Tuesday 3 September 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Grey staff keep services going as young shun public

The public sector is facing a staffing crisis because young
people no longer want to work in it, and nearly a third of its
workforce are over 50, according to an Audit Commission report

The report says the public sector age profile presented a
“demographic timebomb” because once older workers retired no-one
would fill their places.

A spokesperson for the commission said that school leavers
interviewed in focus groups said the main reason they did not want
to join the public sector was because of low pay and low

The report also finds that staff across all public services are
leaving in droves because they are overwhelmed with government
targets, paper work, lack of resources and long working hours.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 3 September page

Carr may be put in safe house on bail

Maxine Carr’s lawyers have warned that the woman who has
been charged in connection with the murders of Holly Wells and
Jessica Chapman could soon be out on bail.

Carr’s legal team are looking for a suitable place to put
her without risk of reprisal after the anger generated by the
murder of the two 10-year-old schoolgirls.

Carr was a teaching assistant in their class at St
Andrew’s primary school in Soham, Cambridgeshire, and has
been charged with perverting the course of justice.

Her solicitor, Roy James, said the media coverage had confused
the public. “People have misunderstood the position – she has
not been charged with the girls’ murder, and if the media
background to the case is ignored, she would be granted bail as a
matter of course.”

When she appeared at a court in Peterborough, a crowd shouted
abuse and threw eggs. Carr was remanded in custody for her own
safety and is being held in the high security segregation unit at
Holloway prison.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 3 September page 3

Double killing case remand

A woman accused of murdering her mother and stepfather was
remanded in custody yesterday.

Sonya Hopcroft, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is charged with
stabbing Jack Hopcroft, aged 80, and his wife, Carolyn, aged 42, at
their home in Aylesbury on Sunday.

Helen Draycott for the prosecution asked for Sonya Hopcroft to
be remanded in custody under the Mental Health Act until a bed
could be found in a secure unit.

Magistrates remanded her to attend a preliminary hearing at
Reading crown court on September 10.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 3 September page 4

Chip implant will keep Danielle on track

An 11-year-old girl has become the first child in Britain to
have a microchip tracking device implanted in her arm so that she
can be traced at all times.

The parents of Danielle Duval decided to act following the
murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. At least six other
children are likely to have the same procedure.

The tracking device will be implanted by Kevin Warwick,
Professor of Cybernetics at Reading university, in the next few

The microchip will emit radio waves that can be picked up by
mobile phone networks and would allow her location to be pinpointed
on a computer.

The device will be inserted in her arm at a cost of around

Source:- The Times Tuesday 3 September page 5

Checks on teachers ‘could last

Delays in the system for vetting people who intend to work with
children could last until Christmas, a senior Labour figure said
last night.

As the Criminal Records Bureau promised to meet its pledge to
issue 22,000 urgent applications by tomorrow, Labour education
chairperson of the Local Government Association, Graham Lane, said
the chaos could last until December.

The Merseyside-based bureau run by the home office and private
firm Capita said that the remaining 2,800 urgent applications would
be issued by tomorrow.

But, it said, a further 6,000 outstanding checks were a result
of “errors” by applicants on their forms.

The £940 million bureau is facing the prospect of an
inquiry by the National Audit Office into its chaotic launch in
April, which has resulted in two sets of emergency measures being
implemented to deal with the backlogs.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 3 September page 7

Jails chief clashes with inspector over

Two key figures in the prison system have disagreed over an
inspection regime that is critical of management at Wormwood

The report says the jail is in danger of returning to the
culture of brutality exposed four years ago.

Director general of the prison service, Martin Narey, said that
although he did not think the report by the chief inspector of
prisons, Anne Owers, was unfair, the overall conclusion was.

“I firmly reject the inspectorate’s conclusions,” he told
a press conference at the West London prison.

The conclusions are made in the preface to Owers’s report
which says: “management at Wormwood Scrubs had to eradicate a deep
and resistant negative culture. There was clearly still resistance
from some staff and middle managers, to change and progression in
the prison; and what was described to us as an
‘anti-management culture’.”

The jail was sliding backwards or had stalled in areas where
there had been improvements seen in 2000. Once again there had been
“promises, plans and hopes, rather than achievements and

The preface, highlighting management failings at the jail, says:
“The green shoots of February 2000 had failed to blossom. We found
management weakness and gaps through which we feared the old
culture could re-emerge.”

Source:- The Times Tuesday 3 September page 10

Scottish newspapers

Magistrates sending too many women to

A prison watchdog has accused magistrates of causing
overcrowding in Scotland’s only women’s jail by ignoring a range of
non-custodial sanctions available to them.

In a letter to The Herald, Noreen McFarlane, acting
convenor of the over 21s visiting committee at Cornton Vale, claims
courts are overlooking an executive drive against an over-reliance
on remand and short term sentences for minor crimes.

Latest figures show the number of women on remand in the prison
has increased sharply from 28 in August 2000 to 59 last month.

Source:- The Herald 3 September page 1

Scottish neighbours are best in Britain, says

Scots are the most neighbourly people in the UK, while Londoners
are the least likely to know the names of people living next to
them, a poll has found.

The National Neighbourhood Watch Association (NNWA) in Scotland
said it was not surprised by Mori’s poll results.

Spokesperson David Mackay said: “Scots make good neighbours
because they are trusting. They make very good friends and they
won’t see you stuck.”

The poll, commissioned by the BBC, also found that one in 10
people live more than 150 miles away from their closest

Source: The Herald 3 September page 3

Welsh newspapers

‘More must be done to help

A two-page feature on child protection looking at the impact of
high profile cases and the way reforms to the system could work in
the future.

The article contains an interview with Gary Birch, director of
social services for Torfaen in south Wales, who describes the
national crisis in recruitment and retention.

He says that although the shortages are often felt most in acute
areas of work like child protection this does not mean that in
Torfaen children’s cases are overlooked.

He says that in his area children’s cases are prioritised
and any child at risk receives comprehensive attention.

In Monmouthshire, according to John Waters, head of
children’s services, the problem of recruitment and retention
is not so great as in other Welsh authorities.

He says the authority has relatively stable social work teams in
terms of staff turnover and this allows new recruits to be placed
in teams containing social workers with a high degree of experience
and expertise.

Monmouthshire has also introduced a number of measures aimed at
keeping staff including continuous training programmes such as the
Welsh Assembly’s child care award.

Source:- South Wales Argus Monday 2 September pages

Worldwide network trafficking in misery

As part of a campaign “Dump the Dealers” the newspaper looks at
the way in which illegal drugs reach the streets of south

The two-page feature highlights the parts of the world where
there is a thriving trade in heroin and cocaine and tracks how
Class A drugs are smuggled into the UK.

South wales’ communities are said to be a target area for
drug dealers, and there is a hotline telephone number for anyone
whose life has been affected by drugs or by drug-related crime.

The “Dump the Dealers” hotline number is 07919 057 398

Source:- South Wales Echo Monday 2 September pages

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