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Now on BBC One, it's time
for the news where you are.
Good evening - I'm Asad Ahmad.
Prison officers in Herfordshire have
confidentially spoken to this
programme, saying that working
conditions at The Mount prison -
They warn that if things get
worse, it could result
in a full-scale riot -
and they're warning
in a full-scale riot -
and their warning
is being supported by
the Prison Officers Association -
as our reporter, Sarah
Harris can tell us.
Filmed from inside Mount prison,
grenades thrown by riot-trained
staff to restore order
after a wing was taken
over by prisoners in
the summer of 2016.
Despite an investigation
improvements, the union
on the ground says they
back at breaking point at
an institution that houses more than
The problem is, we really need
another 60 officers.
It's compounded with
You've got sickness
because of the working
environment, then you've
got temporary promotion because
people aren't promoted any more,
which leaves holes on the ground
floor, which is covered by overtime.
And then everybody's
just getting burnt out
and burnt out and burnt out.
Over recent months, neighbours
living close to the prison say they
can often hear disturbances
inside the main block at nightfall.
For some, it's an unsettling time.
When things go wrong,
we do hear the noise of them
shouting and presumably banging cups
windows and things like that.
The kids get a little bit nervous.
They want to know
whether somebody is
going to escape, and we are
reassured that that's not the
case at all.
But it does prey on your
mind a little bit.
Staff at the prison are not
allowed to speak out
to the media, but off-camera,
we've been told it's difficult
to see how the situation can get
short of another full-scale riot.
I've just spoken to
a prison officer just
finishing his shift
here at the Mount.
He described conditions
working here as horrendous.
He said the staff
shortages were so bad that
inmates here are being locked up
for hours and hours on end,
and any kind of relief they get
from agency staff
isn't much of a help because people
are so inexperienced, they are
unable to do anything other
than just menial tasks.
He said it was difficult
to see how long they can
carry on like this for before
something serious happens.
Prisoners will get locked
up for longer, which
feeds their anger and
feeds their frustration.
And then they take it out
on the fabric of the building
and the staff.
Prison officers have
told their union that they only have
two thirds of the staff
they need to run the unit
safely and efficiently.
The Ministry of Justice says they've
recruited more staff and are
continuing to bolster their numbers.
Sarah Harris, BBC London News,
the Mount Prison in Hertfordshire.
Well, the prison service has told
us, a targeted recruitment campaign
is under way to boost
front line staff.
There are also arrangements
to ensure all prisoners have
out of their cell over Christmas.
A moped smash-and-grab gang have
been jailed for a total of more
than 100 years for a
string of robberies from mobile
phone shops across London.
Over £1 million worth
of handsets and computers
were stolen after the gang targeted
stores armed with knives,
hammers and guns.
They were caught after
stealing dummy phones -
fitted with GPS trackers.
A man cleared of rape -
is calling for anonymity for those
accused of sex crimes -
unless a court finds them guilty.
Samuel Armstrong, who worked
as a Parliamentary Aide
Samuel Armstrong, who worked
as a Parliamentary aide
in Westminster, was cleared of any
a claim that he'd raped
a woman in an MP's office.
He says the the legal
system is ruining lives.
Here's Helen Catt.
It's the first time Sam Armstrong's
been back to Parliament in more
than a year, a year
in which he's been banned
from the estate, suspended
from his job as an aide to Kent MP.
He says he's lost everything.
There's nothing to get
up in the morning for.
There's nothing to put your suit on.
It's been hugely, hugely
upsetting and painful.
As I say, I really wouldn't
wish this on anybody.
Accused of raping a woman
in his boss's office at Westminster
he was quickly named in the media.
Yesterday, a jury cleared him.
He now believes
the rules must change.
I think we've now reached a stage
where anonymity for people charged
with these sorts of
offences is necessary.
We need to work out
whether what has been
said has any basis
truth, because sometimes the charge
screams louder than the facts.
There's something going wrong
with our system because it's ruining
young people's lives.
He's also added his
voice to the growing
concern over how evidence
is disclosed to defence teams.
It follows the high-profile
case of Liam Allan.
The last two years I've
just spent worrying.
A case against him collapsed
after text messages
emerged showing his alleged victim
had enjoyed having sex with him.
The Metropolitan Police
is now carrying
out a review into what
happened to Mr Allan.
The Crown Prosecution Service
told us that in Mr
Armstrong's case the disclosure
of evidence was undertaken properly,
that they'd disclosed additional
material to the defence on 30th
November only a day after the police
officer in charge and the CPS
had first examined it.
The case, they say,
was left for the jury to
decide and we respect
As for Sam Armstrong,
after a highly public year he says
his first priority
is a quiet Christmas.
Helen Catt, BBC London
A Christmas party has been
held tonight at a church
in North Kensington for survivors
of June's Grenfell Tower fire.
The Tabernacle Christian Centre
in North Kensington opened its doors
to over 100 people -
many of whom are still living in
temporary accommodation and hotels.
They were given a christmas meal -
and the children got presents.
In the true spirit of Christmas,
people of all faiths were welcome.
And that's it from us for tonight.
We'll be back with the weekend
news - but if we miss
you for some reason,
let me now wish you a
very Merry Christmas.
After an extraordinary 2017,
I hope to see you in 2018.
Now let's get the weather
forecast from Chris.
It's been another cloudy day, a few
spots of light rain and drizzle to
start the day captured on this
weather watcher picture of the
Chiswick area in London. What the
centre, the next 24 hours. One thing
that is sort of interesting is
temperatures are barely changing
between day and night, the last 24
hours they have only changed less
than two deg, it smiled because the
wind is coming off the Atlantic,
lots of cloud upstream is coming our
way in the next few days. Overnight
tonight it stays Dolan cloudy,
temperatures belly bulging, lows of
around nine or 10 Celsius, a few
mist patches over the Downs and
Chilterns but not extensive and not
as much drizzle around as there was
this morning so for many of us it is
a dry start to the day. Dry but
cloudy again, a few limited bright
or sunny spells just about possible
and temperatures barely Reiziger in
the day but it will be mild, highs
of 10-12dC. More of the same on
Sunday which is Christmas Eve and
Monday which is Christmas day,