13/01/2014 Midlands Today


13/01/2014

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showers in the west and south. That's all from

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: there would

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be a single Chief Constable and one Police and Crime Commissioner plus

:00:22.:00:24.

all of the associated support staff. We will ask an MP if a merger

:00:25.:00:28.

between those forces could be the best option? A fraud investigation

:00:29.:00:35.

into a possible overseas betting syndicate after police approach a

:00:36.:00:39.

Chinese spectator yesterday. With they said was under threat, what is

:00:40.:00:42.

the future for young disabled people in Staffordshire? He needs

:00:43.:00:48.

estimation because if he gets bored, then he becomes less happy.

:00:49.:00:55.

Burgeoning numbers of feral cats are a problem in London ` could moving

:00:56.:01:01.

them to the Midlands be the answer? And we were talking about flood

:01:02.:01:04.

warnings last week, this week it is colder. But does that mean a chance

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to dry eyed? The full forecast coming up. `` dry out. Good evening.

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The organisation representing rank`and`file police officers is

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tonight calling for a full merger of West Mercia and Warwickshire Police

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to protect front line policing. The West Mercia Police Federation call

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comes as both forces face up to extra budget cuts over the next five

:01:29.:01:39.

years. West Mercia, which covers Herefordshire, Shropshire and

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Worcestershire, must save an extra ?22 million over the next five

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years. While Warwickshire must save ?9 million over the same period. Ben

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Godfrey reports. The thin blue line could be about to get thinner. Faced

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with reduced Government funding, West Mercia Police must save a

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further ?22million over the next five years. The Office of the Police

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and Crime Commissioner is trying to manage the cuts while plundering

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reserves to urgently fill police officer vacancies. We have made

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considerable savings and had a reserve of nearly ?49 million and we

:02:17.:02:21.

will use that in relation to lessening the impact on policy over

:02:22.:02:25.

the next five years whilst we make further savings. Warwickshire Police

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must find ?9 million of savings. In recent years these two forces have

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axed a combined 400 posts and dozens of police bases. The Chief Constable

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signed up to a strategic Alliance. But the West Mercia federation says

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a full merger is needed. After May 20 16th and the next elections, that

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will have to become a serious consideration because it is an

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obvious way of saving money. It would mean a single command team,

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one Chief Constable and one Deputy Chief Constable and one crime

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Commissioner plus associated staff. They have made it quite clear that

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there shall be no merger. As far as Bill and myself are concerned, we

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have an open mind and will consider all options. Police Commissioners

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were elected in November 2012. They faced public pressure to put more

:03:20.:03:22.

bobbies on the beat. It's clear the taxpayer could bear some of the

:03:23.:03:26.

costs directly. There's a proposal here to increase the police element

:03:27.:03:30.

of the council tax to raise an extra ?1.7 million a year, which could

:03:31.:03:36.

divide public opinion. I don't think we should have to pay more, the

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money should be there for the police. If it gets more officers on

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the street, yes, but we see them few and far between. I don't want to pay

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more council tax, I want funding to be kept as effectively low as it can

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be. Away from public office, the West Mercia Police Commissioner is

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facing his own personal battle. The 76`year`old has revealed he's being

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treated for lung cancer and will take time away from his post to

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recover from surgery. Joining us now from his constituency office in

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Cannock is the Conservative MP Aidan Burley, who was part of David

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Cameron's Police Reform Taskforce. Good evening, Mr Burley. So the

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Police Federation says forces should merge. Is that the answer? Size is

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not everything and we have been here before in 2006, the previous

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government tried to great regional police forces for a handling that

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when they realised it would make them less accountable to the

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communities they served and would cost a lot of money to merge those

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forces. The proposed merger of Warwickshire and West Mercia would

:04:48.:04:54.

cover an area of nearly 4000 square miles and would inevitably become

:04:55.:04:57.

more remote from the public at a time when we want police to become

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more accountable to the communities. What is needed is far greater

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sharing of back office resources, sharing human resource functions and

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IT and procurement and so on but we want smaller forces that are more

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accountable to the public. So you are against any merger? I am because

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I think the larger police forces become more remote from the public

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because they cover a large area and what we find happens is they start

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setting strategic targets at the top rather than having that

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community`based policing the public say they want. They want police to

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be more accountable to local people, more accountable to the public but

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actually there are huge savings to be had in the back offices, where 43

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police forces can share functions. Looking at specifics, West Mercia

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have further savings to be made but the commissioner talks about more

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policemen on the beat. How is that possible? We need to get away from

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this numbers game and the effectiveness of lease forces

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measured on headcount. The problem in this country is the average

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police man spends more time doing paperwork and on patrol and the Home

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Office figures show they spend around 14% of their time on patrol

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compared to 19 present on paperwork and if you consider this, if you

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could increase the amount of time on the beat from one fifth of their

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working day to double that, you would double the police presence on

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the streets in England and Wales without recruiting one single extra

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officer. Thank you. Coming up later in the programme: The developing row

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over proposals to build a Muslim cemetery with 4,000 burial plots on

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green belt land near Solihull. Some developing news in the last hour `

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two men from Birmingham have been arrested at Heathrow Airport on

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suspicion of terrorism offences relating to activities in Syria. Our

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special correspondent, Peter Wilson, is here. What more can you tell us?

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These men are both 21 and come from the Handsworth area of Birmingham.

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They were intercepted at Heathrow Airport coming from Turkey by

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unarmed officers from West Midlands Counter`terrorism Unit. The police

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say that they have arrested these people under the terrorist act in

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order to find out exactly what the nature of the activities where in

:07:42.:07:45.

Syria. Not because it represented any particular threat to the public

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here. Separate from this, two years ago running camp MP Khalid Mahmud

:07:52.:07:58.

warned about young men from the West Midlands travelling to Syria and

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taking part in the vicious civil war in that country. And saying that

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Al`Qaeda type groups were actually using jihadis from the area as part

:08:13.:08:17.

of the civil war out there. Is Syria a big concern for people here? I

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have been working for the Sunday Politics programme and I have been

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talking to young Muslim people who are very concerned about the

:08:27.:08:31.

military in crisis happening in Syria and lots of people sending

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winter clothing to refugees and they are concerned about the problems so

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there is a great deal of unease here in the West Midlands about what is

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happening in Syria. But the police anyone to talk to these young men

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and find out exactly what they have been doing in that country. Thank

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you. Police have confirmed they're investigating a possible betting

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fraud at yesterday's League One match involving Coventry City. A

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Chinese man was questioned and released without charge following a

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joint operation between the police and the Football Association. Ian

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Winter reports. All quiet at Sixfields Stadium today, permanent

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home of Northampton Town and temporary residence of Coventry

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City. Yesterday, the visitors were Crawley, plus members of the FA

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Fraud Team who had a special interest in the suspicious

:09:20.:09:21.

activities of one particular spectator.This afternoon, a

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spokesman said The FA do not make any comment on integrity matters. A

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spokesman said the FA do not comment on integrity matters. But tonight,

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Midlands Today can reveal exactly what went on. Throughout the game,

:09:36.:09:38.

as Coventry surged into a two`goal lead, police officers were keeping a

:09:39.:09:42.

very close eye on a Chinese man who they suspected of using an

:09:43.:09:45.

electronic device to send specific details of the match to members of a

:09:46.:09:48.

gambling syndicate abroad. With ten minutes left to play, matchday

:09:49.:09:54.

stewards made their move. The man was escorted away the Coventry fans

:09:55.:09:58.

in the main stand and taken for questioning by officers from

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Northamptonshire and Sussex Police. I understand they were acting on

:10:07.:10:10.

intelligence received by the FA Fraud Team, who suspected the man

:10:11.:10:14.

was relaying information about the game to an overseas betting

:10:15.:10:16.

syndicate. Tonight, Northamptonshire Police confirmed that officers spoke

:10:17.:10:20.

with a man who was of interest to representatives from the Football

:10:21.:10:23.

Association as part of their ongoing investigation into fraud. The man

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was not arrested. Neither was he able to witness Coventry's late

:10:29.:10:31.

collapse as they conceded two sloppy goals in the final seven minutes to

:10:32.:10:35.

give Crawley a share of the points in a 2`2 draw, leaving manager

:10:36.:10:43.

Stephen Pressley fuming. I was bitterly disappointed the cars we

:10:44.:10:48.

had worked so hard to try to get this result from difficult

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circumstances and these things cannot happen. Meanwhile the FA's

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Fraud Team will continue its ongoing investigation into suspicious

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behaviour relating to betting overseas. A mother accused of

:10:57.:11:05.

leaving her newborn baby in undergrowth at a Birmingham park has

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been charged with abandoning a child. The baby, who was named Jade

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after the dog who found her, was discovered in Stechford Park in

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October. A 26`year`old woman will appear before magistrates at the end

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of the month. Dozens of people have been protesting outside the offices

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of a London television company which produces the show Benefits Street,

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which is based in Birmingham. Campaigners are calling on Love

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Productions to scrap the programme, saying it demonises people claiming

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government help. More than 30,000 people have signed a petition to

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stop the show. Nearly 1,000 people have written to Solihull Council

:11:45.:11:47.

objecting to proposals to build a Muslim cemetery on green belt land

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near Catherine`de`Barnes. The development's expected to have 4,000

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burial plots and 75 parking spaces. But people living nearby feel

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there's not enough need for it. Bob Hockenhull has more. These fields on

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the outskirts of an upmarket village have traditionally been used to grow

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crops. Their new owner is seeking planning permission for the green

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belt land to be turned into a Muslim cemetery. But nearby residents say

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the development of 4,000 burial plots is wholly inappropriate for

:12:15.:12:21.

the area. We are horrified by this, the village is over one mile from

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the road. And it would almost certainly, in times of huge burials,

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whatever faith, if they are large burials, with those numbers of

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people on this road, it could cause problems. Councillors representing

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the village of Catherine`de`Barnes, which is next to the fields, insist

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there is already provision for muslim burials at other cemeteries

:12:41.:12:43.

in Solihull. But Muslims say they often have to travel, even abroad

:12:44.:12:47.

sometimes, so they can bury their loved ones in accordance with Sharia

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law. They say the Muslim population is increasing here and a specific

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cemetery is needed in the borough. Residents say the green belt is

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already vulnerable because it is on the edge of the West Midlands

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conurbation but the Muslim community argues that the cemetery will have a

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readable visual impact on the landscape. `` very little.

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Traditional burials dictate that Muslims should be buried with their

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heads facing toward Mecca. But there are no gravestones and this Iman

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from Solihull says neighbouring residents have nothing to fear.

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People worried about the green belt, there will not be any nodding their

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and I do not know about the plan itself but that is closer to the

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region you are, the less you'll think you do. The council but side

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within the next few months. `` council will decide. A Birmingham MP

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is urging parents suspected of child abuse to flee the country rather

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than face justice in the family courts because he believes they

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can't rely on the evidence being fair. John Hemming is chairman of

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the Justice for Families campaign group and says he's been contacted

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by hundreds of parents. I spoke to him earlier and asked him why he

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feels families are being badly treated. There are some decisions

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taken here and I know of one case where a baby has been put up for

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adoption because of the mother 's political views and this would not

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be done in another country. Surely running a broad will not solve this?

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It does because in another country, people do forum shopping and they

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have come here for liable and if you go `` if you go abroad, in the UK

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you face the removal of your child because of political views and

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abroad they say that is mad. It sounds almost a responsible, from an

:14:45.:14:47.

MP, suggesting people should run away from the authorities? It is not

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really running away from the 40s because you are going to authorities

:14:54.:14:56.

in another country and you say, this is the situation, do you think I am

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a threat to my child? In cases like bloody good views by the case with a

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family from Suffolk going to Spain and they provided all the paperwork

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to social workers and they sent them home. Surely the first verity in

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this country has to be the safety of the child? In any country it should

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be. But you must look at situations where a family takes a child into

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care unnecessarily and that fills up the care system so you cannot take

:15:33.:15:40.

children into care who are at risk. This was a baby aged seven and if

:15:41.:15:43.

you try to predict that, you would not have been able to do so so the

:15:44.:15:47.

danger is that by taking lots of babies into care, we missed the

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risks and we see children dying from child abuse. Mr Hemming will be

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appearing on Panorama: I Want My Baby Back at 9.00pm tonight here on

:15:58.:16:02.

BBC One. Our top story tonight: A police union leader calls for the

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Warwickshire and West Mercia forces to merge as a further round of cuts

:16:06.:16:11.

is announced. Rebecca will be with us in a few minutes with your

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detailed weather forecast and also in tonight's programme: A change of

:16:15.:16:17.

scene: Why feral cats from the capital are finding their way to the

:16:18.:16:22.

peace of the Midlands countryside. We're live at Villa Park, where

:16:23.:16:25.

Aston Villa take on high`flyers Arsenal. Can they stop them going

:16:26.:16:32.

back to the top with only their third home win of the season?

:16:33.:16:37.

Councillors will decide the future of day services for people with

:16:38.:16:40.

learning disabilities this week. Under the plans from Staffordshire

:16:41.:16:43.

County Council, day centres in Kidsgrove and Codsall are due to

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close, with one in Leek being downsized. The council says the plan

:16:47.:16:52.

is to improve the quality of care. So what happens if they close? Phil

:16:53.:17:01.

McCann has been investigating. Paul has Down's syndrome. Every weekday

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he goes to a day centre near his home in Kidsgrove. But it's closing

:17:06.:17:10.

and he'll be reassessed to see if the council thinks he still needs

:17:11.:17:17.

care. It is good we spied for us and it is demolition for him. ``

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respite. He needs stimulation because if he gets bored then, then

:17:23.:17:29.

he becomes less happy. And cooperative. For the last 20 years

:17:30.:17:34.

he has waited like this when the bus to take him one mile down the road.

:17:35.:17:38.

Nearly 500 people with learning disabilities use centres like this

:17:39.:17:41.

one in Stafford, which isn't closing. But the County Council

:17:42.:17:45.

wants to cut that number by 70% so it's going to reassess them all,

:17:46.:17:48.

with the hope that around 130 people will be judged not to need any help

:17:49.:17:54.

at all. We are modernising disability services and we intend,

:17:55.:18:01.

for those who can, we will get them out of daycare provision and into

:18:02.:18:04.

community provision because we believe that is the right thing to

:18:05.:18:09.

do and people integrated into the community is definitely a better

:18:10.:18:11.

life for people with learning disabilities. This is the council's

:18:12.:18:15.

vision of the future. At this farm near Uttoxeter, adults with learning

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disabilities are trained in how to grow crops and look after animals.

:18:19.:18:30.

You can learn a range of skills here and it boosts your confidence a lot.

:18:31.:18:36.

I just really enjoy it, and if I had the chance to come here, I wouldn't

:18:37.:18:41.

mind even living here! It is about social networks and building

:18:42.:18:44.

friendships with people that they can take outside of this opportunity

:18:45.:18:50.

and I like nothing more than hearing them doing things like bowling and

:18:51.:18:53.

ordinary things. So what does Rob think? Could this work for his son?

:18:54.:18:58.

Some people might be able to cope with this and others not so much.

:18:59.:19:03.

Nevertheless, what has been done here, in essence, is good. But I

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think practically, it would not be a replacement for the day centre. The

:19:11.:19:14.

plans are due to be finalised on Wednesday. But there have been

:19:15.:19:19.

protests by cameras worried about looking after farm animals as not a

:19:20.:19:30.

long`term solution. Football now. It's all getting a bight tight down

:19:31.:19:33.

the bottom of the Premier League. Dan's here now. Can Aston Villa ease

:19:34.:19:37.

their worries with a result against Arsenal this evening? It's a big

:19:38.:19:40.

night for Aston Villa and their manager, Paul Lambert. The fans

:19:41.:19:43.

turned on him after last week's FA Cup defeat by Sheffield United and

:19:44.:19:46.

tonight they face title`chasing Arsenal at Villa Park. Nick

:19:47.:19:49.

Clitheroe is there for us. How critical could this game be? This is

:19:50.:19:55.

massive for both clubs and Arsenal could go top of the league but Villa

:19:56.:19:59.

could get into the top half of even one point. Hard to believe because

:20:00.:20:03.

they have only had two home wins in ten matches this season. Joining me

:20:04.:20:07.

is the chairman of the supporters trust. It has been desperate. Not

:20:08.:20:14.

something you can look forward to but you come along in the hope that

:20:15.:20:18.

we might just turn the corner. Do you see any green shoots? Not

:20:19.:20:25.

really. But I always think that if we can get anti`gay scoring and

:20:26.:20:31.

playing like last season, there has to be some optimism. `` Benteke

:20:32.:20:42.

scoring. Good Aston Villa go down? I am not overly worried but it is so

:20:43.:20:47.

close in the bottom ten but a couple of victories can change everything.

:20:48.:20:51.

Goals have been in short supply, only seven in ten matches? That is

:20:52.:20:56.

awful, we do not seem able to get anywhere near the six yard area at

:20:57.:21:02.

home. What is your prediction tonight? Narrow defeat, I think.

:21:03.:21:10.

2`1. Let us hope it is for us! Let us hope that it is a happier note

:21:11.:21:16.

for the fans, they really have struggled to get much entertainment

:21:17.:21:19.

out of their home games this season. And it would give everyone such a

:21:20.:21:22.

left at this club if they could win tonight. Thank you for the match. As

:21:23.:21:29.

for our other two Premier League teams, Stoke City and West Bromwich

:21:30.:21:32.

Albion both lost but the games were quite different. Stoke lost 5`3 to

:21:33.:21:36.

Liverpool in a dramatic game at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke were 2`0

:21:37.:21:39.

down. But two fine goals from Peter Crouch and then Charlie Adam pulled

:21:40.:21:43.

them back level at 2`2 by half`time. But Liverpool's strike force ` led

:21:44.:21:46.

by Luis Suarez ` just proved too powerful for Stoke in the end.

:21:47.:21:53.

Albion's new head coach, Pepe Mel, was in the crowd to watch their game

:21:54.:21:57.

at Southampton. But it's unlikely he was impressed by what he saw. Albion

:21:58.:22:01.

only lost 1`0 but they were distinctly second`best. Mel will

:22:02.:22:03.

meet the players for the first time tomorrow when he takes over the

:22:04.:22:15.

coaching duties. Mel takes over duties tomorrow. And he is in the

:22:16.:22:22.

crowd tonight? So it's fair to say that none of our teams are safe from

:22:23.:22:25.

relegation this season. As you mentioned earlier, it's all very

:22:26.:22:31.

tight. The bottom 11 clubs are separated by just six points. They

:22:32.:22:37.

have beaten Arsenal? The first day of the season. And this time, Robert

:22:38.:22:43.

De Niro has tipped them to win. As investors to loan, this is what they

:22:44.:22:55.

had to say! Aston Villa? Interesting choice. Really? URA bookmaker! Not

:22:56.:23:09.

convinced! Investments can go down as well as up! Could a move to the

:23:10.:23:15.

Midlands be all that's needed to save the lives of London's feral

:23:16.:23:18.

cats? Animal welfare charities in the capital say they're being

:23:19.:23:21.

overwhelmed by a huge boom in the numbers of strays and they're having

:23:22.:23:25.

to put a lot of them to sleep. However, tonight's Inside Out

:23:26.:23:28.

follows the work of a charity who've found a surprising solution. Johny

:23:29.:23:32.

Pitts reports. Cecille and Stanley are on their way to a new home in

:23:33.:23:37.

the Cotswolds and it has turned out to be a life`saving journey. They

:23:38.:23:40.

started life as feral cats living on the streets of London, where there

:23:41.:23:44.

are now tens of thousands of other strays just like them. Animal

:23:45.:23:47.

welfare charities say the problem has reached crisis point. This is

:23:48.:23:54.

the problem when people do not neuter their animals and people

:23:55.:23:56.

abandon them and threw them out, it is a throwaway society. One cat can

:23:57.:24:04.

multiply and you could end up with hundreds of them. Just like you, we

:24:05.:24:08.

have 20 cats. Ferals are not what you think. They're not wild

:24:09.:24:11.

monsters, they're actually shy of human contact. But because they can

:24:12.:24:14.

be unpredictable they can't simply become house cats, making finding

:24:15.:24:19.

them a home difficult. The reality is if there is not enough homes for

:24:20.:24:23.

them, they will have to be put to sleep. But now animal charities like

:24:24.:24:29.

SNIP have discovered there's a niche market for cats like these right

:24:30.:24:32.

here in the Midlands countryside. We need them for vermin control and at

:24:33.:24:37.

this time of year, all of the mice and other variables come in and we

:24:38.:24:40.

have chickens here so they attract vermin. It is perfect to have some

:24:41.:24:49.

cats. They are quite entertaining as well. It's a far cry from the

:24:50.:24:53.

streets of London. Here they'll have a job, fresh milk plus their own

:24:54.:24:56.

penthouse suite on the top floor of the stable. And after just a month

:24:57.:25:00.

in their new home, our Cockney kitties have become top Midlands

:25:01.:25:05.

mousers. Have a blog that mice? Not a lot but they have started.

:25:06.:25:10.

Hopefully they will not bring any because we will not have any! Time

:25:11.:25:15.

for the weather forecast. It will be rather cold and those

:25:16.:25:24.

critters shall be on stand`by through the region. We expect wide

:25:25.:25:29.

`` widespread frost and showers to come first, clearing away and

:25:30.:25:35.

temperatures falling away. Tomorrow is a cold start, but a bad day with

:25:36.:25:40.

decent spells of sunshine through the day and cloud or fill in through

:25:41.:25:46.

the afternoon and ahead of the span of showers, this is effecting us, we

:25:47.:25:50.

have some squally conditions around the showers and there is the chance

:25:51.:25:56.

of some wintry showers over higher ground. But they will clear away

:25:57.:26:00.

through the next few hours and behind that, we will see this guy

:26:01.:26:05.

squaring and temperatures falling away rapidly. The Met Office has

:26:06.:26:09.

issued a Yellow Warning for icy stretches coming tomorrow morning as

:26:10.:26:12.

temperatures dipped to around freezing. But then it is not long

:26:13.:26:18.

before we see the next band of rain starting to make its way through.

:26:19.:26:23.

Pleasant tomorrow but that rain is moving from the West through the

:26:24.:26:26.

afternoon tomorrow so we started off rather cold and chilly with frost

:26:27.:26:31.

about and some fog and it will lift as the sun comes out, burning

:26:32.:26:34.

through and making things feel quite pleasant but temperatures. All. We

:26:35.:26:40.

have lighter wind but some sunshine for much of the day for most of us.

:26:41.:26:44.

Then the cloud starts to fill in ahead of this rain, moving from the

:26:45.:26:49.

West. Not huge amounts of rainfall but this is adding to what we

:26:50.:26:53.

already have on the ground, prolonging that drying out period.

:26:54.:26:58.

After tomorrow night, we shall see things continuing to get unsettled

:26:59.:27:02.

through the week and temperatures struggling a little bit but there is

:27:03.:27:05.

plenty more rain in the forecast. Becky. Our headlines... Local

:27:06.:27:12.

councils which back fracking for gas are promised more money. And a

:27:13.:27:15.

police union leader calls for forces to merge as a further round of cuts

:27:16.:27:22.

is announced. That was Midlands Today. We are back at 10pm. Goodbye.

:27:23.:27:29.

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