The near 2,000 police officers - including the force's 605 PCSOs - who work on the programme have been warned they will no longer be shielded from the effects of Government budget cuts.
West Midlands Chief Constable Chris Sims said: "I do not think this is the end of the PCSO. It is a role that still has a lot to offer but there will be significantly fewer by 2020. I cannot be precise about the numbers because this matter is still under review but we are not talking about ten or 20 posts. It will be in the hundreds.
"This is certainly not what I would have wanted but we have already had to make £126m worth of cuts and face the prospect of saving a further £120m over the next five years.
"We have got to work in different ways to meet our key responsibility of public protection.
"Neighbourhood policing has grown beyond what was originally intended with us filling lots of gaps in communities.
"The PCSOs have been terrifically successful but we must now retreat to the core of police work and concentrate on areas such as domestic abuse and child exploitation."
West Midlands Police Federation deputy chairman Tom Cuddeford declared: "The next few years are going to be very worrying for police officers and staff. We are going to lose some excellent PCSOs.
"The force has got to be open and honest with the public and say clearly what we can no longer do. Hopefully other agencies can take those tasks on board.
"It will be very sad to lose the interaction we get with the public through summer fetes and similar events but the Chief can only work within the budget he is given."
Up to 2,500 West Midland Police officers and civilian staff are set to be axed in the next four years as the force battles to save a further £120m.
It has already cut £126m from the budget and lost 3,000 people from the payroll since 2010 meaning the overall strength is expected to fall by around 5,500 to 8,000 in a decade.
One estimate suggests that this will include 1,800 police officers but this will be achieved through natural wastage since they cannot be made redundant.
The plan is the result of a £25m five year deal with private consultancy firm Accenture launched last summer that will trigger a £100m drive to revolutionise and streamline the way the force handles data, uses mobile and digital technology and interacts with social media and other organisations such as local authorities.
Prolific bike thief jailed after police recognise him on Facebook
A cyclist caught 43-year-old Karl Lee Cosnett in the act and took pictures of him and posted them online - where they were shared almost 30,000 times.
By Katie Butler 19 July, 2015
A prolific bicycle thief has been sent to prison thanks to a photograph a victim posted on Facebook which was shared almost 30,000 times.
Karl Lee Cosnett, of Chippenham Road, Ancoats, has a history of offences dating back to 1987 and tried his luck again at the entrance of Marks and Spencer at St Mary’s Gate last month.
But in his latest crime, his victim, Chris Di Mascio, helped to convict him - by uploading a picture of him taken just after he tried to steal his bike.
Prosecuting at Manchester Magistrates Court, Lynn Rogers, said: “At around 5.50pm on 25 June the man saw Cosnett stood next to his bike with a coat draped over it. He quickly went over to where his bike was locked but saw he had used pliers to cut through the wire lock.”
Mr Di Mascio challenged Cosnett but he started walking off so he took several pictures and later uploaded them to Facebook to warn others. A police officer then recognised the man from the snapshot on the social media site.
Ms Rogers added: “Officers went to his address and while there arresting him for the attempted theft, they found a bicycle that matched a description of a £300 bike that had been reported stolen from Charlotte Street in Manchester earlier this year.”
Cosnett, 43, was then arrested. He pleaded guilty to the charges of theft and attempted theft of the bicycles at Manchester Magistrates Court.
Cosnett also pleased guilty to smashing the back window of a car on Pigeon Street in February to swipe a British Airways hat box - which included an air hostess’ hat and make up.
He also pleased guilty to possession of amphetamines and cannabis, along with the theft of bicycle lights and roaming around in enclosed premises on Ducie Street, in February
He has 44 convictions for 87 offences that date back to 1987 - and include burglary, theft from motor vehicles and thefts of bicycles.
During sentence, District Judge Anthony Carr told Cosnett - who appeared via videolink - “You are a man with an appalling record spanning decades. You have a specialism in stealing from cars and stealing bicycles.
“The attempted theft of the man’s bicycle was blatant and brazen and you had clearly gone there to steal other people’s property.”
He was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison, and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge and £180 criminal court charge on his release.
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| Step inside Dale Street magistrates' court and follow in the footsteps of petty thieves and notorious gangsters|
Take a tour of the historic Liverpool city centre courthouse
By Joe Thomas 19 Jul, 2015
For more than 150 years notorious gangsters, petty thieves and falsely accused defendants have stood in the dock at Liverpool city magistrates’ court.
Now those boxes stand permanently vacant following the closure of the courthouse last month.
But with the Dale Street building now empty the ECHO is able to bring you exclusive pictures from inside - something that could have landed you a night in the cells at any other point since the 1850s.
The government, which has moved its magistrates operation to the Queen Elizabeth II courts on Derby Square, has now left the court building and hopes to sell it for around £2m. Everyone has departed apart from security guards.
Michael Gove has a vision for reforming prisons – and justice
The new justice secretary has made a bold and challenging speech on the shortcomings of the criminal justice system.
By Will Hutton 19 July, 2015
what has happened to Britain’s criminal justice system over the past five years is a disgrace. Universal access to justice is the hallmark not only of a just society, but also a prosperous one. The indivisibility and universality of the rule of law is the precondition for order, trust and social association on which all else is built. Equally, punishment must be proportionate and fair and those who are incarcerated must have the prospect of atonement and rehabilitation. As Churchill once famously said, the “treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of a country… there is treasure if only you can find it in the heart of every person”. Rehabilitation must be at the heart of the prison experience.
Britain fails to meet these standards. Justice is increasingly the preserve of the rich who can pay the hourly rates of our top barristers and solicitors, while the mass of the population, now ineligible for dramatically cut legal aid, has to accept multiple injustices because redress is too slow and expensive.
The court system creaks. Its waste and inefficiency are notorious. The Crown Prosecution Service and Serious Fraud Office are embarrassingly under-resourced and ineffective. Prisons are so overcrowded and cells so filthy that many have become places of “violence, squalor and idleness” in the words of the departing chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick.
In any single week, there are four or five deaths, 300 assaults and 70 assaults on prison officers, of which nine are serious. The rehabilitation revolution the government promised in 2010 has not even begun, says Hardwick. It is an across-the-board disaster, a standing reproach to what Britain has become.
In effective political hands, all this could have profoundly embarrassed the government. Carelessness about criminal justice is first cousin to carelessness about social justice – they spring from the same libertarian philosophy. The priority is not justice and the public infrastructure to support it, in which virtue is achieved by collective effort. Rather, virtue is the result of unalloyed private endeavour and justice should be paid for – except in extreme need – by individuals. The interdependence between publicly provided justice and economic and social dynamism is flatly denied. Any one of Labour’s leadership candidates, if they had chosen, could have opened all this up to telling effect.
| Cats rescued from extreme hoarder house in Essex
Four cats have been rescued from a home in Clacton thanks to a joint effort by police and the RSPCA after the occupier died.
by Gemma Mitchell 24 July 2015
On arrival to the house, officers found the dead man had an extreme hoarding habit, with newspapers and canned goods reaching the ceiling.
Concerns were raised by neighbours following the man’s death that his four pet cats were still in the property.
PCSO Dan Brown from Clacton’s Neighbourhood Policing Team was called upon by the RSPCA to help access the home.
Because the occupier of the house had no family, the police were in possession of the keys to the property.
Met Police and their secret racist abuse of gipsies on Facebook
Scotland Yard investigate private group after alarm was raised by some members.
By Chris Greenwood 20 July, 2015
Police used a secret online forum to make offensive comments about ‘pikeys’, it was claimed last night.
Scotland Yard is investigating reports that a private Facebook group, called ‘I’ve Met The Met’, was used to exchange racist views about travellers.
Anti-corruption officials were called in after some of the 3,000 members, who include serving and retired officers, raised the alarm.
Among the comments was a ‘joke’ about police being told to remove their shoes when entering a traveller’s caravan.
One contributor said: ‘Ha ha ha that’s only so they can nick them easier’.
Another user wrote: ‘I never knew a pikey could be offended.
‘I thought they were devoid of all normal feelings and thoughts ... just my opinion based on many years of dealing with these despicable people.’
The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it had received a similar complaint about the Facebook group and was ‘in discussion’ with force bosses.
The Traveller Movement charity said the comments suggest a ‘canteen culture of racism towards gipsies and travellers’.
its leader, Yvonne MacNamara, said: ‘The fact that they are potentially made by serving and retired police officers gives us no confidence at all in the Metropolitan Police’s ability to both police these communities and to attract and protect its own staff who are from gipsy and traveller backgrounds.
‘We believe that the Met must set up an internal review to look into the all-too common assumptions that all gipsies and travellers are criminals, and that they do not deserve the same quality of service and policing as any other members of our society.’
Meanwhile the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association – which represents officers from these backgrounds – said the alleged comments were a ‘sad indictment of the police service’.
Chairman Jim Davies added: ‘Racism towards gipsies and travellers is endemic and is part of police culture. It has been allowed to fester and spread unchallenged for years.’
It is not the first time the ‘I’ve Met The Met’ publicity campaign has been linked to controversy.
Two Scotland Yard officers faced disciplinary action during the London Olympics after attaching a sticker bearing the phrase to the van of another police force. The latest allegations are an embarrassment for Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Prison education must be 'overhauled', Michael Gove says
Education in prisons must be overhauled to reduce re-offending and make prisoners more employable, the justice secretary has said.
By BBC news 17 July, 2015
Michael Gove suggested "earned release" for inmates in England and Wales who work hard and gain qualifications.
Prison officers said they had heard similar "rhetoric" before and questioned how the plans would work.
Labour said it had long argued for better prison education, but detention conditions also needed improving.
Mr Gove also spoke about closing "ageing and ineffective" prisons and giving more powers to governors - citing Pentonville in London, which inspectors recently found was overcrowded and where most inmates felt unsafe, as "the most dramatic example of failure".
But in his first major speech since being appointed justice secretary in May, Mr Gove said there were "technical and complex policy questions" about how change should be implemented.
Speaking at the Prisoner Learning Alliance, Mr Gove, a former education secretary, called for an end to the "idleness and futility" of prison life.
The proposals could be piloted first or introduced in a more radical way, he said.
If prisons moved to a system of "earned release", it would be a major change from the current policy under which most prisoners are automatically released on licence at the halfway point of their sentence.
The prison problems Michael Gove faces are the same as his predecessor, Chris Grayling - overcrowding, rising violence and drug-taking - but his tone is markedly different.
Mr Gove referred to St Matthew's Gospel and quoted Churchill as he spoke of the need to transform the "soul" of prisoners through rehabilitation.
He believes education is the key.
But his plans - more control to governors over education provision and "earned release" for offenders who gain skills and qualifications - are far from fully formed.
Civil servants are working on the proposals, perhaps with a pilot scheme at some point. Letting inmates out early if they become trained or qualified would be politically very tricky for a Conservative justice secretary, so Mr Gove will want to ensure it isn't seen as a soft option or a mechanism simply to reduce the prison population.
Wirral police stations: Proposed new sites within shared facilities revealed with residents
Police commissioner Jane Kennedy announces first four locations for new stations within libraries and One Stop Shops in cost-cutting shake-up
By Rob Pattinson 30 July, 2015
The first four proposed locations for police stations within shared facilities in Wirral as part of a cost-cutting shake-up have been revealed.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has identified the first four centres where new stations could be sited within libraries, One Stop Shops, Citizens Advice Bureaus and family services buildings.
Residents in the borough are now being urged to have their say in a consultation over the plans, which runs until 5pm on Friday August 14.
In each of the areas – Hoylake, Moreton, Birkenhead and Rock Ferry – community police stations will replace stations which are now closed to the public.
The proposals are part of a massive overhaul of the current Merseyside police estate, which the force believes can save £2.5m each year.
A key element in the shake-up – announced after a two-month Mersey-wide consultation – was the creation of a network of community police stations across Merseyside, which would see officers and PCSO’s based in busy neighbourhood hubs.
Ms Kennedy is now asking people across the borough for their feedback on the first four proposed locations to be announced.
Jane Kennedy said: “I think we’ve picked four excellent locations which will enable Merseyside Police neighbourhood teams to be based in really central venues, in buildings which are already busy neighbourhood centres serving the local community. Now I want to hear the views of local people and whether they agree.
“It is vital we put these community police stations in the best place for the people they serve so I really want people to let me know if we’ve got it right.”
| Justice Secretary suggests Pentonville prison could close
The Justice Secretary Michael Gove has suggested that prisons that were built in Victorian times such as Pentonville could be closed.
by ITV NEWS 17 July 2015
In a speech given at the Prisoners Learning Alliance, he highlighted the problems at the Islington jail which were listed in a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons.
Mr Gove, who took over the Justice post in May, said he was still getting into the role. But he suggested closing down the Victorian prisons and selling off the estate could provide a solution.
| "A Victorian institution opened in 1842 which is supposed to hold 900 offenders now houses 1300. Not only are measures to reduce drug-taking among prisoners admitted with an addiction unsuccessful overall, nearly one in ten previously clean prisoners reported that they acquired a drug habit while in Pentonville.|
"That’s why I think we have to consider closing down the ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons in our major cities, reducing the crowding and ending the inefficiencies which blight the lives of everyone in them and building new prisons which embody higher standards in every way they operate. The money which could be raised from selling off inner city sites for development would be significant. It could be re-invested in a modern prison estate where prisoners do not have to share overcrowded accommodation but also where the dark corners that facilitate bullying, drug-taking and violence could increasingly be designed out."
– MICHAEL GOVE MP, JUSTICE SECRETARY
Michael Gove: Court hearings 'could be held in town halls or hotel suites to cut costs'
Magistrates’ courts could meet in town halls or hotel suites to cut costs, Justice Secretary Michael Gove has suggested.
By Michael Segalov 15 July, 2015
Mr Gove confirmed there will be a new programme of court closures – with hearings moved to other buildings to save cash.
“There are public buildings in all our constituencies which could be used by the justice system at particular points,” he told MPs at the Justice Select Committee. “There is no intrinsic reason why magistrates should not sit, if it is thought appropriate, in a council chamber.”
Michael Gove eyes Pentonville sale under 'new for old' prison policy
Justice secretary signals start of major programme of selling off ‘ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons’ in large cities to fund more modern jails.
By Alan Travis 17 July, 2015
Michael Gove has vowed to close down “ageing and ineffective” Victorian jails and sell off their sites to fund new buildings to replace them, in his first major speech on prisons policy.
The justice secretary firmly put north London’s Pentonville prison in the frame for the first major closure and sell-off under a “new for old” prisons policy, by citing it as the “most conspicuous” and “most dramatic example of failure within the prison estate”.
He said a recent chief inspector’s report said the jail, which opened in 1842 and is supposed to hold 900 prisoners but now houses 1,300, had bloodstained walls, piles of rubbish and food waste, increasing levels of violence, and widespread drug-taking.
The “new for old” policy has been operated on a small scale in recent years with the sale of small prisons in Lancaster and elsewhere, but the justice secretary’s commitment could see a major programme getting under way. Wandsworth prison in south London is also expected to be among the early candidates.
“We have to consider closing down the ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons in our major cities, reducing the crowding and ending the inefficiences which blight the lives of everyone in them and building new prisons which embody higher standards in every way they operate,” said Gove in a speech to the Prisoner Learning Alliance.
“The money which could be raised from selling off inner-city sites for development would be significant. It could be reinvested in a modern prison estate where prisoners do not have to share overcrowded accommodation but also where the dark corners that facilitate bullying, drug-taking and violence could be increasingly designed out,” he said.
The justice secretary said the new buildings could be used to significantly improve the security and safety of prisons.
He described Pentonville as “the most dramatic example of failure within the prison estate, but its problems, while more acute than anywhere else, are very far from unique”.
Also in his speech, Gove confirmed he was considering an “earned release scheme” under which hard-working inmates who gain educational qualifications while inside could earn an earlier release date.
Gove has asked his department to look at how a system of earned release could operate in detail. It is likely to apply to most of the 86,000 prisoners who are serving fixed-term sentences and are currently automatically released when they reach the halfway point.
Gove is understood to be looking at bringing automatic release to an end, and taking achievements such as education and work into account to determine a prisoner’s actual release date. One option being examined is for prisoners who qualify to leave prison earlier, but complete their sentence under a home curfew monitored by an electronic tag.
The Conservatives first floated the idea of earned release in 2008 as an alternative to automatic release at the halfway point of a prison term, but estimated it might need an extra 5,000 prison places to accommodate those who failed to respond to the incentive.
| Man, 22, in court accused of prison guard murder|
A 22-year-old man accused of murdering a custody officer was surrounded by guards at top security Belmarsh Prison when he made his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link
By Court Reporter 14 July, 2015
Humphrey Burke is accused of attacking 54-year-old Serco employee Lorraine Barwell, of Harold Wood, at Blackfriars Crown Court on the afternoon of Monday June 29. Mrs Barwell was set upon as she escorted a prisoner between the court and a waiting van which was parked inside the court yard. She died of her injuries in hospital two days later, on Wednesday July 1. A post-mortem examination found the cause to be blunt force trauma to the head. Burke, who was last week charged with her murder, appeared subdued during the brief hearing before the Recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC. Wearing a grey tracksuit and sporting an unkempt dark beard, he spoke only to confirm his name as he slumped in a chair flanked by prison officers on both sides.
The Guardian view on prisons in England and Wales: dangerous and inefficient
The last report – absolutely the last – from Nick Hardwick, who has not had his contract renewed as chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales, reveals a national scandal.
By The Guardian 14 July, 2015
Taking up his job in 2010 just as Ken Clarke, the first Conservative justice secretary, promised a rehabilitation revolution, Mr Hardwick has charted not a revolution but an inexorable decline in all the indicators by which healthy prisons are measured.
Attacks by prisoners on each other and on prison officers are up, deaths in prison up, suicides up, serious assaults up, overcrowding up.
About the only things that are falling are the number of prison officers and the amount of purposeful activity done by prisoners.
This is no way to run a prison service, and the people who work in it know that.
If the new justice secretary, Michael Gove, is as interested in reform as he has indicated, here surely is the place to start.
On Monday, Mr Gove announced that not only can prisoners after all receive books from family and friends following the high court ruling against a ban imposed by his predecessor Chris Grayling, but they could keep up to 12 in their cell.
Mr Gove said his decision was influenced by the US conservative social policy guru Arthur Brooks, of the American Enterprise Institute thinktank.
In a refreshing change from the usual language of punishment, he quoted Mr Brooks’ view that all human beings should be seen as assets, not liabilities.
Other voices from the American right are said to be influencing Mr Gove.
One libertarian thinktank, Right on Crime, argues against long prison sentences and in favour of innovative rehabilitation solutions in the name of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
It highlights success stories such as a Texas partnership between local employers and prisoners due for release, and another scheme that automatically closes public access to juvenile criminal records, making it more likely that they find work.
Reform in the US has been driven by the soaring cost of prisons in a country where more people are locked up than anywhere else on Earth.
States such as California, Texas and New York have all cut prison numbers and spending without a corresponding increase in crime.
L O N D O N
Watchdog probes death of schoolboy who drowned in canal while being chased by police
Jack Susianta, 17, smashed through a front window and fled wearing only shorts, socks and a tee shirt after his family dialled 999 concerned about his welfare.
By Tom BROOKS-POLLOCK 30 July, 2015
He disappeared for around 40 minutes before being spotted and running towards the canal in Clapton, east London, a few hundred yards from his home.
Officers shouted “stop, stop” as he fled towards a bridge over the River Lea before jumping in.
Up to 100 horrified onlookers watched from the bank as Jack struggled in the water for several minutes before disappearing below the surface.
A major river search was launched involving dog units, the police helicopter, the Marine Policing Unit, fire crews and paramedics before his body was recovered yesterday afternoon.
Witnesses today claimed police said they were not allowed to jump in to save the boy because of safety concerns, and also prevented members of the public from trying to rescue him themselves.
They claimed an officer only entered the water after Jack had disappeared from view for around 10 minutes.
Fiona Okonkwo, 42, was walking her dog near the canal when the bleeding and “terrified” teenager ran past her pursued by up to nine police officers shouting for him to stop, before he jumped into the canal.
She told the Standard: “It looked like he couldn’t swim, he was bobbing up and down gasping for air for about 10 minutes. He was kicking his legs but was coughing and spluttering. He was gurgling as if he couldn’t get his words out.
Toxteth riots still put some black people off working in the police and politics, says Liverpool councillor
Nathalie Nicholas said some black residents remain sceptical about authority because of the history of tensions with the police.
By Tom Belger 29 July, 2015
Memories of the Toxteth riots still put some black residents off entering the police and politics, according to a Liverpool councillor.
Nathalie Nicholas, Labour councillor for Picton ward, said black people remain under-represented in positions of authority, but praised some recent progress.
The councillor’s comments come as the family of murdered teenager Anthony Walker prepare to mark 10 years since the Huyton schoolboy was killed in a racially motivated attack on July 30 2005.
Tensions between the police and African-Caribbean residents sparked eight days of rioting in Toxteth in July 1981, with CS gas used on the British mainland for the first time.
Cllr Nicholas said: “Unfortunately some black people who lived through the riots have bad memories and are still sceptical. There’s still lots willing to do something in the community, but not to go into authority.
“People say the racism and the glass ceiling is still there - that once you get to the top, they’ll pull you down.
“The black community is underrepresented in positions of power across the city - we’re trying, but I don’t think we’re getting it right. There are only four black councillors.
“But some people I know have made it when they’ve gone for it - as school governors, and in politics. Anthony Walker’s sister Dominique is a real role model for young black women by working in the police.”
She praised the growing diversity among senior staff at Liverpool council, with two BME directors making the city the most ethnically diverse of the core cities, according to recent research.
Nathalie, a nurse at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, only became a councillor herself in 2012 after a friend encouraged her to sign up to a councillor-shadowing scheme run by charity, Operation Black Vote.
| Commander Lucy D'Orsi responds to canal death reports
Following the death of Jack Susianta, who drowned in the River Lea, the Met's Commander for East London, Lucy D'Orsi, said.
by Met Police Official Site 31 July 2015
“Today's headlines concerning the tragic story of Jack Susianta who drowned in the River Lea offers a clear picture of a complex situation. Or does it?
"Our thoughts are with Jack’s family - it is hard to comprehend the pain they must be feeling after losing a loved one so young. It's also a traumatic event for the people on the river bank who witnessed the events unfold and the police officers involved in the incident. The call was not to investigate a crime but to help someone in distress. Reflecting on this point reminded me that policing is not all about crime. In fact over 60 per cent of what we are called to deal with in London is not crime. I, like my colleagues, joined policing to help people and that's often the bit that is forgotton when people debate police activity.
"The Daily Mirror's front page headline this morning, Friday 31 July, offers a definite conclusion - Police Refuse To Save Drowning Boy. No quotation marks, nothing to reflect our statement last night, Thursday, 30 July, that officers first tried to use a life aid and throw lines to him before an officer, who then needed assistance himself, entered dangerous water to try and save Jack’s life. Met divers also entered the water in a rescue operation to try and save Jack. I saw no mention of this.
"When police have been involved in an incident where someone has died we must refer ourselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission so they can look at the circumstances of what has happened. We have done this and this means that the detail and context around what exactly happened and the actions that were taken may take time to come out. Often when this happens the story is no longer front page news. It is only fair to Jack’s family and all those concerned in this case that we do not try to pre-empt the investigation by providing more detail than the brief description of events offered in yesterday's statement. This feels frustrating but right.
Ride-by saviour on wheels
A new life-saving device will be used by police in Blackpool town centre in a first for the resort.
by The Gazette Date: 17/JUL/2015
Neighbourhood policing officers have taken delivery of a new defibrillator, which they will take out on patrol.
PCSO Ryan White spends most of his shifts on his bike, which means he is often the first to the scene of an emergency as vehicles can struggle to get through crowds of shoppers.
The extra seconds could save lives as every passing minute reduces a cardiac arrest patients chances of survival by between seven and 10 per cent.
He said: “We do have incidents in the town centre where people are in medical need and we are the ones who are there first – we’re on the front line.
“We have had incidents where a defibrillator is needed. On a bike I can get to something faster than a car can through the town centre.”
The device was supplied by Garstang-based charity the ADAM Appeal.
It supplies defibrillators to community groups and schools as part of its efforts to save lives and raise awareness of cardiac problems.
PCSO White said there a relatively few defibrillators in the town centre and most are in shops, meaning they cannot be used outside normal trading hours.
The charity is training officers to use the defibrillator, which will be taken out on a specially adapted bike.
The bike and waterproof casing for the device – worth around £150 – have been given to police free of charge by The Bike Shop, on Red Bank Road, Bispham.
PCSO White said there have previously been problems getting hold of a defibrillator when one has been needed in the town centre.
M A N C H E S T E R
Fancy a tenner for 15 seconds work? Police at Piccadilly paying volunteers to star in video ID clips
Get paid £10 for just sitting there for a few minutes.
"Easiest tenner I’ve ever made. It will pay for a few beers tonight," said one volunteer whose face will now be used in identification parades for witnesses of crimes
Police say they may be unable to record volunteers with facial tattoos or unusual skin conditions.
by Katie Butler Date: 28/JUL/2015
Do you fancy making a quick tenner, just for having your picture taken?
Police are offering the cash in return for your images which will be used in future identification line ups.
The booth is located in Piccadilly train station and volunteers are recorded in a short 15 second clip – all you have to do is move their head left to right.
Age and nationality are the only pieces of information taken by staff at the booth.
It proved extremely popular this afternoon with several men arguing over who would go in next.
One man who used the booth, but didn’t want to be named, said: “I get paid £10 for just sitting there for a few minutes.
"Easiest tenner I’ve ever made. It will pay for a few beers tonight.”
The recording unit will be there from 10.30am until 4.30pm every day this week.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police, which is managing the project called VIPER (Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording), explained how the clips will be used.
He said: “A video identification parade is a short film shown to a witness as part of a police investigation into an incident.”
But people lining up outside the booth asked the obvious – what happens if a volunteers’ image is picked out in a parade?
The spokesman added: “If a volunteer’s image is picked out, then the parade is simply recorded as a ‘negative’ identification’ as the witness has failed to identify the suspect.”
Why walking into jail fills many prison service colleagues with dread
Cuts and staff shortages have put prison governors under immense strain. The new justice secretary Michael Gove has to reduce prisoner numbers.
By Mark Icke 21 Jul, 2015
Over the last 12 months or so, just walking into a prison fills many of my colleagues with anxiety and dread. The majority of prison officers and governors are dedicated, conscientious, professionals who offer the public real value for money but the pressure over the last four years has put significant strain on operational stability.
Critical staff shortages due to the inability to recruit (cheaper) replacements for the large numbers of prison officers who took voluntary early departure over the last four years means we have reluctantly had to introduce restricted regimes for inmates in many prisons. So it is unsurprising that last week’s annual report by Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, concluded that prisons were at their worst level for 10 years.
We have a prison population which is bigger, serving longer sentences, more prone to violence, and increasingly driven by gang affiliations. Use of legal highs, which we cannot yet test for, have destabilised the system further.
Our biggest problems are the rise in self-inflicted deaths in custody, more serious assaults and hostage taking and prisoners barricading themselves in. It is a problem facing the whole prison system, not just older public sector jails.
Many governors and senior staff are working even longer hours, balancing competing risks around safety, decency and security. They have performed heroically in coping with such a fast pace of reform. What’s needed now is understanding and support, not criticism and more pressure.
The new justice secretary, Michael Gove, has a very different vision for prisons from his predecessor. In a speech last week, he said he liked the idea of earned early release for prisoners, greater autonomy for the best-performing prisons, such as that enjoyed by academy schools and foundation trust hospitals, and using the proceeds of selling off Victorian prisons to build better-designed jails whose architecture would favour rehabilitation and learning and where drug-taking would be easier to control.
If Gove really wants to make a difference, he should abolish sentences of under 12 months: community punishments are much more effective. Scrapping these sentences would free up vital space and would also allow prison resources to focus more on preventing recidivism, by improving skills, tackling addiction and treating ill health.
Why make more sweeping changes, when we haven’t yet implemented the previous reforms? The coalition government promised not to privatise prisons and instead started giving jails a pot of money based on prisoner and staff numbers. The early signs were that it was working well. We worry that Gove’s proposals for more autonomy could introduce payment by results and too much competition into prisons.
We are not opposed to modernising the prison estate but hope that – like at newly built Wrexham – the public sector will continue to run them and that Gove won’t use rebuilding as an excuse to privatise.
It is vital that we do not face more structural reforms or further budget cuts. The only scope for further, significant savings in the short to medium term is to reduce the prison population, protecting the investment in rehabilitation and to potentially increase it.
We cannot go on thinking we can imprison our way to a safer society. Not only is it poor value for money, it also fails to recognise that there are better and more cost-effective ways to protect the public and reduce reoffending.
Heated exchanges at PCSO meeting with West Midlands Police Chief Constable as cuts announced
Tensions run high as PCSOs told of plans to "significantly reduce" their numbers by 2020 at higher rate than regular officers
By Nick McCarthy 28 July, 2015
Heated exchanges were made as West Midlands Chief Constable Chris Simms met with Police Community Support Officers this morning (July 28) to discuss plans to “significantly reduce” their numbers.
Insiders have told the Mail that there emotions were high as Mr Sims told a room packed full of PCSOs at Tally Ho police training centre in Edgbaston that their numbers had to be cut more quickly than regular officers and other support staff in a bid to “protect critical areas of policing”.
The Chief Constable did not give the number of PCSOs that would be lost, but in a statement he said that their numbers will be considerably lower by 2020.
“We haven’t finalised our eventual numbers of PCSOs, but it is clear there will need to a significant reduction in the numbers between now and 2020,” he said.
“We will be working hard to ensure this is managed in a way that does not diminish the delivery of a policing style that is firmly connected to the communities we serve.
“I know many PCSOs are highly valued by the public and colleagues.
“We will, as we have with all our staff, do all we can to find other roles for them in the force and will be looking at how we can ensure they are able to apply for police officer posts as part of our current recruitment drive.”
Unison has warned that the “devastating cuts” – £130 million over the next five years – could signal “the end of neighbourhood policing”, adding that “the only people that will welcome these cuts are the criminals”.
Ravi Subramanian, West Midlands Regional Secretary of Unison, said: “This announcement is devastating news.
“PCSO’s work on the front line of policing and can be seen walking the streets, talking to individuals and protecting the public on a daily basis.
“It is clear that the only people who are going to be applauding this announcement are the criminals.”
Senior Birmingham Councillor Waseem Zaffar, who previously chaired the Community Safety Scrutiny Committee, has urged the Chief Constable to reconsider cutting PCSOs.
The Lozells and East Handsworth Labour councillor described the six PCSOs in his ward as “amazing” and added that neighbourhood policing would be “non-existent” without them.
He said: “These cuts would have detrimental impacts in many of our communities.
“PCSO’s are integral to neighbourhoods and I can honestly say, the six amazing PCSO’s in Lozells and East Handsworth Ward, are pinnacle to community relations.
“Without the PCSO’s, police-community relations, which have historically been a huge issue in places such as Lozells and Handsworth, would suffer. Neighbourhood policing is virtually non-existent with cuts to PCSO’s.
“West Midlands Police have a difficult challenge balancing the books with the ridiculously unfair budget package provided by this Government.
“However, I would strongly urge the Chief Constable to rethink the plans.”
Councillor Andy Cartwright (Lab, Longbridge) also said he was appalled by the plans.
The youth worker, said: “I’m appalled and outraged, by these cuts. We’ve recently had a stabbing and the bullying attack near here in Northfield.
“We have two town centres, Longbridge and Northfield just a few hundred yards apart and we need that visible policing.”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Neighbourhood policing is key to our relationships with communities.
“However, in the face of growing pressure on our services, the force will have to look and feel different to respond to crime in the future.
“I support the professional and thorough approach the Chief Constable is taking.”
Shadow Policing Minister and Erdington Labour MP Jack Dromey plans to lead a delegation of West Midlands MPs about the cuts and has now called for an urgent meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May
He said: “The Government is failing in its first duty to protect the safety and security of our citizens.
“Neighbourhood policing is the bedrock of policing and the public will be rightly concerned as the police become ever more remote from their streets and their communities.”
Let children delete embarrassing photos from web
: Ministers back ex-Facebook boss's call for 'iRights'
By Gerri Peev 28 July, 2015
Youngsters should have the automatic right to demand the deletion of pictures and information held about them online, ministers will say today.
They will back proposals for a string of internet ‘rights’ for the under-18s to prevent them being embarrassed later on in life.
Indiscreet pictures or texts can blight job prospects, university offers or school places. However, even if potentially compromising content is deleted from a post, it can still turn up on search engines such as Google or on other websites.
The policy is being backed by Baroness Joanna Shields – the former managing director of Google in Europe and one-time Facebook boss, who was appointed a life peer by David Cameron last year.
The ‘rights’ that businesses and groups are being urged to sign up to include giving every youngster the right to ‘easily edit or delete all content they have created’. The move comes as the European Union also prepares to allow adults to demand any online images or text posted by them when they were under 18 be taken down.
Under the UK plan, websites will be encouraged to have ‘delete’ buttons that young people will be able to use to request information about them be removed.
They will also be urged to introduce expiry dates for data relating to the under-18s – or not collect information about them at all.
Campaigners will also call for social media sites or computer games that can be played online to let youngsters set expiry limits themselves.
The potential new ‘iRights’ are outlined in a report and follow research which found youngsters fear that online games and social networks dominate their time to an unhealthy extent. Under-18s also had deep concerns that the policies of websites and apps which claim to delete their data are not comprehensive enough.
Budget Cuts mean forces across the country are moving away from usual offences
Have police given up on cannabis offences?
Top police officer says it’s ‘never been a priority’.
By Oli McAteer 29 July, 2015
Top police officer Sara Thornton, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said budget cuts mean forces across the country are moving away from usual offences. She said: ‘Crime is changing in this country. There are a lot fewer burglaries than there used to be and a lot less car crime.
‘The sorts of crimes that are on the increase, sexual offences, concerns about terrorism, cyber crime, that’s where we really need to focus.
‘We need to move from reacting to those traditional crimes to thinking about focusing on threat and harm and risk and really protecting the public.’
Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Ms Thornton said that if someone reported cannabis growing, officers would ‘record it’.
Asked if they would investigate, she replied: ‘That might depend on the circumstances. What we need to do is respond in proportion to the nature of the offence.’
She added: ‘It has never been a top priority to go looking for cannabis in people’s houses. It is however against the law.
‘If somebody was caught they would be dealt with at the very lower end of the scale. What we are most concerned about is organised crime, those growing cannabis on an industrial scale.’
The comments came after she said burglary victims may not always be visited at home as police prioritise other crimes in the wake of budget cuts
| Don’t expect us to show up to burglaries, police chief warns |
The public should no longer expect the police to routinely turn up to reports of burglaries, one of the country’s most senior officers indicated yesterday.
By Fiona Hamilton 29 July, 2015
Sara Thornton, often described as David Cameron’s favourite police officer after serving as chief constable in his constituency, said that traditional offences such as criminal damage and antisocial behaviour would also no longer be treated as a priority.
| Army numbers already below planned cut backs |
A failure to recruit sufficient numbers of regular recruits has led to a shortfall in the number of serving British Army personnel.
By Tony Bonnici 29 July, 2015
Latest Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures show that the number of full-time servicemen and women is 300 under the 82,000 target set for 2018. In all there were 81,700 trained servicemen and women in the army as of June, down from 102,260 in 2010.
| Neath PCSO Stephen Lewis cycling on holiday dies following crash |
A police community support officer from south Wales has died following a crash while cycling on a family holiday.
By BBC NEWS 21 July, 2015
Stephen Lewis, 41, was involved in a collision with a Skoda Citigo near Ilfracombe, north Devon, on Monday.
Emergency services were called to Ridge Hill at Combe Martin around 07:30 BST.
Mr Lewis, described as a "great ambassador" for South Wales Police, suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at North Devon District Hospital. Another rider, a 43-year-old man, cycling with Mr Lewis was treated for minor injuries, while the female driver of the car was not hurt.
Police's rural day event proves to be a hit with visitors
KNUTSFORD Police held a successful rural day in Mobberley earlier this month.
By James Wilson 21 July, 2015
Organised by PCSO Sophie Emmerson the day was held at the scout field in the village
In addition to Cheshire Police a number of other local organisations also supported the event, including Cheshire Fire Service, Environment Agency, RSPCA, the ARK vets, Loch Fyne, local farmers, The Institute of Advanced Motorists and many more.
PCSO Emmerson said: "The day was a success, people travelled from all over to come which was nice to see. We had so much support from all the local businesses in and around Knutsford, people taking part and donating such amazing raffle prizes.
"I felt proud to be the event organizer and come up with the idea for this event."
The event raised £305 in total from refreshments, raffle and the name the van competition.
All the money will be donated to the Knutsford District Explorer Scouts who have been raising funds to send 14 to 18 year olds to Japan and Norway in 2015.
PCSO Emmerson added: "The winning name for Knutsford police van is ‘Larry’, selected by our police officers.
"The winner Teddy Billinge, four, from Northwich, will be receiving a tour around one of the police stations and has formally named our van for us ‘so watch out criminals, Larry’s about’."
More than 17,000 frontline officers have been axed since 2010
Top cop warns public: 'We may not attend your house if you are burgled'
Sara Thornton said forces up and down the country are stretched because of budget cuts and the changing nature of crime
By Anthony Bond 28 July, 2015
A top police officer today warned that officers may not attend burglaries in the future.
Sara Thornton, who is the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said forces up and down the country are stretched because of budget cuts and the changing nature of crime.
Speaking to the BBC, she said “it could be” that police would not visit a victim's home if they had an iPad stolen.
She said: "Crime is changing in this country.
"There are a lot less burglaries than there used to be, a lot less car crime, but the sorts of crimes that are on the increase - sexual offences, concerns about terrorism, cyber crime - that's where we really need to focus.
"We need to move from reacting to some of those traditional crimes to think about focusing on threat and harm and risk and protecting the public."
Last week, Britain’s senior officer on child exploitation said every force is pulling detectives off “traditional” crime-fighting after child abuse cases soared 80% in three years.
MPs have been privately warned that investigating reports of abuse will cost the police £1billion this year.
Chief Con Simon Bailey, the national policing lead on child protection, did not confirm or deny the figure but said: “It is having a significant impact on resources.
“I am moving detectives out of traditional investigation teams into vulnerability and child protection teams. We’re all doing it. I don’t think there’s a chief constable who is not realigning resources to meet demand.”
Reports of sex attacks have soared following cases including Jimmy Savile , Max Clifford and the Rotherham abuse scandal.
Mr Bailey, Chief Con of Norfolk Police, said officers will investigate a record 70,000 cases this year with an anticipated 30,000 more reports after the Goddard Inquiry into historical child abuse gets under way.
The workload is a strain on police forces that have endured five years of budget cuts.
More than 17,000 frontline officers have been axed since 2010 and Chancellor George Osborne is considering another 40% cut in Home Office funding this autumn.
| Poorly schoolboy enjoys trip out in police car|
A BRAVE schoolboy with an extremely rare brain condition has been given the best birthday present ever — a trip out in a police car.
By Jeremy Culley 23 Jul, 2015
Brayden Cosgrove was born with lissencephaly — a condition which gives sufferers a life expectancy of just 10 years — and loves everything to do with the police force.
So, for his seventh birthday, PCSO Neil Wogan arranged for PC Aimee Abram and PCSO Derek Thomas to pick him up from his Farnworth home in a patrol car.
Brayden's mum Gemma Greenhow said: "He has always loved the police. Neil started off just popping in to see Brayden as I think he took quite a shine to him. I just think it's absolutely brilliant on their part. They did not have to do all this. I can't thank them enough."
Appeal for North East volunteers to help grieving families at inquests
A new Coroners' Court Support Service is to be launched in Newcastle, with a hope it can help people through the inquest process
By Michael Brown 27 Jul, 2015
Volunteers could soon be helping families and witnesses through the coroner’s courts - and speeding up inquests in the North East.
A new Coroners’ Courts Support Service is to be launched in Newcastle.
It aims to make the whole process less intimidating and distressing for families who have lost loved ones and witnesses called to give evidence.
“Coroners courts are in the main a very unfamiliar environment for people,” said Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks.
“And it’s fair to say that the coroners’ court is very different from other courts and it’s very rare that people would have any experience of them.
“Most people’s experience of courts is TV and that’s mostly inaccurate, so they are thrust into a process they know nothing about.
“Historically there has been no provision other than really the coroners officers to give any support.
“But now this group of volunteers are going to provide that.”
The national initiative is slowly rolling out across the country, with similar schemes in their early stages in Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Durham and Darlington.
Ms Dilks said the new service would help to take some of the pressure off coroners officers, and could mean less time during hearings having to explain the process, hopefully speeding up hearings.
But Coroners’ Court Support Service coordinator Samantha Catt warned the role may not be for all, given the emotional strain it could put people under.
“It’s not for everyone, as you’d be supporting people through what can be a harrowing process,” she said.
Training and support would be provided, however, for anyone who thinks they have what it takes.
True picture of Northumbria Police workload revealed as Vera Baird hits out at budget cuts
Vera Baird writes to local politicians to draw a line in the sand over challenges faced by force as funding continues to fall.
By Sophie Doughty 26 Jul, 2015
More than 140 arrests, 500 emergency calls, and 21 missing people - these are just some of the challenges faced by Tyneside police officers every day.
The difficult and sometimes dangerous workload of Northumbria Police bobbies are today laid bare in a bid to stop budget cuts.
The force’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has written to local politicians with the stark warning that our officers cannot cope with any further reductions in funding.
And in a bid to get the point across she has included details of the demanding workload her dwindling workforce face on a daily basis.
She says, on an average day, Northumbria Police:
- make 142 arrests
- deal with 212 anti-social behaviour incidents and 81 domestic abuse incidents
- receive more than 520 emergency calls and more than 910 non-emergency calls
- respond to 21 missing person reports, on average, 20 of which are classified as medium risk, and each taking an average of 18-hours police time
Mrs Baird’s letter comes after it was revealed that Northumbria Police has already suffered the largest central Government grant reduction of all forces in England and Wales, resulting in a drop in officer numbers of 16% since 2010 to address the cuts.
The commissioner says the Government has implied forces can cope with ongoing funding reductions as crime continues to fall.
However, she wants to stress that this is not the case and her force are already stretched.
And in a bid to get the point across she has produced a diagram which will be sent to MPs and council leaders to illustrate a typical day within the force.
“I have put together this graphic representation to show MPs and council leaders the incoming and ongoing demands placed on Northumbria Police on a daily basis,” she said.
“This makes it very clear it’s simply not correct for the Government to imply that as long as crime declines there is less demand on police, and forces can continue to suffer serious cuts.”
Mrs Baird also argues that crime is not falling and her officers are now being called on to deal with range new and serious types of offences.
“It’s wrong to say crime is reducing,” she continued. “While the most recent Crime Survey for England shows this, the survey omits sexual offences, people trafficking, honour crimes, FGM (female genital mutilation), cyber-crime, fraud and shoplifting - offences the force is seeing an increased level of reports on.
“Tackling these types of crimes is more prevalent now than ever and because of this, forces need to be directed to public protection and are having to police differently.
“Officers are now involved in managing high risk offenders, safeguarding children and protecting vulnerable victims when looking into these crimes which are intensive and take up a lot more police time.”
And she said officers also spend a lot of time protecting vulnerable people and preventing people from becoming victims of crime in the first place.
“In addition, police officers manage daily around 715 high risk domestic abuse victims and work with partners through Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements dealing with around 1,853 sexual and violent offenders,” she said.
“Hard-to-report crimes such as domestic violence and rape are seeing an upturn as the force works with support organisations and partners to give the any help needed.
“It’s also worth noting that only 12% of calls to Northumbria Police are about crime. The rest are in relation to missing persons, anti-social behaviour and traffic congestion amongst many other subjects. None of these public concerns are reducing in number and take up many officer hours.
“Government cuts to local authorities also mean a loss of community safety staff putting a greater burden on officers for issues they might not normally be informed about.”
Mrs Baird has vowed that her force will continue to strive to keep the communities of Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, but warned expectations had to be managed.
First arrest made following Facewatch launch
It was launched this week for Hereford and Malvern.
Information can be shared instantly; for example, night club owners and staff can share images and details with other licensed premises of customers with bans trying to gain entry to a certain club.
Police sergeant Duncan Reynolds of the Hereford city safer neighbourhood team said the first arrest was made on Tuesday, June 30 with information received from Facewatch.
He said a suspected thief, who had been shared on Facewatch, was recognised in Marks and Spencer. This was reported to Sgt Reynolds over the CCTV radio and the suspect was arrested- they received a police caution after admitting the offence.
This is the first such arrest across the West Mercia and Warwickshire policing alliance.
The website is expected to save numerous hours of officer time that would be spent visiting premises, securing and processing CCTV images.
Chief inspector of the Hereford safer neighbourhood team, Nick Semper, said: "Facewatch is a key way of linking up various members of Hereford and Malvern's business communities and empowering them through the sharing of information. "Dialogue between businesses and the police is crucial to preventing crime and protecting people from harm."
Dan Guerche, manager of Play nightclub and chair of Hereford Against Night-time Disorder said Facewatch makes it easier for fellow club owners and door staff to keep known trouble makers out of the city's establishments.