10/10/2013 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. Stopping forced marriages. Police officers


are given specialist training. It has highlighted some of the issues


around forced marriages. We hear from a former victim who tell us not


enough is being done. Also, following the death of Daniel


Pelka, a senior judges appointed as special adviser to Coventry City


Council. This is a critical friend of a huge amount of experience with


all things judicial to do with children.


The redevelopment of Birmingham Children's Hospital mental health


unit. And the after—school club where they


are building an aeroplane. And the weather. There are warnings


for torrential downpours in the East. Join me


Good evening. Police officers based at Birmingham Airport are being


given specialist training to try and spot young people who're being flown


abroad to be forced into marriage. Last year there were almost 1,500


known cases of forced marriage in the UK, though the real figure is


thought to be much higher. 16% of those cases took place here in the


West Midlands. And a third of them involved people under the age of 16.


But tonight, a former victim of forced marriage who now works to


support young people is alleging that some Asian police officers are


unwilling to tackle the problem. Our special correspondent Peter Wilson


has this exclusive report. Birmingham Airport — gateway to the


rest of the world, but for some, the journey is a nightmare leading to a


forced marriage. Outside of London, the West Midlands has the highest


number of such cases in the country. The main terminal at Birmingham


Airport is the last opportunity for the police to intervene. In some


cases, females have even hidden metal objects in their clothing


knowing that security staff would stop them and prevent them from


leaving the country. Arranged marriages are part of many cultures


and acceptable when choice is involved. But a forced marriage


means emotional duress and often violence. West Midlands Police


officers at the airport are now being trained to help intervene,


even at the last moment. It is really highlighting some of the


issues around forced marriage that the officers were not aware of


before. It has given them extra information so that they can look


out for from rubble people and provide assistance to protect them


—— vulnerable people. Kelly Kaur knows all about forced marriage. At


15, she was expected to marry a man from India. She ran away from her


home in Walsall. You have mixed feelings. You are a bit scared, and


at the same time, you do not want to hurt your parents. She now runs a


project helping to support young people, but claims not all police


officers want to help. When you have got your own community working in


the police force who do not agree with what we are doing... You are


saying some Asian police officers are reluctant to get involved? Some


will help but a majority of them really think that it should not be


happening because it is a tradition, a cultural thing. They


think you should just go ahead and get married. There was a lot of


violence, domestic abuse. Back at the airport, the police training is


provided by Karma Nirvana, a charity set up to confront issues about


forced marriages. A father holding a gun at the back of his daughter's


head who did not agree to a marriage. That can be the


consequence, death. It can be quite extreme. To intervene in any


domestic situation takes courage and training. Next year, the Government


will make forced marriages a criminal offence.


Joining me now is Superintendent Clare Cowley. Good evening. 1,500


known cases. Any idea of the true figures of forced marriages? That is


really hard to quantify. We know that one in six of the national


numbers take place within the West Midlands but we know from partners


who receive significant numbers of calls over and above that so we


believe the problem is more widespread. We heard from Kelly Kaur


who believes that the majority of Asian officers are unwilling to get


involved in intervention. How seriously will take that


allegation? I would be very concerned not taking allegations ——


very concerned by an officer not taking these allegations seriously.


The work we are doing that has led to the training of the airport


officers has been about making sure front line officers are fully


informed of the latest position, of the risks, even perhaps ones that


they may not have been thinking about. Clearly, if any victim of


honour —based violence or forced marriage does not feel that they are


being taken seriously, talk to police but also ask partners like


the charity in the report and they will help. Arranged marriages are


perfectly acceptable in many cultures though. There is a world of


difference. The key is how willingly the individual is going into the


marriage. A very delicate issue. How confident are you that the training


is appropriate and will take effect? It is something we need to


constantly reinforce. This is a four—month also operation to raise


awareness in a range of areas of vulnerability including domestic


abuse, making sure we constantly revisit the messages with our staff


so that they understand the risks. And if you have any concerns about


forced marriage, there's more information and contact details for


the charities featured on our Facebook page.


Coming up later in the programme: The 56—year—old who's been told he


has to move from his lifelong home because the council needs the space.


The council that was heavily criticised for failings which led to


the death of Daniel Pelka has appointed a retired High Court judge


as a special advisor on child protection issues. Four—year—old


Daniel was murdered by his mother and her partner in March of last


year. Sarah Falkland has been following events for us. Sarah, tell


us more about the council appointing this judge. His name is Donald


Hamilton and he will be starting his first day tomorrow morning. He is a


retired High Court judge with years of experience of family matters and


family law. He is coming as a special adviser particularly to the


council leader who says he is coming at a modest cost and he is confident


his contribution will be invaluable. He is here as a critical


friend with a huge amount of experience in all things judicial,


to do with children, adoption. He will be for me I am sure a very


sensible and safe sounding board. He will have authority to go anywhere


and ask any questions. What else was agreed at the special meeting? They


agreed to push the government to set up a particular Commons select


committee looking at safeguarding children. They want there to be more


national debate. They will be writing to all of the city's MPs


involved tomorrow. They are also changing the make—up of the


safeguarding board to include two members. There were a few protests


outside today. What point where they meeting? There were several groups.


Prevent Child Abuse said the protest up. They are linked to another group


called Justice for Daniel. These are ordinary people from all around the


country who want to make their voice known about what happened to Daniel.


One woman from Hampshire said she cried for a fortnight after reading


about what happened to Daniel. The woman who set up Prevent Child Abuse


says she wants a change in the law so that parents, when they say that


their children are ill or underweight, they are not believed.


If a child has an illness, the parents need to prove it, either by


a letter from the GP or hospital. It would stop it ever happening again.


One woman who trained social workers said that it would make a real


difference if social workers were allowed to way children. They have


to get a health visitor in at the moment. With all of these horrible


cases, what is central is that they lose weight dramatically.


Plans have been unveiled for a £9 million redevelopment of Birmingham


Children's hospital's mental health unit. It's the only NHS inpatient


unit for children in the Midlands and one of the largest in the UK.


Bob Hockenhull has been finding out why the new facilities are needed.


Sophie Flanagan is 11 and knows what it's like to have mental health


problems. I was depressed and not eating because I had problems at


home with my family. Sophie spent several months being treated by


Birmingham Children's Hospital. We used to go into town and sit in the


park and talk. Sophie's problems aren't uncommon. The charity Young


Minds says there's been a 68% increase in young self—harmers being


admitted to hospital in the last ten years. When you ask a ten or


11—year—old years ago, they never had a care in the world. Now there


is so much responsibility and pressure on them, it has changed an


awful lot. Mental health is becoming more common. With demand for


treatment increasing, plans were unveiled today to rejuvenate mental


health services for the young. Existing facilities at Parkview


Clinic in Moseley will be expanded, providing a better healing


environment and more en suite bedrooms for patients from across


the region. Mental health is such an important park of what we do at the


Children's Hospital. We absolutely need to invest in it if the same way


we would if it was a cancer centre or a heart centre. The patients have


said that they hate long corridors and bland colours. The new centre


will have vibrant social areas and bright colours. It'll be four years


before the revamp is complete. In the meantime, the hospital's


increasing its home visiting team so youngsters like Sophie get the


support they need. A knife amnesty will be held in Birmingham following


a series of recent stabbings. The police Commissioner announced this


following talks earlier today. Five people were stabbed to death in


Birmingham in the last six months. A 19th century Birmingham church


destroyed by a fire has been removed from the English Heritage At Risk


Register. St Barnabas Church in Erdington was left in ruins after it


was burnt down by arsonists six years ago. Meanwhile, Coventry's


14th—century charterhouse has been added to the register. The grade—one


listed former monastery has been empty for several years, but plans


are under way for a major restoration.


Colin Davies has lived in the same council house all of his life. But


after 56 years and the death of his mother, he's now been told he must


leave because Dudley Council say they need it for a larger family.


Friends and neighbours say that he should be able stay in the three—bed


property he's always called home. We'll have some of your thoughts in


a moment, but first here's Giles Latcham.


It's the only home he's known and Colin Davis isn't going without a


fight. This is where I live now and this is where I was born. In this


three—bedroom terrace, he was raised with his two brothers and here he


nursed his mother Edith until her death in July. Her name was on the


council tenancy and now she's gone the council says he has no right to


remain. To me, I die here. Why should I go out of the area, to


think I have all of my family close, the neighbours are wonderful. I know


everyone. They are all with me. And they were with him outside Dudley


Council House today along with members of UKIP protesting on


Colin's behalf. The council though is not for turning. It is always sad


when someone's mother or parent dies. Currently, Mr Davies is under


occupying a three—bedroom house that we desperately need for families


with children. There are 6,000 people on Dudley's housing list. In


Wolverhampton, 8,800. In Birmingham, 27,000. The estimate for the whole


of the West Midlands, 79,000. In anyone's language, a huge backlog.


Ultimately, you cannot have a three—bedroom property being used by


one person when you have a family down the road who have four or five


children crammed into two bedrooms. It is difficult but it is the right


decision and fell on taxpayers, the people playing. The council tells me


there are thousands of families looking for properties. This is not


about statistics and number crunching. This is about simple


humanity and decency. But unless he can convince the council he's an


exceptional case, Colin will soon be forced to quit the home he loves.


This has got you talking on our Facebook page. Louise said, although


it is unfortunate, I tend to agree with the council, they must make the


most of the housing they have to suit the people they have requiring


it, even if it means moving people around. Her view is echoed by Carl


James. He says, if he only rents and doesn't own, he should move on and


allow a larger family in there. He can always privately rent a


three—bed house if that's what he wants. But Geoff Paddock says, his


house is his home, we should have enough housing stock available that


old timers can live their lives as they wish. Thank you very much


indeed for all of your comments. This is our top story tonight:


Stopping forced marriages — officers at Birmingham Airport given


specialist training to spot young people travelling against their


will. And the unusual after—school club


that's about building more than just confidence. The detailed weather


report is also to come shortly. Also in tonight's programme: Back in the


Midlands and here in the Mailbox, we're chatting to Speedway World


Champ Tai Woffinden. Bee populations across the world are


in trouble and here in the UK numbers have crashed. One reason


might be disease and for the first time, scientists at the University


of Warwick have built a computer model of an outbreak of one very


nasty bee disease called American foulbrood. It could be vital in


helping ensuring our bees have a brighter future. Our science


correspondent David Gregory—Kumar is here. David, what is foulbrood?


Well, it comes in two varieties — American and European foulbrood. It


causes very nasty problems for the larvae, the young bees, killing off


entire colonies. This is an infected hive. Inside these cells, the bee


larvae is dead, but there are millions of foulbrood spores ready


to spread the disease further. Stopping these spores spreading


means burning the entire infected hive. So what the researchers set


out to do is model how this disease behaves and spreads. We are trying


to use the data we have showing when and where the disease was spotted to


work out how the disease is spreading and how it is getting from


place to place. Once you understand the methods of transmission, you


have a better idea of can —— control strategies that will be effective to


diminish the size of the epidemic. It may look a bit basic, but this is


the real research. It's based on data from an actual outbreak on


Jersey, but this a simulation. These dots are hives and these lines are


beekeepers moving between them. This model shows the two most important


factors in the spread of the disease — how close the hives are and the


beekeepers because the beekeepers can spread the disease as they move


around the island. The model shows that what the Government and


beekeepers actually did in the real world was the right thing to do. But


the scientists say confirming what we already know is a useful result.


It is always nice if you can have something that says, we should have


done this. But from a practical point of view, it is very reassuring


to know that what was done was the correct thing. It leads to more


confidence in the industry and the ability of them to control things.


This is 20 years of data on outbreaks of foulbrood on the


mainland. And now the team at Warwick have the maths to understand


what happened on Jersey scientists can use the same tools to get to


grips with this and other bee diseases. All of which is good news


for bees, farmers and those of us who like honey.


Indeed it is. Interesting stuff. Hundreds of homeless people from


across Britain have been taking part in a football tournament in


Birmingham with a bit of help from England's most capped player. Peter


Shilton made 125 appearances for his country, but this afternoon, he was


inspiring footballers who are using the game to help rebuild their


lives. Nick Clitheroe reports. From every corner of the land, they


had come to the shadow of Spaghetti Junction. Men young and old, women


too, who've all found themselves homeless and in need of a fresh


start in life. People like Shaun who spent 17 years as a heroin addict


but has been clean for more than a decade thanks to the Salvation


Army's Vale Street Lifehouse in Stoke on Trent. I owe a lot to them


because otherwise I would still be on the streets. Obviously, whenever


I have a chance to give anything back, I will do. Stewart was a


professional footballer back home in Zimbabwe, but never made it beyond


non—league in England. Now he lives at the Harnall Lifehouse in


Coventry. It means a lot. I cannot even put the words... It means a


lot. It changes a human being's life. The lifehouses are not just


about a roof over their heads and food. They also give residents the


chance to learn skills or get qualifications. But one of the


biggest problems they face after time on the streets is a lack of


self—confidence. That's why Peter Shilton, England's most capped


goalkeeper, was on hand to give them a penalty shoot out masterclass with


belief as one of his key lessons. Confidence in life is about


achieving by trying to better yourself and having a goal to work


for. People who have problems have lost sight of that. They feel


sometimes that there is nothing to work for. Sport gives you that.


There was no fairy tale ending as the teams from Coventry and Stoke


both went out in the quarterfinals. Instead, the trophy headed down the


M5 to Bristol. Congratulations to the Dudley


Heathens who won their first national league speedway title last


night. They beat Kings Lynn 47—46 in Norfolk to take the grand final


100—86 on aggregate. But they're not the only Midlands speedway winners


this week. Dan Pallett's with the new world champion Tai Woffinden


who's back home after winning the title in Poland. Tai Woffinden,


world champion. Are you getting used to that? It has been pretty crazy.


Doing a lot of press stuff. I was in the hotel and someone said, I was


watching you on TV this morning. Really looking forward to the rest


of it. The question I keep getting asked is, how is your collarbone?


You have broken it twice and you road with it broken in the last


Grand Prix. When your adrenaline gets going, it helps. I just raced


through it and dug deep and it paid off. Tell us about some of the


sacrifices you and your family had to make. We came out in 2006 and the


first three years we were in a caravan. My parents have given up a


lot to give me a shot at it and to finally win it is an awesome


feeling. It means a lot to your mum because of losing your dad three


years ago to cancer. Definitely. I would have loved him to be here but


that is life. I am sure he is watching from up there. You are the


youngest ever world champion at 23. Have you got fire in your belly to


go on and do more? I have won it once and I want to repeated as many


times as I can. A few more meetings in England and when that is done, I


will worry about my collarbone then. One of those meetings is in


Wolverhampton a week Tuesday. It is going to be a good meeting. We will


go out there and have a bit of fun and celebrate with the fans. Not


everyday you get to see a world champion in action, a week on in


Wolverhampton, you can see Tai Woffinden, world champion.


If we say after—school club, you'll probably think of chess or maybe a


sport. How about building one of these? Pupils from a school in the


Black Country have been set the task of building a Boeing aeroplane as


part of an aviation challenge. But the skies of Wolverhampton won't be


seeing a jumbo jet taking—off anytime soon. Instead, teenagers at


the city's North East Academy are constructing a much smaller model


from a kit worth £50,000. Laura May McMullen reports.


It is not every day you get to build a plane, an actual two seater light


aircraft that will eventually take to the skies. But that is exactly


what pupils from this school have got the chance to do. Being involved


in this project is one of the best things that could ever happen to a


young student like me. It is going to make me look like I have tried to


get out there and prove myself. You get to have more experience about


how to build an aeroplane. Also, I want to be an aeroplane designer so


I can get more experience. It improves communication skills and


helps you work together as a team. It will help in work life because


you need those skills. The school is one of six in the country who won


the competition from Boeing to get real hands—on experience. It is to


inspire and encourage the next generation of engineers. The country


is crying out for more engineers so the whole idea is that these young


people get interested in it and look to develop the skills. We have had a


couple of students going from the project getting jobs. It has been


really successful. The aim of the project is to reach around 2000


young people and it is hoped in the next 18 months these pupils will be


able to fasten their seat belts ready for take—off. Then there is


just the small matter of finding a pilot.


Looks like they will have plenty of volunteers for that! A definite


change in the air today. There is speculation of warmth


returning by the end of the month. But that is not likely this week. We


were lucky to get the high pressure and dry conditions with today. Over


the weekend, we will be contending with cold and strong winds and rain


at times. We are hoping we will not get as much rain as the south—east.


There will be torrential downpours there. Anywhere that is on the cusp


of that, parts of Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, they could get a


knock—on effect. To be honest, the amounts will be small. This evening,


we start with clear skies across the region. The winds will ease and


temperatures will plummet. In rural parts particularly. With the lighter


winds, I think we could see a touch of ground frost. Later on, the cloud


will come in from the north—east, introducing rain macro. The winds


will pick up again from the north—east through the morning and


perhaps draw in and take some of the rain to the west of the region. It


will start all and very damp. Compared to today, it will be dollar


through the day and the region. The rain will die a way through the


afternoon —— it will be dull. Temperatures slightly higher, Nero


to normal for the time of year. The winds will temper the value.


Tomorrow evening, it bears all the hallmarks to tonight except for the


clear skies to begin with. Because of that, temperatures may be


slightly higher. Again, you see the rain affecting eastern fringes. As


advertised, the weekend, it is looking cold, breezy, dry but the


possibility of rain for the south—east to begin with and then


the north—west on Sunday. The headlines: The weather is


turning cold and we face higher energy costs.


Officers at Birmingham Airport get specialist training to spot young


people being forced into marriage. I will be back later with more on


the specialist adviser being appointed to Coventry City Council




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