22/12/2017 London News


22/12/2017

The latest news, sport and weather from London.


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LineFromTo

Now on BBC One, it's time

for the news where you are.

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Good evening - I'm Asad Ahmad.

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Prison officers in Herfordshire have

confidentially spoken to this

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programme, saying that working

conditions at The Mount prison -

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are horrendous.

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They warn that if things get

worse, it could result

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in a full-scale riot -

and they're warning

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in a full-scale riot -

and their warning

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is being supported by

the Prison Officers Association -

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as our reporter, Sarah

Harris can tell us.

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Filmed from inside Mount prison,

grenades thrown by riot-trained

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staff to restore order

after a wing was taken

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over by prisoners in

the summer of 2016.

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Despite an investigation

and promised

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improvements, the union

representing wardens

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on the ground says they

are

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back at breaking point at

an institution that houses more than

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1000 prisoners.

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The problem is, we really need

another 60 officers.

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It's compounded with

different issues.

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You've got sickness

because of the working

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environment, then you've

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got temporary promotion because

people aren't promoted any more,

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which leaves holes on the ground

floor, which is covered by overtime.

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And then everybody's

just getting burnt out

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and burnt out and burnt out.

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Over recent months, neighbours

living close to the prison say they

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can often hear disturbances

inside the main block at nightfall.

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For some, it's an unsettling time.

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When things go wrong,

we do hear the noise of them

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shouting and presumably banging cups

on the

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windows and things like that.

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The kids get a little bit nervous.

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They want to know

whether somebody is

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going to escape, and we are

reassured that that's not the

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case at all.

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But it does prey on your

mind a little bit.

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Staff at the prison are not

allowed to speak out

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to the media, but off-camera,

we've been told it's difficult

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to see how the situation can get

much worse,

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short of another full-scale riot.

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I've just spoken to

a prison officer just

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finishing his shift

here at the Mount.

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He described conditions

working here as horrendous.

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He said the staff

shortages were so bad that

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inmates here are being locked up

for hours and hours on end,

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and any kind of relief they get

from agency staff

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isn't much of a help because people

are so inexperienced, they are

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unable to do anything other

than just menial tasks.

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He said it was difficult

to see how long they can

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carry on like this for before

something serious happens.

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Prisoners will get locked

up for longer, which

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feeds their anger and

feeds their frustration.

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And then they take it out

on the fabric of the building

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and the staff.

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Prison officers have

told their union that they only have

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two thirds of the staff

they need to run the unit

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safely and efficiently.

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The Ministry of Justice says they've

recruited more staff and are

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continuing to bolster their numbers.

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Sarah Harris, BBC London News,

the Mount Prison in Hertfordshire.

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Well, the prison service has told

us, a targeted recruitment campaign

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is under way to boost

front line staff.

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There are also arrangements

to ensure all prisoners have

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time

out of their cell over Christmas.

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A moped smash-and-grab gang have

been jailed for a total of more

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than 100 years for a

string of robberies from mobile

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phone shops across London.

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Over £1 million worth

of handsets and computers

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were stolen after the gang targeted

stores armed with knives,

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hammers and guns.

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They were caught after

stealing dummy phones -

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fitted with GPS trackers.

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A man cleared of rape -

is calling for anonymity for those

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accused of sex crimes -

unless a court finds them guilty.

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Samuel Armstrong, who worked

as a Parliamentary Aide

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Samuel Armstrong, who worked

as a Parliamentary aide

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in Westminster, was cleared of any

wrongdoing following

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a claim that he'd raped

a woman in an MP's office.

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He says the the legal

system is ruining lives.

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Here's Helen Catt.

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It's the first time Sam Armstrong's

been back to Parliament in more

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than a year, a year

in which he's been banned

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from the estate, suspended

from his job as an aide to Kent MP.

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He says he's lost everything.

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There's nothing to get

up in the morning for.

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There's nothing to put your suit on.

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It's been hugely, hugely

upsetting and painful.

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As I say, I really wouldn't

wish this on anybody.

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Accused of raping a woman

in his boss's office at Westminster

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he was quickly named in the media.

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Yesterday, a jury cleared him.

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He now believes

the rules must change.

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I think we've now reached a stage

where anonymity for people charged

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with these sorts of

offences is necessary.

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We need to work out

whether what has been

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said has any basis

in

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truth, because sometimes the charge

screams louder than the facts.

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There's something going wrong

with our system because it's ruining

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young people's lives.

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He's also added his

voice to the growing

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concern over how evidence

is disclosed to defence teams.

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It follows the high-profile

case of Liam Allan.

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The last two years I've

just spent worrying.

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A case against him collapsed

after text messages

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emerged showing his alleged victim

had enjoyed having sex with him.

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The Metropolitan Police

is now carrying

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out a review into what

happened to Mr Allan.

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The Crown Prosecution Service

told us that in Mr

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Armstrong's case the disclosure

of evidence was undertaken properly,

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that they'd disclosed additional

material to the defence on 30th

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November only a day after the police

officer in charge and the CPS

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had first examined it.

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The case, they say,

was left for the jury to

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decide and we respect

their decision.

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As for Sam Armstrong,

after a highly public year he says

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his first priority

is a quiet Christmas.

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Helen Catt, BBC London

News, Westminster.

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A Christmas party has been

held tonight at a church

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in North Kensington for survivors

of June's Grenfell Tower fire.

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The Tabernacle Christian Centre

in North Kensington opened its doors

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to over 100 people -

many of whom are still living in

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temporary accommodation and hotels.

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They were given a christmas meal -

and the children got presents.

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In the true spirit of Christmas,

people of all faiths were welcome.

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And that's it from us for tonight.

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We'll be back with the weekend

news - but if we miss

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you for some reason,

let me now wish you a

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very Merry Christmas.

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After an extraordinary 2017,

I hope to see you in 2018.

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Now let's get the weather

forecast from Chris.

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It's been another cloudy day, a few

spots of light rain and drizzle to

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start the day captured on this

weather watcher picture of the

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Chiswick area in London. What the

centre, the next 24 hours. One thing

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that is sort of interesting is

temperatures are barely changing

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between day and night, the last 24

hours they have only changed less

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than two deg, it smiled because the

wind is coming off the Atlantic,

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lots of cloud upstream is coming our

way in the next few days. Overnight

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tonight it stays Dolan cloudy,

temperatures belly bulging, lows of

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around nine or 10 Celsius, a few

mist patches over the Downs and

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Chilterns but not extensive and not

as much drizzle around as there was

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this morning so for many of us it is

a dry start to the day. Dry but

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cloudy again, a few limited bright

or sunny spells just about possible

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and temperatures barely Reiziger in

the day but it will be mild, highs

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of 10-12dC. More of the same on

Sunday which is Christmas Eve and

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Monday which is Christmas day,

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