The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
Browse content similar to 08/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight.
A Chief Constable admits some officers have been removed from the
front line to work in the back offices. It is a temporary measure
and it is all about, ultimately, serving the public better.
Copper thefts costing �800 million a year but rail chiefs say they're
starting to beat the thieves. High Street in crisis - how more
and more retailers are going online to boost sales. People are finding
me online because they are looking for something specific, so I may as
well not be on the high street. And, made in the Midlands -
hundreds of thousands of special medals are struck for the Queen's
Diamond Jubilee. Good evening and welcome to
Wednesday's Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight, the Chief Constable
of West Midlands Police admits some officers have been withdrawn from
front-line duties to work in back office jobs.
A Birmingham MP claims the figure is 32, but the Federation
representing rank and file officers claims the true number is much
higher. Labour say it's proof that budget savings are cutting into the
thin blue line. But the Chief Constable says the
changes are a temporary measure needed to help the force through a
time of huge upheaval. Giles Latcham reports.
Policing the West Midlands - was ever the job more difficult? On the
frontline or back at base handling calls and data, in the midst of
�120 million worth of budget cuts, this is a political battleground
and Labour are on the offensive. Some of the best officers have been
taken out of the front line into the back room.
At least 30 highly trained officers are said to be doing civilian jobs,
the real figure could be nearer 100. According to the Police Federation,
the front line officers had been removed from duty to work in the
backroom. In Dudley, eight officers had been put who work in a contact
centre. One officer has said he has gone into a controlled am...
Federation representatives have a sheaf of emails from front-line
officers unhappy at filling in for civilians who have taken redundancy.
Those still on the streets claim they are struggling to cope.
still perform as best we can. We still try and offer the best
service we can. But as time goes on, officers become more and more
stressed with the workload. Taking calls on BBC WM, the man at
the top agreed some of his 7,000 officers had been moved into
backroom roles, but it was a temporary measure, he said, to tide
the force over. I do not like this front line
distinction. We are cutting crime and faster than we have cut Prime
before. We are delivering it frontline service in a different
way. That is my priority. And the minister rejected calls to
rethink the level of funding cuts. Labour's story, he said, was an old
one. They are calling on us to spend more money and that is what
got this country into the mess in the first place.
Next week, the Chief Constable will outline his vision of policing
after the cuts, and that will involve recruiting a private
partner. And Jack Dromey joins us now from
Westminster. You one the Government to rethink the cuts, but they are
adamant that cuts will not affect frontline policing. They are wrong.
16,000 police officers are going nationally, 1200 in the West
Midlands. That is creating impossible problems for our country.
Theresa May promised that the front line would be protected, but it is
not. I'm no officers have been taken out of the front line and
into the back room. The Police Federation is right that there
might be any more. That is not the fault of the chief constable. The
fault is with government. average, police officers, according
to the government, spend more than 85% of their time in office than
out in patrol. It is misleading propaganda. We have a police
service which is the best in Birmingham and Britain in the
Midlands. It gives an outstanding service to the people of Birmingham
and the Midlands. It is facing unprecedented cuts at breakneck
speed. That is creating impossible problems. The Government has got to
remember the first duty of any government is the safety and
security of its citizens. There is the argument that your government
left a legacy of debt. If you had not, the cuts would not have had to
happen. Before the election, her Majesty's inspection get --
Inspectorate of Constabulary said you could cut 12% of any impact --
without any impact on the front line. The government has gone for
20% cuts. That is creating major problems. The Government must think
again. Thank you very much. Still to come on tonight's
programme. Reaction to new plans aiming to
transform one of our major cities. It has been described as the second
biggest threat to the Olympics after terrorism and costs the
country an estimated �800million a year. The problem of copper theft
has become so big that a national conference was held today to tackle
it. There have been particular problems in the West Midlands with
copper cabling stolen from railway lines, causing commuter chaos, but
Network Rail revealed today that they might be winning the battle to
beat the thieves. Andy Newman reports.
Last weekend, there was an attempt here to steal precious metal from
our rail network. The target was copper cable. But this robbery was
foiled. When officers were called here, they discovered that the
concrete covering the cable had been disturbed. The sort two
figures are running away. They were able to make two arrests. Another
success in the battle against metal thieves. Hidden cameras caught them
in the act. Statistics show a dramatic fall in the number of
trackside thefts. Only 16 this financial year compared to 58 in
the previous 12 months. I we have introduced a lot of new measures.
We are using smart water where we speak the equipment and the cable
him. We have CCTV and we have patrols. They Industry still wants
a change in the law forcing scrap metal transactions to beat
paperless. That would create a paper trail. It delays dreams, --
trains and causes to run destruction to people travelling to
and from work. As police step up patrols, it seems that the
criminals are facing increasing disruption to their working the --
are working routine. Homeserve is to cut 200 jobs at its
head office in Walsall after admitting it was taking longer than
expected to recover from accusations that it mis-sold
policies. The firm, which last year insured three million people in the
UK against burst pipes, broken down boilers and electrical problems,
stopped making sales calls in October and retrained staff after a
review into whether its pricing policies were clear.
Brintons Carpets could axe 150 jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme.
The firm, which has its main base in Kidderminster, said the cuts
could affect its sites in the UK and China. It employs around 1,700
people globally, with 630 in the UK including sites in Kidderminster
and Shropshire. Brintons was bought out last September in a �40 million
deal. Birmingham City Council says it
needs to save almost �62 million from next year's budget. More than
1,000 jobs are now at risk, although the council is proposing
to freeze council tax. Our political reporter Susana Mendonca
is at the council's office in Aston for us now. Susana, what more can
you tell us? Well, it's a less painful budget
than last year's when we saw cuts of �213 million in Birmingham but,
none the less, �62 million of savings in the coming year is a lot
of money and some areas will feel the pinch again. The worst hit
department will be Adults and Communities. It has to save almost
�30 million in the next financial year. Children, Young Peoples and
Families will have to save �22 million from its budget. In terms
of jobs, the council confirmed here today that 1,144 posts could go at
the council over the next financial year. That does not necessarily
mean job losses as the council would look to redeploy people
elsewhere. On the whole, the council thinks they have come up
with a good budget, not least because they'll be freezing council
tax for another year. For those people that have to pay council tax,
89 % have said they do not want an increase in council tax. We are not
going to put up the rents on the homes we own. This is not a budget
about closure. We are opening swimming pools, we are not going to
close libraries, we are not going to close down children's centres.
What are the unions saying tonight? Well, the sting has been taken out
of the tail a bit for the unions. They had been telling me this
morning that they were worried at the prospect of children's homes
closing and people with disabilities at the council
potentially losing their posts. The council made it clear today that
neither of these things will happen. None the less, the unions say
Birmingham City council leaders have not been doing enough to
reduce the scale of cuts. People are going to lose their jobs, they
will be thrown onto the scrap heap. The vulnerable will be hit again.
It's a balancing act, isn't it, for the ruling coalition with an
election in May? Yes, and the Tory- Lib Dem coalition is on shaky
ground politically in Birmingham. This could be their last budget if
Labour win enough seats in the local election. Last year, their
cuts were top loaded so we had that 213 million figure, but the council
has to save 400 million over four years. And what's quite interesting
is that. This year, the cuts are far lower - 62 million
Plans for a major revamp of Coventry have been scaled back to
save money. In 2008, a �1 billion redevelopment was announced to
include rooftop gardens and an artificial river. But those plans
have now been changed. Kevin Reide has more.
This was the vision in 2008 - the so-called jerde plan, a �1 billion
vision complete with an artificial river and rooftop gardens, but now
deemed as unnecessary. Instead, Coventry Council has decided to
make the best of what's already here.
Need to address the situation. The in their aim is to knock down
the many buildings which have led to a disjointed and cluttered city
centre. They have blocked off the most obvious route through the city.
We are trying to introduce it began. Coventry's own - the Specials -
alluded to the city in the late '80s with their song Concrete
Jungle. But the new plans aim to change that image by sweeping away
dark forbidding alleys and dead ends and opening new vistas.
market and furniture store is only connected to the city with a dingy
alleyway. The new scheme emphasises and brings out the market, making
it share the most prominent space. There will be some new buildings,
some of that residential. But there will also be a new cinema.
But not everybody is happy with the plans. For example, this row of
shops behind me, known as the City Arcade, will be demolished. There
is a large number of independent traders here and some are concerned
for their future. The City Arcade is one of the harbours in the city
centre. If the plans are to move us, they will increase the rent and the
rates and that will be a problem for us. I will worry if there is
something to worry about. Planning permission has yet to be applied
for and then the developer will lead to be sought.
Still ahead tonight, we begin the countdown to Wolves v West Brom in
the Premier League on Sunday, but surely the ball skills on show will
be better than this? And it's now no longer a case of no
snow, but just how bad is it going to be? The West Midlands is in the
firing line and it all starts from tomorrow night onwards. Join me
With retail sales falling and the cost of running shops in the high
street still rising more and more, small retailers are deciding to
give up and move online. The volume of goods being sold over the
internet is continuing to rise and sales could top �70 billion this
year. In the latest in our Crisis in the
High Street series, our Business Correspondent, Peter Plisner talks
to those setting up on the internet Hats off to the high street. Well,
not quite. Adelle Partridge runs her hand-made hats business from a
shop in the centre of Shrewsbury. But not for much longer. The
increasing costs of running a shop have force her to rethink sales
strategy. My outgoings every month for keeping this shop open have a
shot up. And I have the cost of petrol to get here and parking. You
have got to cover that before you make any profit.
Instead she decided to abandon the shop and use the internet instead.
Twitter is great. It is pushing up the number of people who look at my
website. Operating an online spiritual
healing business from her bedroom. Jane Bremer from Pershore wants a
shop, but like Adele it just too expensive. I did what a high-street
store and I spent a long time looking at premises and stores.
Again, there was no way I could get the financial support to have a
shop. The that so many shops in the High Street now empty, there is no
surprise in the growth of online retailing. But retail experts
maintain that even with that growth, the High Street is not dead yet.
You do not walk into an online shop randomly. You have to be found. You
have to promote yourself. Life can be difficult for them and there is
quite a high drop-out rate of those shops leaving their real world to
go online. The good news is that, even with
some retailers preferring to be online, high streets all over the
region still have a bright future. Peter Plisner, BBC Midlands Today
in Shrewsbury. And you can see more on this with
our Political Editor Patrick Burns on the Sunday Politics programme,
this Sunday at 12 o'clock. Ian's here now with this evening's
sport. Birmingham City fans will certainly
be enjoying looking at the Championship table tonight. Chris
Hughton's men are up to third and only two points off an automatic
promotion slot after victory over Portsmouth at St Andrew's last
night. And, as Nick Clitheroe explains, it
No-one leaves St Andrews early this season because Birmingham City's
impressive rise to promotion contention in the Championship has
been built on last-minute heroics. No wonder the fans' anthem is Keep
Right On Till The End of the Road. And they were at it again last
night. Denied by Portsmouth's rearguard action until just four
minutes from the end when substitute Nathan Redmond smashed
home the winner. It means Birmingham have now scored almost a
third of their goals in the final ten minutes of matches, are
unbeaten in 12 games and have not conceded a goal in 8 of their last
11 matches. I do not think it is a coincidence. Chris Hughton is
meticulous about the way he gets his team together. We do finish
games strongly. Cheltenham Town were knocked off
the top of league two last night at the new leaders Crawley. It looked
like it would be another victory on the road for the Robins when Luke
Garbutt's stunning goal put them in front. But they were 3-1 down by
half-time as Crawley took control and that quickly became 4-1. As
tempers flared, the Cheltenham manager Mark Yates and his opposite
number were sent to the stands. Daryl Duffy's late goal was little
consolation, but Cheltenham stay second and very much in the chase
for automatic promotion. Nick Clitheroe, BBC Midlands Today.
The clock is ticking towards Sunday's Black Country derby at
Molineux. And with so much at stake near the foot of the Premier League,
the fans of Wolves and West Brom are feeling rather tense. So this
morning, I went to meet four funny ladies to find out if laughter is
the best medicine to cure those pre-match nerves.
I hear it is a big game on Sunday. I am ready.
Something funny is going on in Quarry Bank. Or, as they say around
here Quarry Bonk. The most important game of the season.
paid for it off. -- I hate football. At Thorns Community College, Black
Country humour is very much alive and well. And that's all down to
Fizzog, a group of comedy actors. They all met at Dudley College and
now, ten years later, they're still making the Midlands laugh out loud.
It is just a blip. Tomorrow evening, Fizzog start their new comedy tour
in Bridgnorth. Apparently, it's 50% funnier than their last comedy tour.
And they've even attracted a TV crew from Denmark. How big is
Sunday's game in Denmark? English game is very big in Denmark.
Sunday's game is no exception. There is on a one road to settle
this. On the pitch. Bring it on. What more people in Denmark make of
this? They will have a hard time to understand the dialect. We will
have subtitles. We have had a couple of comments that today.
we cannot repeat them. It is all friendly banter. Today's tussle
between Jacky and Sue was a feisty affair. No quarter asked, no
quarter given. Just like the big match at Molineux. The girls from
Fizzog are tipping a 1-all draw. And when the dust settles on Sunday,
they'll head off for a bostin cuppa The children's TV presenter Andy
Akinwolere returned to his old school in Birmingham today to help
the pupils train for this year's Sport Relief. The charity is
holding dozens of running events across the West Midlands next month.
Staff and pupils at St Mary's Catholic Primary in Harborne will
be taking part. While he was at the school today, Andy came across one
of his old teachers, Miss Callaghan, who remembers him well. You were
really popular. Was I? You were very popular. You used to talk too
much and so did your brother. Brilliant. That stood me in good
stead for the future. Good luck to Andy. And of course, the girls from
Fizzog. They were all good sports on a chilly morning in Quarry Bonk.
You can see that the sketch in full on the Midlands Today Facebook page.
Companies in Birmingham's world famous Jewellery Quarter have
started shipping the first of thousands of special medals being
produced to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. 450,000 medals are
being produced, and the recipients will include members of the Armed
Forces, emergency services and prison service. Three factories are
involved in making the medals and they've taken on more staff to
complete the order. Ben Godfrey reports.
If there's the slightest scratch, Each Diamond Jubilee Medal is
meticulously crafted. Commemorative medals are usually the domain of
the Royal Mint, but Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter has stolen this
particular crown. Worcestershire Medal Service won a
�7 million contract, an order for almost half a million pieces, the
largest production since the First World War.
We have to deliver 30,000 Beddoes a week. We have our lot of schools we
can draw on. -- we have a lot of skilleds we can draw on.
Gladman and Norman is one of three companies in the Jewellery Quarter
to benefit. They've taken on 11 more staff. It is fantastic to see
this company getting this mass of order. It will keep us going. It
gives us a good feeling. It will help us for the next three or four
years. It was sustain the business. The first medals have been
despatched and will be presented to those performing a front-line
public duty. There is no distinction in rank
when awarding these medals. They will be worn by members of the
royal household, front line police and ambulance staff. 20 tonnes of
nickel-silver and 40 kilometres of ribbon are needed for these medals.
It is an historic order, not least in that the first commemorative
medal awarded to Princess Catherine is this one and it's made in
Birmingham. Ben Godfrey, BBC Midlands Today.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that the Queen and Prince Philip
will visit Hereford, Worcester, Birmingham and Shropshire during
their Diamond Jubilee tour on July 11th and 12th. And if you have any
special plans for celebrating the Diamond Jubilee in the summer, or
any memories of meeting the Queen, we'd love to hear from you. The
best way to get in touch is by email, and the address is on the
screen now - [email protected]
Meanwhile, it seems to be getting colder and colder out there. Here's
Shefali with the forecast. Well, Shefali with the forecast. Well,
talk about changing weather. The outlook has altered quite
dramatically since yesterday which now brings not only a little snow
our way but perhaps more than we had over the weekend. In fact, it's
the West Midlands now, not the East, that is going to bear the brunt of
it and it's all down to our classic battle of cold air versus mild. The
cold is now pushing further West and when it bumps into this rain
heading South, we get snow. The Met Office has issued an early warning
of up to 10cm of snow, that's 4 inches, almost anywhere across the
Midlands from tomorrow night into Friday morning. That's definitely
one to watch. Back to tonight though, and it'll eventually turn
out to be a cloudier one than last night, so although still very cold
with temperatures falling to a minimum of minus six, the frost
won't be as severe and we're still running the risk of some ice. And
so we come to tomorrow. It's going to be a cloudy day with an area of
rain spilling down from the North, turning to freezing rain to begin
with, creating an ice risk. There'll be the odd flurry of snow
as well to begin with, but the real snow risk is tomorrow night into
Friday morning with between 5-10 cm of snow possible anywhere and at
any level. Things begin to dry up from Friday afternoon onwards
through the weekend. Looking largely dry over the weekend. But
freezing fog then becomes the problem over the weekend from any
melting snow with frost and ice. A look at tonight's main headlines.
A victory to remember for football manager Harry Redknapp as he is
cleared of tax evasion. And a Chief Constable admits some