Brent and Harrow
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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Navin's News for February 2011

Asian Voice: Multiculturalism = Harmony & Respect

 

A wide range of views have been expressed in the Asian Voice addings to the debate on multiculturalism and I’m happy to add my voice. The debate has found some strange beldfellows like the Prime Minister and Trevor Phillips portraying multicultrasim as some form of evil which in view and experience is at the best dangerous distortion of what multicultural values actually stand for. I firmly believe multicultural values and ethos have strengthened our nation by bringing closer different cultures and religions and made a valuable contribution by instilling harmony and respect. Britain has benifitteded from multicultarism and put it on the map as an example for other nations by championing the cause of diversity and cohesion. This I say as a proud British for the last 35 years.

 

I welcome the debate but find it wholly wrong and very disturbing when the Prmime Minister talking on multiculturalism links it with terrorism as though it has aided terrorism. Such comments and attitudes divide and offend the community rather than helping cohesive. No Mr Prime Minsister, the so called ‘state doctrine of multicultarism’ has not ‘encouraged different cultures to live sperate lives’. On the contrary multiculturaism has over the years nourished the diverse values and made a vital contribution in gradually establishing different communties. Trevor Phillip’s assertion that multicultural values somehow breeds ‘seperateness’ is complete nonsense becuase multicultrasim has meant integration of differrent ethnic and religious groups and developed our own brand of community that has seen us living in a spirit of harmony and respect for all. Often America, which has longer history of ‘immigrant’ community settling in the USA, is portrayed as a great example of integration. But when analysed closley all is not well on this front in America. One only needs to examine ‘ghettoes’ in America and the no go areas in places like New York and Washington to see how bad the issues of discrimination and divisions in the community  are. Lord Dolar Popat is way off the mark in his assessment when he describes multcultarism advocating division in the British Society. In my view it is the very multicultural approach which has provided a platform for assimilation and our brand of identity which I believe is very positive and unique.

 

Sadiq Khan MP has added an interesting dimension to this debate recently through the launch of a new campaign "One Society, Many Cultures” with leading politicians religious leaders, trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners pledging to stand up against division and hatred and defend the right to freedom of thought, religion and culture. Ken Livingstone, who’s been a genuine supporter of the great multicultural nation that we are, has made a passionate plea on this matter saying "The launch of One Society Many Cultures could not be more timely. Britain's history is riddled with examples of communities being vilified, from the Jewish refugees of the early 20th century being accused of bringing diseases here, to the "No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs" signs that were common place in the 1960s. We have made huge progress but there is always a backlash. All communities make a choice about the way they live their lives; that is why cities like London are socially, culturally and economically competitive on the world stage. This is a template for the future of humanity. The British identity is the biggest mixing bowl in human history. This is what makes it successful”.

Having lived in Brent and Harrow all my ‘UK life’ I say that we in these Boroughs have shining demonstration of multicultural communities cherishing our diversity and living together shoulder to shoulder, There are undeniable issues about terrorism and much work is needed to tackle this but let’s not knock multicultural values.

Permanent link to this article
22nd February 2011

Tube ticket office opening hours slashed in Brent

Hypocrisy in Action

Today, as the changes come into effect, I condemn Boris Johnson's decision to slash ticket office opening hours in Brent. Ticket offices in the borough were cut by 574 hours and 15 minutes a week  on Sunday.

The changes come despite Mayor Boris Johnson's election promise to "defend local ticket offices" and "stop the planned ticket office closures". In his 2008 election manifesto, the mayor said he would ensure "there is always a manned ticket office at every station". Instead in Brent:

  • 14 stations times are changing
  • Significantly reduced weekend opening times at a number of stations
  • 51% average reduction of opening hours at affected stations
  • No ticket offices open after 7.30pm on a weekday or weekend (apart from Wembley Park)
  • Sudbury Town will be open for 15 hours 45 mins a week only (reduced from 38 and a half hours) (60% reduction)

 Across London opening hours are being cut by 30 per cent  - or 5,290 hours a week.

Boris_page_pic1.jpg

The mayor was elected on a clear promise to keep ticket offices open yet here he is cutting far more than anything that was planned before. Passengers will feel less safe and more vulnerable in the daytime and late at night as a direct consequence of the mayor's broken promises.

Transport for All, a charity who campaign on behalf of disabled passengers, have warned that the changes will make stations even less accessible.

Transport trade unions say the cuts will turn stations into a "criminal's paradise", making them more dangerous and leaving passengers - especially female passengers - more vulnerable to crime and anti-social behaviour. The TSSA union recently pointed to an assault which allegedly took place on an unmanned station.

TfL announced last March that 450 ticket office jobs would be cut as a result of the proposed changes. Negotiations over the job losses are on-going and one of the unions involved has accused the mayor of "jumping the gun" by pressing ahead with the ticket office cuts while the dispute is unresolved.

You can find out about the changes at your station in the table below:

Ticket office

Mon-Fri

Current

Mon-Fri

Proposed

Saturday

Current

Saturday

Proposed

Sunday

Current

Sunday

Proposed

Alperton 

0630-1400 & 1530-2000

0645-1115

0730-1830

1045-1415

0900-2100

1100-1200

Colindale

0645-1900

0645-14-00 & 1715-1830

0800-1800

0900-1545

0900-1800

0930-1530

Dollis Hill

0630-1900

0700-1000

0800-1800

1215-1315

0930-1800

1130-1400

Kilburn

0600-2200

0645-1930

0700-2200

0845-1800

0730-2200

0945-1715

Kilburn Park

0630-2000

0700-1315 & 1515-1830

0800-2030

0830-1900

0900-2000

0945-1600

Kingsbury

0630-1400 & 1530-2000

0645-1030

0900-1430

1045-1230

10000-1830

1100-1300

Neasden

0600-1430 & 1530-2000

0645-1030

0700-1900

0900-1300

1000-1900

1000-1400

Northwick Park

0615-1930

0730-1015 & 1530-1815

0800-1600

1000-1345

0930-1630

1000-1200

Preston Road

0600-2000

0645-1130

0800-2000

0930-1445

0830-1830

1115-1245

Queensbury

0630-1300 & 1530-1930

0645-1015

0800-1430

1000-1100

1000-2100

1000-1130 & 1700-1800

Sudbury Hill

0630-1230 & 1600-2000

0715-0915

0800-1530

1130-1230

0900-2100

1100-1300

Sudbury Town

0630-1130

0700-0945

0800-1400

1130-1230

0930-2200

1000-1100

Wembley Park

0530-2330

0615-2300

0630-0000

0630-0000

0800-2330

0745-2315

Willesden Green

0600-2200

0615-1930

0630-2200

0830-1845

0730-2300

0930-1900

 

How are the changes affecting you? Please let me know by contacting me here.

Permanent link to this article
7th February 2011

Tube ticket office opening slashed in Harrow

Hypocrisy in Action

Today, as the changes take effect, I condemn Boris Johnson's decision to slash ticket office opening hours in Harrow. Ticket offices in the borough were cut by 224 hours and 15 mins a week (57% of opening hours at affected stations) on Sunday.

The changes come despite Mayor Boris Johnson's election promise to "defend local ticket offices" and "stop the planned ticket office closures". In his 2008 election manifesto, the mayor said he would ensure "there is always a manned ticket office at every station" and he visited the borough to sign the petition at North Harrow. Instead in Harrow:

  • 8 stations times are changing
  • 57% average reduction of opening hours at affected stations
  • Pinner station will only be open for 15 hours and 45 mins a week (as opposed to 54 hours a week) – a 70% reduction

Across London opening hours are being cut by 30 per cent  - or 5,290 hours a week.

Boris_page_pic1.jpg

The mayor was elected on a clear promise to keep ticket offices open yet here he is cutting far more than anything that was planned before. Passengers will feel less safe and more vulnerable in the daytime and late at night as a direct consequence of the mayor's broken promises. 

Transport for All, a charity who campaign on behalf of disabled passengers, have warned that the changes will make stations even less accessible.

Transport trade unions say the cuts will turn stations into a "criminal's paradise", making them more dangerous and leaving passengers - especially female passengers - more vulnerable to crime and anti-social behaviour. The TSSA union recently pointed to an assault which allegedly took place on an unmanned suburban station, West Finchley.

TfL announced last March that 450 ticket office jobs would be cut as a result of the proposed changes. Negotiations over the job losses are on-going and one of the unions involved has accused the mayor of "jumping the gun" by pressing ahead with the ticket office cuts while the dispute is unresolved.

You can find a table of the changes below:

 

Ticket office

Mon-Fri

Current

Mon-Fri

Proposed

Saturday

Current

Saturday

Proposed

Sunday

Current

Sunday

Proposed

Harrow & Wealdstone (East)

No change

 

 

 

 

 

Harrow & Wealdstone (West)

No change

 

 

 

 

 

Harrow-on-the-Hill

0600-2215

0615-2030

0700-2200

0815-2015

0745-2200

0845-2000

North Harrow

0630-1030

0700-1000

1000-1400

1200-1300

1100-1600

1100-1200

Pinner

 

0630-1130 & 1600-1930

0715-1000

0900-1630

1100-1200

1000-2000

1300-1400

Queensbury

 

0630-1300 & 1530-1930

0645-1015

0800-1430

1000-1100

1000-2100

1000-1130 & 1700-1800

Rayners Lane

0600-2030

0645-1315 & 1615-1845

0800-2000

0930-1515

0900-2030

0930-1430

South Harrow

0630-1300 &1600-1930

0715-0945

0900-1600

1100-1300

0930-1930

1115-1330

Stanmore

0615-1930

0645-1330 & 1530-1915

0800-1900

0830-1830

0900-1900

0845-1830

West Harrow

0715-1030

0715-1000

closed

closed

closed

Closed

   

 

Permanent link to this article
7th February 2011

Asian Voice: Police Cuts: A Boost To Criminals!

 

It is most extraordinary that Tory Party, the so called Party of ‘Law and Order’ now in government is forcing through 20% cuts to police budgets over the next 4 years. This situation is compounded for London by the fact that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is facing a budget shortfall of £170m this year.

 

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has quite rightly  brought to our attention that "Far from protecting frontline policing as ministers promised, over 10,000 police officers are being cut in the next few years alone and that's 10,000 fewer police officers fighting crime, solving serious cases, or keeping our country safe. Cutting so fast and so deep into police budgets is crazy. It is completely out of touch with communities across the country who want to keep bobbies on the beat." Even the centre-right thinktank ‘Civitas’ has warned  that cuts to the police would boost criminals.

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s administration is no different when it comes to cutting police numbers and the budget. Last year, long before the coalition government started forcing through its draconian measures, the Mayor proposed a reduction of police numbers by 455 over the next three years and 5% cuts in police budgets Londonwide. The Mayor  has further frozen the recruitment of new police officers, which has resulted in the police estimating that they will have 900 fewer officers in March 2011 than they expected to have. This is the Mayor who pleadged ‘to spend less on press officers and more on police officers’ and ‘to redirect more resources to frontline policing’.

 

Mayor Livingstone introduced the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) between April 2004 & April 2006 with dedicated teams of six officers in every single ward in London - an innovation that has been remarkably successful.  A report in 2008 demonstrated  that there is a positive association between SNTs and falling crime and increase in confidence in local police. To maintain the excellent work undertaken by the SNTs commitment to current level and composition of the current  model of neighbourhood policing is crucial and this was endorsed by the London Assembly in a resolution in March 2010.

 

In 2008 Boris Johnson at a Mayors Question Time stated “I fully support the Safer Neighbourhood Team model, and I am committed to ensuring that there at least 6 officers in every ward.” However now Mayor Johnson has backtracked on the commitment and refused to maintain the 3-2-1 model of neighbourhood policing and now believes any decision on policing structure is an operational matter for the Commissioner!

 

At the local level, within my constituency of Brent and Harrow, the Metropolitan Police have continually improved the quality of life for the boroughs' citizens over the last decade. I feel therefore that it is a backwards step for 19 police officers to be lost in Brent this year due to the Mayor's freeze in recruiting and similarly Harrow is set to lose 11 police officers in the coming year. I find this situation extremely worrying requiring police to choose which crimes they tackle with reduced resources. I am told that the local police in Brent and Harrow is consulting on ‘flexible ways of working’. This in reality could mean Safer Neighbourhood Teams being taken away from ‘safer’ wards to ‘problem’ areas. If the ’flexible’ working approach was to be deployed it would be critical to ensure that the so-called ’safe’ wards do not end up being neglected areas wiping out the good work carried out over the past years and endangering strong partnerships with local communities.

Permanent link to this article
7th February 2011

The Mayor must come clean on future of Neighbourhood Police teams

I am calling on Mayor Boris Johnson to "come clean" about the future of neighbourhood policing in Brent and Harrow following reports that bosses have demanded they be changed.

 

All twenty-one wards in each borough are each currently covered by a safer neighbourhood team (SNT) made up of a minimum of one sergeant, two police constables and three police community support officers. But reports from elsewhere in London suggest that the make up of the teams could be changed.

Copy of DSC00326.JPG

 Safer neighbourhood teams work well and are highly valued in Brent. But despite Boris Johnson's promise to support them we're getting mixed messages about their future. The Mayor must come clean and be honest with Londoners about the reality of his cuts and whether our team is safe. I don’t want to see the level of crime creep up in Brent or Harrow because of tinkering with our local Safer Neighbourhood teams.

 

In Merton it was reported last week that, "The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, and Kit Malthouse, London’s Deputy Mayor in charge of policing, are demanding borough police forces scrap the existing “one-two-three” structure where each SNT has one sergeant, two constables and three community support officers."

 

And on BBC London this week, it was reported that in Westminster the police are proposing to merge 14 electoral wards in the north of the borough, each currently covered by six officers, into five bigger districts. "These proposals would result in a 50 per cent reduction in the number of sergeants, leaving those remaining responsible for policing a wider area", according to the BBC.

 

Acting Met commissioner Tim Godwin told the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) last week that the number of neighbourhood policing sergeants will be halved from 630 to 330 by the end of 2013.

 

 

Boris Johnson said in 2008, "I fully support the Safer Neighbourhood Team model, and I am committed to ensuring that there at least 6 officers in every ward."

 

The MPA is currently reviewing safer neighbourhood teams and is due to report later this month. I will of course update on this issue here.

You can find your SNT here: http://www.met.police.uk/saferneighbourhoods/

Permanent link to this article
4th February 2011