I don't know about you, but Christmas and New Year already feels a long time ago to me! Here's a bit of what I've been doing locally and in Parliament this year so far - late night police patrols, trying to get Putney Police station reopened, following up day hospital closures and speaking in Parliament on the Animal Welfare Bill - a real mix.
Out on Patrol with Putney Police
Last Friday night I was out on patrol with our police from 8pm to 3am to see what they have to deal with on a typical Friday night. It was certainly never dull - suspected break ins, a scuffle outside the Fez Club in Upper Richmond Road, chasing youths on mopeds who had just mugged a pedestrian, and a variety of other call outs all happened right the way across Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. Hopefully I'll have chance to join the team again later in the year. It was very useful to see what they have to deal with first hand.
Putney Police Station Closure
When I saw the sign "closed until further notice" on the window of Putney Police Station last Friday as I went past I had to do a doubletake to make sure I'd read the notice properly. By the end of the day, I'd spoke with Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Joe Royle to find out exactly what was going on and what we could do to get the station opened up again. The closure is due to lack of resources - we've got fewer police in Wandsworth now than we had in 1997, and now Putney Police station is closed.
Latest news is that it looks like the station may reopen for a paltry 2 hours a day. Its not enough - we need a Putney police station open round the clock and I'll be doing whatever I can to bring pressure to bear locally and in Parliament to see that happens.
Animal Welfare Bill
At last! Its 95 years since the last major Animal Welfare bill, but finally we have an updated one passing through Parliament. Like many people, I'm a pet owner, so I'm pleased that this bill is finally being given parliamentary time. The Bill will help increase the power of local authorities and the police to take steps to prevent animal cruelty, rather than just intervening when it has already happened, as at present. I spoke up to urge the Secretary of State to make the penalties for people who commit the worst cases of cruelty much tougher. Peversely, the Bill will mean people get less time in prison (just 13 weeks) instead of the current 6 months. I'd like the courts to be able to give much tougher sentences if they are appropriate. I'm now on the Committee of MPs that will scrutinise the bill even more closely, so hopefully I can do my bit to improve it.
Day Hospital Closures
Our mental health day hospitals locally have now been closed with people who used them transferred to other centres. I'm really concerned to make sure that the quality of care people get isn't compromised now day hospitals have shut, so I met with South West London Mental Health Trust management at Springfield Hospital to relay concerns of constituents who've contacted me and to get some assurances that everyone is being properly taken care of.
If you have any local issues you'd like to raise with me, do email me at email@example.com, or call our office on 0208 9440378.
Justine Greening MP
October 19, 2005