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Friday 26 March 2004

By Natasha Salari, Clare Jerrom and Alex
Dobson.

Ministers cleared of easing entry for Eastern
Europeans

A government inquiry has cleared ministers of approving a secret
policy to make it easier for Eastern Europeans to settle in
Britain.
The inquiry concluded that the scheme had been drawn up by managers
at the Sheffield office of the Immigration and Nationality
Directorate (IND) acting on their own initiative.
An investigation was ordered after the IND
‘whistle-blower’ Steve Moxon said the policy to
fast-track Eastern European applicants was designed to massage
immigration figures.
Source:- The Independent Friday 26 March page 8
Soham investigators ask for £1.4m
Police have asked the government for more money to cover the cost
of investigating the murders of the schoolgirls Holly Wells and
Jessica Chapman.
The Home Office has given Cambridgeshire Police Authority £3.5
million for the investigation into the murders of the 10-year-old
girls in August 2002.
The authority said yesterday that it was asking for a further
£1.4 million.
Source:- The Independent Friday 26 March page 9
Athletics coaches in sexual abuse inquiries
A leading athletics trainer has been banned from coaching
for seven years.
The ban by the sport’s governing body, UK Athletics, follows
accusations that Joe Sweeney, a former British triple jumper,
physically and sexually abused female athletes he worked
with.
The NSPCC claimed the case involving Sweeney, who was found guilty
yesterday of “engaging in inappropriate encounters with young
vulnerable female athletes under his care”, was just one of a
number that UK Athletics is currently handling.
It is believed that at least six cases of sexual abuse by coaches
are currently being investigated by the NSPCC.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 26 March page 1
Mother loses child in post-Cannings appeal
The first woman to go to the court of appeal following the Angela
Cannings judgement has lost her child after a judge ruled that the
girl should be freed for adoption.
The case involved an unmarried Bangladeshi woman of 20, who became
pregnant when she was 17 in November 2002. A high court judge
accepted medical evidence that she had made four attempts to
smother her baby daughter in the first four months of her
life.
The judge ordered that the girl, now aged two, should be taken into
care.
Angela Cannings had her conviction for killing her two baby sons
quashed last year. The appeal court said that in future no
prosecutions should be brought where medical experts were in
dispute and there was no other cogent evidence.
The case yesterday was the first to reach the appeal court since
the solicitor general, Harriet Harman, announced that cases in
which children had been taken into care on medical evidence could
be reopened.
Source: The Guardian Friday 26 March page 4
Drug offenders failing to follow treatment
regime

A community sentence giving drug users treatment instead of sending
them to prison is failing with only one in three offenders
completing the order in full, according to the National Audit
Office.
More than 18,400 drug testing and treatment orders have been
imposed on offenders since they were introduced in 1998.
The completion rates have varied considerably across the country,
from 71 per cent in Dorset to only eight per cent in Kent.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 26 March page 6
Soham police chief ‘ignored
advice’

The chief constable of Humberside police has come under renewed
pressure after it emerged that he was twice told not to blame the
Data Protection Act for the deletion of records on the Soham
murderer Ian Huntley.
David Westwood ignored the warnings of two senior figures, and
issued a statement just hours after Huntley’s conviction for
the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, saying that filed
had been deleted to comply with the law.
Source: The Guardian Friday 26 March page 9
Welfare fraud and errors are costing £1bn a
year

Fraud and faults in the welfare system are costing the taxpayer
more than £1 billion a year, according to two new
reports.
One survey, by the Office for National Statistics, showed that
taxpayers were losing £1.09 billion a year because of fraud
and error in claims for income support and job seeker’s
allowance.
Another report, from the House of Commons public accounts
committee, showed that 20 per cent of all benefit decisions contain
errors.
Source: The Daily Telegraph Friday 26 March page 2
‘Game Boy’ generation is risking health by
sleeping less

Children are risking their mental and physical health by getting
too little sleep, according to new research.
One in five children gets between two and five hours less than
their parents did at the same age, losing up to one month’s
sleep a year.
Children are being left in their rooms with electronic gadgets and
experts say the number of televisions and computers in
children’s bedrooms is largely to blame for sleep deprivation
among the young.
Source: The Daily Telegraph Friday 26 March page 5
‘Mr Big’ seized in gangmaster
raids

Raids across the county in a police operation aimed at gangmasters
running a “21st century slavetrade” using illegal
workers have resulted in dozens of arrests.
The dawn raids involved scores of police and immigration officers
from Norfolk, Aberdeen, Cambridgeshire, Essex and London.
In Aberdeen, 28 men and 10 women, mostly of eastern European
origin, were arrested, while Norfolk police said that they had
detained two men, one of whom they believed to be a “Mr
Big” in the world of gangmasters.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Friday 26 March page 7
Mother to sue police after being cleared of killing
son

A mother cleared of drowning her son 13 years ago has said that she
will sue the police.
Sallie-Anne Loughran, aged 40, said she would take action against
the Nottinghamshire force over its re-investigation into the death
of two-year-old Thomas Hunt.
A coroner originally concluded that Thomas, who was found in a duck
pond in April 1991, died in an accident.
But police re-opened the case in late 1999 after relatives of
Loughran’s former husband claimed that she had confessed to
murdering Thomas.
This week she was found not guilty of murder and
manslaughter.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Friday 26 March page 11
Doubts cast on ‘shaken babies’
A text-book symptom of shaken baby syndrome can be caused by a
household accident, a study by doctors has said,
Dr Patrick Lantz and colleagues from Wake Forest University in
North Carolina say in the British Medical Journal that retinal
bleeding, one of the three classic signs of shaken baby syndrome,
is “scientifically questionable” and needs to be
re-examined.
Dr Lantz is calling for research to compare eye damage in children
thought to have been abused and not abused.
Source: The Daily Telegraph Friday 26 March page 13
Probation system failed to stop constable’s
killer

Failures in the probation service allowed the killer of a police
officer to be free to offend, it has emerged.
Drug addict David Parfitt who had a history of offending, regularly
breached the conditions on which he was freed early from prison. He
failed drug tests and missed appointments within weeks of release
from jail under the government’s early-release scheme.
An official report into the death of Constable Ged Walker published
yesterday blamed individual probation officers, managers of the
Nottingham Probation Service and the National Probation
Service.
Source:- The Times  Friday 26 March page 7
Housing ‘unfit’
A company that housed asylum seekers in Liverpool has been stripped
of its contract with the Home Office.
Landmark Liverpool Ltd properties were found to be damp, dangerous,
and infested, and were slammed as “below
standard”.
Source:- The Times Friday 26 March page 9
Scottish newspapers
Pay talks hope in nursery dispute

Union leaders have agreed to talks with local authorities in a bid
to end the nursery nurse strike over pay and conditions.
Unison has written to 21 Scottish councils still locked in a pay
dispute with their employees to accept an offer of talks.
Source:- The Scotsman Friday 26 March
Cut price loan idea for public workers
Key public sector workers including teachers and nurses, may be
offered cut-price loans to help them beat Edinburgh’s soaring
house prices.
According to sources, the Scottish executive is considering whether
to follow the example of John Prescott, who this week announced
loans of up to £100,000 to help key workers afford
housing.
The calls for special allowances came as the executive announced a
£284 million investment package for affordable housing across
the country in the next financial year.
Source:- Evening News Thursday 25 March
Antisocial blitz ‘won’t stop
crime’

Proposals to tackle antisocial behaviour will not solve the
problems blighting areas of Edinburgh, it has been claimed.
A public meeting in the City Chambers heard arguments that the bill
will criminalise youngsters, waste valuable police time and
distract attention from the real problems facing society.
Source:- Evening News Thursday 25 March
SACRO hails course after repeat drink crimes
fall

A community initiative designed to lower alcohol-related crimes has
reduced further convictions in offenders, according to the latest
statistics.
According to a study of SACRO’s Alcohol Education probation
programme, 71 per cent of those who completed the course did not
offend again within a year.
The charity operates the eight–week scheme as part of a
probation order where drink has contributed to an
individual’s behaviour.
Source:- Evening News Thursday 25 March
Welsh newspapers
From lollipops to alcopops

Parents in south Wales are allowing children as young as nine to
drink alcohol.
A new study from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (Uwic)
is calling for a change in parental attitude after research
revealed that alcopops had replaced fizzy drinks at many
children’s parties.
Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 25 March page 5
Fury at assembly’s sick porn website
Computer hackers have infiltrated a Welsh assembly internet site
and replaced information on economic development with hard core
pornography.
Conservative assembly member Alun Cairns, chairperson of the
assembly’s IT committee, is demanding immediate action to be
taken, and apologies to be issued to anyone who has viewed the
site.
Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 25 March page 11
Housing cash bombshell
Gwent is short of at least £427 million to upgrade council
homes to meet new basic standards.
The five local authorities in Gwent will have to upgrade thousands
of homes by 2012 because of new Welsh assembly standards.
Councillors have warned that local authorities may not be able to
find the cash to improve homes, and may be forced to ask housing
agencies to handle stock in the future.
Source:- South Wales Argus Thursday 25 March page 11
Man evaded staff watch to kill himself
A former farmer hanged himself from his bed frame despite being on
a 15-minute watch.
Thomas Charles, aged 70, who was almost blind and suffered from
arthritis, had been depressed for some time prior to his death. He
was found by his bed at Bro Cerwyn Hospital in Haverfordwest, but
efforts to revive him failed.
Pembrokeshire coroner Michael Howells said that he was satisfied
that adequate procedures were in place at the hospital at the time
of the suicide.
Source:- Western Mail Friday 26 March page 3

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