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Council £166k payments to staff are ‘rewards for failure’

Inside Croydon

In the past three years, cash-strapped Croydon Council has made “golden goodbye” payments totalling £166,994.88 to just six senior members of council staff who have left their jobs.

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Government announces Met to receive extra £14m

Tim Donovan

BBC London, Political Editor

Met Police officers

The Met Police, which has a budget of £3.3bn, is to get an extra £14m to help with the recent rise in violent crime in the capital.

The figure was announced by police minister Nick Hurd as he spoke about the new funding settlement for all UK police forces which is worth up to £970m in 2019/20.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the amount was a "tiny fraction" of what the force needed.

“We’ve had months of warm words from the home secretary about the desperate need for more government funding in order to tackle violent crime, but the government have fundamentally failed to back that up with real money," he said.

Transport for London plans cuts

Tube delays
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London's transport authority is planning to cut jobs and investments as it faces growing financial pressures.

Transport for London (TfL) has been hit by the loss of a £700m annual government grant, delays to Crossrail and reduced fare revenue.

Its draft five-year business plan sets out how it intends to reduce "back and middle office costs" by 30%, which will involve job losses.

Schemes to improve signalling on the Piccadilly line and deep Tube lines to enable London Underground trains to run closer together will be paused, as will work to transform Camden Town station.

Finn Brennan of train drivers' union Aslef described the plan as "terrible news for passengers".

He said: "These cuts mean that for decades ahead, overcrowding on the Tube will get worse and worse.

"There will also be more cuts to staff numbers and station upgrade programs inevitably leading to more delays."

'Intruder' held at UK parliament by armed police
A suspect has been taken into custody after an incident in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.

Severe accident: A212 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A212 London both ways severe accident, at Cromwell Road.

A212 London - A212 Whitehorse Road in Croydon blocked at the Cromwell Road junction, because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Shelter warns of housing ‘black hole’ over conversion schemes

Inside Croydon

Affordable housing in Croydon may be under threat from a government proposal which risks “supercharging” a social housing get-out clause, according to the housing charity Shelter.

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Mental health becomes main cause for fire brigade absence

Dany Cotton
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Stress, anxiety and depression have become the main reasons given for sickness absence in the London Fire Brigade (LFB), the brigade's commisoner has said.

Dany Cotton told the London Assembly there had been a "small increase" in the number of days taken as sick leave over the last three years.

The commissioner said it was the first time mental health has been the leading cause of the absences but "new measures are in place to support staff" including four new counsellors.

LFB's counselling and trauma team has treated more than 157 personnel since the Grenfell fire in June last year, according to a document submitted to the public inquiry which sets out changes the brigade has made since the blaze.

Chelcee Grimes: Making music with Calvin Harris & Little Mix, scoring goals for Fulham
Chelcee Grimes tells us how she manages to have two dream jobs - from making music with Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa and Little Mix, to playing football for Fulham Ladies.

Met launches domestic abuse awareness videos

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A video campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and encourage victims to seek help has been launched by the Met.

The two films, which will be played in GP surgeries across London, feature scenarios which illustrate behaviours of both victims and abusers in relation to abuse and coercive control.

Zena, who in 2016 was assaulted by her ex-husband, said the videos "put out a message that domestic abuse is more than just physical abuse; in my experience the controlling and following was the worst."

“I think showing this in doctors’ surgeries is an especially great idea," she said.

Det Ch Insp Richard Vandenbergh, who came up with the idea for the videosn said he hoped they "give a rounded view of what a victim could be going through."

“This is just a small part of what the MPS is doing to tackle domestic abuse and we continue to be fully committed to safeguarding victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.”

Union reps sacked from cinema jobs win tribunal

Two union representatives sacked from their jobs at a cinema have won a tribunal case to be reinstated.

The Bectu union described a ruling on behalf of the workers from the Picturehouse-owned Ritzy in Brixton, London, as "rare".

The reps, who worked at the Ritzy for a number of years, will have to be reinstated in January, said Bectu.

Union official Philippa Childs said: "This is an extremely rare ruling and once again highlights the unreasonable behaviour of Picturehouse towards Bectu's representatives.

"These individuals have been leading Bectu activists and their reinstatement will bolster the campaign for Picturehouse staff to be paid the living wage."

Picturehouse staff have been involved in a long-running campaign over pay.

Homeless at Christmas: 'How will Santa find us?'

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Family living in room

More than 130,000 children across Great Britain will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation, official figures suggest.

One in every 103 under-18s is officially homeless, a 59% rise in five years, housing charity Shelter said.

One mother-of-three who lives in Croydon said her children were preparing for Christmas in a one-room bed and breakfast for the second year running.

"It's going to be a shambles spending another Christmas like this," Carly Stutter said.

Councils said a lack of housing had left them "struggling to cope".

Mayor summoned by London Assembly over Crossrail delays

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London mayor Sadiq Khan has been summonsed to appear before the London Assembly Transport Committee to answer questions about lengthy delays to the Crossrail project.

Mr Khan, in his capacity as chairman of TfL and TfL Commssioner Mike Brown will appear on 21 December at 10:00.

This is the first time the Transport Committee has used its powers to summons Mr Khan.

The summons is in response to conflicting statements from the mayor and chairman of Crossrail Sir Terry Morgan about who knew what and when regarding the delayed launch of Crossrail.

Crossrail, which is London's £15bn project connecting landmarks like Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, is delayed and is due to open nine months after its scheduled launch. It is also almost £600m over budget.

Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the Transport Committee, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that this action is necessary.

“The Transport Committee and the public have put their trust in the Mayor that there will be transparency during his administration and he has a duty to make sure this is the case.

“However, in recent weeks and months it has become increasingly clear that when it comes to the Crossrail project he is doing the opposite.

“The Mayor must come clean about when he knew about the Crossrail delay. It is essential for the sake of public trust and London democracy. “The Committee has used its power to summons the Mayor of London as Chair of TfL and key documents in order to give him a final chance to tell the truth and clear up this sorry mess.”

Police officers investigated over cadet sex claims

Police station sign

Police officers running cadet programmes in London are under investigation, accused of abusing their position for a "sexual purpose".

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has demanded an urgent review of cadet training as a result.

One constable is subject to criminal investigations while three other officers are being investigated by the IOPC over how they dealt with the reports of abuse.

Two officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are also being investigated with one of those arrested and released on bail.

Brokenshire blocks planning permission for ‘skyscraper’

Inside Croydon

To the “delight” of Croydon Conservatives, James Brokenshire, the Tory Government’s local communities and housing minister, has reversed the decision of council’s planning department, its planning committee and his own department’s planning inspector and tonight announced that he is blocking the development of the Purley “skyscraper”.

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CCTV released of man wanted over Whitechapel rape

CCTV of man wanted in connection with rape

Police have released images of a man wanted in connection with the "traumatic" rape of a young woman.

The 22-year-old victim was heading home after a night out on 9 November, when a man followed her into a building near Spitalfields market, Whitechapel, just after 02.00 GMT.

He overpowered her and then raped her in the basement of the commercial premises, the Met Police said.

The suspect is described as a light-skinned black man, believed to be aged between 25 and 35 years. He was wearing a dark coloured body warmer which he left behind along with a grey hat at the scene.

There have been no arrests at this stage.

Det Ch Insp Neil Rawlinson said: “This was a horrific attack carried out by a violent predator on a young woman going about her lawful business in what is one of London’s most popular areas for late night socialising.

"It was a brutal assault that has left her very traumatised indeed."

CCTV of wanted man
Metropolitan Police
Donna is doing all she can to prevent knife crime in Croydon.
The south London borough of Croydon has seen a sharp fall in the number of knife attacks.

Met Police force considers armed foot patrols

Armed oficer

The Metropolitan Police is considering deploying armed officers on foot patrols to prevent violence in areas "where gang activity is likely".

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick told a hearing the move would only be used in "extreme circumstances".

In a memo seen by the BBC, she said the measure would only be used for "short periods of time".

The Met said armed patrols would not be "routine", but a Labour peer warned they would be "seen as provocative".

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