Only 38% of Britons have any faith in their police
This is a huge change. The British were once remarkable for the high esteem in which they held their police. I remember it well
Less than half of the public have confidence in the police to deal with crime and loutish behaviour, a Government survey revealed yesterday. In some force areas, the approval rating is an alarmingly low 38 per cent, while nationwide it is only 46 per cent, the Home Office said. Now Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is demanding that all forces achieve a confidence rating of 60 per cent by 2012 - even though this will still leave four out of ten people without faith in the police.
Miss Smith said that, with immediate effect, she was scrapping all the targets currently imposed on police forces by her department, such as asset recovery, monitoring prolific young offenders and race equality employment. In their place will come the single new measure of confidence. To hit a confidence rating of 60 per cent, some forces will have to make dramatic improvements.
Critics said the Government was responsible for the public having so little trust in the police to protect them. They said officers were so bound up in red tape they were unable to do the jobs the public demanded - such as patrolling the streets. Conservative policing spokesman David Ruffley said: 'This underlines the real urgency of getting more police back on the beat to deter anti-social behaviour and make arrests where necessary. 'That is what the public want to see in their neighbourhoods. Twelve years of Labour red tape and bureaucracy have wasted police time, keeping them away from front line crime-fighting.'
Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, said: ' This reflects not so much the public's attitude to the police, but to the criminal justice system in general. 'The view is that the whole system is failing and because the police are in the front line we take the brunt of it. How can any society be expected to cope with 70 per cent re-offending rates?'
The findings, based on the British Crime Survey of 30,000 homes, are the first directly to address the question: 'Do you have confidence in police and local councils in dealing with anti-social behaviour and crime?' Lincolnshire scored only 38 per cent while South Wales managed 38.7 per cent, Humberside 39.2 per cent and Gwent 39.3 per cent.
Miss Smith said: 'I have a single-minded focus on building public confidence in policing and that means the police should be answering to the public, not the Government. That is why I have scrapped all but one central target for the police - to raise public confidence. 'I have always been clear that this target needs to be challenging if we are to see real change in public confidence in the police. By 2012, I want to see at least 60 per cent of people confident that the police are addressing what matters locally.'
However, police insiders questioned the significance of the Home Office scrapping the existing targets. Forces will still be answerable to other Whitehall departments, such as the Audit Commission, and will also remain free to set their own local targets.
Meanwhile, complaints against police officers in England and Wales have risen to record levels. According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission there were 48,280 complaints in the year to March, up 5 per cent on the previous year and the highest total since independent investigations began more than 20 years ago. Most of the complaints concerned alleged failures to investigate or record crimes properly.
British teachers 'not allowed' to chase four-year-old school runaway - because of health and safety risk
Using police instead of teachers is a huge waste of resources
It's being called a 'safe handling policy,' but the extraordinary health and safety rule which has enabled an inquisitive four-year-old boy to repeatedly wander out the school playground is enough to give any parent nightmares. On four occasions since the start of term, youngster River Baker has walked out of school grounds during break time to explore the outside world. Each time he has apparently been spotted by the supervising member of staff. But instead of grabbing or running after him to bring him back, the teacher has 'tracked' the youngster on foot to ensure he comes to no harm and rung the police so officers can stop him.
On one occasion River and another boy of similar age were followed as they walked near a busy main road and five police vehicles turned up to pick them up, she claimed.
The bizarre series of events and refusal of staff to physically stop the four-year-old walking out the open school entrance has appalled and astonished River's mother Suzan Baker, 44. 'There are all sorts of issues here,' she said. 'The school policy is crazy but the security is also pathetic. The teachers say they keep an eye on the kids in the playground all the time, but when they get out, which is so easy to do, they have to follow them a couple of hundred yards behind. It's ludicrous.'
River has left St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School in Richmond, North Yorkshire, four times since January - twice going into a school next door, once walking alongside a busy road and once heading for woodland.
Miss Baker, a single mother-of-three, said she was told due to policy staff were not allowed to grab him. 'I was on a driving lesson when I got a call telling me that they had picked him up from woods at the back of his school. They told me they had followed him and rung the police. When I questioned them about it they just said "do you know how fast a four-year-old can run?"
'It's crazy, an adult could easily catch up with him and safely restrain him. But apparently it is school policy not to grab them.'
Two weeks earlier River and a friend were heading towards an abbey about a mile from the school and walking next to a busy road. 'Again the teacher followed behind and this time five police vans turned up to pick them up. When I found out about this I flipped my lid. 'It's so dangerous out there, it's terrifying what could have happened to them. They could have been run over or grabbed by a sicko before the police got there, it doesn't bear thinking about.'
Miss Baker, a caterer who also has a 14-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son, lives in fear of the next call from school and keeps her mobile phone with her at all times. The youngster has once climbed the six ft high fence, but usually just walks out the open entrance. 'When I ask him why he runs away he says "I want to get some exercise." 'He's four years old and he's a boy, so of course he is going to want to run about and explore like all other kids do. He's always been a lively lad.'
And it seems staff are acting according to local authority policy. Acting headteacher Jill Wilkinson said:'We have a positive safe handling policy that allows us to use reasonable action. However it can be dangerous to chase after a child because often it makes them run faster.'
A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire County Council said it helped draw up a 'protocol' about what to do when a child runs away and denied ordering staff not to stop them leaving school. 'If a teacher or a member of support staff considers a child is in immediate danger of running away then he or she can use reasonable and appropriate physical intervention. 'If a child does run away a member of staff has to make a quick judgement as to whether giving chase in order to restrain a child might put that child in greater danger, such as running into oncoming traffic. 'The school is situated next to a busy highway. If they consider this is the case they are advised to track the child rather than chase and if necessary call the police.'
British Leftists hate the immigration facts
It's "shoot the messenger" rather than face the problems, apparently
It is meant to be an independent body charged with publishing number sets and statistical analyses of trends. But the Office for National Statistics has found itself accused of "playing politics". The Government said yesterday the ONS was "at best na‹ve or at worst sinister" after it released figures about foreign nationals living in Britain. The Immigration minister Phil Woolas said the ONS had brought forward the release of figures showing the number of British-born workers had fallen while the number of foreign-born staff had grown. He said departing from the scheduled publication date because the information was topical meant the ONS had used "political" reasoning.
The UK Statistics Authority, which oversees the ONS, said it would not be "pilloried" for releasing figures. Opposition MPs said the Government was more concerned with ensuring that figures told a good story rather than addressing problems with immigration.
The row is the latest spat between the Government and the newly-independent ONS, which released the figures in question during the "foreign jobs for foreign workers" dispute last month. On 11 February, the ONS decided to bring forward the release of statistics showing employment of British-born workers had fallen by 278,000 last year while the employment of foreign-born staff had risen by 214,000.
Ministers were said to be "fizzing" with anger at the release, which came at the height of wildcat strikes at oil refineries in protest at the employment of foreigners. Then last week, the ONS published routine population statistics which included the fact that one in nine British residents was born overseas.
Mr Woolas told the BBC: "The ONS said they released the figures because they said they were topical. They have got to be very careful, in my view, that they don't enter what is the most inflamed debate in British politics. Releasing figures outside of the schedule because of the topicality may be interpreted as influencing the political debate. "This is not a black and white area, the idea that there are figures that won't be used and abused by people is naive and I think the ONS should not release figures because they are topical. They should release them on the schedule."
The UK Statistics Authority defended the early release and a spokesman said last month's population statistics were issued on schedule and did not mention the one-in-nine figure. Sir Michael Scholar, the authority's chairman, said the National Statistician, Karen Dunnell, had judged that it was in the public interest to bring forward the release date of the "neutral and objective" employment figures. "Whether you call it naivety or openness, statisticians must be encouraged to publish independent and objective statistics, not pilloried for doing so," he said. "The Statistics Authority will not only defend them in doing this, it will continue to require it of them."
BRITISH SCIENCE MINISTER SHOCKED BY SCEPTICAL INDUSTRY LEADERS
Senior figures in the manufacturing industry do not accept that human activities are driving global warming or that action needs to be taken to prepare for its effects, the UK government's science minister saidtoday .
Lord Drayson said recent discussions with leaders in the car industry and other businesses had left him "shocked" at the number of climate change deniers among senior industrialists. Of those who acknowledged that global temperatures were rising, many blamed it on variations in the sun's activity.
Speaking in London to mark the launch of a new centre that will gather information from satellites to improve understanding of how the Earth's environment is changing, Lord Drayson said there was an urgent need to restate the scientific evidence for global warming and called for companies to focus on their environmental obligations despite the pressures of the economic downturn.
"There is a significant minority of senior managers who do not accept the evidence for climate change and don't see the need to take action," Drayson said. "It really shocked me that those views are held, and it's not limited to the car industry."
"The industrialists are faced with a very difficult challenge, which is huge infrastructure investment in existing ways of doing business and very difficult global economic circumstances.
"The temptation is to say we'll get round to dealing with climate change once we've fixed all this other stuff. We need to present them with the evidence to say this can't wait, we need to fix both," he added.
PATHOLOGISING DISSENT? NOW THAT'S ORWELLIAN
Ahead of a conference on the psychology of climate change denial, Brendan O'Neill says green authoritarians are treating debate as a disorder.
A few months ago, for a joke, I set up a Facebook group called `Climate change denial is a mental disorder'. It's a satirical campaigning hub for people who think that climate change denial should be recognised as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, and that its sufferers - who probably engage in `regular chanting and intensive brainwashing sessions in cult-like surroundings' - should be offered `eco-lobotomies' to remove `the denying part of their brain'. The group now has 42 members. Yes, some have signed up because they get the joke, but others are serious subscribers to the denial-as-insanity idea. `Thank God I've found this group', says one new member, who is sick of other Facebook groups being `hijacked' by unhinged eco-sceptics.
The idea that `climate change denial' is a psychological disorder - the product of a spiteful, wilful or simply in-built neural inability to face up to the catastrophe of global warming - is becoming more and more popular amongst green-leaning activists and academics. And nothing better sums up the elitism and authoritarianism of the environmentalist lobby than its psychologisation of dissent. The labelling of any criticism of the politics of global warming, first as `denial', and now as evidence of mass psychological instability, is an attempt to write off all critics and sceptics as deranged, and to lay the ground for inevitable authoritarian solutions to the problem of climate change. Historically, only the most illiberal and misanthropic regimes have treated disagreement and debate as signs of mental ill-health.
This weekend, the University of West England is hosting a major conference on climate change denial. Strikingly, it's being organised by the university's Centre for Psycho-Social Studies. It will be a gathering of those from the top of society - `psychotherapists, social researchers, climate change activists, eco-psychologists' - who will analyse those at the bottom of society, as if we were so many flitting, irrational amoeba under an eco-microscope. The organisers say the conference will explore how `denial' is a product of both `addiction and consumption' and is the `consequence of living in a perverse culture which encourages collusion, complacency and irresponsibility' (1). It is a testament to the dumbed-down, debate-phobic nature of the modern academy that a conference is being held not to explore ideas - to interrogate, analyse and fight over them - but to tag them as perverse.
How a simple injection could halt diabetes in children
A jab to prevent children developing diabetes came a step closer last night following a British breakthrough. Studies show a common tummy bug is strongly linked to childhood diabetes, which can shorten life and lead to blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and amputation. The findings could lead to a vaccine that would protect against the bug and 'drastically reduce' the prevalence of childhood, or type 1, diabetes.
The studies focused on enteroviruses - a family of more than 100 bugs that cause vomiting, diarrhoea and cold symptoms. The first showed that enterovirus infection of the pancreas is much more common in children with type 1 diabetes than those without. Researchers from the University of Brighton, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England found that more than 60 per cent of diabetic pancreases studied had traces of the bug. But it was hardly spotted in those without the disease, the journal Diabetologia reports.
The finding suggests infection plays a key role in the development of the disease. It is thought that enteroviruses trigger a rogue immune response that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas in those genetically vulnerable to diabetes. Further work on the role of enteroviruses could lead to the development of a jab which would 'drastically reduce' the number of people developing diabetes, said the researchers. Type 1 diabetes affects around 300,000 in the UK, including 20,000 children under 15.
Professor Adrian Bone, of Brighton, said: 'There has been a lot of evidence about peaks of diabetes following outbreaks of viral infections but this is the first direct link. 'What nobody else is done is put the viruses at the scene of the crime. It is extremely exciting. 'If you can narrow it down to a specific virus or small family of viruses, then you are in the business when it comes to developing vaccines.'
Professor Noel Morgan, of the Peninsula school, said: 'The next stages - to identify which viruses are involved, how cells are changed by infection and the ultimate goal to develop a vaccine - will lead to findings which we hope will drastically reduce the number of people around the world who develop type 1 diabetes.'
Dr Alan Foulis, of Glasgow, said: 'With 250,000 sufferers, the idea of a vaccine and being able to prevent this disease would be my life's work.'
A second study, by Cambridge University, has linked a gene called IFIH1, type 1 diabetes and enteroviruses, the journal Science reports. Karen Addington, of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said the studies would give fresh hope to those with type 1 diabetes. She added: 'This life-threatening condition requires a lifetime of painful blood tests and insulin injections. Incidences are increasing by four per cent each year. Research such as this brings us closer to curing this condition.'
Dr Iain Frame, of the charity Diabetes UK, said: 'The next steps to identify the viruses and find out what they are doing to the infected cells will be hugely exciting and will take us a step closer to preventing type 1 diabetes.'