31/10/2013 Midlands Today


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the News of the World. That's all from the News at


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight...


Raiding the reserves. Plans to recruit 550 police officers in the


West Midlands force. The money has to come from somewhere, I suppose.


If it is in the reserves, take it out. If we need more police, we need


more police. Seems a lot to be spending on police.


I'll be asking Police and Crime Commissioner, Bob Jones, why he


believes the force needs to end its recruitment freeze.


Also tonight... Police are searching for the mother of a baby girl found


abandoned in a public park. Yellow back ``...


We need to make sure the mother gets medical attention.


No bonuses for Coventry's binmen. The council stops Christmas payments


over fears of equal pay claims. Unique and compelling. The First


World War diaries of Warwickshire's Private Harry Drinkwater.


And lashing rain and howling winds. Sounds like the perfect weather for


Halloween unless you're outdoors. How's it looking for trick or


treaters? Find out later. Good evening. Hundreds of new


officers could be recruited into the West Midlands Police force. The


Police and Crime Commissioner, Bob Jones, has revealed plans to recruit


550 to the force by 2016. The application process would start next


year. It would be paid for by using ?60 million from the force's reserve


budget. In addition, he's suggesting an extra ?3 would be added to


council tax bills for two years. In a moment, I'll be talking live to


Bob Jones. But first, Sarah Falkland assesses if using cash reserves is


the right way to maintain the police.


Just six weeks into training, these are some of the first recruits that


Staffordshire Police force has seen in three years. No need to dip into


reserves to pay for them. There are just 28 in total. It is not about


increasing numbers, but getting new blood into the force, so the 20th


new pool regular officers coming in half freshened things up. `` 28 new


pool. It is moving forward well. The commissioner here thinks reserves


are for a very rainy day. Is that what they're having further south,


then? In the West Midlands, there are rounds of an thousand 500 police


officers, but that is down by 1300 one three years ago. Crime is on the


increase. The police and crime commission says that that justifies


raiding the surplus. With English Defence League rallies and mosque


bombings, 2013 has been an onerous and expensive year for the West


Midlands force. 550 new officers will undoubtedly make a difference.


But is it right to raid the reserves to pay for them? The money has to


come from somewhere, I suppose. If it is in the reserves, take it out.


If we need more police, we need more police. We need them as a back out


`` as a back`up. It does seem extravagant. Another option for


police forces is to off`load assets. Warwickshire Police have been trying


to sell their HQ in Leek Wooton for the best part of a year, though. At


least reserves money is quick cash. But what of the new staff recruits?


Did budget constraints nearly put them off? It is what I have wanted


to do for as long as I can remember, to be honest, so to be here in these


times is more than a privilege than it could ever be. Police reserves


are supposed to be for a rainy day, taxpayers' money accumulated and


once they're gone, they are gone. Clearly, Mr Jones is not just in


visiting a short, sharp shower, but. Paul. `` but a full storm.


Bob Jones, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, is with me


now. Why have you chosen to spend the money on recruitment? It is


money for a rainy day, and we are coming up on a rainy day. We have


seen crime increasing. We feel, if we get there levels of demand like


we saw in July, the only way to get those police officers to respond


with be taking them out of neighbourhood policing, intelligence


led policing, all the things helping to keep crime down. It could be a


vicious circle of ever`increasing crime. You say crime has risen. By


how much and what types of crime? Issues such as low`level violence,


such as domestic violence. Burn up by about a modest amount, about


2%`4%. 2.5% according to your last report? Absolutely, in line with


other forces. If we continue having the loss of police officers we have


had in recent years, we will be in serious danger of not being able to


respond to that demand without reading neighbourhood policing,


offender management, etc. The image of the police has taken a knock


recently over the plebgate affair. Is recruiting more officers an


attempt to rebalance the reputational damage? I think the


reputation is another issue, but clearly, police officers and under


pressure from a whole range of things, such as less colleagues to


support them, this staff to support them, and it is starting to show,


things are starting to creep. So this is a response? It is trying to


stem those losses, maintaining the levels of service, dating


communities in the way we have at the moment. We do not put this


injection in, the continued loss of officers means they cannot respond


to the level of demand we have seen. Finally, do you have the full


support of the Chief Constable Chris Sims? Absolutely, this is a combined


strategy. He believes not recruiting since 2010 that it is essential we


refreshed the `` refresh the force as soon as possible. IQ. `` thank


you. Coming up later in the programme...


Stoke lays out its best china to impress the Chinese Ambassador.


A newborn baby has been found abandoned in Birmingham. The little


girl was discovered in a community park in Stechford just after two


o'clock. Our correspondent Michele Paduano is there for us now. What


more can you tell us? The baby was found in these dishes in earlier


today. This was cordoned off as police carried out searches. ``


these bushes. It was a little white girl found inside apparel in a bag,


and police said she was only here for about an hour, as she was very


warm at that point. She was found by a man walking his dog. His dog came


into the area, refusing to leave. He was shocked by what he found. I was


in my car and I was told that his dog found a baby in the park. He was


as white as a ghost. Then the police turned up. The bag was taken away.


We did not realise it was a baby until the police walked past me with


a plastic bag. What have the police had to say? They say the girl as


well. She was taken to hospital by ambulance, about three quarters of a


mile away, and sniffer dogs were used to find a trace. But all they


want to do is to help the mother. We have extensively searched the park,


we have officers speaking to neighbours and local houses to try


and find the mother. We do not know where she is at the moment and I


would appeal to hard to come forward to the hospital, because we need


hard to receive medical attention to make sure she is fit and well


herself. Police say anyone with any information, however trivial should


call 101, seeing the mother may actually need medical help. Thank


you. Police have spent the afternoon


searching around the Alcester area of Warwickshire looking for the


prisoner Alan Giles. The 56`year`old absconded from Hewell Prison in


Worcestershire on Monday, where he was serving two life sentences for


kidnap and murder. The public are being warned not to approach him.


A 23`year`old man pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court today to a


charge of stirring up racial hatred. Christopher Philips, who used to be


known as Darren Clifft, admitted posting videos online of him wearing


a Ku Klux Klan costume and carrying out a mock hanging of a life`sized


black doll. The Birmingham singer, Laura Umvula,


has missed out on the prestigious Mercury Prize for the best album of


the year. The 27`year`old from Kings Heath had been the favourite to win


the award for her Top Ten album Sing to the Moon. But the prize went to


singer James Blake for his album Overgrown.


A young mother who had to have a hysterectomy following the birth of


her first child says she's disgusted at receiving no apology from the


hospital which treated her. Hayley Sanders from Birmingham has now been


given a five figure settlement after lawyers claimed staff had failed on


four occasions to spot that she'd got an infection. Laura May McMullan


reports. Four`year`old Jayden loves playing


with his young stepbrother. It's helped to complete the family that


Hayley Sanders thought she'd never have. She gave birth to Jayden in


2009 and was discharged from hospital, despite having a number of


high temperature readings. Hospital staff failed to detect this was a


sign of infection. I did not expect it to lead to that. I expected to be


able to go home, see his first smile, laugh, first chuckle, and I


never got to see any of that. I just saw hospital ward after award after


award. `` after ward. Medical lawyers believe, if her


symptoms had been acted on sooner, she could have been treated by


antibiotics. As it was, Hayley became so ill she needed a


hysterectomy. She was very traumatised, as you would expect,


from what happened and has to live, not only with the psychological


impact, but the physical impact, constant reminders that she cannot


have children in the future. She were treated here at Hartland is


hospital in Birmingham, which has agreed to pay a five figure sum,


despite not agreeing liability in this case. `` Heartlands Hospital.


In a statement, it said... Are you playing, Jayden? Miss


Sanders says she hopes lessons have now been learned from her case.


Private documents seen by the BBC reveal that Coventry City Council is


stopping paying Christmas bonuses to its refuse workers. For the past


three years, binmen have received a bonus for extra work carried out


over the festive season. But now the council's taken legal advice about


the payments, following concerns it might lead to claims from other


staff under equal pay or sex discrimination rules. BBC Coventry


and Warwickshire's political reporter Sian Grzeszczyk has been


investigating. So how much were these bonuses worth? Binmen were


paid ?100 each. ?15,000 was paid in 2010. According to this private


report, it was the formally dub of Coventry City Council, a former bin


man himself, who asked officers to start making these payments. This


was as though he visited the depot in 2010 and was asked why one of the


binmen, can we have a bonus for extra work done this Christmas? He


said yes, but according to the report, went against the advice of


officers warning against this plan, because there was a fear of the


goodwill of the workforce would be lost. So the report says it was the


decision of the previously do. It usefully to him? I did, and asked if


he agreed with that version of events. He said he disagreed, that


that is not how he remembered it, it was nothing like that. I spoke to


the Conservative opposition leader at Coventry City Council, who told


me he is very concerned. We will ask who knew what when. Apart from the


counsellor, who gave the orders for this? Why did Council officers not


insist that it was very much against legal advice? And therefore, they


chose to pay it? We are very worried. Is there any concern this


could cause problems over Christmas? The council is worried it


might cause disruption, coming up with a contingency plan meaning they


would spend even to ?5,000 on agency workers if there are any problems.


They have told staff they will not be getting any bonuses. `` to spend


?75,000 on agency workers. They say it is not worth risking legal action


on this. Thank you. Well, you've been getting in touch


with us with your views about whether the binmen should be paid a


bonus. Linda thinks if the binmen get a


bonus, the council would then have to give bonuses to "dinner ladies,


cleaners and other council employees." While Donna says it's


their job description to collect rubbish. "If the binmen refuse to


collect rubbish over the Christmas period, then give their job to


someone who is willing!" Now, China's Ambassador was in the


Potteries today. His Excellency Liu Xiaoming visited Stoke on Trent to


discuss business and investment opportunities. It was a chance to


showcase some of the Midlands exports, as the UK's trade with


China continues to grow. Our Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper


met the Ambassador. In Spode's China Hall, the meeting


of two ceramic empires. This was a visit highlighting links that are


both cultural and industrial. In China, we have more resellers, in


terms of materials and I think the labour force is more competitive,


but I think Stoke`on`Trent has its own strength in terms of know`how,


high technology, new technology, very complementary to each other.


This gives young designers their first fitting... The Ambassador was


shown round the Biennial exhibition here. It's a celebration of all


things ceramic. As well as seeing the work of the new ceramic


designers, the ambassador is also holding talks with established


pottery companies. Churchill China is one company with links stretching


back more than two centuries. Its factory in Stoke on Trent utilises


very modern Chinese equipment. There are not a lot of people around here


making this. We are deciding it, having it builds, then it was


shipped back here and in sold `` and installed and we are making 4000 ``


we are making 400,000 pieces per week. At the Potteries Museum, the


Ambassador was shown precious artefacts from the Staffordshire


Hoard. This was a chance to showcase not just the area's history, but its


potential for future investment. One of the conversations we had today


was with an engineering company that invests in power with China,


hopefully all of this leading to investment and jobs. Stoke on


Trent's past is marked by the entrepreneurial spirit of potters


whose ware became internationally famous. It's hoped this visit will


spark new enterprises to boost business.


This is our top story tonight. Plans to recruit 550 police officers


to the West Midlands force over the Plans to recruit 550 police officers


to the West Midlands force over `` by 2016. Your detailed weather


forecast to come shortly from Shefali. Also in tonight's


programme, a rugby resurgence. The challenge of rekindling the passion


for the game of the seventies ahead of the World Cup.


And join me in Stratford`upon`Avon where, for once, Shakespeare is


taking a back seat as the town celebrates Halloween.


Nearly 100 years on, the diaries have come to light of a First World


War soldier recounting the horror of life and death in the trenches.


Private Harold Drinkwater from Warwickshire fought with the


so`called Birmingham "Pals" regiment and survived four years of


slaughter. Never before published, they're being hailed as a unique and


compelling account of the war it was said would end all wars. Giles


Latcham has been read ing them. Outside, the error was livid as


shrapnel was bursting. Come and gone in an instant... I took him into a


shelter, but he was going fast, his leg practically blown off. I stayed


with him until the end and saw him going West. The recruiting Sergeant


said he was half an inch too short. But Harold Drinkwater wasn't easily


deterred. He found his way to the western front with the 15th


Warwickshire's, the Birmingham Pals, and he lived to tell the tale, day


by day, in his diaries. She wanted to join, was a volunteer. He went


into the trenches in 1915 and ensure years of warfare. `` she wanted to


join. He came out with a gallantry award and survived, a real survivor,


that came through to me. The original pencil handwritten


diaries, written among the blood and mess of the trenches. A retired


Birmingham businessman bought the diaries at an auction 30 years ago


and quickly realised their author was a man out of the ordinary. He is


as tough as nails and change through every page of the diary, that he is


not going to be beaten, come what may, he will not be beaten. Harold


Drinkwater was born here in Stratford upon Avon in 1889, one of


five children of a well`to`do boot maker. He was educated at the same


school as Shakespeare. Maybe it was here that he learned to tell a


story. And what a story it is. I tumbled into the trenches myself,


almost on top of the man lying on top of their Germans. This is not


war, it is slaughter, snowman, however brave, can advance against


shower of bullets. `` no man, however brave. It tells the story of


men, since boyhood, going to work together.


When they went into action, they would probably die together. Private


Harold Drinkwater went on to become a civil servant, really speaking of


the war that too many of his friends. Through his words, the war


echoes back to us. Talks are to go ahead between the


owners of Coventry City football club and Coventry Council over the


future of the Ricoh Arena. The club's owner, Joy Seppala, has


written to council leader Ann Lucas accepting the offer of a meeting.


Coventry City moved out of the Ricoh in the summer in a row over rent.


The arena is 50% owned by the council.


Rugby lovers are hoping the World Cup will help restore Birmingham's


reputation as a centre for the sport. Two matches in the 2015


tournament will be staged at Villa Park. A conference was held there


today to look at plans to increase the game's popularity. Nick


Clitheroe reports. Rugby's greatest prize. The Webb


Ellis Trophy. The World Cup was at Villa Park this morning, safely in


the hands of Will Greenwood, one of England's winning side of 2003. In


2015, this ground will stage two group matches in the next


tournament. The challenge for Birmingham is to use that


opportunity to raise the profile of rugby in the city. I think we have


to work with the RDF view, getting that investment into Birmingham,


building the facilities and investing coaches. `` work with the


RFU. See this city not just in the top league of rugby, but have people


from this city laying in the England team. So two years out from the


tournament, hundreds of people who love the sport gathered this morning


to discuss ways to share that passion with the wider population.


There are views that the Asian community are not interested, but we


found through working with schools that is not the case. We want


everybody. Birmingham does have a fine rugby history. In the 1970s,


Moseley were one of the best teams in the land. But they failed to cope


with the sport's transformation to professionalism. After some


difficult years, Moseley have been rebuilt as a community club.


Planning permission has been granted for a new stand at their Billesley


Common ground, but with extensive facilities for other sports too.


Given that we are the second city, we should be able to generate more


rugby in the city and build on such an assist `` build on such


initiatives as the Rugby World Cup coming in the next few years and, by


increasing participation, the community game, building new


facilities that will help us move that former. `` move that former.


There's certainly still a demand. Moseley have 17 teams from the first


15 to the amateurs of Moseley Oak. But if Birmingham wants to become a


true rugby city once again, then that World Cup legacy cannot be


wasted. Now in case you hadn't noticed, it's


31st October. Halloween! You would think with the Shakespeare


connections and the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, businesses


in Stratford upon Avon wouldn't need to do anymore to draw visitors. But


they've been embracing the Halloween spirit, with a festival which has


actually lasted for the whole of this month. Ben Sidwell's in


Stratford for us now. So are ghosts big business? I tell you what,


Halloween is big business. We spent ?12 million net in 2001. We are


expected to spend this year, the third biggest event behind Christmas


and Easter. Festival is the longest anywhere in the country, funded, run


and organised by local businesses. Let me speak to the organiser Dave


Matthews. Why do it? You have Shakespeare's here. There is more to


Stratford than Shakespeare. It is a quiet time, the main to this season


over, 1000 people will come to Stratford for the Halloween


festival, massive business for the town! Was is it about Halloween,


that aims to have only taken off in the last few years? I think it is


back to basics. We have had programmes like Great British Bake


Off, and this is about getting together, doing things as a family.


Ticket sales for things like walking here, ?400,000. 100,000 visitors. We


are talking about 14,000 tickets just for the pumpkin father. All of


its funded and supported by independent businesses. Not just


things going bump in the night, not what it is all about? No, this is


very much an art festival. There are performances such as Phantom of the


Opera. We have storytelling, arts programmes, face painting, all sorts


of things for the family. It is getting dark, but the night is young


in Halloween terms. If you are stalling across the streets of


Stratford, watch out, because you are night `` you are never quite


sure few you will meet. True indeed. Thank you.


Last day of October. Earlier in the week, Shefali was warning us it


could be a very wet start to November. Still the case?


It is, but we hope not to see a repeat of the stormy conditions that


we saw in the south of the country. As far as the Midlands go, it does


not look like anything major, but if you are out and about this evening,


or have some Halloween parties planned outdoors, things could be


worse. We are looking at some showers, but also quite cold, and


with the cloud, temperatures not as low as previous nights. Tomorrow


looks more menacing. We have low`pressure moving from the


south`west. The heaviest rain will stay to the south of us, but still


containing some heavy rain. The wind will be like. I pressure builds for


Saturday, then the next system closing from the West. `` higher


pressure builds. The key points for the weekend are starting off dry on


Saturday, but Saturday will be the wettest of all, meaning that if you


are holding any bonfires those could be affected. Quite windy, heavy


showers, followed by gusty wind on Sunday. But this evening, some


showers around, mainly confined to the north of the region. And as


those die away, clear spells developing across parts of


Staffordshire, temperatures could be low at seven Celsius. Otherwise


quite cloudy tonight, temperatures down to 10 Celsius in the side.


Towards the end of the night, the next system appealing in western


fringes, not going until tomorrow morning. Driver the eastern half of


the region, then rain moves in from the west, stretching across all


parts by the end of the day. Tomorrow will be wet, fairly heavy


rain across the north, but light to moderate elsewhere. Temperatures


rising to about 12`13dC, but with light winds. That is something, at


least. Tonight's headlines from the BBC. A


day of revelations at the hacking trial. From a secret affair to


intercepting the voice mails of rival journalists.


And plans to recruit 550 police officers to the West Midlands force


over the next two years. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at ten o'clock with the latest on the search for the mother of a


baby abandoned in a public park. Hope you can join me then. Have a


good Planet Earth - it's unique.


It has life. To understand why, we're going to


build a planet...up there.


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