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Mob of 30 schoolchildren ambush and beat up two Met police officers in Lewisham

police officer beaten to the ground and his colleague punched in the jaw in a terrifying attack by a mob of up to 30 schoolchildren in south London, Scotland Yard revealed today.
By Justin Davenport   24 November, 2016
The two officers were on routine patrol in Lewisham when they were set upon by the group of teenagers after they spotted a youth trying to hide a large knife.

The attack took place at 4pm on Wednesday November 9 on Goodwood Road near the junction with New Cross Road but the Met only released details of the incident today.

After trying to search the suspect seen with the knife, one of the officers was punched in the face several times by some of the other youths, causing him to fall to the ground.

When the second officer stepped in to help her colleague she was punched in the jaw.

Police say the group continued to assault the officer on the floor by repeatedly kicking him in the head, leaving him with serious bruising.

select for full details Church treasurer tried to confess to police after stealing £32k but was turned away twice
church treasurer who gambled away £32,000 of his congregation's funds tried twice to give himself up to the police and confess but was sent away, a court heard.
By Telegraph reporter   21 November, 2016
On both occasions when David Peach-Miles went to Gloucester police station to hand himself in he was told to leave his details and an officer would contact him, his solicitor claimed.

Father-of-three Peach-Miles, 37, of Newent, Glos, admitted defrauding Ruardean Parochial Church Council in the Forest of Dean of £32,120 between March 2015 and February this year.

He was jailed for 16 months. The court heard that the Rector of St John the Baptist Church, Ruardean, and his congregation had been devastated when they realised the money had all gone on online betting.

After the hearing the Rector, Rev Nick Bromfield, said: "The taking of more than £32,000 has affected all aspects of church life and has greatly shocked and saddened the congregation and the wider community. "The money taken was generously given by local families over many decades, in legacies and faithful weekly giving. Many people have been left feeling betrayed and devastated by what has happened.

"I feel heartbroken that a person we trusted and welcomed into the church family, has abused this trust and responsibility, in this way.

"Breaking the news of this loss was one of the hardest things I have had to do. It will take us years to recover our financial position.

"I will continue to pray for David as we put this awful episode behind us and start to look forward, so we can all begin a new chapter."

Prosecutor Katy Flint said Peach-Miles, who had ambitions to become a priest, took over as treasurer in March last year. He was not a signatory of the church's cheque books but he had full access to its current and savings accounts on line.

He started plundering the funds within weeks of becoming treasurer – withdrawing £2,000 on April 13, 2015. He described the withdrawals as being for loan payments or flowers.

"There were numerous withdrawals over a 10-month period," said the prosecutor. "The payments all went into an account held in the name of his wife.

"The deficit in the church accounts was only discovered when a number of payments did not clear due to insufficient funds.

"The previous treasurer was called in to make enquiries in February this year. Peach-Miles was confronted by the Rector and immediately admitted he had taken the money and it was to fund a gambling habit.

select for full details top judge urges tougher community service as alternative to prison
Lord chief justice says he hopes ‘problem-solving courts’ scheme is expanded and warns of shortage of high court judges.
By Owen Bowcott   22 November, 2016
Fewer criminals should be jailed and tougher community punishments developed as an alternative to imprisonment, the lord chief justice has urged.

Appearing before MPs on the justice select committee on Monday, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd also warned there was a shortage of high court judges partially because of cuts in their pension rights and that up to 40 would need to be recruited by over the next few years.

The most senior judge in England and Wales welcomed the introduction of US-style “problem-solving courts”, whereby offenders are brought back regularly to have their sentences and progress reviewed by a judge after conviction.

Thomas said there had been a “pause in the government’s thinking” but hoped the scheme would be expanded. “There’s an awful lot we can do to avoid sending certain people to prison provided that the orders are properly carried out by the probation and rehabilitation companies,” he said.

“The prison population is very, very high at the moment. Whether it will continue to rise is always difficult to tell. There are worries that it will. I don’t know whether we can dispense with more [offenders] by really tough, and I do mean tough, community penalties. So I would like to see that done first.”

His comments come as jails in England and Wales endure a turbulent period. This month thousands of prison officers staged a walkout amid claims the system was “in meltdown” after a rise in violence and self-harm incidents in jails. There are more than 85,000 people in prison in England and Wales.

Thomas said the latest survey of morale among the judiciary showed serious concerns, reflecting resentment over cuts in the value of judges’ pensions and changes to their working practices.

An employment tribunal is hearing a claim by more than 200 judges who allege that they have been the subject of discrimination because newly appointed judges have been given less generous pension provision.

The lord chief justice said that on recruitment, judges take a “huge salary cut” from their work as barristers in private practice. High court judges are paid about £180,000 a year.

select for full details PCSO commended for community cohesion work
A Police Community Support Officer from Manchester has been commended by the Chief Constable.
By Asian Image   14 November, 2016
Ahmed Farooqi, who works as a PCSO in Didsbury, Manchester was first recognised at the Forces internal STARS awards on Friday 14th October 2016, winning the prestigious Karin Mulligan award for Diversity in Action.

He then received a Chief’s Commendation at a ceremony.

Ahmed 45, originally from India, received both awards for his work while assisting St Edmunds Church food bank in Whalley Range, establishing a multi faith council and giving presentations to the senior Indian community about hate crime.

During the France bombing incident Ahmed brought the Multi-Faith council which consist of all Imams Priest Temple leaders from Hindu and Sikh Communities and he also did an event in solidarity.

Mr Farooqi represented the South Manchester Area in the We Stand Together campaign which was run by Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd and Chief Inspector Umer Khan.

PCSO Farooqi said: “I am proud to serve as a PCSO to a multicultural, diverse community which is made up of both beautiful old Victorian churches to still very active Mosques.

“Receiving the award felt like all the work I did with the community had been recognised - I didn’t feel that I got the award personally, I feel that I am the recipient of the award on behalf of the whole Whalley Range community.”

GMP’s Chief Constable gives out commendations throughout the year, recognising members of the public and officers for an impressive contribution to their community.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, said: “Effective policing is only achieved through community cohesion, something that Ahmed works extremely hard to achieve.

Greater Manchester has wonderfully diverse communities and its people like PCSO Farooqi who show just what can be achieved when we all come together.

"It’s right that we recognise his work both internally and alongside members of the public – thank you for your service Ahmed.”

select for full details Prison officer has his EAR bitten off by mentally unstable inmate
Guard was head-butted, twice, punched and then had his ear bitten off.
By Rachael Burford   24 November, 2016
Prisoner was moved because he was attacking officers in Pentonville.

The officer was rushed to hospital after the assault at 10am yesterday morning.

A source told the Mail the prisoner was moved to the west London penitentiary after a number of attacks on guards at Pentonville prison.

They added: 'The prisoner is clearly mentally unstable and should not be held in a prison. 'He was moved here because he was attacking officers in Pentonville. This is happening far too often.' The 31-year-old inmate allegedly refused to take his medication before assaulting the officer.

The guard was taken to hospital and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. The attack comes just days after the Prison Officers Association, led by National Chairman Mike Rolfe, held resumed talks with the Prison Service about health and safety in British jails.

Mr Rolfe said: 'Once again we have an officer assaulted by an inmate who is clearly unstable and should not be in a prison. 'He should be in a mental hospital. He was moved to the Scrubs because he carried out a number of assaults on staff at Pentonville'.

He added : 'This was a very nasty attack on an officer. Head-butted twice, punched, and then had his ear bitten off. It is outrageous what is happening to staff in prisons throughout the country. Something has got to be done. And soon.' In May this year staff at Wormwood Scrubs staged a walk out over safety fears.

The protest was a result of health and safety concerns after a report published by the HM Inspectorate described the facility as 'overwhelmed' and 'rat-infested'. According to top-secret security reports seen by The Mail on Sunday, a staggering 125 serious incidents took place in prisons in a single week in November. These included riots, hostage-taking, fights, escapes and drug-smuggling. In the report jail chiefs detailed that week’s most high-profile events, included 300 inmates rioting at Bedford jail, causing £1 million of damage, and two prisoners escaping from Pentonville and going on the run.

Skipton PCSO bids farewell to town
SKIPTON primary school children have bid a fond farewell to one of the town's police community support officers.
By Lesley Tate 25 Nov, 2016
Sarah Hargraves has been a regular at Water Street Primary School for the last eight years, offering advice to children on matters such as road safety and use of the internet.

She has also organised class visits to the station, including tours of the cells,which have now closed.

Jenny Macnab, deputy headteacher, said Sarah had always been a friendly and welcoming face.

"Sarah has been a real asset to our school, over the last eight years the children have enjoyed her visits to us. We wanted to say a proper good bye in our assembly and to present her with a card made by the children."

Officer Hargreaves left Skipton this week to take up a position in the North Yorkshire Police based in Harrogate.

select for full details Far-right terrorist Thomas Mair jailed for life for Jo Cox murder
Unemployed gardener, 53, given whole-life sentence for murder of MP that judge said was inspired by white supremacism
By Ian Cobain   23 November, 2016
An extreme rightwing terrorist has been sentenced to prison for the rest of his life for the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox after a seven-day Old Bailey trial in which he made no effort to defend himself.

Thomas Mair repeatedly shot and stabbed Cox in an attack during the EU referendum campaign in June. While attacking her he was saying: “This is for Britain”, “keep Britain independent”, and “Britain first”, the court heard. The judge said Mair would have to serve a whole-life sentence due to the “exceptional seriousness” of the offence: a murder committed to advance a cause associated with Nazism.

Mr Justice Wilkie refused Mair’s request to address the court, saying he had already had opportunities to explain himself, and had not done so.

Cox, the judge told Mair, was not only a “passionate, open-hearted, inclusive and generous” person, but a true patriot. He, on the other hand “affected to be a patriot”.

“It is evident from your internet searches that your inspiration is not love of country or your fellow citizens, it is an admiration for Nazis and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds,” Wilkie said. “Our parents’ generation made huge sacrifices to defeat those ideas and values in the second world war. What you did … betrays those sacrifices.”

Mair had “betrayed the quintessence of our country, its adherence to parliamentary democracy”. By not having the courage to admit his crime, the judge added, he had forced the prosecution to prove their case in detail, which “no doubt deliberately”had increased the anguish of his victim’s family. Mair struck on 16 June after Cox got out of a car in Birstall, a small market town in West Yorkshire that was part of her Batley and Spen constituency. He shot her twice in the head and once in the chest with a sawn-off .22 hunting rifle before stabbing her 15 times.

The MP died shortly afterwards in the back of an ambulance, despite emergency surgery. She was 41, and the mother of two children, then aged five and three.

PCSO Liz receives award
A NEWQUAY PCSO has been awarded for her innovative work within the local community
By Warren Wilkins 16 Nov, 2016
Liz Whitehall, who covers the town centre and Pentire areas, was nominated for a Margaret Damer Dawson (MDD) award for her work in the community. At an awards ceremony last week, Liz received the MDD Focus Award for Service in Community Engagement.

Insp Dave Meredith said: “Liz is exceptionally community focused and her work with all elements of the town’s diverse community has made a real difference to the town centre. She is dedicated to the welfare and support of vulnerable persons and has been involved in the running of Newquay Homeless Action Group, Newquay Soup Kitchen, Newquay Woman’s Group and Newquay Disability Group. “Liz is also committed to supporting the policing of the town’s evening and night-time economy and is robust and confident in dealing with alcohol-related disorder in the town centre and regularly confiscates alcohol from street drinkers.” Liz regularly supports patrol officers in dealing with alcohol-related crime and disorder issues.

Inspector Meredith added: “Liz is passionate and committed to her role. She has earned a great deal of credibility and respect from both fellow officers and the wider community in Newquay. There are few residents or businesses in her beat area that do not know and respect ‘PCSO Liz’.

select for full details UK prison anarchy exposed as shocking 19-day investigation reveals
30 guards attacked by lags, hostage taking, legal highs and £1million of damage in HMP Bedford riot
By Jack Royston   19 November, 2016
The UK's jails have become little more than a war-zone as the level of rioting, violence and drug-abuse reaches tipping point.

THE anarchy in UK prisons has been laid bare through a shocking 19-day snapshot of life behind bars.

Figures obtained by The Sun on Sunday show 400 incidents in that time, including 30 assaults by lags on prison officers. There were also 96 “lag-on-lag” attacks — and 15 deaths in custody.

The figures were gathered from just 20 of the 199 jails in England and Wales, meaning they potentially represent just the tip of the iceberg.

In the same statistics, it emerged that 12 smuggling operations involving drones were reported by officers.

The gadgets have fuelled a surge of contraband flowing into jails. Bizarre items confiscated include sex toys, Kinder eggs containing drugs and children’s drawings soaked in illicit substances.

Officers at a jail in the North East found cannabis in the carcass of a rabbit on perimeter fencing.

The internal figures, compiled by the Ministry of Justice, also show 13 mobile phones discovered. And under-pressure staff dealt with 162 incidents involving inmates threatening to jump from prison wings. Meanwhile, there were five fires in cells and 16 incidents of “concerted indiscipline”.

These include the riot at Bedford prison, where 300 inmates ran amok causing £1million damage, and the rampage at Lewes prison in East Sussex, where lags took over a wing, leaving a £50,000 repair bill.

Other stats show 16 incidents of prisoners self-harming and 14 cases of hostage-taking.

There were also 13 lags absconding or escaping, including two prisoners who recently went on the run from Pentonville in North London.

The figures from the 20 prisons cover the period between October 24 and November 11.

They come just days after 1,000 prison officers staged a walkout across England and Wales.

select for full details Junior PCSOs patrol dangerous school parking in Penketh
DRIVERS be warned – a team of pupils have been patrolling a school drop off zone in Penketh and they are not afraid to confront grown ups about the dangers of bad parking.
By Chloe Laversuch   2 November, 2016
Year five students at St Joseph’s Primary on Walton Avenue have been tackling parking issues alongside PCSO Carl Beck and the council’s travel advisor, Lesley Paterson.

PCSO Beck, who does frequent parking patrols at St Joseph’s, chatted with children about the importance of staying safe at the school gates.

The junior PCSO scheme has so far been a great success at other schools across the town and Cllr Hans Mundry, executive board member for transport, said: “The scheme raises awareness among the parents that they need to park safely and considerately and it’s very enjoyable for the children.”

Why I would like to become a Junior PCSO?

Alana : I want to become a Junior PCSO because it sounds interesting and I’ve always wanted to help others and do my bit for the community. As I’ve wanted to be a doctor for quite a while now I think becoming a Junior PCSO would help me understand more about keeping the world a safer and better place, also it sounds super fun and it would be an honour to be part of this.

Alfie : I would like to become a Junior PCSO mainly because I have already decided that I want to be a police officer when I am older. I’d really like to be a dog handler. I would like to try and help prevent crime and assist in enforcing the law. I would like to make Bournemouth a more peaceful place and help the community. If I were to be a Junior PCSO it would be a good insight into what it takes to be a police officer and hopefully help prove to myself that is what I want to do when I leave education.

Ayush : It is an opportunity to learn how to serve the community, establish links within the local community and support the local citizens. This training will help to gain some experience. Also I would like to help people and be a kind and helpful person to the older generation. Furthermore, I like to keep the environment around me and anywhere clean and tidy.

Emilio : The reason I want to join the PCSOs is because I want to learn about safety and help people, so when I’m older I can be safe and help other people. I think it is very interesting learning about how they solve crimes and make the world a better place. I hope you will consider me as a good candidate for this wonderful experience.

select for full details Prison guard warns lags run the jails now as she admits officers have lost control in crisis
Former warder Kelly Smith claims it is only a matter of time before a prison officer is killed on the job
By Patrick Hill   19 November, 2016
An inmate faced up to a prison officer and bragged: “We run the jails now.”

The shocking moment drove it home to former warder Kelly Smith, 33, that she and her ­colleagues had lost control – and Britain’s jails were in crisis. Kelly, who has since left, made the revelation days after 10,000 officers went on strike and MPs were outraged by online shots of lags wolfing steaks, taking drugs and guzzling booze.

Sickened by disgraceful failures of the system, she said: “It is so dangerous now – it is only a matter of time before a prison officer is killed. They are being put at risk every day.”

Kelly feels compelled to speak out about how staff were ­ordered to ignore ­contraband mobiles because there were no ­resources to deal with them.

Drugs including heroin, cocaine and Spice are rife but a jail she worked in had just a single sniffer dog – which it had to share with six other institutions. She said CCTV to stop smuggling had not worked for a decade.

Kelly left the service in July after 15 years. She said: “It’s become ­ridiculous. Prisoners can do what they want. There aren’t enough staff to stop them. They’re running it, not the staff. You press an alarm and there are no staff there to come and help you.

“The service is being cut everywhere and the governors are ignoring what’s going on while the prisons are going to s***. Staff are being pushed to their limit and they can’t cope.”

Over her career Kelly, who worked at Maidstone, Rochester and Cookham Wood jails, witnessed repeated ­cutbacks and growing red tape which made the job increasingly difficult.

She said: “When I first started, it was a career and I was proud to say I worked in the Prison Service . But the other day I spoke to a girl who told me she was thinking of taking a job there. I said, ‘Please don’t!’

“When I was at Rochester I was told to ignore seeing phones. They said to me, ‘You have to just let it slide.’

“Maidstone is rife with drugs, ­especially Spice, and there’s also a problem with heroin and cocaine.

“We used to have enough staff and dogs to keep drugs out but it is easy to get them in now.

“A lot of it gets thrown in over the wall and walking around the prison the smell of drugs is everywhere. Staff know exactly what is going on but they don’t have the resources to stop it.

A police community support officer (PCSO) from Essex has become the first in the county to train to become an On-Call firefighter, alongside her role in the police force.
By Essex TV   12 November, 2016
PCSO Angi Greneski completed her training in September and now provides firefighter support for both Saffron Walden and Halstead.

The exploration of collaborative working between Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) began in 2014, when both services wanted to push boundaries to achieve innovation within the blue light services.

Over two years of careful planning have meant that processes around the dual role arrangement are now clear and benefit both services.

On-Call firefighters must be able to get to their fire station within five minutes of being paged, which is why Angi provides firefighter cover at Saffron Walden during her working hours and Halstead when she is at home.

Although Angi provides 120 hours of On-Call availability a week to ECFRS and is released from Essex Police duties to attend fire calls, her full time employment still rests within her Essex Police contract.

The introduction of the dual role arrangement comes at a time when ECFRS is increasing its number of On-Call firefighters, and this collaboration could help achieve recruitment targets.

Although Angi is the first PCSO to provide joint services in this way, the concept of trading police personnel with fire services has already been taking place through other work, with ECFRS assisting Essex Police on jobs such as missing people searches and entering homes with people collapsed behind doors.

Adam Eckley, Acting Chief Fire Officer, said: “We’re delighted that Angi has become an On-Call firefighter for the Service. This is testament to our commitment to working closer with our emergency service partners to keep our communities safe.

“On-Call firefighters play a vital role, both within Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and within their communities.

“It is a rewarding and challenging role. On-Call firefighters not only attend incidents they also get involved in a wide range of community safety activities including visiting schools and helping people stay safe in their homes by fitting smoke alarms and providing advice as part of our free home safety visit schemes.

Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police, said: “Angi’s determination to use her skills to serve the people of Essex is an inspiration but also demonstrates the steps we’re taking with the fire service to work better together. With parish safety volunteers providing advice to our communities and joint working in schools talking to young people about safety, Angi’s commitment to public service is another example of how we’re working to put the public first.”

select for full details Locking people up indefinitely adds to prison problems
November - Guardian Letters page
By Guardian Letters   21 November, 2016
in your article (High court sends 10,000 prison officers back to work after justice secretary acts, 16 November), the head of the National Offender Management Service, Michael Spurr, was reported as saying that prisoners were not being unlocked, creating a dangerous situation.”

Prisoners not being unlocked is nothing new. In its 2014 report on HMP Isis, to take one example, the prison inspectorate had to recommend that prisoners be able to spend “a reasonable amount of time” out of their cells. Its 2016 report found that this had not been achieved and noted that 40% of prisoners were locked up during the core day (as well as from early evening till the morning) and that the regime had been “punitively restricted for several years”.

The cause is not one day of action by prison officers, but staffing cuts imposed by the coalition government, and the failure of the current administration to address the increasingly dangerous situation across the prison system.
Liz Duthie

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Michael Gove, in his Longford lecture (Report,, 18 November), complained about the state of our prisons caused by lack of funding. Can it be that he has forgotten that he was, until recently, the justice secretary; that he seemed ideally placed to deal with the scandalous conditions in the prisons, including the suicide rate of inmates; and that he deserted his responsibility there in order to join Farage/Johnson bandwagon?

Had he continued with the vital work on the prisons he would still be respected. As it is, he and the three Brexit ministers should be forced to face the impossible task they have set themselves, and the ignominy that awaits them when it is acknowledged that they cannot both have the European cake and eat it.
David Hindmarsh

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Your editorial (Taking control of prisons starts by freeing those held for too long, 18 November) is spot-on. Prisoners not having release dates benefits nobody, causes problems for their eventual rehabilitation into society, and is costing the taxpayer needless expense.

We need to keep up the pressure to stop indefinite detention for immigration purposes too. People are detained without any time limit, more and more are being detained for years. The UK is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a time limit on depriving people of their freedom, and we should be ashamed of this. Detention like this also achieves no purpose, wastes lives, and wastes money.
Suzanne Fletcher
Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees

select for full details Commissioner hails Kent Police frontline presence as 15 freshly-qualified PCSOs take to county streets this week
Police and crime commissioner Matthew Scott also said he intends to increase the range of powers available to such officers
By Tom Pyman   3 November, 2016
Kent’s police and crime commissioner has hailed the force’s success in maintaining a frontline presence in the face of budget cuts as more than a dozen police community support officers (PCSOs) begun working across local district policing teams this week.

Conservative commissioner Matthew Scott, who celebrates six months in the £85,000-a-year role next weekend, joined chief constable Alan Pughsley to watch the 15 new recruits complete their foundation training on October 21.

They became the first batch of new PCSOs to finish the eight-week course since the force began a drive to recruit more officers at the start of the year.

Mr Scott said: “Thanks to sensible forward planning Kent Police is delivering £8.7million of savings this year without any cuts to frontline policing, preserving its number of PCSOs at 300.

“I’ve consistently said that the security of the people of Kent is my priority so it was a pleasure to attend the ceremony at Kent Police College and welcome the PCSOs into the force.

“I want to support them in their work preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and in providing a local reassuring presence within communities.”

Among the new recruits was PCSO Carl Ward who received the Outstanding Student Award for excelling in all aspects of his training and development.

“I was delighted to be able to personally welcome all the new PCSOs into Kent Police,” Mr Pughsley said.

“PCSOs are a vital part of our local district policing model, ensuring local visible community policing is at the heart of everything we do.

“It was wonderful to see the pride on the faces of their family and friends who attended the ceremony. I know they will give the PCSOs all the support they need at home.

“For our part, like all our new recruits, the PCSOs will continue to receive all the training and support they need as they begin what I hope will be l

select for full details Notorious drugs gang who terrorised town and filmed themselves goading police officers as 'scumbags'
14 people connected to the notorious Fernhill Gang were locked up following their campaign of guns and drugs terror in Bootle, Merseyside
By Neil Docking   19 November, 2016
Among them was its feared leader, Kyle Shiels, 26, who led a cocaine and heroin racket along with plots to smuggle illicit substances and mobile phones into HMP Liverpool.

He orchestrated two attempts to flood Walton prison with contraband – the second while calling the shots from his own jail cell - and has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, the Liverpool Echo reported .

Shiels and an accomplice today sat laughing in the dock until Judge Anil Murray passed sentence telling Shiels: “This was an organised and slick operation conducted with ruthless efficiency.

“You are a determined, sophisticated and calculating drug dealer. You have absolutely no regard for the law.”

A family member shouted “how long” and stormed out of court, while Shiels, of no fixed address yelled: “How do you let them get away with this?”

the other man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, blasted “it’s a joke” as he was jailed for 11 years and 10 months.

Mark Ainsworth, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court the pair were “feared by the community” during the 2015 operation.

He said: “Night and day, they and their team of helpers worked tirelessly round the clock dealing Class A drugs locally on the Dodge Estate, from where they came, and throughout South Sefton and north to Southport.

“They used many graft phones, which were the call centre for the business.

"The phones were active 24/7, with batch messages being sent out to their customer database, sometimes hundreds at a time.

select for full details “The orders would then flow in from mobiles, land lines and telephone kiosks.”

The volume of business meant they enlisted drivers to deliver drugs, including cabbie Brian McClelland.

When police seized their cars they used hire vehicles, which clocked up hundreds of miles in just a few days. Mr Ainsworth said: “The gang used intimidatory tactics to try and prevent police officers working the streets from stopping them.

“When police officers did stop the gang, the vehicles would often be seen to initially try and evade the police, allowing the occupants the time and opportunity to internally secrete the drugs.

“Pots of Vaseline were recovered as part of the essential tool of their trade.”

Residents were terrified by the Fernhill “gang culture”, involving violence against rival factions, and reluctant to speak to police.

Judge Anil Murray said: “I’ve seen footage of one such occasion and the actions of those involved were chilling.”

One video filmed by the gang inside a car during an attempted police search shows a yob goad an officer and say: “Do I oblige? You’re just a public servant.”

Another criminal then tells the police: “You little rat. You little f***ing scumbag. F***ing little scumbags they are.” Mr Ainsworth said drug dealer Kevin Roberts abandoned his car when he was attacked and taken to hospital.

He later armed himself with a sawn off shotgun and a self-loading pistol, with shotgun cartridges and Luger rounds.

Terence Nixon was caught with £300 of heroin and crack cocaine in his sock.

Officers recovered £2,000 in a Gucci case and £530 of heroin in the garden of Steven Fletcher’s Netherton “safe house”.

Abbey and Sam Knowles stored cocaine, heroin, cannabis and paracetamol at their Bootle home.

In April 2015, Shiels, Nixon and Kevin Bell tried to smuggle drugs into HMP Liverpool, when vulnerable drug addict David McGrady was bullied into being a “human mule”.

He was to get arrested, with Bell acting as his “appropriate adult” in police interviews, and remanded into prison. Nixon delivered a “sausage-shaped package” – containing £170 of high purity cocaine – to McGrady.

But police raided McGrady’s property, also seizing £600 of heroin.

The next plan, masterminded by inmate Shiels on a mobile phone and assisted by Connor McKevitt, was even more audacious.

Just after 1am on August 7, a prison guard noticed an item “levitating in the air” moving towards G Block, where Shiels was housed.

The alarm was raised and a fishing wire cut, causing a plastic bottle to fall to the ground.

It contained 15 mobile phones, eight SIM cards, 10 chargers and cannabis.

Outside the prison, two bottles containing £4,500 of cannabis and more mobiles were found.

The court heard Shiels, his accomplice, Roberts, McKevitt, Lee, Fletcher and Nixon were all Fernhill Gang members.

PCSO and PCC team up for river patrols in Tideswell to deter poachers
The Police and Crime Commissioner has been teaming up with Safer Neighbourhood officers to help deter poachers from rivers in the Derbyshire Dales.
By Derbyshire Times   27 Oct, 2016
PCSO Ian Phipps and PCC Hardyal Dhindsa joined Chris Thirtle of the Cressbrook and Litton Flyfishers Club to carry out joint patrols of the river routes.

select for full details The team took to the beat on Monday, October 24, to help deter rural crime and offer reassurance to residents living close to the rivers around Millers Dale, Monsal Dale, Litton Mill and Cressbrook.

Force wildlife crime officer, PC Emerson Buckingham, said: “Fish poaching is an issue that affects the whole of Derbyshire at this time and is taken seriously by the Derbyshire Constabulary Wildlife Crime Unit.

“We are working in close partnership with the Environment Agency and a large number of fishing clubs across the county to tackle this issue.

As part of this, we have teamed up with fishing clubs to launch an anti-poaching scheme whereby members can directly report these types of incidents to a wildlife crime police officer such as myself or the Environment Agency.

This scheme has proved very effective since it started running at the beginning of the year.”

PCSO Ian Phipps from the Tideswell, Litton, Baslow and Beeley Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to team up with PCC Hardyal Dhindsa and Chris Thirtle to find out more about the work of the river bailiffs and to deter rural crime such as poaching on our rivers.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa added: “It was really good to see the partnership working between the Safer Neighbourhood team and local organisations who are working together to protect the environment and communities of Derbyshire.

“The fishing clubs and the rivers of Derbyshire are important to the social and economic vibrancy of our county and I was pleased to see PCSO Ian Phipps and Chris Thirtle leading the way in tackling wildlife crime in our rural areas. “I have come away with lots of great ideas and I will be following them up in due course with the neighbourhood team and the local parish councillors.”

the state is being humiliated inside Britain’s prisons
This month in HMP Bedford, inmates took control of several wings and posted their jeering triumph via an illicit phone on YouTube.
By Ian Acheson   18 November, 2016
The next morning, two prisoners escaped from HMP Pentonville. Pictures from inside HMP Guys Marsh yesterday confirm a jail, as reported by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, effectively out of control.

select for full details And this is only the tip of a ghastly iceberg. Rates of suicide, homicide and serious assaults are soaring. The safety crisis inside prisons is acute and threatens us all unless there is decisive action and leadership.

Active leadership was something in noticeably short supply when I led a recent independent review of prison extremism for Michael Gove. We found the National Offender Management Service (Noms), responsible for managing prisons and probation, was an unloved, unlovely bureaucratic monster, dangerously out of touch with its operational heartland on an issue of national security importance. It had an almost paranoid, defensive headquarters culture that elevated many people to senior positions without operational experience of running prisons. It was untroubled by regular scrutiny because the system of prisons inspection, ably led by Peter Clarke, is geared towards individual jails. We encountered so much passivity, evasiveness, political correctness and inertia around the threat posed by Islamist extremism that we coined the phrase "institutional timidity" to describe it. Clearly, Noms has to go. As an arm’s length comfort blanket for ministers, it is wearing dangerously thin. A centralised and ineffectual bureaucracy is at odds with the notion of operational independence for Governors in their prisons. The money saved by axing this expensive managerial indulgence could be spent on badly needed front line operational staff. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons should become a fully-fledged regulator with legal powers to enforce decent minimum standards for prisoners instead of standing by impotently while prison bosses cherry pick from their report recommendations or ignore them entirely.

But the safety crisis in prisons isn’t just a consequence of poor senior leadership at Noms (although you do have to ask what they were doing implementing disastrous austerity cuts to prison staff numbers, surely in the full knowledge of the consequences). There has been a collapse in the vital esprit de corps of the prison service. The decline in status and authority of prison officers is almost as sharp as the drop in numbers.

When I was a prison officer, there were sufficient numbers of experienced staff around me that I learned my "jailcraft" from them, and knew that in the event of an incident, backup would be almost instantaneous. It is impossible to underestimate how important this foundation is for a healthy prison. Without order, control and stability, nothing else hopeful is possible in prisons. I had the time and confidence to speak with prisoners, to understand and respond to their problems and develop a relationship with them which would keep both of us safe and assist with their rehabilitation. I wasn’t watching my back, I was doing my job.

Since then, rampant, often fatuous managerialism has combined with staff cuts to reduce the work of a prison officer to that of a fearful turnkey. It is appalling that prison officers now speak about retreating to "places of safety" inside prisons. It is completely unacceptable that staff have no time to meaningfully engage with prisoners in the interests of "driving out inefficiency". It is outrageous that serious violence against prison staff has become in effect normalised.

The additional recruitment that Liz Truss has announced is a welcome first step. Yet even though we give our prison staff one of the shortest training periods of any service in Western Europe, this will still take far too much time to have an impact even in prioritised prisons. So too will an endless and expensive public enquiry into the state of prisons. Rome is burning now.

thanks PCSO
LAST week I did my Friday Plus One session with PCSO David Jinks; a scheme that allows a councillor to accompany a police officer on a Friday night shift.
By David Williams 3 Nov, 2016
We started by collecting supermarket CCTV evidence of shoplifting, then attended the scene of anti-social behaviour to gather evidence from the resident affected, and supported custody suite officers by recovering essential medication for a detainee. This was a real insight into how a PCSO delivers important support for their colleagues We spent the remainder of the shift patrolling the patch, going to areas where there had been recent reports of incidents and checking out known hotspots for anti-social behaviour.

I am very impressed with David’s knowledge of the issues and people on his patch. It shows that consistency makes a real difference and I hope his successor will be given the time to build up the necessary knowledge of the area. David is a very effective PCSO and we will miss him when he moves in a few weeks. His positive attitude, determination to get things done and support for residents who volunteer to actively help the police has made a real difference. The speed watch in Middlewich is a notable example, with 1,000 letters being sent to speeding drivers and very few getting a second letter.

select for full details Prison officers know how to run jails. Liz Truss needs to listen to us
Just when we need to be heard most, a court has stopped our strike action. For the sake of our ailing prisons, we call on Truss to do better than her predecessors
By Mike Rolfe   18 November, 2016
prisons, whether we like them or not, are an essential public service that have never been a priority when it comes to government spending.

But when there is a long-term squeeze on funding from successive governments who have had no idea about the role prison officers and associated staff perform, there are seriously detrimental effects.

That is why it was absolutely essential this week that prison officers made their concerns known in the most public possible way, by taking protest action to highlight their concerns, laying bare the prison service’s darkest secrets for all to see. The court injunction to end the strike is another sad indictment of the conditions prison officers have to operate within. We have no formal way to pursue our grievances, no way of getting our concerns listened to, and a system that is designed to hide the facts and conceal the truth of the consistent failings in prisons.

It has been a failure of many governments not to invest appropriately in prisons. Attracting, recruiting and retaining the very best talent to work with prisoners in order to turn their lives around should be at the forefront of all considerations. The political merry-go-round of successive justice secretaries looking to make a name for themselves has either quickly made them, or in some instances quickly broken them.

So it is unfortunate that the most recent appointee to the role, Liz Truss, has taken over the helm at a critical stage in the ongoing failure of the prison system, with murder, violence, self-harm, suicide, riots and even escapees a regular occurrence. It is no wonder the public have demanded answers about how such failures have been allowed to happen.

Truss’s predecessors failed to bring about positive reform and predominantly preoccupied themselves with reducing the cost of a broken system, rather than taking the time to stop and listen to the core problems from experienced staff. This has left Truss the unenviable task of mending a system that’s in a state of disarray and deterioration. As she quite rightly says, there are no quick fixes.

A justice minister, however, has a sizeable number of interested parties who will seek to influence direction in the prison estate. For various reasons this can be unhelpful if the messages conflict with one another and do not create a clear picture. That is why it is essential that the running of the prison system is left to the experts in the field: the staff.

Many organisations have strong views on the number of prisoners that are locked up, the care they receive, the education and support needed to turn a prisoner’s life around. But the core role of security, discipline, control and order should never be interfered with by an outsider. Those on the outside may not always agree with how these services are delivered, but for prison officers to achieve them they must be supported in their methods and not demonised.

In recent years, savage budget cuts mean that over 30% of frontline staffing has been removed, and the net effect of this is a loss of control. The Prison Officers’ Association is a responsible trade union, and we have patiently tried to work with the government and our employers to bring about change that not only benefits our members but also improves the lives of prisoners and the general public alike, fostering safer, more viable institutions under increasingly impossible constraints.

Whatever your view of prisons and how prisoners should be treated, recent news stories have shown that none of what you expect to be happening inside is currently achievable. The system will need much more than the promised £100m a year to recruit and retain staff while bringing

select for full details Oldest PCSO in the country from Great Barr calls time Erdington High Street patrols - aged 72
A POPULAR police community support officer (PCSO) who has been at the forefront of tackling crime in Erdington has hung up his hat – at the age of 72.
By Helen Draycott   4 November, 2016
Louis Martindale-Vale, who is originally from Great Barr, has been a familiar face on the High Street for almost a decade, covering up to 20 miles a day during his patrols.

Now the long-serving community cop – who is believed to be the oldest PCSO in the country – has reluctantly called time on being a beat officer.

Having suffered from a leg injury which has restricted his duties over the last few months, Louis will now spend time continuing his recovery. His retirement will also allow more time for him to pursue his hobbies of cycling, mountaineering and playing the guitar.

"I have loved my time with West Midlands Police and this is one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make," Louis said.

"I have met some wonderful people – both within the force and in the community – and they will forever be in my heart.

"I suffered a fractured bone in my leg in the summer – I had some discomfort and it was a few weeks later it was diagnosed. It was put down to general wear and tear due to my active lifestyle and I was told to rest it.

"The reaction I have received as a PCSO has been really humbling and I would like to think I have shown age is no barrier."

Louis began as a Navy recruit at the age of 17 during what has proved to be a varied career.

The former forces boxer joined the Fleet Air Arm and travelled the world as an aircraft engineer. He was also a production manager at Land Rover before becoming a PCSO in Erdington in 2007.

Since then, the dedicated officer has been responsible for launching a retail radio system which creates an immediate link with police and retailers, helping to cut down on crimes such as shoplifting and report suspicious activity. It initially started with four pieces of kit but has now grown to 30 handsets.

select for full details We can no longer ignore the crisis in our prisons
Without urgent action, we are at risk of a mass riot or a terrorist atrocity
By Spectator   19 November, 2016
One of the stated objectives of this week’s brief strike by prison officers was to publicise the dire conditions in many of our jails. In this regard, as in many others, it was a failure.

The strike triggered discussions as to whether it was legal (it wasn’t, the High Court ruled) and questions about how exactly it helped prison safety to abandon the wings to the inmates for the day.

But there is all too little awareness of or concern about the increasingly desperate living conditions of those sentenced to spend time at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Order seems to be breaking down. In the past year there have been 625 serious assaults by prisoners on prison staff — up 30 per cent on the previous year — plus six homicides and 2,197 serious assaults against fellow inmates.

When schools, hospitals and trains deteriorate, we notice because we can see what is happening. All we tend to hear about prisons are dry statistics. Dry, but still shocking. Since 1993 the prison population has almost doubled to 85,000. Given how much crime is committed by a handful of prolific criminals, there is a strong argument for using prison to protect us from the worst offenders. But that should not blind us to the conditions behind prison walls. While the number of inmates has risen, the number of prison officers has plummeted — down by a quarter in the past six years. Violent incidents have more than doubled over the same period.

You don’t have to be a liberal extremist opposed to incarceration to see how wrong this is. If safety is so badly compromised, if about half of adult prisoners are re–convicted within a year of release, then prisons are not working. And it is the poorest members of society who have to put up with recidivist thugs and drug-dealers prowling their neighbourhoods. Those with high fences, burglar alarms and CCTV need not worry as much.

This is a crisis which demands a debate. First, just how many criminals should we be incarcerating — and what results should we demand of prisons? If we do decide as a society that we want so many people in jail, then the costs must be met head-on. Over the past two decades governments of all colours have been increasing sentences to satisfy public demands, yet they have failed to provide for the consequences. That cannot carry on.

Much more, for instance, should be done to educate prisoners and prepare them for employment when they have served their time — including the temporary release to part-time jobs of those in open conditions. That means more investment and, yes, some risk; but the results will be quickly measurable.

Then there are challenges from technology. In April, security cameras caught a drone delivering drugs and mobile phones through an open window at Wandsworth Prison. Inmates now smuggle thumb-sized mobile phones into jail up their backsides. These are freely for sale online under the name ‘Beat the Boss’: Boss being the ‘body orifice security scanner’ designed to detect concealed metal objects.

Synthetic drugs such as ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Spice’ are also on the rise; they are far harder to test for than marijuana and cocaine, a

select for full details Two Shropshire PCSOs become retained firefighters as part of new dual role initiative
A “groundbreaking” initiative to train Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) as firefighters in more rural areas will help keep fire engines “on the run” says Shropshire’s fire chief.
By Shropshire Live   20 Oct, 2016
Shropshire’s first Police Community Support Officers to become on-call firefighters, Andy Neeves and Steve Breese, “passed out” at a ceremony at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury and both will now perform an emergency services dual role.

Andy, 34, who walks and cycles around Oswestry town centre as a PCSO, has already responded to more than 60 emergency fire calls since he started his dual role in March this year.

“Working together like this will benefit both services and save money.

I don’t respond to a fire call if I’m dealing with a police incident but if I am able, then I go.”

A former Superdrug store manager in Shrewsbury, Andy now works for the police for 37 hours and is available on call for fire duties for up to 84 hours a week with firefighting colleagues based at Oswestry Fire Station.

“Training police Community Support Officers as firefighters is a groundbreaking approach and makes a lot of sense,” said Shropshire’s chief fire officer Rod Hammerton.

“It provides the fire and rescue service with firefighters where they are hardest to find and provides local communities with an additional layer of protection.

“It is difficult to attract firefighter recruits in some parts of Shropshire and it is sometimes a struggle to crew fire appliances, especially during weekdays.

This innovative approach will help us tackle that issue,” added the fire chief.

“We are always on the lookout for capable people to become on-call firefighters.

It just so happens that PCSOs hold many of the qualities we look for in a firefighter so I think this initiative is an excellent fit for us and the community,” he said.

select for full details Justice secretary under pressure from Gove to cut prison population
Liz Truss’s predecessor says she should use her powers to release 500 prisoners serving sentences for public protection
By Alan Travis   17 November, 2016
the UK justice secretary, Liz Truss, has come under severe pressure from her predecessor, Michael Gove, and the chief inspector of prisons to take urgent action to cut the prison population.

Gove said her power of “executive clemency” should be used to release 500 prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences who have already served more than the usual maximum sentences for their offences.

Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, in a report on the 3,859 IPP prisoners currently held said Truss needed to take decisive action to reduce the numbers of those still in prison years after the end of their tariff.

Gove’s backing for action on IPP prisoners was made in the 2016 Longford lecture as part of a U-turn on his refusal in office to cut the record 86,000 prison population, which he now says should be reduced over time and pragmatically.

“It is an inconvenient truth – which I swerved to an extent while in office – that we send too many people to prison. And of those who deserve to be in custody, many, but certainly not all, are sent there for too long,” he said.

In particular, the former justice secretary said he had been wrong to fear that reducing the prison population would automatically lead – at least in the short term – to a surge in crime. He pointed to the reduction in the imprisonment of the number of young offenders as being matched by a fall in youth crime as evidence.

Gove’s lecture also contained an oblique attack on the government’s deep cuts to legal aid and a plea to rescue the criminal bar, where many judges train, from professional extinction.

The report by the chief inspector of prisons published on Thursday backed Gove’s demand for urgent action on IPP prisoners. Clarke said it was now widely accepted that implementation of the sentence was flawed and had contributed to the large numbers who remain in prison often many years after the minimum period laid by their trial judge.

“The justice secretary needs to act quickly to ensure the consequences of mistakes made in the past do not continue to resonate for many years to come,” he said. In office, Gove asked the parole board, which takes the release decision on each individual IPP case, to look again at whether they could increase their release rate.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the chief inspector’s report rightly highlighted concerns around the management of IPP prisoners. “That is why we have set up a new unit within the ministry of justice to tackle the backlog and are working with the parole board to improve the efficiency of the process.”

On legal affairs, Gove said the criminal bar was being squeezed to the margins. He said work was being siphoned off to solicitor advocates and by the development of an entirely new class of “plea-only” solicitor advocates who do not profess to have all the skills and competences of a qualified barrister. They were also being squeezed by legal aid payments, which is not just being cut but structured in such a way as to facilitate solicitors’ firms keeping business in-house.

“I fear that, together, alongside some of the changes made to the operation of legal aid, these developments have not worked in the broader public interest,” he said.

select for full details Police shortages ‘leave kids at risk’
VULNERABLE children in Southend “are being put at risk of significant harm” due to a shortage of specialist police officers, the country’s top education inspector has warned.
By Gary Pearson   19 Oct, 2016
Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM Chief Inspector of schools, claims social workers are attending “dangerous” home visits on their own because police are unable to help.

As a result, youngsters stuck in violent and abusive environments cannot escape because workers do not have the powers to remove them.

Sir Michael has written to Sir Thomas Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, to express his “growing concerns”.

Referring to the 42 Ofsted inspections of children’s services carried out earlier this year, Sir Michael singled out Southend, saying specialist officers “were not available to carry out joint visits”.

He said: “This meant that social workers had to carry out potentially dangerous child protection visits on their own.

“As a result, they were unable to immediately remove children from danger as it is only the police who have the necessary powers.”

In July, the Echo revealed the local safeguarding children board required improvement.

An NSPCC spokesman said the situation could lead to children being “violated” as happened in Rotherham and Oxford.

He said: “It is disturbing to hear that police in Southend, as Sir Michael Wilshaw has pointed out, were not available for joint child protection visits with social workers.

“If they’re not present children can be at risk because police have the necessary powers to remove them from danger.

“When a child’s safety is in question, officers cannot afford to be slow to act.”

An Essex Police spokesperson said the Ofsted report said any children who needed to be protected “immediately” are “safe” and that some working practices have changed.

select for full details Virgin is recruiting new staff directly from prisons
Virgin Trains is to hold regular recruitment fairs in prisons after doubling the number of ex-convicts it employs.
By Simon Robb   12 November, 2016
The West Coast mainline operator ran a recruitment fair at Addiewell Prison, West Lothian, this week. And more will be held in other prisons across the UK every three months.

Virgin Trains employed 12 people with convictions in 2014 as part of the contract awarded by the Department for Transport. It now has 27 ex-offenders recruited through the programme.

Virgin Trains has established partnerships with HM Prison Service, the Scottish Prison Service and private prison operators – all of whom work with inmates who are nearing the end of their sentence and need jobs.

Kathryn Wildman said Virgin Trains had incorporated prison jobs fairs into its normal recruitment programme after they proved successful in finding talented candidates. She said: ‘We started this process three years ago with relatively modest ambitions. But we’ve been really pleased with the calibre of candidates we’ve managed to attract through prison recruitment events and our wider ex-offenders programme and so we’ve decided to incorporate these into our regular calendar of recruitment events.

‘This isn’t just about helping society and giving people a chance to turn their lives around. It’s hiring the best people no matter what their background is.’

The train operator has been actively recruiting people with criminal convictions since 2013 when founder Sir Richard Branson challenged Virgin businesses and the wider business community to help reduce re-offending. Scotland’s Justice Secretary Michael Matheson MSP said: ‘We are working with the public sector, including the Scottish Prison Service, and private businesses to make it easier for people with convictions to find employment.