Jim has joined with the members of the retail union Usdaw to call for an end to abuse in the workplace. As part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff, Usdaw members are highlighting the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 14 to 20 November.
Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse says:
“Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse whilst serving the public. It is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.
“I was personally shocked to hear about the abuse that shopworkers can receive on what can be a daily basis. No one should have to go to work expecting abuse.
“I will continue to campaign with Usdaw to provide shopworkers the support they need and deserve. We must give a clear message that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable.”
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“We are grateful to Jim for supporting our campaign to keep our members safe at work.
“Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to deal with tense and difficult situations. Unfortunately these can escalate to verbal abuse and assault. Over 300 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough. Parliament has placed the legal obligation on shopworkers to enforce the law in relation to age restricted sales and Parliament must also ensure that the law also protects shopworkers who are doing their job. Politicians and members of the public must work together to ensure that shopworkers get the respect they deserve.”
A 12-year-old springer spaniel whose keen sense of smell has helped London Fire Brigade investigators sniff out the cause of hundreds of suspicious fires around the Capital and beyond was recognised with a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords.
Roscoe is one of just three specially trained and highly skilled fire investigation dogs working for London Fire Brigade, and one of only a handful of dogs with this role around the UK.
With a flawless ability to identify a variety of ignitable substances, Roscoe, nicknamed ‘The Dog of Truth’, helps establish whether a fire has been started deliberately. Using his keen sense of smell, which is more accurate than man-made technology designed for the same purpose, Roscoe enables the Brigade’s Fire Investigation Team to quickly pinpoint the cause of the fire and improve the conviction rate against arsonists who endanger life with their criminal acts.
During 11 years of service, Roscoe has not missed a single day of work because of sickness or injury and has assisted at more than 600 fire scenes.
It was expected that Roscoe would be ready for retirement by the age of 10 but he continues to display such enthusiasm and energy for his work, based on the concept of play and reward, that handler Mick Boyle has allowed him to keep working while also training up his future successor, Murphy.
Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said:
“Roscoe is an amazing dog whose long service sniffing out the cause of fires has helped keep Londoners safe. His fantastic partnership with handler Mick shows the special relationship between people and animals. Roscoe is a very deserving winner of IFAW’s Animal of the Year Award.”
Mick Boyle, said:
“Every single day Roscoe has never failed to amaze me; I never tire of watching him work. He always surprises me and it gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction to see him enjoying the work while finding the cause of suspicious fires and helping safeguard the community. When members of the public see him arrive at the scene of a fire and ask why he’s there I say he’s going to tell me who started the fire.
“Roscoe and the other fire investigation dogs are one of London’s best kept secrets; the heroes with dirty faces. At the age of one year Roscoe came to me to start training after being given up for rehoming by his previous owners. Immediately he hit the ground running and as a team Roscoe makes me look good!”
The Fire Service believes that the use of fire investigation dogs not only helps solve crimes, but the presence of the dogs can also act as a preventive measure (when arsonists become aware of their skills in pinpointing crimes), as well as a reassurance to the local community. Roscoe’s attendance at suspicious scenes has even led to confessions from those responsible.
London Fire Brigade’s fire investigation dogs are all equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to keep them safe at work, including boots that protect their paws from shards of glass or other sharp objects. They are never sent into active fires or scenes of heat and no fire investigation dog has ever been injured on duty.
Because of Roscoe’s reluctance to slow down and stop working, Mick is planning a very gradual shift towards retirement for him later in the year to ensure he does not become bored. He will live out his days in comfort with Mick and his other dogs, and for the foreseeable future will continue to assist with other duties he also excels at and enjoys; meeting the public at fire safety open days and events.
“Roscoe also just loves people and being made a fuss of. He has taken part in dozens of events with the public, especially as part of this year’s 150th anniversary of London Fire Brigade, and he makes a point of moving round the crowd and greeting every single person, hoping to get attention. Lots of people who are usually fearful of dogs, especially children, comment that they have no fear of Roscoe.
“We will definitely let him keep doing things like this as long as he wants to; he is such an active dog that he needs a hobby in his retirement!”
Roscoe, accompanied by Mick, received his award at IFAW’s prestigious Animal Action Awards event, hosted by Baroness Gale and presented by TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie at the House of Lords on October 18.
The House of Commons Petitions Committee and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee gathered evidence ahead of a debate on the issue of grouse shooting following an e-petition recieved over 100,000 signatures to ban the practice.
You can watch the session and for more information click here.
Every single year in the UK, 30,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. Sadly, just less than 1-in-10 survive. It’s time to take action.
As part of European Restart a Heart Day Jim Fitzpatrick MP visited The Oliver King Foundation at their launch event in Westminster to show support.
The Oliver King Foundation setup following the tragic death of 12-year-old Oliver King from a sudden cardiac arrest, which kills 12 young people every single week. Oliver was winning a swimming race at school.
In 2012 footballer Fabrice Muamba was shocked 16 times by a lifesaving defibrillator in front of the nation. Early access to a defibrillator is vital. For every minute that passes, chances of survival drop by 10%.
Signing up to become a Defibrillator Champion, Jim Fitzpatrick said:
“I am proud to become a lifesaving Defibrillator Champion for Poplar and Limehouse. It is vital that we take action to prevent any loss of life where one can be saved. I will be working with local schools in my constituency to get lifesaving defibrillators in our area, protecting our students, teachers and visitors whilst at school. It was interesting to hear from the Foundation about how many lives have been saved, including a caretaker at a school who had only received the defibrillator two weeks earlier. I will be delighted to work as a Defibrillator Champion, saving lives is a legacy that we can all be proud of.”
Jake Morrison, Chief Executive of The Oliver King Foundation said:
“We are delighted that Jim Fitzpatrick MP has signed up as a Defibrillator Champion. It is important that we spread awareness of the vital need for this equipment in our communities. Our Members of Parliament have a great platform and connection in their constituencies to spread this message. We look forward to working with Jim and saving lives for years to come.”
Mark King, father of 12-year-old Oliver King who died from a sudden cardiac arrest said:
“5 years ago when my son Oliver passed away from this hidden heart condition, we didn’t know that his legacy would reach this far. We are determined to save as many young lives as possible, so that no other family has to suffer a similar loss to that of ours.”
With winter on the way, Jim Fitzpatrick, Member of Parliament for Poplar & Limehouse, has today called on his constituents to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.
“It’s really important to be prepared for winter. I want everyone in Poplar & Limehouse to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is really important, so I’d encourage people to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”
“There are a number of simple steps that every constituent should take to make sure they’re doing all they can to keep their bills down and their home warm.”
Sarwjit Sambhi, Managing Director of UK Home at British Gas, said:
“Winter can be a challenging time for households and many people may be concerned about their winter energy bill. Help is available and we urge customers to get in touch so we can offer them advice and support.
“In the long term, energy efficiency is still the best way to save money on bills. British Gas is proud to be leading the roll-out of smart meters across Britain, which enable you to see how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence and identify where savings can be made.”
Get the best deal:
Make sure you are on the best gas and electricity tariff for you. British Gas tells customers in every bill if they have a better tariff for them, allows customers to switch between its tariffs without paying a penalty charge and offers flexible payment plans which enable customers to set and manage their own payments. Anyone worried about their energy bill can call British Gas on 0800 048 0202 to discuss the help available.
Get a smart meter:
Your energy supplier will be able to install a smart meter, which means an end to estimated bills. A smart energy monitor shows how much energy you are using, and what you are spending. British Gas customers are provided with online tools to help them manage their energy usage. Find out more by visiting www.britishgas.co.uk/smarter-living
Extra support for vulnerable customers:
Constituents may be entitled to extra support from the Government and their energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. Last year more than 700,000 British Gas customers in the UK received the Warm Home Discount- a one off discount of £140 on the electricity bill. The company has the broadest eligibility criteria of all energy suppliers. British Gas customers should call 0800 072 8625.
The British Gas Energy Trust:
The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that offers advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. Since it was established in 2004, British Gas has provided £85million of funding to the Trust which has helped more than 176,000 people with debt advice and grants. For more information on the British Gas Energy Trust, visit: www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk
Keep your home warm, working and safe:
Your gas appliances should be checked for safety every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. These important checks can detect a range of problems from boiler faults to gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. For more information on booker checks, visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/homecare
Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on the government to take steps to keep Police Officers safe from attacks after an event in Parliament which highlighted the shocking extent of the problem.
During the ‘Protect the Protectors’ event in Parliament Ms Lynch met with members of the Police Federation and serving Police Officers to discuss the latest assault figures and discuss how violence towards the police affected their ability to protect their communities.
The most recent Home Office figures on police officer assaults are for the financial year 2015/16. They show that there were approximately 23,000 assaults on Police Officers with over 900 assaults in West Yorkshire alone.
However even this is thought to be an underestimate as the Home Office believe that many assaults go unreported. In addition some police forces do not collect data recording the total number of assaults meaning that the national figures provide an incomplete picture of the situation.
Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents police officers said:
“An assault on a police officer is an assault on society and more needs to be done to keep them safe.”
“Officers accept the risk and the public also understand the dangers of the job, but the amount of assaults taking place is alarming,”
Ms Lynch said:
“Today’s campaign is about asking the Home office to record all instances of assaults on officers. This will enable us to really understand the scale of the problem, and do something about it.
We are also calling for tougher sentences for those who assault the police. The courts must be able to provide a strong deterrent against attacks on our front line officers.”