02/05/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Sarah Falkland and Nick Owen.


The headlines tonight: Staffordshire and West Midlands


Police collaborate on more services but insist it is not a merger.


public can expect a better level of protection - more resilience from


those critical services they depend on. In the midst of a rain-sodden


drought, farmers call for a fairer deal on water usage. How a 200-


year-old master could help a hospital buy the latest in robotic


equipment - a cyberknife. We will meet Ken, who is old enough to be


the grandad of Stephen Hendry, but who is still potting balls at the


Good evening, welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from the


BBC. Tonight: Two of our police forces agree to share armed


officers and other specialist units. But the men at the top of


Staffordshire and West Midlands forces deny it is a merger - more a


ground breaking collaboration. Tonight, the body representing rank


and file police officers in the region said they fear it is a step


In the firing line, specialist units like armed officers. Dog


handlers and accident investigators are to be combined - West Midlands


and Staffordshire teams becoming one unit. At a special meeting


today, one word was banned. This is not a merger and definitely not a


takeover. This is a question of commonsense - a much better use of


public money. We can retain excellent levels of operational


resilience and operational services for the community. There is no


question at all in terms of one partner being more dominant in that


relationship. Both police authorities met in Stafford today.


Smiles all round but could this spell the end of the Staffordshire


force? Absolutely not. I would like to make the point it is not, in any


way, but back door to mergers. Mergers are over and done with.


Only a few jobs will be lost. The savings will be �2.5 million a year.


Today's decision means there will be just one unit controlling these


specialist teams - like Jamie and his job, Harley. It could mean they


will be policing, not Staffordshire in parts of Birmingham. This means


they can put the bite on criminals. Sceptics are warning the public


could lose out and there are fears this could mean the start of


privatisation. Money is tight. Budgets have been cut. We need to


streamline. We do not need to lose the quality of service. This is the


start of the introduction of private companies into the policing


family. But what will the public get out of this? They will get a


better service and better protection, which will be delivered


in a more affordable manner. Both Staffordshire and West Midland


forces plan to speak to their neighbours, Warwickshire and West


Mercia, in the next few weeks - about working with those forces.


Peter joins us now. Do the police federation have a point or is this


a sensible financial decision? Those two chief constables say it


is all about practicalities and clear-sighted financial efficiency.


The Police Federation, what they are concerned about, they know that


West Midlands Police is pioneering partnership work with private


companies. Contracts are being advertised for �1.5 billion. What


they fear is, perhaps, a long way down the road - this is all about


economies of scale. Perhaps it would make the combination of new


units more attractive to a private company. The chief constables say


it has nothing to do with privatisation. Do you see more of


these link ups in the longer term? It is already happening. West


Murcia and Warwickshire already do it. Do you think forces could end


up merging completely? Not merger because of the when they are


financed. If you are in Staffordshire, you will say to


yourself, I am paying a premium amount of council tax for my police


force. Our Staffordshire police officers armed officers going to be


poured into areas of the West Midlands? Will they get married --


value for money? Yes, say the police constables, no, maybe not.


Coming up: We will be live in Coventry as the countdown to the


Olympics continues. Yes, I am backstage at the City of Coventry


stadium as more than 400 young dancers create an evening of


Olympic celebration. Drought then deluge. The recent weather has


exposed some of the tensions between the environment and water


users. Farmers feel their use of water is penalised while water


companies take as much as they want. Everyone agrees though that water


rules are inflexible and outdated. David Gregory has been


investigating for a special edition of Inside Out. It has been the


wettest drought many of us have known, but has recent rain changed


things? We have built up a big debt over the past two years. One month


of above-average rainfall will not really repay that debt


significantly. It will take maybe six months of above-average


rainfall to get anywhere near repaying the debt. I have been


investigating the rules that govern our water supply and it has brought


me here, to the banks of the River Severn in Worcestershire, where our


two-year dry spell has exposed some real problems - not least for the


people running the system, the Environment Agency. I think there


is a nervousness with sitting down with the Environment Agency. They


do not understand demountable to retake had is only 1% of all water


usage. -- up the amount of water we take out. To the individual


abstracting water, it is the make and break of the whole business. It


makes it difficult to sit down with an official who you feel does not


understand your situation. It is your livelihood, your income, your


family you are affecting extracting the water. But the agency says it


is doing its best with an antiquated and inflexible system.


We have pushed the system as far as we could. An extended season in


terms of failing winter storage reservoirs. In the summer, we can


take high flows. We have tried to be as flexible as we can with the


farmers. If the farmer is having troubles with their licensing


regimes, they can approach us and we can see what we will do. And, if


after April our dry spell does continue, the tensions between


farmers, environment and water companies will only increase.


Earlier, I spoke to Environment Minister Richard Benyon and began


by asking him if it was simply too difficult for farmers in our region


to get planning permission for water storage. Planning decisions


taken locally. We want to encourage farmers. We are talking about


reservoir of guidance. It is sometimes an impediment for farmers


have in storage John Mann farms. We published a paper loss to which


wants to seek more on farm storage by businesses such as the ones you


have seen. Are we likely to have some change on that? In the


national planning policy framework, we talk about sustainable


development. It fits in with that. We want to see farmers equipped


with being able to cope with changing climate. One is to be able


to store water in the winter when we have rainfall in the winter. We


have not had much over the past two years. Food security is fundamental


to this government. We want to make sure farmers are equipped in every


way they can to do this kind of work. If there are problems, we


want to hear about it. We do not have a hosepipe ban in the West


Midlands. What would your message be to water uses? I understand, it


seems absurd than a here we are in drought and then they see heavy


rainfall and flirts. -- that they here we are in drought. We have to


make sure we are planning for the future. This wet weather could end


quite soon we could have continued dry weather and we know we will


then have problems in many parts of England, through the year. We have


also got to plan for next year. The Government has seen this coming. We


have been planning from a year ago. They think we can cope with the


difficulties. This rain helps but it is not getting us out of trouble


in terms of the trout in many parts of England. I hope the West


Midlands and areas around Birmingham will be OK for the rest


of the Year. David Gregory joins us now from Edgbaston Reservoir in


Birmingham. What is your reaction to the minister's interview? Many


farmers will be quite disappointed in the comments about planning. It


is a local issue. Farmers say it can take up to 18 months to get


planning permission to build water storage on farms. You can spend up


to �25,000 jumping through hoops. Farmers would like the Government


to simplified the bureaucracy and red tape to allow them to take


advantage of wet month likely had just been through. The drought has


exposed these tensions, hasn't it? What can be done? That is what we


are looking out tonight. It is these old, and dictated rules --


antiquated rules. Trying to simplify them is difficult. Taking


away water rights means you have to compensate. We need to look at it


otherwise we cannot take advantage of poor water we're getting.


howlers are looking at Edgbaston reservoir? -- what water. With


ground water, it right beneath our feet, it is at all-time lows right


across the Midlands. It is causing real problems for the embarrassment


in the summer. That is what we are in environmental drought. -- why we


are. And Drought 2012, an Inside Out special, is on BBC1 at 7:30pm


this evening. If you miss it, it will be on the BBC iPlayer. UK Coal


has confirmed it is cutting around 150 jobs at its Daw Mill colliery


in North Warwickshire. Last month, the company said the mine would


shut in two years' time, unless it can cut costs and increase


productivity. The Stoke City footballer, Jermaine Pennant, has


been arrested on suspicion of assault in Manchester. The 29-year-


old was charged earlier this week with drink-driving, and driving


while disqualified, after a car crash near his home in Cheshire in


the early hours of Sunday morning. The assault is alleged to have


happened in a nightclub shortly before. He has been bailed pending


further inquiries. Staff at an IT firm in Solihull have staged a


protest over plans to axe 640 jobs from its UK business. The Unite


union says the Computer Science Corporation wants to make


compulsory job cuts and is ignoring offers of voluntary redundancy. CSC


was behind a project for the NHS which was scrapped last year. The


company says it is in the early stages of consultation with unions.


The staff along with the staff and Chesterfield are integral in being


able to provide the services but government and other important


clients, including British Aerospace and a number of the


financial institutions, with the facility to carry out their work.


hospital charity has been trying to sell an old masters painting for


nearly �1 million, so that it can buy a new treatment called


Cyberknife. The painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds now belongs to the


Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Charity. Strenuous efforts are being made,


though, to keep the painting in Birmingham. Our health


correspondent has this exclusive report. For 224 years, Dr John Ash


has glowered down on the people of Birmingham. For the past 18, on


loan to Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery, where he resides alongside


other city grandees, Matthew Boulton and James Watt. But he is


up for sale and the museum wants to keep him. For are the people of


Birmingham, we have to get this. It was painted for the people of


Birmingham and it has always been here. It is a major work by a major


artist. One of the first portraits of a Bourgeois, and not an


aristocrat. Reynolds shows Dr Ash in all his grandeur, as founder of


Birmingham's first hospital, the General. But buildings change and


so do priorities. At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham,


they have two of the most up to date radiotherapy machines in the


country. But they want to buy this, Cyberknife, so precise that robots


alter their aim according to each breath a patient takes. To be able


to have the best treatment in the world at a local Cancer Centre in


Birmingham is what we are aiming for. The sooner we can do it, the


better. If selling the painting is part of that, my vote is to sell.


Selling the painting means the Cyberknife could be bought by


December. We have been asked by the hospital to fund raise. The money


from that would be a large part of our appeal. The slightly grumpy


looking doctor might have been quite tickled that his final legacy


would be to provide cutting-edge treatment to the people of


Birmingham. There were a lot of very wealthy people in the world.


The Americans are great collectors. The museum has raised �150,000 and


is placing its hope on Heritage Still to come: What links this man,


a microscope, a stethoscope and Botox with the Diamond Jubilee


celebrations? And, April was a washout. So far, May's not filling


us with confidence and, with bank holidays hardly ever scoring highly


for weather, could we be on a losing streak this week? If you


keep watching, you will find out before the end of the programme.


Time for sport. Ian Winter is here. Aston Villa fans will be keeping a


close eye on Bolton Wanderers tonight. They are at home to Spurs,


who visit Villa Park on Sunday. Last night Stoke City drew 1-1. It


was a bizarre own goal by Peter Crouch. Cameron Jerome equalised


within two minutes of coming on. That is how it finished. The game


was a bit flat and needed a bit of a sparked and tempo. Up we provided


that with fresh legs. It caught Everton by surprise a bit.


Brookes could not believe it when he heard the news. The snooker


fanatic from Birmingham thought it could not possibly be true. But it


was. Stephen Hendry, the seven times World Champion, is retiring


at the age of 43. So, this afternoon, I popped out for a quick


frame with Ken, who has just celebrated his 90th birthday. The


Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, April 1990. And Stephen Hendry was


winning the first of his seven World Snooker titles at the ripe


old age of 21. Ken Brookes did not start playing until he was 27. But


when he did, he was soon hooked and his passion for the game means he


is still playing every week, at the age of 90. The best player --


Stephen Hendry is a cruelly the best player there has ever been.


arguably. Lucky for me there was only pride at stake this afternoon.


Ken is still better it -- very competitive. I could only sit and


watch and wonder. He is old enough to be the grandad of Stephen Hendry.


Come on, Ian, played the shot! During his career Icarus Stephen


Hendry made 800 century breaks. Ken has managed it twice. -- during his


Korea, Stephen Hendry has made. will continue as long as I can hold


the cute and gives a reasonable account of myself on the table, I


will be delighted. -- beat queue and give a reasonable account.


was 68 when he won the Veterans Cup. He will dine out on the memory of


beating yours truly. Perhaps Stephen Hendry retired not a moment


too soon. Well done! Carry on putting. Shrewsbury Town will have


I went to watch Derbyshire against Gloucestershire today and it was


really nice. You have a blue mark on the lawsuit - chalk dust. --


your suit. A century after the Titanic disaster, a fundraising


appeal has begun in the Black Country to create a memorial to a


cellist who performed in the ship's legendary band. The body of John


Woodward, who grew up in West Bromwich, has never been recovered.


His name was added to his family's gravestone in a local cemetery, but,


after decades of erosion, it is crumbling away with no known


relatives to repair it. It is said that when Titanic plunged through


the icy depths, John Woodward, a humble 32-year-old from West


Bromwich, was alongside his fellow band members, clutching their


instruments, stoically playing on. Paul Kidson and Lorna Jenkins are


relative strangers. They happened to visit Heath Lane cemetery and


felt urged to act. The Woodward family grave is hard to spot - the


sandstone facade is crumbling away. We were shocked to find a stone in


this condition. We said it needs attention. If we have another


memorial, we will put on marriage, cellist. All over the country there


are statues and everything, but Paul has come up film stars,


everything. This man was a real hero. -- footballers, film stars.


John Woodward was eager to please. He chose his finest cello for the


trip. Nearer My God Timmy is thought to be the last piece of


music he played and his body was never found. John Woodward lived in


West Bromwich. The census shows as he was one of nine children. By the


time he joined the maiden voyage of Titanic, his family have moved to


Oxford. The only one we heard Bob was a grand niece called Charlotte.


We know nothing about her. -- we heard off. The new memorial will be


cast in marble. A public appeal for donations has started to raise up


450 young people are on stage tonight in Coventry helping to


build up excitement in the city, ahead of the 2012 Olympics.


Coventry will be an Olympic football venue during the games,


and tonight's event, entitled Believe, is promising carnival-


inspired costume and high energy dance. A perfect assignment then


I did try to get hold of one of the costumes but they would not let me


get into it. This is the world premiere. That is the only time it


will be performed. 400 children from across Coventry and


Warwickshire and here tonight giving their all, in aid of the


Olympics. You are of the Simon Cowell of this event. How hard has


it been to get the kids to do what we are seeing now? If it has been a


positive journey. All of them have taken on board the commitment to


the project. What they have done tonight has been a credit to their


hard work. I have seen Death Has Been Smiling At Me, which was a bit


surreal. It is the story of perseverance and getting over


adversity. We have taken inspiration from the athletes and


the Olympic Games this summer. have to say, or the children here,


one thing they all deserve a gold medal for his staying as quiet as


they are far the performance is going on. I am the one who's been


told to be quiet the whole time. I spoke to someone tonight he was


only four and I said to him, what does that mean about being here? He


said, it is just about having fun and that is what I'm doing. If you


look at all the children's faces, that is exactly what they're doing


- having fun. Back to you in the studio. I cannot believe she did


not get the costume. Now, the story of a microscope, a stethoscope,


Botox, and our reigning monarch. A Birmingham artist has created


what's thought to be the world's smallest portrait of the Queen. It


is less than 2 mms high and took him nine months to complete. And


there were a few dramas along the way. You need a microscope to see


artist Graham Short's latest masterpiece. That is because his


portrait of the Queen is less than 2 mms across and has been engraved


on the head of a pin. It was about five years ago I saw a portrait of


the Queen by Rolf Harris and I liked his work. I thought, I would


try to do this more as portrait in the world. It took about 90 months.


It took about 90 pins. I have to polish the head and start again.


makes his engravings and his tiny workshop in the jewellery Quarter


in Birmingham. And he tends to work mostly at night. I need to be


perfectly still when I am working. My arm is strapped to the bench. I


wear a stethoscope and try to engrave when I am still between


heartbeats. Add to not take caffeine. I have Botolphs round my


eyes every few months, just to deaden the nerves and muscles. -- I


do not take caffeine. His other works include the Lord's Prayer,


parts of the Koran and this incredible engraving of the words,


"nothing is impossible" on the sharp edge of a razor blade. Did


you get right near to the end of the Queen and slip and have to


start again? No, a no. While I am near to the end, I'm very careful.


-- when I am. Some of the engravings have sold for around


�50,000, and there is already interest in Her Majesty by a well


known cruise ship operator. On Bank Holiday Monday we will be reporting


on diamond jubilee celebrations around the region. Please e-mail us


with the details. How is the It is quite late in the day for


those official figures but, as it turns out, April was cooler,


sunnier but with more than double the usual rainfall But, at least,


today was good. Don't bank on it staying that way though we have a


couple of fronts tumbling down from the north before we hit the weekend.


But it becomes largely drier after that, which is a turn up for the


books. It will however become colder by then with night frosts


with temperatures almost halve today's values. We have a few


showers across the region this evening. This rain will light


across southern parts of the patch a move steadily northwards. I do


not think it will reach the extreme north, so Staffordshire should


remain dry tonight. There is a warning for torrential downpours in


the south. That will extend to central areas as well. It will be a


mild night with temperatures around 6-eight Celsius. It will be a wet


start to the day. The band of rain will move northwards. There will be


heavier outbreaks by the afternoon. Elsewhere it begins to dry up.


Temperatures will suffer. Highs of only 11-14 Celsius. More showers on


Friday in fairly dry for the weekend. A look at the headlines.


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