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Richmond Park News: 1 April 2022

I recently submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request which revealed that over 600,000 anti-social behaviour reports in London went unattended by police. This is a shocking figure and reflects what I am afraid is the Government’s approach to crime: heavy on rhetoric but light on action. I am calling on the government to adequately fund a return to proper community policing, so officers can be visible, trusted and known personally to local people in every community.

The Met Police wrote to me this week to give me an update on their recent community policing work in Richmond. If you look in my Richmond News section below you can see the kind of work they would like to do more of, with more resources. (They will send me a Kingston report to share with you next week.)

Tackling crime also means investing in youth services, to give our young people opportunities and guidance. I enjoyed a most interesting visit to Oxygen Youth Club in north Kingston yesterday, and spent time with the young people there talking to them about their experiences, as well as hearing about the knife-crime prevention strategy called ‘What’s the Point’ run by club leader John Trend. i am committed to doing more to support this kind of work and provide positive opportunities for young people.

Making our neighbourhoods safer also means using new technology and innovative ideas to stop criminals. I attended a meeting of Kew residents about house burglary where one of the attendees suggested that visible signage highlighting the presence of ULEZ cameras might deter criminals. I wrote to the Mayor of London to recommend this excellent suggestion and we pleased to receive this positive response from him this week.


I was very sorry to hear about an oil spill last week in Beverley Brook – a river that flows through Richmond Park to the Thames. As of Wednesday, black waste oil and iridescence could be seen along 13kms of the watercourse, posing a serious threat to fish and local wildlife, as well as dogs.

The Environment Agency has told me they are working with their contractors to clean up and have installed booms at Morden Park, World of Golf New Malden and Kingston Vale, where the black waste oil is being boomed off and removed. They are continuing to investigate a possible source of the pollution.

This oil spill is just the latest in a long line of polluting incidents in UK rivers – of which only 14% are judged to be in a good state. The Environment Agency (EA) is are understaffed and underfunded, and is also battling water companies over sewage discharge. I therefore used my question at this week’s PMQs to ask the Prime Minister whether the Government would commit to strengthening the powers of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

This is something the Liberal Democrats also tried to do through the Environment Bill. Disappointingly, the government initially refused to amend the Environment Act to ban sewage discharges, before accepting a change that did not set targets or timescales to end them. Liberal Democrats also attempted to strengthen the Environment Act to give the OEP more powers to hold the government to account, but the Conservatives rejected those attempts.

My question, and the PM’s response, can be viewed here.


I have recently been speaking with the Guardian about the number of planes flying over the UK that are carrying no passengers. Frustratingly it appears no one holds data on this apart from the operators themselves. I feel the clear lack of transparency and accountability is an issue. Operators are able to use empty flights as and when they need to retain desirable take-off and landing slots at airports. This clearly comes at an immense environmental cost. The piece can be read