A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Fagin asylum seeker doubled pickpocket thefts on the

An asylum seeker has been named by police today as the suspected
mastermind behind a Fagin’s den of pickpockets on the London

Police suspect that Vaske Besic from the former Yugoslavia,
controlled the activities of three extended families responsible
for doubling the number of pick pocketing offences on the Tube.

Up to 30 immigrants were involved, including children as young
as seven.

Police are unable to identify how much they stole during the
18-month spree, but children were found with up to £2,000.

Besic’s family moved several times after they arrived in
Britain which helped them to stay one step ahead of a multi-agency
joint strategy group, including social workers, who had put the
children on the national register of neglect.

The family have not been seen since June and an appeal was made
yesterday to anyone who knew of their whereabouts. British
Transport Police said they were most concerned about the children
who are suffering from neglect.

Mark Smith, detective chief inspector, said: “We took in
children at risk. We found youngsters apparently unaccompanied by
adults, with large sums of money in their pockets and close to live

No-one from Newham social services was available for

Source:- The Times Thursday 1 November page 1

Brass Eye repeat

The controversial Brass Eye comedy about paedophilia, that
caused outrage earlier this year, is to be repeated on Channel

The channel’s departing chief executive Michael Jackson
said it had been a “paradigm programme”, and would be shown again
in full with a strong warning.

Source:- The Times Thursday 1 November page 15

Jail crowding alarms ministers

In the five months since David Blunkett has been home secretary,
there has been an unexplained increase of 2,000 in the prison
population, after three years of relative stability.

Ministers are concerned the situation will be exacerbated by the
shelving of plans of a planned shake up of criminal sentencing,
which included measures designed to keep thousands of minor
offenders out of prison.

The rise in prison numbers has accelerated in the past few weeks
to reach a record 68,127.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 1 November page 2

Man denies killing wife while faking

A man who uses a wheelchair denied murdering his wife yesterday,
and said she was attacked by a burglar.

Malcolm Anders, who denies murder, sat in the dock at Liverpool
crown court while the prosecution alleged that he was not disabled,
and had been practising deception for years. The court was told
there was no need for him to use the wheelchair, and that he was
capable of murdering his wife.

Linda Anders was repeatedly stabbed at the couple’s home
in December.

The trial continues.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 1 November page 12

Strangled mother not told of death threats

Social services and GPs failed to tell a woman she was at risk,
even though her schizophrenic boyfriend had told carers he had
thought about killing her, an independent inquiry has found.

Ginny Sivil was strangled by Richard Gray in February 1998 while
she was in labour with their third child. Gray had “heard voices”
in his head telling him to kill her.

Sivil was found lying outside her home but police were unable to
revive her. Her unborn child also died.

Gray, who was admitted to psychiatric hospitals 13 times between
1985 and 1998 was later found unfit to plead at Bristol crown
court. He was ordered to be detained indefinitely at Broadmoor top
security hospital.

The inquiry recorded its sympathy for Sivil’s parents who
now care for the couple’s two children.

The report for Wiltshire Health Authority and Wiltshire social
services said: “We make a number of criticisms, but no single
failure of services or professional care is found to have led to
the homicide.”

The report found there was no agreed risk assessment procedure
between the health authority and social services.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 1 November page 3

Prison Service shuts down Christian wings

A network of Christian-based prison units is to be closed
despite apparently showing marked success in the rehabilitation of

The Prison Service has decided to shut the so-called Kainos
wings at four jails – the Verne in Portland, Dorset,
Highpoint in Suffolk and Swaleside on the Isle of Sheppey,

The decision coincides with the first report from Anne Owers as
chief inspector of prison, who says that too little is being done
to aid the resettlement of offenders.

She said prisoners often left prison ill equipped to function in
the community.

The closure of the Christian wings have baffled supporters
because they claim to address the failings identified by Owers.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 1 November page

Anger as Afghan refugees told to take language

Asylum seekers who claim to be fleeing Afghanistan will face
language tests as they arrive in Britain.

The move was criticised by the Refugee Council, which warned
that Afghans who had lived in Pakistan previously may have
developed a Pakistani accent, and could be wrongly refused

As part of the crackdown on bogus claims, the government will
introduce the tests to asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Somalia and
Sri Lanka.

The home office said there was “evidence that some applicants
are falsely posing as nationals from countries with high grant
rates of asylum”.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 1 November
page 4

Scottish newspapers

Asylum seekers’ smart card equates to “yellow

A furious row broke out in the Scottish parliament yesterday
when Kenny Gibson, the SNP’s shadow social justice minister,
likened the home secretary’s proposals to issue smart cards
to asylum seekers as “the modern equivalent” of yellow stars forced
on Jews by Hitler’s regime.

The smart cards are to replace the voucher payments system and
have been criticised by campaign groups. Scottish executive
ministers repeatedly demanded that the comment be withdrawn, but
Gibson refused.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 1 November page 12

NHS trust faces debt rise to £98

Alistair Stewart, chief executive of Lothian University
Hospitals Trust, publicly admitted yesterday that he could not rule
out further job losses as the trust faced debts of £98

Stewart was speaking at the official handover of the new
£184 million, privately built Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Of
the current overspend, £16 million is due to extra work, and
supplies not agreed in the original contract.

Stewart claimed that the new hospital was not the cause of the
trust’s predicament and already 200 jobs have gone to clear
an earlier £5.3 million deficit. A taskforce has been
established to devise a strategy to deal with the debt.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 1 November page 4

Will the drugs courts work?

A page-length feature on the imminent establishment of drugs
courts in Scotland looking at the question of how effective they
will be. A summary of the treatments and counselling available to
the courts and the preparation of the sheriffs who will preside
over all the hearings.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 1 November page 17

Disabled boy to sue school on bullying

A 15-year old boy is suing North Lanarkshire Council claiming
they failed to protect him from systematic bullying at his

The boy, who has asked not to be named, claims, he has been off
school for two years after class bullies stubbed cigarettes out on
his skin.

The boy suffers from short-term memory problems and dyspraxia
which affects his co-ordination. Legal experts estimate that he
could receive damages of up to £30,000 if successful.

North Lanarkshire Council refused to comment on an individual
case during legal action.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 1 November page 5








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