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Trick or Treat?

Monday, 31 October, 2011 1 comment

According to a recent survey commissioned by Santander Insurance, 1 in 5 people would support banning Trick or Treating following the riots which swept across London earlier this year. 

Around 22%  of people surveyed believe that the yearly custom should have an outright ban, while 50% said that parental accompaniment should be compulsory in order to control the behaviour of children.

Furthermore, 43% of people would support a ban on people wearing masks which obscure the face over Halloween, and over a third of people asked would support a ban on people wearing hooded tops.

Andy Smith, head of media relations at Santander, said: “The summer’s riots resulted in a huge amount of innocent people becoming victims of crime. Our research would suggest that there is genuine concern about any more criminal damage or anti-social behaviour taking place in the period that surrounds Halloween and bonfire night – a period which many people already find intimidating”.

Are these fears founded or is it a lot of fuss about nothing? We want to know what you think: 

MPs split over EU vote

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011 1 comment

David Cameron faced what can arguably be seen as the biggest test of his leadership yesterday as a backbench motion calling for a referendum on Europe caused a massive rift within the House of Commons.

The decision of Cameron and Miliband not to allow a free vote within Parliament, opting for a three-line whip in the hope of controlling MPs votes, was met with fierce criticism from both The Commons and the general public.

After a five-hour debate on the pros and cons of EU membership and why the public should or should not be allowed to determine our future within Europe, 483 MPs voted to reject the motion, with only 111 voting in favour leaving a majority of 372 out of a total of 650 MPs in the House of Commons.

This result has sparked uncertainty over the future of several MPs within their parties. Grassroots reaction from Twitter and other social media sources suggest widespread public dissatisfaction with the result of the vote.

Twitter user Edward Butler-Ellis, who tweets under the username @EdwardBE1 and describes himself as an ‘avid Conservative campaigner’ said: “how is the #eureferendum a distraction for parliament? The EU is the single largest influence over the UK, don’t insult us. #referendumNOW

charlotteahenry, a self-described liberal, said: “Fuming about today’s self indulgent antics in Parliament, given what’s going on in the real world. Do MPs still wonder why nobody cares?”

Meanwhile, Labour supporter Shereef Abdallah (@Sheik74Shereef ) said: “Cameron is sleep walking to disaster. Even after the Euro vote, what happens if UK has d.dip recession ? Govt won’t survive till 2015.”

The list of rebels is as follows:

Conservative

Stuart Andrew

Steve Baker

John Baron

Andrew Bingham

Brian Binley

Bob Blackman

Peter Bone

Graham Brady

Andrew Bridgen

Steve Brine

Fiona Bruce

Dan Byles

Douglas Carswell

Bill Cash

Christopher Chope

James Clappison

Tracey Crouch

David T.C. Davies

Philip Davies

David Davis

Nick du Bois

Caroline Dinenage

Nadine Dorries

Richard Drax

Mark Field

Lorraine Fullbrook

Zac Goldsmith

James Gray

Chris Heaton-Harris

Gordon Henderson

George Hollingbery

Philip Hollobone

Stewart Jackson

Bernard Jenkin

Marcus Jones

Chris Kelly

Andrea Leadsom

Jeremy Lefroy

Edward Leigh

Dr. Julian Lewis

Karen Lumley

Jason McCartney

Karl McCartney

Stephen McPartland

Anne Main

Patrick Mercer

Nigel Mills

Anne-Marie Morris

James Morris

Stephen Mosely

Sheryll Murray

Caroline Nokes

David Nuttall

Matthew Offord

Neil Parish

Priti Patel

Andrew Percy

Mark Pritchard

Mark Reckless

John Redwood

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Simon Reevell

Laurence Robertson

Andrew Rosindell

Richard Shepherd

Henry Smith

John Stevenson

Bob Stewart

Gary Streeter

Julian Sturdy

Sir Peter Tapsell

Justin Tomlinson

Andrew Turner

Martin Vickers

Charles Walker

Robin Walker

Heather Wheeler

Craig Whittaker

John Whittingdale

Dr. Sarah Wollaston

Labour

Ronnie Campbell

Rosie Cooper

Jeremy Corbyn

Jon Cruddas

John Cryer

Ian Davidson

Natascha Engel

Frank Field

Roger Godsiff

Kate Hoey

Kelvin Hopkins

Steve McCabe

John McDonnell

Austin Mitchell

Dennis Skinner

Andrew Smith

Graham Stringer

Gisela Stuart

Mike Wood

Lib Dem

Adrian Sanders

Democratic Unionist Party

Gregory Campbell

Nigel Dodds

Jeffrey Donaldson

Dr. William McCrea

Ian Paisley Jr.

Jim Shannon

David Simpson

Sammy Wilson

Green

Caroline Lucas

Independent

Lady Hermon

POSITIVE ABSTENTIONS (Went through both Aye & No lobbies) 2

Ian Stewart (Conservative)

Mike Weatherley (Conservative)


Stay safe during Halloween and Bonfire Night!

Monday, 24 October, 2011 3 comments

With Halloween and Bonfire Night just around the corner, and the evenings getting longer and colder, the borough of Kensington and Chelsea have begun their seasonal crackdown on anti social behaviour.

Officers across the borough have already distributed thousands of leaflets and posters to residents in the borough designed to promote responsible trick or treating.

The posters display a ‘no trick or treat’ sign to be stuck in the windows of properties in the run up to the festivities.

Superintendent Simon Rose, head of Operations, said: “In Kensington and Chelsea we are encouraging responsible ‘trick or treating’, which allows people who wish to take part in the celebrations to do so in a safe and respectful manner, whilst respecting the privacy of residents who do not and preserving the safety and well-being of the more vulnerable members of our community.

“Obviously displaying this poster is no guarantee that you will not be visited on Halloween but it does make it clear to parents and other responsible ‘trick or treaters’ where callers will be welcome.”

Safer neighbourhood officers are continuing to patrol at key times across the borough, at transport hubs and visiting schools to discourage criminal activity around this time of year and are working closely with Test Sale operations with Trading Standards to monitor the sale of fireworks, alcohol and over the counter weapons.

Screening arches will also be in place around the borough as well as metal detection wands as part of a system to deter the carriage of weapons.

Halloween and Bonfire night are ideal opportunites for criminal activites with the use of costumes to conceal a weapon and people willingly opening their front doors without checking first who is visiting them.

Commander Christine Jones from the Met’s Territorial Policing Command Centre said: “We are here for London and to help make sure that everyone can enjoy the festivities and stay safe.

“I would like to stress that our operations are not aimed at demonising young people, the large majority of whom behave safely and responsibly. However those intent on committing crime and anti social behaviour will face the consequences.”

The Met are encouraging people to contact their local Safer Neighbourhood team for more information or guidance. In an emergency dial 999.

Image via somewhereintheworldtoday, Flickr.

Wood Green thief who targeted pensioners jailed

Friday, 16 September, 2011 Leave a comment

Michael Sammie, 44, of Swaythling Close, N18, has been  imprisoned for five and a half years. Between February and May this year he stole from six homes in the South Kensington and Barnet areas between February and May of this year, Wood Green Crown Court heard.

Sammie posed as a member of a gas or electricity company to gain entry into vulnerable people’s homes. Many of his victims had health or mobility problems.

He pretended to befriend the elderly to gain entry into their houses. Once inside the property he asked his victims to go to other rooms to turn on switches while he pretended to test light fittings. When the victim left the room, he stole cash, bank and pension cards, valuables and jewellery.

Officer in the case Davina Cullen said,“This man has a long history of offending. Sammie appears plausible and charming, but in truth he is a ruthless predator of the elderly. He pretends to befriend his victims, but then remorselessly steals their property and savings. The calculated approach to his crimes makes them all the more despicable.

One victim, a 77 year old resident of Finchley, said “Firstly may I pay tribute to the police; if they had not acted so promptly they would never have recovered my jewellery. He stole my grandfather’s signet ring and my mother wedding ring and it meant so much to get these back, it’s not the cost but it’s the sentimental value.

“To prey on vulnerable people is unforgivable and I am so glad he has been caught. I would urge anyone who has a caller at the door to ask for identification, these men are so plausible.”

Man stabbed at Notting Hill Carnival

Tuesday, 30 August, 2011 Leave a comment

Police are looking for witnesses after a man was stabbed in Ladbroke Grove, on the fringe of the Notting Hill Carnival, yesterday.

Photographs of the scene show the 20-yr-old victim lying on the ground bleeding through his shirt whilst another man, wearing a hoodie, runs from the scene with what appears to be a knife in his hand. One witness tried to trip the man shown in the photograph as he ran away but unfortunately failed.

Ambulance crews attending the scene found the victim suffering stab wounds to the abdomen and hand. He was taken to a central London hospital where his condition is described as serious but stable.

Detectives investigating the circumstances arrested four men – three aged 20 and one aged 21 – and one 16-yr-old child in connection with the stabbing. They remain in custody at various London police stations.

The rest of the carnival passed relatively peacefully. Police made a total of 245 arrests during the two-day event, slightly up on last year’s 243 arrests.

Commander Bob Broadhurst of the Metropolitan Police said: “Crime and arrests appear to be down this year. Our officers were out there working hard to make sure this was the case. We had a highly visible presence out on the streets of Notting Hill to make sure those troublemakers who thought violence and crime was an option were met by a swift response.”

Armed police from the specialist CO19 firearms command, aided by Territorial Support Group (TSG) officers, were operating around the edges of the carnival with ANPR equipment to prevent known troublemakers from entering the event. A total of 6,500 police constables were deployed to the carnival, with another 4,000 on duty around London over the Bank Holiday weekend,

Police prepared for trouble during the Notting Hill Carnival

Thursday, 25 August, 2011 3 comments

Following the revelation that thousands of extra police constables will remain in London during the August Bank Holiday, police confirmed yesterday exactly how many officers will be on the streets during the Notting Hill Carnival.

“At Notting Hill specifically we will have a total of 5,500 officers on duty on Sunday and 6,500 on duty on Monday. But in addition to that we will have over 4,000 additional officers on duty across London as well as the thousands who are normally on duty over a weekend,” said Commander Steve Rodhouse yesterday.

“Some of those additional officers will come from forces outside London, through mutual aid arrangements, and the Met has cancelled all leave for staff and rearranged duties.”

This year’s carnival will officially end at 7pm on both Sunday and Monday, with local pubs and other businesses having been asked to close between 7pm and 9pm.

A heavier than normal police presence at this year’s carnival seems to have been influenced by the London-wide riots of a few weeks ago. Police are also worried about gang activity erupting around the capital during the carnival period.

“At this stage it would be fair to say we have intelligence to suggest that some gangs want to come to Carnival and create trouble for us. Plus we know that some people believe we will be diverted from policing the rest of London due to the Notting Hill Carnival, leaving the rest of the Capital without a policing presence,” said Commander Rodhouse. “This is not the case.”

Thirty five arrests have already been made as part of a proactive attempt to crack down on potential troublemakers. Metal detectors, automatic numberplate recognition devices, stop-and-search tactics and specialist officers will all be used to reduce the risk of violence.

Met Police deploying ‘record number’ of police to Notting Hill Carnival

Tuesday, 23 August, 2011 1 comment

Scotland Yard has said that it will deploy thousands more constables to the Notting Hill Carnival than it ordinarily would, following the riots across London two weeks ago.

A Carnival reveller in traditional flamboyant costume. Courtesy of S Pakhrin, Twitter

Senior Metropolitan Police officers have indicated that they are retaining constables from non-London forces who were deployed to the capital a fortnight ago. It appears that senior police officers fear a repeat of the widespread looting and destruction that occurred a fortnight ago.

About 16,000 police officers, including constables from forces as far afield as Wales, were deployed in the capital after riots which started in Tottenham spread across north, east and south London.

Whilst the final decision on police numbers will be made closer to the day, according to a Scotland Yard spokesman, it is highly likely that such a high profile public event will attract an increased police presence immediately following widespread rioting. The decision is likely to be taken on Thursday after senior police officers meet with local councillors from Kensington and Chelsea.

The Notting Hill Carnival has been running for 47 years. Originally started by West Indian immigrants to the Notting Hill area as a celebration of their home culture, the event has expanded to include all Caribbean cultures and attracts millions of visitors every year. This year’s carnival, which takes place between Sunday 28th August and Monday 29th August (which is a bank holiday) is scheduled to finish at 7pm each day. This is earlier than normal due to police fears of potential troublemakers using the carnival as cover to cause trouble.

Mainstream media reports over the last few years have primarily associated the carnival with anti-social behaviour. Similar reports have quoted local residents demanding the carnival be moved to Hyde Park or a similar large public space, which in their view would be better suited to handling the huge numbers of people who attend the event. Other articles promote the carnival’s positive cultural aspects, including the traditional Caribbean steel drum bands and the large variety of Caribbean food on offer.