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Met should be open about costs of vital surveillance work

As a "mystery" Cessna plane flying over London sparked speculation on its potential use for surveillance, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

Of course the Met needs to defend some secrecy over its surveillance work, however you can't put planes up over London without people noticing. It would be best if the Met simply admitted that vital surveillance work takes place and at the same time was open about the costs of such operations.

HMIC Report shows why Met should not waste money on water cannon, chauffeurs or subsidising gun owners

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and policing spokesperson, commenting on today’s report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on how the Metropolitan Police Service is dealing with budget pressures, said:

“The overall judgment given to the Met Police Service’s record so far is encouraging, however we cannot hide away from the fact that severe pressures will face the Met, starting from 2016.

Lessons must be learnt following collapse of Bombardier signalling contract

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and transport spokesperson commenting on the highly critical KPMG report on the collapse of the Bombardier signalling contract which has just been published, said:

“It is staggering that TfL simply accepted at face value significant claims made by Bombardier before they awarded such a major contract. Due to a lack of research and basic enquiries about their actual record TfL signed up with a company that had no track record in London and little chance of being able to deliver the new signalling on some of the oldest and most complex Tube lines in the world.

Campaigning against St Margaret's footbridge closure

The Mayor of London has now received a petition with over 600 signatories urging Transport for London to drop its plans to remove an existing footbridge over the busy A316 in Twickenham.

In praise of Freedom Of Information legislation

Writing at Liberal Democrat Voice, Caroline Pidgeon defends the Freedom of Information Act and argues for sticking to its principles and extending it to more publicly funded bodies.

One of the most significant constitutional developments of the last Labour Government was the passing of the 2000 Freedom of Information Act, which finally came into force in January 2005. This was legislation which Liberal Democrats had called for over many years.

Lessons need to be learned for Cycle Hire sponsorship

As Transport for London begins the process of making a new sponsorship deal for the Cycle Hire scheme, Caroline Pidgeon AM said:

"Many lessons need to be learnt from the exclusive sponsorship deal that the mayor and TfL struck with Barclays Bank.

"Above all else the contract was unnecessarily secretive and far too favourable to the bank.

"The bank should have paid far more for the benefits they had been granted under the sponsorship deal."

Mayor and TfL's £60m cash pile from unused Oysters

£60 million of the public’s money is now being held in a cash pile by TfL due to a growing number of Oyster cards that have not even been used for at least one year.

The huge cash pile is due to the soaring levels of money that Transport for London (TfL) generate from people obtaining Oyster cards that are used just once, or very rarely.

13 Redbridge children went missing from care in 2013

The Ilford Recorder has an article on the findings of the London Assembly Liberal Democrats' report on incidents of children in care going missing - showing that 13 children went missing when placed by Redbridge Council in care outside the Borough.

Tom Rahilly, the NSPCC’s head of strategy and development, said:

“Going missing from care can present a significant risk to children.

“It’s often an important warning sign they are suffering serious harm or at imminent risk of doing so.

Brent has the worst record in London on missing children in care

The Kilburn Times highlights the findings of a report commissioned by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats, showing that Brent has had more incidents of children in care going missing than any other borough in the last five years.

Caroline told the newspaper:

“A local authority looked after child who goes missing for 24 hours or more is at serious risk, including at risk of physical abuse.

“The widespread failure to keep some of the most vulnerable children in our society safe while they are in the legal care of a local authority is nothing short of a disgrace.”

Horrific congestion forecasts show we need a new approach

As Transport for London released figures showing that traffic congestion in central London is on track to rise 60% based on current policies and strategies, Caroline Pidgeon said:

"The new congestion forecasts are simply horrific. The Mayor should prioritise buses and cyclists in the centre of the capital instead of pandering to everyone and ultimately failing everyone.

"The congestion charge should be updated annually, as public transport fares are, and levied at different levels at different times of day."

Read more at Dave Hill's blog in the Guardian.

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