A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Two officers sacked over youth jail

Two prison officers have been sacked for assaulting inmates at a
youth jail.

Staff at Portland young offenders’ institution are alleged
to have beaten and abused vulnerable inmates.

Lawyers representing the victims and penal reform groups renewed
their calls yesterday for a full public inquiry into a string of
brutality allegations at Portland, in Dorset, stretching over 14

The prison service confirmed yesterday that two officers were
dismissed after a disciplinary hearing held behind closed doors.
The two officers are expected to appeal against the decision.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 27 June page 7

Fly the flag against racism, says minister

The British need to sustain their efforts to “reclaim the flag”,
begun during the golden jubilee, and World Cup, to see off the
British National Party and the National Front, the home secretary
said last night.

David Blunkett outlined an agenda for tackling racism in a
speech to the Social Market Foundation and said “covert racism and
glass ceilings” were “often the modern face of racism”.

To confront “covert racism”, Blunkett said it was necessary not
only to tackle individual prejudice head on, but also combat the
class inequalities faced by minority ethnic groups in jobs,
housing, education, income and assets.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 27 June page 12

Thugs abuse boy who fights crime

A 12-year-old boy, who was praised by the home secretary for
helping to fight crime, has been targeted by thugs days later.

Britain’s youngest neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, Nikki
Blenkinsopp, was given a standing ovation when he addressed police
and council officials on the scheme he operates in Southwick,

But earlier this week, a group of youths gathered outside his
house and yelled threats and abuse. A brick was thrown through the
window of his neighbour, who helps run the scheme.

Nikki and his grandmother, who he lives with, were said to be
too shaken to talk about the incident yesterday.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 27 June page 7

Suspect hunted after teacher’s murder

A man with mental health problems was being sought last night
following the murder of a teacher, who was found with her throat
slashed on the side of a secluded path.

Hours after Hazel Prager’s body was found, Doraj Miah,
aged 19, walked to a hospital for people with mental health
problems, but was turned away.

Prager from north London, was visiting her parents in
Barkingside, east London, and is thought to have been attacked on
the path while returning from a swimming pool.

She had been indecently assaulted and was found almost naked by
a cyclist, although clothing was tied around her neck.

Police discovered a blood stained knife nearby and
“documentation” belonging to Miah, who had complained of hearing
voices in his head when he went to St Clement’s Hospital,
Bow, east London.

A post mortem examination was held last night to establish the
exact cause of death.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 27 June page 7

New prison

Plans to build a jail for 500 inmates in Nottinghamshire were
announced by the Prison Service last night.

Further planning applications are expected as the service tries
to cope with a record jail population.

Source:- The Times Thursday 27 June page 10

Disabled supplies ‘in poor

Provision of equipment for older people and people with
disabilities remains lamentable despite £220 million extra
funding announced by ministers two years ago for the service, a
public spending watchdog says today.

The Audit Commission reported in spring 2000 that equipment
services for people with disabilities were wasteful, badly
organised and provided some poor quality products. It now says
little progress has been achieved in many of these areas.

It claims little money has reached the services and managers
consistently complain that it seemed to have gone to higher
priorities in the health service. Almost two thirds received no
more last year, even though the money is supposed to be staggered
over three years.

“There are one or two good news stories, but regrettably we
discovered not much progress had been made,” controller of the
Audit Commission, Andrew Foster said.

“We now believe there is a case for consideration of radical
change because it just does not seem to be delivering additional
benefit to some of the most disabled people in society.”

Source:- The Times Thursday 27 June page 12

Scottish newspapers

Supporting people guidance

The Scottish executive’s guidance on supporting vulnerable
people is discriminatory according to Glasgow council.

In a scathing report, the council said the ‘Supporting People’
guidance, due to be implemented on 1 April 2003, which
differentiates between vulnerable people living in shared
accommodation and those living elsewhere, is “seriously

The guidance says extra help will be provided to those living in
shared accommodation such as hostels, but not to those living in
‘mainstream’ accommodation.

The council believes that it “effectively stops in its tracks”
other key executive policies such as the ‘Joint Futures’ agenda. An
executive spokesperson said they were aware of the initial
problems, but that development had been an open process and the
subject of wide consultation.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 27 June page 9

Social work head suspended

The head of social work for East Dunbartonshire council, Pam
Fenton, has been suspended from work following a £1.4 million
overspend in her department. The suspension came following an
initial inquiry. There is no suggestion of fraud.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 27 June page 3

Welsh newspapers

Eyesore estate takes on new identity

A community which has a name synonymous with deprivation and
crime is taking on a new identity.

The Gurnos estate in Merthyr Tydfil has a past marred by crime
and disorder problems with one of the most notorious crimes – the
unsolved arson attack that killed 21-year-old Diane Jones and her
two children in 1995.

But now the estate is celebrating a rebirth with a number of
projects aimed at regenerating the community, and improving the
quality of life for the people living there.

A £500,000 grant from the Henry Smith charity has helped to
establish the ‘Busy Bee’ family resource centre, run by the NSPCC
,which provides activities for mothers and their children with a
crèche for working mothers and after-school activities for

There is a successful crime reduction strategy in place and the
Gurnos community workshops provide a clothing and furniture
recycling centre, ceramics studio and computer suite that has
contributed to the revitalisation of the community.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 27 June page 8












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