PALACE TO SUPPORT CROYDON’S WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN / LAMBETH SHUT DOWN BROTHEL AND ILLEGAL RAVE VENUE UNDER NEW POWERS / CALL CENTRE SCAM TARGETS ASIAN COMMUNITY
CALL FOR ‘CLEAN BUSES’ BY LAMBETH COUNCIL / FACEBOOK HELPS BRING FLY-TIPPER TO BOOK / ESSEX MAN TRIED TO PURCHASE LAMBETH COUNCIL HOME UNDER ‘RIGHT TO BUY’ LEGISLATION
PLEDGE YOUR PLASTICS FOR RECYCLING / WEB TECH USED IN BATTLE AGAINST BLUE-BADGE FRAUD / ILLEGAL TOBACCO SEIZURE / ARE YOU CROYDON’S BEST APPRENTICE? / HAVE YOUR SAY ON MAY 7TH
PALACE TO SUPPORT CROYDON’S WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN
Crystal Palace FC Foundation are backing Croydon council’s work to change attitudes to domestic violence and sexual abuse, and reduce offences.
The White Ribbon campaign has a clear message – domestic violence and sexual abuse in Croydon should not be tolerated.
It aims to get the community (especially men and boys) to engage in condemning violence against women and girls, and promoting a change of attitude.
It also aims to increase awareness of the issue and provide services aimed at reducing incidents.
Foundation head Donald Ford said: “We are happy to support this work which will benefit our immediate and surrounding communities.
“Our plans include getting anti-domestic abuse and sexual violence messages rolled out through joint education programmes run by the council and CPFC Foundation.
“We will also publicise the campaign in match-day programmes and invite key campaign promoters to attend a game and share this work with supporters at half time.
Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman said: “We welcome the foundation’s support of this campaign.
“It adds strength to our stand that domestic abuse and sexual violence will not be tolerated in Croydon, and we will continue to work to get this message to as many people as possible.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
LAMBETH SHUT DOWN BROTHEL AND ILLEGAL RAVE VENUE UNDER NEW POWERS
Lambeth has used new powers to shut down seven properties in three months including a brothel, an illegal rave venue and a drugs den, which they say were causing a nuisance to residents.
The new Anti-Social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 came into force on October 20 last year and empowers councils and police to issue immediate closure notices on premises involved in anti-social behaviour issues, said Lambeth in a statement.
“Lambeth’s enforcement officers alongside the Met police have been quick to use the powers, issuing seven premises closure notices, three of which have already led to full orders through the courts.
“A premises that was operating as a brothel in St Leonard’s has been closed for the maximum period of three months following complaints to police and the council about intimidation, anti-social behaviour and people approaching women asking for sex massages.
“Coburg Crescent in Streatham Hill had a three month order secured after intelligence suggested that there was going to be an illegal New Year’s Eve Party.
“The residents and neighbours in this area had been subject to a number of all-night parties and events causing high levels of nuisance and distress and the use of the new power ensured that they were not subject to further disturbances.
“Another property in St Leonard’s was closed for one month following a police raid where drugs and a counterfeit firearm were found.
“Notices have also been served on four other premises following squatters breaking into an empty premises, a club following a stabbing, a pre-planned illegal rave in a squatted premises and an off licence where stolen goods were found.”
Lambeth say they also secured the first community behaviour order (CBO) in London within the first week of the legislation coming into effect against a “prolific beggar and street drinker” in Vauxhall.
Lambeth cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Jane Edbrooke, said: “It’s important for our officers to be able to act in this way to protect our residents.
“People want to live in a safe and secure environment and when they feel threatened or intimidated, we will act to put a stop to any anti-social behaviour.”
Chief Inspector Roy Smith, from Local Policing, said: “This demonstrates the strength of partnership working and will reassure local communities that Lambeth police and Lambeth council are leading the country in our adoption of the new ASB legislation and will continue to use all tools at our disposal to make Lambeth safe for those who live, work and visit the borough.” (Source: Lambeth council press release.)
CALL CENTRE SCAM TARGETS ASIAN COMMUNITY
The Asian community in Croydon is being warned of the need for extra caution in light of a scam that promises a large lottery win but ends with the victim losing hundreds of pounds.
Croydon’s trading standards team has learned that Hindi-speaking residents are being targeted by calls from an India-based call centre.
The scam came to light when an elderly Thornton Heath couple received one such call. Concerned that it might have been a trick, they used the 1471 caller-identification service to check the callers’ number, and then reported it to the police, who confirmed it was a known scam number.
The number began with the digits 09234, and it is known that this and other such calls are coming from what are believed to be call centres in India as the callers speak in Hindi.
If the person called cannot understand, the caller carries on in English, claiming to be acting on behalf of a number of well-known UK companies, and saying that the recipient has won a lottery sum of £50,000.
They ask that an 070 number is rung to get a winning code that will release funds from their bank. Alternatively, they ask the recipient of the call to send up to £375, via Western Union, to release the winnings.
While legitimate telephone prefixes, both the originating 09234 call number and the 070 number are known to be used by current criminal scammers.
More than 2,600 fraud reports received by Action Fraud last year featured 070 numbers. Calls from a landline to this prefix can cost up to 65p per minute and may incur an additional call set-up fee of up to 51p. Calls from mobiles can cost up to £1.50 per minute.
In extreme cases, victims have received phone bills running into hundreds of pounds as a result of calling these premium-rate numbers.
Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman said: “It’s important to stress that residents should never respond to unsolicited demands for money or personal information, even if tempted by the promise of some reward, such as a prize, inheritance or good fortune.
“If such a call is received, hang up, and then, if you have the facility, dial 1471 to note the caller ID and report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
CALL FOR ‘CLEAN BUSES’ BY LAMBETH COUNCIL
‘CLEAN BUSES’ should be installed by Transport for London on every route that runs through Brixton Road and Streatham High Road.
The call comes from Lambeth council which says in a statement that Brixton Road’s air quality is amongst the worst in London – and that its monitoring station exceeded acceptable annual pollution levels just three weeks into the year.
Routes which use Brixton Road include the numbers 3 and 322 and 432 which all run to Crystal Palace.
Lambeth’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability, Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite says: “These cleaner buses are already in operation up in Oxford Street and in Putney.
“But here in Lambeth, where we are arguably the borough most reliant on buses, we have these old, gaz-guzzling, carbon-spewing buses clogging up our roads and harming our residents.
“Every day I see cyclists held up behind these buses and school children getting on and off, breathing in really harmful fumes.
“Cleaner Buses would make a huge difference to the air quality around our busiest roads and create a much healthier environment.”
Cllr Brathwaite has written directly to Boris Johnson and his senior environment advisor Matthew Pencharz asking them to look at installing the buses on every route that runs through Brixton Road and Streatham High Road.
She has also written to politicians, schools and cycling groups in the borough to increase support.
In their statement Lambeth say Public Health England has estimated that 112 deaths a year are connected to poor air quality in Lambeth.
A petition has been launched on change.org and it is hoped that Lambeth residents will sign up to strengthen the call to TfL.
If you wish to sign the petition, please visit; http://goo.gl/EtES8l
One signatory has commented; “I cycle on Brixton Hill every day doing my bit for the environment. “Cleaner buses would make a huge improvement to my daily commute as well as to all those living in Lambeth.”
Lambeth is also implementing a 20mph speed limit on all council-controlled roads over the next 12 months, in a bid to cut emissions and make roads safer for cyclists. (Source: Lambeth council press release.)
FACEBOOK HELPS BRING FLY-TIPPER TO BOOK
Social media played an integral role in bringing a fly-tipper to book after his crime was witnessed by a resident who then mentioned the incident on his Facebook page.
A man admitted the offence at Croydon magistrates’ court and was fined £110, and ordered to pay costs of £200 and a £20 victim surcharge, the total of £330 to be paid before 1 May.
The court heard the man, at the time a driver for Merton-based BMS Transport, was spotted in Kemp Gardens, Broad Green, fly-tipping a quantity of furniture from his company van.
The act, last July, was brought to the attention of one of the company directors who immediately contacted the man who admitted responsibility, and told him to return to the site to collect the waste he had dumped. He was subsequently sacked from his job.
Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman said: “This man went along to a residential street thinking that he’d be able to commit his crime unnoticed under cover of the night, but he was wrong, and he now has a criminal record.
“Thanks to the power of social media, which so often gets a bad press, many people, and eventually his employer, learned of what he’d done and he was made to account for his horribly antisocial act.
“This is a great example of the need for residents to speak up if they see anything like this going on.
“If the resident in this case hadn’t acted, he would have got away with his crime, leaving Croydon council taxpayers to pick up the tab for clearing his mess.
“Other would-be fly-tippers should take note, and be aware that the council will prosecute. “They must realise that they shouldn’t mess with Croydon.”
The crackdown on fly-tipping is part of the council’s Don’t Mess With Croydon – Take Pride campaign, aimed at combining the help of volunteers with council action to encourage recycling and lead enforcement against the worst offences.
Dumped waste can be reported via the council’s dedicated fly-tipping hotline on 020 8604 7000, the council’s My Croydon smartphone app or by emailing [email protected]
For more information, visit www.croydon.gov.uk/environment/do
(Source: Croydon council press release.)
ESSEX MAN TRIED TO PURCHASE LAMBETH COUNCIL HOME UNDER ‘RIGHT TO BUY’ LEGISLATION
AN ESSEX MAN has pleaded guilty to fraud over an attempt to purchase a Lambeth council property under Right to Buy legislation.
The 60-year-old applied to purchase a property at Phil Brown Place on the Heath Road Estate SW8 under the Right to Buy scheme – when he was not even living in London, said Lambeth council.
“Had the sale gone through, he would have netted a discount on the purchase price of the property of £100,000” they added.
The case was referred to Lambeth council’s fraud team as there were concerns that the man was subletting the property.
They established that he was:
actually living in Romford at a property owned by his wife
was registered to vote there and
was also registered there with the NHS, insurance companies, various government agencies and his employer.
The man claimed he was living at Phil Brown Place and was therefore entitled to purchase it as a discount under the Right to Buy scheme.
But interviewed under caution by Lambeth officers, the weight of evidence against him led to his right to buy claim being refused and he was ordered by the courts to give up the Lambeth tenancy.
He was charged with fraud by false representation in relation to the Right To Buy, in that Phil Brown Place was not his only or principal home, and with fraud by failing to disclose to Lambeth council the fact that he was not living there.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing said: “This is another excellent example of the work of Lambeth’s fraud team and underlines the council’s commitment to come down hard on cheats and frauds.
“This property could have been used to house a family, not to line the pockets of a crook like him.
“Not content with making money out of subletting the property illegally, he wanted to get £100,000 discount on buying the house.
“I hope this send a very clear message to people who think they can get away with this sort of appalling behaviour.”
In court,the man admitted failing to disclose to the council that he was not living at Phil Brown Place and at Blackfriars Crown Court he was sentenced to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge of £60.
This is in addition to the £7,321 costs awarded against him when the courts ordered that he should surrender possession of his tenancy. (Source: Lambeth council press release.)
PLEDGE YOUR PLASTICS FOR RECYCLING
Football shirts. Kitchen utensils. Garden furniture. Plumbing pipes. Children’s toys.
This disparate list of everyday objects includes only some of the products that can be made from recycled plastic, say Croydon council.
To drive home the importance of the recycling message, Croydon Council has signed up to the nationwide Pledge4plastices initiative that encourages every UK household to recycle more plastic.
Plastic packaging makes up 11 per cent of household waste and 40pc of that is plastic bottles, say Croydon.
The five billion plastic bottles thrown away in 2012 were worth around £25m to the recycling industry, and it cost £19m to dispose of them in landfill.
Overall, the average UK household uses more than 440 plastic bottles per year, but recycles only just over 250 of them – and that’s a number that really should be improved.
The council are asking residents to recycle as much of their plastics as they can.
• Make your pledge at www.pledge4plastics.com
• Take a look at the graphic for the full range of plastics that can be recycled in the domestic green box or communal recycling bin – are there any items that you’re not currently recycling which you could?
• Let the council know if you need any additional green recycling boxes. They can be delivered free of charge, and putting more plastics in your box means more space in your landfill bin.
The boxes can be ordered via the My Account facility atwww.croydon.gov.uk or by calling 020 8726 6200.
Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman said: “It’s important that the council cuts back on avoidable expense.
“One such expense is the ever-increasing cost of sending household rubbish to landfill, and an easy way to reduce that is by recycling as much as we can.
“Plastic recycling, in particular, has a number of advantages, including freeing up space in domestic landfill waste bins, decreasing the need for raw materials, saving energy, and reducing carbon emissions – recycling one tonne of plastic saves one tonne of carbon production.
“Croydon residents are able to recycle a huge range of plastic packaging, including bottles, pots, tubs and trays, so the council are calling on them to make the pledge and recycle as much plastic as possible.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
WEB TECH USED IN BATTLE AGAINST BLUE-BADGE FRAUD
A smartphone app enabling on-the-spot checks is being piloted by Croydon council enforcement officers as the authority steps up its fight against the misuse of disabled drivers’ blue badge parking permits.
In addition to catching those who deprive disabled motorists of the opportunity of parking close to shops and other facilities, the pilot scheme will produce a cut in the cost of prosecutions, and see an increase in parking revenue as fraudsters realise that the risk is not worth taking.
The initiative, led by the council’s corporate anti-fraud team (Caft), means that officers can immediately validate displayed blue badges and detect abuse by viewing real-time records in the national database of registered badge holders.
Officers can search the blue badge holder’s details on their mobile device, check that the photograph matches the person in the vehicle, and then take appropriate action, such as seizing the car if the holder is not in the vehicle.
Such on-the-spot checks increase the likelihood of successful prosecution.
Savings will follow as, in addition to aiding identity misuse, the initiative will reduce spend on processing prosecution cases.
Previously, in instances of badge misuse, external lawyers were employed to process cases before they reached court. Under the new system, Caft officers will undertake some of that preparatory work, reducing the cost from £470 to £220.
Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman said: “We take the issue of blue-badge fraud very seriously and the introduction of these measures provides a win-win situation for the council, for council taxpayers and for disabled motorists.
“Blue badges are a vital part of helping disabled people to get around. “The vast majority of holders use their permit correctly, and it’s only a small minority who abuse it.
“In addition to significant cost savings, which benefit all who live in Croydon, the crackdown on these antisocial motorists will make life easier for genuine blue-badge holders.
“On top of that, enforcement should also see a small improvement to parking revenue as we change the behaviour of those who may have risked misusing the permits.”
For more information about what a blue badge is,visit the council website croydon.gov
To report someone who is misusing a blue badge, email [email protected] or telephone 020 8760 5645,Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
ILLEGAL TOBACCO SEIZURE
Officers from trading standards in Bromley seized 5000 cigarettes from a shop in Orpington following a joint visit with HMRC. (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)
A Bromley council spokeswoman said the tobacco products are suspected to be imported from Eastern Europe and have failed to comply with safety regulations requiring them to display health warning labels.
The cigarettes have an estimated value of £1,750. Investigations are being conducted with the owners of the business, she added
Cllr Tim Stevens, Bromley’s executive member for public protection and safety,welcoming the action, said: “This demonstrates our commitment to tackle illegal tobacco products.
“Availability of these illicit products not only encourages people to keep smoking, and young people to take up the habit, but it also undermines the local economy through tax evasion.
“I would urge anyone who knows of shops in the borough who sell these products to report them to trading standards.” (Source: Bromley council press release.)
ARE YOU CROYDON’S BEST APPRENTICE?
The best apprentices in Croydon will be honoured at an event designed to highlight the values of a modern apprenticeship – and they will be able to hear from one of the country’s most famous former apprentices.
The inaugural Croydon Apprenticeship graduation ceremony will take place in Fairfield on Wednesday 11 March, and feature Bianca Miller, who gained national fame on the TV series The Apprentice.
Focusing on advanced and higher apprentices, the ceremony will highlight the quality of apprenticeships as well as the progression opportunities available to former apprentices.
There is still a chance for local apprentices to show that they are the best in Croydon.
To enter the competition, apprentices must upload a five-minute video to YouTube, explaining why their placement and employer offers the best experience.
The winning video should describe the employer and apprentice experience, include a skills demonstration and explain the benefits both to the apprentice and employers.
Apprentices who wish to participate in the graduation ceremony or enter the competition must:
1. be doing a Level 3 or 4 apprenticeship placement;
2. have completed the Level 3 or 4 in 2014, or have done so before 28 February 2015; and
3. live and/or work in the borough of Croydon.
Entries close on Friday 27 February.
Council leader Tony Newman said: “In addition to celebrating our local apprentices, the graduation ceremony will provide a real opportunity to engage the wider community, and create a feeling of pride among the apprentices’ families and friends, as well as reaching out to new audiences.
“I’m confident the ceremony will help engage employers and young people who may not have previously considered an apprenticeship, and highlight an apprenticeship’s quality and value.”
Miss Miller said: “I’m pleased to be speaking at Croydon’s first ceremony to celebrate the individuals who have gained their apprenticeship qualification.
“I’ve learnt from my experience of hiring apprentices what a valuable addition they can be to a business.
“More importantly, the apprentice is able to gain a rewarding experience with an unrivalled on-the-job training opportunity, learning from experienced colleagues who are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise.
“I’d always encourage anyone considering an apprenticeship to grab the opportunity with both hands and see what doors it will open for them.”
To enter the competition, upload the video and send the link to the address below. Please provide your name, apprenticeship and contact details. Competition closes at midnight on 27 February 2015.
1st prize – iPad & £200 high-street vouchers
2nd prize – Google Nexus & £100 high-street vouchers
3rd prize – iPod & £50 high-street vouchers
To book a place at the ceremony and/or enter the competition email [email protected]
For more information, call 020 8760 5666 or 020 8667 8311. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
HAVE YOUR SAY ON MAY 7TH
Bromley council are reminding residents who are not currently on the electoral register or have moved recently they have until Monday 20 April to register to have their say in the General Election on May 7.
Residents who haven’t registered yet should also be aware registering to vote has changed. Individual Electoral Registration (IER) requires you to register and update your details individually.
No one can register for you.
The new system means you can register on-line at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote Once on the page you need to fill in your name, address, date of birth and a few other details including your National Insurance number.
A Bromley council spokeswoman said: “If you don’t have access to the internet or can’t use it a form can be posted to you. “Once registered you can vote at a polling station, by post or by proxy.
“And remember it’s a legal requirement to register and you can face a fine if you fail to do so.”
If you need further information please email [email protected]
(Source: Bromley council press release.)