19/04/2017 South Today


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Over-crowded, under-staffed, over-run with drugs -


the claims of prison officers who have gone public


to complain of conditions in the South's prisons.


Before you even start, your head is thinking,


"How am I going to get through this without being assaulted?"


But, on the other hand, you've got to do your job,


which is challenge prisoners' bad behaviour.


businesses give their first reaction to the snap general election.


Could there be a face-lift for one of the South's poshest old friends?


A radical proposal for Sandbanks, but will it succeed?


the extraordinary story of the teenager


who's beaten the odds to become a renowned artist.


Overcrowding in the South's prisons means that staff feel they


run the risk of physical assault every time they go on shift.


Today two officers from HMP Portland spoke publicly


about their fears of attack - blaming issues of overcrowding,


staff shortages, and a deteriorating problem with drugs among inmates.


In the 12 months to September 2016,


assaults on staff reached a record high.


That was up by 31% on the previous year.


Prisons in the South are all classed as "crowded"


with more prisoners held than was intended.


These figures show the ideal number of prisoners


against what the current population actually is.


Laurence Herdman is at HMP Portland for us tonight.


Laurence, how unusual is it for prison officers


As a rule, prison officers don't speak to the media, just in case


they upset their employer, the Ministry of Justice. Here at


Portland, you can say that UK assaults on staff have now reached


an all-time high and inside this rather austere building behind me,


staff say it is now reached breaking point, the prison officers


Association say they no longer feel safe and they say action is


required. I had been in the service now for 24


years and I've never known anything like it. The issues we are dealing


with an daily basis, it is not what you are back from a job where you


take to go home at the end of the day. Imagine going to work expecting


to be attacked, appearing for your safety, well, prison officers have


been left battered and bruised with one ambulance after another being


called to Portland. Before you even start, you are thinking, how can I


get through this without being assaulted? But you have two


challenge prisoners' bad behaviour and make sure the resume goes ahead


as normal. It is read enough for officers to speak to the media, but


they feel that the public needs to know the reality of what happens


behind bars, and it has become harder with the presence of Spice. I


was assaulted following a Spice attack. They knocked me clean out.


It is the same at many of our jails. The prison officers Association say


that the number of attacks has gone up with overcrowding, with


understaffing. The Ministry of Justice recognises those crowding


problems at many prisons, but it says there is no staff shortage


problem here at Portland. The officers here till time is running


out. We are at crisis, and something needs to be done urgently to sort it


out. Retention of staff is massive on that.


Looking at official prison Service figures, they show that serious


assaults on staff in UK jails have more than doubled in just under a


decade. That has left a problem and it requires now action from the


Ministry of Justice, now promised reforms but, for Portland, those


reforms cannot come soon enough. Thank you.


The Howard League is a charity which campaigns for prison reform.


I caught up with its Chief Executive, Frances Crook,


earlier this afternoon, and I started by asking her


how concerned she was about the current situation.


These prison officers are speaking for their colleagues in Portland,


but also for prison officers around the country in many other prisons.


There is another report out today on a prison up North that says


exactly the same thing, that prison staff -


not just prison officers but prison staff -


as are prisoners and other people working in the prisons.


Prisons are very unsafe places, they are full of violence and drugs,


and they are not serving the public well


by a being such sort of festering places of violence.


I need to put part of a statement from the Ministry of Justice


to you on this matter, because part of it says


that the Government is tackling the drugs and phones that


are undermining security, and that they are also investing


?100 million annually to boost the front line by 2,500 officers.


They admit that there are long-standing issues,


and it may take time, but things are being done.


Well, they are trying to replace some of the staff


So it is not a boost, it is a replacement


of some of the staff, not back to previous numbers.


Every day, there are more people going into prison,


We have too many prisoners, too few staff,


and a system which is failing prisoners,


staff, the public, victims and the taxpayer.


Now, today's problem is that we have got a general election


so that everything is going to be put on hold for months,


probably, until we get a new Secretary of State.


Meanwhile, people are dying in prison


and people are being assaulted in prison.


There is a crisis that needs solving,


But a huge part of your campaign is to reduce the prison population.


Now, that's not going to solve the problem.


If we can reduce the unnecessary use of prison, it will solve the problem


because they then can concentrate prisons on changing lives,


Prison has a place in the system,


but it's not the solution to all crime.


So we should make prisons safe places for people to live and work,


At the moment, they are the opposite.


I know we will talk again, thank you very much.


And on our late news at 10:30pm, we'll be hearing what it's like


on the other side from a former inmate.


Noel Smith spent over 32 years in and out


Prisoners, they will see what's going on, they are not stupid.


They are down at the sharp end as well as the officers.


Some of them will try and take advantage of it,


MPs across the South have voted this afternoon -


the overwhelming majority accepting calls


for a snap general election on June 8th.


Now begins the political fight for the country


Our political editor, Peter Henley, has been following events.


I caught up with him, earlier this afternoon,


and I asked him if this election would swing on Brexit


At prime and questions today, Jeremy Corbyn saying where he would fight


this election. Parents have been finding out what schools their


children have been allocated. He was talking about homelessness. Theresa


May wants to talk about her leadership of the country as we


leave the EU. Some suggesting if she wins a big majority here, she could


actually negotiate more of a deal, the softer on Brexit because she


could face to the hardliners in her own party. Some of those have been


impressed by her in a way they want in the past. Desmond Swain from the


New Forest who said people in a newspaper article because there was


no chance of a snap election partly because Parliament was not likely to


vote for it, but he was wrong. The decision belies on a majority of


two thirds in the House of Commons. As I told them with confidence,


turkeys will not vote for Christmas. I congratulate my right honourable


friend for achieving the impossible and securing the fact that the


turkeys will vote for that. A flood of MPs were saying they would not


stand again at the next election, some younger ones were saying their


ambitions were outside politics, they do not want to go to 2022. Some


of them would stand down, like Oliver Levin, who now wants to carry


on. He will be on the back benches. Our correspondent has been talking


about the Brexit issue with companies around the region. How do


they regard a snap election? With arguments for and against the


referendum, the referendum split the business team unity. Leaving it out


only option, we are seeing our industry being destroyed. Some


feared a voter leave could see their jobs move abroad. They are


continuing to see rapid growth. It has taken us by surprise. To secure


a clear mandate, perhaps it is a good tactic from her. What we would


like is a clear mandate for the Government, a clear Brexit strategy


with details that are made apparent very quickly. Since I became Promina


is a... Theresa May has been at pains to remind business that the


outlook is good. Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic


danger, since the referendum, we have seen the gym accommodates


remain high. One of the leading voices to leave was Christchurch


-based steel companies. It will give us a better negotiating position,


providing that the Conservative party can secure a majority.


Everyone needs to get behind our government now because our future


relationship with the European Union can be enhanced. In Bracknell, they


have not ruled out basing some of the business overseas, but the focus


now is local investment. In Dorset, there are talks for opening a new


mandatory workshop. While they were divided over Brexit, a cautious


welcome perhaps best describes the business reaction. They require some


clarity but it is the final detail of the final EU exit terms that


really matter. Pangbourne fire station


in Berkshire will close, but the retained fire station


at Wargrave has been given


a stay of execution. Berkshire Fire Authority agreed


last night to keep Wargrave open for at least


another year, and beyond, and the number of firefighters


on call can be increased. Councillors have been asking people


for their views on ways to save money


for several months. Stay with us as we meet


the extraordinary teenager who has overcome her difficulties


to become a renowned artist. It's been dubbed


"Britain's Palm Beach". A small, very exclusive


peninsula of homes and hotels Well, now a ?250 million


project has been proposed which could radically change


the face of Sandbanks. Our reporter, Jo Kent,


can join us live tonight. It is this view behind me that has


made Sandbanks one of the world's most expensive property hotspots.


The man who runs three hotels here says they are not doing Sandbanks


justice. The buildings are too old and they need to be rebuilt. The


dual in John Butterworth's crown is the Sandbanks hotel, it fronts will


harbour and backs onto the towns of blue flag beach. He says it is not


fit for purpose and he was to replace it with a larger, luxury


5-star offering. I'd like to think, and this might


sound a bit emotional, that I can step back and leave


the local people and the town that I love with something


they would be proud of. I'd like to think we have been able


to provide the town with this international,


award-winning hotel. Is this a controversial move?


Well, it says, because that redevelopment of the Sandbanks hotel


would come at the expense of this hotel, the Haven, stood here since


the 1920s, quite the local landmark was not they say the only way they


can finance the new Sandbanks hotel is by demolishing this one. They


want to replace it with around 200 flats, a rooftop restaurant and a


building that would be ten stories high. Some of the local people we


spoke to words to happy about it. -- were not too happy about it.


It's out of scale to the existing buildings on the site.


They should keep it to the existing buildings,


it's a Site of Special Scientific Interest opposite, I believe.


It's a nice hotel as it is, why spoil things?


We've been coming down here for 20 years.


The nature of the place is just changing,


but I don't think we can stop it really.


But that's a big development, isn't it?


These plans have been submitted by Richard Carr. It is just an outline


application at the moment are really a first step to see if permission


might be granted for a scheme of this kind. If it does get a


favourable response, more detailed plans are likely to follow.


Thank you. Work's begun to build


the first new council homes A long-disused piece of land


in Caversham is being cleared to make way for seven


pre-fabricated blocks, each containing


four two-bedroom flats. The timber-clad modular


units will be delivered to the site in June,


and should be ready by the autumn. The intention is that the temporary


homes will go to families on the council's growing


waiting-list - many currently in bed


and breakfast accommodation. We've seen a huge increase


in homeless families We've got people in our own


temporary accommodation shelters, but now we've got over 100 people


in bed-and-breakfast accommodation, What this will give them


is their own front doors. 28 families who will be able


to bring their children to school, they will have a much


better accommodation And we will move swiftly on to sport


now. Kris Temple is on the sofa now. In a moment, we will talk about


short mat bowls. I will be honest, I thought that was someone's name!


Tony Husband has been finding out what it is. First, some injury news.


AFC Bournemouth have confirmed that midfielder Jack Wilshere


has been ruled out for the rest of the season,


ending his loan spell with the Cherries.


Wilshere suffered a hairline fracture to his lower leg


in making a challenge on Harry Kane in Saturday's defeat at Tottenham.


Wilshere is to return to his parent club, Arsenal,


His loan deal with the Cherries was due to expire


Portsmouth captain Michael Doyle has paid tribute to his manager,


Paul Cook, who he says has had to cope with the immense pressure


Cook's men completed the job of rising to League One


and, as one of his long-serving players,


Doyle knows exactly what the manager has gone through.


His main aim was just to get this club promoted.


He's had so much pressure, and he puts so much pressure


And obviously the players, we've had seven or eight players


come in here two years ago with the gaffer.


You probably lose a game and you come up a bit short,


he's the one that has to face the questions for the week.


So I'm just sort of relieved for people like himself.


And there's also been an injury blow for Sussex Cricket too,


concerning overseas fast bowler Vernon Philander.


The county confirmed today that the South Africa star


is facing up to a month on the sidelines.


Philander suffered a groin injury against Kent last week,


and has returned to South Africa for treatment.


He's aiming to return for the four remaining Championship matches


Now we started our sports segment talking about Jack,


and now we finish it talking about a different kind of jack.


The sport of short mat bowls is seeing a big increase


in the number of young players taking it up.


where they rolled out the green carpet for Tony Husband.


but the playing surface is just six foot wide,


so there's not much short in the sport of short mat bowls.


There's a jack, and you're basically trying to get as close


as possible to the jack, each team is.


which prevents excessive firing down the line.


We start from about age ten, and we go up to 90 plus.


and I kind of went along for a bit and followed him.


My mum started playing and encouraged me to join.


So, yeah, I got pretty addicted straight away.


It's an easy game to learn, but difficult to master.


I practice quite a lot, probably about twice a week,


Short mat bowls is growing in popularity,


but recruitment is the key with this and so many sports.


I didn't think this was particularly cool when I started but I mean,


yeah, when you go to nationals and play with other younger people,


there are a lot of good young people out there.


I think that it's starting to change with the nationals.


it takes quite a lot of thinking and skill to do.


You do a lot of social things outside of bowls as well.


That to issue a bit more about short mat bowls.


What was the white bit in the middle?


Shot this maybe not the me. It is a leveller. It stops you from firing


it down the middle. It is not as far to deliver the word, is it?


She was abandoned as a baby, has cerebral palsy


But Tjili Grant Wetherill has overcome huge challenges


thanks to the love and support of her adoptive parents


And Tjili, who's now 15, is getting recognition


for her extraordinary talent as an artist.


Weighing barely more than two pounds, she was abandoned


as a premature baby outside a Cambodian hospital in 2001.


A few weeks later, James and Vik Grant Wetherall,


who were overseas and looking for a child to adopt,


She was sitting in a dark corner of the orphanage


with no-one really paying any attention to her.


We moved aside the net and she grabbed our finger.


And something in both of us just completely melted.


Tests showed Tjili was profoundly deaf and had cerebral palsy.


The specialists at the time said she might not sit or stand or walk,


maybe even sort of normal life things -


feed yourself, go to the loo and that sort of thing.


But when you love someone, you just get on with it.


Years of physiotherapy, love and determination have seen


Now living back in the New Forest, she enjoys an active life.


Tjili can't speak - communication is through gestures,


limited sign language and basic reading and writing.


But there is nothing basic about Tjili's ability


Self-taught, she creates works of art which are winning plaudits.


In order to hold the paper down, she has to use one arm,


and it is every single piece of her body she's using.


She has the ability to be very, very gentle, somehow,


Two of Tjili's pieces were recently selected from 2,000 entries


by the World Watercolour Society for a major exhibition.


The judges had no idea of her challenges.


The art is something I think she takes such great pride in now,


and she actually sees what she is doing isn't just child's play,


it's real pieces of art, works of art which she's producing


Sales of her pictures support her development.


Tjili's work side-by-side with the likes of Tracey Emin.


We're all very capable of saying, "No, I can't,"


when somebody asks you or you're going to try something new.


Whatever it might be, she will give it a go,


and I think that is something for everyone to learn.


She is so inspiring, isn't she? She's a fantastically talented


artist. Really beautiful pictures. We shall all the best for the


future. We will move the weather. A lovely day, but a nip in the air.


We have a north to north-westerly wind, and a lot of sunshine this


month. Three quarters of the monthly allowance already. I love the word


allowance! We have run out of sunshine! There is a little bit of


rain to talk about as well. Let's take a look at your weather


watcher pictures, you have been out in the sunny spells. This was first


thing this morning in Hampshire. A lovely start to the day. Also blue


skies overhead for those out and about.


But we have the clear skies, there is the chance we could have a frost,


like last night, and temperatures under the clearing skies will fall


to around two Celsius in the countryside. These are in the towns


and cities. It will be a mainly dry start to the day tomorrow, a bright


start in many places. Through the morning, some sunshine. The crowd


will -- cloud will increase from the North. Some drizzle at times, but


not too much rain, and temperatures reaching 11 or 12 Celsius with the


light winds. Light cloud is expected tomorrow night, and milder


conditions. Outbreaks of rain are possible, with patchy drizzle here


and there. Dry weather as well, and temperatures falling away to around


nine or 10 Celsius. A mainly dry day on Friday, a fair amount of cloud to


start the day. Things will then start to write not. It is going into


Saturday, this weather travel ring in colder air through Saturday


evening. Through Friday, a lot of dry weather about with the odd spot


of rain. Clouding over during the course of the morning, but


brightening up through the afternoon. For the first three weeks


of April, it has been very dry, these are the stats from the Met


Office will stop really quite dry conditions. Not much rain to talk of


wool stop into the start of next week, we are expecting some


rainfall. More significant than recent rainfall, where we have had


patchy drizzle. Clear skies tomorrow morning, but clouding over through


the afternoon. A Darren Attwood cloud on both Saturday and Sunday.


Starting the new week, some rainfall, more significant rainfall


for the gardeners and farmers. Much-needed when we have had a dry


month. Tomorrow's programme, oysters, the


Solent and Ben Fogle, all in the same programme. That is tomorrow.


Good night.


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