Sunday, July 19, 2009

More vindictive and totally unreasonable British police behaviour (1)

They are not the friendly Bobbies of old. They are now Left-trained thugs who see ordinary people as the enemy. A couple who tidied up a garden were thrown into a riot van for attempted burglary. But if you get your car stolen the British police just yawn

A judge has blasted a waste of taxpayers' money after a couple who picked up items of rubbish from the garden of an abandoned house were thrown into a riot van for attempted burglary. Public-spirited Richard and Lynne Small, both 38, believed they were helping the environment when they recovered leftover junk from the garden near their home in Hull, East Yorks. They collected a pair of old boots, a hose-pipe, a plant, half a shoe lace and used tins of paint from the empty property and used a wheelie bin to carry the trash to their home just a few yards down the road.

But they were left stunned and humiliated when they were arrested, handcuffed and bundled into a police van after being confronted by four officers. After a five-month ordeal ending at the city's Crown Court the couple were finally released without charge. And the case judge has condemned the decision to pursue the matter as a sickening waste of taxpayers' money.

Bricklayer Richard said: 'We couldn't believe it when they slapped handcuffs us and threw us in a riot van. You'd think we'd robbed a bank the way we've been treated. 'When it finally got to court we were charged with the lesser offence of theft by finding and refusing to take a drugs test. We'd refused the drugs sample because we'd done nothing wrong. 'All we did was pick up a bit of litter, we were doing a public service. We'd just been on a walk and thought we could use some of the stuff. It was an eyesore. 'It's been very distressing. The police should be arresting criminals.'

The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence when the pair appeared at court and their barrister Paul Genney said: 'This was rough justice. It is a gross matter of overkill. 'One would question the reason for the arrest and as for the request to take a drugs test one can well understand their indignation.'

Recorder Paul Isaac formerly entered not guilty verdicts on the theft charges but gave the couple six month conditional discharges for refusing the drugs test. He said: 'This is all unfortunate. It does seem to me to bring this matter to the crown court is something of a waste of public resources. 'Whatever the rights and wrongs, your defence that you have taken these items believing them to be abandoned would likely have been accepted by any sensible jury.'

A spokesman for Humberside Police said: 'We had received a call from a member of the public saying they believed two people were stealing from the house. 'We followed procedure and now the police and the Crown Prosecution Service have decided not to continue the case.'


More vindictive and totally unreasonable British police behaviour (2)

They are not the friendly Bobbies of old. They are now Left-trained thugs who see ordinary people as the enemy. An offence to invite your friends to a BBQ via Facebook??

Riot police raided a 30th birthday barbecue because they thought the organiser, who had invited his friends via Facebook, was staging a rave. Four police cars, a riot van and a helicopter moved in on Andrew Poole's gathering which was taking place in a field owned by a friend. The coach driver had invited 17 guests to an 'event' on his social networking page by private invitation and was about to light the barbecue when the gazebo suddenly started flapping wildly and the sound of chopper blades filled the air.

The gazebo under which the party guests were gathered because it had started to rain. Then the police riot van arrived...

A police helicopter circled the field several times before four police cars and a riot van stormed into the field in a small village near Sowton, Devon. Eight officers wearing camouflage trousers and body armour then jumped out and ordered the party to be shut down or everyone would be arrested.

Andrew, of Exeter, Devon, said: 'It had started to rain so we had gone in under the gazebo. All of a sudden there was this noise in the sky - I honestly couldn't believe it. 'The thing then hovered over us for about 25 minutes, watching 15 people eat. They told us to take down the sound system and said everybody's got to leave. 'It was 4pm and we hadn't even plugged the music in yet. We tried to reason with them, and even offered for them to take the power lead for the sound system, but they were having none of it.

'It was on private land. We were nowhere near anyone. We weren't even playing any music. What effectively the police did was come in and stop fifteen people eating burgers.'

Andrew had spent £800 for the hire of the generator, marquee and food. The guests arrived at 3pm but soon after a police helicopter generated a huge dust cloud which covered his BBQ in debris.

Andrew said: 'The police had full-on camouflage trousers on and body-armour, it was ridiculous. There was also several plain-clothes officers as well. "I told them it was my 30th birthday. I said "this is a once in a lifetime event for me, please don't ruin it". But they kept on insisting I had been advertising it as an all-night rave on the internet.

'But I'd created an event, and 17 people had confirmed as guests, I did put the times on it as "overnight" in case people wanted to sleep-over. 'They were still banging on saying it was advertised on the internet. They wouldn't accept it wasn't a rave. It was in a completely isolated field.

'We'd actually faced the speakers away from the village just in case nosy-neighbour types complained. But someone must have seen us putting up the marquee and phoned the police.'


Role of sun over-emphasised in melanoma skin cancers

But suntanning does give you wrinkles! From what I have seen elsewhere, the advice below is rather confused, however. Fair skin certainly gives you more cancers, but BCCs and SCCs rather than melanomas -- and it is melanomas that are the dangerous ones. Melanomas are actually quite rare among very fair-skinned people, from my reading in the matter. It is people who tan well who get the melanomas

WARNINGS that too much time spent in the sun can lead to the most deadly form of skin cancer have been over-emphasised, a controversial study has claimed. It found that, although sunbathing is a risk factor, the number of moles on a person's skin is the most important indicator of whether they will go on to develop melanoma. The scientists also identified two genes that dictate how many moles someone will have, and their risk of getting skin cancer.

The research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, is likely to reopen the debate over whether official health warnings about avoiding the sun are overstated and too general. The study's authors said such warnings would be more useful if they focused on those most at risk – namely anyone with more than 100 moles on their body, redheads and people with fair skin and taught them how to check their moles for changes in shape, size or colour.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, and one of the new study's authors, said: "The number of moles you have is one of the strongest risk factors for melanoma – stronger even than sunshine."

Dr Veronique Bataille, a dermatologist at West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, added: "You often read that nearly all melanomas are caused by sunshine, which is not supported by the evidence. "Let's keep sunshine in the picture because it does make you age and causes you wrinkles. But let's move away from scaring people by saying they are going to die because they go in the sun."


False accusations against teachers in Britain

Pupils are threatening to accuse teachers of abusing them in order to avoid being punished for bad behaviour, MPs warn today. The report from the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee says new guidelines should be published to help head teachers deal with false allegations against their staff. It claims that teachers are often treated as guilty before they are proven innocent and demands that the Government justifies why unsubstantiated allegations are passed on to employers.

Teaching unions report increasing numbers of claims of physical abuse of pupils at the hands of their teachers, but a static number of convictions. “There is an increasingly prevalent attitude of pupils challenging teachers with comments asserting their legal rights and threats that they will make an allegation against the teacher if she seeks to reprimand them for misbehaviour,” the report said. One head was told by a pupil: “I’m going to get you suspended.”

The MPs are concerned at a trend for pupils to use social networking sites to make anonymous, false or malicious allegations against teachers. “Head teachers are still too hasty to suspend when an allegation is made. More use should be made of alternatives, and head teachers should be made aware that the lawfulness of suspension can be challenged and the courts may not view it as a neutral act,” the MPs said.

Jane Watts, 52, was immediately suspended when a five-year-old pupil accused her of hitting her on the hand during a lesson. Despite being cleared by the police, Duke Street Primary School in Chorley, Lancashire, launched its own investigation. Mrs Watts was dismissed for gross misconduct, but was later reinstated with her punishment reduced. The distress caused by the accusation and investigation meant that Mrs Watts was unable to return to school because of ill health and a fear that she would be constantly under suspicion.

Andrew Kidd, head teacher at Duke Street Primary School, confirmed that a member of his staff was dismissed for misconduct, reinstated — and then dismissed again for “non-attendance”. But he said “the original finding of misconduct was correct”. Mrs Watts told The Times that she would never work as a teacher again because the accusation would stay on her record. She described herself as: “Going from someone who would happily take 220 children for hymn practice, meetings for parents and training [sessions], to someone who was afraid to walk around in Chorley and didn’t want to go to the local supermarket. That’s the effect it had.”


There can be some reasonable alternatives to Britain's top private schools

No wonder demand for places in good state schools is soaring. Many people can no longer pay big bucks for top schools

Where do your children go to school?” I am frequently asked. It might be the social niceties of a business lunch, or the surroundings of a wedding reception. Do they want to check that you are in their league? Or do they want to make sure that you are doing that uniquely British thing — spending every last penny you possess (and many that you don’t) on putting your children through the very best education you can obtain for them?

It is a British thing. The French, for instance, cannot fathom why we pay so much for private secondary schools. In Australia, where the Government gives private schools a subsidy for every child they spare the state having to educate, they wonder at the prices the British will pay for a private education. And the Americans find the concept ever so slightly mad.

We used to be one of those slightly mad families. For years we paid for our three children to attend the very best of Britain’s private schools. We never considered doing anything else; we had both been educated privately and wanted for our children what had been provided for us.

But then the recession arrived, and we had to face the truth; we are not Goldman Sachs partners nor in possession of trust funds set up by munificent grandparents to pay for school fees. Our eldest son was about to start university. But the other two were being educated out of current income. Running a small business in a recession does not yield a lot of cash.

The prospect of using up what savings we had, and/or borrowing money, made us stop and think: why are we doing this? Will these children really be that much worse off in the state sector? We had looked at several private schools for our sons and chosen one that we thought would provide our children not only with an education, but wider skills and a network — membership of a club.

Now we had to challenge our long-held beliefs and go and see what choice was available to us; we were very pleasantly surprised. For secondary education we had a boys-only option, our closest state school, and, almost equidistant, a co-educational comprehensive with a very helpful and supportive headmaster who found another previously privately educated child to show us around. And if we were prepared to venture a little farther there was an 11-16 co-ed cited by Ofsted this year as having “an outstanding quality of education”.

There was also the local private day school, which does not usually admit pupils at 14+, and whose 13+ place we had turned down a while ago in preference for one at one of the grandest public schools in the country. A letter explaining frankly why we had previously spurned them, and why we would be grateful for a further discussion, persuaded them to re-interview and re-examine our son. For £4,500 a term (as opposed to almost £12,000) he now has a place at a school that sends almost a third of its pupils to Oxbridge each year, where the parents are more likely to be our peers, and where he will make local friends rather than ones who live in Moscow or have a second home in Barbados.

The ten-year-old is returning to the local village primary school after a three-year absence; again, a truthful letter to the new headmistress paved the way.

The boys have been brilliant; the younger one is thrilled to be coming home from boarding school, and the older one, while very disappointed at leaving new friends and a school where he was extremely happy, recognises that as a family we will all be better prepared financially if he moves.

We will need to adjust our lives to do more hands-on parenting; that too is no bad thing. They have probably lost their “club membership”; we shall have to compensate. The process has been cathartic, and while we acknowledge that others may not have such high-quality options as we do in Oxfordshire, I would still encourage anyone facing financial challenges to consider something they may previously have considered heresy.

How will it turn out? I have no idea, but I would cite two people who have contacted me since I made our decision public. The first was a banker, whom I know. “I’ve always regarded private secondary education as absurdly expensive and, thank God, managed to put my two children through the grammar school system.” He did, however, pay for one of them, who had good GCSE grades, to do her A levels in the private sector. “Just as I expected, this ended up as simply being an expensive private members’ club and her results would have been just the same . . .”

The other is someone I had never met, a young man in his early twenties. His parents had done the same to him — removed him from one of the country’s grandest establishments and sent him to the local (and very much cheaper) private day school. “I won’t pretend the transition was all that easy. It was very difficult having my parents involved in my day-to-day education ... But I made new and good friends (who lived around the corner, rather than in Paris, New York etc) and found that I really enjoyed the additional freedom I got from going to a day school. I got my As and went to Durham.”

He signed off his e-mail with the reassuring “It’ll be fine.” And do you know what? I suspect it will be. Contrary to long-held beliefs, private education, and especially the most expensive kind, is not necessarily the only option. The psychological barrier for us was, I suspect, much harder than the real one is going to be.


British Christian teacher tells of race slurs by Muslim pupils aged 8

Must not object to Muslim bigotry and hate

A teacher claims he has been sacked for reprimanding pupils who made racist remarks about his being a Christian. Nicholas Kafouris said he lost his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the 'openly racist' behaviour of pupils as young as eight. He said the predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class, and hailed the September 11 terrorists as 'heroes and martyrs'.

Greek-born Mr Kafouris, 40, taught for more than ten years at Bigland Green Primary in Tower Hamlets, East London, where according to the most recent Ofsted report 'almost all' the 465 pupils are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not speak English as a first language.

He is taking the school, its headmistress and assistant head to an employment tribunal where he will claim he was forced out after highlighting the rise in racism among pupils.

In 2006, said Mr Kafouris, he brushed against a boy while giving him a book. 'He said rather brusquely to me, "Don't touch me, you're a Christian". I found this very offensive.' Later that year, he said children aged eight and nine in his class praised the suicide bombers in the 9/11 attacks. 'In late November and December 2006, many various unacceptable and openly racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian remarks were being made by many and various children in Year 4,' he said. 'These included, "We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up", "the Twin Towers bombers are heroes and martyrs", "we hate the Jews" and "we hate the Christians".'

And in January 2007, he claims some pupils 'expressed delight' that a child had died when a wall collapsed on him in London. When asked why, he said one of the children replied: 'Because he's English.' The following month, during a religious education lesson about Jonah and the whale, he claims one of the pupils asked if Jonah was a Jew, before shouting: 'I hate the Jews, they're our enemies.'

Mr Kafouris says he completed 'Racist Incident Reporting Sheets' and notified headmistress Jill Hankey in writing about each incident. But he claims his concerns were ignored because she wanted to maintain the school's 'good' Ofsted rating.

Mr Kafouris, who is unmarried and has no children, was also reprimanded for handling a discussion about religion with a child 'inappropriately', which he denies. He says assistant head Margaret Coleman accused him of shouting at pupils and telling them Muslims had produced suicide bombers - claims he rejects.

'I believe after I complained to the head about the racist and religious discrimination incidents, I suffered victimisation,' he says. 'I also suffered less favourable treatment and incurred harassment by the head and assistant head. 'The two people above created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, threatening, humiliating and offensive environment for me at my work.'

Mr Kafouris says the way he was treated brought on stress and depression, and that he was forced to take time off work. He was finally dismissed because of his absence, on April 30 this year. A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council, on behalf of the school, said: 'The governing body stands by its decision and we believe all the correct procedures were followed.'



So you will have to have the time, health and inclination to do a lot of walking even after you have paid a bomb to park your car

Drivers who want to live in an environmentally friendly "eco-town" will have to pay £13,000 for a parking space, Government documents reveal.

The news comes as ministers prepare to unveil the sites for the first ever eco-towns. Four sites in southern and central England which have received backing from their local councils are likely to go ahead to the planning stage - less than half the 10 eco-towns which were first mooted by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, nearly two years ago.

According to Whitehall guidance on parking in the towns, motorists will be expected to leave their vehicles in car parks on the edge of the towns. The guidance, which has been obtained by the Conservatives, urges "car-free development" which involves "limited parking, separated from the residential areas".

It continues: "A parking space in one of the car parks at the edge of the development must be rented or purchased (at a cost of approximately £12,500 plus a monthly management fee). This cost is entirely separate from the cost of buying or renting a home".


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