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Navin's News for September 2011

BBC News: Neasden Fire

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Mother and five children killed in Neasden house fire

A mother and five of her children have been killed in a house fire in north-west London.

Muna Elmufatish, 41, and her daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13 and Amal, nine, died in the blaze with her sons Mustafa, five, and Yehya, aged two.

Her husband, Bassam Kua, 51, and another daughter Nur, 16, are in a critical condition following the fire in Neasden early on Saturday morning.

Police said they are not treating the deaths as suspicious.

Flames tore through the semi-detached house in Sonia Gardens as six fire engines and 30 firefighters tackled the blaze at about 01:00 BST.

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'Like a bomb'

One neighbour said he heard a loud bang from the home of the family who are thought to be Palestinian, which sounded "like an explosion, almost like a bomb".

He added: "We all went outside and we saw firemen looking out the window and shouting, 'there's people in there'. It was horrific."

LFB station manager Glen Gorman, who was at the scene, said: "There's no doubt this is an absolute tragedy.

Chief Supt Matthew Gardner: 'Thorough and painstaking investigation' taking place

"My thoughts, and those of my colleagues at the London Fire Brigade, are with the friends, family and loved ones of those affected at this extremely sad and difficult time."

He added: "Crews worked extremely hard in some very, very, difficult conditions and were able to prevent fire spreading to adjoining properties and causing further injuries or even further tragedy."

Chief Supt Matthew Gardner said: "Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the friends and family of the victims, who are now having to come to terms with this terrible loss of life."

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We sent the air ambulance, a doctor in a car, four ambulance crews and a hazardous area response team.

"Sadly four youngsters and an adult were dead at the scene.

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Silence observed

"Our staff treated a five-year-old boy in cardiac arrest but despite extensive efforts they were unable to resuscitate him."

BBC correspondent Ben Ando said from the scene that the local community had been profoundly shocked by the deaths.

London Assembly member Navin Shah said his condolences were with the family whose childen attended schools in the area.

Chief Supt Gardner said local officers were conducting "reassurance patrols" and would be working with the local authority and fire brigade, as well as local schools in the coming days.

Firefighters from Willesden, West Hampstead, North Kensington and Park Royal fire stations were at the scene of the blaze.

They were alerted at 00:50 BST and the fire was under control by 02:50 BST but the ground and first floors of the house were badly damaged.

A minute's silence for those who died was held at 17:30 BST by fire crews from across the UK who are attending a firefighters' event in east London.

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24th September 2011

Harrow Time: Drop in Police Numbers

 

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London assembly member, Navin Shah, criticises drop in police numbers across borough

By Suruchi Sharma

THE LONDON assembly member for Harrow and Brent has raised concerns on a drop in police officers across Harrow after new figures were released this week.

Figures published by the authority (MPA) shows there were 403 full-time warranted officers in Harrow in March last year compared to 369 in July this year - resulting in a drop of 34 full-time warranted officers, which does not include special constables or PCSOs.

The data shows a slight rise in numbers from July this year.

London Assembly member Navin Shah said: "The London Mayor's cuts to police in Harrow undermine the fight against crime and should be reversed.

"The mayor is taking a serious gamble with crime by reducing police numbers in Harrow."

A statement from the Mayor's office said: “The Met has over 1,000 police officers leave each year through retirement alone and it is misleading and inaccurate to suggest that this is because of budget cuts.

“The Mayor has in fact boosted the Met budget by £43 million this year, which enabled the Met to be one of the only forces in the UK to re-open their recruitment.

“These figures also do not take into account the hundreds of special constables who are currently training to become full time police officers.

“By March 2012 the Met will have well over 32,000 police officers, 1,000 more than when the Mayor was elected.”

 

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23rd September 2011

Mayor's 'unfair' fare rises slammed

Local London Assembly member, Navin Shah, has described Mayor Boris Johnson's latest public transport fare rises as unfair and unnecessary.

The Mayor this week announced that fares will soon rise by as much as 8 per cent - the third significant hike since Boris Johnson was elected in 2008. A single bus fare has now gone up by 56 per cent.

A zone 1-6 travelcard will now cost commuters in Brent and Harrow an extra £160 a year.

Navin Shah, local Labour London Assembly member, said: "This is another painful and unfair squeeze on the pockets of anyone who has to use public transport. Bus, train and tube users are being made to pay for the Mayor's unnecessary shrinking of the congestion charge and re-design of the buses. 

"Boris should spend less time campaigning for tax cuts for the richest 300,000 people in London and more time keeping fares down for the other seven and a half million."

 

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Fare rises since 2008

Single bus ticket up 56%

·        was 90p in 2008

·        will be £1.40 in 2012

Costing Londoners £260 a year more

Weekly bus and tram pass up 47%

·        was £13.00 in 2008

·        will be £19.10 in 2012

Costing Londoners £317 a year more

Weekly zone 1-2 travelcard up 23%

·        Was £24.20 in 2008

·        Will be £29.80 in 2012

Costing Londoners £291 a year more

Weekly zone 1-4 travelcard up 23%

·        was £34.60 in 2008

·        will be £42.60 in 2012

Costing Londoners  £416 a year more    

 

 

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15th September 2011

Harrow Times: HPPCG Meeting about the riots

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By Suruchi Sharma 

Round of applause for officers working during riots at police watchdog Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group (HPCCG) meeting

HARROW’S top policeman praised the efforts of officers who worked up to 36 hour shifts during the riots at a meeting last night.

Officers were applauded at a meeting of the Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group (HPCCG) following speeches from Harrow’s Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Dal Babu and leader of Harrow Council’s Tory opposition, Councillor Susan Hall.

Chief Supt Babu said: “We had officers who attended the initial disorder in Tottenham and they were under attack and had bottles and bricks thrown at them.

“They worked their eight-hour shifts but some in the office worked 36 hours in a row travelling across London through the disorder.

“We took a very robust approach to individuals who turned up here and we had a dispersal order in place to send people away.

“The council were very supportive of us for which we thank them. The police officers were very hard-working and people just wanted to stay and work.”

Cllr Hall said: “We are absolutely blessed with the sergeants in this borough. It was every man to the deck when it came to the disturbances with the riots.

"People who would normally be sitting in offices put on their coats and went on the streets to keep us safe.

“We must thank Dal Babu and his team and I’m excessively proud of Harrow Police.

"If people just knew the amount of work they did, if they had been in South Harrow police station during the disturbances and they could see that officers were dead on their feet because they had done over 12-hour shifts. It was great what they did.”

Navin Shah, London assembly member for Brent and Harrow, said: “We want to thank the borough commander and the tremendous work of our local police and for keeping Harrow streets and the area safe."

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Car on fire in Tottenham. Photo by Nicobobinus

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13th September 2011

Remembering with hope

Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, attended a service in St Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America and the twentieth anniversary of the Firefighters Memorial Trust.

Addressing the congregation at the service called  ‘Remembering with Hope’, Right Reverend Graeme Knowles stated how people of from many  backgrounds had come together  “to pray for the future security of the world, for a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect, for peace and freedom, for justice and the rule of law.”

The congregation was attended by Bob Neil MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Honourable Louis B. Susman, Ambassador of the United States of America, Courtney Cowart Survivor of 9/11, London Fire Brigade, representatives of Firefighters’ Memorial Trust and representatives of Interfaith Group.

 

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After the service, prayers were held at the memorial statue of firefighters, opposite the Cathedral, led by the Chaplain to the Firefighters Memorial Trust and National Chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-servicemen and Women.

Speaking after the service at the Cathedral and prayers at the Monument, Navin Shah Assembly Member and Labour lead members on London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) said: “The significance of the service for a peaceful world was to reflect on the atrocities in America ten years ago and the importance of working together in the spirit of hope for a peaceful world.

"The moving experience today also brought back the memories from my visit last year in August to Ground Zero site and the message of harmony and hope conveyed through the proposed  ‘National September 11 Memorial and Museum’ on Ground Zero Site to promote messages of commemoration and education.

"I’m pleased that the Memorial was opened today.”

 

 

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12th September 2011