13/06/2012 Newsnight


13/06/2012

Are children in care being failed? Did an undercover policeman go too far? Russian arms to Syria. And Martin Amis. With Jeremy Paxman.


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Tonight, is the care being offered to children and young people

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adequate, why are social service departments apparently dumping

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children in towns and cities miles from where they live, which even

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the local police don't know are being used as childrens' homes.

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you have a situation where a sexual predator is sitting in car outside

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a children's home, targeting the children inside this home, a home

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that the police do not even know exists. The three key people

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involved are here with us. The undercover policeman who was

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supposed to be there to keep us safe, but is now accused by an MP

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of carrying out a firebombing. The MP is with us, as is a former Home

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Office Minister. The US told Russia again today to stop arming Syria

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with weapons, including helicopter. We talk to the former presidential

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contender, Callum Kane, who says it is time to take action.

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Martin Amis, on the state of England, and whether he's become a

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grumpy old man. When you hit 60, you think, this can't possibly end

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well t will end in tears. It was one of the most troubling

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police investigations of recent years. A group of predatory men

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abusing some of our most troubled and vulnerable children. The

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criminals in Rochdale are said to have sought out troubled girls for

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sexual exploitation. When children are taken into care, the care

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provided on behalf of all of us, they are supposed to be being put

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into place of safety. We know where they are, don't we? It turns out we

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don't necessarily. Newsnight has learned that according to estimates

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based on police figures, there could be 4,000 incident as year of

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children going missing from care in England.

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It's a lovely place for day out, if the sun shines. But when the beach

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and the amusement arcades empty in Margate, there are plenty of

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outsiders left behind with no ticket home. Providing for children

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in care from other parts of the country is an industry on the Kent

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coast. They are looked after here in unusually large numbers, though

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not always very well. Craig, not his real name, was sent

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here from London five years ago, when he was 1. Now he's got his --

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11. Now he's got his first job, at one time he was getting into a lot

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of trouble. At first when they saw I was doing it they didn't cautious

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that is when I got into trouble with the police for crime. I was

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able to do that a couple of years ago when I was able to go out on

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your own, they don't care about you, they sort of give up on you.

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But the risk is not looked after children getting into crime, it is

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those children becoming the victims of older criminals. Last month a

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gang of men was jailed in Rochdale for the sexual abuse of teenage

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girls, one of whom had been in a residential care home. What is to

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stop similar crimes being committed again in places like this? As in

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many seaside resorts, there is an unusual transient population here.

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It is exactly the kind of place you might think, well you shouldn't be

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sending vulnerable children, who need security more than anything

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else. But in a system which depends

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largely on private provision, it is not always the best interests of

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the children that come first. They are sent where there are places

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available. Councils are legally obliged to

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place looked after children in their own area unless it isn't

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reasonably practicable. Of the roughly 65,000 children in care in

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England last year, about a third were placed outside their own

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council area. Sometimes a long way away. Of the nearly 6,000 in care

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homes, almost half are outside their own area.

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Once grand resorts like Thanet, with its large, cheap house, are

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among the places where fostering and privately-run children's homes,

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are now an important source of income. The local MP says areas

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like her's are the solution for the many councils, particularly in

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London, who can't find enough places locally for the children

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they care for. They aren't much of a solution for the children

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themselves. I find it staggering that those

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authorities then placed them in areas that they haven't done a

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proper assessment of the safety for those children. They have been

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taken out of traumatic environments, difficult families, and then, they

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are placed miles and miles away from anything, any point of

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reference, in an area that doesn't necessarily have the profile that

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you would expect that a local authority should find for a child

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who is already traumatised. Kent police recently identified a high

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concentration of privately owned children's homes, in one small I

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can't remember of Thanet, which also has a high concentration of

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drug dealers, prostitute, probation hostels, and ropblgsterd

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paedophiles, all in close prox -- registered paedophile, all in close

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prox simty. Two years ago schools in Margate refused to take any more

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looked after children from outside Kent, in protest of what they call

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an immoral policy. We wonder why London Boroughs would want to send

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their most vulnerable children to this part of the country. We find

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it utterly extraordinary they would want to send their most vulnerable

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children to an area with such significant social problems. We

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think it is irresponsible of them. We also think it is cynical.

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know there has been a high number of arrests in this I can't remember

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for drugs, for soliciting sex. We know that is going on in this area

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in Cliftonville, and yet we have still got children's homes set up

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there, and children network with each other. Rochdale is waiting to

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happen in Thanet, it could be happening already for all we know.

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Head teachers Kent say they are often told nothing about the

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complex needs of children from other areas. Social workers rarely

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attend meetings, because it is too far to come.

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Councils who move a child to another area are obliged by law to

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give the host authority details of the child's care package. And of

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any risks involved. But often, information's not passed

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on. The child becomes invisible. Invisible sometimes until he or she

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runs away, and the police are brought in. Philip Shakesheff, a

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from West Mercia police, has helped collate a computer programme to put

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together details of missing children. Details should be given

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in advance. First time we find out is when they become a victim of

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crime or, more commonly, go missing. We have to play catch up, it is a

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complete shock to us that we have a child living on us who is high-risk,

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from another area. Holly, not her real name, is 16.

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She's run away many times in the two years she has been in care in

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the West Midlands. Once, while missing, she found herself in place

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where she feared other girls were being used for sex. But her care

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workers, she says, don't really care at all. All they have to do

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when you go mis, they just have to ring the police and say you are

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gone, that is how you get dealt with, it is the police who deal

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with it. They aren't trying to find you? No, they don't search for you.

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They will try to ring you a few times. But they don't come looking

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for you. If you say you needed to be picked up from somewhere, they

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don't come and pick you up. Even if you ask them to pick you up? They

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don't pick you up. You have to get back on your own. There was many

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times when I used to go missing, I would say I'm stuck, I have no bus

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fare, I can't get home. They were like you have to ring the police

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and get the police to drop you back. But they are supposed to be caring

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for you? Yeah. They are meant to, but... In my 31 years service I

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have never had a phone call from a carer saying this child's been

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missing for three days, this is what I have done to try to find the

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child. What have you done? How can we work together? Many care homes,

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up and down the country, are making significant amounts of money, up to

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�200,000 a year to look after one child, and I think there are clear

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issues in terms of resources, and I feel there is significant evidence

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there that would suggest that the police are filling in the vacuum in

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these resources. Dealing with a missing person report costs police

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on average �2,000 a time. And police believe figures collated by

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councils massively underestimate the scale of the problem.

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England, there were two thirds, approximately two thirds of the 152

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local authorities that said nil, there were no children in their

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care who went missing for longer than 24 hours in their area. I

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thought that is not a reflection on our experience in West Mercia. In

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West Mercia we are dealing with about eight children who go missing

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a day. The Government says 930 children in

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care in England went missing in 2010 to 2011, it records only those

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absent for more than 24 hours. But an estimate by the UK Missing

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Persons Bureau, based on records from several police forces suggests

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the total number of cared for children, who went missing, is

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about 10,000. The number of incidents is estimated at 42,000, a

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figure that's been little noticed until now.

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But police can't tackle the problem of disappearances properly, because

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they don't always know where the children's homes are. It is

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important, of course, for the children's protection that the

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homes aren't marked. But it is absurd, many think, that the

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inspection agency, Ofsted, won't even tell the police.

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That's one of the points made by a group of MPs in a hard-hitting

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report on the care system, to be published next week.

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Under the current system you can have a situation where a sexual

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predator is sitting in a car outside a children's home,

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targeting the children inside this home, a home that the police do not

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even know exists. Sometimes you wonder who the care system is for,

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whether it's for the children in the system, or for the

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organisations that run the system. A system where, despite the huge

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sums spent on care, children often feel they are on their own.

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From the last year or two they have looked after me all right, but

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before that I didn't think it was much of caring, it weren't caring,

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they weren't them sort of people, they were there for the money. If

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you had a little flip out, they would have a go at you, they would

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always bring their problems into work, they wouldn't let you have

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your outburst, but it was all right for them to have their problems n

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and discuss it with the staff, and then be stressed off with you

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because of their family problems. In a system dependant largely on

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private provision, where it is easy to set up a children's home, the

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role of the inspection agency, Ofsted, is crucial.

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But something, the regulator itself -- some think, the regulator itself,

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is failing. At no stage throughout have Ofsted approached us to ask us

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about concerns for any home in West Mercia, pro-actively have they

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approached the police and asked is there any concerns about any of the

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homes. At no stage have they asked us to share with them data about

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any of our homes and numbers of missing persons' op soweds that

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they are reporting. I think it is - - I think it is amazing that a

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number of missing persons have been recorded from a home, and Ofsted

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can award a "good" inspection. That leads me to believe they are

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checking box, not waiting -- weighting what care the home

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provides in the case of what is important for the child.

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Government accepts it needs better figures on missing children. It is

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pressing for fewer out of area placements, and higher standards in

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homes. But there can be no quick fix for a system that some

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professionals think is broken. For children like holly it is too late,

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she will be living semi- independently in her own flat,

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leaving behind a home she believes never even tried to be a home for

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her. I had issues, that is why I went missing. But to go back home

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and have people, like, being off with you, like you don't belong

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there, there is no point in you being there, that is what makes it

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worse. We can now talk to the care home

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provider, the care home inspector, and the local authority boss.

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Jonathan Stanley is from the Independent Children's Homes

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Association, representing the providers of 60% of care home

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places in England. We have the director of social care

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for Ofsted. And Andrew Webb, director of Children's Service at

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Stockport Council, and Vice President of the umbrella work, the

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Association of Children's Service. In the ideal world, if you had a

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child in your care, how far away from their previous home would you

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keep them? Some children need to be placed a fair way away, for their

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own protection. Some need to be protected from their familiarly if

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they have been removed because they have been abused. The majority, we

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know, do best if they are kept as close as possible near their roots,

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schools they have attended for years. The first thing I would want

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to say about the film we have seen t reflects only a very small part

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of the care system. The majority of children in care do very well, the

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stability in their placements is improving all the time. It has

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always been difficult to place teenagers. You don't dispute the

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figure that half of children in care are not being in care near

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their original home? I think it was a third in the film. No, and as I

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say, the reason for those placements being out of area are

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complex, many of them good reasons. Particularly in the urban areas,

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you could be place add couple of miles across the border and be in

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roughly the same communety. There isn't an issue of a third of

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children -- community. There isn't an issue of a third of children

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being placed away from home and in seaside towns. Do you assess the

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sort of area in which they are going to be placed? No, we place

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them in homes that have been registered and approved for the

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purpose of placing children. I'm not sure how you could assess an

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area. I tell you what you could do, one very easy thing to do, is talk

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to the local police? I think what you have heard is the police don't

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always know what is going on. You don't get a very good picture of

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what an area from a single phone call. Are you suggesting that we

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might create no-go areas for children in care, something like

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that? I'm suggesting if you were told by the police that there was a

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highly transient population, there was a great deal of drug use, there

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was a hostel for paedophiles released from prison, that sort of

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thing, that you might think twice about it? Yes, if the young person

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was at risk. Would it not be a good idea to ask the police? I'm not

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sure how wide would you cast the net, one street, two streets? The

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idea is fraught with problems, as soon as you start trying to unpick

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it. What we need to do is make sure the care prove vieders are capable

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of managing -- providers are capable of managing the children

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that are with them. You are acting as parents, effectively, and yet

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children are clearly being put in places you wouldn't put your own

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children? There are children, local children living in these areas. I

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don't think it is reasonable to say you can write off a whole area and

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not place children in them. I think there is a lot more sophistication

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required to understand the nature of an area than simply ringing the

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police. I'm wondering why you don't inquire? The police don't always

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know where a children's home is, as you heard Ann Coffey MP explaining.

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Can you help us here Mr Stanley, why is it that so many of these

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children's homes are in seaside towns, with highly transient

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populations and the rest of it? Before I answer that, I think there

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is a very good reason, and a good way of knowing where the children

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homes are. The social workers have to advise the children's homes and

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the independent reviewing officers, twice a year. They will know where

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the homes R the reason why we have homes where they are, it is a very

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complex and historical journey we have been on, originally in London,

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for example, the homes were placed outside the city by Victorian

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philanthropists. The reason is, it is cheaper to get larger

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accommodation there, isn't it? isn't always the case that

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children's homes are placed in cheaper areas. I can take you to

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places around the country. Maybe not always, but there is pattern

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here, do you accept? We have can take you to places around the

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country where providers have set up in select areas of towns, so they

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get good access to schools and a good supportive nurturing community.

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You have some other explanation, have you for the fact that there

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are various seaside towns in this country, where there is a high

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concentration of children's homes? I can understand how they arrive,

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we have to go back to the historical roots. We saw Victorian

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philanthropists set up outside the city, and regional planning set up

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on the coast. As the councils closed their homes on the coast, so

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people open them up as private homes. If we want to move forwards,

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we have to understand how to get the children back from the coast to

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the city, but that will mean us thinking of the economics of care.

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Are you also able to provide some long-winded explanation of why it

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is a child in one of your homes goes missing and the owner not

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trying to find the child? I'm not accepting it is long-winded, I'm

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accepting it is very complex and we can't go into that. When someone

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goes missing, every local authority has a missing person's protocol,

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which children's homes have to follow. They have to be reported to

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regulators and social workers, it isn't the case that people do

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nothing n all cases. Nobody says it is in all cases. But it does happen,

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and it should never happen, should it? It should never happen. Is it

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not reasonable for a child in care to expect that should they

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disappear, get into trouble and whatever, that someone would try to

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seek them? I'm saying that does happen, in the instances in your

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film, clearly that didn't happen, in that child's experience, but it

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does happen, because that is what the local authority protocols and

:20:09.:20:14.

the children's homes protocols say must happen. These are homes

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getting up to �250,000 a year, aren't the people of this country

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entitled to expect that the people who take money in that sort of

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volume, will, in all circumstances, exercise due care? As we were

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talking earlier, we know that not all of the children are of that

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level of need. There are some children that do need that level of

:20:37.:20:42.

need, and with that package of care comes psychology, psyche kiery, and

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high levels of staff who have been reporting that young person. From

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the regulator's point of view. Why aren't the police told which houses

:20:53.:20:57.

are children's homes? I agree with the person in the film, who said

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that's an absurd position. The reason is, quite simply, is the law

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doesn't allow us to share that information at the moment.

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would like to? Personally I would very much support a change in that

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regulation. At the moment the regulations pro-hib bit us from

:21:14.:21:18.

sharing that information with -- pro-hib bit us from sharing that

:21:18.:21:22.

information with anything but local authorities. Do you, as regulators,

:21:22.:21:26.

assess the suitable of an area for children's homes? No, we don't.

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Shouldn't you? We don't because that is not a basis within the

:21:30.:21:38.

regulation that is are set for us that we have to work within. That

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is not Within the boundaries of us shutting down or opening up a

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children's homes. I think it is gaps and weaknesses in the planning

:21:52.:21:56.

legislation. Will you do anything about it? It is not within our

:21:56.:22:00.

power to take action on that particular issue, but certainly

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taking part in this kind of debate, I accept there is a serious consen

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racial of homes in particular areas -- serious consideration about

:22:15.:22:22.

homes concentration in particular areas. The people best to decide on

:22:22.:22:27.

these issues are local people and local authorities have a part to

:22:27.:22:31.

play. There is a part planning legislation can be used in this

:22:31.:22:36.

debate. That needs to be revolve and it needs to be clearer what

:22:36.:22:39.

powers the local authorities have in these situations. What about the

:22:39.:22:45.

suggestion of your own rating of homes. If a child disappears from a

:22:45.:22:50.

home 100 times, how can that home be entitled to get a rating of

:22:50.:22:54.

good? No home is entitled to get a rating of good. It is a question of

:22:54.:22:57.

weighing up all the evidence and coming up with a judgment. That

:22:57.:23:00.

would be a very rare event, you would have to know the

:23:00.:23:03.

circumstances of the case to make a judgment. Where we might find a

:23:03.:23:06.

home, where the staff are doing everything they conceivably could

:23:06.:23:10.

do, to try to keep that child safe to track that child, to know where

:23:10.:23:14.

that child is going to protect that child, liaising very actively with

:23:14.:23:17.

the police and other agencies involved to try to protect that

:23:17.:23:22.

child, but they simply, at that point in time, cannot crack that

:23:22.:23:26.

very difficult behaviour. We would not necessarily say that home was

:23:26.:23:30.

failing. Mr Webb, do you agree that you have two people here saying it

:23:31.:23:36.

is time for a change in the law, do you agree? The Association of

:23:36.:23:40.

Directors of Children's Service will stimulate a debate charting

:23:40.:23:46.

next month on what care should be for. -- starting next month on what

:23:46.:23:51.

care should be for. The model we have for young people is outdated.

:23:51.:23:54.

It doesn't assess the complexity of the interaction between the youth

:23:54.:23:58.

justice system and the care system. It doesn't pick up the issue of

:23:58.:24:00.

preventing young people becoming detatched from their communities in

:24:00.:24:04.

the first place, and so on. It is time for a debate about what, as a

:24:04.:24:10.

society, we should be doing for our more troubled young people.

:24:10.:24:17.

would all like to see that? There is unanimity, everyone agrees it is

:24:17.:24:25.

not working properly? It is not just a strategy, it is meeting the

:24:25.:24:28.

needs of children with high level needs. Some need national resource

:24:28.:24:31.

force the specialist care they need. I agree it is not working properly

:24:31.:24:35.

for all children, that is what we should expect. The saddest thing in

:24:35.:24:39.

the film is the two young people who said quite separately "they

:24:40.:24:44.

didn't care", that is bad home, a failing home, and an inadequate

:24:44.:24:49.

home. It is important to say a description of every children's

:24:49.:24:55.

homes in this country, many are doing a very good job. Nobody will

:24:55.:24:59.

say that was a skriings of all homes? That is the picture put

:24:59.:25:06.

across by the media. We know most of our homes are good in Ofsted

:25:06.:25:09.

ratings. Could it really be possible that a policeman took part

:25:09.:25:13.

in a firebombing causing millions of pounds worth of damage, that he

:25:13.:25:18.

did so on an undercover mission, on the public payroll, and never

:25:18.:25:22.

caught by colleagues and the police. According to the Green Party MP,

:25:22.:25:24.

Caroline Lucas, it is certainly possible. Today in Westminster,

:25:24.:25:27.

around the cloak of parliamentary privilege, she named the man

:25:27.:25:37.

concerned. Summer 1987, the early hours of the morning, and three

:25:37.:25:41.

firebombs light up three department stores. Later that night there is a

:25:41.:25:45.

call to the BBC, the Animal Liberation Front has claimed

:25:45.:25:50.

responsibility. Those attacks, 25 years ago, were serious and

:25:50.:25:56.

effective, eight million pounds worth of damage was done to

:25:56.:26:00.

Debenhams stores, and the chain was forced to drop all its fur clothing

:26:00.:26:04.

a policy that still holds today. Only two of the arsonists

:26:04.:26:08.

responsible for the attacks have ever been caught and convicted.

:26:08.:26:12.

Today's allegations centre on this store in Harrow, North London.

:26:12.:26:16.

Using parliamentary privilege, the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas,

:26:16.:26:20.

named the man alleged to be responsible. Not extremist animal

:26:20.:26:25.

rights protestor, but a serving police officer, Bob Lambert. There

:26:25.:26:30.

is no doubt in my mind, that anyone planting an incendiary device in a

:26:30.:26:33.

department store, is guilty of a very serious crime, and should have

:26:33.:26:36.

charges brought against them, that is absolutely anybody, including f

:26:37.:26:41.

the evidence is there, Bob Lambert, or the people supervising him.

:26:41.:26:47.

This is the man she's talking about. Lambert was unmasked as a police

:26:47.:26:51.

spy last year, but these angry members of London Greenpeace.

:26:51.:26:56.

you proud of what you did, it was abusive to people, it was damaging.

:26:56.:26:59.

He spent much of his career undercover, working for the met

:26:59.:27:04.

police, he ended up running the whole unit responsible for

:27:04.:27:08.

infiltrating protest groups, and is now a respected axe dem ib. Back in

:27:08.:27:14.

the 198 -- academic. Back in the 1980s with long hair and a cheap

:27:14.:27:21.

bedsit in London, he went by the name of Bob Robinson. He was Bob

:27:21.:27:24.

Robinson, someone I really liked, I got on well with, I thought he

:27:24.:27:31.

really liked me. Maybe he did. But he was still willing to put me away

:27:31.:27:36.

for over four years of imprisonment. This man did go to prison for the

:27:36.:27:42.

Debenhams attacks, he was caught, redhanded, making firebombs on his

:27:42.:27:44.

kitchen table. It was Geoff Shepherd's allegations about Bob

:27:44.:27:48.

Lambert that were raised in parliament today. Caroline Lucas

:27:48.:27:55.

quoted his statement. "Three Debenhams stores had attacks on

:27:55.:27:58.

them, including the Harrods store. Straight away I knew Bob had

:27:58.:28:02.

carried out his part of the plan. There was no doubt in my mind

:28:02.:28:07.

whatsoever, that Bob Lambert placed the incendiary device at the store

:28:07.:28:12.

in Harrow". Since unmasked, Bob Lambert admitted he did work

:28:12.:28:17.

undercover, and has apologised to law-abiding protestors for some of

:28:17.:28:22.

his actions. He denies planting an incendiary device in the Harrow

:28:22.:28:28.

store. Since Mark Kennedy was he revealed as an undercover spy last

:28:29.:28:33.

year, there has been other allegations against undercover

:28:33.:28:36.

officers. This is a serious alleged criminality by the police, but it

:28:36.:28:40.

fits into a pattern of apparent misconduct, at all levels of the

:28:40.:28:45.

police and the prosecution, in all sorts of different ways.

:28:45.:28:49.

Lambert was promoted after the Debenhams fires, and eventually led

:28:49.:28:52.

the police's undercover operations. One reason why the allegations are

:28:52.:28:58.

being taken so seriously. Seniority of the officer at the

:28:58.:29:02.

centre of these latest allegations is incredibly important, because it

:29:02.:29:06.

shows that this is not the result of a one-off rogue officer acting

:29:06.:29:10.

alone, but it is systemic and it is cultural, it is approved, and it is

:29:10.:29:14.

authorised. Geoff Shepherd says the police

:29:14.:29:22.

could have arrested the Debenhams arsonist, when they collected the

:29:22.:29:26.

insendry device on the morning of the attack of -- incendiary devices

:29:26.:29:31.

on the morning of the attack. met on the morning where we picked

:29:31.:29:36.

up two incendiary devices each, and each person went off in a separate

:29:36.:29:39.

direction to their particular store. The key question, that still hasn't

:29:39.:29:43.

been answered, is why, if the police knew about these attack, if

:29:43.:29:47.

they knew about the planning, they didn't stop them in advance, when

:29:47.:29:54.

they had the chance. One question was answered today, Bob Lambert is

:29:54.:29:59.

one of a group of undercover officers, sued by women, who say

:29:59.:30:02.

they were duped into having sex. Senior police officers said that

:30:02.:30:06.

should never happen, today the Government disagreed. To ban such

:30:06.:30:09.

actions would provide a ready-made test for the criminal group target

:30:09.:30:13.

today find out whether there was an undercover officer deployed amongst

:30:14.:30:17.

them. Once minute, today's allegations have led for calls for

:30:17.:30:20.

fall public inquiry into the actions of undercover officers. The

:30:20.:30:24.

Government says there is no need for that. And the guidelines now in

:30:24.:30:28.

place are tough enough to protect the public.

:30:28.:30:32.

Here to discuss this are the Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, who

:30:32.:30:35.

raised the subject in Westminster today, and Tony McNulty, who was a

:30:35.:30:38.

councillor in Harrow at the time of the bombing, and later MP for the

:30:39.:30:42.

area, and minister for policing and security under the last Labour

:30:42.:30:47.

Government. You don't object to the idea of undercover policemen, do

:30:47.:30:52.

you? I don't, what I do think we need to be clear about, as the

:30:52.:30:55.

rules governing that undercover behaviour. There are more and more

:30:55.:30:58.

concerns about what exactly is allowed, who is being held to

:30:58.:31:02.

account and so forth. We have the story you have just reported there,

:31:02.:31:06.

and we have these eight women who have been duped, not just into

:31:06.:31:08.

having sex, but having long-term relationship, including children,

:31:08.:31:12.

with undercover officers. I think that means we really do need to

:31:12.:31:16.

have a public debate about what limits, if any, there are to the

:31:16.:31:18.

activity of undercover police people. If you think about the

:31:18.:31:24.

furore, if you think about the furore over hacking phones, or

:31:24.:31:27.

internet snooping, how much more intimate is it for somebody to come

:31:28.:31:32.

into your house, into your bed, share your life but. We need a

:31:32.:31:35.

public debate about how much the police get involved with that.

:31:35.:31:39.

Nothing wrong with public debate and setting the rules, and making

:31:39.:31:44.

it clear? No, I'm glad Caroline accepts in a democracy, undercover

:31:45.:31:50.

policing has a role to protect T I think to besmirch a police officer

:31:50.:31:54.

under the cowardly cover of parliamentary privilege, based only

:31:54.:32:01.

on the assertion of a convicted arsonist is terrible. She merely

:32:01.:32:06.

read out a statement? With nothing other than this individual's

:32:06.:32:09.

assertion, that is an abuse of parliament. Can you ask me a

:32:09.:32:14.

question of why it is, that if the police know in advance of an

:32:14.:32:17.

intended firebombing why they choose to let it happen? No in

:32:18.:32:23.

these circumstances, bearing in mind that I was probably shopping

:32:23.:32:28.

on a regular basis in this department store, I would be

:32:28.:32:31.

interested. As I would be in catching perpetrator. The actions

:32:31.:32:35.

under the cloak of parliamentary privilege have prevented, that I

:32:35.:32:40.

don't know. The notion that there should be a substantive debate on

:32:40.:32:45.

the perameters around undercover policing to prevent extremism and

:32:46.:32:50.

public disorder, violently, I'm with her. You think there should be

:32:50.:32:54.

an inquiry? I think there needs to be a comprehensive public inquiry

:32:54.:33:00.

into the whole issue of undercover policing. We have up to now 12

:33:00.:33:03.

secret inquiries going ahead, so people can't challenge what is

:33:03.:33:05.

being said. One of the concerns of the eight women bringing legal

:33:05.:33:09.

action against the police right now, is at the moment the police

:33:09.:33:11.

solicitors are saying that the evidence will be held again in

:33:11.:33:14.

secret, the women won't know what is being said about them, by the

:33:14.:33:18.

people that they are accusing. This needs to be really in the fresh

:33:18.:33:23.

light of day, so that we can have this debate, and say, OK, in our

:33:23.:33:26.

society, we are happy to have undercover police officers working,

:33:26.:33:31.

but these are the rules under which they operate, and these are what we

:33:31.:33:35.

do when they step outside that. would accept that? The Met are

:33:35.:33:42.

carrying out a review of their work from 1962, should that be broader

:33:42.:33:45.

and carry the concerns that Caroline has, I would agree, and

:33:45.:33:50.

the commissioner needs to look at that, hissor clee. Aspersions

:33:50.:33:55.

against police officers does not -- assertions and as St Petersburgs

:33:55.:33:59.

against police officers does not -- aspersions against police officers

:33:59.:34:04.

does not include in that debate. You are looking for clear rules?

:34:04.:34:07.

These things don't happen in a vacuum now, there is clear rules,

:34:07.:34:12.

there is the Ripper legislation and other aspects. Of course there are

:34:12.:34:15.

elements an the edges. The point about personal relationships and

:34:15.:34:20.

how deeply embedded and for how long someone is embedded undercover

:34:20.:34:24.

raise serious issues. You are not right to say that the rules are

:34:24.:34:27.

clear on. That I raised with the ministers today and asked about

:34:27.:34:30.

whether or not it is right that an undercover police officer can get

:34:30.:34:34.

into such an intimate relationship with children and it is completely

:34:34.:34:38.

unclear. It is clear, whether that framework and issues should be

:34:38.:34:43.

further explored in public debate I agree. Not by using the sanctity

:34:43.:34:46.

and privilege that is parliamentary privilege, that is an abuse you

:34:46.:34:51.

should be ashamed of. It is not an abuse f it is used in the context.

:34:51.:34:54.

I asked you in the Green Room, what have you done so far to work with

:34:54.:34:58.

the police, CPS and others to stand up to the assertions that this

:34:58.:35:04.

individual can be saying. You have gone straight from a chat with him

:35:04.:35:08.

to parliamentary abuse of parliamentary privilege. I replied

:35:08.:35:11.

in the Green Room to say that I don't know if the person is guilty,

:35:11.:35:14.

of course I don't. I do know this is something that ought to be

:35:14.:35:18.

investigated, that was the point of raising it in the context of

:35:18.:35:22.

parliamentary privilege and parliament to say we need a proper

:35:22.:35:24.

comprehensive inquiry that we haven't had until now, until now

:35:24.:35:29.

the police have been brushing it under the carpet? Not true, Dennis

:35:29.:35:34.

O'Connor, the Chief Inspector, set clear perameters in a clear report

:35:34.:35:40.

on undercover policing, the shame is this Government want to put Tom

:35:40.:35:44.

Windsor into his place who has no experience. We can agree on that.

:35:44.:35:47.

The French Foreign Minister has called for the United Nations

:35:47.:35:50.

Security Council to threaten the Syrian Government with a no-fly

:35:50.:35:54.

zone if they don't adopt the international peace plan. But there

:35:54.:35:59.

seems little prospect that have august body taking any action. As

:35:59.:36:03.

Russia and the United States continue to trade insults. The

:36:03.:36:06.

Russians have denied American claims they are supplying attack

:36:06.:36:10.

helicopters to the Al-Assad regime, and have accused them in return of

:36:10.:36:14.

destablising the renal. Some in Washington are calling for action.

:36:14.:36:19.

As you found a little earlier when I spoke to Senator John McCain.

:36:19.:36:23.

Senator, what do you make of the Russian reNile that is they are

:36:23.:36:27.

supplying arms to President Assad? It is a return to the old kind of

:36:27.:36:32.

Cold War rhetoric, that Russians used to use denying the undeniable,

:36:32.:36:37.

it is very obvious that Russian tanks and artillery, and helicopter

:36:37.:36:45.

gunships are being used by Al-Assad. The Russians are the main supplier.

:36:45.:36:50.

To call it a civil war is the wrong description, it is an unfair fight.

:36:50.:36:54.

Even though some arms are coming in from some other countries, not the

:36:54.:36:58.

United States, to help the rebels. The Russians, of course, say the

:36:58.:37:04.

United States is supplying the rebels. I wish the United States

:37:04.:37:08.

was, I think we should. I'm absolutely believing that we should

:37:08.:37:15.

provide a sanctuary, that we should provide them with a, particularly

:37:15.:37:18.

anti-tank weapons, with which to depend themselves. Here are people

:37:18.:37:24.

demonstrating peacefully, now being massacred in the most brutal and

:37:24.:37:27.

atrocious fashion. But creating safe havens might require the use

:37:27.:37:34.

of American force, might it not? could require the use of the United

:37:34.:37:38.

States and other countries' air power. But if you told Bashar Al-

:37:38.:37:42.

Assad, that if he attacked a sanctuary, that he would pay a very

:37:42.:37:46.

heavy prie, I think it is very possible he would -- price, I think

:37:47.:37:50.

it is very possible he would not do T the best way for Bashar Al-Assad

:37:51.:37:54.

to be motivated, with the help of the Russians, to leave Syria, is if

:37:54.:37:59.

he thinks he can't win. Right now, on the battlefield, he is

:37:59.:38:06.

prevailing. Why is Syria worth risking the life of a single

:38:06.:38:09.

American serviceman? First of all, I don't think we would be risking

:38:09.:38:12.

the lives of many, because I don't believe there would be American

:38:12.:38:19.

boots on the ground. But, second of all, in the words of our military

:38:19.:38:26.

experts, the fall of Bashar Al- Assad would be the greatest blow to

:38:26.:38:31.

Iran in 25 years. As you know Syria is a client state of Iran. This

:38:31.:38:35.

would free up Lebanon, it would be a huge blow to Hezbollah and have

:38:35.:38:39.

enormous effects. Second of all, people are being massacred, people

:38:39.:38:45.

are being tortured and raped and killed. I went to a refugee camp on

:38:45.:38:49.

the Turkish-Syrian border, it is a horrible thing to hear these

:38:49.:38:53.

stories and meet these people. These wars are a lot easier to get

:38:53.:38:57.

into than out of, aren't they? I heard the same thing about libia.

:38:57.:39:03.

We helped in Libya, -- Libya. We helped in Libya, Gadaffi came down,

:39:03.:39:07.

and on July 7th they will have their first election, which I would

:39:07.:39:11.

view as reasonably free and fair. They said the same thing about

:39:11.:39:17.

Bosnia and Kosovo, they said the same thing about Rwanda. So. They

:39:17.:39:20.

said the same thing about Afghanistan and were ignored, 11

:39:20.:39:26.

years on, troops are still there? That's right. We cannot forget that

:39:27.:39:31.

we went to Afghanistan because it was the place where the 9/11

:39:31.:39:35.

attacks originated, and we had no other choice. Because the Al-Qaeda

:39:35.:39:39.

was there. That is where the attacks came from that killed

:39:39.:39:43.

several thousand brave, innocent Americans. That is why we went to

:39:43.:39:47.

Afghanistan. But, it is still 11 years on, and on going military

:39:47.:39:51.

problems in which lives are being lost. That is the big danger can an

:39:51.:39:55.

intervention like this in Syria, isn't it? As I said, I do not, and

:39:55.:39:59.

I know none of us who want intervention and want boots on the

:39:59.:40:03.

ground. This is a multinational effort, the Turk would play a very

:40:03.:40:08.

lead role. America should lead, that is the Americans job, that is

:40:08.:40:12.

to lead, this President won't even utter a word on behalf of these

:40:12.:40:18.

people who are being slaughtered and massacred, as short a time ago

:40:18.:40:21.

as Friday. That is not what Ronald Reagan was all about, I will tell

:40:21.:40:24.

you. Thanks thank you.

:40:24.:40:30.

Can you work out where this is? It has a life expectancy on a par with

:40:30.:40:35.

Djibouti, and a fertility rate somewhere between Millauy and Yemen,

:40:35.:40:42.

dead before 60, an average of six children per family, or single

:40:42.:40:50.

mother. It is the fictional state of Diston, conjoured up by Martin

:40:50.:41:00.
:41:00.:41:02.

Amis in his latest novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England. He has the

:41:02.:41:05.

disposition of someone more violence than most. He wins the

:41:06.:41:13.

lottery. In Diston everything hated

:41:13.:41:17.

everything else, and everything else in return hated everything

:41:17.:41:21.

back. Everything soft hated everything hard, and visa versa,

:41:21.:41:27.

cold, fought heat, heat fought cold. Everything honked and yelled and

:41:27.:41:33.

swore at everything. All was weightless and all hated weight.

:41:33.:41:38.

Lionel Asbo, the protagonist of our book, is a aggressively ignorant,

:41:38.:41:46.

he's violent, he's a lout, and the book is subtitled "State of

:41:46.:41:49.

England", are you saying he some how represents the state of

:41:49.:41:53.

England? I'm not saying anything, all I'm saying is the book, all 270

:41:53.:41:57.

pages of it. This is not strict realisim, this is a sort of

:41:57.:42:05.

fairytale world of abitary rewards and abitary punishments, of nursery

:42:05.:42:09.

rhymes. That's the imagery of the novel. It is not a frowning

:42:09.:42:14.

examination of England. But you have chosen to put State of England

:42:14.:42:20.

as a subtitle? I sometimes regret that. When people say that this is

:42:20.:42:24.

a pretty scathing attack upon what we used to call the working-class,

:42:24.:42:29.

what are you saying? That is not an attack on the working-class. He is

:42:29.:42:33.

not a member of the working-class, he's a member of the criminal class.

:42:33.:42:38.

A member of the unworking-class? The residuals, it used to be called,

:42:38.:42:45.

the underclass. It is not even an attack on that. It is, novels don't

:42:45.:42:53.

come out of negative feelings. You couldn't write with disgust and

:42:53.:42:59.

contempt, they are you will erotic and embracing feelings. But Lionel

:42:59.:43:05.

Asbo represents something, doesn't he, he represents a particular sort

:43:05.:43:11.

of human being, whom many of the middle-classs in this country live

:43:11.:43:15.

in terror of? I don't know if he represents it, he's an example of

:43:15.:43:25.
:43:25.:43:26.

it, and is then comically magnified by a stroke of luck. He joins that

:43:26.:43:30.

considerable strata of English society who are famous of being

:43:30.:43:34.

famous, in the trite phrase, and yet, some how, capture the

:43:34.:43:38.

imagination of England. You wonder what kind of shape the imagination

:43:38.:43:45.

of England is that it is captured by the marginal, and as you say,

:43:45.:43:48.

undeserving figures. What do you conclude about the imagination of

:43:48.:43:53.

the state of England, by the fact it is so obsessed with celebrity

:43:53.:44:01.

and material success, unearned very often? I think you could make the

:44:01.:44:04.

labourious historical case that we have been in decline for 70 years,

:44:04.:44:09.

and what are the consequences of that in the public mind. They are

:44:09.:44:16.

not going to be obvious, they are going to be subliminal. The

:44:16.:44:24.

obsession with triviality is one of the symptoms of decline. We lead

:44:25.:44:30.

the world in decline. America is just embarking on that, they are

:44:30.:44:34.

children in the matter of decline, we have been doing it longer than

:44:34.:44:36.

anyone else. We rose earlier than any other country, with the

:44:36.:44:41.

exception of Holland, perhaps. We had our revolution a century before

:44:41.:44:45.

the French and the Americans. We were further along and we're

:44:45.:44:50.

further along in decline. Do you like England? I'm as attached to it

:44:50.:44:55.

as you would expect after living here...I Don't know, having read it

:44:55.:45:00.

I don't think you are attached to it at all? Having lived here for

:45:00.:45:08.

half a century, it is affectionate, not scathing. England, it seems, it

:45:08.:45:11.

getting and you yourself are getting more sensitive about

:45:11.:45:16.

criticism from without. Do you think England is above reproach?

:45:16.:45:21.

of course not, nowhere is above reproach? I'm connected to England,

:45:21.:45:27.

not only through habitation, and having lived here, but through its

:45:27.:45:37.

literature. I'm proud of being English, I'm proud of coming from

:45:37.:45:41.

the the country of Shakespeare and others. You are not a bitter man a

:45:41.:45:51.
:45:51.:45:54.

jolly man? I think my love of life has increased. When you hit 06, you

:45:54.:45:58.

think it can't possibly end well, it will end in tears. Very quickly

:45:58.:46:01.

you begin to value life as much as you did when you were a child. If

:46:01.:46:10.

this is a second childhood, it is good fun. You have a leave-taking

:46:10.:46:14.

point about you. Not anger, and not reactionry anger, I don't want to

:46:14.:46:19.

turn the clock back. That is the idlist kind of inquiry. I want to

:46:19.:46:29.
:46:29.:46:29.

see what is there, and see what comedy is there in it.

:46:29.:46:39.
:46:39.:47:14.

She says let's seal our pledge with a jobby in the limo. That's all

:47:14.:47:24.

tonight, Kirsty is in the chair tonight, Kirsty is in the chair

:47:24.:47:25.

tomorrow night, good night. Hello there we are still expecting

:47:25.:47:29.

another dose of a wet and windy weather to sweep northwards across

:47:29.:47:32.

the whole country, Thursday night and Friday. Ahead of it is fairly

:47:32.:47:36.

quiet for most of Thursday, after a bright start cloud will increase. A

:47:36.:47:39.

scattering of showers but fairly light. Some sunny spells, in

:47:39.:47:42.

northern England, not too bad here, we will see the cloud increasing in

:47:42.:47:47.

the Midlands. That could give us one or two showers. Some sunshine

:47:47.:47:51.

hanging on across East Anglia, cloud amounts increasing in the

:47:51.:47:55.

south-east of England, the wet and windy weather arriving in the south

:47:55.:47:58.

west of England during the afternoon. The weather here going

:47:58.:48:02.

downhill, as the wind picks up in Wales, so the cloud will increase

:48:02.:48:06.

in the afternoon. Light showers ahead of the main rain which,

:48:06.:48:08.

arrives in the evening. A scattering of hours for Northern

:48:08.:48:11.

Ireland. Sunshine inbetween. Temperatures much as they have been

:48:11.:48:16.

over the past few days, 14-15. Pleasantly warm in the sunshine in

:48:16.:48:21.

Scotland. Many parts will be dry. It looks pretty good in Edinburgh,

:48:21.:48:25.

with sunny spells around here. Notice how the weather changes as

:48:25.:48:31.

we head into Friday. It is Thursday into Friday as the rainband moves

:48:31.:48:36.

south-west wards northwards across the whole of the country. The main

:48:36.:48:39.

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