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In tonight's programme: From threats to kill,
The extent of the verbal abuse ambulance call
handlers are subjected to, and claims the law should be
I don't give a bleep about those other people, the only people I care
about is my daughter. Please stop swearing at me, I understand it is
upsetting but I am only trying to help you.
Also: trying to tackle the shortage of spaces.
Plans are announced to build five new multi-storey car parks
And later on, the small space showing new art
There are claims the law needs to be tightened to protect 999 call
handlers after a BBC investigation revealed the extent of abuse
Call handlers working for South Central ambulance service
have received threats to kill, as well as racist and sexist abuse.
They say abuse from members of the public is part
David Lumb's been to the service's main control room, and has
There's nothing allocated yet because we are very busy.
What do you mean there's nothing allocated yet?
Just tell me and I'll take her to hospital myself
Just a normal shift for 999 call-taker Josie Wass.
The 22-year-old's been doing the job about a year and says she's
Yes, I've been called the B-word and told to eff off
and a few of the S-words thrown in there as well.
Sometimes sexist, "Oh, you're just a woman.
You're just sat there listening to them giving
feel like you are the smallest person in the world,
It just makes you feel very small and very useless
The staff in this control room take more than 1,000 999 calls a day
from across Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Berkshire
At the minute I don't give a BLEEP about them other people,
the only person I care about is my daughter.
Sir, sir, sir, please stop swearing at me.
I understand it's upsetting but I am only trying to
Figures obtained by the BBC show call-takers in England,
Wales and Scotland logged hundreds of abusive calls in three years.
They include sexist and racist abuse, and even threats to kill.
At the end of the day, workplace should be a safe
You come to work to help people here, we should
not have too put up with anybody talking to you like that.
At the moment this kind of abuse is covered under
2003 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Both carry a maximum sentence of six months.
But the union Unison says it's not enough.
It wants harsher penalties and a greater requirement
The government do need to look at the law surrounding prosecuting
people that have threatened and threats of violence.
I don't think the law in itself is enough.
It will send out a strong message to people that we take ambulance
and NHS staff health and safety seriously and we will prosecute.
A Government spokesman said sufficient laws were already
For now it seems abusive calls will remain something
David, just how widespread is this problem?
Well, Geraldine, it's certainly not soemething that's
I spoke to Ambulance Trusts across the UK and many of them
reported this as a concern. Interestingly not all of them
could give specific or significant statistics, I should say,
but I think that may be reflective of the fact that a lot of workers
The union Unite, as you heard in my report there, wants
a specific law to tackle this, or at the very least
harsher sentences to try and deter offenders.
It also wants employers to have a greater requirement
Self Central Ambulance says is takes these incidents very seriously.
South Central Ambulance says is takes these
It gave me a number of interesting examples,
including one call handler who, would you believe, was accused
It does encourage staff to report incidents.
Police have launched a murder inquiry following the death
of a woman in Ludgershall near Aylesbury.
Samantha Blake-Mizen's body was found in a house
A post mortem examination has revealed she died
A 43-year-old from Thame has been arrested and is being questioned
The singer George Michael died of natural causes,
The star was found dead at his home in Goring
in South Oxfordshire on Christmas Day.
An initial investigation had failed to determine what led to his death.
The coroner has now concluded George Michael died from heart
disease and a fatty liver, and that any further
A gay couple who were beaten up by a gang of men on a train
from Reading say they're now afraid to travel by rail.
It happened on Valentine's Day, with horrified passengers
Images have now been released of the men that
They knocked these two teeth down here out and I had a lot of bruising
and cuts all around my face and Zbynek, you had
a lot of bruising around the eyes and the head.
Phil and his boyfriend Zbynek had fallen asleep on a train home
after celebrating Valentine's Day in Reading, when they were set
One guy just wake me up and say something nasty to us.
I just said leave us alone and all the attack started.
I think they didn't like me laying on Zbynek.
I was laid over him I think that's what caused the issue.
But I've never gotten a fight in my life so to suddenly be
punched in the face, oh, I just want to think about it.
Police have now released these images of four men
they want to speak to in connection with the incident.
They got off the train at Ealing Broadway moments
Police say this was a prolonged, very nasty attack,
which the victims believe would be motivated by homophobia.
They say hate crime of this kind will absolutely not be tolerated
and they are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
At the moment I'm just a bit scared to go on the evening train.
You know, I try to have a look where I am sitting and who is coming.
So many things in the world, bad things happening and why
are picking on people because of their sexuality?
I don't know, but I'm glad the police have got those images now
because it makes people aware of what they look like,
in case they see them, contact the police.
Plans to build five multi-storey car-parks at hospitals in Oxford
Patients and visitors currently face lengthy delays at peak times
The car park plans have been revealed amidst discussions
about radical changes to the NHS in Oxfordshire.
Our political reporter Bethan Phillips has this report.
Today was a chance for councillors and campaigners to put
their concerns to health bosses about plans to save ?200 million
One of the main worries to come up was parking.
The plans include centralising some services in Oxford,
including making a so-called downgrade of the maternity unit
at Banbury's Horton hospital permanent, meaning women with higher
risk pregnancies will have to go to the John Radcliffe.
And that's with huge pressure on parking there already,
with some patients missing appointments because they simply
Today Chief Executive of Oxford University Hospitals,
Dr Bruno Holthof, addressed these concerns, saying they want to treat
more patients at home, and offer more outpatient
appointments at the Horton hospital, which would help ease
But he said the Trust was also set to put planning applications
in for five multi-storey car parks in Oxford - two at the John
Radcliffe, two at the Churchill and one at the Nuffield Orthopaedic
That will be a relief to many patients who have struggled
But it's unlikely to set the minds of campaigners here at ease,
who have much wider concerns about the health plan,
saying overall it will mean cuts and closures.
A Labour councillor said today there simply wasn't a safe way
to make ?200 million worth of savings to health
And that was a sentiment echoed by protesters.
in Oxfordshire is based on taking out ?200 million a year over the
next few years, that is 20% of the budget, we all know that things are
very pressured right now and people are on trolleys we have lost people
who don't have enough hospital beds or GPs or nurses but what will
happen when 20% of that is taken out? People will die.
The Clinical Commissioning Group, which is the organisation behind
this plan, insist it will mean better, joined -up services
Today councillors decided they needed another meeting,
and another chance to question health bosses about the plan.
If their concerns aren't addressed, the plan could be referred
An activity centre in Buckinghamshire which has helped
thousands of disabled children has expanded.
Thomley, in Worminghall, also supports parents and carers.
A new pavilion will mean more performances to
Watching them being drawn is a real treat.
There's always some thing that you can find a way to what someone
If you draw a dinosaur you've got somebody.
Thomley was set up 15 years ago by a group of parents whose
Children and teenagers from all over the country now come here.
We get some children who have no disabilities and some that have
clearly got a huge range of disabilities, for example
they might be in a wheelchair full-time, they might be peg fed,
and it's actually really beneficial for all the children that come
here to learn about different types of abilities.
Thomley is firmly established at a nine acre site in Worminghall.
Visitors can get a bite to eat and enjoy all
What we plan to use it for is putting on film shows,
little theatre events, training events.
So it is just providing all different opportunities
for families to try something new, something different.
Keeping Thomley going is a challenge.
There's no government funding, and it costs more
The good news is visitor numbers have shot up 80%
The Olympic rower and chancellor of Oxford Brookes University,
Katherine Grainger has become a Dame.
She's been honoured at Buckingham Palace for her services
Dame Grainger was the first British woman to win medals
She has one gold and four silver medals, winning the last one in Rio.
She's now retired from international rowing.
The annual boat race is under a month away,
and for Oxford preparations are underway in earnest.
The team's taken to the water this morning
We will have more from them tomorrow night.
I'll have the headlines at 8.00pm and a full bulletin at 10.30pm.
Now more of today's stories with Sally Taylor.
And there are 80 art works on display in this very small space. In
fact, it is so small, they call it the Tight Modern!
There're fears the reopening of Reading's Edwardian swimming
baths as an outside pool could be delayed, because the local
sewer network might not be upgraded in time.
Thames Water insists the sewers will be ready for the opening.
But the man behind the ?3 million project says they've been
Originally built for the ladies of Reading, King's Meadow baths
But after a successful campaign to save them,
Arne Ringmer and his team have been breathing new life into
But the local sewerage system running through the park outside has
a history of flooding and needs to a history of flooding and needs to
be upgraded, just as the Thames Lido team wants to transform this into a
landscaped park. Pathways, lighting, benches and that opportunities for
the people of red and enjoy this section of the park. Hopefully it
will open up the rest of the park. And the last thing I want is to have
all of that team dug up again by Nu sewerage installation. So I am
begging Thames water to come and activate this process now. They will
have two years to do this process and they are dragging their feet and
dragging their feet, saying next dragging their feet, saying next
week, but nothing ever happens. Thames water declined our request
for an interview but said that they would be walking a good distance
away from the Lido. The sewerage network will be prepared in good
time to the planned opening, but can be prepared at short notice, should
be Lido open earlier than land. The park and lido must
be finished and open by September at the very least,
if this historic riverside gem is to star in the very first
Thames Festival to celebrate Onto sport and it's a big
Tuesday night of football Tony is at the Madejski stadium for
Reading's game against Newcastle. But first tonight, Tony,
tributes to a legendary athletics coach and a figure many of us
here at the BBC knew very well, too. A lovely man. Yes, Mike Smith, at
the age of 88, has passed away. He was a broadcaster with BBC local
radio for more than 30 years. I have my own personal memories, I joined
the BBC has a raw 21-year-old and the port me how to be calm in the
fraught world of monthly broadcasting. He presented the
non-league show and commentated on football on local radio for many
years. He will be best remembered as an athletics coach guiding the
careers of some of the greatest sprint athletes Great Britain has
ever seen on track and field, leaving a lasting legacy. Here is
Steve Humphrey. When you are sprinter, 21, 22 is not passed. He
was the athletics coach with the Midas touch. Mike Smith turned
talented runners into Olympic, world and Commonwealth champions. Amongst
them, Roger Black, Chris Akabusi and Iwan Thomas. Everything I have in my
life is because of Mike. All of the good memories I have from athletics,
Mike was by my side. Today, he left flowers in Mike's memory at least
without an athletics track where the master coach prepared is at to
an old teacher. And he was very an old teacher. And he was very
strict with his training. And that is exactly what I needed.
First-time... He cheered on Iwan in the 1988 Commonwealth Games from the
BBC studio in Southampton. Come on, you've done it, you've done it! He
said success was based on simple ingredients. They can do repeat runs
and repeat runs and get iron hard bit. It is iron hard fitness, hard
work in the gymnasium and so on. He created an environment where many
talented athletes, not just Olympic athletes but club athletes came
together in the power of the group, and under his guidance, worked
incredibly hard and then ran fast. If I hadn't met Mike Smith I would
not have been a world-class quarter-mile runner. He said, if you
want to run fast, you have got to run fast! And he made me run fast.
For many years, Mike was an important part of the BBC radio
Solent sports team. One of those people who had a real genuine love
of sport. Like all of the freelance staff who are so important to the
programme, he did it for what it meant, not for the money, and he did
it very well. In a statement, Mike Smith's family said that the
88-year-old had "Crossed the finishing line" last Sunday. He
Talent plus hard work is a recipe Talent plus hard work is a recipe
for success. A fine man, Mike Smith. Condolences to his family. I know
that Mike is watching now and he's saying, come on, Husband, get on
with the sport. Tonight, Reading take on the leaders, Newcastle. It
has been a good week for their opponents. 11 games to go now and
in the hunt for promotion to the in the hunt for promotion to the
Premier League? Let's bring in our BBC radio Berkshire presenter. This
is a massive one. I am nervous. The players will be nervous. We have the
best on show, championship leaders Newcastle, they have won seven and
drawn three. Reading have won nine of their last 11 matches here on the
me. Lots of Reading families expect me. Lots of Reading families expect
Newcastle to win, W but I don't think like that at all. Jaap Stam is
tempering expectations. This is better than everyone expected
Reading Doody. Everyone knows that he has done a brilliant job.
Overachieving. Leeds, Reading and Huddersfield are overachieving being
continue. You have a statistic about continue. You have a statistic about
refereed Newcastle twice this season refereed Newcastle twice this season
and they won those games 6-0, 4-0. A week ago we mentioned that Brighton
were top of the table and things were looking good. Tonight they are
facing rock bottom Rotherham and they know that they have fallen off
the pace of Newcastle as they try to stay in that second automatic
promotion spot. Chris Hughton is without Shane Duffy who's had foot
surgery. He will miss six weeks. A big game for brighten up in
Yorkshire. The Kassam Stadium hosts a big game
in League One tonight. Oxford United host
the leaders Sheffield United. There's full commentary
on BBC Radio Oxford. Meanwhile Portsmouth are in action
tonight in League Two. Last night the club's
community work was recognised in parliament, with the award
of the Football League's Checkatrade Community Club of the Year
for the south-west region. On the field, matters
are pretty serious now. A trip to Crawley
tonight, and fifth-placed
Pompey need to bounce back after two home games
which produced only a point. We want to do our best and get
promoted. But you bring that type of stuff on yourself. We backed
ourselves and we know that we can keep going. We believe in one other
and you want to show people, but we needed a performance and we are
it. These final Tuesdays of the it. These final Tuesdays of the
season as we get into the running are super Tuesdays. Lots of
ramifications for the league tables tonight. We will wrap it all up in
our update at 10:30pm. Reading against Newcastle beer, Brighton on
the road at Rotherham and other important matches in League 1 and
two. If no-one sees your artwork,
are you still an artist? Many people with disabilities
struggle to get recognition Now a pop-up exhibition
the Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth is challenging that with a display
by artists whose work You have heard of the Tate Modern,
this is the Tight Modern. 86 pieces of art is squeezed into the world's
smallest pop-up gallery, or by artists who often go unseen. They
have social issues, disabilities, and perhaps have not had an
opportunity to show their artwork in this way. Lots of people beaver away
and nobody but their family and closest friends get to see the work.
But many artists, in order to flourish, need to put their work out
there in the wider world. It symbolises the way that it had gone
through the city and out onto the motorway and then arriving. This
piece, the 700, chart is a journey from Portsmouth to the arts centre
in Emsworth, a simple trip for some, a huge undertaking for him, as is
having his work on display. I use the art as my therapy to get over my
ME, and it pushes me to produce the work, and being at this exhibition
and into the previews, it just pushes me that little step, it gives
me that carrot to get it. And there's a precedent for work shown
at the Aspex Gallery to reach a wider audience. The Aspex Gallery
has supported local artists for 35 years, some of whom have gone on to
display at the Tate Modern and other galleries. Let's hope at the artists
on display here today can go on to do the same. The pop-up is in place
until next month, opening the door for little-known artists. A lot of
talent there. It is definitely worth a look.
Onto the weather now and Sarah Farmer will be
here with the forecast in just a moment.
The sun was shining earlier today - but it seems a cold front
has descended on Portsmouth this evening.
It has been a glorious day across the south of the day. There's a bit
of a chill in the air at Southsea. There is a special performance
running at the King 's Theatre all week. They are going to have a
specially destructed ice Rink on the stage. An extreme setup for an
extraordinary performance and the producer joins me now, Julian. What
agreement set up. We're excited to be here in Southsea. And it has been
pretty to get the logistics setup. Yes, it has not been the easiest.
One of the biggest headaches is this stage, which is raked, so we had to
get a specialist team to produce a scaffolding platform. It has been an
interesting few days. But we are ready for the opening night tonight.
As well as the practical challenges you are going all out with planes,
with acrobatics. Yes, we will be going to set fire to the ice rink at
some point. We don't want to give too much away. You will have to pop
down to the King 's Theatre to see us, hopefully enjoy the show. It
promises to be a terrific performance. As you raise your
garden tomorrow morning, the curtain will be going up here at half past
seven so you need to be clear. Wow! Is she good or a see good? And
she is here. Not too far to go. Not so much of a frosty forecast for
today. We have some above average temperatures to look forward to in
the coming days. It's going to be a beautiful -- it has been a beautiful
day today with lovely, sunny spells. The cloud beginning to picking
through the afternoon. Then we have rain arriving later on this evening
and tonight. About ten o'clock we will see that band of rain working
its way in from the West. Outbreaks of drizzle, then some heavier pulses
will tend to come and go. Not with will tend to come and go. Not with
us consistently but there will be some downpours through the overnight
period. Temperatures around six Celsius but climbing through the
overnight period, so by dawn, temperatures up towards around 10
Celsius. So are mild, I'll damn, dreary start tomorrow. Looks like we
will have that rain coming and going through the course of the day. And
easing away through the afternoon. The northern part of the region seen
the best of any dry weather. Limited brightness on offer. You might just
catch a glamour to the north of our patch. Temperatures around 12, 13,
so above where they would normally be for this time of year. Tomorrow
night we will see further rainfall for southern parts once more.
Probably not quite as heavy as through the course of the night. But
there will be the odd burst here and there. Overnight we will see
temperatures down to around eight Celsius. Through the course of the
day on Thursday, a quieter day with things settling down. The best of
any brightness to the north of the M4 corridor. A largely dry day but
we could see one or two bits and pieces of drizzle. Here is your
summary for the next few days. Outbreaks of rain through much of
tomorrow. Some good brightness further north, but cloudy for
Thursday. Some drizzle for Friday and showers at the weekend. Thank
you very much, Sarah. Tomorrow, of course, the Budget, and we explore
ancient Rome through a model created by Reading University. Good