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I joined an emergency response team in on Southwark yesterday. It was a positive experience and it was good to pass on people's gratitude for their response to the London Bridge terror attack in June. The extreme end of police work is all taken in their stride, as are the daily offences they witness.

At the station we discussed the proposed borough merger, the rise in knife crime (including the recent SE17 weapons haul pictured), and gangs encroaching in Southwark as well as moped crime - a significant feature of yesterday's ride-along.

Since 2010, Southwark has lost over 200 police officers and PCSOs due to Government cuts. In London, we have seen a rise in a range of crimes, including violent crime, but there is a shortage of 700 detectives in the Met. Our police are simply under-resourced and over-stretched with the inevitable knock-on effect to public safety.

I joined Dan and Regan in their car and the first call was to a group of young men attempting to steal a moped. They didn't manage to take it thankfully but mopeds are a massive problem in London and were a regular issue on the walkie talkies as well as in my inbox. Mopeds are too easy to steal, with Vespas being particularly pathetically protected apparently. Manufacturers must do more to make them harder to pinch. Once taken, they are used to mug people of phones primarily. But the police are also hampered by rules preventing chasing those who steal them. The safety of the criminal is sadly put before tackling crime for the wider community. This must change.

I have already called on the Government to give our police the resources and powers to tackle all crime. This includes thieves stealing mopeds. Nor can the police keep picking up the pieces of other failing services. Another feature of the shift, and reports to me from local officers, is the number of incidents involving people with mental health problems. Yesterday, the only arrest I witnessed included a man with a mental health condition. His care package simply wasn't working, resulting in him causing problems for others in an unvirtuous circle.

I will be raising the issues seen yesterday when I meet the Deputy Mayor for policing, Sophie Linden and will ask how the Mayor's commitment to delivering more Dedicated Ward Officers will be rolled out to improve police visibility. I will continue to work with the Borough Commander, safer neighbourhood boards and others to help tackle the community safety challenges we all face.

I am grateful to all officers I met yesterday, and especially Dan and Regan for putting up with my questions in their car.

Mopeds, mental health and the Met in Southwark

I joined an emergency response team in on Southwark yesterday. It was a positive experience and it was good to pass on people's gratitude for their response to the London...

Broadband

Many local people have contacted me about poor broadband speeds and coverage in some areas locally, especially in Rotherhithe. Bermondsey and Old Southwark was recently ranked 595th of all UK constituencies for superfast broadband availability, with only 80% of households having coverage. The national average is 92% and it is appalling to see our part of central London so poorly served, with some wards having the slowest speeds in the capital. 

In the last Parliament and during the campaign I spoke to many people who had struggled with slow broadband, including local businesses, self-employed people working from home, and students. Many people depend on broadband and it should really be seen as a new utility: an essential rather than some kind of luxury bolt-on.

Since 2015 I have been pushing BT to get better coverage and further booster cabinets installed in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. They confirmed they would be installing a further 28 cabinets in Southwark but have failed to deliver on these plans. I met with BT representatives again this week to relay concerns and push for faster and further work. They have agreed to deliver 17 further units to provide coverage for 5,000 more premises by the end of this financial year. The council is working with BT to ensure these plans are met. 

I have also pressed the Government to meet its own target for coverage by investing in our area. The Chancellor has pledged an additional £400m investment in fibre optic broadband roll out as part of the Government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. I hope we see this funding deliver the broadband speeds we need here.

I will continue to update you on this matter and hope we see further improvements soon.

Broadband

BroadbandMany local people have contacted me about poor broadband speeds and coverage in some areas locally, especially in Rotherhithe. Bermondsey and Old Southwark was recently ranked 595th of all UK...

I welcome the Government’s announcement of banning unnecessary leasehold sales in new builds. The Government have rightly recognised that many face unjustified fees and uncertainty about management issues in properties people should own outright.

The same level of exploitation and rip off fees is prevalent through the installation of district heating systems. I raised these concerns in the last parliament and am aware of other MPs acting on this issue.

There appears to be a very significant difference in cost, transparency, regulation and consumer choice within the district heating industry and Government action along similar lines as their recent announcement would be very welcome given the increasing number of new home developments with district heating schemes.

I have now written to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, to highlight these concerns. 

District Heating

I welcome the Government’s announcement of banning unnecessary leasehold sales in new builds. The Government have rightly recognised that many face unjustified fees and uncertainty about management issues in properties people should...

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