Thursday 5 September 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

U-turn teacher checks as schools stay shut

A change of government policy means teachers will be allowed
into classrooms unchecked after the backlog in vetting school staff
forced thousands of children to stay at home on the first day of
term yesterday.

Education secretary Estelle Morris announced the u-turn last
night after a chaotic day that left many schools closed and others
seriously disrupted.

She said teachers and classroom assistants who had no yet been
cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau would be permitted into
schools at the discretion of head-teachers.

It had become apparent that the CRB was “unable to fast-track
the checks on school staff at a rate that would ensure the smooth
running of schools”. Seven thousand checks remain outstanding.

She apologised for her part in the confusion and the late
announcement of the change in policy.

Source:- The Times Thursday 5 September page 1

Boys aged 11 and 14 ‘murdered Somali

A 12-year-old boy and his 14-year-old cousin went on trial
yesterday for murdering a 15-year-old Somali refugee.

Kaiser Osman who fled from Mogadishu with his family in 1989 to
escape civil war, bled to death on a London housing estate.

The younger defendant, who was 11 at the time, is accused of
supplying the kitchen knife to his cousin, who allegedly stabbed
Osman through the heart. The two defendants deny murder.

The case continues today.

Source:- The Times Thursday 5 September page 5

Couple accused of killing girl, 2, by ‘grossest

A two-year-old child was burnt with cigarettes, pinched and
starved to death by her parents after suffering “the grossest of
gross neglect”, a court was told yesterday.

An Old Bailey jury was told that Ainlee Walker was so emaciated
when paramedics found her lying on a table at her parents’
squalid flat in east London that her arms were “the thickness of a
little sausage”.

Leanne Labonte, and Dennis Henry, of Plaistow, east London,
plead not guilty to manslaughter and child cruelty.

Ann Curnow QC, for the prosecution, told the court that social
services had been involved with the family since the mother was
born, and said the couple were known by care workers to be
“uncompromising, rude and aggressive”.

The trial continues.

Source:- The Times Thursday 5 September page 7

Charity attacks cannabis policy

The head of a drugs charity warned that the change in policy
announced yesterday would lead to communities subject to the most
stop and searches being targeted even more.

The charity Drugscope claimed the move could mean “conservative
police elements” were trying to frustrate ministers’
intentions and hang on to their powers.

The home office told Drugscope that the power of arrest would
only be used in exceptional circumstances where aggravating factors
were present.

“Repeat personal possession is not, in our view, an aggravating
factor,” Drugscope’s chief executive Roger Howard said. “This
three strikes policy is likely to hit those communities who are
subject to the most stop and searches. Cannabis law will therefore
continue to be a source of friction with particular

Drug users caught in possession of cannabis on the streets three
times within a year will face arrest under the new rule.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 5 September page 8

Courts told not to jail juveniles

The Youth Justice Board will plea to courts today not to jail so
many offenders as the prison system braces itself for a further
surge in the prison population in the wake of the Soham

Chairperson of the YJB Lord Warner is to publish figures today
showing that if there was greater consistency in sentencing by the
courts in England and Wales some 2,500 juvenile offenders would be
given community sentences rather than be locked up in custody.

The figures reveal widespread disparities between courts in
custodial sentencing for juveniles for similar crimes.

Jailing 2,500 fewer teenagers each year would cut the numbers in
young offender institutions by around 25 per cent.

Many prison governors fear the record prison population will be
boosted further by a more punitive approach by the courts in the
wake of the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 5 September page 11

Civilian crime fighters start Damilola

Civilian crime enforcers yesterday began patrolling the south
London streets where 10-year-old Damilola Taylor was murdered.

The men and women will be used as “professional witnesses” for
the police, according to Southwark council.

Damilola bled to death from a stab wound to his leg after being
confronted on his way home from school in Peckham, south London, in
November 2000.

In an effort to reduce crime in the area, the council has
recruited nine wardens in a £250,000 per-year scheme, partly
funded by the government.

They will be on the streets for 14 hours a day, six days a week
and have been set a target of reducing street crime by 12 per cent
by 2004.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 5 September page

Guide dog charity with £156 million assets is
closing centres

Two training centres of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
have been shut and more may be closed in a bid to cut costs despite
assets of £156 million.

The residential centres in Exeter and Middlesbrough closed on
Monday and the association plans to sell the properties. An
announcement on the future of the remaining 13 homes is expected

The charity says the closures will save £2 million a year
and are necessary because of the fall in the stock market, which
has reduced the value of its holdings by £20 million over the
past year.

But the move has angered guide dog owners, who claim that the
residences are the cornerstone of the association’s work.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 5 September page

Scottish newspapers

Reprieve for jail

Peterhead Prison will not be closed, Justice Minister Jim
Wallace is expected to announce today.

In a major climbdown, Wallace will save the jail – home to
some of Scotland’s most notorious sex offenders.

Source:- Daily Record September 5 page 2

Chaos in private prison

An ex prison warder at Kilmarnock Prison claims drugs and
weapons are rife inside Scotland’s private jail.

With justice minister Jim Wallace due to announce his decision
on whether plans to build three more private jails will go ahead,
the warder says it is time HMP Kilmarnock was pulled back into the
public sector.

Source:- Daily Record September 5 page 8

Retiring chief inspector

New cell blocks must be built immediately at a number of
Scottish jails to deal with serious overcrowding, according to the
chief inspector of prisons.

Clive Fairweather, the outgoing watchdog, has been openly
critical of the way the Scottish prison service is run, calling for
prison management and staff to co-operate more closely.

Source:- The Herald September 5 page 2

Abused men do not need special support

Social justice minister Margaret Curran says that –
although incidences of battered men were not “inconsequential” –
they did not merit a separate agency to tackle the problem.

Source:- The Scotsman September 5 page 8

Welsh newspapers

Kilshaws’ £8-a-ticket show will set the record

Alan and Judith Kilshaw, the couple who hit the headlines two
years ago

when they tried to adopt twins from America over the internet,
are hiring a theatre to give their side of the story.

The couple have admitted that they are having financial problems
since their failed court action to win custody of the twins. Now
they plan to hire The Gateway Theatre in Chester to `put the record
straight’. Strangely, the evening it also billed as featuring a
talk on bird watching by Judith’s mother, 78-year old Brenda

Source:- Western Mail Friday 5 September page 1

Care homes face bleak future without £100m

Wales has lost 1,000 residential and nursing home beds in the
past 12

months. It is claimed that homes in the independent and public
sectors need £100 million to prevent half of them closing by
the end of the year. Care Forum Wales said that unless there is a
financial commitment, the future is bleak.

Home owners say that even a softer interpretation of the Care
Standards Act in Wales will not prevent closures.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 5 September page 5

Deaf people miss out on college

Deaf children in Wales are not being given the chance to go to

because of a lack of specialist facilities.

Many avoid further education

because there no sign language interpreters or electronic note
takers to help them.Young people want more support services to help
them further their education, says RNID Cymru.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 5 September page 5

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