Brian Paddick tackles the long arm of the law in London
Brian Paddick is the Lib Dem candidate in this May's London Mayoral Election and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Last month, Brian became the first Mayoral candidate to support Mumsnet's campaign We Believe You. The Liberal Democrat sets out his vision for a safer London with accountable police and more high-quality housing.
London is very different from how it was at the last election four years ago. The riots in August made us all feel a little less secure, a little less confident in the police and a little more aware that some Londoners do not feel part of our society.
In January the Mayor also became the Police and Crime Commissioner: who’s solely responsible for setting the police’s priorities and budget, and the man who holds the police to account. I would get the police to convince us they really are on our side. I would get them to survey every home and establish what our priorities are and get them to stick to those priorities. I would get an independent person to oversee standards of behaviour and conduct in the police to make sure they treat people fairly and don't get too close to journalists, as we’ve been hearing in the Leveson Inquiry. I would also make sure the police believe those who make allegations of rape and address the needs of the survivors of such attacks as paramount.
I rely on London’s buses and trains and I know how frustrating it can be a lot of the time with overcrowding and unreliable services. The Mayor chairs Transport for London (TfL), which is responsible for buses, the Underground and Overground services.
As Mayor I would keep fares as low as possible, but I’d also ensure the necessary investment is made to improve services and extend the bus network, especially in places where there is no tube. I won’t be spending millions on special buses or cable cars and I won’t be making unsustainable promises about reducing fares. Instead I would be using the TfL budget like it was my own, making savings where possible so I could invest in the important things, like making the tube more reliable.
I would secure fare reductions for those who can least afford to travel, with a one hour bus ticket so you can hop on and off as many buses within an hour for the cost of a single journey, and a season ticket which provides discounts for those who work a few days a week. I want to make the roads safer for everyone, especially pedestrians and cyclists, by calming traffic down, making junctions safer and separating lorries from bikes wherever possible.
I know from personal experience what it’s like to see your annual pay rise being swallowed-up by the increase in your rent. Too many people are homeless, in overcrowded homes or in over-priced, poor accommodation. Not having your own bedroom where you can do your homework holds children back at school and without a decent home you are less likely to feel part of society.
From May, the Mayor will be the biggest landowner in London. Using that land and money from the city we can build 180,000 homes for genuinely affordable rent (less than a third of someone’s salary). There is room on other ‘brownfield’ sites for another 180,000 homes without building on green space. Providing more social housing and new homes will help to take the heat out of the housing market and help put rogue landlords out of business.
At the end of my first term as Mayor of London, I want people to look back and say that London is a more civilised place than it was, a calmer, fairer, safer place where more and more Londoners believe they are on the same side, where more and more people feel they have a stake in their local community.
Brian Paddick was the first Mayoral candidate to support Mumsnet's We Believe You campaign. You can read his guest blog busting a rape myth here.