send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Sunday, 4 October 2015


Dear Dame
 Kensington residents have been tackling the vile and pornographic cards in our phone boxes. These blight our streets are seen by our young children.
The gangs who put them up are a daily threat to us and place us in danger.
Tourists note the sleaze and none of it is 'A Brighter Kensington' advertisement for UK PLC. 
Residents removing the cards have been threatened with blades. Streetline employees clearing the cards have been harassed. 
Despite meetings with the council and police for 18+ months to try to stop this dangerously antisocial behaviour there has been no meaningful action. 
Why? Cllr Joanna Gardner, Cllr Mathew Palmer, the police, and BT, have all failed us. 
Whose Side Are They On? 
It can't be corruption, but could it be deafness and/or incompetence? Any ideas, anyone? 
Cllr Nick Paget-Brown suggested at a MOPAC meeting that these gangs have been linked via DNA evidence to burglaries. 
Current senior police officers speak about listening to local community concerns. 
National Police Chiefs' Council head Sara Thornton said in July, and in September, that "the police need to have a conversation with the public to determine what they want us to do". 
RBKC Council provides funds to the police in the Borough. The former has a stake in setting police priorities and objectives. That's money from our Council Tax, which should in part go towards what 'we, the people' say is a priority. 
Organised crime includes people trafficking and prostitution. Behind the cardists is a gang leadership. The Met's representatives in our Royal Borough are not on their case. 
Inspector Lestrade with or without Mr Holmes would identify gang bosses, but RBKC's blue line seems too thin and is not listening. Nor is the Council. Disgusted from Kensington is no prude, and knows the oldest profession will always be with us but would hope our elected representatives, and the police who serve us, can do better. Pick up the glove, Cllr Gardner and show some spirit!

Disgusted of Kensington


  1. It's quite surprising that we still have phone boxes on the streets in this age of universal mobile phones.

  2. Why are Eastern Europeans targeted in the headline when the story makes no reference to race, country of origin or ethnicity?

    1. Oh, do stop this pathetic attempt to pretend that it's not the East European gangs who run prostitution. Do you live in a cave?
      Read the stats from the Home Office: it's blatantly obvious.

  3. Eastern Europeans gangs are the ones committing the crime as they have been witnessed and reported to the police, who know about this. Go stand on the Brompton Road outside Little Waitrose between 3 - 6pm and you will see the gang operate. It is well known. Since 2004 Eastern European crime has increased with burglaries, prostitution, people smuggling and fraud which has stretched Police resources.

    Suggest Local resident associations begin to fine BT a £1000 a day if cards appear in the telephone boxes maybe then they will attempt to stop this crime.

  4. The problem is that the penalties for carding are so feeble that they are not a deterrent.

  5. Indeed, the penalties are feeble and often unimposable. Taking into consideration the number of people who use phone boxes, these professionals must be using food banks to survive. Who needs phone boxes? They are not used, often dirty and quite expensive to maintain.... They should be re-designed, to be open kiosk like, with no wall space, or consigned to history......

  6. Some good points by Disgusted of Kensington - especially in the mater of inadequate listening. The willingness of those responsible (Council, the police's management) passively to permit the proliferation of tart card sleaze is indicative of inadequacy. Too many 'reasons why not', not enough of the 'can-do' spirit, too much procrastination. Resident voters don't get what they deserve, and have asked for.

    The criminality behind these blots on our streetscapes needs to be tackled strategically. Its also a tri-borough problem, perhaps worse in Westminster. The law needs changing e.g. it is illegal to stick cards inside phone boxes, but it is legal to use blu-tack! Ofcom should review the responsibility of service providers to clean up their phone boxes, as well as other aspects. The occasional box-ticking prosecution of a cardist for anti-social behaviour (£60 fine) needs to be set against the cost of bringing a case to court (£Thousands, time).

    BT with JC Decaux are motivated by revenue streams from in-box advertising, and less by profits from phone calls. The name of their game is negotiation with the Council for open plan kiosks with a phone on one side and adverts on the other. BT with other providers finesse the statutory requirement to provide on-street landline telephony to try to get their way eg "allow us one kiosk and we'll remove two boxes'. Zero social responsibility, though.

    Gang bosses, listen up! Your profits will increase if you take your sleaze off the streets and onto the web (where there is huge precedent). A website costs little. You will reduce personnel costs (cardists' wages), and glossy card printing overheads. A sustainable solution!

    Health and Safety: If these gangs are carrying knives, and have so revealed to residents removing the cards, or to harassed Streetline officers, how long will it be before a knife is used in anger? Consider the consequences, Councillors.


Comments are your responsibility. Anyone posting inappropriate comments shall have their comment removed and will be banned from posting in future. Your IP address may also be recorded and reported. Persistent abuse shall mean comments will be severely restricted in future.