Opposing domestic violence, A453 news – and Christmas on the cards!

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The Women’s Aid Integrated Services charity in Nottingham have been campaigning to promote the white ribbon awareness week, highlighting domestic violence against women and producing a short film to illustrate the widespread incidence of this problem. One in ten women will experience domestic violence in some form and the murder of Casey Brittle here in Nottingham shows that these issues are still potentially catastrophic. I attended the launch of the short film on Friday and spoke of the need to defend the ‘Supporting People’ budget which helps fund basic refuge services in the city, the need to ensure that Nottinghamshire Police have modern and relevant strategies to respond to calls for help, and the need to oppose the Government’s plans for legal aid restrictions for some welfare and domestic violence circumstances.

On Friday I visited the Mapperley Park Clinic on Mansfield Road, one of the largest providers of laser treatment cosmetic surgery outside London – focusing on tattoo removal, skin blemishes and improvements, and so on. I was invited to attend by the team at the clinic who are very anxious at the lack of regulation to ensure basic health and safety rules and decent training of staff, in an era where there are thousands of unregulated premises popping up all over the country. They clearly have very high standards of care. But there are only 90 providers who abide by a self-regulation code and around 3000 who do not. Cheap laser machines are imported from China and there are increasing numbers of people burned or damaged by these dangerous pieces of equipment. Although I wasn’t aware of many of these problems until I met staff at the clinic – I am worried that this is a growing area of elective health care outside the NHS and that it should be properly regulated. While many people may personally question the wisdom of cosmetic surgical procedures, they are a widespread reality today and this is an issue I think Government should pay more attention to.

Could the widening of the A453 get the go-ahead if the Chancellor does bring forward some capital infrastructure investment? There are rumours that this scheme – which is pretty much ‘shovel-ready’ – could be a candidate for the green light from the Department for Transport. It would certainly make it easier for businesses and residents to get to and from the M1 if so, although it will still take several years to be completed in all likelihood, so maybe too late for the current economic crisis. Nevertheless, this is the sort of scheme which would be an ideal candidate and I hope that the rumours are correct.

This year I’m running a Christmas Card Competition for the e-Xmas card I’ll send out in a few weeks time – and I’m inviting designs from all children who live in or attend schools in the Nottingham East constituency. The suggested theme is “Christmas in Nottingham” and to encourage the best entries I’ve asked a few local businesses to donate some great prizes, including a full party at Quasar, tickets to the panto and the Ice Arena, a family meal at Nandos, and shopping vouchers. The deadline is December 9th, and entries should be sent by post to 12 Regent Street (NG1 5BQ), including the entrant’s name, age and school. Good luck to all those who enter – and I look forward to seeing the designs!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Thank you for the feedback on local law and order issues from last week. It looks fairly certain that we’ll be having an elected Police Commissioner from November next year, and the process of selecting candidates is already being considered across the political spectrum ahead of elections then. Do you think this is a positive development? Labour was sceptical about the move because of the extra costs of a salaried elected official and the fact that the wasn’t a priority given cuts to frontline police officers. But if the change is to come – given that the legislation went ahead anyway – what do you think should be the key guiding issue for the successful candidate? Could a Police Commissioner do more to prevent crimes from occurring in the first place, perhaps working with retailers, schools and local authorities to reduce the causes of crime? Should a police commissioner have a role in raising issues with the local judiciary or with local prisons, or simply stick to policing strategy? Or do you think that the leadership of the local police will make any difference to the level of crime in Nottinghamshire? This is a formative time for those likely to want to stand as candidates and I’d be interested in your thoughts about the sort of person we need in Nottinghamshire.

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