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Darren backs need for investment in complex police investigations

Darren Jones MP has backed calls from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, for the government to review the Police Allocation Formula (PAF) (which assesses the funding each police force receives from government) alongside the total funding set aside by central government for policing. Continued calls for the PAF to reconsidered come after the force has advised it faces an operational delivery gap of £15m by 2020/21 due to the rising levels of complex crime (which take more police time to investigate) including domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and child abuse. The gap equates to 300 police officers.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Avon and Somerset Constabulary are clear that to meet rising demand for complex criminal investigations they will incur an operational gap of £15m from 2020/2021. That’s the equivalent of 300 extra police officers needed to ensure complex crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and child abuse are investigated properly.

Investigating these crimes, and other complex cases, are not negotiable. Therefore, the way money is divided between police forces, and the total government funding available to all forces, must be urgently re-considered. We can’t keep propping up our vital public services by adding a few pounds to council tax whilst cuts are made elsewhere – a longer-term and sustainable solution is needed. I’ll be tabling a Parliamentary Question asking government what assessment they have made to ensure the current formula is fair and what date their long-awaited review will be published”.

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Darren becomes Honorary President of Westbury Squadron

Bristol North West MP Darren Jones recently accepted the honour of becoming the Honorary President of the 2442 Air Cadet Squadron based in Westbury-on-Trym.

Darren said:

” I really enjoyed attending a drill night in late August to see and meet the cadets and the team who support them. I was also able to join the Squadron for their annual Awards Evening held in September – it was inspiring to hear about the achievements and aspirations of young people from across Bristol North West”.

You can find out more about the squadron here.

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Darren supports World Mental Health Day – Ask Twice

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed calls to ‘ask twice’ this World Mental Health Day (10th October).

Time to Change, a growing social movement run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Despite some progress, many people still don’t consider mental health relevant to them.

This World Mental Health Day, Time to Change is urging people to ‘Ask Twice’ if a friend or family member says they are ‘fine’ but it is suspected they may be experiencing a mental health problem. The simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.

Darren said:

“This World Mental Health Day, I am supporting Time to Change’s ‘Ask Twice’ campaign – all we need to do is ask again if a friend or family member says they are ‘fine’ but you suspect they may be experiencing a mental health problem. This simple act can show you’re actually interested and willing to hear the response – whether that’s now or when someone’s ready. I will also continue to call upon the government to ensure the NHS and local authorities have the funding they need to provide local, consistent and good quality mental health services and support”.

More information on the campaign and how you can get involved is available from time to change.

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Darren visits new housing in Lawrence Weston

Bristol North West MP Darren Jones visited Curo’s site at Corbet Close in Lawrence Weston last week to find out more about the organisation’s plans to build 57 much-needed new affordable homes in the area.

The local MP was accompanied on the site visit by Curo Managing Director, Gerraint Oakley, and the project team. The development will provide one, two and three bedroom homes for social and affordable rent, as well as a number of homes for shared ownership.

Curo submitted its planning application in August and is anticipating the new homes could be completed by the end of 2021 if granted consent by Bristol City Council. Corbet Close along with Curo’s other proposed development in Lawrence Weston – for 128 homes at Henacre Road – could see the addition of 185 new homes in total for the area, of which 95 will be affordable housing.

Darren said:

” These developments will help more families from Lawrence Weston to stay in or return to the community they love and where they grew up. I am pleased that more than half of the new homes proposed by Curo will be available as affordable housing – these homes will benefit people who are on the council’s housing list. I grew up in Lawrence Weston and I’m delighted to see investment in housing in this area – these developments and others like it will not only create new housing that is urgently needed in Bristol, they’ll also deliver growth in the local economy. Housing Associations are key partners in delivering our city’s target of 2,000 new homes per year by 2020″.

Gerraint Oakley said: “We’re keen to work with the council and other partners to create even more new housing in Bristol and look forward to be able to start building both at Henacre Road and Corbet Close. We’d like to thank Darren Jones MP for taking the time to visit our site and find out more about our developments which will benefit the whole area – including our existing tenants at Corbet Close, who will enjoy better external communal areas, improved security and amenities.”

©Barbara Evripidou/FirstAvenuePhotography.com

 

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Darren visits Southmead Hospital Charity

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, recently visited the team at Southmead Hospital Charity.

Darren got to try his hand at robotic surgery in a urology theatre and also spent some time on the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital.

He also found out more about Southmead Hospital Charity’s Prostate Cancer Care Appeal to purchase two surgical robots to treat prostate and other urological cancers. Darren met consultant urological surgeon Anthony Koupparis and used a demonstration version of the Intuitive Da Vinci robot to gain some insight into how the new technology is fighting prostate cancer.  The robot was recently purchased as part of the first wave of the Charity’s Prostate Cancer Care Appeal – with a further surgical robot to be fundraised for to extend robotic surgery to other urological cancers.

Darren then went to NICU where he met staff, parents and their babies being cared for on the unit to find out more about recent projects and equipment funded by Southmead Hospital Charity.  He visited the Charity’s family sensory room in NICU which is an important space for families to interact with their babies and which includes sensory equipment key to their development. He also found out about a new project to help parents prepare to take their babies home by enabling them to get used to administering medication themselves.

Elizabeth Bond, head of fundraising at Southmead Hospital Charity, said:

“It was a real pleasure to welcome Mr Jones to the hospital and talk to him about the work of the Charity and show him how we have made a real impact on patient care at North Bristol NHS Trust. As the MP that serves the constituency within which we are based, it’s so important for us to engage with our stakeholders and wider community to show the difference we are making thanks to our donors and fundraisers.”

Darren said:

” I would like to sincerely thank all the team and volunteers at Southmead Hospital Charity for hosting my visit and more importantly, the excellent work they do in supporting our local hospital. The funds they raise are helping to bring the very latest tech and innovation to patients at Southmead alongside the more traditional, but crucial items, such as their new ambulance. I’ll continue to back their life-saving and vital campaigns and encourage others to do the same”.

To find out more and donate to Southmead Hospital Charity please click here.

 

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Darren shares response from council on Iron Bridge closure

A number of constituents have contacted Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, about the continued closure of the Iron Bridge in Shirehampton following damage caused by a lorry hitting the historic bridge back in November 2015.

Following these concerns, Darren attended a ‘Save the Iron Bridge’ event in January to support the concerns of residents and since site inspections were undertaken in April 2018, has contacted Bristol City Council to ask for an update.

Darren said:

“I know many of you, like I am, are rightly concerned about the continued closure of the Iron Bridge. The bridge is an iconic and vital connection between Kingsweston and Blaise Castle Estates and I have been in touch with your local councillor, Don Alexander, who is continuing to champion this issue at the council.

We’ve been advised by cabinet lead, Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, that since the inspections undertaken earlier this year, the council has now drawn together the works information required for bridge dismantling and removal, as well as the information to support a Listed Consent Application to enable these works to take place. A Heritage Statement is now required as part of the Listed Consent Application and that’s expected in late September. Planning permission is then required alongside a tender process to select the company who’ll undertake the works.

Based on these steps, Councillor Threlfall has advised she would expect the council to be able to undertake the required site works early in the next financial year“. 

 

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Darren shares response from council on Blaise Castle vandalism

A number of constituents contacted Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, about the recent vandalism, estimated to cost roughly £2000 to repair, to the Blaise Castle Museum’s balustrade wall.

Following these concerns, Darren contacted Bristol City Council to ensure they were aware of the range of antisocial behaviour and vandalism being experienced and witnessed by park visitors.

Darren said:

” As promised, I’ve raised our concerns about vandalism and ASB at Blaise Castle with the council. I also took a look at the latest damage for myself last week. Here’s the reply I received from the council on Friday 7th September:

“I can confirm that Blaise Castle estate has been experiencing heightened levels of vandalism over the last couple of weeks. Parks staff have made a number of reports to the police during this time & made requests for police patrols of the estate in the evenings when most of the issues seem to occur.

Estate management are currently investigating options for CCTV, the cost implications & its effectiveness in reducing crime should the option be taken. Estate management are also trying to engage with local police to try to reduce antisocial behavior and make improvements to infrastructure to reduce opportunities for vandalism”.

If you have any information on this incident, or any other crime/ASB in Blaise Castle, please call the police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5218 191 967″. 

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Darren visits Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West recently visited the Filton base of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC). Darren visited to find out more  about the work that GWAAC carry out, and their Buy our Base appeal; an appeal to the public to help them buy a new air base which is currently being constructed in Almondsbury.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity provide the Critical Care and air ambulance service for 2.1 million people across the counties of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and surrounding areas. Their crew attend the most critical incidents across the region by helicopter or by one of their two Critical Care cars.

Their current air base in Filton is one of the oldest in the country, and unfortunately is no longer meeting the needs of the increasingly busy service. Added to this, the entire site is set to be re-developed, and will no longer be able to host the service. GWAAC now have the opportunity to buy the new base once it’s completed thus providing GWAAC with stability for the foreseeable future. The charity needs to raise £1.25million to buy the base.

The GWAAC Critical Care team consists of a highly trained and experienced Pilot, Critical Care Paramedic and Critical Care Doctor. From emergency blood transfusions to roadside amputations or treating cardiac arrests, our crew specialise in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine and Trauma Medicine, bringing the skills and expertise of an Accident and Emergency Department to the patient.

Darren said:

“I was shown around the Filton air base and introduced to the Critical Care Doctors and Specialist Paramedics and learned about how GWAAC supports the local community with their life-saving service.

I would like to thank all the team and volunteers at Great Western Air Ambulance Charity for hosting my visit and their consistent hard work and dedication. I wish the team’s ‘Buy our Base’ campaign every success – I have no doubt that there are constituents of mine alive today because of the hard work, skills and knowledge of the Air Ambulance Charity. But to continue this excellent and live-saving work, they need stability – I urge anyone who can to, to donate to their fantastic appeal”.

To find out more and donate to the ‘Buy our Base’ appeal visit: www.buyourbase.co.uk

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Darren gets no vaping on buses assurance

Darren asked the Science and Technology Committee chair about a report into E-cigarettes which they had both worked on. The report received considerable media attention, including from some who suggested that it recommended allowing vaping on buses. Darren had this to say about the clip:

Many of you contacted me because you were concerned that a committee I sit on, the Science and Technology Committee, had recommended allowing vaping on buses. That’s not actually the case – we were misreported.

Watch me getting clarity on this from the Committee chair below.

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Darren gets no vaping on buses assurance

Darren asked the Science and Technology Committee chair about the E-cigarette report they had worked on together. The report got considerable media attention, including some suggesting that it recommended allowing vaping on buses.

Here’s what Darren had to say about the below clip:

Many of you contacted me because you were concerned that a committee I sit on, the Science and Technology Committee, had recommended allowing vaping on buses. That’s not actually the case – we were misreported.

Watch me getting clarity on this from the Committee chair below.