Khat ban welcome

Khat
Khat (Photo credit: eesti)

After public health debacles of the Government’s policy on alcohol and tobacco, the ban on khat which has been championed by Theresa May is a good thing.

I support her stance, which has gone against the recommendation of Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and decided to ban the currently legal substance khat.

When looking at these issues, it is also important to take into account the wider social impact that stimulants such as khat have on people and their families.

Where I am a Ward Councillor in Dudden Hill, you only have to go on Church Road and see the damaging impact that khat has on families and the streets in Brent. I have already been out with my ward sergeant on Church Road and people are delighted about this decision.

However, what is most important at the moment is that we work with people using the drug to make sure they are well aware and helped well in time before they are criminalised. I am working with my Drug and Alcohol Team in my department at Brent Council to ensure that this is the approach we take.

Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team down to three

Police numbers in Dudden Hill are simply too low. My ward currently has only one Sergeant, one PC and one PCSO as part of the dedicated Ward Safer Neighbourhood Team at the moment.

Last night, I was on a joint collaborative ward walkabout with Welsh Harp Ward to investigate cross-ward issues in the Neasden area. Residents are also welcome to join me this Sunday with the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team for a walkabout in the Neasden Shopping Centre area at 9.30am. The issues that we are trying to solve simply need more resources.

There are currently three different area with differing problems that we are trying to deal with at the moment. In Neasden, we have the street drinking and anti-social behaviour, in the Dollis Hill part of the Ward, I was informed last night that burglary has spiked up again and the Church Road area has one of the largest crime rates in Brent at the sub-ward level.

Given the lack of resources being afforded to our local police, I will ensure that ward working money is given to crime initiatives as I have done in previous years. The doubling of Ward Working funding will go a long way to help me, my remaining co-Councillor and the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team address specific crime and anti-social behavioural issues in Dudden Hill.

Ebony Court officially opened

On Thursday afternoon, Mayor of Brent, Councillor Harbhajan Singh officially opened the new Ebony Court development in Dudden Hill Ward. It is located near the Brent Magistrates Court by the Church End area.

I attended a ‘meet your neighbours’ event a few months ago when people first moved in so it was good to see people had settled into their new homes a few months on.

I am on the board of the housing group that developed this project as part of my Council appointments to outside bodies and we are exploring the possibility of developing the Church Road area, which is in big need of regeneration. I will push for the regeneration of this area to incorporate a new market square.

See more about Ebony Court here: LINK

Coalition cuts deprive Dudden Hill Ward residents of 2,132 frontline police hours

A traditional blue lamp as seen outside most p...
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I have made strong representations to the Borough Commander following the loss of Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team staff. Coalition and Mayoral cuts to police budgets are leading to recruitment freezes in police numbers which means that there are currently no plans to replace members of staff. I am therefore worried that given the loss of full time staff, residents in Dudden Hill may be permanently deprived of around 2,142 hours of frontline police hours a year. That is something I do not want for my residents. Our safety is not a price worth paying.

I am particularly concerned given the high crime rate in parts of Dudden Hill Ward – particularly the Church Road area which according to Metropolitan Police Crime Map figures had a crime rate of 21.12 in October 2010 which is more than double the 9.52 average crime rate in Brent.

I am fighting to make sure that Dudden Hill is represented and I am actively making a strong case to the Borough Commander to divert more resources for my ward.

Sentences handed to ChurchEnd dealers

The Willesden and Brent Times is reporting that seven drug dealers, who plied their trade on a notorious street have been sentenced in court. The dealers were arrested as part of Operation Soto which involved an 18-month long undercover operation that targeted drug dealing in Church Road, which is in Dudden Hill Ward. I first raised the issue on my blog in 2009 LINK.

Gold chain thieves arrested: Willesden and Brent Times

Last month I blogged on an increase in incidents of gold chain snatching LINK.

The Willesden and Brent Times are reporting that two people have been sentenced for robbery in a police crackdown on thieves who snatch valuable jewellery from people walking by.

Brent police launched a massive undercover operation in August to find and arrest thieves who were grabbing gold chains from the necks of innocent victims.

The operation was launched in response to an unprecedented crime wave of jewellery muggings with some 90 reported in 12 weeks. Church Road market in Dudden Hill Ward, and Ealing Road market in Wembley, were flagged up as particular hotspots although as my article says, incidents were not restricted to these two areas.

In the first case, a 14-year-old youth from Harlesden, was sentenced to a six month parenting order and a supervision referral order for 12 months at Brent Youth Court for attempted robbery. The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, followed a woman, 47, as she walked home in Neasden.

As she turned into Denzil Road, the youth stopped her and asked for the time. He then grabbed her by the neck and left shoulder and threw her to the floor before trying to pull a gold chain from her neck. Passers by heard her scream and ran over to help.

Fortunately, officers were nearby and stopped the 14-year-old from running off. He was arrested for robbery. He later pleaded guilty at court.

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Detective Sergeant, Mark Fletcher, from the Priority Crime Unit, said: “This suspect was arrested as a result of public spirited citizens and police coming to the assistance of a lone female who was being subjected to a cowardly attack.

“Brent police are dedicated to pro-actively patrolling the streets, looking for suspects concerned in robbery offences. We will continue this positive action in order to identify, arrest and convict robbery offenders.”

Source: Willesden & Brent Times

Last London Mayor’s Question Time of the Decade

A special thanks to oSource: london.gov.ukur London Assembly Member Navin Shah who asked a few questions to London Mayor Boris Johnson directly affecting Dudden Hill residents at the last Mayor’s Question Time of the decade. Navin was elected as Brent and Harrow’s Assembly Member in 2008.

See Below:

“Particularly Challenging Problems”

Question No: 3739 / 2009

Navin Shah

What are the “particularly challenging problems” Tube Lines are facing at Neasden and Wembley Park?

Answer from the Mayor:

The issues Tube Lines face at Neasden and Wembley Park are because the track and signalling layout in these areas is especially complex, largely as a result of the depot at Neasden.

In this area there are numerous points and crossings which control the movement of both Jubilee and Metropolitan line trains, and each line crosses the path of the other at regular points, especially towards the entrance to the Neasden depot.  The new Jubilee line signalling will need to interface with the Metropolitan line signalling in the area.

Neasden Station

Question No: 3740 / 2009

Navin Shah

What work is required to bring the Metropolitan Line platforms at Neasden station to a safe and useable level?

Answer from the Mayor:

Work would be required to repair the uneven platform surfaces and edges and remove vegetation.  Lighting, signage and CCTV would need to be installed.

Furthermore, because the former access route to/from the northbound Metropolitan line platform now forms part of the ticket office, customers would be required to exit via the Jubilee line platforms and a subway at the north end of the station, which is currently used by staff only.

The subway requires substantial work before customers can use it, as lighting, flooring and wall surfaces are below standard and in poor condition.  In addition, there is no information or safety signage.

Extending Bus Route

Question No: 3741 / 2009

Navin Shah

Brent Council installed a bus stand and toilet on Church Road, NW10, in the expectation that a bus route would be extended to this area, which has limited bus routes. When will the Mayor actually extend a bus route that will use this facility and improve transport for this deprived local community?

Answer from the Mayor:

The bus stand at Church Road was installed as part of a road scheme designed, in part, to enable increased housing provision in the area.  TfL was involved in the development of this scheme and welcomed the improved bus infrastructure provided.  However, no commitment was given for its immediate use as the area is currently well served by three high frequency services which are adequate for the existing level of demand and which provide good links to the surrounding area.  When additional housing is developed demand will increase and TfL will reassess any business case for service extensions at this time.

Track Inspections

Question No: 3742 / 2009

Navin Shah

How can the Mayor and Transport for London be sure that reducing the frequency of track inspections on the Jubilee line will not compromise passenger and staff safety? What advice was taken on the safety implications of this? Were staff and the unions consulted?

Answer from the Mayor:

The proposed reduction in the frequency of track inspections applies only to the newest section of the Line (the Jubilee Line Extension) and will only affect track patrolling.  All other track safety inspections will continue to be performed at the present frequency.

The London Underground standards currently require track patrolling to be undertaken at least twice per week. This compares to the track patrolling frequency of once per week mandated in the Network Rail standards for track with equivalent service duty (speed and tonnage). The primary reason for this difference in standards is the presence of the now obsolete Bullhead Track on much of the London Underground Network.

The Jubilee Line Extension was constructed with a modern track comprising continuously welded flat bottom rails on concrete sleepers. This track is identical to the track used on Network Rail and, as a result of its design, requires less maintenance and is less prone to defects and failures including broken rails.

The proposal to reduce the patrolling frequency on the Jubilee Line Extension is supported by a full safety analysis including risk assessment in accordance with the requirements of the London Underground Safety Management System. The safety justification was reviewed and approved by Tube Lines safety and engineering experts, in compliance with the full requirements of their Safety Review and Change Control procedure. Following approval within Tube Lines, a request for a concession to the London Underground Standard was submitted and reviewed by the LU Head of Track, our relevant engineering expert. The concession request was subsequently approved on the basis that there was adequate assurance that the proposed change would have no material detrimental effect on the safety of the railway service or staff.

A condition for the approval of the concession request was that Tube Lines ensured that staff and trade union representatives were adequately briefed about the proposed changes and the associated safety justification. Tube Lines have subsequently confirmed that this has been done.

Successful Drugs Raids in Church Road

I have been out talking to residents in the Church Road area in the last few weeks. A key problem that people conveyed to me was crime. People felt unsafe around their own home and were concerned with open drug dealing on the street.

One resident in particular said, “everyone knows who the drug dealers are and yet nothing gets done about it.”

Yesterday, a series of addresses (12 in total) in the Church Road area were raided as part of Operation Soto. Read more from the Willesden and Brent Times: LINK