Monday 31 August 2020

Borough Police Commander wants feedback on stop and search 'to make sure it is dignified and not criminalising young people'

Brent Safer Neighbourhood Board  held an online public meeting 5pm Wednesday 19 August 2020 with Borough Police Commander Roy Smith. These are summary notes of the meeting. The section on stop and search is of particular interest following concerns about the number of Section 60 orders in the borough.

SUMMARY (Unedited)

Gill Close, chair of Brent Safer Neighbourhood Board, welcomed over 100 people to the meeting at which police commander Roy Smith would be answering questions.

Roy Smith identified the main policing challenges in Brent as:

•violence and preventing it, which is the top priority and involves stop and search, including section 60
•policingCOVID-19 for which they continue to adopt a gentle encouraging approach
•austerity causing financial constraints on activity even though they will continue to recruit officers.

People had raised 11 broad issues in questions sent in beforehand. The main issues were drug dealing, street drinking and the associated antisocial behaviour about which some residents felt that reporting to the police had no effect and community intelligence should be better used.

Roy Smith said he was a big believer in the broken windows approach of dealing with the small things before they got bigger. He wants officers to stop and deal with low level antisocial behaviour when they are passing by. He asked people to keep telling the police where crime and antisocial behaviour happens. He said he had asked officers to provide a speedy response by text or email to say what had been done in response to reports. He said that British Transport Police already used this type of quick response to reports. Residents had asked for anonymous ways to report these ongoing problems to the police and council. They are provided at the end of this summary.

Gill Close asked how solutions to these long-term ongoing issues could be better in future than they had been in the past as residents’ lives were affected every day.

Roy Smith said that Safer Neighbourhood Teams were now fully staffed following a big recruitment campaign and there were separate neighbourhood tasking teams. These teams could be tasked by Inspector Becs Reeves, Brent’s neighbourhoods inspector, to where needed, so police could tackle entrenched problems. He said really good ‘design out crime’ officers were working closely with the council on practical steps such as changing lights, fitting gates and altering refuse collection frequency. Police were also using partnership funding for safety initiatives, including £20000 to provide vulnerable residents with free Ring doorbells containing video cameras.

One questioner said that when drug dealing was reported to police, residents were told that an officer would come the following day, but this was not an effective way to catch the dealers. He asked for council and police to be more joined up about putting in new CCTV cameras to replace old broken ones overlooking a quiet area where drug dealing took place near Fryent Park. The council’s neighbourhood manager, Shirley Holmes, said she had requested a new CCTV camera but other locations came higher on the priority list for the number of cameras available. Roy Smith said the police and the council would follow this up. Police and council would also look at ways of tasking officers to respond to reports more effectively. He asked residents to provide specific times, dates, locations, vehicle registration numbers and descriptions in their reports.

A resident asked how vulnerable people could apply for one of the free doorbells. Roy Smith said that he would ask the officer in charge to consult with the council, safer neighbourhood teams and safer neighbourhood board on ways to identify people who would benefit most.

A ward panel member said that a large number of new builds no longer designed out crime but contained dark alleyways and car parks without gates, although designing out crime had been a requirement in the past. Roy Smith said that police would write a statement to use in the police response to all planning applications for new developments. It would state that they must be built to secured by design standards by avoiding such things as alleyways, recessed doorways and unlocked car parks and by using white light instead of sodium light. He also asked for links to be made between the council planning department and police and for the designing out crime officer to attend the partnership tasking meetings. Councillor Gaynor Lloyd said that some residents of older properties were concerned about proposals for gating rear alleys which might cut off access to their garage and the rear of their property. Roy Smith said that there were other design options for existing buildings.

A questioner said he had sent police his own good quality CCTV image of an intruder in his garden at 4am and received a standard reply that they did not deal with antisocial behaviour. He asked why the image could not be kept on file to help find burglars. Roy Smith said the response was unacceptable and asked for the image to be emailed to his office so that it could be forwarded to the right teams. He said he would also look at responses provided to victims of crime as there is usually something police can do even if it is only signposting to safety measures.

A questioner referred to what he had written in advance about noise late at night in Gladstone Park car park and residents’ requests to lock it and for the parks public spaces protection order to include noise. He said police and council tell him to call each other. Roy Smith said that things should not be sent back and forth between police and council. The issue would be looked at by police and council then the written question would be responded to.

A representative of Harlesden Area Action referred to her question submitted in advance asking for police to disrupt the behaviour in the open drug market around Craven Park Road and St.Albans Road. Roy Smith said Inspector Becs Reeves will work with the council on joint tasking of resources in the area. Colin Wilderspin, the council’s head of community protection, said that joint patrols were taking place and fixed penalty notices (FPN) and criminal behaviour orders (CBO) were being used.

A representative from Barn Hill Conservation Group said that trail motorbikes driving through Fryent Park fields and woods were a danger to pedestrians and asked how they could be stopped. Roy Smith said he would look at tasking for the roads and transport team, work with the council on measures to prevent access, and find out if police might get some off-road motorbikes. He asked residents to keep calling the police when they saw trail bikes in the park.

A questioner said that lots of residents send images to the police using Twitter @MetCC but the images do not reach the police. He asked for this to be enabled. Roy Smith said that the Metropolitan Police was currently dealing with this technical challenge as well as looking at ways to send images by WhatsApp. He will obtain an update on when the capability to receive images will be available.

A resident asked what the police were doing to persuade people away from crime rather than just taking measures to prevent parties, drug dealing and motorbikes in parks. Roy Smith said that police do support engagement activity but are not the driving force behind it. Police work with charities, youth organisations, football clubs and their independent advisory group and recently provided a summer camp for young people held at a local school.

Roy Smith responded to a written question about the impact of upcoming budget cuts, saying that there were proposals across London to increase the number of safer neighbourhood team officers so Brent might be able to have some town centre safer neighbourhood teams in addition to its current ward teams.

Roy Smith said that written comments on stop and search indicated people were asking for more of it. He said it was a fine balance, must be fair and explained well, and not unfairly target people disproportionately. It was fair to say that police could do better at explaining what they were doing and why. 

A recent Section 60 Notice
A questioner said that many thought section 60 powers to use stop and search were used disproportionately in certain communities. She said that more engagement was needed with the community. She said that notice was not given soon enough and only on Twitter, which few people saw.

Roy Smith said there is disproportionality in stop and search and in the likelihood of being a victim of a homicide or a suspect, but stop and search was not a solution to violent crime, the sources of which needed to be addressed when children were at primary school age. Officers are taking weapons off the street and saving lives but it is an imperfect solution and he welcomes support on how to improve it. He said he spends a long time with members of the black community who are more affected than anyone else, including victims of shootings and stabbings. The problem is with how it is done and explained, but not with doing it. He said the police need to learn through feedback.

Roy Smith said he would work with the council on the best mechanism to get messaging about section 60s and quick spontaneous messages out quickly and to large numbers in the relevant geographical areas. He wants feedback on stop and search to make sure it is dignified and not criminalising young people. He provided his office’s contact details for feedback but asked the community to use their local ward officers as the primary point of contact.

Dr Angela Herbert, the chair of Brent police independent advisory group, said positive engagement was a priority. Roy Smith said that, if police stop and search someone and find nothing, they should apologise for the inconvenience, although not for the search. A participant commented that an apology is a must. Roy Smith said stop and search was not about racial profiling and must be intelligence led. He wants community support where officers are working legally. He said no-one has the right to prevent officers from doing their work. He said officers do not want to use force, so want people to cooperate calmly. Dr Angela Herbert said that the independent advisory group was looking to roll out training to help the community to respond safely.

Roy Smith thanked Roy Croasdaile, the chair of the Brent Stop and Search Community Monitoring Group, for running a stop and search workshop at the summer camp. He said it had provided a positive environment where young people could talk to police. Roy Croasdaile then thanked the 50 young people who had participated in stop and search scenarios in a role reversal with police. He said they had exercised their judgement very well and asked important questions, and that police officers had engaged enthusiastically with role reversal. The police press release about the workshop is HERE . Roy Croasdaile said that stop and search issues remaining were the speed of complaint resolution, disproportionality and equality impact assessment. Roy Smith said police were having conversations with the monitoring group to bring about improvement, including on complaints which he wanted to be able to deal with in five working days.

Roy Smith repeated the principle stated by Sir Robert Peel when he founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829 “The police are the public and the public are the police”. He said the police are paid but we are all demonstrating Peel’s principles by coming to this meeting, participating, being in workshops and gathering information. He gave a massive thank you to the community as the police could not do their work without community support. He thanked everyone for their constructive criticism, for which there was not a closed door.

Gill Close thanked Roy Smith for his responses to the questions and concerns raised.

Gill Close explained how people could send in follow-up questions until 5pm on Friday 21 August. She said that all questions submitted for this meeting would receive a reply from a police officer, and council officers would be involved where council action had been asked about. She said a summary of the meeting would be placed on Brent Council’s website and that, as part of its police accountability role, the safer neighbourhood board would follow up on the actions taken as a result of this meeting.

She said the safer neighbourhood board planned to hold more online meetings in future. She also invited everyone to the safer neighbourhood board public meeting from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday 18 March 2021 in the Grand Hall at Brent Civic Centre where they can ask questions of the commander, the Brent neighbourhoods inspector and the sergeant for their ward. She said that the safer neighbourhood board was working on ways to involve more young people in the public meeting and in ward panels, which set priorities for the ward police.

Gill Close encouraged everyone to join OWL (Online Watch Link) to receive secure messages on safety and crime from the police and council. She said that all contact details offered at the meeting would be provided with the summary of the meeting. She thanked everyone for attending and for sending in questions. She said the safer neighbourhood board hoped that today’s meeting and the individual responses questioners will receive will contribute to us all living in a safer community and will sow seeds for increased communication between the community and the local police.

Information on police contacts – follow this LINK  (page 4)

Brent Stop and Search Monitoring Grouop on Facebook LINK

Stop-Watch Website of advice, articles and reports on Stop and Account, Stop and Search and more LINK

Saturday 29 August 2020

The Welsh Harp Reservoir Story – Part 2

Welcome back to this look at the history of our local reservoir. If you missed Part 1, you will find it here (just “click” on the link).

1. The Old Welch Harp coaching inn, in a 19th century painting. (From Geoffrey Hewlett’s collection)
In the 1850s, the reservoir had been expanded, so that it covered around 400 acres. An embankment had been raised, to protect a public house from flooding. The Welsh (or Welch) Harp tavern had been built in 1736, just north of the Brent Bridge. It served as a coaching inn beside the Edgware Road, one of the main routes north-west from London, which followed the line of a Roman Road, known by Saxon times as Watling Street.

In 1858, William Perkins Warner became the landlord of the tavern. He had spent his childhood at Blackbird Farm in Kingsbury, before going to train as a butcher in London. During the Crimean War of 1854-56, he worked for the governments’ Commissariat Department, a uniformed civilian force that supplied food to the army. On his return, he married the daughter of a Kilburn builder, and at the age of 26 he began a business that would make the Welsh Harp name famous.

2. A drawing of William Perkins Warner. (From the collection of the late Geoffrey Hewlett)

A horse bus service from London to Edgware had started in 1856. Warner realised that this could bring him many extra customers, as long as he provided attractions that would make it worth their while. He rebuilt the tavern, adding a large dining room that would also stage music hall entertainment. He also leased adjoining fields, to provide gardens and sports facilities, and acquired the rights to use the reservoir for fishing and boating.

3. Parts of Warner’s song sheet for "The Jolliest Place That's Out". (From Geoffrey Hewlett’s collection)

One of the top music hall singers at this time was Annie Adams. Around 1864, Warner had new words written to one of her most popular songs, “The Merriest Girl That’s Out”. After she had performed it at his venue, printed lyrics of “The Jolliest Place That’s Out” were circulated, with an advertisement for the attractions of Warner’s Welsh Harp at the foot of the page. People knew the tune, and would be singing the chorus as they went about their daily lives!

4. A Michaux velocipede, owned by Arthur Markham. (Image courtesy of Coventry Transport Museum)

As well as the regular sporting attractions of the tavern’s grounds and reservoir, Warner staged special events to bring in larger crowds of customers. Whit Monday, the day after the Christian festival celebrating Pentecost, was often taken as a public holiday, even before this was officially recognised in the Bank Holidays Act of 1871. In 1868, Warner organised England’s first ever bicycle race at the Welsh Harp, and presented a silver cup to the winner, Arthur Markham. He was riding a “velocipede”, made in Paris by the Michaux brothers. Today, the world’s most famous cycle race is the Tour de France, and that country can claim to be the home of cycle racing, although its first bicycle race was held just one day before Warner’s!

5. Crowds at Warner's Kingsbury race course in the 1870s.

6. A swimming gala in progress at the Welsh Harp, c.1870.
(Both of these images, from Geoffrey Hewlett’s collection, are probably from “The Illustrated London News”)

Warner brought racing on a larger scale to the Welsh Harp in 1870, with the opening of his Kingsbury race course. His Spring steeplechase meeting, with a course that went across the fields of Kingsbury as far as Preston, was famous in its day, but the Racecourses Licencing Act of 1879, banning horse racing within ten miles of the capital, put a stop to this venture. The summer of 1870 also saw the first of the Welsh Harp’s swimming galas in the reservoir.

 7. The Brent Reservoir, as it appears on an 1873 O.S. map of Middlesex. (From an original at Barnet L.S.C.)

This extract from an Ordnance Survey map shows the Brent Reservoir as it was in 1873. You can see that its waters stretched east and north well beyond the Edgware Road. To give you an idea from the area today, part of the Brent Cross Shopping Centre and most of the Sainsbury’s superstore at West Hendon would have been under water. The map also shows the Midland Railway line, which opened in 1869/70, crossing the reservoir on a viaduct.

Warner was quick to see that the railway could bring many more people to events at his pleasure grounds. The trip from Hendon Station might put some people off, so he persuaded the railway company to build a Welsh Harp Station, which opened in 1873, just two minutes walk from the tavern. This was to their mutual benefit, with the Midland Railway running special trains on Bank Holidays to bring thousands of Londoners to the attractions that Warner staged.

 8. Warner's advert and the Midland Railway special timetable for the Welsh Harp, Whit Monday 1884.

A succession of very cold winters from 1879 onwards saw the reservoir freeze over, sometimes for a number of weeks. Warner, never one to miss an opportunity, was soon advertising public skating on the Welsh Harp. He also brought down professional speed-skaters from the Fens, for one-mile races that drew large crowds of spectators. The Warner Cup, in January 1880, was won by the English champion, George “Fish” Smart. With milder winters now, even if the surface freezes, please don’t venture onto the reservoir – you would be “skating on thin ice”!

9. A newspaper advert for skating at the Welsh Harp, and "Fish" Smart winning the Warner Cup race.

 10. W.P. Warner's Old Welsh Harp in the 1880s. (Brent Archives online image 1340)

William Warner died at the Old Welsh Harp in 1889, aged just 56. You can see in the photograph above, taken in the 1880s and used in a later postcard, what the public house he took over thirty years earlier had developed into under his management. His widow carried on their business for another ten years until the lease ran out, assisted by William’s brother, John. As well as the many sporting and entertainment facilities that the tavern and its grounds offered, they continued to put on special attractions, such as a parachute descent from a balloon by the fearless Miss de Voy of London in 1890. 

Her gas-filled (from the mains!) balloon took off from the tavern’s grounds, watched by a large crowd. It disappeared into the clouds, and several minutes later Miss de Voy’s parachute was spotted. Unfortunately, she was blown off-course, and the crowd following her along the bank saw her land in the water, near the Cool Oak Lane bridge. A local newspaper report says that W. Leicester, a youth from Willesden, threw off his hat and coat, and dived into the water to save the brave aeronaut, but she was rescued by boat before he could come to her aid.

11. Cool Oak Lane bridge, from the reservoir bank, c.2010.

Even while the Old Welsh Harp was in its heyday, things were beginning to change around the reservoir. About 200 terraced houses were built in West Hendon in the 1880s, on new streets stretching down from the Edgware Road towards the water’s edge. But other parts of the surrounding land remained as rural countryside, where people could enjoy country walks on a Saturday or Sunday, if they were not making use of the livelier attractions on offer at the tavern.

12. Two photographs taken during a family's Sunday afternoon walk by the Welsh Harp in 1897.
(From the collection of the late Geoffrey Hewlett, copies donated to him from a Kingsbury family’s photo album)

The popularity of the Old Welsh Harp declined after Mrs Warner left, and the Midland Railway closed its station in 1903. There were other attractions that Londoners could enjoy, including the ambitious, but short-lived, pleasure grounds at Wembley Park. For his zeal in putting on sports and entertainment that brought in the crowds, W.P. Warner could be compared with Arthur Elvin, and his efforts to promote Wembley from the late 1920s onwards. More than fifty years before Elvin used greyhound racing as a way to save Wembley Stadium, Warner had staged England’s first greyhound race using a straight track and a mechanical hare, at the Welsh Harp in 1876. Unlike most of his ventures, that one ended in failure.

13. The reservoir and the Welsh Harp, in an 1898 illustration. (From Geoffrey Hewlett’s collection)

William Perkins Warner has been largely forgotten, but he has left a lasting legacy. Although its official name is the Brent Reservoir, because of his efforts most people know this stretch of water as the Welsh Harp. Its story will continue into the twentieth century, next weekend. Don’t miss it!

Philip Grant

Friday 28 August 2020

Muhammed Butt to be challenged for Labour Group leadership

In 2012 I got into trouble with then councillor Jim Moher in quoting a report about his part in the ousting of Ann John, then leader of Brent Council, and her replacement by her deputy, Muhammed Butt. LINK Moher said that he and his wife Ruth Moher, who became deputy leader, were engaged  openly in a democratic process.  Butt won the leadership by a narrow margin.

I am sure that Cllr Butt then will welcome the democratic process that will happen at the 2 stage virtual AGM. The first stage is on September 2nd and the second on September 5th   The AGM takes place after the publication of a report aimed at improving democracy in the Labour Group and more widely. LINK

Councillor Abdirazak Abdi (Kilburn) in an apparent attempt to reinforce the principle that democratic challenge is legitimate, is standing for many of the  positions, including the leadership,  according to the nomination list circulated recently.

Cllr Liz Dixon (Dollis Hill) is bidding to continue as Chair while Cllr Ihtesham Afzal  (Preston) challenges incumbent Vice Chair  Cllr Abdi Aden (Stonebridge).  Cllr Neil Nerva (Queens Park) is not standing again as Treasurer and the post will be contested by  Abdirazak Abdi, Cllr Shafique Choudhary (Barnhill) and Cllr  Keiron Gill (Brondesbury Park) a critic of the democracy report. Cllr Promise Knight (Stonebridge) is not continuing as Secretary and Councillor Sonia Shah (Wembley Central) has thrown her hat into the ring.

Cllr Sandra Kabir (Queensbury)wishes to remain Chief Whip but is challenged by Cllr Abdi.

Cllr Thomas Stephens (Sudbury) author of the democracy report, Cllr Promise Knight, Cllr Robert Johnson (Northwick Park),  and Nerva (a former leadership challenger to Butt) have all submitted an interest in joining the Cabinet.

One of the more interesting contests will be for the chairs of the two Scrutiny Committees. The group has recently agreed that one of the committees should be chaired by a  woman. Currently they are both chaired by men, Matt Kelcher and Cllr Ketan Sheth (Tokyngton).  They are standing again  and Cllr Roxanne Mashari (Welsh Harp and a former leadership challenger LINK), Cllr Fleur Donnelly-Jackson (Willesden Green) and Cllr Robert Johnson  are all candidates. It will be interesting, as I tweeted yesterday, to see if the positions are filled by people with the essential independence and integrity when the council is dominated by a single party and much power is concentrated in the Cabinet.

Sources suggest that Cllr James Denselow (Queens Park) is currently out of favour. He voted against the 1 Morland Gardens planning application recently, although it appears that falling out of favour pre-dated this.  Clearly his position as Chair of Planning Committee is a key one and given Cllr Butt's great interest in planning, a loyalist is likely to be appointed.  Kelcher and Johnson have been suggested as possibilities.

One issue that rankles with some is an unanswered question about how many councillors are members of Councillor Butt's extended family. On the one hand that should not matter as anyone is entitled to stand and if someone is a brother, brother-in-law or uncle, the relationship does not denote shared views. On the other hand, is this a matter of public interest when several of them (it has been suggested there are five altogether) could be on the same committee as members or substitutes?

Some Labour Group members are concerned that an election for Deputy Mayor will not take place at the AGM.

Downloadable Covid-19 leaflet in Somali and Dari

This is artwork for a leaflet being produced by Brent Covid-19 Action Campaign sponsored by Brent Trades Council.
Thanks to Rhoda Ibrahim for the Somali translation, to Soodabeh Balali for the Dari and to Dr Jonathan Fluxman for suggestions and medical advice.

If you'd like to download the leaflets as PDFs to run off yourself here are the links:


Thursday 27 August 2020

Designated 'school service' buses on morning 18, 83, 92, 112 & 483 routes plus extra buses on some other routes from Tuesday - details

From next Tuesday, September 1st, Transport for London will be running some extra buses on busy routes and some 'school priority' buses.  There will be extra 206 buses from Kilburn/Harlesden to Wembley in the morning (but not in the afternoon), school priority - school service - buses (with all seats occupied) on the busy 18 route from North Paddington/Harlesden/Stonebridge to Wembley/Sudbury and they will also run on the 83, 92, 112 and 483 routes. Please check below for other routes and to see if there are school services on your route in the afternoon.

From TfL

Around 250,000 schoolchildren use London's buses to get to and from school. So, from 1 September until the end of October 2020 we're adding over 200 extra buses to the network - across low frequency routes and existing school routes.

We're also prioritising some of our bus services for school travel. Government guidance allows for all seats to be occupied on these 'school services', doubling their capacity, which is currently limited due to necessary social distancing.

These 'school services' will be clearly signed and are planned to operate on:
  • All our existing school services
  • Every other bus on key routes from 07:30-09:30 and 14:30-16:30 on weekdays
  • Some additional buses on less frequent routes
We ask that schoolchildren travelling without adults travel on the designated school services where these are provided, in order to help ensure space for customers on other services. Customers must also wear face coverings unless exempt for age (under 11 years), health or equality reasons - including on the 'school services'.

By doing all of this we will help increase capacity and free up other buses for other customers including your staff, and also help enable London's young people to make safe and reliable journeys to and from school.

A reminder that Zip Oyster Photocards are still valid for all schoolchildren and that free and discounted travel entitlements haven't changed. Please note that if children move between 11-15 and 16+ cards they will still need to register for the next card.

Extra buses and school service prioritisation from September

We are committed to helping London's schools reopen safely in September 2020. Around 250,000 school children use London's buses to get to and from school. So, from 1 September until the end of October 2020 we're planning to add over 200 extra buses to the network.

We're also planning to prioritise some of our bus services for school travel. Government guidance allows for all seats to be occupied on these 'school services', doubling their capacity, which is currently limited due to necessary social distancing.

These 'school services' will be clearly signed and are planned to operate on:

• 600-numbered school routes

• Some of our busiest high-frequency routes in both the AM and PM peak

• On certain low-frequency routes which we forecast to have a demand that exceeds the current capacity of buses.

We ask that schoolchildren travelling without adult's travel on the designated school services where these are provided, in order to help ensure space for customers on other services.

We will continually review how our network is operating to ensure our approach is working and meeting demand as best as possible. Check this page  LINK regularly for the latest information on our services and safer travel guidance.

By doing all of this we will help increase capacity and free up other buses for other customers including your staff, and also help enable London's young people to make safe and reliable journeys to and from school.

Routes with extra buses being provided:
20, 50, 89, 110, 116, 117, 119, 122, 130, 138, 142, 152, 153, 167, 181, 186, 187, 201, 203, 206, 215, 216, 223, 225, 226, 228, 232, 233, 234, 246, 251, 255, 265, 269, 272, 273, 275, 282, 287, 289, 290, 294, 298, 300, 309, 313, 315, 317, 322, 323, 324, 325, 331, 339, 346, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 359, 360, 362, 367, 379, 372, 376, 377, 380, 382, 383, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 401, 405, 406, 407, 411, 412, 413, 418, 428, 434, 444, 455, 462, 463, 465, 470, 481, 484, 487, 491, 492, 493, 496, 498, 499, 533, A10, B11, B12, B13, B14, B15, B16, E5, E7, E10, E11, G1, H17, H18, H20, H25, H26, H28, K1, K4, K5, P5, P12, P13, R1, R2, R3, R4, R6, R7, R8, R68, S3, S4, U3, W5, W9, W16 and X26.

Plus school routes 601, 602, 603, 608, 612, 613, 617, 624, 626, 627, 628, 629, 631, 632, 635, 638, 640, 642, 643, 646, 652, 653, 655, 656, 657, 661, 662, 663, 664, 665, 667, 669, 671, 674, 675, 677, 678, 679, 683, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 690, 692, 696, 697, 698, 699

Routes with school priority buses running between 0730 and 0930:
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 18, 21, 25, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, 44, 46, 47, 51, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 70, 71, 80, 81, 83 85, 86, 87, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 102, 103, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 118, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 140, 143, 144, 145, 147, 150, 151, 154, 155, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164. 165, 170, 172, 174, 176, 177, 180, 184, 185, 188, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 204, 207, 212, 213, 217, 219, 220, 221, 222, 226, 227, 229, 231, 235, 236, 237, 244, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 256, 257, 258, 262, 263, 267, 270, 271, 276, 279, 283, 284, 285, 288, 296, 299, 301, 307, 312, 316, 319, 320, 321, 326, 329, 330, 332, 333, 337, 343, 344, 357, 358, 363, 364, 366, 371, 379, 380, 381, 391, 393, 410, 417, 419, 422, 425, 427, 428, 430, 432, 433, 440, 450, 452, 453, 466, 468, 469, 472, 473, 483, 484, 486, 490, 607, B12, C10, C11, D6, E1, E2, E6, E8, E9, EL2, EL3, H10, H19, H22, H37, H91, H98, K2, K3, P4, R11, R70, S1, U1, U2, U4, U5, W3, W4, W6, W7, W8, W11, W13, W15 and W19.

Routes with school priority buses running between 1430 and 1630:
25, 33, 39, 46, 51, 54, 58, 61, 65, 80, 81, 92, 93, 95, 96, 110, 111, 112, 114, 120, 123, 124, 125, 126, 131, 132, 140, 143, 144, 147, 152, 157, 162, 163, 164, 165, 170, 184, 190, 192, 193, 200, 208, 213, 217, 221, 227, 229, 234, 235, 237, 238, 244, 248, 256, 261, 267, 270, 276, 279, 281, 284, 296, 316, 320, 326, 358, 364, 366, 371, 410, 419, 427, 433, 440, 444, 450, 469, 490, 607, C11, D6, E6, H10, H19, H22, H37, H98, K2, K3, P4, R11, R70, S1, U1, U2, W3, W4, W6, W8, W13, W16 and W19.

Vital Zoom Webinar on Climate Crisis and Education - September 13th

Good to see my union continuing to focus on climate change, pedagogy and curriculum despite  having to deal with the twists and turns of government guidance for the September school start and the lack of an effective test, track and trace system.

I met people from Rethinking Schools when researching for my MA in Urban Education during a trip to the United States  in the '80s and attended their conference that united educatators, parents and community activists. They do brilliant work and it is amazing amazing that they are still going decades later.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

The Brent is YOUR river. Help restore it this Saturday. Numbers limited.

From  Thames 21
 Our next event at Quainton will be on Sat the 29th August. See poster above, please remember that we are limiting the number of participants to make it safe for everyone, so please book in advance.

This time the plan is to continue cleaning up the river and the banks to remove as much litter as we can before we continue the vegetation management and river restoration works (after the end of the bird nesting season and all the permits are in place).

The river restoration part of the project is planned for the coming months (Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec 2020), please prepare as we need your help to restore the natural processes of this section of the River Brent for people and wildlife. See a summary of the restoration plan above.

In addition, we would like to invite you to join our citizen science monitoring program. We are continuing to recruit volunteers interested in learning new skills and in monitoring various aspects of the river Brent: water quality, physical habitat, aquatic biota, or to take fixed point photographs to help us evaluate the river’s health (both before and after restoration). Let me know if you are interested and I can send you more information on training, monitoring frequency, dates, etc..

Tuesday 25 August 2020

IOPC Director's 'deep concern' as 6 more officers are investigated for misconduct re photographing of Fryent murder victims' bodies

From the Independent Office for Police Conduct

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into allegations of misconduct in a public office after inappropriate photographs were taken at a murder crime scene in Wembley in June 2020 has been expanded.

Over the last two months, evidence has emerged revealing further allegations of misconduct linked to a single London police station in the North East Command.

The IOPC has been conducting a criminal investigation into serious allegations of misconduct in a public office following a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 19 June. The investigation relates to allegations that inappropriate photographs were taken at a homicide crime scene in Wembley and were subsequently shared with a small number of others.

As part of this investigation, two Metropolitan Police constables were arrested by IOPC investigators on Monday 22 June and later released pending further investigation. The evidence obtained in the investigation has been passed to the Met Police for their consideration.

However, during the course of the original investigation, the IOPC’s inquiries have resulted in six further MPS officers being advised they are under investigation for misconduct.

The allegations are that the officers were aware of, or had either separately received or viewed the photographs. The six officers are under investigation for failing to either challenge or report these matters.

The investigation has also uncovered further alleged misconduct breaches of the standards of professional behaviour for a small number of officers which include honesty and integrity, and equality and diversity.  These alleged breaches are not related to the murder investigation.

A number of other lines of enquiry are still being looked at by the IOPC. The IOPC continues to liaise closely with the family.

IOPC Director for London Sal Naseem said:
I am deeply concerned by the issues emerging from our investigation.

Policing is founded on community consent, confidence and cooperation. The public have a right to expect high standards of professional behaviour from police. These allegations, if true, breach that trust and may point to more serious issues around the organisational culture, which we will also be looking at.

The evidence we have seen provides a salient reminder to all police officers to take responsibility for addressing wrongdoing and upholding professional standards in their own ranks, and their obligation to speak out if they see unacceptable behaviour.

Brent Council and L&Q Homes respond to the South Kilburn scandal

Well done to  Adam Shaw, the local democracy reporter on the Ealing Times in getting a response to the issues raised by Lucie Gutfreund about poor conditions at her South Kilburn home in a guest post on Wembley Matters over the weekend HERE.

The full report in the Ealing Times can be found HERE but this is a summary of the responses from L&Q Homes and Brent Council:
L&Q apologised for any inconvenience caused by the building issues at the new homes and said improvement works are ongoing, with the communal garden set to be reseeded in October. 

A spokeswoman for L&Q added it would meet with some residents over a recent £650 increase to charges, which it said were brought on by an undercharge by energy provider EDF and council ground rent costs. 

On the cladding issue, she said: “Unfortunately, as we own so many buildings affected by the Government guidance on fire safety, we’re not able to inspect, test, and then carry out works on them all at once. 

“Instead we must prioritise our buildings based on risk. Our highest risk buildings, defined by height, occupancy and building materials, among other factors, will be inspected first.”
She added the group is “already responding to an enquiry from residents about the building materials used in the construction of this property”. 

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, who is responsible for housing and welfare reform at Brent Council, said it is in contact with L&Q and is writing to residents to make them aware of how they can put forward complaints or concerns.

She said: “I’m really sorry that these issues persist and understand residents’ frustration. 

“It’s incredibly important to us that people feel safe and secure in their homes and we expect all registered providers operating in the borough to meet residents’ expectations of them.”