Friday, 25 November 2011

A message from the Brent Borough Commander

Following message received through local police for whole community- please read  and follow, there is useful information for everybody:

"Dear Community,
This week I want to send some more crime prevention messages. There has been the expected seasonal rise in house burglaries, but unlike last year the rise has come about two weeks earlier than the normal. Brent Police have flexed their resources to try and combat the burglars and despite the rise we have had some significant successes. Over 50 people have been arrested for house burglary in the last 6 weeks. Many of these have been charged with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service and remanded to prison by the local District Judges. We continue to make arrests for other crimes as well, 242 people were arrested for all types of matters over the last 7 days.

Obviously, it is much better if we prevent crimes happening in the first place. This is where you can help us. Currently there are radio adverts giving out some simple crime prevention measures, which will make your home or car less appealing to criminals. The advice talks about lights on timers, cancelling milk and newspapers when you are away. If you own a car, do not leave the keys on view next to a window. Some criminals are bold and can 'fish' them out through letter boxes or simply smash a window or door and grab the keys. Make it hard for them - don't leave your car keys visible!

Other steps to make your property less attractive to the criminals would be to have all the serial numbers of your electrical equipment logged and property marked - contact your local SNT officers for advice on how this can be done.

When considering theft from motor vehicles, a very simple aid to reduce the chance of you becoming a victim is to not leave any bags visible within the vehicle when it is unattended - not even loose change, you would be surprised that some criminals will break into a car for juts a couple of pounds. They don't care about having to pay for the repair of a broken window!

I would like to discuss distraction burglars; those who pretend to be reputable officials such as gas, electricity or the local authority - only to gain access and then steal from the unsuspecting victim. They are out there, and these shameless individuals predominantly prey upon some of the most vulnerable members of our community, for example our older people.

When a stranger calls at your door - do not open the door to them if you are not happy. Ask to see and examine their identification. Take the time to phone their depot or boss. If they are reputable they will have no problem in working with you to verify who they are. Don't let them in. If they suddenly leave, try and get a car registration and then call police on '999'. We will respond to your calls. This week we received community information about someone being in possession of a handgun in the NW10 area. Police attended and conducted a stop with armed police. You may have seen this or heard about it as the tactics can appear quite tough. The fact is that we cannot take any chances when guns are involved. If we cannot protect ourselves, how can we protect you? On this occasion a gun was recovered and 3 males were arrested. Thank you.

So finally, getting back to protecting your homes, I appeal to you to look around your home, and if you identify a neighbour who you think might be susceptible to being tricked in this way, take the time to talk to them about this advice. Thank you.

I will conclude by saying that Brent is a fantastic Borough. All of the partner agencies are doing as much as we can to help and protect you. By taking some precautionary steps you can help by making life harder for selfish and cowardly criminals and assist us to continue to make Brent one of the best places to live and visit.

Matthew Gardner
Borough Commander."

Planning in frontline as councils cut services

Local authority planning, development and environmental services face major spending cuts during 2011/12 according to a detailed analysis of council budgeting compiled by the Audit Commission.
The watchdog’s report, Tough Times, noted that councils are having to cope with both a reduction in central Government grant-aid as well as a fall in income from fees and charges of five per cent in real terms.
The report highlighted that local authorities are not targeting cuts in a uniform fashion and that planning is one area where cuts will be disproportionate.
The commission concluded that spending on planning and development will fall by 28 per cent in single tier and county councils (STCCs) and 16 per cent in district councils on average.
Almost half of the savings needed in STCCs will come from planning, housing and cultural services, the report found.
It found that STCCs facing the biggest cuts were most likely to target smaller services. “Planning and development budgets will fall 50 per cent on average in these councils in 2011/12,” it warned.
The report also made it clear that many district councils were increasing fees and charges. Some 40 per cent are targeting planning fees. Few planned changes in service standards or eligibility criteria, the commission noted.
The commission stressed that services like planning and development could not deliver similar savings every year. “Many councils will face difficult decisions about how to meet their funding shortfall in the next few years.”

courtesy of "The Planning Portal "

Sunday, 6 November 2011

UK ‘has 50% chance of returning to recession' - a warning

There is a 50% chance of the UK falling back into recession in 2011/12 even if the eurozone crisis is successfully resolved, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research warned today.
In its latest UK economic forecast, the research body said it expected economic stagnation to continue into the first half of 2012, with events in the eurozone adding to existing weak domestic demand.
The UK economy will grow by 0.9% this year and 0.8% in 2012 before returning to ‘more robust’ growth in 2013, the NIESR added.

National survey shows the UK’s most popular libraries and a rise in library volunteering

Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library is the UK’s most visited library, according to the latest annual survey from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

The Norwich-based library had 1,496,186 visitors in 2010–11, issuing 1,181,661 books and other items over twelve months. The next most visited library, Birmingham Central Library, attracted 1,197,350 visitors over the same period.

The CIPFA survey also shows that volunteering – central to the coalition Government’s vision for the ‘Big Society’ – has risen in public libraries in the past year. The total number of volunteers in UK libraries rose by 22.3 per cent to 21,462 people. Over the same period, the number of library staff dropped by 4.3 per cent to 23,681 (FTE).

Top 20 by number of visits per annum
1NorfolkNorfolk& Norwich Millennium1,496,186
3CroydonCroydon Central1,168,160
4Newcastle upon TyneNewcastleCityLibrary1,157,186
6Brighton & HoveBrightonJubilee950,714
13Tower HamletsIdea Store Whitechapel697,201
16Barking & DagenhamBarking660,937
17SunderlandCity Library & Arts Centre636,571
18LancashireHarris Library Preston624,850
19Milton KeynesMilton KeynesCentral619,258

Top 20 by number of issues per annum
1NorfolkNorfolk& Norwich Millennium1,181,661
5Milton KeynesMilton KeynesCentral618,730
10Brighton & HoveBrightonJubilee521,260
11Newcastle upon TyneNewcastleCityLibrary513,690
12WestminsterCharing Cross513,242
14West SussexCrawley497,397
19City of LondonBarbican447,884

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Barry hosts Coffee Morning at Brent Town Hall

Today, Friday the 4th of November, Barry Gardiner MP hosted a coffee morning at Brent Town Hall. The event saw the participation of as many as 40 people despite the heavy rain and transport disruption.
This was the first of a new series of coffee mornings which Barry has organised.


Barry's coffee mornings are scheduled to complement the 5 regular advice surgeries he holds every month and his ongoing programme of visits.
Surgeries are excellent ways for Barry to pick up on local and individual issues but sometimes it is also important for Barry to meet with his constituents in a more social and less formal way.
Coffee mornings are relaxed affairs with no long speeches with a small party of constituents so that everybody has a chance to speak and there is plenty of time to chat and to enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit together.

Today's topics included the state of Britain's job market, the Government's immigration policy, the UK's membership of the European Union, the Coalition's fiscal policy and its effects on Brent Council, education and other local issues.
Barry is committed to organise another session soon. If you live in Brent North keep an eye on your letterbox, an invitation might be on its way!

I was there too but a short period of time.

courtesy of Barry Blog