27/06/2017 London News


27/06/2017

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This was Shepherd's Court, a tower block in West London,

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where a huge fire broke out in in August last year.

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where a huge fire broke out in August last year.

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In response to that blaze, London Fire Brigade wrote

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to all local authorities in the capital.

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BBC London has seen a copy of the letter, in which the LFB says

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it believes that exterior panels on the building

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Our political editor, Tim Donovan, has this special report.

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Last August, mid-afternoon, filmed from a neighbouring block.

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And one by one, just like a serpent, it was slithering upwards.

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An 18-storey tower block in Shepherd's Bush, in West London.

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From one floor, it goes to another floor.

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You know, it was really horrific, the speed of it.

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No-one died or was seriously injured.

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Dozens of tenants were evacuated safely.

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The fire was claimed to have started from a faulty

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Today, the damage and the spread of that fire is still visible.

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The repairs not yet done, the tenants who occupy these

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Now, the fire started in this flat, on the seventh floor,

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Now, firefighters would have expected to contain it.

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They came up here, through the central stairwell.

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The fire spread, the flames went up outside the building,

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and came into this flat, one floor above.

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Smoke also affected properties on one, two floors above here.

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Well, a fire investigation suggested the panels around the windows

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on the outside of the building warped, exposing combustible

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In its letter to London boroughs in April, the Fire Brigade warned...

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Today, I showed the letter and the findings to one

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I've always thought that, but this is the first time...

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You've just shown me the letter now, that is the first

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I asked the council and they said no.

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They said at a council meeting in February this year,

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they told us that they would be changing the windows.

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And I said to them, come on, let's face it, the reason the fire

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And they said, no, it's absolute rubbish, we're just changing them

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because they would have been due a change after ten years.

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This wasn't the same issue, the same cladding as Grenfell Tower,

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but it shows that just weeks before, councils had been alerted

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to a serious concern about fire safety and the outside

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With this cladding and now these windows, it's basically

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every block in London, by the sounds of it.

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If you haven't got cladding, you've got these windows.

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So either way, it's a potential fire hazard everywhere.

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You know, after what we went through last August,

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it's scary to think that I'm still living in a

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Tonight, it's too early to say what action, if any,

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London councils took following the letter,

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but the local authority here - Hammersmith and Fulham -

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said it followed all Fire Brigade advice.

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And as a precaution, it says, all exterior panels will be removed

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The Mayor has launched a major crackdown on knife crime,

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after an escalation in violence in the capital.

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Nine teenagers have been killed this year and there were three fatal

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stabbings in the past 24 hours alone.

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The strategy could see more metal detectors in schools,

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along with an increase in the use of Stop and Search by police.

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Here's our home affairs correspondent, Nick Beake.

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The Mayor chose this boxing club in Brixton

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to launch his new assault on knife crime.

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Pastor Lorraine Jones set it up three years ago,

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after her 20-year-old son, Dwayne, was stabbed to death.

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It's the kind of place Sadiq Khan says he will now give more money to.

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It's vitally important to have spaces like this,

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because in spaces like this, the young people feel comfortable.

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Unless they feel comfortable and safe, they can't

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address their internal issues and social issues that they're

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Today, the Mayor blamed his predecessor and the Conservative-led

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coalition for a recent rise in knife crime.

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What can you say is genuinely new and pioneering and will

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Well, knife crime has been going up in London since 2014.

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It's clear that all of us have to work together.

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That means rather than closing down youth centres because of Government

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Well, a specialist team of 80 Met officers to be sent

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There will be more Stop and Search, and increased funding

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Also, more help for people to leave gangs,

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a crackdown on knife sales, and more weapon searches in schools.

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This strategy to fight knife crime is something the Mayor

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and his team have been working on for the past year.

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Lots of different organisations are involved, but the Metropolitan

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This strategy gives all of us across London the opportunity to get

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And I think the most important thing about it is that it is

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all-encompassing and there has been an enormous amount of consultation,

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engagement with particularly young people, so it's highly

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But not everyone thinks this strategy is destined to work.

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Sefton Henry started selling drugs when he was just eight.

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He thinks the Mayor should make more use of reformed criminals.

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I know what it's like to be in a prison cell.

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I know what it's like to carry a knife.

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I know what it's like to rob people and sell drugs and the rest of it.

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I know the root causes of what made me do that.

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The Conservatives say the Mayor's new strategy lacks clear targets,

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so it will be hard to work out whether or not any of these measures

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After 16 attempts at IVF and seven years of heartache,

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Sandeep and Reena Mander, from Berkshire, decided

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But the couple, who are Sikh, claim they were told they couldn't

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take the process forward locally because of their cultural heritage.

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There were both born in Britain and said they were happy to take a child

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from any ethnic background. They say the agency advised them

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to adopt a child from India instead, After seven years of trying and 16

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failed IVF attempts, Sandeep and Reena Mander

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accepted they were not Convinced they could offer

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a child a loving home, they went to an introductory

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session on adoption. When they told the agency,

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Adopt Berkshire, they would like to move forward,

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they were informed that with only white

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babies needing families, We'd already gone through

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a long journey, and... Initially, I was hurt,

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then I was angry. They should be looking at us

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as people and understanding more about our lives,

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who we are, and not just one particular area,

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such as cultural heritage. The couple, both born

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and raised in Britain, tried to get the decision reversed

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through the agency's They have had support from their MP,

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Theresa May, but they have not even been allowed to start the long

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application process, which is why I feel that the council has got it

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wrong, in the sense that they have prioritised cultural heritage

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as the one and primary factor that they will consider before even

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allowing couples to register. The effect of doing that is creating

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a form of segregation. Adopt Berkshire is the

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council's adoption agency. When we asked about this case,

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a spokesperson said they would not But on its website, it says -

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when placing children for adoption, it will first try to identify

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prospective adopters who will reflect the child's culture

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and religion of heritage. For us, colour doesn't mean a single

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thing to us, you know. So why differentiate that,

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and the well-being of the child growing up, just down

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to the fact that, I suppose, The legal battle, they say,

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is for future couples They've now been approved

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for adoption from the US. A man hit by a bus says

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he's lucky to be alive. Some viewers may find

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the CCTV images alarming. Simon Smith was walking

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on Gun Street, in Reading, when a double-decker bus mounted

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the pavement and sent him flying. Incredibly, he was able to get up

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and walk away and head for the pub. That's it for now from me,

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but let's find out what It is raining and it will continue

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through the night. Great watering for the garden. This is what we have

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had, a lot of rain and flashes around in Orpington, 20 millimetres

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in one hour. It is continuing through the night. Piling up on the

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radar picture. The Met Office has a weather warning as a result. There

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could be disruption to transport and difficult driving conditions and

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possibly flooding. Plenty of rain, some of it heavy. A weirdly cool and

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muggy feel, and that continues tomorrow morning and it will be

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raining for some in the rush-hour, clearing away into the afternoon

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with brighter spells. You can see on Thursday, a quite cloudy day, and

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you might get further showers. Thursday, a quite cloudy day, and

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you might get further showers. Good evening. The weather seems to

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have done a complete U-turn. For some today, wet and miserable for

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much of the day. In the Isle of Man, we have seen 56 millimetres of rain

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in 24 hours. Yes, the gardens are happy, but not sure if you have been

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if you live there. Some of that heavy this morning. Pushing North

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and East and light and drizzly into the afternoon, with showers

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developing into the South East. Becoming quite extensive through the

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afternoon across Kent and into London and into East Anglia. We have

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seen 50 millimetres in the Suffolk area in just 12 hours. The rain

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continues to be heavy and it will do so through the night. Gradually

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drifting North and West. The exception of Scotland,

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