With a by-election only a few weeks away, I have been spending a lot of time in Cheam recently. Many people will think of it as a wealthy village with Jeremy Vine and Harry Secombe as previous residents and home to the fictitious Railway Cuttings of Tony Hancock. Nothing much else happens in Cheam does it?
As in most parts of London, traffic spoils what is a picturesque village centre but the beautiful church spire dominates the landscape reminding passers-by that Cheam has a long history dating back to at least 1018.
The congestion is not the only modern scourge to come to Cheam. I was astounded to read of a man attacked by a machete-wielding thug on New Year's Day. It is a testament to the proliferation of such crime in London that the yellow sign appealing for help has quickly become part of the furniture on the Cheam by-pass.
Sutton Police do a great job but they need far more help from the Mayor and central government in particular. We need to tackle gang violence in London. Nearby Croydon suffers terribly from this. Fortunately Carshalton only has comparatively minor antisocial behaviour problems from groups coming from Waddon and beyond. Left unchecked, this will get worse as gangs are able to get away with more and then look beyond their current boundaries. Police bureaucracy is a perennial source of moaning but rarely gets tackled. It takes 25 minutes for a police officer to complete a foot-long form every time someone is stopped in the street, even if only to account for themselves. I'll be pushing Boris to keep talking about how he will deal with this head-on when he is Mayor for London. We have to keep the crime in Sutton in perspective. We are not a Hackney or Tower Hamlets but there is nothing wrong in demanding that we are as safe as we can be in our homes, streets and parks.