The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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Hello. The headlines tonight: the could have reacted faster and we've
learnt lessons says the West Midlands chief constable. We felt
that we were to stationery, and too slow.
Is it a comeback for the energy business?
Now these parents could be fined. Thanks to whaler for transplant,
James goes to school for the first time. It's a day his family thought
Good evening, welcome to Thursday's Midlands Today from the BBC.
Tonight, police didn't react quickly enough in the first hours
of last month's rioting. In his first detailed report, the Chief
Constable of the West Midlands has admitted that tactics at first were
wrong and had to be changed because of the scale of the disturbances.
But Chris Sims insisted there was no hard intelligence of what was to
be unleashed in Birmingham and elsewhere and that, as the public
began to understand the onslaught officers faced, many got in touch
to offer thanks and support. Here's our Special correspondent, Peter
Wilson. The scale of the riots was totally
unprecedented. There are now separate investigations into the
looting and robberies. The murders of three men who'd been standing
outside a petrol station in Winson Green. And the inquiry into the
armed gangs who fired on police lines. It's now the biggest
investigation carried out by the West Midlands force since the
Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. Today the chief constable spoke of
the bravery of his officers but also admitted that there'd been
mistakes. For the first hour or so, I felt, and I know officers felt,
that we were probably to stationery, too slow, too busy trying to
disperse people that in effect were then regrouping and attacking
different premises. -- too stationary. So who were those
involved in the lootings? The ages ranged from 12 to 59. Three
quarters of those arrested had previous convictions. The average
age of the offenders was 23. But many were sixth formers. This
meeting has revealed the police came under attack. People had
missiles and petrol bombs. 91 police vehicles were damaged and
even the West Midlands police website came under cyber attack.
The police authority were today holding the chief constable to
account but they too have been criticised in recent weeks. There
are sufficient resources across the force that would ensure that the
policing of the West Midlands would not be at the point of breaking but
it was stretched. Yet some community leaders were less than
impressed with the report. On that particular Monday at 4pm, I
received in e-mail from the police are saying they had intelligence to
say they would be possible problems in Birmingham. They said they would
provide a proportionate response. But clearly did not take place on
the Monday evening. -- that. The police coped during the riots
despite already losing a thousand staff in the cuts. If the riots
were to happen in four years' time, could we respond to the same way?
Obviously not. Across the country, we will be 16,000 officers down on
the numbers at present. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether we
would be able to respond and the same manner. -- in the same manner.
The commander on the night of the first riots says firing plastic
bullets into crowds was never an option. But had her officers stood
back at the beginning of the unrest. The riots have cost the police �12
million the main lesson they say is a need for greater mobility greater
flexibility during fast moving unpredictable events.
In a moment we'll be putting some of the points raised in that report
to the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Chris Sims who's with us
here tonight. But first, the scale of those riots
stretched resources to the limit. Police were assaulted, shot at and
even petrol bombed. Claire Marshall has this exclusive report on how
police are looking at new tactics in the light of what happened and
how it could alter riot training in the future.
During last month's rioting, the police were accused of being timid.
This was their response. Faced with a new kind of crime, looting and
violence on a have a massive scale, they are learning new tactics. --
on a massive scale. Controversially, the Taser is one weapon that may
well be used more widely. Take a shot. The sensation of being hit is
1000 times worse than cramp. In a normal Taser, that sound as
electricity going through the person. Yes and it wouldn't be
anywhere near as loud. This is the kind of situation in which it could
be used. CCTV of the disturbances in the Handsworth area of
Birmingham shows men firing out police with handguns. One of those
officers targeted says retraining is vital. There is a need for us to
have of, to deal with those threats. The traditional disorder, people
throwing bricks and rocks, but has never been seen on our streets to
that magnitude. This is the society we live in now. Training will
evolve to deal with that. This is the kind of course... The police
will have to tread a very fine line between being tough enough and
being seen and not to go too far. Just a training scenario but this
old aircraft carrier looks eerily like the streets of London or
Birmingham in early August. If there is a next time, police hope
to know much more about how to respond.
With us now is the Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Chris Sims.
Just looking at that report, you are clearly moving quickly to make
sure you're better prepared next time? Yes, I think one of the
lessons... Your report carried the notion that in the first hour or so
we were trying to apply a conventional tactic to something
that was unprecedented and different. I'm really proud how one
of the night officers adapted incredibly quickly. By the end of
that first night, we had arrested 116 people. Why did you get it so
wrong at the beginning? I don't think we did. You said you were too
slow. It takes the benefit of hindsight to interpreted different
challenge and then a duck to it. I think actually we did remarkably
well. -- and then adapt to it. Renate... He said he had no hard
evidence of what was to come but surely those events in London must
have told you something was going on. It was highly likely it would
come here. It if you look at the report I delivered to the authority,
you will see that we started planning in effects after the
events in Tottenham. Carnival on the Sunday was peaceful. We had
extra reserves. From Monday morning, as events shifted in London, we did
mobilise a great deal of officers said that even without intelligence,
250 offices, equipped, mobile and ready to go, were available in the
centre of Birmingham. Can I let you hear something that happened in
evidence to a Commons committee today? MPs have been listening to
this evidence about the riots. Let's hear what the smile from
Handsworth had to say. People were standing outside trying to protect
their properties and didn't believe or think the police were responding
quickly enough. The perception, even at that time, on the coal face,
was why were the police protecting the jewellery Court and the City?
Implying that the people of hands with a decision. One MP was saying
in the event they felt they were left on their run. -- on their own.
I would like to speak to his MP and a half attempted to do so. I do
think that we were stretched. There was absolutely no case that we were
picking parts of the city to protect and parts of the city not
to protect. It was a very challenging night. He say that
despite your best endeavours, you were unable to offer the committee
the protection which is your sworn duty. But Mr chokey. That is the
honest view after a -- after an might like that. I'm proud about
how we've bounced back and reactive. There are many more rests to come.
I think by creating that sort of deterrent, it is our best hope that
this will not happen again. You're with Midlands Today. Much
more still ahead tonight, including how this trainee vet is saving
There was further evidence of a likely revival of fortunes for the
Midlands motor industry today. The Chinese-owned Birmingham car maker
MG has revealed it's landed more than �5 million worth of orders for
its new model, the MG6. Our Business Correspondent is that
the factory now. This is good news, isn't it, for MG?
Yes, hopefully. This is that the new car, a big hit in China. Also a
big hit here. It is mainly produced in China with final assembly
happening here. Today, we have been given exclusive access to the
Are this the first all-new model to be a major within a decade.
Currently, only 66 cars per week are made here. Many of those
working here, like the Lisa and Jeff, lost their jobs when MG Rover
collapsed. Did you think you would ever be back at Longbridge? No, I
thought it was gone for good. I retrained in the gas industry.
worked elsewhere and then got a call to come back. I'm glad I did.
We produce great cars. It is all good. This is what the cars look
like when they come in from China. About 80 % of a vehicle is build
their. The remaining 20 % is assemble and -- his assembled here.
They put in the gearbox, the engine and exhaust. It is a bit like
building a huge ethics model without the glue. This process
starts 6000 miles away in China. It is a complicated supply route. It
has taken a fair deal of planning with the China team and the UK
logistics team. It is now down to a fine art. This is the first all-new
MG for 16 years... Already orders worth �5 million have come in and
more and more dealerships have been recruited to sell the new car.
Those who think the NG6 is a Chinese car should probably think
again. This is where it was designed. It is long bridge, where
the man in charge is proud of what they created. I think we can
justifiably say a large part of the car is British. A lot of the
styling and engineering content of all the cars with engineers in this
business so far on behalf of Shanghai Automotive have come from
British people. Launching a new car in a recession can mean a bumpy
ride but for M G, orders so far have been good and increases in
sales could mean more jobs in the future. -- MG.
Peter, we're not talking big numbers but this is good news at
last for MG isn't it? What kind of numbers are they expecting to sell
with the MG6? They have had 300 orders but there
are not saying much more. It is difficult to predict in a volatile
model bus market. Other models could come too long bridge as well.
They are looking at a derivative of this concept car. The M G three is
already on sale in China. -- MG3. Peter we seem to be hearing lots of
good news about the car industry, new models, new factories. After so
many bad years are things turning around? we probably are.
With heard good news of new factories. -- we have heard. There
are advance orders on Ford cars which is encouraging. Next week,
Jaguar and Land Rover are expected to unveil new models at the
Frankfurt Motor Show. It is looking Other news and a 100,000 signature
petition has been handed into Downing Street today calling for a
referendum on Britain's EU membership. The delegation was led
by the Independent MEP for the West Midlands, Nicki Sinclaire. The MEP
commissioned an independent survey, which shows that 60% of the
electorate are in favour of a vote on Europe.
Inconsiderate parking outside schools has long been a concern.
But the problem has become so bad in some areas that the police say
they have no choice but to fine parents. Bob Hockenhull braved the
front line of these twice-daily parking wars, where harassed
parents face angry residents, who say they are constantly being
blocked in. If within a few minutes the streets outside many schools
are transformed from this into this. Residents living next to Wheelers
Lane School in Billesley in Birmingham say they are constantly
being blocked in by what they call selfish parents. The for parents
who think they're protecting their children, they are actually
endangering them. There is cars everywhere.
Five minutes after Mr Turburfield has gone, this is what the street
looks like. It is not just a problem here. In Harborn, they are
to start issuing fines from next week. People of just parked their
cars and abandoned them without thinking about the other residents.
The numbers of children walking to school fell by 8% in the UK between
2000 and 2010, while the number of children travelling by car
increased by 5% over the same period.
Back in Billesley, the parking has not just upset the authorities but
other parents too. I do drive, but I either just park on one of the
other roads and take the extra five minutes to walk. I would say that
anyone who does absolutely not need to drive, should simply use their
legs a bit more. And barriers have now been erected to keep their cars
away. And those drivers who do continue
to upset residents face fines of between �30 and �70.
Still ahead for you tonight... Aston Villa's new signings - can
they get the fans believing again? And warm tomorrow, but wild by the
weekend. The former Hurricane Katia is on the rampage. How bad could it
get? Find out later. One likely consequence of the rise
in university tuition fees is that students will choose to study at
their local university and save money by living at home. But not
one Shropshire student. She will be studying 1,000 miles from home and
reckons it will save her tens of thousands of pounds.
Harriet Moore from Booley in North Shropshire gets to grips with the
practical side of her chosen profession.
She is doing work experience with a vet in Shropshire before returning
to Kosice University in Slovakia to do her final year in veterinary
science. The main reason was money. It was my second degree and to do
another would have cost �17,000 the year.
So she did some research and found she could study abroad for a lot
less. The cost here was high because she had already done a
degree in zoology. Harriet was told it would cost �17,000 a year to
study veterinary science as a second degree at Liverpool
University three years ago. A figure which today is closer to
�20,000. In Slovakia, she is paying �5,700 a year. The course in
Slovakia is taught in English specifically for overseas students
and she will be qualified to work in the UK. A I know lot of people
who have been qualified and they are now doing fantastically.
Ironically, the vet she is working with came here from Belgium, as he
preferred to practise in this country. As a partner in his firm
in Hanwood, he would have no qualms with employing someone like Harriet.
I'm would have no problems with that. It is the practical aspects
of it. I think all the degrees have got a high-level of Theory, so the
day of the knowledge, but you just have to be practically changed -
Macro practically trained. So as students here worry about the
prospect of higher fees next year, Harriet is proving that it is
possible to achieve her ambition and gain life experience.
It was something his parents thought they would never see - the
first day at school for their son who was born with a rare type of
liver disease. Four-year-old James Jenkins needed a transplant for a
condition that affects just one in 17,000 babies. Meet James Jenkins,
who is making a big splash in Worcester. After catching up on
television with his sister has, it was ready to get to school. He was
born with a serious liver problem. He was three months old when it was
detected. He had a life-saving liver transplant at just eleven
months old. We never dreamed that he would be able to get to five and
be able to go to school. It was James leading the way to school
this morning. Ring the bell. That top one. And now the moment that
his mum what is waiting for. James was soon making new friends. Every
day, children are diagnosed with serious liver problems and the
family are now trying to raise awareness of the problem., advice
to parents is if the new born jaundice continues after two weeks,
go and see your doctor. Jaime is is in good health and in the first
assembly, they all looked a bit too tired from all the plane. They will
soon have plenty more time to learn all the words. Do you think he is
watching at the moment? I hope so. I hope he is just as enthusiastic
about going back to school tomorrow!
Onto sport now and the Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish admits they
are unable to compete with the big money clubs of the Premier League.
But he hopes that the new signings of Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton
will lift their chances of being in the next bracket of clubs chasing
European honours. One is a young Englishman looking to play for his
country again. The other is a Scottish defender who knows his new
manager well. And Alex McLeish hopes Alan Hutton and Jermaine
Jenas can make a difference to Aston Villa. And no Alan Hutton
from my days at Scotland and at Rangers. And Germaine is a very
bright player. He is the player who wants to make up for lost time.
Both players have come from Tottenham - Jenas on loan and
Hutton as a transfer. Neither see it as a backwards step, despite
Spurs finishing higher in the last two seasons. A I think both squads
are very strong. It can just be a case of getting a few victories
together inner succession. Seoul will the new signings make a
difference? Yes, I think they should do the job for us. At would
have liked to have seen a few more, but they seemed like some good
signings. We will soon find out if Villa have spent the money wisely.
Warwickshire are on course to go top of cricket's county
championship with a match to play, after a good day at Edgbaston. This
evening, the Bears declared to put Nottinghamshire into bat chasing a
massive 574 just to finish the first innings on level terms. Notts
closed the second day on 86-1. The Bears total of 574-7 included
centuries for Ian Westwood, Rikki Clarke and captain Jim Troughton.
This weekend, we will all have a chance to take a look at some
hidden treasures - buildings that are usually private or off limits,
but are part of our heritage. So you could step inside the home of a
16th-Century weaver or even find out the fascinating history of a
Birmingham graveyard and the secrets it holds.
A desperate shortage of burial space in booming 19th-Century
Birminhgham forced our forefathers to open one of the country's first
public cemeteries. Now, across seven acres and after 150 years, a
team of volunteers are uncovering and preserving the stories of the
100,000 people buried at Warstone Lane Cemetery. This is the reminder
of all the people from here that worked in all these trades. It is
way the city became the second city in the British Empire. Glass-
fronted catacombs were trialled here, but abandoned for more
traditional tombs. Plaques remember James Cooper, who won a Victoria
Cross, but was buried in an unmarked public grave, and those
lost in the tragedy of the Titanic, but remembered by relatives at home.
This weekend, volunteers will be sharing the secrets of the cemetery.
There are people here who are long forgotten about who were very
famous in their day. You could come across any sort of Gen. Like this
weaving cottage. This offers a unique insight into a Kraft man's
life. The all reflect the merchant classes and above. A it is hoped
this weekend's three nationwide event will hit make people remember
are unique and fascinating heritage. Across the region, there are more
than 300 venues for the public to visit and there are hundreds more
historic places throwing open their doors from tomorrow. You can find
lots more details by going to heritageopendays.org.uk. Let us
Yes, we have got their it remains of the hurricane from America
heading or away, and it could bring us some strong winds and rain. All
these blue areas represent rain coming our way. Before that, for
tomorrow, I think we can enjoy the warm day of the week. We have got
this area of rain coming from north to south. You can see temperatures
no long lower than 14 degrees Celsius overnight. Tomorrow morning,
that is the good part. It is dry, and as the morning develops, we
will see some bright spells. It could spark off the odd shower, but
it should beat the Friday or any name for most of us. Tenby just
getting up to 21 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow night, very warm, but a
bit of moisture around. The make the most of tomorrow.
A look at tonight's main headlines. An inquiry condemns the appalling,
gratuitous violence meted out by British soldiers that led to the
And we were slow to react to the riots, but quickly changed our