UPDATE FROM SALLY BENATAR, MET POLICE COMMANDER FOR SW LONDON
I spoke to Sally Benatar this week about a number of police-related issues in the constituency. She sent me a letter after our conversation with points she would like to relay to residents:
"As you are aware, during the lockdown period, we have been continuing our focus on reducing violence in the capital together with our council partners through the community safety partnerships. We want to maintain the reductions in violent crime, building upon the natural pause in offending realised due to the COVID restrictions.
As part of our ongoing offender management work, we are visiting a number of people who have been linked to violence in our communities. The purpose of these visits is to give individuals the opportunity to consider how to change their behaviour and to avoid being in situations that may be violent. They will be offered a range of diversion opportunities tailored to their needs - we are working with council partners and the Violence Reduction Unit on these diversion options. The purpose of the visits will be to engage and encourage the individual to find a new path.
You will also see additional patrols or activity in certain locations. The locations represent places where violence and robberies have been concentrated during the last 12 weeks. Officers will be conducting additional policing activity at these locations, which may include weapons sweeps or knife search operations, as well as community engagement activity. We are also progressing our safeguarding plans which will focus on six areas where we anticipate an increase in risk and/or demand: domestic abuse, online child sexual abuse, intra-familial child abuse, missing persons, mental health and county lines. As you would expect we are working closely with our council partners in all these areas.
Government restrictions to control the spread of Coronavirus remain in place. Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Sunday, 10 May a number of these restrictions have been altered slightly. Whilst the changes to the legislation impact on what is and is not permitted, our approach will remain entirely the same. We will continue to police by consent, and we’ll apply the four Es seeking to evidence each step as we go. If someone is out and about and we do have some questions as to whether they are abiding by the new restrictions, we will still talk to them, we will engage, explain and encourage them to go home where possible. Enforcement has always been, and remains an absolute last resort.
We appreciate the way our communities have responded to the restrictions over the past two months – their actions have undoubtedly saved lives. We expect our policing role to reduce in some areas, as there is increased flexibility and legitimate reasons for the public to be outside of their homes. The focus of our policing role will need to remain focused on any larger gathering and groups where the risk to health would be at its greatest.
We continue to urge victims of domestic abuse, and people who suspect that friends and family members might be suffering at the hands of an abusive partner while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, to please speak out. Across London, the Met continues to prioritise and respond to domestic abuse calls. We continue to work closely with partners to ensure victims receive the support and service they need."
Sally Benatar also sent this list of useful links:
The 24/7 National Domestic Abuse helpline, which offers support to victims and people affected by domestic abuse, is free to call on 0808 2000 247.
The Respect phone line provides confidential advice and support to help perpetrators stop being violent and abusive, and is free to call 0808 8024040
Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and those supporting them www.mensadviceline.org.uk
Karma Nirvana: 0800 5999 247 Mon to Fri 9am–5pm supporting victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage www.karmanirvana.org.uk
Hour Glass: 0808 808 8141 challenging the abuse of older people in all its forms www.wearehourglass.org
Galop LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 www.galop.org.uk
Childline: 0800 1111 If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your home or relationship.
For more information about support services that are available, go to https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/
One of my constituents is a member of the COVID-19 Task Force on Domestic Violence set up by Cambridge University students. She has sent me this poster and asked me to distribute it with the request that business owners put it up in their premises. If you have a place to display this poster where women might see it, please print it out and put it up. Domestic violence is sadly on the rise during lockdown, and it's vital to get information about help available to victims.
LOCAL GPs ASK RESIDENTS NOT TO DELAY SEEKING NON-COVID-RELATED CARE
GPs in South West London are working to persuade the public to seek the care and treatment if they need it. NHS England reports that four in ten people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP. Seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people can safely leave home, in line with government guidance linked to measures introduced following the coronavirus outbreak.
Chair of the South West London Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Andrew Murray said: “We know some people will be worried that by contacting their local surgery they’ll be putting extra strain on the NHS – but GPs want people to get in touch about health concerns before they get worse. Don’t wait to seek help. If you need advice from your GP contact your practice in the way you normally would.”
Please contact your GP or the 111 service if you need health care, and call 999 in emergencies. Other vital services should be used as you normally would - including cancer screening and treatments, immunisations, maternity appointments and mental health support. The NHS has made changes to ensure patients who don't have Covid-19 can access services safely, using telephone and video appointments, and they have full PPE in place if the GP wants to see you in person.
UPDATE FROM TFL AND THE MAYOR ON TRANSPORT CHANGES
TfL and the Mayor of London have today announced the latest stage of London Streetspace scheme, which will transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world. At the same time we have also reinstated and strengthened the Congestion Charge and ULEZ. Key announcements include:
New walking and cycling corridors are planned for London Bridge to Shoreditch, Euston to Waterloo and Old Street to Holborn.
Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge may be restricted to people walking, cycling and buses only, and the pavements widened.
5,000 square metres of extra space has been added to footpaths across London.
From Monday 18 May Central London’s Congestion Charge and the ULEZ are being reinstated to prevent significant increases in pollution and congestion.
From 22 June, the Congestion Charge will increase to £15 and its hours of operation will be extended to 7am to 10pm, seven days a week.
The Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme will be temporarily extended to NHS and care home employees working in the zone.
COUNCILS CALL FOR MORE LOCAL FOSTER FAMILIES
To mark this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, I want to thank all of the foster carers opening their homes to children in care. rThere are many more children in care who need foster care places within our boroughs right now Whatever your background, culture, religion, ethnicity, sexuality or relationship status, if you can recognise and empathise with the need for security and nurturing – you could be the right person to be a foster carer. If you think you may be interested in carer for a child in need of a home, or simply want to find out more, please visit www.afcfostering.org.uk for more information, or call 07894 229 788.
KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY TIDY
Although I am pleased that we have not seen an increase in fly-tipping in Richmond or Kingston during the lockdown, there are reports that the environment is not as tidy as it could be. Some of my constituents are noticing more dog droppings on the pavements. Please could dog owners be scrupulous about cleaning up after your dogs. There is also quite a lot of litter on the pavements and streets, many of it, no doubt, having escaped from overflowing recycling bins. So please be careful to load your bins securely before you leave them out at night. And there have been reports about unwanted furniture being left outside charity shops. Please note that charity shops are closed and no donations should be left on the pavements outside them. Please keep your unwanted items until you are able to dispose of them at a recycling centre or have them collected by your council.
RESIDENTS INVITED TO CONTRIBUTE TO MEMORIAL QUILT PROJECT
Residents are invited to help make a patchwork quilt as a lasting memorial of what life was like in Richmond upon Thames during the coronavirus pandemic. The finished quilt will be displayed in the Museum of Richmond. The Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Cllr Nancy Baldwin, is leading the project and is asking residents to create quilt pieces that express their thoughts, feelings and impressions of life under lockdown. To see Cllr Baldwin talking about the project, click here.
Patchwork pieces should be a 12” square of material with your creation in a 10” square in the middle of this so that there is room to join all the pieces together. Ideally the piece of material should be tightly woven, for example cotton from an old sheet or shirt. You do not have to be skilled at patchworking or crafts to take part and you can interpret the theme in any way you like. Feel free to use sewing, embroidery, tapestry, knitting, sequins, fabric paint, permenant marker, or anything else, and to sign your name for posterity.
Please send your finished square to the Mayor’s Office, York House, Twickenham Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA. If you are self-isolating, please email Cllr.N.Baldwin@richmond.gov.uk to arrange the collection of your piece. The deadline is 20 June 2020.
PEPPE'S PIZZA DONATING MEALS TO FRONTLINE WORKERS
Peppe's Pizza has donated 1588 meals to NHS and Kingston AID workers since the lockdown began. They match all meals purchased by customers with a donated meal to a front line worker. Giuseppe has sent out a thank you to all the people are donating every week. If you want to support their work, you can find information and menus at www.peppekingston.com