A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Ministers to open Britain to 120,000

Thousands of foreign workers will be able to enter Britain under
plans to be unveiled by ministers this week.

The home office is expected to publish a consultation paper
designed to double the number of short-term legal economic migrants
from 60,000 a year. Two existing schemes offering “working
holidays” to young people from the Commonwealth, and providing
seasonal labour for farmers will be expanded.

The decision to go ahead with the proposals comes despite the
latest controversy over government policy towards asylum seekers,
and the row with the French over the refugee centre in Sangatte,
near Calais.

Source:- The Times Saturday 25 May page 1

Youth worker had child porn library

A volunteer youth worker, who had the largest collection of
child pornography seized in Britain, was jailed for five years.

Police discovered more than 100,000 images of children
undergoing “extreme and sometimes the most unimaginable forms of
sexual abuse”, when they raided Brian Wilkinson’s home in
Gorton, Manchester.

Wilkinson was arrested after he was seen filming children in a
local park.

At Manchester crown court, he admitted 41 offences of
distributing, taking, making and possessing indecent photographs.
He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life
and was banned from working with children.

Source:- The Times Saturday 25 May page 5

Judges urged to jail ‘acquaintance rapists’
for longer

Rapists who know their victims should face longer jail terms,
according to an independent report today.

The increasingly common offence of “acquaintance” rape should be
treated just as seriously as “stranger” rape according to the
sentencing advisory panel, which urges a radical overhaul of
sentencing for rape.

Women’s organisations welcomed the report, which is likely
to result in new guidelines by the court of appeal.

Source:- The Times Saturday 25 May page 7

Drug testing scheme to cut crime is labelled a

A scheme to tackle property crime by forcing arrested heroin and
cocaine addicts to submit to regular drug tests has been branded a

Independent analysis, commissioned by the home office, found
more than half the addicts breached their court orders and
continued using drugs.

Narcotic experts said the findings showed the drug abstinence
orders scheme was not working, and questioned ministers decisions
to extend the scheme across the country.

Roger Howard, chief executive of DrugScope, said the programme
was doomed to fail as it offered no treatment for hardened drug

Source:- The Independent Saturday 25 May page

Baby ‘failed by social

Social services failed a 13-month-old baby, who died on her own
vomit after being fed a mixture of cheesecake, cereal, milk and ice
cream by her father, a coroner said on Friday.

Following an inquest into the death of Sophie Casey, South
Tyneside coroner Terence Carney is expected to deliver a verdict
next week.

Carney said: “As far back as August there were obvious concerns
raised about the care, and the need for more intervention by social
services. On any view of the evidence that was not discharged.”

Carney had previously suggested social services provision was
inadequate. Information in case reports was erased.

The inquest was told social worker David Potts had failed to
pass the case file to a colleague before going on sick leave.

The inquest heard there were many concerns about the
child’s surroundings, including the fact that her stepfather
was a drug addict.

Sophie died at her home in South Shields in December 1999 after
the feeding incident, which left her nose, mouth and eyes covered
in vomit.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 25 May page

BBC to air child abuse videos

Disturbing scenes of paedophiles with young boys and girls will
be broadcast by the BBC, in a documentary series starting next

Youngsters will be seen sitting on the laps of paedophiles, but
subsequent sexual assaults will be blanked out.

The scenes come from video footage shot by paedophiles while
abusing their victims.

Various child protection groups expressed concerns after being
shown the clips last week, and some urged the BBC to screen
warnings before the programme starts.

Source:-The Sunday Times 26 May page 10

Who can halt the asylum express?

Britain blames France, France blames Britain, and the asylum
seekers keep coming. Can new initiatives break the deadlock?

Source:- The Sunday Times 26 May page 12-13

Refugees ‘not chasing money’

Most asylum seekers do not arrive in Europe for greater wealth,
but are driven by war and repression, according to a European Union
report on forced migration.

The findings contradict statements from ministers in Britain and
France that most refugees at the Sangatte refugee camp near Calais
are economic migrants.

“Push” factors such as war and the repression of minorities far
outweigh the “pull” factors, such as economic hardship or
Europe’s benefit system, the report for the director general
for justice and home affairs at the European Commission

Source:- The Observer Sunday 26 May page 2

Bakewell murder officers study taped

A tape recording of Stephen Downing’s confession to the
murder of Wendy Sewell is being examined by police. Downing’s
conviction of the Bakewell graveyard murder from 1973 was quashed
by the court of appeal this year.

Detectives who reopened the investigation into the murder last
month were handed the tape last week. Officers examining the
recording said last night that it “appeared to be genuine”.

The recording is allegedly of a conversation between Downing and
his girlfriend Christine Smith following his release last year.

Although Downing cannot be tried for the murder again, the
appearance of fresh evidence may have an impact on his claim for
£1 million in compensation for the time he spent in

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 26 May page 4

UK asylum seekers to be repatriated in huge

Plans are afoot for the RAF to airlift hundreds of Afghan asylum
seekers from Britain back to Afghanistan in a bid to answer growing
criticism of the failure to halt illegal entrants into Britain.

The government will face a fresh attack this week over new
asylum figures that show the crisis is getting worse for the first
quarter of the year. The number of applications has risen to a
total of 78,000 a year, but the number of removals have fallen to
1,000 a month.

The cabinet committee handling the asylum issue is planning a
tough new approach to repatriate asylum seekers from Afghanistan,
Turkey and Sri Lanka, regarded as economic migrants.

The aim is to reduce incomers by showing potential asylum
seekers in those countries that they will be returned if they reach

Source:- Independent on Sunday 26 May page 1

Nurseries fit tags to children

Electronic security tags, used to monitor psychiatric patients,
are being used on thousands of school children as young as three as
fears over child abductions and safety increase.

Children have been provided with the devices in as many as 100

Childcare groups have accused security firms of cashing in on
schools’ fears over child safety.

Electronic tags are already used to monitor mentally ill
patients in hospital and offenders on probation.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 26 May page 2

Half of all Britons drink too much

Almost half of all Britons drink so much they damage their
relationship, health, jobs or careers, according to a new

Nearly as many women as men take part in binge drinking which
leaves them incoherent, guilty about their behaviour and with
financial problems, the nationwide survey of more than 2,000 adults

The report by Dr Martin Plant who runs the Alcohol and Health
Research Centre at the University of the West of England in
Bristol, confirms that alcohol abuse is a far more significant
problem than drug use or smoking in Britain.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 26 May page 6

No school is free of drugs

There is a drugs problem in every school in Britain, according
to two leading head teachers’ unions.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Head Teachers
Association, said yesterday: “Any school that doesn’t think
it has a drugs problem doesn’t know its children.”

Peter Walker, adviser on drugs to the National Association of
Head teachers, said: “You show me a head teacher that says they
haven’t got a drugs problem and I will show you a liar. I
mean infant schools, primary schools and secondary schools.”

Walker said the levels of drug taking inside schools was fairly
low. But he admitted there were young people in schools who
developed drugs problems or deal drugs, and advocated exclusion for
the dealers so other “innocent” children were not sucked into drug

Both Walker and Dunford called for drugs education starting in
primary schools to get the anti drugs message across.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 26 May page 7

Prison worked, says truants’ mother

The first woman to be sentenced for failing to ensure her
children attended school regularly, admitted yesterday that she
deserved her sentence.

Patricia Amos, who was freed from Holloway prison in London last
week after a judge reduced her sentence on appeal from 60 to 28
days, said she had been brought to her senses by her experience.
She would now ensure her children attended school, she

Her two daughters Emma, 15, and Jackie, 13, had woeful
attendance rates at Banbury comprehensive school in Oxfordshire,
and in spite of numerous letters and court summons, Amos failed to
ensure the girls did not play truant.

After 14 days in prison, Amos said the “whole horrible thing

Source:- The Guardian Monday 27 May page 5

Ministers to tackle truancy

A new campaign against truancy is being planned by ministers,
after nearly 2,000 children were found out of school during a
series of police checks across Britain earlier this month.

The two-week crackdown found that more than 90 per cent of
primary school age children, who were not in classrooms, had their
parents’ permission.

Police and social workers stopped 627 primary age children, and
1,483 secondary school age children out of school during the
operation, according to internal department for education and
skills statistics.

One government source said: “There are going to be a series of
these initiatives. There’s no point doing it once. It’s
got to be a concerted action.”

Source:- The Independent Monday 27 May page

Kurd sews lips together in Sangatte protest

A Kurdish asylum seeker has sewn his lips together in a bid to
attract attention to the severely overcrowded conditions at the
refugee camp at Sangatte, near Calais.

Azad Hasan made the statement in a copy of the mass hunger
strikes among asylum detainees in Australia, where around 70 sewed
their lips together in protests in camps there.

The Red Cross camp can house around 600 refugees, but currently
holds about double the number.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 27 may page 5

‘Botched’ nursing costs anger

Health secretary Alan Milburn has received letters from one in
three MPs expressing concern about the “badly botched” government
policy on nursing care costs.

A “free” nursing scheme was meant to refund those residents in
care homes who paid their own nursing charges.

But the money was not paid to them, but to the homes who were
expected to pass it on in lower bills.

Many homes now face accusations of siphoning tax payers’ money
by raising rather than reducing residents’ fees.

Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on older people,
said families with relatives in a care home did not know where to

As many as one in five people eligible for “free” nursing care
were still waiting for a reduction, he said.

Payments totalling almost £12 million were outstanding for
8,330 people.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 27 May page 4

Labour to abandon one third of targets

Labour has been accused of moving the goalposts as the
government plans to scrap many of its performance targets for
public services.

Ministers believe that up to a third of the 160 targets set two
years ago will disappear when the Chancellor unveils a three-year
public spending plan in July.

Among those likely to be dropped are pledges to cut the number
of under 25s using hard drugs, to reduce repeat offending by drug
users, and to cut the number of pupils excluded from schools.

Downing Street and the Treasury admitted the number of targets
would be reduced substantially, but denied the move was aimed at
forestalling embarrassment.

One Whitehall source said: “Some of the targets have been
overtaken by events or policy changes. They have been a useful
tool. But what matters is the standard of service to the public,
not an arbitrary target set some time ago.”

Source:- The Independent Monday 27 May page

Teenage drugs cheaper than alcohol

It is cheaper to get high on drugs than alcohol, according to
figures yesterday.

Plunging street prices have made Ecstasy and LSD far easier for
young people to afford than beer or cigarettes, criminal
intelligence chiefs warned.

Soaring taxes on alcohol and tobacco have also conspired to make
drugs more attractive.

An Ecstasy tablet can be purchased for the price of three and a
half pints of lager, and it has become cheaper to take an LSD trip
than to buy 20 cigarettes, the figures released to MPs show.

Liberal Democrat MP David Laws, who obtained the figures on drug
prices from home office ministers, warned that young people have a
financial incentive to use drugs.

Source:- The Daily Mail Monday 27 May page 1


Scottish newspapers

School drug dealers are to face an extra five years in

Those convicted of dealing drugs to school children and crack
cocaine dealers are likely to face an extra five years in jail, as
the Scottish executive indicates its intention to follow the
proposals of home secretary David Blunkett.

Crack cocaine is reckoned to be the fast growing illegal drug in
Scotland where there had previously been less known use than the
rest of the UK. School gate dealers have hit prominence after
several recent high profile cases of young children involved in
hard drugs.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 26 May page 1

Superbug sweeps Scottish hospitals

A new superbug is sweeping Scottish hospitals and has resulted
in the first death north of the border.

The bugs, extended-spectrum beta-lactamese (ESBL), neutralise
antibiotics and cause fatal blood poising. One of the
country’s newest hospitals, Hairmyres in Lanarkshire, has
experienced dozens of cases and one death so far. Doctors fear that
ESBL will spread as widely as MRSA which infects 10,000 Scots each
year and kills 450.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 26 May page 1

Street ban planned for young offenders

Young offenders could be banned from the streets after dark if
controversial plans of the Labour Party go ahead.

The plans, part of the party’s pre-manifesto document
intended for the Scottish parliament elections next year, include
the creation of youth courts and new anti-social behaviour orders
(ASBOs), which include powers to local authorities to ban children
under 16 years from the streets after a certain time or from
designated places. Currently, ASBOs which were introduced in 1999,
only apply to older teenagers.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 26 May page 12

Welsh newspapers

Drug addicts need more centres

More money should be spent on drug rehabilitation after new
figures from the Welsh

assembly showed 1,100 drug related deaths in the past eight

According to Peter Black, southwest Wales Liberal Democrat
assembly member,

Wales should have a series of heroin treatment centres where
addicts can be gradually

weaned off their fatal habit.

Black said that it was clear that the present drug laws were
failing as the number of

drug related deaths and the number of addicts continue to rise.
He added that the current

waiting lists for treatment for drug addiction were

Source:- Western Mail Monday 27 May page 5

Keep unruly pupils out of schools, say union

More special units are needed to take disruptive children out of
the classroom, teachers’

leaders have warned.

Geraint Davies of the National Association of Schoolmasters and
the Union of Women

Teachers, said that he believed that some unruly children in
Welsh schools simply should

not be there and he called for increased funding for specialist
referral units.

Gethin Lewis, secretary of the National Union of Teachers Cymru,
also called for an

expansion of the units that would allow disruptive children
professional help.

He said: “Every authority in Wales should have a pupil referral
unit (PRU). A number of

authorities in Wales do not have PRUs. We need appropriate
funding to ensure every

authority has got a proper service of educational psychologists,
through the medium of

both English and Welsh so the particular needs of disruptive
pupils can be supported.”

The Welsh assembly has set targets for reducing permanent
exclusions by one-third. In its

document ‘The Learning Country’, it points out that the emphasis
should be on good

practice, including use of referral units along with
reintegration, home tuition and

education social work.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 27 May page 6

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