook, Failsworth Street Patrol also made a statement, writing: “GMP and the local council have asked us to shut down.
“They have distanced themselves from us once again, throwing vigilantism at us as you can see in their post. We have done everything we can for them to be on our side. We’ve got public liability insurance and we are actively in the process of getting our members DBS checked.
“We will continue to patrol the streets of Failsworth, as long as we have the residents on our side supporting us that’s all we need!”
Residents of Failsworth and beyond have responded in their hundreds across both posts and in large community groups on the social media website, with most expressing their distaste towards the move to shut the entity down – an entity that regularly keeps them updated on what’s going on in their area when the street lights switch on.
It’s a bold move by Greater Manchester Police, and one that they know will generate backlash, but also one that they will not have made on a whim.
We’ve reached out to GMP for comment, and will update when we receive one.
‘Sad news’ – the world’s only Vagina Museum has been forced to close
There’s a museum for just about everything these days (we all remember trips to the Stockport Hat Works museum) – but the world’s only space dedicated to vaginas has been forced to close again.
The world-first Vagina Museum announced this week that it’s had to vacate its premises and has once again been left ‘homeless’.
The museum, which welcomed 40,000 visitors in the 10 months it was open, was founded to raise awareness of the gynaecological anatomy and health, erase stigma, and act as a forum for feminism.
Inside, visitors could browse everything from educational materials to art pieces inspired by vaginas and vulvas – including giant tampons decorated in red sequins.
The Vagina Museum said it was ‘disappointed’ that it has been asked to leave its space, adding that it will continue to operate digitally until it finds a new base.
They wrote in a heartfelt statement on social media that they were ‘incredibly proud’ of the museum’s achievements.
Fans of the space queued down the street for its final few days in Bethnal Green, before its eventual closure on Wednesday 1 February.
Their statement said: “Sad news. We’ve received notice to vacate our premises at Bethnal Green by the end of this week. As a property guardianship, we’ve always been aware that we may be asked to leave with very short notice. We’re disappointed that it has come so soon.
“@Enter_theVenue the creative hub with whom we share our space, have also been asked to leave. The Vagina Museum will continue to operate in the digital world as we search for a new home.”
The message continued: “We’re sad about this development, but incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in the ten months we’ve been at our Bethnal Green premises. We’ve welcomed more than 40,000 visitors through our doors, and received so much love and positive feedback.
“In our time at Bethnal Green, we’ve once again demonstrated just how much the world needs and wants a Vagina Museum.
“Times are, once again, uncertain for us, but we’ve been through this before and risen stronger than ever. With a community like you supporting us, we know we can get through this too.
“We’re actively searching for a new home, and if you know of any vacant spaces (or have one yourself!) please don’t hesitate to reach out. In our home in Bethnal Green, we and ENTER demonstrated that we can transform an empty, unused building into a thriving heart of a community.
“If you don’t have a building, you can still help! Please consider making a donation; a donation of any size makes a huge difference and will help us to weather this storm, just as we’ve weathered storms before.”
The Vagina Museum concluded its thread with: “We’ve made it through a pandemic and a period of temporary homelessness before. With you, together, we can make it through this too.”
Gary Neville addresses ‘clumsy like’ on Tweet about Mason Greenwood ￼
Gary Neville has said that his liking of a tweet about Mason Greenwood has been ‘misinterpreted’.
The former Manchester United legend and football pundit set off a Twitter storm last night after he ‘liked’ two tweets by Nazir Afzal, and briefly retweeted one.
The tweets in question said that Greenwood was an ‘innocent man’ and added that ‘you are innocent until PROVEN guilty’.
Mason Greenwood had all criminal charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
He had faced allegations of rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same woman.
The CPS said that Greenwood case had been stopped because of ‘the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light’, adding that there was no longer a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’.
Several people noticed that Neville had liked a tweet about Greenwood’s ‘innocence’ and quickly challenged him on it.
One person shared a screenshot and wrote: “You have a massive platform and you’re liking bulls**t like this just because the monster plays for a team you support. you’re disgusting @GNev2.”
He posted: “I liked a tweet relating to the Mason Greenwood news this afternoon from Nazir Afzal. ( the former director of public prosecutions ).
“This like is being misinterpreted. It was a clumsy like as I obviously condemn any violence against women.”
Greenwood issued a short statement yesterday, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Featured image: Instagram, @garyneville2 / publicity picture