Women have made great progress in the Metropolitan Police but there is much more to be done

Full Story can be found at OnLondon

One hundred years ago, the first women police officers went on patrol in London. At that time, there were just 21 of them. Moreover, these women were far from treated as equals. They did not have the power to arrest criminals and they were paid less than male colleagues.

Today, there are just under 8,000 women police officers working in the Metropolitan Police Service and there is some female representation at all ranks with commissioner Cressida Dick, along with deputy mayor for policing and crime, Sophie Linden, showing that women are now leading our community safety. Throughout the ranks, whether it is as schools’ officers, pursuit drivers, riot officers, detectives or PCSOs, women are keeping us safe. We should welcome this progress. But we shouldn’t let it stop us from saying that even more needs to be done.

Having a police service that is diverse and representative of the city it serves is vital for community cohesion and makes a real difference to the ability of the police to prevent and solve crime. Building trust and confidence between the police and community is the bedrock of neighbourhood policing. It is only by developing strong relationships with local people that victims and witnesses of crime will come forward to report it, help to bring offenders to justice and enable the police to safeguard vulnerable people.

One of the key challenges the police face in overcoming violent crime is the “wall of silence” – a term which describes victims of crime not having the confidence to report incidents to the police. Likewise, in cases of domestic abuse, rape, other sexual offences and other forms of violence against women and girls, we know that victims do not always have confidence that they will be listened to and taken seriously.

Having more women police officers will help us to overcome these barriers, Studies that show that increasing female representation in police forces can increase the reporting of these crimes. We may also be able to uncover other forms of criminality which too often remain hidden, such as the harassment, abuse and exploitation of young girls by gang members. This is currently under-reported, in part because girls do not feel able to talk to the police about their experiences.

This year has also marked 50 years since the first black woman police officer, Sislin Fay Allen, joined the Met. There are now just over one thousand BAME women in the service. However, they accounts for just three percent of the overall workforce, compared to around 20 per cent of the population in London. It was concerning to hear the Met announce this week, that based on the current level of progress, it will take 100 years for their ranks to reflect the diversity of London’s population.

We cannot allow the current levels of under-representation to continue, but there are some signs of change. Sadiq Khan has rightly said that his aim is to have a police service that is as diverse as London’s population. The Met have designed specific recruitment campaigns aimed at tackling barriers to entry and 48 per cent of the young people involved in the cadet scheme are girls. This means that almost 2,500 young women are learning new skills and volunteering with the police. It is important that we support the cadets scheme to ensure that these young people feel able to become Met officers in the future.

We have come a long way since February 1919, the first time women patrolled London. We need to use this anniversary to celebrate the progress we have made and to re-double our efforts in making the Met more diverse.

Florence Eshalomi: Rail fare reform proposals need to go further

In response to the publication of the Rail Delivery Group’sproposals for rail fare reform, Labour’s London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, Florence Eshalomi AM, said:

“If implemented, these proposals could deliver much-needed flexibility for London’s rail commuters and bring a currently antiquated ticketing system fully into the digital age.

“The recommendations also add to the growing chorus of calls for increased regional devolution of rail fares, so they can be set at fairer rates.

“It is simply unacceptable that beleaguered commuters have been made to endure continuous delays and cancellations to rail services, despite having to suffer rising fares.

“This is why we need the Government to go even further than these proposals, follow the Mayor of London’s lead and freeze all rail fares. In addition to this, it is vital that more suburban routes in the capital are devolved and placed in the hands of TfL to increase the quality and reliability of services”.

ENDS

£24m funding boost for cleaner black cabs

In response to the Mayor’s announcement that he has provided an extra£24 million of funding to a scheme which helps black cab drivers switch to electric vehicles, Labour’s London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, Florence Eshalomi AM, said:

“In London, we are facing a stark situation with almost 10,000 people dying prematurely every year and children’s lungs being stunted by excessive levels of air pollution.

“Our cabbies have been playing their part in helping to clean up the capital’s air with many having switched to zero emissions capable vehicles.

“This significant funding boost, which comes on top of the £18 million that TfL have already allocated, will be vital in helping even more cabbies in the capital transition to cleaner taxis from older, more polluting vehicles”.

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Notes to editors

  • report published by King’s College London shows that almost 10,000 people in London die prematurely each year due to toxic air;
  • The British Lung Foundation identifies air pollution as a factor in the stunting of children’s lung development;
  • Florence Eshalomi is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark.

Florence Eshalomi pushes for Peckham Rye and Streatham to receive step-free funding

Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, has called on the Government to include Peckham Rye and Streatham as priority stations to secure vital Government funding to improve accessibility and step-free access.

Last year, the Government published its Inclusive Transport Strategy and, as part of this, allocated an extra £300 million for its Access for All programme. The funding will be made available for step-free access improvements at selectedrailway stations across the UK between 2019 and 2024.

Peckham Rye and Streatham station were both identified by Network Rail has priority stations for improved accessibility.

Mrs Eshalomi AM is calling upon the Government to provide a portion of this investment for Peckham Rye and Streatham Station,which could go towards the installation of lifts, new ramps and footbridges and accessible ticket gates and toilets.

It has been confirmed that the list of successful nominated stations will be announced in April 2019.

Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, said:

“We need to do everything possible to ensure local residents with disabilities and mobility issues can access transport links across the capital.

“Peckham Rye and Streatham are both extremely busy stations that were identified by Network Rail as priorities for step-free funding. I hope that Network Rail will continue to make the case to the Government the need for improvements at both stations.

“Improving accessibility here would make a huge difference to the lives of local people, vastly improving what is usually a complicated and stressful experience for people with disabilities, the elderly, and parents with pushchairs when navigating London’s transport system.

“This is why I urge the Government to include Peckham Rye and Streatham and allocate them both a share of the Access for All funding”.

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Notes to editors

  • It has been confirmed that the list of successful nominated stations will be announced in April 2019;
  • Florence Eshalomi AM is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark

Homeless can be helped this Christmas with the tap of a card

Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, is urging local people to use new contactless donation points rolled out by City Hall to help rough sleepers this winter. So far, 13 have been installed at venues across Lambeth and Southwark. Mrs Eshalomi AM is also calling upon those unable to access a contactless point to instead donate to the campaign online to ensure those sleeping rough on London’s streets can be reached this Christmas.

The contactless points, created by not-for-profit company, TAP London, allow local people to easily make a £3 donation by card, which will be shared equally across the 22 members of the London Homeless Charities Group. Since late November, 53 TAP London donation points have been launched across the capital, with the rollout of at least 37 more on the horizon over the winter.

Last week, it was revealed that Londoners have donated £78,000 in the first two weeks of the fundraising campaign.

The installation of the donation points comes alongside the Mayor doubling the size of City Hall’s street outreach team and putting measures in place to ensure that severe weather shelters will open across London whenever freezing temperatures are anticipated.

The latest available data from the Greater London Authority (GLA) shows that between July 2018 and September 2018, the number of rough sleepers recorded in Lambeth was 126 and in Southwark was 171.

In December 2017, the Mayor of London launched his ‘No Second Night Out’ campaign which encourages Londoners to refer rough sleepers to homeless charities and local authorities through the ‘StreetLink’ app and website. Londoners have made almost 1,500 referrals to StreetLink in the last fortnight alone.

Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, said:

“It is shameful that so many people in our community will be homeless this winter. Christmas is a costly time for everyone, so we’re asking people to give whatever they can, however small, to help those in our community sleeping rough on our streets.

“Last year, we saw an incredible amount of generosity from Londoners who pledged thousands to the Mayor’s rough sleeping campaign. In the same spirit, I would urge local people to use these contactless points or make a donation to support the vital work of the London Homeless Group online.

“I also strongly recommend using the StreetLink app to refer anyone seen sleeping rough in our community to organisations and council teams so that they can provide a helping hand”.

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Notes to editors

  • City Hall has rolled out contactless donation points at Board Game Café Draughts (Waterloo) , Walrus Bar and Hostel  (Waterloo), the Duke of Sussex Pub  (Waterloo), The Fire Station Bar and Restaurant  (Waterloo), The Wellington Hotel  (Waterloo), Bar Elba  (Waterloo), Jack’s Bar (Waterloo), The Walrus Bar and Hostel (Waterloo) in Lambethto help rough sleepers this winter;
  • City Hall has rolled out contactless donation points at City Hall, Greater London Authority offices at 169 Union Street, The Gentlemen Baristas- Union Street, The Gentlemen Baristas-Park Street, Flat Iron Square in Southwark to help rough sleepers this winter;
  • The contactless points, created by not-for-profit company, TAP London, will allow local people to easily make a £3 donation by card, which will be shared equally across the 22 members of the London Homeless Charities Group;
  • Since late November, 53 TAP London donation points have been launched across the capital, with the rollout of at least 37 more on the horizon over the winter.
  • Last week, it was revealed that Londoners have donated £78,000 in the first two weeks of the fundraising campaign.
  • The installation of the donation points comes alongside the Mayor doubling the size of City Hall’s street outreach team and putting measures in place to ensure that severe weather shelters will open across London whenever freezing temperatures are anticipated;
  • The latest available data from the Greater London Authority (GLA) shows that between July 2018 and September 2018, the number of rough sleepers recorded in Lambeth was 126 and 171 in Southwark;
  • In December 2017, the Mayor of London launched his ‘No Second Night Out’campaign which encourages Londoners to refer rough sleepers to homeless charities and local authorities through the ‘StreetLink’ app and website.
  • In the last fortnight, Londoners have made 1,474 referrals to StreetLink;
  • A mostly updated map of contactless donation points locations can be found on the TAP London website;
  • Donations can be made online through the TAP London website;
  • Florence Eshalomi AM is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark.

Mayor’s decision to approve plans for the Elephant and Castle

In response to the Mayor’s decision to approve plans for the Elephant and Castle regeneration scheme, local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, said:

“Following Southwark Council’s approval of the planning application for the scheme in July, I wrote to the Mayor urging him to ensure that Delancey gets to grips with providing the necessary support to long-standing traders and supplying the level of social housing that Londoners desperately need.

“From an initial glance, City Hall’s intervention in this process appears to have seen some positive strides in securing more genuinely affordable housing for the community and valuable improvements to the public realm.

“However, I am yet to receive an exact breakdown of how far the scheme will benefit local people. Adding to this, I am still unconvinced that the level of support being pledged to the Latin American business community is sufficient.

“I will be following up these issues with the Mayor to gain his assurances that the newly approved plans will not come at the cost and fragmentation of the Elephant and Castle community”.

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Notes to editors

– Florence Eshalomi AM is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark

50 Excess Winter Deaths In Southwark

There were 50 Excess Winter Deaths in Southwark during 2016/2017, the most recent data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed. Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, has warned that this could continue unless “significant action is taken to improve housing standards and address fuel poverty in London”.

Regional level figures for 2017/2018 have also been released provisionally by the ONS showing that there were 4,200 Excess Winter Deaths across London. This is an increase of 23%, compared to 2016/2017.

The ONS attributes the majority of Excess Winter Deaths to respiratory diseases. A study by the charities National Energy Action and E3G, published earlier this year, has also shown fuel poverty and cold homes to be prevalent underlying factors.

City Hall is taking action on cold homes and fuel poverty by investing £2.5 million into its Warmer Homes scheme, which enables landlords, renters and homeowners to bid for up to £4,000 of funding to install heating and insulation measures.

Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, said:

“It is extremely concerning to see this number of Excess Winter Deaths locally, and unacceptable that so many Londoners this winter will be trapped in cold homes.

“This is a deep and entirely preventable social injustice and it won’t be stamped out unless significant action is taken to improve housing standards and address fuel poverty in the capital.

“Work is being undertaken at City Hall to tackle these issues, but it is clear that we now need more support from the Government. I would also urge all homeowners, tenants and landlords whose properties are insufficiently insulated to bid for City Hall’s Warmer Homes scheme funding.”

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Notes to editors

  • ­The most recent data from the Office of National Statistics shows that there were 50 Excess Winter Deaths in Southwark during 2016/2017;
  • Regional level figures for 2017/2018 have also been released provisionally by the ONS show that there were 4,200 Excess Winter Deaths across London. This is an increase of 23%, compared to 2016/2017;
  • The Office of National Statistics attributes the majority of Excess Winter Deaths to respiratory diseases;
  • study by the charities National Energy Action and E3G, published in February 2018, has also shown fuel poverty and cold homes to be underlying factors;
  • City Hall is taking action on cold homes and fuel poverty by investing £2.5 million into its Warmer Homes scheme, which enables landlords and homeowners to bid for up to £4,000 of funding to install heating and insulation measures;
  • Florence Eshalomi AM is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark.