A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Labour opens up drug laws

An overhaul of the drug laws was announced by the home secretary
yesterday. But David Blunkett denied that cannabis would be
legalised eventually.

Possession of cannabis will be treated on a “seize and warn”
basis by police in London from this autumn, and by next July for
the rest of Britain.

Blunkett confirmed his decision to reclassify the drug from
class B to class C, but said the police will be given new powers of
arrest if the offence involves children, public disorder or a
“flagrant disregard for the law”.

The home secretary confirmed the maximum prison sentence for
trafficking cannabis will remain at 14 years.

The measures include a £183 million boost for drug
treatment over the next three years, an expansion of heroin
prescription for hard core addicts, and a licensing of addicts
injecting themselves under medical supervision.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 11 July page 1

Booth calls for steps to tackle crisis in

Cherie Blair called for an end to overcrowded prisons last
night, at a lecture in central London.

The prime minister’s wife urged there to be more use of
community sentences, saying the soaring prison population was
frustrating attempts to rehabilitate prisoners and break the cycle
of re-offending.

“The huge increase in numbers and the prevalence of short term
sentences is crippling any attempt at a constructive approach to
prison,” she said at a Longford Lecture on law.

Home office figures showed this week the prison population is
71,360 with just 293 places remaining.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 11 July page 5

‘Chaotic’ care left Broadmoor man free to

A catalogue of errors by social services and the home office
resulted in a former Broadmoor patient murdering a young woman when
he was released back into the community, an inquiry revealed

Winston Williams was convicted of stabbing 25-year-old Katie
Kazmi 77 times two years ago, and then concealing her body in his
flat in Reading, Berkshire for four days.

“Serious shortcomings” in his treatment and care before he
committed the murder were highlighted in the inquiry, commissioned
by the Thames Valley health authority, including an almost complete
failure to effectively supervise him.

Williams, who suffered schizophrenia and who was a habitual drug
user, was sent to Broadmoor in June 1979 for stabbing two people in
London the previous year.

In 1991, Williams was released from secure hospital under home
office licence, but was then readmitted for 11 months during 1994
after refusing to take his medication and threatening to kill his
social worker.

After his release, and despite his dangerous record, his care
and treatment was “unplanned and chaotic”, the inquiry says.

Among the serious shortcomings identified was poor communication
between agencies, a failure to apply effective supervision in the
community and ineffective monitoring of his drug abuse.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 11 July page 7

‘Nasty’ tenants register

A national register of “nasty neighbours” is being planned, in a
bid to curb anti social behaviour among housing tenants.

Campaign groups fighting poverty condemned the move, which is
due to be debated by MPs and sponsored by Labour MP Frank

But yesterday the government tabled amendments to Field’s
bill to make the plans compatible with the European human rights

The amendments remove Field’s plans for automatic one-year
disqualification from all housing benefit for tenants guilty of
anti-social behaviour twice in three years. Instead courts will be
asked to declare that individuals have been convicted of anti
social acts.

The plans, which are part of a government plan to dock housing
benefit from anti social tenants, do not specify the rate at which
benefit would be withdrawn. It is likely to suggest 40 per cent of
benefit payments are docked.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 11 July page 10

Bail for refugee held over ‘muti’ ritual

A woman arrested in connection with the suspected ritual killing
of a young boy, whose body was found in the river Thames, London
last September, was released on bail last night.

The arrested woman is of West African origin and is an asylum
seeker who fled to Britain last year from the civil war in Sierra

Police were alerted to the woman by officials in Glasgow, who
became suspicious about her. A team of police kept her flat in
Glasgow, where she lives alone, under surveillance.

She was given the flat for herself and her two children aged
seven and 11, who have been taken into care after concerns that she
was leaving them alone.

Detectives have described the arrest, the first made in
connection with the 10-month inquiry, as a significant

Source:- The Times Thursday 11 July page 9

Care of the elderly is in crisis, say

The closure of a growing number of care homes could force
Britain into a crisis of care for older people, according to the
Conservative party leader.

Iain Duncan Smith will today begin a campaign to highlight the
plight of older people, many of whom are forced to sell their homes
to pay for care.

Duncan Smith will publish results of a Conservative party study
that will show the “crisis in care for the elderly is bigger than
anyone has appreciated so far”.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 11 July page 10

Anger after parent who tries to butt teacher avoids

A magistrates’ decision not to jail a violent father who
attacked his son’s head teacher, has been criticised by
teachers’ leaders, who claim the case sends out the wrong
message to parents.

Shawn Gladding admitted going to Angel Road Middle School in
Norwich, pinning the head teacher to the wall and trying to butt

Norwich magistrates’ court was told yesterday that
Gladding released the head teacher after the deputy head and
another teacher intervened.

Gladding said he was angry because the school had not done
enough to tackle the alleged bullies of his nine-year-old son.

The court ruled the assault was less serious as the head teacher
had managed to move his head out of the way of the attack.

Gladding was ordered to obey an evening curfew for four months
and to do 180 hours of community service. He was also ordered to
pay £60 costs.

Teachers leaders’ said the decision to show leniency gave
the wrong impression, particularly as earlier this year education
secretary Estelle Morris announced a crackdown on violent

Source:- The Independent Thursday 11 July page

Welsh newspapers

Site earmarked for refugees

A private consortium has earmarked a former mental hospital as
accommodation for 1,000 asylum seekers.

The group is understood to have bid more than £1.6million
for part of the 53 acre St David’s hospital, Carmarthen, with
its complex of 20 buildings, which is owned by the Welsh

Carmarthen county councillor Arthur Davies,has branded the
proposal explosive. He said that housing asylum seekers on the site
was inflammatory, and added that a housing estate close to the site
was already a hotspot for vandalism and teenage gangs.

A home office spokesperson denied the site was to be used for
asylum seekers.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 11 July page 1 and 9

Church to check volunteers’ criminal

Thousands of volunteers working with children in chapel and
Sunday schools could soon be subjected to criminal record

The general assembly of the Presbyterian church of Wales is
expected to back the proposals next week in Lampeter.

The Reverend Ifan Roberts, general secretary designates, said
the church was determined to do all in its power to safeguard

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 11 July page 11

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