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Met police: “Take care of your valuables”

Monday, 5 September, 2011 Leave a comment

The Metropolitan Police are urging Londoners to take care of their valuables when out and about. This is part of a renewed awareness campaign, launched today (Monday September 5) in the hope of  reducing street crime. 

To support the campaign, 1,000 officers and PCSOs will be helping and engaging with school children across London as they start their new school year.

While overall crime in London continues to fall, there has been a recent rise in street robbery.

The most commonly stolen items this year have been:

-high-value smart phones

-digital media players

-gold jewellery (chains and necklaces) which are sold for cash through the second-hand market – largely driven by the high value of gold, and companies promising to sell it for large sums.

To coincide with the new academic year, the police will be supporting children, especially year seven pupils just starting secondary school, to advise them on how to keep safe. As 11-year olds start their new schools, they are often making longer journeys, walking home for the first time or have new phones.

This time of year usually sees an increase in children (11-16) whose mobile phones are stolen after leaving school. Parents are also being advised to make sure their children are aware of how to avoid drawing attention to expensive items in their possession.

Assistant Commissioner Ian McPherson, head of the Met’s Territorial Policing, said: “We take street crime very seriously – being robbed can be a traumatic experience and so tackling it is a key priority for us and we are doing everything we can through enforcement, education and prevention to address it.

“While concerted actions to tackle street robbery continue – including thousands of arrests under Operation Target, the Met’s drive on crimes against people and property – we are asking the public to take some basic precautions to help minimise the chance of it happening.

“When you are out, where possible try to keep any valuables hidden. Smart phones and media players are becoming must-have items for many people – that includes criminals too. They simply see these items as cash.

“Many robberies happen when people check their phones just after leaving a train or underground station, or when they are going about their business and may be distracted. Young people too, especially secondary school-aged children are also targeted – usually after school by other young people.

“We’re not asking the public not to use their phone or media players in public, or not to wear jewellery – we are just advising them to be vigilant about where and when they use or wear them.”

For more information or advice on how to keep safe visit

Man charged with assault of Malaysian student

Sunday, 4 September, 2011 Leave a comment

A second youth has been charged with the assault and mugging of an injured Malaysian student in an attack during the riots of last month. The shocking attack was videoed and put on the internet which sparked a fundraising campaign for the student. 

Ashraf Rossli (Ashraf Haziq), 20, who studies at Kaplan University in Angel Square, Islington, was robbed on August 8th in Barking by two people who had initially appeared to ‘help’ him.

Reece Donovan, 21, of Romford, has already been charged with robbery.

Now a 17-year-old has been charged in connection to the attack and will appear at at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of grievous bodily harm, robbery, burglary and violent disorder.

A portable Sony PlayStation and Nokia mobile phone were taken from Rossli who was left in hospital with a broken jaw.

After the attack, the student said he wanted to stay in Britain and claimed to ‘pity’ is attackers.

In an interview, he said: ‘Britain is great. Before I came here I was very eager and I haven’t got any ill-feelings about what happened.

‘My family are worried about me and my mother would like me to go home. But I am determined to stay. I feel very sorry for the people who did this.

‘It was really sad because among them were children.’

He added that he had been helped by two girls and a woman who lived nearby who saw the incident.

The Let’s Do Something Nice for Ashraf Haziq group has raised around £25k in aid of the student who is now fully recovered.


Man charged over fatal shooting in Croydon

Sunday, 4 September, 2011 Leave a comment

Detectives investigating the fatal shooting of a man in Addiscombe, Croydon last month have charged a man with murder.

Police were called to Morland Road at around 8.55pm on Tuesday, August 23rd.  Jonathan Barnes,  20, from Lewisham, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead 3 hours later.

Jonathan Barnes

Daniel Tesfay, 25, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in west London, on suspicion of murder, and was held at a south London police station.

He was charged yesterday with the murder of Mr Barnes and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

He is due to appear in court next Saturday.

Shooting in Ealing

Sunday, 4 September, 2011 1 comment

A shooting took place this morning on the A4020 Uxbridge Road in Hanwell, West Ealing.

The London Ambulance Service was called to the scene at 5am after reports of the shooting involving 2 males outside the Black George pub.

Reports say 3 shots were fired in the drive-by incident and two people were injured, but there were no fatalities. Police officers attended the scene and one man was taken to hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

Operation Trident, the division of the Metropolitan Police which specialises in gun crime, has been informed. No arrests have been made and enquiries are continuing.

The road, which lies between Culmington Road and Broughton Road, remains closed at this time but is expected to be re-opened later this afternoon.

Hounslow fare-dodger freed

Saturday, 3 September, 2011 Leave a comment

A fare dodger who battered a train station manager and said he would ‘make sure his wife did not recognise him’ walked free from court yesterday.

Wokciech Slusarczyk, 29, of Hounslow, denied the assault in June, claiming self-defence, but was found guilty following a trial at Blackfriars crown court.

Judge Jane Sullivan decided against jailing him, and instead imposed a 12-month community order with 100 hours’ unpaid work.

The victim, Mario Jenkins, 43, was helping a colleague settle a dispute with Slusarczyk over a train fare at Liverpool Street station when he was set upon. Slusarczyk, followed him to a private office, knocked him to the ground and punched him repeatedly in the face, smashing his head onto the concrete floor.

The court heard that Jenkins feared he would die until security guards rushed to his aid.

Mr Jenkins was shocked when the sentence passed. He said: “I’m not happy about this at all. When he was found guilty, the judge told me he’d get a custodial sentence.

“What message does this send out? That people can get away with attacking civil servants?

“I have been doing this job for 25 years and I always give 110 per cent customer service. This attack has affected me very badly. At one point I could not sleep.

“The safety of my customers and staff is my top priority”.


Categories: News

Lifeguard jailed for looting

Saturday, 3 September, 2011 1 comment

Aaron Mulholland, 30, a lifeguard from Southall who joined looters as they ransacked a phone shop in Camberwell during the riots, was jailed for 13 months on Thursday. As Mulholland was led from the dock, his relatives hurled abuse at the judge, yelling: ‘That’s what you get for having good character,’ and: ‘You get less for rape!’

Reports say Mulholland sobbed in the dock yesterday as a court was told he helped pillage a mobile phone shop in Camberwell. He had drunkenly followed looters into Fone World in Church Street, south London, after leaving a nearby pub in the early hours of August 9, the third day of the rioting across London.

Inner London Crown Court heard he was caught by police crawling out of the store, which suffered £25,000 of losses, beneath forced security shutters. Mulholland, who worked at Peckham Pulse health club and had no previous convictions, was empty handed when he left the shop.

The following morning, once sober, he apologised to police for any trouble he caused, and was said to be remorseful for letting his family down.

The court heard a series of family tragedies had led him to develop a drink problem.

Categories: Ealing, News Tags: , ,

Summary: The East London protests

Saturday, 3 September, 2011 2 comments

Huge crowds assembled today in East London, vowing to ‘defend their community’ from the far-right group, the English Defence League.

Amid a large police presence of around 3,000 officers, hundreds of residents and anti-fascist campaigners converged along Whitechapel Road close to the East London mosque, a self-proclaimed target for some members of the EDL. Muslims accused the group of targeting them and holding them as figures of hate. 

In the wake of the riots which engulfed London last month, security has remained very high across the capital. The deployment of some officers kitted out in riot gear along with police dogs was a stark reminder of last month’s disturbances.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, outlawed marches in the City of London just days ago amid fears of violence and disorder if the planned march by the EDL went ahead. This was broken as thousands of protesters made their way across London today, the EDL greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters from groups such as United Against Fascism and the Muslim Defence League.

Speaking at the rally in East London, Ken Livingstone, the Labour candidate for London mayor, said in a statement: “I’m delighted that in response to the divisive, hateful policies of the EDL, today will see a celebration of the strength and cohesion of multicultural Tower Hamlets.

“This is the right response to the EDL. It is a fitting riposte to those who peddle hatred, violence and fear”.

EDL founder, Stephen Lennon, was present at the protests despite it being in breach of his bail conditions. He stood to address the crowd disguised in a wide-brimmed hat and fake beard before revealing himself.

In his speech he said: “I’m meant to sign on at a police station on a Saturday, I’m not doing that.

“I’m not allowed to go to a demonstration, I’m not doing that.

“The credible outcome is I will be put on remand in prison for my democratic right.”

A little after midday, the Casuals United blog reported that 1,000 EDL had arrived at King’s Cross and a further 300 at Liverpool Street Station.  An earlier report statedthat there were also 500 EDL supporters at pubs in Covent Garden. Last year’s UAF anti-EDL gathering in the East London borough managed to attract around 5,000 local residents, the majority of which were Muslims.

At around 1.20pm,  King’s Cross station was closed due to a fire alert. This prevented the majority of the EDL supporters, which were gathering outside, from travelling to the demonstration for around half an hour.

The protests are said to be related to the actions of the right-wing extremist and anti-Muslim fanatic, Anders Breivik, who admitted killing 77 people in July when he detonated a bomb in the Norwegian capital, Oslo before embarking on a shooting spree at a Labour youth camp on the nearby Utøya island. The EDL demonstration is its first since the killings by Brievik, who had praised the organisation in the past and claimed to have 600 EDL supporters as friends on Facebook.

Along Whitechapel Road, hundreds of anti-EDL protesters held posters and placards showing pictures of Brievik and Tommy Robinson, the founder of the EDL, captioned with the message: “Different faces, same hatred.”

The protests ended relatively peacefully, with the EDL dispersing in one direction and the anti-EDL protesters going in another.  By early evening, 16 people had been arrested for a variety of offences including affray, drunk and disorderly and assault on a police officer.

A Met spokesman said: “A robust and proportionate policing plan is in place to facilitate peaceful protest, prevent disorder and minimise disruption on the local communities.

“We are committed to taking action against anyone who engages in criminal acts.

“We continue to appeal for people to remain calm”.

Categories: News Tags: , , , , ,

Live: East London Protests

Saturday, 3 September, 2011 Leave a comment

1904: For a round-up of all today’s protesting reports, click here.


1719: UAF protesters have just finished their “victory march” and are slowly beginning to disperse. The EDL did not enter Tower Hamlets, having been stopped around Aldgate and other surrounding areas. Police who attempted to block the route of the parade were ignored as marchers lifted their banners over the heads of police trying to stop them.

1714: EDL member being arrested on a street in London (waiting for confirmation of street name)

1710: The EDL are currently being held at the south side of Tower Bridge. Police are making decisions what to do.

1708: Reports coming in that 73 EDL members have been arrested so far, but no UAF members.

1706: In the last hour, protests have continued without any major disturbances. The EDL appear to have mostly dispersed now. There was a “victory march” by the UAF and other groups standing against the EDL (such as the Muslim Defence League and other faith groups) which made their way past the East London Mosque, where they stopped to applaud and cheer. Police attempted to move the march off the road and onto the pavement—but the protesters refused, breaking through police lines. 

1445: Reports from Aldgate seem to be of a large crowd chanting, ‘Black and White, unite and fight’. Heavy police presence, but mood is reported to be positive. 

1440: EDL protest outside Liverpool St station about half an hour ago. 

1433: Large police presence at Aldgate East.

1430: English Defence League appear to be on the march. Just turned from Liverpool St south onto Bishopsgate.

1428: Police dogs being used outside Liverpool St station.

Categories: News

Opinion: Why Britain’s not working.

Friday, 2 September, 2011 Leave a comment

Sitting down with a cup of tea, flicking through TV channels showing programmes about infidelity, paternity tests, teenage parents and unemployed ex-convicts – a typical lunchtime for most students. In fact, that is exactly what I was doing when I stumbled across a news report stating that the number of adults who have never worked is higher than it as ever been. Well, since records began 16 years ago. Flicking back to Jeremy Kyle, I realised that I was not entirely surprised.

If we were to rewind 100 years, we would find an entirely different picture – not least because television did not exist. During the First World War, everyone was expected to work. Men were conscripted, women went to work in munitions factories alongside skilled men in reserved occupations, and children were sent down mines for the good of the country. Funnily enough, there were no companies being sued for unfair management, sexual harassment or bad working conditions, and ‘tea breaks’ were literally just long enough to have a cup of tea.

Fast forward to yesterday’s report from the Office of National Statistics showing that no adult in 370,000 households nationwide has ever worked: an increase of 18,000 since last year. Of course, the default reaction is to blame the government and immediately assume that Cameron and his team of Tories are to blame for Britain’s unemployment woes. All of a sudden, people are having nightmares about picket lines and oversubscribed job centres. However, if you take into account the fact that a household is defined as having ‘never worked’ if no one aged 16 or more is in employment, we have a slightly different picture.

In an interview last April, David Cameron said: “For youth unemployment, which has actually been going up for years in our country, the real change we need is actually in our education system to make sure we are producing young people at the age of 18 with a real qualification that people need in the modern workplace”.

Figures released in June 2010 showed that the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds at school, college or in training reached its highest ever level. Looking at this, it is perhaps understandable that people who are undertaking full time education will not have time to work, or will choose not to so they can concentrate on their studies. At my school, we were discouraged from undertaking more than 7 hours’ work per week so that we did not compromise our education.

Of course, full time education to the age of 18 will become compulsory by 2013, whether you are undertaking a vocational course or studying for A-levels, so expect that ‘unemployment’ figure to keep rising.

So, that is a fair amount of this figure accounted for – but obviously the nation is not made up completely of teenagers – there are old people, too. In 2008, there were more pensioners than people under 16 in the UK - again, an age group which is not mentioned and which somewhat alters the statistics.

As with every financial crisis to ever hit Britain, the banks have to take a fair share of the blame. Lending money to consumers who are not able to pay it back has led to the government having to make cuts in public sector jobs. Some people are finding themselves being replaced by workers in company branches overseas; sometimes they are even replaced by machines in order to cut expenses.

While public sector salaries are being frozen, economic growth is greatly struggling, VAT is rising and banks are still failing to lend properly, this hardly seems the time to be raising interest rates in response to a supposed “wage-led inflationary spiral”, despite what some are suggesting.  The theory goes that if the government and the banks are allowed to continue making cuts and keeping inflation high, it will devalue the debt of the country and make it easier to pay off. To me, this does not seem plausible, but then again, I do not study economics.

With employment cuts across all lines of work, from defence to manufacturing, the people who were once occupying these jobs are struggling to even find part-time work elsewhere and are in direct competition with recent graduates. It is perhaps little wonder that people who had limited job prospects in the first place are struggling to find somewhere to work in the current climate – but that is not to say that there are no jobs available.

In the wake of last month’s riots, these figures throw a rather harsh light on a situation which has been comfortably ignored for the past decade. The children of Blair have been brought up in a society where their homes have been micromanaged and common sense is no longer common place. The government has been so soft on people claiming Unemployment Benefits – sorry, Jobseekers’ Allowance – that now there is a mentality that you may as well not work for the money you get – it’ll just be handed to you anyway. Youths are brought up believing that the world owes them something just for being born. I’m sure many of you saw the girl during the riots claiming she was ‘taking back her taxes’ by looting – although I very much doubt she has ever worked a day in her life.

I have met people who have purposefully got pregnant so they can go into council houses and get Child Benefits; I even know one man who broke his own legs just so he could get Disability Living Allowance. This is what the country has become; people will go to really drastic measures purely to avoid lifting a finger.

We are now in a situation where unemployment is a fashion statement – a middle finger to the government which is seen to be responsible for all this.  Scrubbing toilets is something which is considered an unacceptable way to earn money – yet, as soon as a ‘foreigner’ comes in and is willing to do it, they stand accused of ‘stealing all our jobs’.

The solution is not unmanageable.  Leaving the European Union would free up billions in revenue which could be used to create more public sector jobs, even if they only pay minimum wage. In 2007, the UK was paying around £12bn every year to remain in the EU, a figure which has since increased.

Another way to help the issue would be to deport all illegal immigrants, and to put a cap on legal migration as we simply cannot afford housing for these volumes of people. Skilled migrants ought to have priority, as they do in Australia, thus ensuring that everyone entering the UK will indeed be contributing to the economy. All people on Jobseekers’ Allowance should then be fully reassessed to ensure that everyone who can work is working and not wasting government funding. Last year, the government forked out £6.6bn on Unemployment Benefits and a further £1.3bn on housing. In 2009, only £4.8bn was spent on unemployment, but the estimate for this year is around £6.7bn.

Cameron’s lavish spending on overseas charities has also caused him to be put under public scrutiny. This year he pledged £814m of taxpayers’ money to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, run by Bill Gates, bringing the UK’s total contribution to £1.5bn.

Finally, our troops could be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan – a war which has cost us over £20bn since 2001, not to mention the 379 lives lost. It’s simply not worth it.

However, since the logical resolutions are seldom the ones that are used, here we are. The government is paying out more money than it can afford; people are being made redundant, which drains even more resources through benefits; we are pumping funds into the EU for little perceived return; graduates cannot find work; youth unemployment is at a record high, and people are breeding work-shy children who would rather be arrested for rioting than go to work and earn money to buy things. This is what Cameron meant by ‘broken Britain’ – and, actually, he was right.

Categories: Opinions Tags: , , , ,

Trade Unions protest against factory closure

Friday, 26 August, 2011 3 comments

Trade unionists have been campaigning against the closure of a factory in Acton which employs disabled people. 

Remploy has set out to give disabled people, and those with learning difficulties, the opportunity to work by providing sustainable employment opportunities. The Remploy site in Portal Way, North Acton, employs 36 people, 30 of whom have disabilities. Staff at the factory make a wide range of goods, from office furniture to electronic equipment.

The scheme, established in 1945 and with a network of factories and outlets nationwide, costs £36 million a year. It is owned by the government but, unlike private enterprises, is not required to turn a profit. However, if things go ahead as planned, the Acton factory may be closed for good.

On Saturday, campaigners were leafleting in Acton’s Market Place, encouraging shoppers to sign a petition against the closure.

Eve Turner, the secretary for West London TUC said: “The risk is that these local workers will be thrown on to the scrap heap. It would be another blow to disabled people, whose benefits are being cut even if they are too ill to work”.

Responding,  Angie Bray, MP for Ealing Central and Acton said:  “I was certainly struck by the positive attitude I encountered when I visited the Remploy factory in Acton last year”.

She went on to say: “Once the consultation closes in October, the Government is looking to invest in the best possible system for disabled people who want to work. The aim being to encourage an extra 35,000 people into employment.”


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