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Thursday, 1 September 2011

EDL banned from marching through Tower Hamlets

Home Secretary Theresa May has approved the Metropolitan Police’s application to ban the proposed EDL march in Tower Hamlets for a period of 30 days starting from 2 September amid fears of violence and disorder.
Tower Hamlets’ Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, who campaigned for the EDL march to be banned, has welcomed this decision.
He said: “I thank the Home Secretary for making this decision, which means we can now move forward as a community free from the threat of the EDL marching through our borough with their messages of hate.
“This has always been a borough where people of different faiths, cultures and backgrounds live in harmony, and we will not be divided by the EDL or any other groups.
“It is the correct decision, and I would like to reiterate my thanks to the thousands of people that supported our efforts to get this march banned. Once again we have shown we are One Tower Hamlets and with the march now banned, I urge anyone previously planning to march in support of our cause to stand down. Their support has been fantastic, and I am delighted that our efforts have been successful.”
Pyrus from the EDL wrote: “Banning the EDL march will only serve to enhance radical Islam’s propaganda. If the government demonises and persecutes critics of radical Islam, then the radicals will be encouraged.”

Their website suggests that the EDL will be progressing with the march as planned.

Man sentenced for service order breach

A Tower Hamlets man appeared before Thames Magistrates court for breaching his community service order for the possession of Class A drugs.

Anthony Davey, aged 19, was sentenced today at the request of Probation Services for a harsher sentence.
The court heard that Probation Services had asked for him to be removed from the community service programme because this is now the third time he has breached the order.
Having first been sentenced in May, he has been ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work, of which he has only completed 16, and made to pay a total of £120 in compensation and court fees.
Magistrate D J Seaman said: “If I see you again in this court I will be compelled to sentence you to detention. You will be issued with a further 20 hours. Considering you do not work and you are not in education you have no excuse but to complete the hours.
“Your childishness has got your into this situation, you must now find the maturity within yourself to get you out of it."

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tension mounts as Boris Johnson demands u-turn on cuts

London Mayor, Boris Johnson is once again creating friction in the Coalition government this week demanding that the Prime Minister makes a u-turn on cuts to the police service.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Johnson said: “The case for cutting police budgets was frail and it has been weakened. This is not the time. This is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers.

“If you ask me whether I think there is a case for cutting police budgets in the light of these events then my answer would be no”.

The policing watchdog said more than 34,000 jobs, including 16,200 frontline officers, will go in the next four years as forces buckle under the strain of 20% cuts to their budgets.

Following the riots last week, David Cameron convened a special session of Parliament last Thursday, where, during an hour long debate the Prime Minister was asked about the dangers in cutting police numbers. This was made all the more poignant after Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh said officers were stretched as riots, fires and looting broke out across the capital.

In Parliament, Ed Milliband said: “The events of the last few days have been a stark reminder to us all that police on our streets make the public feel safer. Given the absolute priority the public attach to a visible and active police presence, does the prime minister understand why they will think that it is not right that he goes ahead with the cuts to police numbers he is planning?”

The Prime Minister responded: “Over the next four years we are looking for cash reductions in policing budgets.

“Today we still have 7,000 trained police officers in back office jobs. Part of our programme of police reform is about freeing up police for front line duties and that is why I can make this very clear pledge to the House: at the end of this process of making sure our police budgets are affordable we will still be able to surge as many police on to the streets as we have in recent days in London, in Wolverhampton, in Manchester.”

Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced earlier this year that 28,000 jobs will be lost from 43 forces over England and Wales.
She said: “No Home Secretary wants to cut police officers’ pay packages. But with a record budget deficit, these are extraordinary circumstances. We are taking action across the board to find savings in all aspects of policing. We cannot avoid the fact that changes to police pay and conditions have to be part of that package”.

In October of last year, Tom Winsor was commissioned by the Home Office to produce a report looking at a new system of pay and conditions for police officers and staff.

Mr Winsor, a former rail regulator, said: “This is or could be a once in a generation opportunity to dissolve some aspects, the nonsenses, the anomalies, the inefficiencies of the existing system and to create something that will endure far longer than the present financial mess that the country faces at the moment.”

The recommendations by Tom Windsor could produce savings of £485m in three years.He will be working with police officers, staff and a wide range of representative bodies including the police federation, police superintendents’ association, association of chief police officers, association of police authorities and unison.

But Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz urged Home Secretary Theresa May to rethink, saying: “The loss of 34,000 jobs represents a 14% reduction in workforce.

“This will make it impossible for the police force to meet the Government’s target of doing more for less.” Crime and security minister James Brokenshire, however, insisted police were “rising to the challenge” of cutting backroom staff. He said: “HMIC predict that by March 2012 the proportion of the police workforce in frontline roles will be higher than it was in March 2010.”

Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, said she agreed with Mr Johnson that the riots had highlighted the danger of cutting police budgets.

She said: "The 16,000 police on the streets of London made a big difference last night in restoring calm.This is further evidence that the Tory-led government needs to urgently rethink its cuts to police officers and budgets."

However, Mr Johnson came under attack from Ken Livingstone, Labour's mayoral candidate. Livingstone accused Johnson of "hypocrisy" and said in a statement on his website: "Boris Johnson may want to look like a critic of the government for police cuts but this is fake and hypocrisy as he has been ramming through overall police cuts in London and undermining neighbourhood policing himself."

More than 1,000 arrests have been made in London alone and Magistrates have charged 810 people after having worked through the night to clear the back log.