Monday 2 September 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Applications for asylum rise 4 per cent in three

The number of asylum applications has risen by four per cent
according to the latest figures.

Statistics for April to June also reveal that the backlog of
cases waiting decisions has risen for the first time for two years,
and only a third of failed applicants have been removed.

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes said the targets for
removing 30,000 failed applicants a year would have to be revised

The numbers applying for asylum from April to June reached
20,400 compared with 19,520 in January to March.

Source:- The Times Saturday 31 August page 10

Disabled woman loses battle with Labour

A disabled woman who claims the Labour party discriminated
against her, failed to bring a disability discrimination case
against the party.

Helen Garrod claims she was rejected for a job on Tony
Blair’s 1997 general election campaign team because of her
disability. She claims she has suffered psychological problems as a

Garrod, from Helston, Cornwall was born with dystrophic dwarfism
and uses a wheelchair.

But the Central London Employment Tribunal chaired ruled there
was insufficient evidence to support her claim that post traumatic
stress disorder prevented her from launching her case for
four-and-a-half years.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 31 August page 9

Huntley’s silence hinders doctors

Doctors trying to establish the psychiatric state of Ian Huntley
are finding their task increasingly difficult as he has said
virtually nothing since entering hospital.

A team of psychiatrists at top security hospital Rampton have 16
days left to assess whether Huntley, is mentally fit to stand trial
for abducting and murdering Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman from
Soham, Cambridgeshire.

It is understood that Huntley has given only a few monosyllabic
answers since he was admitted to the Nottinghamshire hospital on 20
August, after a police doctor became concerned about his

Huntley was examined by two psychiatrists, including one from
Rampton, but the final decision to take him to the hospital was
made by a Cambridgeshire social worker.

A source said he had shown classic signs of schizophrenia.

Source:- The Sunday Times 1 September page 4

Criminal vetting backlog spreads

The crisis over delays to checks at the Criminal Records Bureau
is spreading from education to the voluntary sector and health and
social services amid calls for a public inquiry.

Efforts have been focused on pushing through 22,355 education
related checks on criminal records before the start of term this

But day nurseries, child-minders and day care centers are also
being hit by the delays. By the beginning of July, 65,000
applications had been made to the CRB to cover the sector, but a
month later only 8,000 had been processed.

The backlog has also delayed checks on up to 10,000 agency
nurses until next year.

Source:- The Sunday Times 1 September page 4

Protest over asylum center

More than 1,500 people protested over the proposed accommodation
centre for asylum seekers at a former air base in Throckmorton,

Among them, 750 wore numbered placards to represent each of the
asylum seekers expected to be housed there.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 September page 4

Thames torso detectives fear repeat

Detectives investigating the case where a five-year-old
boy’s torso was found dumped in the River Thames fear the
case could be the first of many if they are not able to solve the

“The ritual killing of children is an absolute reality,”
Detective Inspector Will O’Reilly said. “We do not want this
to gain a foothold in the country. That is why, one year on, we are
still working flat out to try and solve this case.”

Detectives say they have now narrowed down
‘Adam’s’ country of origin, and will be focusing
attention there.

The torso was spotted on 21 September last year in the Thames
close to Tower Bridge.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 September page 12

Drug rule change will see 20,000 prisoners

Prison Service rules have been secretly relaxed by the home
office to allow up to 20,000 more prisoners to be released under
its electronic tagging scheme, according to a leaked government

In a desperate measure to reduce the soaring prison population,
home secretary David Blunkett has told governors to change rules
allowing prisoners previously ineligible for early release to be

Until now, anyone in prison for any offence who had ever been
convicted of possessing drugs was automatically banned from taking
part in the scheme, in which prisoners are tagged and released two
months before the end of their sentences.

But governors have been told to ignore previous convictions for
possessing drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and consider
releasing them.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 1 September page 2

Tories will seek parents’ pledge on pupil

Headmasters should be allowed to refuse school places to
children whose parents refuse to guarantee their good behaviour,
the Conservative party will propose this week.

In his first significant policy announcement, Iain Duncan Smith
will propose giving statutory powers to headmasters to enforce
home-school behaviour contracts, which are signed by parents and
designed to set standards of behaviour and commitment to

The policy paper called “Children left behind – the crisis
in inner city education” will say that parents who refuse to sign
the contracts could have their children turned away from

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 1 September page 2

Disabled children sue over triple diptheria

The manufacturer of the MMR vaccine is being sued over claims
that another of its triple inoculations has caused cerebral palsy
and autism in hundreds of British children.

A group of 120 disabled children have joined a class action
which claims their illnesses were caused by the three in one
diptheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine made by Glaxo Wellcome and
the Wellcome Foundation.

Glaxo Wellcome is now part of GlaxoSmithKline, the company which
is facing a separate claim by several thousand children whose
autism was allegedly triggered by the company’s jab for
measles, mumps and rubella.

The government has previously admitted that the DPT vaccine can
cause problems in some children and paid limited compensation to
victims under the 1979 Vaccine Damages Payments Act.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 1 September page 6

Violence at child jail ‘is running out of

Violence, bullying and sexual assaults on staff at
Britain’s first child prison are spiralling out of control,
it emerged last night.

Aggression and intimidation exists at all levels at Medway
Secure Training Centre, which houses some of the country’s
most persistent young offenders.

Sexual assaults on female staff by the inmates are so regular
that parts of the £30 million centre are no-go areas for

An investigation has now been launched.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 1 September page 41

NHS land sell-off helps to cure housing

The NHS is set to agree its largest property sell-off, which
will release a stream of lucrative sites for new homes in return
for £400 million plus a share of developers’

In the deal, 120 hospitals, asylums and redundant pieces of land
will be freed over the next three to five years. Many of them are
in urban areas and include Victorian builds, which provide a rich
seam of period property for house builders.

The NHS’s property arm NHS Estates is in detailed
discussion with a joint venture set up between Miller Group and
Bank of Scotland.

Source:- The Times Monday 2 September page 3

Checks on school staff fall short

More than 7,000 records of school staff have not been checked in
time for the start of the new school year, the home office admitted
last night.

The failure by the Criminal Records Bureau means that pupils in
all parts of the country will miss lessons.

All school staff must be checked by the bureau, set up in March
to ensure paedophiles cannot gain access to children. It is mainly
concerned with offences against children, but it will also check
for violent crime.

Source:- The Times Monday 2 September page 4

Reading with a parent calms unruly children

Antisocial behaviour among disruptive children who fight, steal
and lie, can be significantly reduced through regular reading with
a parent, according to researchers.

A team from the Institute of Psychiatry observed considerable
improvements in the behaviour of more than 100 five and
six-year-olds in an inner London borough after 10 weeks of regular
reading with their parents.

The project was funded with a £500,000 department of health

Stephen Scott, senior lecturer in child and adolescent
psychiatry at the institute, who led the research, said the study
provided clear evidence that simple, focused parenting programmes
could be highly effective in improving behaviour from a very young

Source:- The Times Monday 2 September page 8

Move to improve child protection

Directors of social services will today set out plans for
fundamental reform of child protection, in the wake of the Victoria
Climbie case.

In a paper circulated to MPs and chief constables, they call for
closer integration of social services, education, police and NHS
teams along lines pioneered in Vermont in the US.

A public inquiry into the death of Victoria, led by Lord laming,
is due to report to ministers in the autumn on lessons to be
learned from the murder of the eight-year-old from the Ivory Coast
who died in London in February 2000.

Victoria’s great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and her lover,
Carl Manning, are serving life sentences for the killing.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 2 September page 5

Scottish newspapers

Courts fail at risk children
The Scottish executive has condemned the legal system in
Scotland for failing children at risk after a court custody battle
ended with a mother and her children homeless, begging on the
streets and fleeing from the police.
The executive’s attack on the courts followed a case in which
two children, who, despite having alleged that their father
had physically abused them, were ordered to live with him by Judge
Lord Dawson.
The case has attracted the attention of social workers, child
protection agencies, MSPs and women’s groups because of the blatant
disregard the justice system has shown the children.
Commenting on the failure of the court to listen to the
children, the executive said: “The Children (Scotland) Act 1995
states that the child’s best interests must be the paramount
consideration of the court.
“The court must also give the child the chance to express a
Source:- Sunday Herald 1 September pages 2 and 10

Postcode lottery
Men accused
of rape are six times more likely to face prosecution in some areas
of Scotland than in others, new figures have revealed.

While 38 per cent of alleged rapes in
the Central Scotland police area over the last four years resulted
in court action, in Dumfries and Galloway the figure was just 6.1
per cent. Of the other six police force areas, only two – Lothian
and Borders, and Tayside – recorded rape prosecution rates above 10
per cent.

The new figures, prepared by the Scottish executive, reveal that
between 1997 and 2000, only six of the 98 alleged rapes reported in
the Dumfries and Galloway police area ended up in court.

Iraina McGroarty, of the Dumfries-based South West Scotland Rape
Crisis Centre, said: “These figures are a grave cause for concern
and immensely depressing. They leave me all but speechless. What we
need is an inquiry into why they are so poor.”

Source:- Scotland On Sunday 1
Child sex ring
Fife police are to question a
number of men, including a St Andrew’s University lecturer,
following allegations made by a five-year-old girl and her mother
that a paedophile ring is operating in Dunfermline.
Fife police have confirmed they
have approached the procurator fiscal for guidance on how to pursue
the matter.
Source:- The Scotsman 2
Psychologists claim
ecstasy may not be dangerous
Three experts have suggested
ecstasy might not be dangerous and people were being misled about
the drug, findings which have sparked a furious reaction.
Psychologists have criticised
studies which claim the drug causes long-term brain damage and
mental health problems.
Paul Betts, whose daughter Leah,
died after taking the drug, described the claims as
Source:- The Herald 2 September
page 1

Welsh newspapers

Poppy Day cash pays for work passed on by

More than £500,000 in appeal money raised for the annual
Poppy Day is being used every year to help cash-strapped

The Royal British Legion says that it is being forced to pay for
adaptations to the homes of older people, which is normally the
responsibility of local government.

Bill Pinney, the president of the Newbridge branch in Wales,
said people would be outraged if they knew that some of the money
they donated was being used to prop up public services.

He added that Care and Repair agencies acting on behalf of local
authorities were referring cases to the charity when they became
aware that the older person was an ex-serviceman or was a relative
of one.

Monmouth assembly member (AM) David Davies said that he would
take the matter up with the Welsh Assembly, and he added that he
felt it was disgraceful that local authorities were abdicating
their responsibilities towards older people and using charities to
pay for work that they should be doing.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 2 September page 1

Christian charity for ex-vicar on sex offenders’

Church leaders have defended their decision to allow a former
vicar, who is on the sex offenders’ register, to sing in a
church choir alongside children.

The parochial church council of St Mary’s Church at
Overton, near Wrexham have accepted Jason Kennett Opwood, as a
church member although two years ago he received a police caution
when pornographic images of young boys were found on his

Following the caution he was placed on the sex offenders
register and was suspended from his position as vicar of a north
Wales parish.

The parish council of St Mary’s says they are aware of Mr
Opwood’s position, and that he and his family have been
accepted within a loving and forgiving Christian community. The
church has a child protection policy in place.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 2 September page 3

So Brave I Won’t Get A Penny

The headteacher at the heart of a controversial alleged slapping
case may never receive compensation for her 18-month ordeal.

Marjorie Evans was convicted of slapping a pupil at St
Mary’s junior school in Caldicot, south Wales, but the
verdict was later overturned by the court of appeal.

She has since returned to her post and says that she wants to
sue the education authority following her suspension for allegedly
hitting the 10-year-old boy in the face. But she has been warned
that her bid for compensation may fail because she did not complain
of stress at the time. She said that because she had been brave
during adversity, and did not complain of stress at the time she
was unlikely to get a penny.

Following the court of Appeal decision a report by the Welsh
assembly was highly critical of the way the affair had been handled
and the assembly education minister, Jane Davidson, vowed that
there would never be a repeat of the way that Marjorie Evans’
case was conducted.

Source:- Welsh Mirror Monday 2 September page 11

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