08/09/2011 Midlands Today


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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


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