Friday 23 August 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Emergency scramble to vet 25,000 school

The government was forced to take action yesterday to close
loopholes in the vetting process designed to protect schoolchildren
from child abusers, following the tragedy in Soham.

After the murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, education
secretary Estelle Morris has reversed a three-month policy that
allows teachers to be temporarily employed without a full criminal
records check.

Morris has demanded round-the-clock working to clear a backlog
of 25,000 checks that is threatening to cause teacher and other
staffing shortages in hundreds of schools at the start of next

A Westminster source said last night: “They have panicked in the
knowledge that the public will be alarmed that teachers could be
working with children without a full check having been carried

The emergency measures were demanded to try and ensure that the
Criminal Records Bureau issues full checks on the 25,000
prospective school staff before 4 September.

Staff at the bureau based in Merseyside will work weekends in an
attempt to deal with all applications for standard and enhanced
disclosure checks. The organisation will also courier rather than
post disclosures to local education authorities, schools and
individuals, in a bid to make sure that everyone has the crucial
clearance document before the start of the autumn term.

Source:- The Times Friday 23 August page 1

Child sex offenders face lie detector

Lie detector tests are to be used on convicted paedophiles,
under proposals at the home office, to determine whether they will
re-offend, it emerged yesterday.

Initial trials on 32 convicted offenders found that a third of
those taking the polygraph tests lied when they told probation
officers that they were not having unsupervised contact with
children. As a result “significant action” was taken in three cases
to prevent them re-offending.

The home office is now considering a national pilot scheme
involving up to 200 offenders, which would be the first time such
tests have been used within the criminal justice system in

Source:- The Times Friday 23 August page 5

Autistic boy’s ‘free’

Two schoolboys have offered to befriend a young autistic boy for
free, after his mother advertised the fact that she would pay
children money to play with her son.

James Crumbie and Wayde Smith have volunteered to help
four-year-old Jack Upfold of Thurnby, Leicester.

They were among hundreds of children who responded when his
mother, Emma, advertised for playmates for her son who was lonely
because his condition makes it difficult for him to make

Jack’s father, Adam Rumsey, hoped those who responded would
contact other autism sufferers.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 23 August page 8

Homosexual father detained for beating daughter to

A local authority has changed its child protection procedures
following an incident where a single father beat his four-year-old
daughter to death with a leather belt.

Nicole Smith was not on the at risk register at Greenwich social
services, London, when she died in July last year, but she was
known to the department.

At the Old Bailey yesterday, her father, Elvis Smith, was
ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure psychiatric unit
after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished

Judge Martin Stephens said it would be inappropriate to comment
until after the report of the inquiry was published later this

Greenwich area child protection committee said it would
implement the report’s recommendations, and had already made
improvements in support to children and their families. It said
Smith’s attack on Nicole could not have been predicted.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 23 August page 14

Scottish newspapers

Gangsters channel refugees through Scotland

The Russian mafia is working with Scottish and Irish criminals
to channel illegal immigrants into the UK through Scotland at a
charge of £3,000 each.

According to a special investigation, more than 400 illegal
immigrants have been detained in the last year in Dumfries and
Galloway, a vital link in the chain. The home office confirmed last
night that it was working with police in the area to tackle the

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 23 August page 1

Reprieve for Peterhead prison

The Scottish executive is set to confirm that Peterhead prison
will remain open.

Proposals to close Peterhead as part of an overall review
including the building of private prisons provoked severe
criticisms from campaign groups and criminal justice experts. The
decision to reprieve Peterhead will save its world-renowned ‘STOP’
programme in working with serious sex offenders.

Source:- The Herald Friday 23 August page 1

Welsh newspapers

Investigation launched as infertility doctor

Wales’ leading infertility doctor has been suspended from
his post at the University Hospital of Wales.

Lukas Klentzeris, director of the Cardiff Assisted Reproduction
Unit, is under investigation by the hospital, but it not thought
that his suspension is related to patient safety or the quality of
treatment provided.

The Cardiff clinic is licensed to carry out IVF treatment with
couples’ own eggs and sperm and donated eggs and sperm, donor
insemination, intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and the
storage of sperm and embryos.

A spokesman for the hospital said that as responsible employers
Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust would not discuss in detail
employment issues concerning individual members of staff.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 23 August page 1

Juvenile prison’s safety criticised

A private prison for juvenile offenders has been accused of
putting profits before the welfare and safety of inmates.

Ashfield Young Offender’s Institute in Pucklechurch,
Bristol, houses many young lawbreakers from south Wales.

A report by the Howard League which campaigns for reform of the
prison system says that low levels of supervision at the institute
mean that boys’ safety cannot be guaranteed.

The report highlights the root of the centre’s problems as
an inability to recruit and retain appropriate staff because of
poor pay and conditions offered by the prison’s operators,
Premier Prisons.

Charlotte Day, who wrote the report, said that Premier had been
taking on staff without any previous experience of dealing with
young people or of working in a custodial environment.

A spokesperson for Premier Prisons said that it was a
well-recorded fact that there had been problems at Ashfield, and
one of them had been the difficulty in recruiting and retaining
staff. He added that a recent recruitment drive had been highly

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday August 22 page

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