A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Police call for softer line on heroin

Heroin and cocaine users should be sent for treatment rather
than prosecuted, according to Britain’s chief constables today.

They also intend to take a more relaxed attitude to those
caught with small amounts of cannabis – which is to be downgraded to a Class C
drug this year – adopting the approach used in the pilot scheme in south London.

The change is in line with the approach expected from the
Home Affairs Select Committee, which is to report on the subject this month. It
is expected to call for cannabis and Ecstasy to be downgraded and for a greater
emphasis placed on treatment for heroin users.

The chief constables are against the downgrading of Ecstasy,
though, and remain opposed to the decriminalisation of drugs.

Source:- The Times  Thursday 2 May page 1

Blair persists with plan to dock truants’ benefit

Tony Blair suggested the government was prepared to restrict
benefits to improve social behaviour yesterday.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: “The vast majority of
people in this country will support the idea that if people get benefits they
owe some responsibility in return.”

He gave his strongest backing to plans to dock housing
benefit from anti social tenants and also refused to back down on his plans to
remove child benefit from parents of children who truant.

Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith accused Blair of
resorting to gimmicks because of the elections. Blair insisted the government
was prepared to look at whatever measures were necessary to tackle youth crime

Source:- The Times  Thursday 2 May page 2

500 community officers to patrol London by summer

London’s streets will be patrolled by 500 community support
officers as a result of a £69m cash boost for the Metropolitan police yesterday
from last month’s Budget.

The officers will carry out patrol and guard duties in
central London and other high priority areas. The announcement came as the home
office revealed how it is to spend £340m provided from the Budget.

Home secretary David Blunkett allocated £171m to provide
more prison places as the jail population hit 70,681.

The Metropolitan police hopes to recruit the first community
support officers next month and put them on the streets by the summer.

Source:- The Times  Thursday 2 May page 2

Canadian school ban on sex case teacher

Teacher Amy Gehring, who was cleared of having underage sex
with two British boys, was yesterday banned from teaching in her native Canada
after being found guilty of professional misconduct.

Gehring was also banned from reapplying for her teaching
licence for 10 years and ordered to pay £4,300 costs by a panel representing
the Ontario College of Teachers.

She was found guilty of seven counts of professional
misconduct at yesterday’s hearing at Toronto, for abusing students,
“Physically, sexually, verbally, psychologically or emotionally.”

In the UK she was cleared of having indecently assaulted
boys age 14 and 15 in her class at a Surrey school, although she later admitted
having sex with a 16-year-old from a previous school.

Gehring, who did not attend the hearing, said in an
interview she may appeal against the order to pay £4,300 costs because she had
offered to give up her teaching licence and indicated she had no plans to
continue a career as a teacher.

Source:- The Guardian  Thursday 2 May page 7

Welsh papers

Clywch inquiry: Ex-girlfriend of Owen

The former girlfriend of alleged paedophile John Owen has
been suspended after fresh allegations were made by one of his victims.

Theda Williams, an English teacher at Rhydfelen
comprehensive school in Pontypridd, south Wales was suspended from her post
yesterday after police launched an investigation into the claims.

The Clywch inquiry has been set up to investigate
allegations of sexual abuse of pupils by Owen, a former drama teacher at the
school. He was to stand trial on criminal charges relating to the alleged
incidents last year but killed himself before the trial took place.

Earlier this week the inquiry heard evidence from a former
pupil that Williams had witnessed an incident where Owen had forced him to
strip naked as part of a drama rehearsal. The inquiry was suspended earlier
this week pending police investigations.

Source:- Western Mail
Thursday 2 May page 1


One of south Wales’ best-known charity workers has resigned
from her post.

Lainey Clayton left the Kidney Research Unit for Wales
Foundation (KRUF) yesterday after 10 years’ involvement with fundraising

Since last year she has been the charity’s acting chief
executive and during her time with the charity has helped to raise £11.25m for
kidney research in Wales.

The last year has been a controversial one for KRUF because
of links through former chairperson Max Gabe-Wilkinson, with another charity
that was wound up following an investigation by the Charity Commission.

The Foundation for Nephrology was accused of a “clear abuse
of the public’s trust” after it was found that only a tenth of the £7m it
raised went to good causes.

The commission is also investigating the high administrative
costs of a subsidiary company of KRUF.

Source:- South Wales
Wednesday 1 May page 12

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