Early email from colleague to let me know that I appear sixth on Adam Boulton of Sky TV’s list of the ten most fanciable MPs. Flattered – I log onto the website and see who the others are in the list. It is a mixed gender list. How Adam reached his conclusions is a mystery. The comment by my photo brings me down to earth pretty swiftly! I just assume Adam has made a mathematical error! (I wished). Better to be talked about than not talked about – I guess!
I go to Millbank to film a package for a two minute intro to the Politics Show to air on Sunday as a pre-cursor to an interview they are doing with Chris Huhne re LibDem leadership. Dirt has been (attempted to be) dished recently with Michael Crick trying to find fault with Chris’s expenses when he was an MEP (report on Newsnight). It’s interesting that the diggers can come up with so little. The man must be a saint. I heard information too that Labour were looking at his expenses during the leadership election to see whether they could pin anything on him. I guess you know you’re doing a good job when your enemies are so desperate to do you down. You go boy! I knew I was getting there in Hornsey & Wood Green by the number of personal attacks on me by opponents.
I meet with Securicor Group 4 at 11.30am. There’s an interesting conundrum. Their proposition, which they are putting to the Minister (Hazel Blears), myself and the Tory police spokesperson. is to reclassify attacks on Securicor vans. The current situation is that if is when you attack a Securicor van carrying cash it is rated as a business crime – and therefore the attention and response of the police is not as high as for a public crime. Their argument is that they perform a public service – carrying cash to ATMs etc so that we, the public, can get our cash out whenever and virtually wherever we want. They are not allowed to be armed (quite rightly). However, covering the pavement between the highly fortified vehicle and the bank is a hazardous task.
In fact, 72% of all attacks on ‘cash in transit’ in Europe occur in Britain. Other countries have a range of defences, from armed guards to police coverage – and useful planning like the back of vehicles being able to dock directly into the building being delivered to. Coverage of more delivery points by CCTV would be good too.
So they presented their case to Hazel Blears – who I understand is sympathetic. I am sympathetic to a point – but would want partnership working as I don’t think police can be diverted to protect every delivery (for what is still a profit-making – and good luck to them – company). It’s an interesting question as to what the right balance is between them making reasonable efforts to look after themselves and them getting extra help from the police. Think about your own home. We think it’s reasonable for people to take some steps to protect their own property (locking doors, having decent locks etc) but also for the police to respond quickly when needed.
So – certainly worth thinking about reclassifying their status in terms of police response – but first need to know what relationship is to other businesses who might feel they too have this requirement, like banks. Very interested in more CCTV coverage of delivery points – as this might act as powerful deterrent. Though that depends on the CCTV working – unlike most of the CCTV coverage in my own high streets of Muswell Hill and Crouch End. I gather resources (or lack of them) mean that only 1 in 5 of the cameras is in operation. Absolutely bloody useless if they are not in operation and not monitored. That’s the challenge there. Anyway – food for thought.
Parliament is winding down today – as we go into recess tomorrow for a week – and I am having a week’s holiday. I know – shock horror!