from THE TIMES Looking for scapegoats is no answer to tragedy
While police failures undoubtedly played a part at Hillsborough, the root causes of the disaster go back decades

I didn’t give up two years of my life nor hear 500 witnesses nor have to answer 14 key questions before coming to a conclusion, as the jury in the Hillsborough inquest did. I lost no one that day in 1989 and, not being a grieving relative, I didn’t have to endure attempts by the authorities to implicate the dead in their own terrible asphyxiation. So some people will feel that I shouldn’t say what I am about to: which is that the verdict of unlawful killing delivered the day before yesterday bothers me. I am troubled that we are in danger of placing the blame for the actual catastrophe — as opposed to the subsequent cover-ups — conveniently on a very small group of people and in so doing obscuring some important truths.

The central blame figure most people have alighted upon is David Duckenfield, now 71 and retired, but then a not very experienced chief superintendent with South Yorkshire Police. He was in charge of the police operation at Hillsborough. After the disaster he lied about key decisions made during the course of that day and the effect of his lies was to transfer blame from his own shoulders and that of the authorities to the fans themselves.

But what we are talking about here is not what happened afterwards, but what happened before and on the day itself. And my argument is that Hillsborough was the terrible culmination of a series of social and institutional failures and prejudices. More, unless we understand how those failures combined to cause the 96 deaths, we are fated in some guise or another to repeat the mistakes.

Broadly I think there were three contributory factors and one aggravating one. First was the fact that by the 1980s Britain was a country of clapped-out and decaying infrastructure, its existence underpinned by a culture hostile to public investment and an inattention to what we now call “health and safety”. For two decades, from Aberfan to Hillsborough, we often proceeded to make changes only when prompted by catastrophe. In those years we witnessed a series of mega-accidents that can be hard to explain to younger people now. For example, the obvious combination of smoking in the vicinity of combustible material killed 31 people in the fire at King’s Cross Underground station in 1987. Just two years earlier the same combination had led to the deaths of 56 fans when an antiquated stand at Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground caught fire.

Hillsborough itself, like most football grounds of the time, was an ageing relic of an era of discomfort. Also, like most grounds, its facilities, from toilets to catering, were rudimentary and its arrangements for getting fans in and out of the stands were pretty much the same as just after the Great War. On the largely open terraces full of standing fans there was a constant danger of crowd surges (being a fan myself I was caught in many of these). But in the early 1970s clubs began adding fences in front of the pitch, cutting off the obvious line of escape should something go wrong. And all of us knew it.

In 1981 overcrowding in the same Hillsborough stand saw dozens of Spurs fans injured, with many scaling the fences to escape. Despite this no fundamental modification took place. Furthermore the arrangements for an emergency turned out to be joke. On the day of the tragedy there was no defibrillator in the ground and at least one of the oxygen tanks was found to be empty.

from THE TIMES The modern football ground is almost entirely a product of the Hillsborough disaster, because that’s what it took for the public to demand action and the authorities to take it.

But why were the fences there at all? The second factor was the violence that had crept into British fandom over the same two decades. At the time of Hillsborough English clubs were ending the fourth year of a ban from European football after the riot (by Liverpool fans, as it happens, but they could have belonged to almost any club) at the Heysel stadium in 1985 which led to the deaths of 39 supporters. When I went to Spurs matches in the 1970s and 1980s there was usually some “aggro” and almost always the chanted threat to visiting fans that they would get their “f***ing heads kicked in”. And although most fans had nothing to do with the hooliganism, there was, I am ashamed to say, a toleration of one’s own violent fringe. Drunkenness was a common problem. In those days, however, going to matches was about the only way a football lover could see the sport.

On the day of the tragedy there was no defibrillator on the site

The third factor followed partly on from the above. By 1989 the English football fan was pronounced, as a breed, to be scum. A presumption of guilt was made by politicians, authorities, the press and by many ordinary people. So fans — all fans — became, by default, a disliked and even pathologised group. Consequently their comfort, their conditions, their civil liberties even, were regarded as moot. They could be herded, coerced, smacked about a bit sometimes, and anything could be believed about them. And then, when the bodies came to be identified, it was discovered that they were just people after all. Dads, daughters, lovers, sons.

And fourth, Hillsborough helped to uncover just how unaccountable and defensive many of our public servants had become. Living, as a friend put it to me yesterday, “in a different, opaque, arrogant world of their own”. This was an era when the public served the public servant. And when things went wrong they fell back on lies and back-covering.

In the planning for Hillsborough Duckenfield may have exemplified some of these tendencies. But he was a creature of his time, not of this one. It is easy for us to forget, as we did years after 9/11, what the common thought was at the time. In the immediate aftermath of the Twin Towers atrocity we wanted the spooks to do everything they could to stop such attacks, and never mind how they went about it. When the world somehow carried on we rediscovered our scruples and hung our protectors and their extreme rendition tactics out to dry.

Right now a similar set of factors may be incubating another disaster akin to Hillsborough. It’ll be one part neglect and false parsimony, one part turning a deaf ear to the inconvenient, one part prejudice about a group (Muslims, Zionists, migrants), and one part deflecting blame. The true memorial to the victims of Hillsborough and all other tragedies lies in anticipating and erasing the conditions that allow them to take place and not in satisfying ourselves with scapegoats.

select for full details Twigg slams 'fools' representing South Yorkshire Police for putting families through 'torture'
Halton MP also calls for accountability over West Midlands Police 'sham' investigation
By Oliver Clay 29 Apr, 2016
Shockwaves continued this week following the bombshell inquest results into the deaths of 96 football fans including six from Runcorn and Widnes with Halton MP Derek Twigg damning those responsible for the tragedy and the aftermath’s debacle.

Mr Twigg, who was a Liverpool fan at the 1989 stadium disaster, spoke in Parliament to lay into ‘fools’ representing the police for putting victims’ families through ‘torture’, and also into the ‘complacency’ over the state of the ground.

Mr Twigg said South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable, who has been suspended since the speech, had apologised to fans in 2012, writing online that he was ‘profoundly sorry for the way the force failed’ and ‘doubly sorry for the injustice that followed’.

He said that despite that admission, police lawyers had persisted with the ‘same argument’ in the inquests.

Mr Twigg also called on Home Secretary Theresa May to make sure West Midlands Police (WMP), which carried out the initial probe into the disaster, is held accountable for its investigation branded by Mr Twigg as a ‘sham – complacent and a complete waste of time’.

Mrs May said the Operation Resolve and Independent Police Complaints Commission investigations will cover the actions of the West Midlands and South Yorkshire forces.

During his speech, Mr Twigg said his matchday programme from April 15, 1989, contained a comment from Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s then chairman that served to ‘underline the complacency and total disregard for the safety of football supporters’.

It referred to the Hillsborough stadium’s supposed safety credentials and said: “As you look around Hillsborough you will appreciate why it has been regarded for so long as the perfect venue for all kinds of important matches.”

Mrs May agreed that it showed ‘extraordinary complacency’.

Mr Twigg also thanked the Home Secretary for her statement and praised the ‘magnificent courage and steadfastness’ of victims’ families.

Mrs May said: “As I indicated in my statement, there were several questions that related not just to Sheffield Wednesday FC, but to the engineers who designed the stadium.

“The jury was very clear that there were problems with the design of the stadium and with the certification process.

select for full details Northumbria police boss condemns plans to replace cops with civilian volunteers
Northumbria Police Commissioner Vera Baird told MPs to think again over plans to give volunteers similar powers to police
By Jonathan Walker 28 Apr, 2016
Northumbria’s police boss has condemned plans to give thousands of unpaid volunteers powers similar to serving police officers, including the power to use CS spray on suspects or conduct strip searches.

Vera Baird, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, urged the Government to drop the plans.

And she said that the Government was attempting to use unpaid volunteers to plug a gap caused by police funding cuts which have forced police services to cut the number of officers.

She issued a warning when she came to the House of Commons to speak to MPs who were examining the Government’s Policing and Crime Bill.

This will allow chief constables to give more powers to volunteers known as Police Support Volunteers.

There are 9,000 of them working with forces across the country, for example by staffing the counter at police stations or by helping neighbourhood watch schemes on behalf of the police.

But the new law would allow them to exercise powers such as issuing on-the-spot fines, conduct searches or use “reasonable force” to keep people under control and more.

Only a small number of powers, including the power to arrest people, would be confined to police officers.

Mrs Baird told a Committee of MPs that this meant asking civilian volunteers to do the job that used to be carried out by police officers.

She said: “At a time when there have been such significant cuts to policing - in Northumbria we have lost 1,000 members of staff, plus almost 800 officers - bringing in volunteers with police powers is not going to be adding value, which is what volunteers are usually for. It is going to be the substitution of volunteers for people who have historically been contracted to do the job.”

And she warned: “They will be people who are not paid, who are not contracted, who have no disciplinary link over them, who have no processes to go through, who are supervised in what way we do not know, who will not be supervised or overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and yet who will be able to have every power except the core ones.

“For instance, they will be able to execute warrants on houses, which means they will be able to break into houses to execute a warrant. If this power is given, they will be able to detain people for 30 minutes . . . though they will merely be volunteers and not contracted.

“They may be able to caution people and to take down their first account of something they are accused of. Presumably they will be able to strip search people.”

Chief constables will decide whether or not to give volunteers these powers, but Mrs Baird said they would come under pressure to do so.

She said: “There is pressure on chief officers now because of the loss of staff - there is no doubt about that.”

And she used the 2010 manhunt for Raoul Moat, a Newcastle man who shot three people, as an example.

select for full details Police inspector drove van along pavement to force clubbers out of Croydon town centre
CHIEF Inspector drove a police van on to the pavement and toward a small group of clubbers in order to force them out of the town centre.
By Gareth Davies 27 Apr, 2016

Photos passed to the Advertiser show the vehicle being used to herd eight people out of Croydon High Street after they left a nightclub in the early hours of the morning.

The van is understood to have mounted the kerb near Lunar and, flanked by police officers, was driven about 130 feet along the pavement, forcing the clubbers away from the area.

Chief Inspector Peter McGarry, who was driving the van, said he had used an "approved public order technique".

Roy Seda, owner of Dice Bar, included the incident in a statement provided to the council ahead of the police's unsuccessful licence review hearing earlier this month.

He said the tactic was "terrible to watch" and could "incite tensions" among people whose crime was to stand outside a club and chat after a night out.

It will likely intensify criticism of the police's heavy-handed attitude towards the town's night time economy, which licensees say has discouraged people coming to Croydon.

Chief Insp McGarry, heavily involved in that approach, used the van to funnel the group, who appear to have been causing no trouble, away from High Street at 4.23am on March 27.

In his statement, Mr Seda said: "A recent police tactic is to drive a police van on the pavement, directly at customers, leaving the nightclub to make them move.

"This is terrible to watch and makes people really mad. I don't think police should do it. This, in my opinion can be a catalyst and can incite tensions."

The former special constable said the photos, which show the vehicle as it reaches Dice Bar, are indicative of the police's "aggressive" approach to moving customers out of the area as soon as clubs close.

Mr Seda, who helps his staff safely usher people home after they leave his venue, said customers are often met by police officers who "yell at them to clear the area, move and similar things, quite aggressively".

He said: "A large police presence on the High Street - 20 to 30 police officers - can be intimidating to people. Customers like to talk to their friends when leaving the venue. Imagine leaving a cinema to be confronted by 20 police officers telling you to 'Move!'. Your mood might just change.

"It is disappointing for me, as so much effort goes into creating an environment for customers to leave in a calm and relaxed state of mind. This police behaviour has become a bit of a 'thing' in Croydon town centre, and I believe this is partly responsible for such a drastic fall in footfall.

Barny the owl rescued by PCSO in Littleport is released back into wild
Barny the Barn Owl was in a sorry state on the verge on the A10 at Littleport when PCSO Jonathan Hall found him on March 11.
By Ely News 27 Apr, 2016

Mr Hall, who worked for the RSPCA before joining the police force, took the bird home and nourished him overnight before handing him over to the RSPCA the next day.

Barny made a speedy recovery and last week, Mr Hall and PCSO Emma Graves took him back to where he was found and released him into the wild.

select for full details 'I was left holding his tracksuit bottoms' - criminal ran through Blackburn town centre half naked after breaking PCSO's nose
A CRIMINAL was caught with his pants down by a quick-thinking police community support officer – who ended up with a broken nose for his trouble.
By Chris Gee 28 Apr, 2016
The semi-naked fugitive lost his trousers and underwear as he tried to clamber over a wall with the officer hot on his heels.

As the man, who was suspected of being involved in an alleged assault in Blackburn’s Church Street, tried to escape he kicked PCSO Hasim Sattar in the face, breaking his nose as he tried to detain him.

The 20-year-old officer said: “He was climbing the wall and I had hold of one of his legs but he was kicking out with the other.

“He caught me flush in the nose with a kick and left me dazed but I still had hold of him.

“He struggled free and got over the wall but I was left holding his tracksuit bottoms, including his boxer shorts and his trainers.”

Officers had been called to an altercation, which took place close to The Mall shopping centre between two men.

It allegedly resulted in one man assaulting the other at around 3.30pm on Friday.

The suspect was spotted soon after by PCSO Sattar running away from the incident.

PCSO Sattar, who has worked as part of the town centre policing team for nearly two years, chased him and caught him as he was scaling a wall in Fleming Square.

The hapless suspect, attempting to hide his shame with his hands, continued his bid to escape but he did not get far before other officers found him.

He was arrested at the nearby Sun Hotel in Astley Gate.

PCSO Sattar, who lives in Bolton and is based at the Boulevard police station, refused to take any time off to recover from his injury and later continued with his shift.

Tony Ford, watch liaison officer for the police in East Lancashire, said: “What a great example this young PCSO is, showing such determination to catch the suspect.

select for full details More than a dozen modern day 'car wash slaves' rescued by police in Cambridge area
Car washes in Cambridgeshire are the focus of a crackdown on modern day slavery as it is revealed more than a dozen people were rescued from a life of misery and hard labour by the force.
By Raymond Brown 28 Apr, 2016
The force is backing the Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland who is leading efforts to tackle slavery and human trafficking and is urging the public to reports of forced labour at car washes.

He issued a chilling warning that people traffickers are smuggling migrant slaves into Britain and forcing them to wash cars against their will.

Cambridgeshire police laid bare the horrors of human trafficking and servitude at car washes after a series of raids.

The News joined officers last year when they raided a car wash on the A14 to rescue workers living in what police described as "Dickensian conditions."

It was the fifth raid in the Cambridge area as part of Operation Puffin aimed at rescuing exploited workers who are mostly from Eastern Europe.

Chief Inspector James Southerland, area commander for South Cambridgeshire, said: "Cracking down on human trafficking remains to be a priority for the force and part of the work we do to tackle this issue is to raise awareness of the signs and educate people.

"Over the last year we have visited a number of hand car washes across the south of the county and managed to safeguard a number of people who were sadly being trafficked, living and working in very poor conditions and for very little pay.

"We know the exploitation of vulnerable people, many of whom simply want to make a better life for themselves in the UK, is still happening. We are committed to working with colleagues in partner agencies to protect vulnerable people and bring those who commit criminal offences against them to justice."

And Mr Hyland has urged drivers to boycott cheap car washes as they have become a hub for modern exploitation.

Motorists are urged to look out for the signs including poorly maintained equipment, a lack of protective clothing such as goggles and gloves and makeshift overnight accommodation at the site.

Mr Hyland said: "There are legitimate car washes, but there have been many cases in car washes up and down the country of exploitation and modern slavery.

"We are encountering ­modern-day slavery like this in our day-to-day life and it is in plain sight."

He told The Sunday Times: "If it is clear that it is not right, then of course we should boycott it. I also think we should go one step further and report it to the authorities.

"The workers may be in an open environment but are often in debt or feel vulnerable and do not feel free to leave. They get stuck somewhere and don't know how to get out of it.".

select for full details Sutton Coldfield doctor suing Met Police for false arrest
Rita Pal, a psychiatrist, says she was cuffed and driven 100 miles to London before charge later dropped.
By Jeanette Oldham 28 Apr, 2016
A highly respected medic and whistleblower is suing the Met Police over claims she was arrested on her doorstep, before being cuffed and driven 100 miles to a London police station.

Dr Rita Pal, a psychiatrist and medical journalist, says she was arrested by Met officers in December 2014 at her home in Sutton Coldfield on an unfounded suspicion of harassment.

In a writ lodged at London's High Court, Dr Pal's lawyers relate how she was handcuffed and placed in an unmarked police car before being driven to the capital.

She was later charged with an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act.

But she was cleared before Stratford Magistrates in August last year after the Crown Prosecution Service "offered no evidence".

Dr Pal is now suing the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, alleging false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Her lawyers also claim in the writ that the way she was handcuffed amounted to an assault.

The document describes Dr Pal as a writer specialising in "medico-political issues" and a "researcher on whistleblowing".

The Met's defence to the action was not available from the court and Dr Pal's claims have yet to be tested in evidence before a judge.

select for full details Lying BMW driver Ayesha Ahmed's life 'in ruins' over jail term for speeding scam, says sister
High-flying graduate now 'languishing in prison with crackheads'.
By James Cartledge 28 Apr, 2016
A graduate’s life was “in ruins” after she used a “Mr Fixit” in a failed bid to dodge speeding points, said her anguished sister.

Sbah Ahmed said high-flyer Ayesha told a “lie that spiralled out of control” after she was clocked twice in five minutes in her BMW.

The 27-year-old told police someone else was driving her car after handing over £450 to a man who claimed he could exploit a “legal loophole” to get her off.

But Ahmed was jailed for three months after police linked the false address she provided on prosecution forms to EIGHT other speeding offences.

Speaking of her sister’s shame, Sbah said the punishment was too severe as she was “languishing in prison with crackheads and violent criminals”.

Sbah, 37, said: “She made a terrible mistake and regrets what she’s done.

“The jail sentence is punishment enough – she doesn’t deserve to have her life ruined because of this stupid mistake.

“She acknowledges that she was stupid and shouldn’t have undertaken that course of action.

“But she had no criminal history – it was her first offence. “I don’t know how she heard of this person.

“She thought he was a motoring legal expert who could perhaps find a loophole.”

Ahmed, of Baptist End Road, Netherton, was driving home from her job as a wholesale company buyer when she was flashed twice in five minutes in nearby St Peter’s Road on July 30 last year.

The Coventry University graduate, who has a 2:1 in International Relations and Politics, was clocked doing 39 and 40mph in a 30mph zone.

Police rumbled her scam after growing suspicious because she had previously begged for leniency and claimed she was being followed at the time.

She never met the man she paid – handing the cash over via a third party – but claimed she fell victim to a crooked lawyer.

Ahmed denied perverting the course of justice but was unanimously convicted at Wolverhampton Crown Court after a trial.

Sbah, 37, said: “She’s terribly ashamed.

“The point of the sentence is to deter others, not to shame her and destroy her life.

“She’s made a stupid error which she regrets.

“It was a lie that spiralled out of control.

select for full details Mother who was found dead after her toddler daughter was spotted walking herself to school died of drink and drug abuse after splitting from boyfriend over his heroin use
Nicolla Rushton, 30, was found dead in her home on January 6, Her daughter Phoebe, three, was seen wandering the streets by a PCSO
A mother who was found dead at home after her toddler daughter was spotted walking herself to nursery had been drinking and taking drugs in the hours before her death, an inquest heard.

Nicolla Rushton's body was found after a police community support officer and his wife saw her daughter Phoebe, three, wandering the streets of Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, alone.

The toddler told the couple she been unable to wake her mother and led them back to her home, where the PCSO found Miss Rushton, 30, slumped in an upstairs bedroom.

Miss Rushton's father, Phoebe's grandfather, James Rushton, has previously said the toddler had told the PCSO: 'I'm going to nursery because mummy is sleeping and she won't wake up.'

He said she had tried to make herself food and get ready for nursery before leaving the house on January 6 to set off on the 350 yard journey to the Little Strawberries nursery.

An inquest into Miss Rushton's death heard she had a history of 'binge drinking and mental health problems' and had recently split with her boyfriend after discovering he was a heroin user.

Coroner's officer Stephanie Mason said on Monday January 4, the mother-of-one had attended a doctor's appointment where she was prescribed antidepressants.

She was last seen later that evening by her stepfather, who said she had been drinking alcohol.

PC Collette Harrison said Miss Rushton's mother had previously told the police that 'although she had made a lot of wrong choices, she would never put her daughter in danger'.

The officer said evidence found on Miss Rushton's mobile phone suggested she had sourced illegal drugs on January 5.

The following day, Miss Rushton was found in her bedroom next to drug paraphernalia including a lighter and burnt foil, it was heard.

PC Harrison added there was also evidence that alcohol had been consumed in the home.

South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said Miss Rushton was not known to use drugs before her death but had recently separated from her boyfriend over his heroin use.

Miss Rushton's father James Rushton, who was present at the inquest, asked about a 'large amount of blood' found on the bed in the bedroom.

Pathologist Dr Peter Acland said that he had only found a minor injury to Miss Rushton's lip and the blood had smeared on her face. Mr Haigh recorded the cause of death as drug and alcohol related.

select for full details Charity calls for prison officers to receive training to spot ADHD
A charity has called for prison officers at young offenders' centres in Northern Ireland to have mandatory training to help spot and understand attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
By Victoria O'Hara 26 Apr, 2016
It comes after ADD-NI said at least 70% of young people in Hydebank Young Offenders Unit have the behavioural disorder.

Sarah Salters from the charity says she believes a lot of the crimes committed by inmates are "impulsive acts" where the young person does not properly engage their brain beforehand.

"They carry out the act and it's too late," she said.

ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, but the impairing symptoms persist into adulthood in up to 70% of cases. Undiagnosed and untreated adults often have problems holding down a job or staying in a relationship.

According to the NHS website, common symptoms of ADHD include a short attention span, restlessness, constant fidgeting, over-activity and being impulsive.

In Sweden, where criminal, health and social care records are linked, researchers have found people convicted of crimes are much more likely to have ADHD than the rest of the population.

Estimates suggest between 7% and 40% of people in the criminal justice system may have it or other similar disorders, though many won't have a formal diagnosis.

Ms Salters has now called for prison officers to receive mandatory training to spot ADHD among young people in order to improve their understanding of the condition.

ADD-NI was established in 1997 as a support network for children, young people and the families of those affected by ADHD. Dr Matt McConkey, an expert in ADHD, said the figures are consistent with other young offenders centres across the UK.

He said assessing children who are involved in a first criminal offence would be a positive step in treating the condition at the earliest stage.

"Whenever you first enter the criminal justice system, that could be a unique opportunity to diagnose these children and follow on comprehensive treatment," he told the BBC.

He said having ADHD does not mean the child will automatically have a criminal record, however, early assessment could help reduce repeat offending.

Dr McConkey also supported the calls for prison officers to be trained in early recognition of the condition.

He added that both teachers and parents are becoming more aware in spotting the potential signs of ADHD and this provides better outcomes for the child.

select for full details Bristol PCSO recognised for her work in the community
PCSO Jacqueline Harper has received a special award from Bristol City Council for her work in helping to make parts of St Pauls safer.
By Avon & Somerset Police 22 Apr, 2016
PCSO Harper, who has worked in St Pauls for eight years, has worked with local residents and Bristol City Council to gather evidence leading to the installation of CCTV cameras in St Pauls Park, Ashfield Place and Carr House.

The cameras now monitor key areas for anti-social behaviour (ASB), helping officers to gather evidence and bring offenders to justice.

Sergeant Mark Birkenhead, who manages the Ashley Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “Jackie has done a huge amount of work on this project, involving house to house enquiries, analysing data, speaking to local residents, and bringing senior managers in the police and the council together to discuss the issues which matter most to people.

“As a result of Jackie’s hard work, funding was secured for the cameras to help combat ASB, which has ultimately made these places safer and more peaceful for the people who live there.

“The way Jackie went about this process has now been adopted as best practice for future funding applications.”

Bristol City Council’s Service Manager Pete Anderson said: “Jackie has brought a real fresh and exciting commitment to CCTV and associated community engagement. She has enabled the seamless implementation of several cameras into hotspot areas which have had instant impact and success in gathering evidence and bringing offenders to justice.

"Jackie is a real asset and someone that all community facing and engaging officers can learn from. A very well done.”

select for full details Love thy neigh-bour: horse riders urge local drivers to slow down
Local riders have been working with Milford Haven Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) to improve safety for horse owners and car drivers.
By Joanna Sayers 22 Apr, 2016
CONCERNED horse riders have been forced to start wearing helmet cameras, following a number of close-calls on the roads around Neyland.

Penny Joubert and Jane Howell, from Waterston and Mastlebridge; Anthea Jones, from Rosemarket; and Kay Sinclair-Jones, from Johnston, say some drivers are putting themselves, riders, horses, and other road users at risk.

After raising the issue at a police PACT meeting, the group has been working with PCSOs from Milford Haven to highlight the issue, and improve road safety.

Passing too close, sounding horns, revving engines, and breaking or accelerating suddenly when near horses are the most common offences, said Penny.

She said erratic or dangerous driving frightened horses and riders, and as well as endangering lives, could also undo ‘years of good training’ for animals.

Because of persistent problems, many riders have now started wearing helmet-mounted cameras to film their rides, and will be passing on footage of concern to the police.

PCSO Stacy Thomas, of Milford Haven Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) said any riders who experience an aggressive driver should make a note of the number plate, make, model and colour of a troublesome vehicle, and that all complaints will be taken seriously.

The group would also like to see local riders improve their own safety, by wearing high visibility clothing, avoiding riding in low light, and riding single file when it is safe for a motorist to overtake.

And their advice to cyclists is: “Just call out and say hi, so we know you are coming.”

“I can see the problem from both sides, I’m a car driver too,” said Penny.

“We just want people to be aware and slow down. Give us time and space to move over.”

Added Jane: “We just want to enjoy the countryside in peace.”

PCSO Thomas added: “Pembrokeshire is a rural community with many narrow country roads joining the towns and villages.

“Horses are large animals that can panic and bolt if startled, this is very dangerous for the horse, rider and other road users.

select for full details PCSO who broke leg while responding to concerns about rowdy youths in Didsbury faces 'long recovery'
Police say the injured officer will need more time off after taking a tumble at Didsbury flat complex.
By Beth Abbit 21 Apr, 2016
A police worker who needed surgery on his leg after responding to reports of anti-social behaviour in East Didsbury can expect a ‘long recovery’.

The police community support officer (PCSO) attended the Parrs Wood Court block of flats, off Wilmslow Road, when police received reports of youths causing an annoyance last Tuesday.

He fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a head injury, broken leg and ankle while responding the call at the flats at around 6.30pm.

He was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery to his leg.

Police initially thought that the PCSO may have been assaulted. Four youths were arrested at the location but have since been released.

After an investigation, Greater Manchester Police has now confirmed that he fell and was not pushed or assaulted.

Inspector Jon Middleton, of Fallowfield Police , said it is hoped that the ‘excellent’ officer will return to work with the force soon.

In a post on the GMP Fallowfield, Withington, Levenshulme & Burnage Facebook page he wrote: “I can confirm the PCSO concerned did fall and was not pushed or assaulted.

“He had surgery on his broken legs and ankle at Wythenshawe Hospital last week and went home last Friday. “It will be a long recovery from such serious injuries. He is an excellent PCSO and will be sorely missed but hopefully he will be back with us soon.

“On behalf of him and our team I would like to thank the paramedics from @North West Ambulance Service who attended and the staff at Wythenshawe Hospital @UHSM who looked after him so well.

“Also thanks to all who have sent messages of support in for him.”

Residents reported a large police presence in the area - which is close to the Parrs Wood leisure complex - for several hours after the incident last week.

select for full details Teen who went for breakfast instead of court after pushing PCSO down stairs is told to grow up
18-year-old who avoided jail after assaulting a PCSO failed to turn up for numerous probation appointments — and then went for breakfast when he should have been in court — has been told to grow up.
By Jason Evans 17 Apr, 2016
Ricky Polverino pushed the female officer down a steep flight of steps in Townhill in June last year, injuring her arm.

He was given a 12 month suspended sentence with a requirement to carry out unpaid work after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

However Swansea Crown Court heard he had missed numerous work appointments, and had left the probation service in no doubt as to his attitude towards the order.

He was subsequently summonsed to court for breaching the conditions of his suspended sentence.

But after initially attending the court, the Penlan teen went off to a cafe for breakfast and was not around when his case was called before justices.

When he eventually returned to the court, he was taken into custody and spent three days behind bars.

Polverino, of Heol Cadifor, pleaded guilty to breaching the order when he appeared before judge Paul Thomas QC.

Victoria Thomas, for Polverino, described her client as an "immature 18-year-old", but the judge said he was acting more like a 12-year-old and needed to grow up.

The barrister said her client's time in custody since his unauthorised breakfast visit had been a "wake up call" for the teenager, adding it had "given him an insight into what awaits him if he misses any more appointments".

select for full details Violent schizophrenic missing from mental health unit 'tried to kill PCSO'
Police say a violent absconder from a mental health unit, who was last seen in Walthamstow, was originally sent to the facility after he attempted to murder a PCSO.
By Guardian 18 Apr, 2016
Detectives have renewed an appeal to trace Cornell Destouche, who disappeared on April 10 while on escorted leave from a unit in Hackney.

He was in a mini cab at the junction of The Drive and Churchill Road, Walthamstow, when he fled from the vehicle.

Destouche was convicted of attempted murder at Snaresbrook Crown Court in July 2014, for stabbing a Police Community Support Officer. He was detained under a mental health order.

The 25-year-old suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and requires daily medication to control this condition. He has not had this since he absconded.

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, from Hackney CID, said: "A major investigation is underway to locate Cornell Destouche.

“I must re-iterate my earlier warning to the public - Destouche is a violent individual who could pose a threat if confronted.

“If you see him please do not approach or challenge him, but dial 999 immediately."

Destouche is described as black, of medium build, 5ft 11inches tall, with braided hair and a black beard.

He was last seen wearing a black and grey t-shirt, blue jacket, blue jeans and navy trainers and was carrying a grey rucksack.

DI Ridley added: "If you have information and wish to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers - you do not have to supply your details.

"All I require is an indication as to this man's whereabouts and I can assure you

select for full details ‘Life means life’ fury as cop-killing triple-murderer let back on the streets
EXCLUSIVE: Murderer Nicholas Vernage told an accomplice: ‘All I want is to kill coppers’.
By The Sun 25 Apr, 2016
a TRIPLE murderer who stabbed one police officer to death and left another two for dead has received his first taste of freedom, The Sun can reveal.

Cop hater Nicholas Vernage was given five life sentences in 1992 for the murders of 41-year-old Sergeant Alan King, civilians Lorna Bogle and Javaid Iqbal, as well as the attempted murders of PCs John Jenkinson and Simon Castrey.

But less than three years after Home Secretary Theresa May promised police killers would serve a whole life tariff - Vernage has been back out on the streets.

The Sun can reveal how Vernage, now 51, was given an escorted visit into the community on March 17 from a medium secure psychiatric unit where he is being held.

He is now being given secret weekly visits to a nearby village from the undisclosed location where he is detained.

Vernage was moved to the psychiatric unit in December 2014 from Broadmoor where he was sent after being diagnosed with a severe personality disorder.

Criminal justice experts say Vernage' visits into the community - approved by a Ministry of Justice panel - will pave the way for him being released within the next year.

Sgt King’s widow Monica King last night described the decision to allow Vernage into the community as “disgusting.”

She said: “I clung to the fact that with five life sentences and a recommended minimum tariff of 25 years he would never come out. That was stupid of me.

select for full details Community police officers recover luxury Baby Merc pram stolen from charity shop
TWO community police officers have been praised by charity shop staff after helping find and return stolen stock.
By Ian Proctor 20 Apr, 2016
PCSOs Cheryl Taylor and Julie Swift traced a donated pram just a day after it was shoplifted from the Mencap charity shop in Chorley Old Road.

Shop staff were already reeling from a burglary overnight when a woman stole a luxury Baby Merc pushchair worth £70 from the store and ran off with it between 10am and 10.30am on March 31.

Amy Wilding, project manager at Bolton Mencap, said: "The police and the PCSOs do not get enough praise for their work so we just want to thank them.

"Seventy pounds is a lot of money to an independent charity like ourselves, so we really appreciated the effort they went to.

"I hope they get the recognition they deserve."

PCSO Taylor said she and her colleague PCSO Swift went to take more detailed statements from shop staff the day after the theft occurred.

PCSO Taylor said: "Within 10 minutes we returned to the Halliwell UCAN in Hatfield Road, where we are based, and we recognised the same pram."

It turns out a couple in possession of the child's carriage had innocently bought the stolen pram from someone in exchange for £20 and their old pram.

PCSO Taylor said: "A language barrier meant we are not sure if she approached them in the street or came to their door.

"They were left out of pocket themselves. They're victims as well.

"The guy was mortified that it had been stolen and he was upset enough to take it back

select for full details Manchester PCSOs given award for helping elderly knife crime victim.
Two Greater Manchester Police Community Support Officers who spent time with two lonely, elderly residents whilst off duty are being given a Chief Constable’s Commendation this week.
By Key 103 18 Apr, 2016
Carli Malone and Rachel Bedford are being recognised by Chief Constable Ian Hopkins at the next awards ceremony at Hough End on Tuesday 19 April.

PCSOs Malone and Bedford spend time with 79 year old Maria Morrison and Sylvia Winterbottom, 92, both from Chorlton, offering them support to get out into the community, lending an ear and even helping Sylvia see her grandson’s restaurant, which she had never seen before.

Malone and Bedford got to know Maria after she was the victim of a knife attack in 2011 and, since then, they have taken the time to drop in and spend quality time with her whilst off duty. They have also taken Maria out for coffee and cake on their rest days, using their personal time and vehicles for transport.

The two PCSOs also supported Sylvia to take a dream trip to the Trafford Centre and to see her grandson in Birmingham, something that Sylvia says was “kindness beyond belief”.

Sylvia said: “These two have shown me kindness beyond belief and I am so grateful to them. I’ll never, ever forget how special they made my trip to see my grandson’s restaurant in Birmingham.

“Carli and Rachel make me feel very loved and cared about and I will cherish it forever.”

GMP’s Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “These two officers have time and again gone above and beyond the call of duty, spending time with these two senior members of the community during their own time and using their own resources to do so. For that I commend them.

“It’s so important that we all take the time to look after our more vulnerable neighbours, keep an eye on each other and do our bit to keep each other safe. Their actions highlight the need to do this.”

PCSO Carli Malone: “We couldn’t believe it when we were told that we were getting a commendation – we weren’t looking for any praise and were just doing something nice for these two women who needed some company.

select for full details Police officer who broke his leg catching a shoplifter is back on the beat after 16 months.
a POLICE officer who snapped two bones in his leg while trying to catch a shoplifter is back walking the beat after 16 months recovering.
By Emma Robinson 21 Apr, 2016
Paul Dallimore, 54, who works as a PCSO in Southend, wrestled Peter Morgan to the ground in Southchurch Road after he spotted him running out of nearby Sainsbury's.

During the struggle, the officer's leg smacked into the kerb as he fell, causing him to experience searing pain and for his leg to go limp.

Despite the best efforts of Mr Dallimore's colleague, PCSO Jackie Jones, 23-year-old Morgan managed to break free and run off.

Mr Dallimore gave chase when staff members at Sainsbury's flagged down the pair and pointed to a man running away from the store.

Speaking about the incident in December 2014, Mr Dallimore, who lives in Eastwood, said: "I managed to grab hold of him and I said 'you aren't going anywhere mate'.

"I only had hold of him for about 20 seconds and he didn't say anything, he was pulling away from me like a train.

"I have never had anyone try to get away so quickly, he was trying to drag us into the main road.

"I thought that he was going to end up killing us both so I had to use all my strength to get him down.

"As I went down I heard my leg snap and I couldn't hold him any longer."

Following the fall, Mr Dallimore spent 13 days in Southend Hospital and had an operation to have pins placed in his leg to try and repair the broken tibia and fibula.

He then spent months in a wheelchair before he was able to gradually put pressure on his leg and walk again.

The PCSO said: "I completely lost my independence and I was reliant on everybody, which I really didn't like.

"I also didn't know if I was able to get back to frontline policing again.

"That was a real big issue for me, I wanted to get back doing my job."

In October, Mr Dallimore returned back to work for Essex Police in an office-based role as he continued to increase his fitness.

He then returned back to the beat for the first time on Tuesday