Bungling police involved in triple murder inquest couldn't be named - to protect their human rights Michael Atherton, murderer By Eleanor Harding PUBLISHED:00:17, 5 March 2013| UPDATED:08:57, 5 March 2013
A coroner banned the naming of bungling firearms officers in a triple murder inquest to protect their human rights. Damien Cobain, a firearms inquiry officer

In the latest secret justice farce, officers who wrongly allowed Michael Atherton to own guns were given anonymity to respect their ‘right to privacy’.

Police lawyers said their clients were worried about ‘the way in which they were talked about’ and feared ‘media pointing the finger’

The ban was overturned following an appeal by the Daily Mail and it soon emerged that one of the officers dealing with Atherton, 42, had been selling on confiscated firearms while serving with the police.

It is the latest in a long line of orders banning journalists from reporting on the courts, which are supposed to be open to the public

The order was made by Coroner Andrew Tweddle during the inquest into the death of Atherton, who killed himself, and three victims.

The taxi driver, who legally owned six guns, opened fire at his home in Horden, near Peterlee in County Durham, on January 1 last year. He killed his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and Alison’s daughter Tanya Turnbull, 24, before turning the gun on himself. He also wounded his step-daughter Laura McGoldrick, 19, as she fled.

The inquest in Crook, County Durham, heard Atherton had successfully applied for a licence for a shotgun in 2006 and five further guns in 2008.

Officers in the firearms licensing unit at Durham Constabulary knew he had a history of domestic violence and self-harm but decided to grant his application.

One of them was Damien Cobain, a firearms inquiry officer was later convicted of selling guns.

In his evidence, Cobain said he had never seen guidance by the Home Office or the Association of Chief Police Officers on the issuing of gun certificates.

Although he found Atherton had not disclosed his history of domestic violence he recommended that his application be accepted. Mr Tweddle describe the force’s procedures as ‘ad hoc ’.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the shootings found that Atherton’s applications had not been properly scrutinised by Durham Police.

Six officers were to be made anonymous by Mr Tweddle.

The order to hide their names was made under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights despite there being no legal precedent for it in the UK courts

What a way to treat a heroine: Royal Navy girl who fought in Afghanistan told to cover up uniform on Virgin flight in case it offended other passengers

By Ian Drury PUBLISHED:22:59, 8 March 2013| UPDATED:01:23, 9 March 2013
For 15 years she has proudly served her country as a Royal Navy engineer, risking her life in Afghanistan when she fought against the Taliban.

But far from showing Nicky Howse the respect she deserved as she flew back to her latest posting, Virgin Atlantic staff chose to humiliate her – by demanding that she remove her uniform because it was ‘offensive’.

They warned the 32-year-old helicopter technician she would not be allowed to fly unless she took off her combat fatigues and wore a sleep suit instead

select for full story

She was confronted by a G4S security guard and Virgin Atlantic staff, who ordered her to change into pyjamas before boarding the jet.

They told her – wrongly – that it was the company’s policy not to allow military personnel to travel in uniform.

In emails sent to a civilian friend, Petty Officer Howse, from Ipswich, Suffolk, said: ‘It was horrific. I was made to feel uncomfortable in my own country for wearing the uniform I wear to defend the place. It made me ashamed of my country that a British serviceman can’t travel in uniform. I was so distressed.’

She told her friend: ‘It started at check-in. Some G4S security guy gave me the third degree about travelling in uniform. I was fuming. He was rude, he wouldn’t let the check-in girl give me my passport.

‘I was shaking with rage. I thought it was all done. But when I got to the departure gate I was taken to the side by the flight supervisor and they said I wasn’t allowed to fly in uniform and had to wear a sleep suit. I then stood feeling completely humiliated with other passengers, clearly curious as to what was going on, staring at me, waiting for him to come back with the black pyjamas.

‘I asked if it was Virgin policy, they said “Yes”. I refused to wear it until after I was on board then still refused but basically got told I’d be asked to leave the flight if I didn’t take it off or cover it up.’

She told her friend: ‘I was basically told it was because “We don’t only fly British passengers” and told it was seen as a threat. I went ballistic. I said “In the country I defend I can’t wear my uniform?”

‘They then said it was for my own safety to stop abuse to which I replied I can deal with that myself if it arises as I did in Afghanistan.

‘Honestly, I was gobsmacked and horrified. I was so distressed, particularly since the whole reason I was travelling was for a funeral.

‘To clarify, a British airline who claims to be Britain’s flag carrier won’t allow a member of Britain’s armed forces to travel on their airline in uniform.’ Armed Forces rules state that a serviceman or woman can wear their uniforms voluntarily from their ‘residence to place of duty, irrespective of whether they travel by public or private transport, or on foot.’

Colonel Richard Kemp, who led British forces in Afghanistan, said: ‘This is an insult to the Royal Navy and to the British armed forces who the Queen’s uniform represents.

‘This naval engineer has volunteered to serve and to fight for her country. How dare Virgin Atlantic and G4S treat her like dirt?’

Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former infantry officer, said: ‘Our soldiers, sailors and airmen risk their lives so that firms like Virgin Atlantic can operate and make money.

‘It is nothing short of disgraceful that they don’t receive the proper respect due to their uniform.’

A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said it did not have a policy against passengers travelling in uniform. He added: ‘This was a completely isolated case in which our staff were incorrectly advised by a security agent’

We have made contact with the passenger in question to express our deep regret for any upset caused.’

G4S declined to comment, claiming it had not received a complaint.

Drunk banker led police on a terrifying chase with his children in the car. His punishment? A £2,600 fine select for full story

By Paul Bentley 8 March 2013
A banking boss was fined just £2,640 after he risked the lives of his two young children in a high-speed police chase while three times over the drink-drive limit.

Scott Jarvis, head of HR and business banking at Barclays, escaped with the paltry fine – equivalent to about a week’s wages – because magistrates said his long hours meant he would struggle to do community service.

Isobel, six, and George, three, were in the back of their father’s BMW as, drunk on six cans of premium-strength lager, he swerved uncontrollably across the M1 late on a Saturday afternoon last month.

The 35-year-old high-flier, who earns a six-figure salary at the bank, admitted putting their lives at risk.

He was caught after police received a 999 call to report his erratic driving.

At first he refused to stop, careering away along the hard shoulder, but eventually he gave up. He parked his car at a dangerous angle on the side of the road, with its rear pointing out on to the motorway.

Jarvis has since been banned from seeing the children by his estranged wife, Lucy.

Appearing in court this week he admitted a charge of driving with excess alcohol and had his licence taken away for two years.

He was fined £2,640 – just over a week’s worth of his salary – after magistrates ‘made an exception’. He is believed to earn £125,000 a year.

They were told he worked 70 hours a week and was often busy at weekends, so would find it difficult to do community service, the usual sentence for such a crime.

Leicester magistrates’ court heard that Jarvis suffered from depression, and had been drinking ‘with intensity’ since he split from his wife of ten years last summer

YOU there, Prime Minister? A few questions.
THE SUN 7 MAR 2013
A very senior policeman has been arrested by detectives on suspicion not of taking bribes but of simply talking — yes, TALKING — to a journalist.
But hold on. This isn’t China or Russia or Zimbabwe. This is Britain.

If you are running the country, Mr Cameron — and we have to assume you still are — was this on your instructions?

We’re not suggesting you personally gave orders to the arresting officers.

But the police take their cue from the Government. You are in charge of the Government. Has this outrage got your fingerprints on it?

The arrest of Frank Armstrong, former deputy chief constable of the City of London police, is sinister and chilling. Mr Armstrong has recently been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal after a fine career.

He also wrote an important report about security failures at Prince William’s 21st birthday party.

There is no suggestion this dedicated public servant has ever unlawfully taken a penny.

Yet merely for allegedly passing information, he is carted off at dawn like a common criminal.

The buck stops with Cameron. He is in ultimate charge of the Home Office, which is in charge of the police.

He is also boss of the Government’s law officers who advise police and prosecutors.

Cameron either supports this arrest or deplores it. If he supports it, he isn’t fit to be Prime Minister.

If he deplores it, let him say so today. Either way, the public is entitled to know what the Prime Minister thinks.

Let us repeat: This is Britain, not a police state or tinpot dictatorship.

select for full story

By Stephen Wright and Arthur Martin PUBLISHED:23:36, 5 March 2013| UPDATED:00:47, 6 March 2013
A former deputy chief constable who wrote a scathing report about a breach of security at Prince William’s 21st birthday party was yesterday arrested over alleged leaks to a journalist.

Frank Armstrong, 52, until recently the £130,000-a-year second in charge of City of London Police, is the first chief officer to be arrested as a result of inquiries arising from Scotland Yard’s Operation Elveden – which was set up to investigate allegations of bribes paid to police officers and other public officials.

Last night the police watchdog, whose investigators arrested Armstrong on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, stressed that ‘at this stage’, no money is alleged to have changed hands between him and the reporter.

His arrest at his home in South-West London at 7am yesterday came just two months after he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service and followed an illustrious career which included a spell as head of Tony Blair’s Special Branch protection team. His arrest comes just weeks after another respected senior officer, Met Chief Superintendent Andy Rowell, was arrested over alleged disclosures of confidential information to the media

He, too, is not suspected of receiving any payment from the media. Rowell’s arrest coincided with Home Office plans to adopt many recommendations regarding contact between the Press and police set out in the Leveson Report. Such a move would significantly weaken a journalist’s ability to resist police requests for confidential information on sources.

So far 108 people, including more than 70 journalists, have been arrested in relation to three linked inquiries launched by Scotland Yard in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. As well as the Operation Weeting inquiry into phone-hacking and Operation Elveden, a third investigation, Operation Tuleta, is looking into computer hacking and other privacy breaches.

Armstrong’s most recent job as Assistant Commissioner of City of London Police – equivalent in rank to a deputy chief constable – included responsibility for counter-terrorism and saw him oversee several highly sensitive fraud investigations

'Disgraceful' Serco falsified GP out-of-hours figures
A FTSE-100 company that provides out-of-hours GP care for the NHS faked records hundreds of times to mask serious short-staffing, a damning report by the National Audit Office has found.
By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent 6:00AM GMT 07 Mar 2013
Employees at Serco, a multinational that made a £302 million profit last year, falsified records to make it seem 100 per cent of emergency patients in Cornwall were getting a face-to-face appointment in an hour. In fact, a quarter were having to wait longer.

Between January and June last year, staff made 252 “unauthorised changes to performance data”, found the NAO report, resulting in seven instances where the company’s out-of-hours performance was “overstated”.

The details only came to light thanks to whistleblowers, who the NAO concluded had come forward despite being “fearful of raising concerns”.

On Wednesday night, MPs described the cover-up as “disgraceful” and said the affair raised serious concerns that “cost-cutting” private firms were putting patients at risk for the sake of profit.

The report found Serco “regularly had insufficient staff to fill all clinical shifts”, and “frequently redeployed” GPs, taking them out of cars for home visits to cover “clinic shifts instead”.

Cornwall, a large county with 532,000 people, takes two hours to drive from end to end. Yet on some occasions just one GP was on duty.

The NAO said NHS managers should in future use all available data to “review and challenge Serco’s performance” and, if found to be failing “ultimately terminate the contract”.

They should also discuss whether to specify “minimum staffing levels for a safe service”, recommended the report.

Margaret Hodge MP, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said Serco had “fallen unacceptably short of essential standards of quality and safety”.

She said: “Although no evidence suggests that patients have received unsafe care, it is shocking that there were not enough people on the job.”

She found it “disgraceful and “astonishing” that Serco had “fiddled the figures 252 times".

“In one instance, Serco falsely claimed that 100 per cent of emergency callers received an face-to-face appointment within 60 minutes when in reality it was only 75 per cent, falling short of the performance stated”, she said.

Met rape unit encouraged woman to drop case against murderer
26 Feb 2013 BBC NEWS
A police officer at a sex crime unit encouraged a woman to drop a rape claim against a man who went on to murder his two children, a report has said.

Jean Say killed his son and daughter two years ago.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Southwark Sapphire unit in south London "encouraged" victims to withdraw allegations to boost detection rates.

The Metropolitan Police said substantial changes had been made.

The rape allegation against Say was dismissed by a detective sergeant based at Southwark, who said the circumstances did not constitute rape because the woman "consented".

The report by the IPCC said: "There is no doubt from the evidence that the woman made an allegation of rape at Walworth police station which should have been believed and thoroughly investigated."

The IPCC said the Southwark Sapphire squad's approach of "failing to believe victims" was "wholly inappropriate". It also said it was "under-performing and over-stretched".

Deputy chairwoman of the IPCC Deborah Glass said: "There's no doubt this was an incredibly serious, shocking incident.

"We know with all the cases that we've dealt with that the consequences of not dealing with allegations of rape can be extremely serious.

The IPCC has carried out five previous inquiries into Southwark Sapphire command and it is the police watchdog's ninth investigation into the Met's response to victims of sexual violence.

Officers promoted
Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said three Metropolitan officers who had been facing possible dismissal over a previous bungled investigation into the serial sex offender Kirk Reid, were still with the force.

Two of them, a superintendent and a detective inspector, have been promoted.

A detective sergeant is facing disciplinary proceedings for alleged gross misconduct in connection with the allegations.

In another case, Det Con Ryan Coleman-Farrow, who was based in Southwark, was jailed for 16 months in October last year for failing to investigate rape and sexual assault claims.

A second officer, based in Islington, north London, is still under criminal investigation.

In total 19 officers from across London have been disciplined, including three who have been sacked.

A Met Police spokesman said: "We have for some time acknowledged that previous investigation of rape and serious sexual assault in the MPS was below standard.

The Norwegian prison where inmates are treated like people
On Bastoy prison island in Norway, the prisoners, some of whom are murderers and rapists, live in conditions that critics brand 'cushy' and 'luxurious'. Yet it has by far the lowest reoffending rate in Europe
select for full story Erwin James The Guardian, Monday 25 February 2013
The first clue that things are done very differently on Bastoy prison island, which lies a couple of miles off the coast in the Oslo fjord, 46 miles south-east of Norway's capital, comes shortly after I board the prison ferry. I'm taken aback slightly when the ferry operative who welcomed me aboard just minutes earlier, and with whom I'm exchanging small talk about the weather, suddenly reveals he is a serving prisoner – doing 14 years for drug smuggling. He notes my surprise, smiles, and takes off a thick glove before offering me his hand. "I'm Petter," he says.

Before he transferred to Bastoy, Petter was in a high-security prison for nearly eight years. "Here, they give us trust and responsibility," he says. "They treat us like grownups." I haven't come here particularly to draw comparisons, but it's impossible not to consider how politicians and the popular media would react to a similar scenario in Britain.

There are big differences between the two countries, of course. Norway has a population of slightly less than five million, a 12th of the UK's. It has fewer than 4,000 prisoners; there are around 84,000 in the UK. But what really sets us apart is the Norwegian attitude towards prisoners. Four years ago I was invited into Skien maximum security prison, 20 miles north of Oslo. I had heard stories about Norway's liberal attitude. In fact, Skien is a concrete fortress as daunting as any prison I have ever experienced and houses some of the most serious law-breakers in the country. Recently it was the temporary residence of Anders Breivik, the man who massacred 77 people in July 2011.

Despite the seriousness of their crimes, however, I found that the loss of liberty was all the punishment they suffered. Cells had televisions, computers, integral showers and sanitation. Some prisoners were segregated for various reasons, but as the majority served their time – anything up to the 21-year maximum sentence (Norway has no death penalty or life sentence) – they were offered education, training and skill-building programmes. Instead of wings and landings they lived in small "pod" communities within the prison, limiting the spread of the corrosive criminal prison subculture that dominates traditionally designed prisons. The teacher explained that all prisons in Norway worked on the same principle, which he believed was the reason the country had, at less than 30%, the lowest reoffending figures in Europe and less than half the rate in the UK.

As the ferry powers through the freezing early-morning fog, Petter tells me he is appealing against his conviction. If it fails he will be on Bastoy until his release date in two years' time. I ask him what life is like on the island. "You'll see," he says. "It's like living in a village, a community. Everybody has to work. But we have free time so we can do some fishing, or in summer we can swim off the beach. We know we are prisoners but here we feel like people."

I wasn't sure what to expect on Bastoy. A number of wide-eyed commentators before me have variously described conditions under which the island's 115 prisoners live as "cushy", "luxurious" and, the old chestnut, "like a holiday camp". I'm sceptical of such media reports.

VACANCY: ‘money transfer agent’
Students warned on money laundering scam
Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of being lured into illegal money laundering activities that could lead to a ten-year prison sentence.
By Jessica Winch 12:45PM GMT 26 Feb 2013
Figures from Financial Fraud Action UK, which tackles fraud on behalf of banks, show that around 15pc of British adults receive scam job offers which effectively turn participants into ‘money mules’.

The study said that low-income groups such as students and jobseekers were specifically targeted.

DCI Dave Carter from the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), a fraud unit sponsored by the banking industry, said: “What might initially seem an attractive method of boosting your income during tough times is in reality the work of determined international criminals, aiming to turn the public into an unwitting army of accomplices to fraud.”

The fraudsters offer jobs with titles such as ‘money transfer agent’ or ‘payment processing agent’.

The participant receives money into their bank account and transfers it to another account, keeping a cut for themselves.

According to Financial Fraud Action, the money – often the result of fraud on other accounts – is then laundered to overseas bank accounts.

People who become involved could have their bank accounts frozen and if prosecuted face a prison sentence of up to ten years.

Financial Fraud Action commissioned ICM to survey 2,000 adults in November last year along with separate work with groups of unemployed adults, students and people who have lived in the UK for less than five years.

Of the 15pc who had received these job offers, a fifth considered accepting and 6pc went on to volunteer.

Extrapolating nationally from the survey, Financial Fraud Action estimated that 380,000 people were at risk of becoming unwitting money launderers.

The figures were larger among students and new entrants to the UK, with 19pc and 20pc respectively accepting the work.

Crimestoppers has recently launched a campaign in universities across the UK to warn students not to get involved in money laundering.

Sadie Miller, development manager for Crimestoppers, said: "Money laundering is a serious offence and Crimestoppers has launched this money mules campaign in universities across the UK to make students and members of the public aware of these prowling fraudsters.

One in ten drivers aged over 70 'are not fit to be on the road' while a third of those who stop do so too soon
One in ten elderly drivers deemed too dangerous for the roads
This year another 50,000 'dangerous' motorists will continue to drive after 70
By Ray Massey PUBLISHED:01:06, 26 February 2013| UPDATED:01:43, 26 February 2013
One in ten motorists aged 70 and over are not fit to drive and should give up their cars, a study revealed yesterday.

select for full story But a third of those who voluntarily stop driving are probably still safe to be on the roads, it was claimed.

The investigation, carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory for the RAC Foundation, was sparked by a spate of crashes involving elderly motorists, prompting calls for a better assessment of older licence-holders’ driving.

By law, motorists must declare whether or not they are fit to continue driving at the age of 70 and then every three years.

There is no formal medical or driving test for them.

Experts say that around 50,000 of the estimated 500,000 motorists turning 70 this year will continue driving with poor levels of ability.

Up to 170,000 are expected to stop driving too early.

There are currently 3.9 million driving licence holders in the UK aged 70 or over.

But this number is set to increase dramatically.

The Government has predicted that of the UK citizens alive today, around ten million will reach their 100th birthday, they say.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation said: ‘This study puts the spotlight on older drivers and the wrong decisions they are probably making about whether or not they are fit to drive.

‘Each year hundreds of thousands of drivers could be making the wrong decision about their ability to drive because they lack the tools or advice to adequately assess their skills behind the wheel.’

The new RAC/TRL report called ‘Driving Choices for the Older Motorist ‘analyses data from several countries and finds that self-assessment tools can give older drivers useful feedback about their skills, but they cannot replace the professional assessment of driving abilities.

Professor Glaister stressed that the RAC Foundation does not support compulsory retesting at a certain age: ‘This presumes that on reaching a particular birthday people’s physical and mental capacities change radically. ‘

The great lie of our times: The Left wail about 'ruthless' cuts. But the reason Britain's credit rating was downgraded is that government spending hasn't fallen by a penny
By Alex Brummer PUBLISHED:23:23, 25 February 2013| UPDATED:00:37, 26 February 2013
Ever since George Osborne became Chancellor nearly three years ago, it has been the received wisdom, thanks to shroud-waving unions and the Left-wing establishment, that he and his Treasury team have imposed ‘ruthless’ cuts on the state sector.

The constant cry from Labour, the public sector unions, local authorities and many commentators is that the cold-hearted Coalition is engaged in a ‘slash and burn’ policy that will end in the wholesale destruction of the welfare state.

It is a cynically dishonest analysis which aims to make us believe that the reason Britain is suffering a painful period of austerity is because of the draconian effect of ‘cuts’ to welfare payments, the NHS and all manner of public services, from libraries to the arts

The truth is that this is utter nonsense. In fact, Britain’s monstrously swollen state still devours almost half the nation’s output.

Total state spending and borrowing has not been cut in absolute terms at all. Indeed, the burden of debt, the accumulated amount of borrowing made by governments down the years, is rising relentlessly.

It was an understanding of this stark truth that led to Britain losing its AAA credit rating last week. The world’s market monitors finally lost patience with our inability to control our borrowing and lack of economic growth.

As the credit analysts at Moody’s point out, Britain’s burden of debt will keep rising until 2016, when it is expected to reach a staggering peak of 96 per cent of GDP of total output

The fundamental truth remains that most areas of state spending — particularly welfare payments and social security — are still growing uncontrollably.

This may not be apparent when you hear the deafening chorus clamouring for the Government to change course and to protect welfare payments at a time of rising unemployment. But the fact is, the total cost of unemployment payments should be shrinking.

It is true that traditional economic theory teaches us that welfare payments automatically rise during a recession because of the increase in the numbers of people laid off or who can’t find work.

But in Britain’s case now, in stark contrast to countries such as Spain and Italy, the rate of unemployment has actually been falling for almost a year. A remarkable 580,000 new jobs have been created, mostly in the private sector.

Yet the problem for Britain — a deeply worrying one — is that welfare bills and borrowing levels are still rising.

A recent analysis by the fiercely independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) explains why. To be fair, the Government has tried to cut public spending. Indeed, every new economic initiative that the Treasury has come up with since problems in the public finances first became apparent in March 2008 (including numerous rises in taxation) was devised to reduce state borrowing. READ MORE

Thug who punched bank manager four times in the face breaking his nose is let off with a caution because he said he was SORRY to police
Ryan Gough was punched by an unnamed biker for 'cutting him up'
But Leicestershire Police said a caution was the most appropriate action
By Helen Lawson PUBLISHED:16:48, 24 February 2013| UPDATED:10:08, 26 February 2013 A thug who broke a bank manager's nose in an unprovoked assault has been let off with a caution - because he said sorry.

Ryan Gough, 41, was punched in the face four times outside his girlfriend's home in the road rage attack last Saturday afternoon.

select for full story The unnamed biker knocked on Mr Gough's car window as he was parking at the house in Asfordby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire - and punched him for 'cutting him up'.

The 40-year-old suspect was caught minutes later by police but Mr Gough learned this week that his attacker had been let off because he had apologised for his actions.

Mr Gough, from Tile Cross, Birmingham, has now complained to Leicestershire Police.

Today he said: 'This was an unprovoked attack on another citizen and it should have been treated as an assault.

'This is just living proof that overworked police, with their overflowing in-trays and prisons which are too full, have their hands tied

'Sending someone to court is so costly that you can walk away scot-free after breaking someone's nose.'

Mr Gough, who runs a branch of Barclay's in Sheldon, West Midlands, had been visiting his girlfriend's family, who live in two houses on the same street in the village.

He had moved his car from outside one house to the other at 4.15pm when his attacker knocked on his window.

He said: 'I wound the window down and he shouted that I had cut him up.

'I had seen him in my mirror when I was driving, but he was nowhere near me.

'He had his helmet on, and some sort of protective biker gear. He then punched me in the face.

'I got out of the car and went to hold him, but I was restrained by people. So I went straight into the house and dialled 999.

'I was totally defenceless because I was sitting in the car, strapped in by my seat belt.

'My girlfriend and her family were extremely traumatised by the incident.

'The paramedics told me I had got a fractured nose. There was blood everywhere

Sapphire sex crime unit guilty of 'shocking' failings
26 Feb 2013, Channel 4
The Met Police's specialist sex crimes unit failed to pursue rape allegations properly and promoted officers who should have been investigated for gross misconduct, the police watchdog finds
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the Met's Sapphire team pressured a woman to drop an accusation of rape made against a man who later murdered his children.

select for full story A detective sergeant based at the unit in Southwark, south London, dismissed the allegation against Jean Say and he remained at large.

He went on to stab his son and daughter to death while they were staying with him for the weekend in 2011.

The case sparked a wider report by the commission into the sex crimes unit - the fifth time investigators were called in to look at the conduct of Sapphire officers.

Today's report concluded: "There is no doubt from the evidence that the woman made an allegation of rape at Walworth police station which should have been believed and thoroughly investigated."

Deputy chairwoman of the IPCC Deborah Glass said: "There's no doubt this was an incredibly serious, shocking incident. We know with all the cases that we've dealt with that the consequences of not dealing with allegations of rape can be extremely serious.

"This is yet another tragic illustration of that."

The report found that the unit was "underperforming and overstretched" during the period in question.

There's no doubt this was an incredibly serious, shocking incident. Deborah Glass

Victims were pressured into retracting allegations to boost the team's detection rates, with women questioned repeatedly by different officers in a breach of standard procedure.

Ms Glass said: "The approach of failing to believe victims in the first instance was wholly inappropriate. The pressure to meet targets as a measure of success, rather than focusing on the outcome for the victim, resulted in the police losing sight of what policing is about - protecting the public and deterring and detecting crime."

Officers promoted after calls for misconduct probe

In a separate case, the Met was also criticised for failing to hold gross misconduct proceedings against three officers accused of failings in the investigation of serial rapist Kirk Reid.

Ms Glass said it was "enormously frustrating" that action had not been taken.

The police watchdog had recommended gross misconduct hearings should take place involving the three officers but two have since been promoted

THE mother of a 13-year-old girl killed during a police chase says her life is “destroyed” and the “river of tears” will not stop flowing.
19 Feb 2013 By Sarah Trotter
Wictoria Karolina Was was travelling with her family when a driver being pursued by cops through New Cross crashed into the back of their VW Polo on January 6 around 6.30pm.

The "beautiful" and "lovable" dancer was in the back of the car and tragically died from her injuries at the scene near a set of traffic lights - which were bent to 45 degrees - in Ilderton Road.

Devon Newell, aged 33, yesterday admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court.

Uninsured Newell, of no fixed abode, who was wanted by Sussex Police in relation to GBH on a woman, fled the scene after the crash but was caught by police shortly afterwards.

He also pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving with no insurance and driving with no licence.

Schoolgirl Wictoria, who lived in Broxbourne, Enfield, was travelling with her mother Anna Uroda, her four-year-old brother and father who were all taken to hospital.

London's congestion charge is now TEN YEARS OLD
Andrew Neather 14 Feb 2013
select for full story It was supposed to be a disaster. According to this paper, the Tube would be “swamped”, house values faced a “huge slump”, teacher recruitment would be “devastated” and even RSPCA rescues would be disrupted by the congestion charge, 10 years old this weekend.

In fact, charging began with few hitches. The capital quickly got used to the idea — helped by the fact that only a tiny minority of those who commute into central London are crazy enough to do so by car. The scheme’s success is borne out by new figures from the 2011 census showing that 62,000 fewer Londoners are commuting by car or van today than in 2001, despite our city’s population soaring by 850,000.

But while the gridlock would doubtless be worse without the charge, congestion has climbed back towards pre-charge levels. The charge was a bold first move, but Ken Livingstone’s next step, the zone’s western extension into Kensington, was abolished by Boris Johnson in 2010 to placate the Chelsea tractor drivers. At last year’s election, Livingstone didn’t even suggest resurrecting it.

Hailed around the world a decade ago, the C-charge today looks at best like only a very partial solution.

Doubtless with an eye on the anniversary, Johnson yesterday announced his big plan for the zone: to clean up its air. It’s about time — London’s air is some of Europe’s dirtiest, with higher levels of nitrogen dioxide than any other European capital, comparable to Beijing. Indeed central London suffered its second smog episode so far this year the day before the Mayor’s speech.

Johnson promises that the C-charge zone will become an “ultra-low emissions zone”, with almost all vehicles giving out low or no emissions — from 2020. So while it took less than three years for Livingstone to plan and implement the C-charge, it will take Johnson seven to examine the feasibility of cleaning up the zone’s air — by which time he will most likely long have left City Hall.

There are positive aspects to the plan, such as 600 new hybrid, low-emission London buses. But Johnson simply needs to go much further, faster. The GLA’s own estimate is that more than 4,200 Londoners a year die as a result of air pollution; it causes almost one in three new cases of childhood asthma.

It’s also frustrating that the Mayor yesterday abandoned some of the pollution controls that had been due to start in 2015 as part of the existing, wider Low Emission Zone. He is exempting lorries and buses other than TfL’s own from controls aimed at reducing nitrogen dioxide emissions. Never mind that filters can slash those emissions — or that we are already risking huge European fines by missing NO2 targets by perhaps a decade