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Darren hosts first Business Forum on Modern Slavery

On 22nd June, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, hosted a Business Forum with local employers, the council, charities and the police and called upon them to work with him to end Modern Slavery in Bristol and beyond.

Darren said:

“There are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 people in modern slavery in the UK, however many experts agree that’s a huge underestimate. I’ve been championing victim’s rights since becoming Bristol North West’s MP – we have seen cases of modern slavery in Southmead and across the city. I’ll continue to make this a priority by supporting Bills that come through the House of Commons and hosting events such as my Business Forum today – it is only by drawing these issues out into the open that we’ll bring an end to this abuse of vulnerable people. I also recently wrote to the Gangmaster’s and Labour Abuse Authority to ask them to licence nail bar and car wash businesses (as known hot spots for modern slavery) in Bristol, to make sure they treat workers properly.  I have met victims at my weekly surgery – so this is an issue I take extremely seriously”.

Darren continued:

“I’m also continuing to fight unethical working practises wherever I see them including tipping etiquette in restaurants, changes to Asda employee’s terms and conditions and the hostile takeover of GKN amongst others. As the event heard on Friday, Bristol is continuing to lead the way on exposing cases of modern slavery but this great work will only continue if we all join forces – as our Police and Crime Commissioner said businesses and members of the public need to be the police’s eyes and ears and report their concerns”.

Speakers at the Forum included CEO of Unseen Andrew Wallis OBE, Sue Mountstevens Police and Crime Commissioner and Jaya Chakrabarti MBE.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor, Asher Craig also joined the event to support calls for partners to work together and ensure Bristol acts as a positive example to other cities on how to tackle and eradicate modern slavery.

 

 

 

Darren signs letter on Child Sexual Exploitation

Darren has signed a joint, cross-party letter from MPs concerned about the scale of child sexual exploitation. It is addressed to the government, and calls on them to take some specified actions which will help tackle child abuse.

Writing on Facebook, Darren said:

At the moment, 15% of girls and 5% of boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before 16. That’s why I’ve added my name to a cross-party letter calling for the Government to do more to tackle this.

We need more support focused on proactive prevention alongside police forces across the country working together.

You can read the full letter below:

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Darren says ‘don’t risk it’ – report scams!

June is Citizens Advice’s annual Scams Awareness Month. This year’s theme is ‘don’t risk it’ – if you’re unsure about the deal you are being sold then it may be too good to be true. Citizens Advice research has found that a staggering 72% of people have been targeted by scammers in the last 2 years and even more worryingly, nearly 40% of people had been targeted 5 or more times. These are often the most vulnerable in our communities.

Almost half of people surveyed had taken no action to protect themselves against scams.

You can find out more information on common scams and how to report them here.

Darren said:

” I want to help make sure my constituents don’t fall victim to scammers – victims of scams often don’t come forward, making it difficult to know the true impact that scams have in our local communities. It also makes it hard to bring scammers to justice. That’s why I am supporting Scams Awareness Month and encouraging residents of Bristol North West to report dodgy traders to Citizens Advice and Trading Standards”.

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Darren calls for new Anti Modern Slavery measures in Bristol

On Facebook, Darren wrote:

Bristol has had real issues with modern slavery: car washes and nail bars can be hotspots. I’ve written to the Gangmaster’s and Labour Abuse Authority to ask them to licence these businesses in Bristol, to make sure they treat workers properly. I’ll also be hosting a Modern Slavery-focused event in June to continue to raise awareness of these issues to the local business community.

You can read the full letter here:
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Darren asks experts about social media and violence

 

The Science and Technology Committee, which Darren is a member of, held public evidence session on social media and its links to violence. This was part of its inquiry on Social Media and screens-use.

The witnesses present were Martin Hewitt, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service, Dr Netta Weinstein, Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University, Beth Murray, Director of Communications and Engagement, Catch 22, Dr Keir Irwin-Rogers, Lecturer, The Open University, and Sheldon Thomas, Consultant on gang and youth violence, Gangsline.

Darren asked the witnesses about the funding for online policing, and who should be responsible for enforcing regulation on the internet.

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Darren Talks With Police About Local Car Crime

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has recently received concerns from several constituents in the Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Sea Mills area about an increase in car crime and arson.

Darren said:

“ I am aware of multiple incidents of car theft and arson locally in recent weeks. Please be on your guard. I shared my concerns with the local beat teams – their positive and swift response is included below. I’ll continue to monitor this situation and encourage anyone with concerns or information to call the police on 101 or, if it is an emergency, 999.

You can continue to share your general views and experiences on my crime and policing-focused survey: http://darren-jones.co.uk/police/“.

Response from the Local Beat Team Inspector:

This is an issue that we too have recognised and have been monitoring. In terms of our response to this we have been raising our patrols in the area for reassurance and have also requested that a briefing document be prepared for the wider patrol units to ensure that we have a higher than usual Police presence in the area around the times the offences are being committed.

I would request that all residents are vigilant and do report any suspicious behaviour to Police. This will allow us to respond and carry out checks on persons which will help in disrupting the behaviour and reduce crime. We have a local Ward meeting this week on Thursday (17th) and I will request that officers attending this ensure they present on this issue. I will also request a letter drop be carried out in the effected roads to raise awareness and give Crime Prevention advice to the wider community.

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Darren thanks Bristol Firefighters

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his continued support to Firefighters on the second annual Firefighters’ Memorial Day.

Darren said:

“ Tomorrow (4th May) is Firefighter’s Memorial Day – at midday across the UK fire stations will fall silent for one minute to honour the memory of 2,524 firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Many other thousands will have been seriously injured performing their duty.

This memorial day, in its second year, is a hugely important tribute to some of our most-valued public servants. I will be attending my weekly surgery tomorrow morning but all firefighters will be in my thoughts. I would also like to thank all of the firefighters across Bristol for their courage, conviction and sense of care to others – each one should be proud of their work and the help they give others in often the most demanding, dangerous and stressful of circumstances”.

You can read more about Firefighters Memorial Day here.

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Darren votes to improve anti-tax avoidance measures in the Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Bill

Darren voted on this bill, which will decide the rules for government action on sanctions and against money laundering. Money laundering is where illegally gained money is harboured so as to make it look like it was legally gained.

Darren voted for the following changes to the bill, which were rejected by the government.

  • To create a public register of beneficial ownership information for companies and other legal entities outside of the UK that own or buy UK property, or bid for UK government contracts, within 12 months.
  • To ensure that when a company is formed in the UK, the relevant formation services must identify the beneficial owners of the company. It will also treat Companies House as a “company formation agent”, ensuring that the data on the public register of beneficial ownership for companies is accurate.
  • To remove paragraph 2(a) from Clause 48, which enables the appropriate Minister to amend, repeal or revoke enactments for regulations under section 1 or 44 using Henry VIII powers.

 

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Darren to host Modern Slavery event in Bristol

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his continued support to the victims of modern slavery as a new bill makes its way to the House of Commons.

Darren said:

“ There are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 people in modern slavery in the UK, however many experts agree that’s a huge underestimate. I’ve been championing their rights since becoming Bristol North West’s MP. I’ll continue to do that by supporting Lord McColl’s Private Members Bill when it comes through the House of Commons.

Victims need support over a longer period of time (than the current 45 days stipulated by government) to recover and be able to take the opportunities that programmes such as Co-op’s Bright Future provides. Only with support will victims regain control of their lives through paid employment.

I often meet victims at my surgeries – so this is an issue I take extremely seriously. I’m also fighting unethical working practises wherever I see them including tipping etiquette in restaurants, changes to Asda employee’s terms and conditions and the hostile takeover of GKN amongst others.

I’ll be hosting an event in June to continue to raise awareness of these matters and support local businesses to work with partners across Bristol, and further afield, to stamp out modern slavery in our city”.

You can read more about the Co-op and Global Citizen campaign here.

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Darren tours HMP Bristol and shares funding concerns

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones met the Governor of HMP Bristol, Steve Cross and toured the prison formerly known as HMP Horfield. HMP Bristol is in the constituency of Bristol West but prisoners from across the area are sent here to serve their sentences and many staff live in Bristol North West.

Darren said:

“ I found the visit extremely useful and would like to thank Steve, his team and some of the prisoners for meeting me. Prison services are under an incredible amount of pressure and HMP Bristol have faced, and continues to face, many high profile challenges. The facility itself is ageing and suffering from a lack of investment. Staffing numbers have been low whilst remaining staff have faced record levels of violence and the rising use of former legal highs such as Spice as well as more traditional drugs. I was therefore really pleased to hear that staff numbers have risen, investment is being made to the oldest parts of the prison, there’s a focus on education and skills training and use of drugs is declining. Given my role on the Science and Tech Committee, I was particularly keen to hear about the use of experimental technology to block the use of drones (which drop drugs) over the prison.

Whilst there has been improvements in other areas,  I was concerned to hear about the lack of support available to prisoners with acute mental health needs.  As beds in secure mental health units are in such demand prisoners often find it very difficult to access the right level of care and therefore remain in prison for lengthy periods. This is especially worrying given the 5 self-inflicted deaths at HMP Bristol during 2016 – the highest number on records since 1978.

The situation in this, and other, prisons  needs more focus from government. HMP Bristol staff are doing what they can within the resources they have –  government funding is sorely needed to improve the whole facility, provide swift access to adequate mental health support and ensure those employed as Prison Officers are paid fairly for the increasingly challenging job that they do. The government must listen to HMP staff and governors as well, as the prisoners and their families, and act on their concerns”.