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Recorder letters: Knives, bottles, boxes and cans, bag tax, critical hospital beds, CrossRail trains, talk about death, Diabetes charity walk and asthma summer plan.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 July 2018

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Three measures that could reduce carrying of knives

Terence F Matthews LL B (Hons), retired police inspector, full address supplied, writes:

Residents of this borough and the country as a whole have had enough of all the violence being committed, mainly by younger people.

Our lovely country is getting more and more like the USA when it comes to violence with a weapon, and attacks by groups of youths.

In Havering there is some sort of unprovoked attack on our citizens virtually every day.

A lot of “hot air” has been spouted by various politicians about this problem but nothing concrete has been done to halt these attacks.

This problem of the knives and other weapons could be vastly reduced if the following were introduced:-

1. Mobile and fixed metal detecting arches, mobile for street use and the fixed for buildings such as schools and other public places. Our courts already have them.

2. Give the police the power to stop anybody at any time, if they believe that a person may be concealing a weapon. Our honest and decent citizens have nothing to fear from police having these powers.

3. A very important shift in sentencing is required. Get rid of this community service for crimes of a serious nature and when a guilty verdict is given, a prison sentence of at least 10 years is needed.

I predict that, if these measures were taken violent crime and the carrying of knives would drastically reduce.

In 2017 my own grandson, walking home across the Brewery car park in Romford, was subject to a unprovoked attacked by three men and ended up in intensive care. Our NHS staff were, as usual, brilliant.

Flatten bottles, boxes and cans

Frederick Thompson, Balgores Crescent, Gidea Park, writes:

Further to recent correspondence on Havering’s orange recycling bags.

When I was a councillor making morning deliveries of leaflets, I noticed how many orange bags were largely full of air as residents don’t seem to flatten plastic bottles but leave the largely unrecycled coloured tops firmly on and cereal and other cardboard boxes completely unflattened in extra orange bags that were so lightly filled that they sometimes were easily blown into the street.

Aluminium drink cans were also left unflattened, wasting second orange bags.

Use bag tax for intended purpose

Cllr Clarence Barrett, group leader, Upminster & Cranham Residents’ Association, writes:

Since the introduction of a 5p charge for a single use plastic carrier bag, usage has plummeted by some 85per cent, which is great news for the environment.

An added bonus is that good causes are set to benefit from the £105million raised through the charge.

However, this could be further improved on three fronts, firstly by making the 5p charge non-vatable, as it is in Northern Ireland, thereby releasing an additional £20m annually to worthy charitable causes, secondly to end exemptions for outlets (eg card shops) who issue bags with no handles and thirdly to limit big stores from deducting “admin fees”, as Tesco did last year to the tune of £3.4m.

While tackling plastic waste is a priority for politicians of every persuasion, let’s make sure all the funding raised through the plastic bag tax is being used for its intended purpose.

Join campaign for more critical beds

Bob Archer, Andy Walker and Lee Burkwood, Green Party, Pete Mason, Socialist Party, write:

Life saving critical care beds were often full at both Queen’s and King George hospitals last winter.

This has led to increase in cancelled operations and has put patients at increased risk of harm. Some of the beds at Queen’s cover North East London, Essex and Kent.

We go to 10 Downing Street on midday on July 12 to support Keith Prince AM and Cllrs Michael Deon Burton, Nic Dodin and Dennis O’Flynn to support a cross party and cross borough campaign for more funding for extra critical care beds at King George and Queen’s this coming winter.

It would be great if any Recorder readers could join us on the day outside the gates of number 10 to give Keith, Michael, Nic and Denis some support.

This is a campaign that can be won.

There has been in increase in critical care beds nationally and the growing local population means our request is reasonable.

More at savekinggeorgehospital.blogspot.com

No doors between CrossRail carriages

Richard Enever, Brentwood Bus and Rail Users Group, writes:

I am very concerned that the carriages on the new CrossRail trains do not have doors in between them.

If a fire occurred in one of the carriages and spread throughout the train you would be talking about a major disaster.

I have written to Transport for London expressing my concern.

Break taboo and talk about death

Janet Morrison, chief executive, Independent Age, writes:

I am writing to tell you and your readers about a new campaign from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, called We need to talk about death.

Many people struggle to talk about death and final wishes, and we think it would be helpful if everyone could be more open and share their final wishes earlier, so their later years can be filled with positivity, rather than awkward conversations.

Death is an incredibly emotive topic and unsurprisingly, people don’t always know how to broach the subject. The older you get, the more aware you become of death and, according to our recent research, older people do want to talk about death, but their adult children often feel uncomfortable about it.

We believe it’s really important for families to start breaking the taboo, so they can feel prepared for the eventualities of life, and Londoners are really important in enabling this conversation.

As a nation, we need to start embracing these conversations and promote a positive change in how we perceive and talk about this subject. We don’t expect this to change overnight, but it’s time to take action, be brave and talk about death, and we want Londoners to join us.

You can find out more about Independent Age’s campaign, watch our new film, and get some tips on how to start the conversation by visiting independentage.org/TalkAboutDeath, or by searching #TalkAboutDeath on Twitter. If you would like to arrange to speak to someone about planning for the end of life or the practical side of coping with a bereavement, you can call our free helpline on 0800 319 6789.

Go the extra mile to fight diabetes

Charlotte Harrison-Webb, Diabetes UK, writes:

Fundraising Diabetes UK is urging people to go the extra mile on Sunday, September 30 and sign up for the London Bridges Challenge.

Starting out in the beautiful Battersea Park, you’ll criss-cross 12 of London’s most iconic bridges. Passing Big Ben and the London Eye, walkers will catch a glimpse of St Paul’s as they cross Millennium Bridge, pass Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and finish the walk at the stunning Tower Bridge.

Diabetes UK supports people across London, who are living with diabetes − a serious condition which, left undiagnosed or not managed safely, can lead to devastating long term complications, including blindness, heart disease and stroke.

London Bridges is a family occasion, and everyone is welcome. Registration is now open with an early bird offer and no minimum sponsorship is required. On the day, you’ll receive one of our T-shirts, refreshments and a well-deserved finishers’ medal, as well as lots of support and encouragement.

Join us in a walk towards a future where diabetes can do no harm. Find out more at diabetes.org.uk/londonbridges, email londonbridges@diabetes.org.uk, or call our events fundraising team on 0345 123 2399.

Have an asthma plan for summer

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead, Asthma UK and a practising GP, writes:

Now that the school summer holidays are just around the corner, it’s easy for health routines to go out of the window as children relax, enjoy the outdoors and get stuck into their favourite hobbies.

But Asthma UK is launching a campaign urging parents of children with asthma to make sure they take their usual preventer medicine and keep up a routine over the school break. The medicine builds up over time so will help to protect their child from an asthma attack during the summer holiday and once they return to school.

By taking a few simple steps, parents can help their child to avoid asthma attacks:

• Keep up your child’s usual preventer medicine routine (usually a brown inhaler)

• Make sure your child has an up-to-date written asthma action plan, and share this with anyone who will be looking after them

• Track your child’s symptoms using a diary or a symptom calendar

• Prepare for going back to school by arranging for your child to have an asthma review with their GP or asthma nurse to check your child’s medicines, and make sure your child has spare, in-date reliever inhalers to take into school

We want to reassure parents whose children have asthma that support is available through our nurse helpline.

For information and support on how to manage your child’s asthma visit asthma.org.uk/safersummer

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