News in brief

London at air pollution level 5 in 2014, viewed from Hackney. Pic: David Holt

London at air pollution level 5 in 2014, viewed from Hackney. Pic: David Holt

Air pollution soars across boroughs

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has issued an alert across bus stops and Tube stations after a spike in air pollution.

He warned that Londoners should “protect themselves” by reducing outdoor activity.

“This is particularly crucial for Londoners who are vulnerable, such as asthma sufferers,” Khan added.

Metropolitan Police officer charged with attempted rape in Croydon

A Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with attempted rape following reports of an incident in South Croydon.

James McKibbin is alleged to have committed the offence in 2012.

He has been on restricted duty since the allegations came to light. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

“The alleged offence did not take place while the officer was on duty and is alleged to have occurred between January and December 2012 at a location in South Croydon,” a spokesperson for the Met said. “The officer was arrested in April 2016, following an investigation by detectives from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.”

The Met said their professional standards office has been notified of the situation.

NHS England to issue new guidance after Tower Hamlets NHS spend inaccuracies

NHS England will be providing guidance to Clinical Commissioning Groups on publishing data, after Tower Hamlets CCG was one of several bodies to submit inaccurate statistics regarding spending on youth mental health services.

In a report published on November 16, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) estimated the local CCG were set to spend £4.45 per head on youth mental health services over the 2016/17 financial year – making the borough one of the bottom three in the U.K.

However the data used to calculate the spending was incorrect, prompting NHS England to promise to give extra help to CCGs publishing information about their expenditure. CCGs are groups responsible for buying and planning NHS services for local areas.

NHS England said: “Despite our best efforts to issue clear communication and guidance, it appears some Clinical Commissioning Groups have made errors in their submissions regarding spending on Children and Young People’s mental health services. We will be issuing further guidance, which aims to help CCGs to get the data right for the future.”

The mistake by the CCG resulted in a large disparity between the RCPsych’s figures and the money the local health body propose to spend for the next financial year.

In response to the initial report, a spokesperson for the CCG said: “Our spending on services for children and young people’s mental health in the borough is nearly ten times the figure reported, with the CCG allocating £3.6million for CAMHS services in 2015/16 and will continue to see more investment over the coming years.”

Bethnal Green man arrested over threatening ‘Jo Cox’ tweet

A 25-year-old Bethnal Green man has been arrested on suspicion of sending malicious communications after he tweeted calling for someone to ‘ Jo Cox’ MP Anna Soubry.

The tweet, a reference to the murdered Labour MP, read “someone jo cox Anna sourby please”.

It allegedly targeted Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire, although the tweet misspelt her name. Anna Soubry supported remain in the EU referendum – as did Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed to death by Thomas Mair outside her constituency office in Birstall, West Yorkshire in June.

Mair, who had strong links with far-right extremism, was given a life sentence two weeks ago.

The Conservative MP reported the tweet to police after calling the Twitter user a “sad cowardly troll” and posting a screenshot of the offensive tweet saying “this is what has happened to our politics. Tolerance and free speech must prevail”.

Hackney most generous borough in London, study finds

Hackney has been found to give more charitable donations than any other London area, despite being one of the poorest.

A study by The Childhood Trust and The Big Give says that 3.6 per cent of the average income of the borough, or £42,690, goes to charity.

Newham, Haringey and Tower Hamlets followed Hackney, while Islington was named as the stingiest borough despite its high average income of £54,950.

Social media-bragging Lewisham gang members jailed 

Three members of a street gang who boasted on social media and a Channel 5 documentary about  carrying firearms have been jailed for a total of 50 years.

Winston White, 22, from Lewisham; Akyrie Palmer, 21, also from Lewisham; and, Mark Oduro, 20 of Lambeth, were all found guilty on Tuesday, November  29, at Woolwich Crown Court of two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and three counts of possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Armed police officers stopped the men, who were wearing balaclavas, in Lewisham in May.

After a chase, officers found they had been carrying a sawn-off shotgun, a loaded revolver and ammunition.

Detective Constable Sarah Smart, of the Trident and Gang Crime Command, said: ”These men are very dangerous criminals who used TV and social media to brag about carrying loaded firearms on the street.”

“Evidence gathered during the investigation indicated that White, Oduro and Palmer were featured in a television programme carrying firearms and wearing masks. The documentary, called ‘Gangland: Turf Wars’, was broadcast whilst they were in custody awaiting trial. YouTube videos of the men bragging about their use of firearms were also uncovered by detectives.”

Adam Pollitt. Pic: Met Police

Adam Pollitt. Pic: Met Police

Croydon man jailed for machete robbery

A Croydon man who attempted to rob a shop in July armed with a machete, has been jailed for four years and 11 months.

Adam Pollitt, 32, brandished a machete in a convenience shop in Lower Addiscombe Road, Addiscombe and demanded money from the shopkeeper.

He ran away empty-handed after the shopkeeper set off an alarm.

Pollitt admitted to a string of other burglaries in the area between June 28 and June 30. He also pleaded guilty to being in possession of a bladed and pointed article in a public place.




Hackney Councillor agrees with Trump over climate change

Hackney Conservative councilor, Harvey Odze has announced he agrees with Donald Trump’s statement that climate change is a myth.

Speaking at a council meeting, Odze said that “the confirmation by President-elect Trump that climate change is a myth perpetrated by communist China” should call into question the council’s plans to shift money away from fossil fuel investment into green energy.

His remarks were met with incredulity from fellow councillors.

Police hunt for man with south London links

The police are searching for Troy McLeod, who is wanted in connection with an assault and an allegation of ‘malicious communications’.

Although he lives in Kennington, police say he has links to Croydon and Lewisham, as well as Wandsworth, Lambeth, Lewisham, Sutton and Merton.

Police have warned members of the public not to approach McLeod, but to call 999 immediately if spotted. He is wanted for an assault in Forest Hill which occurred on 18 September.

Reporting by Eve Watling, Rebecca Pinnington, Casper Hughes and Nick Dowson.

Follow Eve Watling, Rebecca Pinnington, Casper Hughes and Nick Dowson on Twitter.

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