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  1. Met launches autumn anti-social behaviour campaign

    The Metropolitan Police have begun their annual autumn campaign to crack down on violence and anti-social behaviour, with a range of operational activity planned for London over the next three weeks.

    The Autumn Nights campaign will target violence in particular, with officers active across the capital at a time of year when crime rates typically increase.

    Met Commander Jane Connors said the period around Halloween and Bonfire Night, when increased numbers of people took to the streets after dark, was a time in which many people felt vulnerable.

    "We know that traditionally at this time of year we see an increase in anti-social behaviour and we start to see a small rise in the levels of violence," Ms Connors said.

    "So what we're here to do is make sure that we reassure the communities that we're here to keep them safe, give them crime prevention advice, and make sure we stay on top of any anti-social behaviour and any violence, which is our number one priority.

    "What that includes is local safe neighbourhood officers, who will be going around to make sure they give crime-prevention advice, speaking to people who may be vulnerable or scared, particularly at Halloween and Bonfire Night.

    "That's the time of year we get anti-social behaviour, and people do get worried."

    Officers would also increase their presence through targeted patrols in areas expected to be particularly affected by violence and anti-social behaviour, Ms Connors said.

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  4. Pandemic leaves Ealing with multi-million pound funding gap

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Ealing Council is expecting to have to make savings of £28 million in one of the “most difficult years” it’s faced, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Speaking at the council’s cabinet meeting, finance chief Bassam Mahfouz made a plea to the national government to reimburse the council’s £15 million spent on tackling the pandemic in the borough, which ministers pledged to repay at the beginning of the crisis.

    He told colleagues that a £28 million shortfall will need to be plugged for the 2021/22 financial year.

    Cllr Mahfouz said: “As this report pulls out, we remain in a position where the government continues to ask more of us but won’t keep its simple promise that it made right at the start of this crisis, to pay the Covid-19 bill, that we and Ealing residents will be faced with at the end of the crisis.

    “Before the pandemic we were on a strong footing thanks to our Future Ealing work but now we’re facing an unpaid bill of circa £15m. Against that backdrop of 64p in the pound that we had cut in the last 10 years by the same government.

    “That leaves us with I can only describe a gargantuan target of possibly £28m worth of savings to find for the next financial year, as well as plugging the sizeable gap that we have this year.”

  5. Leeds housing association boss joins Grenfell panel

    PA Media

    The boss of a housing association in West Yorkshire which supports black, Asian and minority ethnic communities has been appointed as the third member of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry panel.

    Grenfell Tower

    Ali Akbor, chief executive of Leeds-based Unity Homes and Enterprise, will sit at hearings from 2 November, the Cabinet Office has confirmed.

    On its website, Unity is described as a "modern, successful and visionary organisation that understands and represents the needs of all tenants of all ethnic backgrounds".

    Last year, Mr Akbor was made an OBE for services to the community in Leeds.

    The hearings into the Grenfell tragedy, which killed 72 people in June 2017, have been without a third expert since January, when an engineer resigned over links to the firm which manufactured the block's flammable cladding.

    Confirming Mr Akbor's appointment, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "He will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the role, as well as a crucial understanding of the issues at the heart of Phase 2 and an unwavering commitment to improving people's lives."

    Mr Akbor will sit on the inquiry panel alongside chairman, Sir Martin Moore Bick, and architect Thouria Istephan.