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Bow house blaze: Four engines at the scene

Firefighters are currently dealing with a house fire in east London.

Four engines were called to a property on Bruce Road in Bow at about 10:15.

The blaze has spread to a room on the third floor, said London Fire Brigade.

It is not known if there are any injuries.

Shots fired into south London home

Gaywood Close,

Detectives are appealing for information after shots were fired into a house in south west London.

The outside of a residential property in Gaywood Close, Streatham, was damaged by the shooting at 01:31 BST on Wednesday.

There were no reported injuries.

Trident detectives from the Specialist Crime Command are investigating.

So far no arrests have been made and enquiries continue.

Coronavirus: 'I hated my flat during lockdown'

River Thames
Getty Images

When the coronavirus lockdown began, asset manager Joanna Coghlan knew she just had to get out of London and move to the countryside.

She had bought a flat in a new development at Battersea Power Station only last year. The complex included restaurants, spas and bars.

But when all those closed down because of the pandemic, the reality of her environment dawned on her.

"I spent seven weeks isolated there and realised that I absolutely hated it," she told the BBC.

"When you take away all the amenities that these developments advertise, then you realise you're just living in a glass box.

"It was a ghost town. It was just very soul-destroying living in this enormous development with no life going on."

Full story

John Boyega offers first look at Met Police officer role

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Star Wars actor John Boyega has offered fans a first glimpse at his starring role as police officer and anti-racism reformer Leroy Logan in Sir Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe.

The 28-year-old Londoner plays the real-life Met Police officer, who was motivated to reform the force from within after seeing his father assaulted by two officers.

Mr Logan was later awarded an MBE for his contribution to policing and retired in 2013 after 30 years' service. He is also a former chairman and founder of the Black Police Association Charitable Trust.

The series will feature six hour-long films telling five different stories, with the first told across two episodes, all set within London's west Indian community between the late 1960s and early 80s.

Boyega's episode is called Red, White And Blue, and sees him star alongside Prince of Persia's Steve Toussaint and newcomers Tyrone Huntley, Nathan Vidal and Jaden Oshenye.

Man admits manslaughter over wife's arson death

Denise Michelle Keane-Barnett-Simmons
Metropolitan Police

A man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after his estranged wife died in arson attack after he allegedly spied on her with secret cameras.

Denise Michelle Keane-Barnett-Simmons, 36, died from burns and smoke inhalation in the fire at her home in Alric Avenue, Brent on 16 April.

Maureen Laigle, in her 60s, managed to escape the fire through a window.

Damien Simmons, 44, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder at the Old Bailey on Friday.

He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of arson with intent to endanger life and a charge of voyeurism, but admitted disclosing private and sexual photographs with intent to cause distress.

It is alleged that, before the fire, Simmons had set up covert video cameras in the marital home to spy on his wife.

Prosecutor Louise Oakley said the pleas were "not acceptable" and said the matter needs to go to trial.

Defence counsel Judy Khan QC said: "Lack of intent and diminished responsibility are being looked into."

Judge Mrs Justice McGowan set a trial date at the same court for 21 September.

Arts centre awarded £10,000 grant

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A Battersea-based arts centre that works with community groups and young people has been awarded a £10,000 grant from Wandsworth Council.

At the most recent grants committee, a single ‘cultural capacity’ grant was awarded to Agora Arts Circle to encourage it to develop as a business and continue its work bringing the arts to a broader audience and emerging young artists.

Marie Bidegaray, co-founder of Agora Arts Circle and resident of the Winstanley Estate, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the group is particularly focused on engaging with Battersea residents.

She said: “We are very much based in Battersea because it takes time to build relationships and for people to trust us, because if they do not trust us then they are not going to tell us what they need, and they are just going to see us as one of those agencies that just comes and goes.”

Trapped kitten named Dusty freed by firefighters

A "shaken and very thirsty" kitten was rescued by firefighters after it became trapped in a wall cavity at a shop in Balham.

London Fire Brigade said it was called to Balham High Road on 22 July to save the three-week-old animal.

Crews from Tooting fire station used a disc cutter and sabre saw to cut away parts of the wall in order to save the kitten - named Dusty - with the rescue taking about 50 minutes.

Rescued kitten being held by a firefighter
London Fire Brigade

Firefighter Matt Harrold, said: “When we got her out she was very shaken and thirsty, but after she was checked over and had a cuddle and a drink of water she calmed down.

“We would always encourage people to call the RSPCA in the first instance if they see an animal stuck or in distress.

“Firefighters love animals too and we are always happy to assist if our specialist equipment is required, as in this case.”

£1.5 billion utilities upgrade for the capital

Local Democracy Reporting Service

London gas, water and electric networks are set for an upgrade, as Sadiq Khan announced a £1.5 billion scheme to boost supplies.

The massive cash injection, launched will improve services, create jobs, and kickstart the capital’s recovery from coronavirus, the Mayor promised.

Britain’s biggest utilities companies – including gas supplier Cadent, cable company UK Power Networks and Thames Water – will be involved.

The industry heavy weights have been brought together on the scheme by the London Recovery Board.

Chaired by the Mayor and Southwark Council leader Peter John, the group is coordinating the capital’s response to Covid-19.

Individual utilities projects are yet to be finalised, and some may need regulatory approval before getting the green light.

But the investment will improve gas networks, boost water supply to north east boroughs, the City of London and Canary Wharf, and slash leakage by 20 per cent in five years.

The Recovery Board will also push for new jobs to be created, particularly targeting young and black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) Londoners, who have been worst in recent months.

Utility companies have not furloughed any staff during the coronavirus outbreak, and have, in fact, continued to hire.

Met Police: 'Focus on violence' behind disproportionate force on black people

Nick Ephgrave

The "disproptionate use of force" by the Met Police against black people is because officers are "focussing efforts on those who are involved in perpetrating violence," Scotland yard has said.

Metropolitan Police officers are four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population,according to official figures.

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave told the BBC the police response could only be judged when taking into account "the types of crimes committed, the type of demographics of individuals involved in those crimes".

Mr Ephgrave said he was "worried" by the "disproportionality" in the use of force.

"But I’m also worried by the fact that young black men, are much more likely to be stabbed in the street, much more likely to be the victim of serious violence, much more likely to be the victim of gun crime, and much more likely to be the perpetrator," he said.

"We are trying to prevent young people from whatever background being injured and becoming victims of gun crime, knife crime and serious violence," he said.

"And we have to therefore focus our efforts on those who are involved in perpetrating that violence - and that's going to end up in disproportionate interactions.

"I take no pleasure in saying this, and it must be hard reading for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, but we do know that black men are disproportionately affected by these types of crimes. "If you simply look at disproportionality you're not seeing the full picture."

Watch the full interview tonight on BBC London at 18:30 BST on Thursday or catch up on iPlayer.

Man stabbed to death in residential west London street

Clements Court

A man has been stabbed to death on a residential west London street.

The victim, believed to be in his early 30s, was found suffering from stab wounds on Clements Court, Hounslow, at about 02.45 this morning.

Despite treatment from London Ambulance Service he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His next of kin have been informed.

One person has been arrested in connection with the investigation.

A crime scene is in place around the area. Enquiries continue.

'I kept telling them I couldn’t breathe'

'I kept telling them I couldn’t breathe'

Nathan Addae says he contemplated suicide after being knocked unconscious during an arrest for alleged taxi touting at Heathrow Airport.

During the incident in October 2013, Mr Addae said the police confirmed he was working on a pre-booked job. Despite this, he says he was arrested and handcuffed with his arms behind his back.

He said: "That's when I realised it was going to be a racial case."

Official figures show that Met Police are four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population.

The Met Police said "the causes of disproportionality are not straight forward and easy to understand".

A formal complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was made which "ultimately found there was no case to answer and Mr Addae's complaints were not upheld".

Read more here.

Met Police 'four times more likely' to use force on black people

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

Anaylsis of Met Police data shows officers were nearly four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population.

Restraint techniques - such as stirkes, wristlocks and groundpinning - were also three times more likely to be used on black people.

Serving and former officers in the Met have told the BBC this is down to "racial biases" among police.

But Scotland Yard said "the causes of disproportionality are not straight forward and easy to understand".

Using force is dangerous for both the police and the suspect. Police are more likely to end up injured than the target.

Last year 96 Met Officers were severely injured during use of force incidents - compared to 90 civilians.

Read more here.

data pic
Coronavirus: My pregnancy in a pandemic
Two women document their birth stories for the BBC, to show what it’s like to have a baby in a pandemic.
Bodycam footage from illegal Brixton party released
Twenty-two police officers were injured as they tried to shut down the event in Brixton on 25 June.

Man charged assaulting during racist attack

Clifton Road, Croydon

A man has been charged with assaulting two police officers during a racist attack in south London.

One officers was struck in the head with a baseball bat and a bottle after police responded to reports of a man making threats to residents in a property on Clifton Road, Croydon, on 21 July.

A 36-year-old has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and making threats to kill, as well as two public order and one racially aggravated public order offences.

Two officers required hospital treatment for their injuries in relation to the incident.

Mr Lemard will appear at Croydon Magistrates' Court on 23 July.

CCTV appeal after man seriously injured in attack

Met Police

Police have released CCTV of a person they are trying to find after a man was left with a serious head injury following an attack outside a Streatham restaurant.

Officers had been called to Streatham High Road on 11 July at about 02:00 over reports of a man being assaulted outside Mikrus Restaurant.

The 42-year-old victim was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

Det Con Oliver Honeybun-Arnolda described the attack as "a very serious assault which has left a man in hospital with a significant injury".

"I would appeal to anyone with information about the incident or who recognises the man in the footage to come forward."

Met Police

Met chief backs officers over sprinter stop-and-search

Bianca Williams
Getty Images

The chief of London's police has denied she threw officers "under the bus" by apologising to athlete Bianca Williams after the sprinter and her partner had their car pulled over during a stop-and-search.

The Met's commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, told LBC "any officer worth their salt" would have stopped the car because of the way it was being driven.

She said she had said sorry to Ms Williams "as one human being to another" for any distress caused, but believed the officers had done nothing wrong.

"I apologised for the distress that she suffered, the distress that was caused. I was very specific," Dame Cressida said.

During the interview the commissioner also revealed all Met officers have been told not to take the knee,a gesture of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, during operational situations.

Speaking about how some had been seen doing so during protests on 7 July, she said the officers had "endured, all of them, a long, hard day, hours of protest, they were being abused and shouted at by all kinds of people.

"That section of the crowd were saying again and again and again 'Take the knee, take the knee, take the knee'. I imagine, but I haven't spoken to them personally, that they thought, in order to keep that bit of the crowd a bit quieter and to show some respect and some humility, some respect for what had happened to George Floyd, they took the knee."

She explained that she would not have done so as "I'm a professional police officer and I don't think we should in operational duties".

Finsbury Park stabbing: One man arrested

A man has been arrested after another was stabbed in Finsbury Park.

Finsbury Park

Police were called to the area after receiving reports a group of men were intoxicated and fighting at about 14:40.

One man has been taken to hospital with stab wounds, said police.

His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

A second man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

A police cordon is in place.