Every week, I receive hundreds of emails, telephone calls, tweets or messages from Ilford South constituents and others, asking for my support or assistance.
These range from local matters like housing problems, parking and traffic issues, school places, the NHS, crime and policing, and visit visas for relatives to national policy issues such animal welfare, or Britain’s relationship with Europe, and international issues like climate change, Syria or the plight of the Rohingya people.
Over the last twenty five years there has been a significant change in the way constituents contact me. Today I receive far more messages via Facebook than hand written letters.
It is of course impossible for me to personally deal with the problems of almost 150,000 constituents and 90,000 electors. However I am regularly contacted on a very personal matter by constituents who are very distressed and feel they have nowhere left to turn.
I take every issue raised with me seriously, whether personal, local or national and my very busy staff in the constituency office and in Parliament respond on my behalf.
Occasionally it may be necessary for my staff to see a constituent personally or to arrange an appointment at one of my regular Advice surgeries. But usually this will not be necessary.
Recently, several constituents have contacted me citing specific instances of crime and burglary in Redbridge which have also been publicised on social media, and which they feel are symptomatic of rising crime generally in the area. I am in regular contact with the Metropolitan Police Service at the most senior level both London wide and in East London and Redbridge to discuss resources, policy and operations. I regularly discuss crimes which are affecting my constituency. I have met with the Police and local residents to discuss issues on Ilford Lane and the surrounding streets. Earlier this month I walked the beat with the Town Centre neighbourhood policing team on Cranbrook Road and Ilford High Road.
I am very concerned that the huge cuts made to police resources in London by the Conservative governments since 2010 are now leading to a deteriorating service for my constituents. I intend to organise a forum in which constituents can raise their issues directly with the police in Ilford. I will continue to respond to individual correspondence concerning crime.
Please note that I am only able to take up these matters if I receive constituents’ full addresses, contact details, and any crime reference numbers. The best and most effective way to contact me on individual crime and policing issues is not through a Facebook Group or via Twitter but by contacting my constituency office on 0208 911 0899 or by emailing me at Mike.Gapes.MP@parliament.uk.