Ilford

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Two offices for Mayor of London to save money

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Sadiq Khan will have two offices under plans to move City Hall to Newham – one at his new East London base, and a second in the city centre.

But most GLA staff will work two or three days a week from home on average, under the proposals.

The Mayor wants to move City Hall from its £43 million base beside Tower Bridge to the Crystal in Canning Town to save £55 million over five years.

Mr Khan would have a second office at TfL’s Southwark base, Palestra, to accommodate frequent meetings in central London, including at New Scotland Yard.

The Mayor’s chief of staff David Bellamy revealed the plans at a meeting of the London Assembly yesterday.

The current rent on City Hall is £11.1 million a year, rising to £12.6 million a year from December 2021.

But by moving to the GLA-owned Crystal the Mayor will save £55 million over the next five years,.

Chief finance officer David Gallie said he was “very confident” of the figure, but admitted savings in the next two financial years would be “limited”.

Some pubs in England will be able to reopen tomorrow for the first time in three months.
Pubs across London are preparing to open under new government guidelines.

'Historic investigation' disrupts murder plots and recovers £13m

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

£5m recovered
Metropolitan Police

Guns, class A drugs and more than £13m have been recovered in the "most signficant operation" the Metropolitan Police Service has ever launched.

The opeartion comes after a top-secret communications system used by criminals to trade drugs and guns has been "successfully penetrated" by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

"International" organised cirminals are among 171 people arested after messages on EncroChat were intercepted and decoded.

Officers disrupted murder plots, arrested some of London’s longest-standing and most dangerous criminals, Police said.

More than £13.4m in cash has been siezed, including £5m in one operation alone - the largest single cash seizure the Met has ever made.

Officers have recovered 16 firearms, including Scorpion submachine guns and revolvers, seized more than 500 rounds of ammunition, 37 encrypted devices, 620kgs of Class A drugs and 19kgs of Class B drugs.

The NCA worked with forces across Europe on the UK's "biggest and most significant" law enforcement operation.

One investigation "clearly demonstrates the link between international organised crime and serious violence across London," police said.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “This operation is the most significant activity, certainly in my career, we have ever carried out against serious and organised criminality across London.

"Through this work with our international partners, we have significantly developed our understanding of organised criminality in London and the ways in which some of our most prolific and dangerous offenders operate.

This is just the beginning, there are many more people we are investigating. We know who they are and we have seen what they are doing and who they are doing it with."

A Scorpion machine gun seized under Operation Venetic
Metropolitan Police
The secret phone communication system broken up by National Crime Agency
The National Crime Agency has penetrated a top secret communication system used by organised criminals.

Film explores costs of drug use on young people

Fair Trade film still
Met Police

A London director has created a short film which explores the consequences of drug supply on young people in the capital.

Fair Trade follows the life of 15-year-old Jason Bojai who is groomed by an exploitative gang in south London.

It also highlights how middle-class and recreational drug users are one of the main drivers of drug supply, adding to gang activity across the city.

The film was created by Leon Oldstrong in association with the Met Police.

The director said it had been "a challenging film for me as I believe there are too many films that portray the Black experience and gang culture as synonymous, however I felt that it was well past due to address the role of white middle-class drug use in youth violence".

Det Ch Supt Simon described the film as "a powerful reminder of the true cost of illegal drugs".

Grenfell bereaved wants to see witnesses when inquiry resumes

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Nabil Choucair
LDRS

A grieving relative has called for those whose loved ones died in the Grenfell Tower fire to be added to the list of people allowed to attend the Inquiry when it resumes next week.

The second phase of the inquiry was put on hold in March when the coronavirus lockdown started.

It is due to resume on Monday, but there will be just a handful of people there to protect people from coronavirus and maintain social distancing.

Nabil Choucair lost six family members at Grenfell Tower three years ago and he feels that relatives should be at the inquiry when witnesses give evidence- even if numbers have to be restricted because of the coronavirus crisis.

He said he wanted to be at the inquiry “for them to see our faces. We are the families that have had families taken from us”.

Mr Choucair’s mother, Sirria, was amongst the 72 people who died at Grenfell Tower in June 2017.

He also lost his sister Nadia, brother-in-law Bassem and three young nieces Mierna, 13, Fatima who was 11 and three-year-old Zainab who lived on the 22nd floor.

The inquiry is resuming with very limited numbers for now.

It means that only the chairman of the panel Sir Martin Moore-Bick and his colleague, Thouria Istephan, the inquiry’s lawyer Richard Millett QC, the witness giving evidence and their lawyer will be there.

Third man charged with fatal shooting

Kyle Kelson
Metropolitan Police

A third man has been charged with the murder of a young father shot in the head in south west London.

Kyle Kelson, 25, was found with a gunshot wound to the head on Brocks Drive, North Cheam, Sutton, just after 01:00 BST on 19 June.

Despite treatment he was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made.

Gary Hayde, 34, of Cheam was charged on Saturday his murder.

Luke Matthews, 28 of Ifield, Crawley, West Sussex and Aaron McGrath 27 of Sutton, have also been charged with murder.

Both have been remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 30 June.