Monday 24 May 2004

    By Amy Taylor, Shirley Kumar, Clare Jerrom and Alex
    Dobson

    Judges throw out Blunkett asylum appeal

    The appeal court scuppered David Blunkett’s policy of
    denying support to asylum seekers who fail to make their claim
    “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

    The court rejected appeals by the Home Secretary against three high
    court rulings that destitute asylum seekers were made to suffer
    inhuman and degrading treatment. This is in breach of Article 3 of
    the European convention on human rights.

    Source: The Guardian, Saturday, May 22, page 2

    Mistakes by staff at psychiatric unit led to
    patients’ suicides

    Three mental health patients were able to commit suicide by
    jumping off a cliff because of mistakes by staff at an acute
    psychiatric unit, an inquest jury found yesterday.

    Staff at the Cedars acute in-patient unit failed to take on board
    warnings that two teenage boys and a mother of three were suicide
    risks. They also did not raise the alarm that the three were
    missing for more than two hours after they disappeared.
    The trio died together after jumping off a cliff near the unit,
    which is part of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation
    Trust.

    Source: The Independent, Saturday, May 22, page 20

    MS sufferer can be allowed to choke death, council
    says

    A council has agreed to allow a woman with multiple sclerosis to
    be left to die if she begins to choke, a symptom common to her
    illness.
    Mrs C has drawn up a living will demanding that council carers do
    not try to save her life. The document is recognised by the courts
    as her only legal alternative to euthanasia.
    Durham County Council has accepted Mrs C’s will and told its
    carers to allow her to die.

    Source: The Sunday Times, May 23, page 7

    Spinners plan a makeover for migrants

    The government is set to market its immigration and asylum
    policies in an attempt to get the public on side.

    The Home Office plans to attempt to place positive stories about
    migrants on the BBC and other broadcasters according to a leaked
    document.

    Source: The Sunday Times, May 23, page 8

    Abuse is ‘systematic’ at asylum detention
    centres

    Systematic physical, mental and verbal abuse of asylum seekers
    is taking place in British detention centres.

    A criminal investigation and civil claims are now taking place
    after a string of incidents.

    Source:  The Observer, May 23, page 5

    ‘Stranger danger’ kids fear going
    out

    Children choose to stay in doors and play because they are
    terrified of the world outside, according to new research.

    The education secretary Charles Clarke will announce finding that
    show that children are concerned that they could be kidnapped by a
    stranger, sexually abused or be a victim of terrorism.

    The study, which was carried out by children’s charity
    Barnardo’s and the Green Alliance, surveyed more than 1,000
    children aged 10 and 11.

    Source: The Observer, May 23, page 8

    Soham chiefs could resign over murder

    Pressure is mounting for the resignation of two chief constables
    as the report into the vetting blunders that allowed the Soham
    murderer Ian Huntley to gain his school caretaker’s job is
    handed to Home Secretary David Blunkett.

    Blunkett has the power under the 1996 Police Reform Act to set in a
    motion a procedure that could lead to the resignation of chief
    constable of Humberside David Westwood and chief constable of
    Cambridgeshire Tom Lloyd.

    Source: The Times, Monday May 24, page 10

    BNP stirs up Bradford sex claims

    The British National Party (BNP) is making its own film detailing
    allegations that Asian men grooming young white girls for sex in
    Bradford to be used in its party political broadcast on
    Friday.

    Channel 4 postponed the documentary after it emerged the BNP was
    trying to exploit the issue in the run up to next month’s
    local and European elections.

    West Yorkshire police have arrested Asian and white men in
    connection with the allegations following a two-year
    investigation.

    Source:  The Guardian, Monday May 24, page 8

    Met police to liaise with young Muslims

    Scotland Yard is to set-up a special team to liaise with the
    Muslim community to discover what drives young people to become
    fanatical terrorists.

    Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens said gaining the
    trust of Muslims, many who feel the police have stereotyped them
    all as terrorists, is vital in reducing the threat of an attack on
    London.

    Source:  The Guardian, Monday May 24, page 10

     

    Scottish newspapers

    Reliance ‘is fined £20,000 per
    escapee’

    Security firm Reliance is fined £20,000 for every
    prisoner that escapes, it has emerged.

    According to a report in the Daily Record, the company, which
    escorts prisoners to and from court, has been fined £60,000
    after three lapses in security, including the accidental release of
    a convicted murderer.

    The report also claims that the private company would face a fine
    of £25,000 for a death in custody of a prisoner and £2
    for a late appearance in court.

    The Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish executive did not
    comment on the figures.

    Source: The Daily Record, Saturday 22 May

    Thousands of children are misled over
    parentage

    One in seven people are not related to the man they believe is
    their father, according to a leading geneticist.

    In areas of Dundee and Glasgow, around 15 per cent of the
    population were the offspring of someone other than the person they
    believed was their biological father, claims Dr John Gow from
    Glasgow University, who has recently set up a company offering DNA
    testing. This rate is three times the national average.

    Source: The Scotsman  Saturday 22 May

    OAP wardens threaten strike over shake-up

    Wardens at sheltered housing complexes in Edinburgh are
    threatening strike action over plans to extend their duties.

    Union leaders fear sweeping changes to the wardens’ role will
    mean they have to take responsibility for people living in the
    community as well as those older people in sheltered
    accommodation.

    It is also believed that wardens, some of whom live on sheltered
    housing complexes, could face losing their accommodation.
    Older people’s organisations fear strike action could lead to
    a reduction in care for many residents.

    Source: Evening News, Saturday 22 May

    Disruptive pupils to get own school

    A new primary school for children with behavioural difficulties is
    set to open in West Lothian.

    The school in Livingston, will take 30 children from across the
    county with emotional, learning and behavioural problems.

    Disruptive pupils will be removed from mainstream school on a
    part-time basis or for intensive support and assessment at the
    school.

    Source: Evening News, Saturday 22 May

    Airborne-style project on drawing board

    Leading charities are designing a programme which could replace
    the controversial Airborne Initiative for young offenders, it
    emerged yesterday.

    The Prince’s Trust for Scotland and social care charity
    Turning Point are believed to be working together to provide an
    alternative to prison sentences for serious and persistent young
    offenders.

    The project has been developed to use the skills of the staff who
    built up expertise working with this group during the decade that
    the Airborne “boot camp” project existed. However, it
    would need government approval and backing to get off the
    ground.

    Source: The Scotsman, Monday 24 May

    Children will say sorry to victims of crime

    Scottish ministers are drawing up plans which would see children
    as young as eight who commit crimes given an official police
    warning and offered the opportunity to apologise to their
    victims.

    First time offenders aged between eight and 16 years old who admit
    to minor offences such as drunkenness and minor breaches of the
    peace, will be presented with these options rather than being
    reported to children’s panels.

    Specially trained officers involved may invite the victim to meet
    the offender formally. Once the offenders have received a police
    warning, they may be offered other services such as anger
    management classes or cognitive behavioural therapy.

    The guidelines will be published later this month.

    Source: The Herald, Monday, 24 May

    Scottish police call for tougher paedophile stance

    Scottish police are calling for ministers to introduce a
    specific offence of internet grooming similar to that in
    England.

    In England the crime carries a potential sentence of 10 years. The
    move follows more than 24 investigations into internet grooming of
    young girls in the past year but only a handful of
    prosecutions.

    Currently police can only charge with breach of peace an offence
    which usually carries a fine if it can be proven at all.

    Source: Scotland on Sunday, Monday 24, page 8

     

    Welsh Newspapers

    ‘Mr Blobby’ claim teacher
    disciplined

    A teacher has been disciplined after allegedly calling a
    12-year-old schoolboy “Mr Blobby” in front of his
    classmates.

    Twelve-year-old Jarhyd Rees said he felt terrible when his
    classmates laughed at him following the alleged incident at Lewis
    Boys School at Pengam near Bargoed. His parents have now received
    an apology from the school.

    Source: Western Mail, Monday 24 May, page 1

    Anger as poor lose promised £20m IT
    link-up

    Plaid Cymru has questioned the decision to scrap a £20m IT
    project that was to connect Wales’ most deprived and isolated
    communities.

    The e-Communities initiative was a central part of a Welsh assembly
    strategy that had the core aim of connecting and enabling 100
    deprived urban communities to computer use and new technology.
    Welsh assembly economic development minister Andrew Davies has
    confirmed that the project has been scrapped following concerns
    about the effectiveness of the programme.

    Source: Western Mail, Monday 24 May, page 1

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