21/11/2013 Newsnight


The women held as 'slaves' in a London house for 30 years; the privatisation of probation; the Tories' image; and the trouble with lifts. With Victoria Derbyshire.

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Somewhere in Lambeth in south London, the details of what


detectives are calling an extraordinary case are slowly


starting to emerge. The specific remain vague, police say details are


being held back for operational reasons. What we do know is a couple


both in their late 60s were arrested at that house in south London


accused of keeping three women in a state of domestic slavery for


decades. The victims, now in a safe place are said to be traumatised.


The police are working out exactly what happened but say it is likely


to be a long drawn out process. At a press conference at Scotland Yard


the detective in charge of the case said the women all had controlled


lives and spent most of it indoors, but did have some limited freedom.


We have established that all three women were held in this situation


for at least 30 years. They did have some controlled freedom. The Human


Trafficking Unit of the Metropolitan Police deals with many cases of


servitude and forced Labour. We have dealt with cases where someone has


been held for ten years but never this long before. It was a number of


documentaries like this one on forced marriages that appeared to


trigger this news. One of the women in the house called the Freedom


Charity after seeing it. Police found her location and all three


women escaped. It has now emerged that a 69-year-old Malaysian woman,


a 57-year-old Irish woman and 30-year-old British woman were


rescued from the house a month ago. The 30-year-old has spent her whole


life in captivity. Officers are trying to establish whether she was


born in the house. All three women were highly traumatised and taken to


place of safety where they remain. They are in the care of a charity


who deal with people who are deeply traumatised. These are deeply


traumatised people and it is essential that we work sensitively


to establish the facts in this case. Detectives say although they are


aware of cases of people being held for up to ten years, they have never


seen a case quite like this before. The Metropolitan Police's Human


Trafficking Units receives reports of about 250 offences each year.


People working on the ground say the figure is rarely reported and the


real figure could be much higher. The Global Slavery Index estimated


between 4,200-4,600 slaves in the UK. Detectives at the National Crime


Agency think they encountered 2,225 potential victims of human traffics


in the UK. Exploitation for sex and work were most common amongst


traffiked People. Sex and petty crime for children. Campaigners say


human trafficking as a whole has been overlooked for too long in the


UK. The Government now plans to introduce a modern slavery bill next


year to tighten up the law. I can't go into details because I don't know


them, I can give you some clues, first of all I think slavery will be


made an offence with life imprisonment. Two is we are going to


have a commissioner, like an ombudsman who will be charged


directly to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to find out


what's wrong in this country and make a report every year to


parliament identifying what can be done to improve it. As far as I'm


concerned one of the most important things is going to be chasing


traffickers. Only 11 convictions for trafficking last year. 11, in this


country. OK there were other prosecutions but only specifically


for trafficking. The movement to abolish the slave trade in the 18th


century started here at this church in Lambeth. That was more than two


centuries ago, and feels like ancient history. Campaigners say


today's news is a shocking reminder that it isn't. We have the founder


of the Freedom Charity, which was first contacted by one of the women,


and helped negotiate their release. Frank Field is the chair of the


modern slavery review. Tell us how the women are? They are very


distressed about what's happened to them. But they are making steady


progress and I have spent a great deal of time with them now and I


think you know they are making as much progress as we can expect them


to. It has been very, very difficult for them. One of the women managed


to leave a message on your charity's 24-hour helpline? They spoke to one


of our professionals at the other end of the phone who realised the


seriousness of the call and immediately we started very


sensitive negotiations with the ladies about how we would manage to


get them out and manage their escape. What did she say in that


first call? The first call was actually saying that she had been


held against her will, and said it could, over 30 years she had been


held, and then it was a drip by drip kind of process of her revealing


information, and she just had one point of contact within the charity.


And it was pre-aranged when she would call and how it was done. It


was done very sensitively, I'm really fraud of Freedom Charity for


the work they have done over this. The woman was able to use a mobile


phone or landline? She was able to use a phone but in a secret way. The


people in the house didn't know she had that phone. You made


arrangements to contact them when the owners of the house were out? It


was done in a way so nobody would know they were on the phone. That


had to be done in that way, it was very secretive to ensure they


weren't putting any further danger on themselves at all. How alongside


the police did you help these women escape? Basically it was a process


of just over a week where there were lots of phone calls and they gained


the trust of the charity and by doing that they felt confident


enough to reveal enough information, and at this point we have contacted


the police they have got involved as well. They were on stand by, it was


a textbook rescue, they managed to walk out of the house. When the


owners were not there, clearly. When nobody was around they managed to


leave. You and the police were waiting for them? Yes, and we


managed to get them to place of safety where they are safe and


secure and they are getting everything they need right now. The


long-term worry is how this obviously has affected them and what


their futures will hold. They walked out with nothing? They have nothing


now and as a charity we are trying to support them the best we can.


What was that like when you first met them? It is incredibly humbling,


they threw their arms around me and thanked me for the work we have


done, and they met the person doing the initial negotiations with them.


It was a very, very emotional time. When we got the message that they


were outside the front door, the whole call centre erupted in cheers


and there were tears and everyone was incredibly emotional to know


that we had helped to rescue three ladies that had been held in such


horrific conditions. Can you tell us about those conditions, what had


they said been happening? They were held against their L the other


details, because obviously it is -- their will, the other details


obviously pending the trial, we have to be careful. In London you


wouldn't expect this to be going on, but it does happen. Let me bring you


in on that point, do you think this is part of the problem, we don't


really understand what slavery is in this country? No, we were talking


earlier about 200 years ago most people thought it was acceptable and


slaves were in shackles. And the great campaign was to change public


opinion that it wasn't acceptable. Now, apart from those who deal in


this evil trade the rest of the country I would think would be


appalled by thek cyst tense of this. What do you understand domestic


slavery to mean? It is not just domestic slavery, there will be


slavery in the sex trade, in labouring, in crime, in fraud and so


on, which is highly organised, let's hope this is not actually part of


one of those organised crime rings. Do you think this case emphasises


the need for further legislation? I think when you had a clip earlier on


from the police, they have made other statements saying what they


are looking for in the Bill so it will be used better, without the


uncertainties that there is at the moment. There is that angle but


there is another important angle. Although it was 30 years in


imprisonment this occurred in London. Where we have a dedicated


group of policemen who are to fight and counter modern day slavery. They


have spent quite a bit of time trying to build up contact and trust


amongst non-Government organisations. Like the Freedom


Charity which has been crucial. Now in other parts of the country there


is not that trust. So there is both the importance of changing the law


to make it more friendly to prosecution, and more friendly to


the victims of slavery, but there is also the job of how do we change


attitudes and policy that follows from that. One of the women who you


helped rescue is 30. Was she born in that house? She spent all her life


in captivity, basically. She was born there? We can't say if she was


born there. But she has spent her whole life there and known nothing


different. This is the first time she has had the freedom of movement


in being able to use a phone and experience some basic things in life


that all of us take for granted. Thank you both, sorry you wanted to


say something, quick final point? Key point is that we began our


evidence session its with victims of slavery and we will end with victims


of slavery, already they have made this very powerful case to have a


commission whose job is to raise public awareness. Of course there is


a need to change the law and change how policy operates, but there is


also a need for us to be more aware that amongst us, maybe not far from


us are people held in slavery. Thank you. Still to come, eventually.


Sometimes I press the button and I can see the lift coming but it goes


right past me, why does the lift hate me. It knows other people have


been waiting longer than you, what it is trying to do is minimise the


waiting for everyone. The Government promised that privatising parts of


the Probation Service would mean savings for tax-payers and new


innovative ways of managing offenders in the community, while at


the same time he pro-tectiing the public. A us -- pro-tectiing the --


protecting the public. After a Newsnight investigation we have


found that it is fraught with problems. Last year Serco won a ?35


million project in London to manage criminals doing community service or


payback. As we report, it is now seeming that the company can't


always open. It is a difficult balancing act, helping offenders


reintegrate while keeping the public safe. It is the role of the


Probation Service to maintain that balance. But controversial plans to


privatise parts of the service in England and Wales will threaten


that, say critics. The first major area of probation work to be handed


to the private sector has been in London, where we have discovered


serious failings. In October last year Serco took over the programme


for running community service across London in partnership with the


London Probation Trust. We spoke to people inside Serco and the Trust


and we have seen documentary evidence that raises concerns for


the safety of the public, the welfare of offenders and the


delivery of justice. The ?35 million contract Serco won means they now


have responsibility for community service projects on the ground. The


Probation Trust, which also tendered for the contract, still has


responsibility for offenders, assessing risk, monitoring progress


and imposing sanctions if offenders fail to comply with their sentence.


The day-to-day supervision of offenders rests with Serco, it is


this breaking up of the service that is causing concern. The Government


ran a competition for community payback in London. It admitted bids


from various organisations and ultimately Serco won with a


sub-contract with London Probation Trust, the main problem is it was


price competitive. Whoever bid and whatever the quality of the bids the


cheapest would always win. Serco and London Probation came in the


cheapest and now the cracks are starting to show. Newsnight has seen


a series of e-mails from the London Probation Trust's issue log,


offenders turning up to projects to find no superviser. Difficulty


getting through to Serco's control centre and attendance records wrong


and incomplete. Whistleblowers at Serco and the London Probation Trust


blame 40% staff cuts for pressures on the service. In our opinion there


are not enough projects or staff, the projects are oversubscribed and


anything oversubscribed causes problems. This was the Government's


blueprint for the future running of the Probation Service. They say the


way community service was run before Serco took over, didn't always


command public confidence. I will pay for success, I'm happy the


organisations working with me do well financially, but only if they


deliver results. The importance of keeping accurate records of


attendance is crucial to the smooth running of the Probation Service, if


an offender doesn't comply or fails in their community service officer,


the probation officer only as a short window to get them before a


judge. Without those documents the Probation Service can't help the


court enforce justice. In August the database where offender records were


stored and updated switched to a national database, during the


changeover records couldn't be updated for a week. Instead paper


records were kept, creating a backlog. We understand Serco


promised to have this dealt with by the end of August. It wasn't. There


was a backlog prior to that any way, obviously it did get worse, we did


have a week with no computer system, we in probation have been expected


to catch up with the missed work in that week. Serco just do not have


the staff to do it. We have received documents showing that between the


1st September and the 6th October, 1,362 records were not updated by


Serco. The Ministry of Justice estimate that is there are around


960 people starting community payback each month. It is not a drop


in the ocean. There was a change in IT systems and because of the bid


they put into the Ministry of Justice was so lean it doesn't


provide for any contingencies at all. If there is a change of IT or


you need extra resources they couldn't cope with it. This internal


e-mail shows that Serco were so overwhelmed with the backlog of


records, they asked London probation staff to assist with overtime. 362


records were still out of date in October. It is difficult for


probation officers to sanction offenders through called breach


proceedings. With the breaches if people fail to offend they get two


chances, the first time they get a warning letter, the second time they


get a breach letter. We have to get that into court, into the


prosecutors within eight days. That's the target. We're not getting


the information on a lot of cases until possibly four, five days after


they have missed. There are a lot of cases where there is no point even


sending them back to court, because it is not going to go through the


court procedures. This document shows since Serco took over the


contract, there have been consistent complaints of inaccurate and late


reporting, peaking in October this year. We have seen evidence showing


that right up until last week information collected by Serco used


to pend offenders back to court was incorrect. In a small number of


cases we are aware of, offenders have been sent back to court or


failing to do community service, only for it to be withdrawn or


thrown out of court, because the information was wrong. We're finding


it increasingly hard to enforce justice in these cases, because the


quality of the evidence often isn't there. We have to be sure that if


we're taking breach action against an offender that we have a robust


case. We are relying on Serco instead of our own information, that


information is often incomplete or late or of dubious quality. What's


more we have seen e-mails suggesting that prisoners on curfew who have


been electronically tagged may not have been monitored properly in one


borough of London, raising questions as to whether probation officers


knew where offenders had been. This is not part of the community service


contract, but the e-mail suggests that Serco had been sending


incidents of curfew breaches to the wrong mailbox at the probation trust


from September to October. The Ministry of Justice say they are


investigating. When Serco was awarded the contract last year, the


Chief Inspector of probation said it would be regrettable if work done


with offenders became fragments with more providers being involved. She


warrant it could increase the potential for communication


problems. The The one we are looking at is information accuracy and


timeliness... We took our evidence to a former Chief Inspector of


probation. What I have seen in your evidence is a pattern of inaccuracy,


it is difficult to judge as to whether these are isolated cases or


whether they are getting better or worse, but you have shown me


sufficient material that it calls in, it raises serious questions. In


my judgment there is a sufficient quantity of evidence here for


someone to be taking a very close look at it. The evidence we


discovered shows a private company has struggled to keep on top key


information, and they haven't been monitoring some offenders properly.


Those in the service say the breaking up of the community payback


scheme in London has had real consequences for the delivery of


justice. It comes as questions are already being asked about the


Government's wider plans for the privatisation of the Probation


Service. We contacted Serco they gave us this


What are the implications for the Government's plans to hand control


of Probation Services to more private firms and charters across


the country. Joining me Sue Hall chair of the Probation Chiefs


Association, and Max Chambers from the Policy Exchange think-tank. Sue


do you think there is a problem? Clearly the Allegations we have


heard are serious. It could be teething problems then? We are


talking about a contract 15 months in and inherited from London


probation trust as a going concern. Community payback in London is one


of 35 community payback schemes and the Government's plans will see next


year, not just 34 other community payback schemes, put out to


competition, but actually a much wider array of work with offenders,


probably about 70% of the case load that probation currently manages. To


move into that order of competition on the basis of very little


experience, very little evidence of the private sector being able to


manage probation work, competently, in the community, feels rash. Do you


think there is a problem? I'm not quite sure having just seen the


video how much that shows us about the wider implications. It doesn't


look like public safety was put at risk at all in the video. And what


we can be sure of as far as I'm aware, London Probation Trust and


the Ministry of Justice are pretty happy with the contract being run.


If supervision is deteriorating of the offenders doing the community


payback, potentially those offenders could be reoffending but no-one


would know? I think people would know, I mean reoffending rates are


published and are very transparent, published by the Ministry of


Justice. But the superviser, circumstance co-won't know -- Serco


wouldn't know? I don't think there is evidence of supervision


deteriorating and Serco as far as I'm aware are meeting and exceeding


their performance targets. I think it is difficult to draw wider


implications about whether the Government's reform, about reducing


reoffending not just about community payback, it is hard to draw those


links on the basis of an investigation that was


whistleblowers rather than the people managing the service. The


head of the London Probation Trust hasn't given you an interview, I'm


not sure if she's happy with the service. My understanding is MOJ and


the London Probation Service are happy with the contract as it is


run. It is with an efficiency of 37% as well as maintaining a good


standard of service. If we talk about reducing reoffending, case


loads supervised by the Probation Service at the moment have a good


track record of reducing reoffending. We have seen rates come


down over the last ten years. The rational of privatising the


Probation Service isn't because probation is a failing service.


There is a group of offenders within the system, the short-term prisoners


that currently are not supervised. It seems that the Government has


made the leap from need to go provide services from that Europe to


dismantling the Probation Service in order to provide the funding to do


so. That's a really huge leap, it is like bedding the farm on the throw


of a dice, that by doing this massive outsourcing you will provide


better result I don't think there is the evidence around it at the


moment, to give us confidence that will be so. In terms of the evidence


we have got two schemes that are running are payments by results


schemes. The Government is setting a clear objective and saying if you


cut reoffending we will pay you in full. If you don't we won't. That is


the incentive that Policy Exchange and the Government have been talking


about. One of those schemes in pet borrow, the reoffending results of


the cohort are 50 lower than the national -- 50% lower than the


national average. In Peterborough there is 15 months yet to run of


that, very, very early results on a very small sample. Can I put the


point that the NAPA representative made in the film, it is increasingly


hard enforce justice. Do you accept that? I don't accept that, I don't


think we saw from the IT issues that all probation trusts were having


that there is necessarily an issue around enforcing justice that is


exclusive to the private sector. I don't think that the investigation


proved that at all. What we're talking about is not just the


running of community payback but the running of probation supervision in


the round. What the Government is saying that the Probation Service


has not performed well enough in terms of producing reoffending. The


Government isn't saying that? The Government has said that. The


Government is saying that reoffending rates in relation to


under 12-month prisoners are too high, whom the Probation Service


doesn't supervise. They are suggest issing you do it in a different way,


and this contract costs tax-payers' ?25 million. If you were to


extrapolate from the costs of the London pay grabbing contract to how


much you would say down the country you would be Shahhedly mistaken.


There is -- you would be sadly mistaken. You couldn't make those


levels of savings across the country. Plans for privatisation


which are ill thought through, are being driven into quickly, that puts


the public at risk. If you have 70% of the case load and talking 190


,000, supervised by the private sector, models untried and tested


where there are even teething problems will put the public at


risk. I think the reforms are not being of A rushed way. There are


thousands of offenders not getting correct supervision and people


reoffending, we need reforms and we hope the Government will see them


through. P tonight the Ministry of Justice released a statement, public


safety has not been compromised in the delivery of this contract which


has provided one million hours of offender labour for London. Serco's


performance is improving month on month, they are meeting key targets


and outperforming the national average. 80% of offenders are now


successfully completing payback, # % above national average. All


offenders are deeply assessed. July figures show 90% of breach cases


were followed through by enforcement action by Serco. They are offering


enough placements to meet court demands in London. With innovative


ways of working there were some bedding issues at the initial stage


we are satisfied these have been resolved. We have asked the


probation trust to inform us where they have not received correct


paperwork that may have brought breached action. We will follow that


up with Serbing KOECHLT The Ministry of Justice holds contracts with


Serco and G 4. S and their investigation is on going.


How good a footballer was buy Lione Messi, top flight clubs are vying to


sign up an eight-year-old from Argentina, he has been watched on


social media from around the world. How can the sporting skills shown by


a primary school child be any measure of what sort of a footballer


he will be like as an adult. We have more. This is Claudio Nachafiel,


from Argentina and eight years old. Top clubs around the world are


fighting to sign him. And who can blame them. Prodigies have


mesmerised the world for centuries. The idea of young children zapped


with genius from birth. These kids from the Westway Sports Club in


London are hoping to be the next big thing in football. Does preordained


genius exist and why do so many called prodigies burn out. Ed Smith


is a former England international cricketer. Expectation works against


the enjoyment in sport, which is enjoyment and joy. Kids who mature


too early in expressing their talent don't develop the psychological


robustness to enable them to actually have that great career,


that perhaps they seemed predestined for. That is why there is evidence,


I think, that the late run can you preferable. In my own cricket career


I saw lots of people earmarked for greatness, get gradually overtaken


by people who were mentally better equipped for life at the top. These


kids are aiming high and the coaches are hoping to produce the next


sensation. Boys don't worry, heads up, come on. Of course some


supertalents like Lionel Messi, signed by Barcelona at 13, and Tiger


Woods, were standing out early. Others like Gary Neville flourished


rather later. Development seems to have a range of different at that


ject trees. Kevin Pietersen who plays his whatever number game, at


13 he was an offspinner Number Ten who was struggling to get into a


side in South Africa. There was nothing in his childhood that


suggested he was going to become one of the great batsmen of the modern


era. But it was his ability to make up his own mind and his ability to


be self-taught and not to have a track record of people having


tinkered with him too much, that enabled him, when he did, if you


like, get seized by ambition, to actually be in an optimal position


to make the most of it. Scouting operations have become increasingly


sophisticated. Premier League clubs are scrutinising players, deploying


data analysis and psychometrics on children as young as ten. The


pressure is ratcheting up, on players and parents. You can have a


10, 11, 12-year-old child who suddenly has up to that period had


their parents to guide them. All of a sudden you have agents involved.


You have got coach, you have got nutritionists and ologyists or


whatever, they all have an interest in that child. It changes the whole


dynamic. It goes from being something that is fun and enjoyable


and something to kind of do with your friends to being a full-time


profession. The temptation, all too often is to push too hard. But the


danger is if the young footballer or violinist is practising not for its


own sake but to please a parent or coach, they are far more likely to


burn out. The key in psychological terms is for the young performer,


the aspiring champion to care about what they are doing from the inside.


Even more the super talented excellence is a long journey.


Resilience is probably more important than early promise. But if


prodigies retain their joy and with a bit of God fortune, anything is


possible. David Cameron showed how much he cared about the environment


in 2006 by cavorting with huskies. The Hundred reports that David


Cameron has told aides to "get rid of the green crap", is this the sign


of David Cameron the moderniser or the right-wing populisim. We have


our guests with us to discuss this. What did Mr Cameron mean? That he's


realising that the priorities he outlined back in 2006 aren't really


relevant now and the green stuff has become a lot more expensive and


causing real pain in people's household budgets. His aim as Prime


Minister is to get cheap not green energy. He has made this choice. Are


you worried about the shift? It doesn't sound to me like the sorts


of worse that David Cameron uses, it sound much more like Linton Crosby.


You have to remember that there is nothing unconservative about


spending a small sum of money and helping the oldest and poorest to


insulate their homes. It is Conservative to support injuries


thriving throughout the recession, and now beg bigger than the car and


telecoms industries combined. Anti-green is antigrowth. In an age


where politicians are not trusted, it would be mad for one so known for


green policies to do a bolt. David Cameron is not very coherent? It is


when the facts change. You change your mind. The energy debate has


transformed since he got on the husky dogs a while ago. American is


cutting down its carbon by going for fracking, we should do that here.


Has it transformed because of what Ed Miliband said about freezing


energy prices? He was able to call out David Cameron and his energy


policies for jacking up bills. That is completely unacceptable, of


course Ed Miliband's bill but David Cameron is realising he has been


mugged by reality. The experience of Government has led him to revise


what was plan for getting elected, didn't quite work. In office he's


pivoting back, it is not so much moving to the right but to the


people. thepeople. 'S pragmatist? No, what you are seeing is he has


come under a lot of pressure from UKIP and certain sections of his own


party. There has been a reductive tendency within Government, which is


to go for the old fashioned policies that failed in the past under Hague


and Michael Howard, which is a narrow and fearful agenda which is


alienating young people and female voters, it isn't recruiting ethnic


minorities. If he's dropping the "green crap" won't that chime to


voters rather than undermining them?. It is undermining growth, why


would you do that because it makes no sense whatsoever. People are


worried about bills at the end of the month. One of the failures they


have is to tackle the big corporates. We have a problem with


capitalism in this country, not because there is too much, but there


is too little. We have crony capitalism able to get away with too


much. It is failure of regulation and complete myth to think that


these ideas are saying to concern energy which are very, very


conservative are the problem. That is the myth. Green policies have run


Germany into the found, it wasn't the same as we thought it was, we


does what any politician would do, chining his mind and quick. Is it a


vote winner? It is, he is giving help to those who need it most. The


polls show where they are at the moment isn't working. The polls show


if you reduce a lot of things like this and you appeal to the moderate


basis little it is over. The Conservative Party are challenged


because they are not winning over the younger voters because the brand


is so damaged. We weren't transformed in the election and


still not now. Theseth will do more damage to the Conservatives. The


Queen visited the shard in London today. We can assume she look a lift


to the top and probably didn't have to wait for it. Nor did she have to


wait for the lift when she visited BBC New Broadcasting House, and just


as well, staff have been grumbling about waiting times for the lifts


here since we move in. How many minutes do we average waiting for


lifts. We have been hanging around in one or two lift lobbies for a few


hours of his life, he won't be getting back. This report contains


some strobing. The world is increasingly an urban place, more


than half our planet's citizens live in cities. These cities are engines


of innovation and economic activity, they can be good for the planet too.


Because densely-packed cities thrive on bus, trains and subway systems


rather than cars. But all of this would be impossible without one of


the most underrated inventions of the past two centuries. It is the


lift, and if you will forgive a little self-obsession here at


Newsnight, we have been thinking a lot about lifts recently, we have


moved to New Broadcasting House, a brand new building, but there is a


problem with the lifts. It takes a long time for them to arrive. When


they do they are packed like sardines and you can't get on.


So how do engineers decide how many lifts go into a building, and how it


works. We have an office building where with people all wanting to get


to their desk. They are at work and want to get there. The hotel has


different timing periods and might need more. Why not put more lifts in


buildings so people don't have to wait any longer? The more you have,


they take up more space, that is less space for the office and less


rent for the landlord. There is more to the business of elevatoring than


choosing right number of lifts. That is not a bad start. A modern


elevator installation uses computer, monitoring, every lift call putten


to and co-ordinating the response of every lift in the building. That may


not sound like the world's toughest problem, there is a lot for the


computer to think about. In a tall building with 20 lift call buttons


pressed and eight lifts there are over a billion, billion different


situation for the computer to send the lifts off to respond. Since


nobody likes a sluggish lift, it all has to be done in a 50th of a


second. If only there was somebody we could turn to? Somebody who could


solve all of our elevator-based problems. Big or small. Dear lift


doctor, sometimes I press the button and I can see the lift coming but it


goes right past me, why does the lift hate me. The computer sees all


the calls and all the lifts and it knows there might be some other


people who have been waiting longer than you. It's trying to minimise


the waiting for everyone, while you wait for the next lift overall it


might be better for everyone. Dear lift doctor, I work in a busy


building, in the morning everyone comes in at the same time and we are


all hanging around in the lobby for an occasional lift to arrive and a


few us to get in. Help us. You have only one button on the ground floor,


so only one lift is sent and the others are brought back. It is good


to make sure all the cars are brought back. Dear lift doctor, the


problem is with the cafe and back. What can you do? You can give free


tea and coffee on the floors, then people don't make extra trips to the


cafeteri It is annoying to wait an extra minute for a lift. But a big


building with a poorly designed elevator system would keep you


longer than that. Five, ten minutes in a scraper the lifts have to be


perfect. Modern skyscrapers use a destination control system. We swipe


the card, enter our destination. Which in English you tell the


elevator the floor you need and it assigns you the correct elevator.


The system will group travellers together to a set number of floors.


So the benefits system is it will travel to that certain number of


floors without stopping everywhere. These are double-decker elevators is


that common snooty The new technology? Twin elevators,


similar to this but the cars are separated in the same cat but one


car operating independently from the other car. Same principle, moves


lots of people. One final element for the conscientious elevator


scientist to consider. These lifts aren't moving cargo, they are moving


people. And that means trouble. The BBC building managers at New


Broadcasting House complain there is nothing wrong with the lifts, it is


just that the users are doing it wrong. Apparently we overuse some


banks of elevators and underuse others. In the future our robot


over-Lords will take care of all of that. It may be that the security


card that you carry to get into the building will already have your


preferred floor coated into it, when you swipe your card through whatever


entry device like a turnstile. The turnstile will have a screen


embedded in it. You walk over to the elevator bank and get in, you won't


have to touch anything. Cities are getting bigger, buildings getting


taller, computers are getting faster and people are getting busier. That


can only mean one thing, the dawn of the new age of the intelligence


elevator is only just beginning. That's all for this evening, good


How could three women be held as 'slaves' in a London house for 30 years? Is the privatisation of probation failing? The 8-year-old football superstar; the Tories' image; and the trouble with lifts.

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