08/02/2012 Midlands Today


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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of West Midlands Police admits some officers have been withdrawn from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


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