Hornchurch's RAF History

It was a pleasure to attend Sanders Draper School in Hornchurch on Thursday for the presentation of an aircraft propeller to the school. This might sound a little odd, except for the fact that the propeller came from a light plane which flew from RAF Hornchurch and the school itself derives its name from a spitfire pilot who flew from the airfield during the Second World War.

Drug dependent or not?

When does drug free not mean drug free?  Answer - when it's counted by the Government. According to information I've obtained through Parliamentary questions, the Government apparently regards drug addicts as being free of dependency even though they may still be taking illicit drugs or be addicted to alcohol. A Parliamentary answer from the Department of Health notes the National Treatment Agency has two categories for counting those deemed to have successfully completed treatment drug free.

Mephedrone and the ACMD

I received an interesting answer to a recent written Parliamentary Question on the ‘legal high' Mephedrone. The drug is causing significant concern after its mis-use has been linked to several deaths. In order to assess the policy background and the need for a potential change in the law, I thought I would ask the Home Office what assessment they had made of the likely effects on health of the use of mephedrone as a recreational drug and what advice they had received from the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs.

Binge Drinking Toll

Last week it was revealed that the number of alcohol related hospital admissions is fast approaching one million a year. Last year 945,000 patients were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary alcohol-related diagnosis.

Film Club at R J Mitchell School

I went 'back to school' today to find out more about a nationwide after school activity enabling youngsters to enjoy classic and popular films.  RJ Mitchell School in Elm Park has been a member of FILMCLUB since November last year and has given children the chance to watch a variety of titles from Bugsy Malone to WALL.E.

New DNA Database Proposals - ECHR Compliant or not?

I spoke in a debate in Parliament today about the National DNA Database and the Home Office's latest proposals to make their retention policy compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.  It's nearly twelve months since the European Court passed its judgment in the case of S and Marper which ruled that the Government's 'blanket and indiscriminate' approach to DNA retention on an indefinite basis for those never convicted of any crime was unlawful.  After two false starts, Ministers are now proposing that there should be a blanket six year retention period for anyone arrested but not charged or convicted of any crime.

CCTV Effectiveness

I received an interesting answer to a Parliamentary Question back from the Home Office on Friday questioning the wisdom of the Government's approach on closed circuit TV cameras.  According to the new wisdom CCTV cameras should be concentrated on car park crime and vehicle crime rather than more and more cameras simply for the sake of it.

Rainham Village Fayre

Another successful Rainham Village Christmas Fayre.  Plenty of street stalls.  Carols for the children at St Helen & St Giles Church.  Morris dancing in the centre of the village and lots of entertainment - plus Santa's grotto.  Great fun for the children - and the adults alike. Congratulations to RAVE (Rainham Association for Village Events) and all of the local businesses that took part.

Changing Train Times

Having got used to one timetable on Southeastern trains, everything is about to change.  Southeastern will soon be introducing their new timetable on services into Charing Cross and Cannon Street.  From Bexley, Albany Park and Sidcup into London in the morning the train times don't seem to have altered that much - only by a few minutes.

Illuminating Elm Park

Check out some of the pictures from Friday night's 'Elm Park Illuminations' when we marked the start of the festive season in Elm Park.  It was a really fun evening and it was a privilege to join Councillor Roger Ramsay, the Mayor of Havering, in counting down to the big 'switch on' of the Elm Park Christmas Tree.  The weather stayed dry - if a bit cold - but the warmth of feeling and community spirit was palpable.  Just what Christmas should be about!  Many congratulations to Ingrid Brandon, the Elm Park Regeneration Partnership and all of the local shops and businesses which took part.