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Now on BBC one it's time
for the news where you are.
I'm Riz Lateef.
First tonight - an insight
into the state of some
of London's worst prisons.
A serving officer has told us -
the shortage of staff
makes her feel vulnerable.
It comes amid concerns
about a recruitment crisis
across the capital's jails,
as Caroline Davies reports.
I want my property!
Violence, drugs, drones, self harm,
suicide and even murders.
This is the state of London's
prisons, and according to some
critics, the lack of staff
is making it worse.
I've been working at prisons more
than 30 years and I have never seen
them in such a terrible state.
It is very bad for prisoners
and the public because it means
the prisoners are locked up all day
and dumped back on the street angry
and bitter and more likely
to commit another crime.
At the end of 2016, the Government
said it would recruit an extra
2,500 prison officers
across England and Wales.
So how many new officers
have been recruited
across London's eight prisons?
There has been a net
gain of only 22.
I really enjoyed it when I first
I loved the buzz and that,
then it rapidly changed.
This woman is an officer
in a London prison.
We have concealed her identity
and dubbed her voice to protect her.
There are no staff any more,
they come in but as quickly
as they do, people are leaving.
There are people who have been
there 15 years and remember
when there were four officers
on a landing and now
there is only one.
What is it like when you're
just the one person?
You get worried because what if
you are the one that
gets attacked that day
and you can't get
a whistle to your mouth?
You better hope those prisoners
like you because they will be
the ones saving your life.
People will be shocked to hear
you rely on the prisoners
to keep you safe?
It is the truth, because there is no
one with you on the landing.
to rely on prisoners.
What did the Ministry
of Justice's figures say
about the picture in London?
There might be 22 more officers
across London overall but some
prisons have even fewer staff
than before the Government started
this recruitment drive.
Belmarsh Prison has 22 fewer
officers, Pentonville 20
and Wormwood Scrubs 15.
The prison service recruited just
over 4,500 new officers
across England and Wales last year
but they also lost nearly 2,000.
And almost 500 of those were
in their first year in a prison.
Rachel used to be a prison officer
in London but after less than
18 months, she quit.
She said there was little
time for rehabilitation.
Quite a lot of them are only
young and they are coming in
and being thrown into prison,
rightfully so, but they are being
put into a cell and locked away
for three days straight.
I was the one giving them the phone
calls and letting them out
to have a phone call and letting
them out to have a shower.
That to me is basic humanity,
and they can't even get that
because of a lack of staff.
So what would make a difference
to those still working
in London's prisons?
Staff, to begin with anyway.
I think I would feel more secure
if there was more staff.
Both sides are clear what's needed
but while staff are leaving
because of staff shortages,
the prison system in London seems
stuck in a vicious circle.
Alpa Patel is here
with more on this.
What is the Ministry
of Justice saying about this?
Well, the Ministry of Justice says
that it is on course to recruit
2,500 prison of this is and the
Justice Secretary told us that
staffing is the golden thread needed
to improve our presence, but as we
saw in Caroline's report, it is
retention that is the real key here,
especially of those experienced
officers who can deal with changing
and dangerous situations in prison
is better than new recruits can.
We've spoken to the Prison Officers
Association, who say the real
problem over retention is pay,
prison officers aren't paid enough
to either keep them in post or
recruit them to the posts that are
needed and until that changes,
retention will continue to be a
problem here in London.
very much for that.
News that celebrity chef
Jamie Oliver is selling his two
London steakhouses has highlighted
some of the challenges
facing restaurateurs more
widely in the capital.
Others claim that high rents
and business rates are forcing them
to take drastic measures
or face closure.
Here's Chris Rogers.
Business has been good
for the owners of this restaurant
in Hackney but they are closing
the restaurant next week.
Despite all the hard work
and awards, the rising costs of rent
and rates mean they need to start
again, with a new name
and a cheaper location
of Shoreditch but it comes
at the cost of their Michelin star.
Frankly, the rents in Shoreditch
are cheaper for us,
so straightaway that is the reality
of what we are doing.
As much as I love this
neighbourhood, I think it's
a business and we've got
to do what's right.
This is the latest London restaurant
to shut just in the last few days,
yet it has won loads
of awards, look at this.
So what is going on?
One of the main issues is there
are simply too many restaurants.
Dozens are closing and
opening all the time.
Add to that the rising cost of food,
the higher minimum wage,
a weak pound and Brexit
and you have the perfect storm
according to this restaurant
owner and consultant.
There is a shrinking labour market
because of issues with Brexit
and people not coming to the UK,
it is harder to employ.
A lot of the key positions,
more senior positions,
you're having to pay way over
the odds to get people.
It is just a real struggle.
The bite of rising costs is also
felt by some of the big chains,
among them chef Jamie Oliver.
He is closing some
of his restaurants.
His steakhouse in Piccadilly
was closed today.
While burger chain Byron is to close
up to 20 restaurants.
Announcements like that are bound
to shake the confidence
of the smaller London Independents.
There is only so much business out
there and only so much
money to be had.
I think this will be a bloodbath,
frankly, this year.
And that's always a necessary part
of the cycle of life.
Some analysts say the winners
will be the cheaper home
A little far-fetched perhaps,
but as rising rents cause
restaurants to raise their menu cost
or close, the likes of
Next - it's proving
to be a hard sell.
Commuters are complaining
about the comfort of seats on some
new trains on Thameslink routes.
The train operator says it meets
strict fire safety regulations.
But is there cause for concern?
Our transport correspondent
Tom Edwards has been finding out.
These new Class 700 trains
are spacious and airy,
but as well as having fewer seats,
some commuters think
the cushioning is like concrete.
On this service this
morning to St Albans,
mainly uncomfortable agreement.
It's really uncomfortable,
I can't believe this is a new train.
There's not much legroom.
And the backs are a bit
narrow for my liking.
If you're sitting next
to a stranger especially.
Then you're practically
on top of them, yeah.
Do you find them hard, the seats?
As you can see.
Soft seats, in my country the seats
is really different,
we don't have like these things,
the blue ones, so for me
it's great, I like it.
Complaints about train
seats aren't new.
The latest trains on Great Western
have also drawn criticism.
These trains on the Thameslink
Bedford to Brighton route
are now being rolled out
on the Great Northern
Then I'd like you to lift your
buttocks upwards, just slowly.
At this clinic in Maidenhead,
they're used to treating
commuters' aches and pains.
They say, over time, new harder
seats could make matters worse.
The thing is, people's bodies
don't adapt that easily.
I mean they're actually,
if you think about it,
often sitting in an office,
at an office desk all day.
They may be using
a computer all day.
They may try and take exercise
breaks, but fundamentally,
if their commute is uncomfortable
on a hard seat as well,
it's just adding more insult
to injury, in a sense.
The train companies say these seats
have to meet the strict criteria set
by the Department for Transport,
and that means they have to meet
strict fire regulations
and be graffiti proof.
But others say what this is really
about is cost-cutting.
We will shortly be
arriving at Three Bridges.
Passengers have also complained
about a lack of legroom,
and with no plans to change
the cushioning, commuters will have
to get used to seats that one
compared to an ironing board.
I'll say good night
and it's over to Phil Avery
for this week's weather.
for this week's weather.
My word, hard seeds and a pretty
damp commute this morning, it was
certainly wet when I skipped out the
door to catch the bin men and Dave
in King's Cross also captured the
scene and I'm sure he can send
something similar tomorrow because
there will be rain at times. A lot
of cloud around, two weather fronts
close to the British Isles, one then
the eastern side and a cold front
out towards the west which we will
see eventually but overnight, even
though the breezes from the north, I
think with quite a bit of cloud
around, the temperatures really
won't slip away very far, no
scraping up the cars tomorrow
morning but it will be a lead and
start to Tuesday. Then the cold
front I was talking about will drift
across us. Not much rain to the west
of the capital but over to the east,
it may integrate but behind it, some
of the low-level cloud will
disappear and we will be looking at
temperatures pretty much on a par
with today, nine or 10 degrees. Is
there any end to the dank weather?
Yes, there is, as we go through
Wednesday and Thursday and into the
weekend, at high pressure will keep
the Atlantic runs at bay and there
will be a fair amount of dry weather
around. So that is good. But
sunshine will initially be in short
supply. It may just poke out a wee
bit later on but you will see the
trend here is for temperatures to
really fall away, as far ahead as
the weekend. We're looking at six or
seven or 8 degrees and into the
start-up next week, it will feel
much, much cooler. There could be a
passing wintry shower