Sunday, December 28, 2008

British police uninterested in car theft

But say anything critical about homosexuality and they will be there like a shot

When Keith Harding found his son's stolen car, he thought he had done all the hard work for the police. He phoned and told them it was parked outside a nearby block of flats, and waited for action. But to his astonishment officers said all they could do was send someone to pick up the car at a cost of 125 pounds. They said they did not have the resources to investigate the case.

Mr Harding, 51, a construction manager, said: `When they told me they couldn't do anything but charge me to tow the car away, I just couldn't believe it. `The officer apologised because he was embarrassed and I was furious. The culprits were probably inside that block of flats and they were going to get away with it.'

The case follows the Daily Mail's revelation earlier this week that officers are routinely failing to investigate crimes reported by the public. Nearly four in every ten offences are `screened out' by officers who claim they have little chance of catching the culprit.

The BMW was stolen on November 21 from the Harding family's home in Rayleigh, Essex, by thieves who broke into the house and took the keys and other items, including a purse belonging to Mr Harding's wife's. The purse was found by a member of the public only ten minutes' drive away, so Mr Harding decided to play detective. He drove around nearby roads until he spotted his son's car in a private car park for a block of flats. Mr Harding immediately called the police, who took an hour to arrive. The officer then called CID to see if a detective was available to investigate how the car ended up parked in the block of flats. But after another hour, CID rang back to say that `no resources' were available.

Mr Harding then drove the car home after a friend dropped off a spare key, rather than pay the 125 pound tow fee. Forensic tests were carried out on the car the next day. Mr Harding said: `We were still scared that the thieves would come back for the car because they had the keys and knew our address, so I had to park it at a friend's house. `I think the police are just worried about statistics and making sure they are seen rather than actually solving crimes.'

A spokesman for Essex Police said the officer's advice on retrieving Mr Harding's car was `usual' and forces across the country charge 125 for this service. He added: `Investigations continue, including the review of other intelligence available to police.'


Teacher criticises British 'can't touch' culture after being throttled by pupil as colleagues looked on

A teacher who won 250,000 pounds compensation after a pupil tried to strangle him has criticised a 'can't touch' culture in schools after other staff initially refused to intervene. Colin Adams, 50, was attacked by a 12- year- old boy, who knocked him to the floor before punching and kicking him, and grabbing his neck. But despite other teachers yelling at the boy to stop, no one stepped in to help. Mr Adams's ordeal ended only after another teacher eventually came to his aid by forcing the boy's thumbs back to release his hold. Later, the unnamed teacher admitted to Mr Adams that he was afraid the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would accuse him of assault.

It later emerged the boy had a history of violence, having previously attacked pupils and a security guard at a library opposite Kingsford Community School in East London. However, he was not properly disciplined over the assaults and staff were not warned about his past.

Mr Adams yesterday criticised Government-backed 'inclusion' policies, which he claimed had led to pupils with severe behavioural problems being taught in schools where staff are not trained to cope with them. His comments come only days after figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed police were called to schools 10,000 times last year to deal with violent incidents.

Mr Adams's attacker was expelled after the assault in 2004 and given a referral order by the courts, which involved him being supervised for six months. It is rumoured he was sent on a holiday as 'a reward' for completing it.

As a result of the attack, which lasted for several minutes, Mr Adams, of Ockendon, Essex, was forced to give up work after suffering severe stress and back problems. His distress was further compounded by a lengthy court battle to win compensation, charted by his wife Sharon, 47, in a diary she started after the assault. Four-and-a-half years later, he secured 250,000 in an out-of-court settlement from Newham Council.

Writing in her diary, Mrs Adams said the boy had been misbehaving in another teacher's class and Mr Adams, as head of department, had gone to his aid. He ordered the boy to leave but the pupil refused. Mr Adams then left the room and was attacked by the boy from behind. She wrote: 'He came around to find the boy strangling him. The teachers told the boy to let go, but he did not. 'Teachers are very wary of touching children these days as children all know their rights and they can take a teacher to court. 'It only came to an end when a male teacher grabbed hold of one of the boy's thumbs and caused him pain and made the boy let go. 'This teacher didn't want to admit what he'd done for fear of being accused of assault.

'The police informed the school they could have kicked the boy in his back to make him let go, but I am not sure there is any teacher anywhere who would be willing to do that for fear of repercussions.' Mr Adams, who has two grown-up children, added: 'The whole thing has left a bitter taste. We are trying our best to move forward but it's a slow process.'

A Newham Council spokesman said: 'Our staff have the right to work without fear of assault or harassment. 'In this particular case, an appropriate financial settlement was agreed following advice from our insurers, which was based on Mr Adams's loss of salary, future loss of earnings and damages for the injury he suffered.'


The British Labor Party government loves its criminals

Almost 2,200 foreign prisoners have been released from jail early with up to 168 pounds each of taxpayers' cash to compensate them for the loss of bed and board. The criminals were released back on to the streets despite a promise by Gordon Brown that they would all be deported. The total cost of funding the handouts for the foreign inmates could be as much as 370,000 pounds.

The revelations will overshadow today's announcement by the Home Office that it removed a record 5,000 foreign criminals last year. Ministers said they were fulfilling a commitment by the Prime Minister, made in July 2007, to take tougher action in the wake of the foreign prisoners scandal. Those removed last year included 50 killers and attempted killers, more than 200 sex offenders and more than 1,500 drug offenders. But the Tories pointed out that Mr Brown had said all overseas criminals would be removed when he declared: 'If you commit a crime you will be deported. You play by the rules or you face the consequences.'

Research by the Tories discovered that not only did 2,196 foreign criminals escape removal, but they were allowed to leave jail 18 days before their sentence reached even the halfway point to ease overcrowding. To compensate them for the loss of accommodation and food they would have received in prison during this 18-day period, they were given up to 7 pounds a day from public funds, up to a maximum of 168.24 each.

In a dossier released last night, the Tories revealed that an estimated 3,000 foreign criminals were released without being deported last year, including those who were set free 18 days early. And the total number of foreign inmates has actually increased by 1,000 since the foreign prisoner fiasco, which led to the sacking of Charles Clarke as Home Secretary in 2006. The scandal prompted a review of deportation procedures after 1,000 inmates were mistakenly released without being even considered for removal. But despite a series of measures being put in place to speed up removals - including the introduction of 3,000 pound bribes for those who go home voluntarily - there are currently 11,168 overseas inmates, an increase of 11 per cent since 2006. The Government is also holding 543 foreign prisoners under immigration powers, because they finished their sentences before measures could be taken to deport them. With each place costing around 40,000 a year, this 'bed blocking' is costing the taxpayer œ22million per year, according to the Tories.

Shadow Justice Secretary Nick Herbert said: 'The Government want to create the impression that they're successfully deporting foreign national criminals, but the truth is that for every three prisoners they remove, two more are released on to the streets. 'Far from paying the price as Gordon Brown promised, foreign national offenders are being rewarded by serving less than half of their jail sentence and with taxpayers' cash in their back pockets.'

Many of them cannot be deported because of a combination of EU law and the Human Rights Act. The End of Custody Licence scheme was introduced in June 2007 primarily for British inmates, to free space in the chronically overcrowded prison system. But foreign nationals - who now have three jails dedicated exclusively to their detention - have been unexpected beneficiaries.


NHS lost patient details 135 times in two years

The NHS has lost the confidential medical records and personal details of thousands of patients in a “catalogue of errors” uncovered by an investigation into how the health service handles data. A “fundamental re-examination” of how the NHS deals with personal data was demanded last night after research showed that a series of losses and thefts had potentially exposed the private details of 10,000 patients around the country. A total of 135 cases were reported, including the loss or theft of diaries, briefcases, CDs, laptops, memory sticks and, in one case, a vehicle containing patient records.

A back-up tape of an entire system was stolen from a general practice in the East of England this year. In another case, a laptop containing the records of 5,123 patients was stolen from the outpatients’ department of a hospital in the West Midlands.

The revelations will cast renewed doubt over the Government’s ability to handle personal data after a series of high-profile losses by Revenue & Customs and the ministries of Justice and Defence in the past year, and will raise further questions about the scheme to create a computerised national patient database to allow easier communication between GPs and hospitals. The Liberal Democrats, who carried out the series of Freedom of Information requests, called for the Government to scrap its plans for a national computerised database. Norman Lamb, the party’s health spokesman, has also written to Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, with four other recommendations, including prohibiting the use of mobile devices to store patient records and publishing a set of minimum data protection standards.

Mr Lamb said: “These reports show utterly shocking lapses in security. Patients have a right to expect their personal information to be treated with the utmost care. “The degree of negligence in some cases is breathtaking, given the absolute sensitivity of patient data. There must be a fundamental re-examination of how the NHS deals with personal data. The NHS should regard lapses of standards of care as potential serious misconduct.”

The details, obtained through requests made to strategic health authorities, revealed incidents of data loss dating back as far as 2006. In some cases, private patient notes were found in public places or deserted buildings, or had been dumped in bins and skips. One loss of records was so serious that police and an NHS manager became involved. The incident occurred in January, when a district nurse took home activity sheets with patients’ names and addresses, which were stolen during a burglary.


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