HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, today publishes the 4th annual report of the National Preventive Mechanism – the independent reporting of conditions in which those detained in custody are held
In his Introduction Nick Hardwick says:
Around the world, individuals deprived of their liberty are particularly vulnerable to ill- treatment – whether deliberately or resulting from neglect. Prisoners and other detainees rely on staff for their safety and most basic necessities, all too often they are held hidden from independent view and the characteristics that led to their detention may undermine their credibility if they complain.
The insight of those who drafted the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), and to which the UK became a signatory in 2003, was that a remedy against such ill-treatment was the regular visits of an independent body who could report on what they found and make recommendations for improvement.
OPCAT requires each state party to establish a mechanism to undertake such visits, known as the National Preventive Mechanism or NPM.
The UK has a particularly complex NPM structure made up of 18 different bodies that reflect the different political, legal and administrative systems in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and an existing long-established network of organisations covering a wide range of different types of detention. The UK NPM is coordinated by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (England and Wales).
All the places of detention within the NPM’s remit were under financial pressure during the year, as were the NPM members themselves, and most faced a rapidly changing policy environment. How NPM members responded to these challenges and what they found during their inspections and visits are detailed in their individual annual reports.
The challenge for the NPM overall, with its very limited central coordination resource, was to ensure its work as a whole was consistent and comprehensive. Consistency was addressed through the regular sharing of information and practice at business meetings attended by all members and the continuing development of a small steering group to take forward work between the main business meetings.
A separate sub-group on children was established to coordinate work and share best practice.
Six key themes emerged, common to many forms of detention, where consistent basic principles should apply and which should be high on the list of priorities for all NPM members:
• the importance of learning, sharing and applying lessons from deaths in all sorts of custody as part of a preventive mandate
• identifying and applying common principles for monitoring the use and governance of restraint
• applying international human rights standards and norms on solitary confinement to policy and practice, looking specifically at how segregation, separation and seclusion in places of detention may undermine these standards
• the recognition and monitoring of ‘de facto’ detention as relevant to the OPCAT mandate in the UK, and calling for effective processes to be in place to prevent abuse where it occurs
• protecting prisoners and detainees from reprisals or sanctions for cooperating with any part of the NPM
• ensuring that the treatment of children adheres to the Convention on the Rights of the Child wherever they are held. In each of these areas we will look to establish common understanding, joint working where appropriate and comment on policy and proposed legislation in accordance with OPCAT Article 19 (c).
The need to ensure the NPM’s work is comprehensive, and that all places of detention receive regular preventive visits, was underlined by the revelation of horrific abuse at the Winterbourne View Hospital for young adults with learning difficulties in 2011 and 2012 and the failure of the preventive mechanisms in place at that time. The start of court custody inspections and the second year of overseas escorts monitoring revealed some embedded bad practice that had become established in the previous absence of systematic inspection and monitoring.
In 2013–14 we will work to identify and address any other type of detention that is not subject to independent statutory visiting. In April 2014 the NPM will mark the five year anniversary of its designation in the UK. We look forward to working with all NPM members and others concerned with the prevention of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of those in detention, to reflect on the progress that has been made in this initial period and consult on our future priorities.
The report is available at http://bit.ly/1gU8Ztg
A judge-led public inquiry is to be launched into the work of undercover officers in the wake of “profoundly shocking” findings of a major review into police corruption in the original Stephen Lawrence investigation in London, the Home Secretary has said.
In his review, Mark Ellison QC found that a Metropolitan Police “spy” was working within the “Lawrence family camp” during the course of the judicial inquiry into matters arising from Stephen’s death.
The undercover officer in question, who is unnamed in the report, was deployed by the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a unit that has been at the heart of a wide range of allegations and will now be subject to a public inquiry.
In a review labelled “deeply troubling” by the Home Secretary, Mr Ellison said there is evidence to suspect one of the detectives on the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation – detective sergeant John Davidson – acted corruptly.
There is evidence to suspect one of the detectives on the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation in London acted corruptly, a major review has found.
There was a high level of suspicion that former Detective Sergeant John Davidson was corrupt both before and after he worked on the police investigation, a report by Mark Ellison QC says.
And there are still lines of inquiry that may be capable of providing evidence of corruption among other officers, although that evidence does not currently exist, the review adds.
Stephen, 18, a would-be architect, was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths, in an unprovoked racist attack as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south east London, with a friend on April 22, 1993. It took more than 18 years to bring two of Stephen’s killers to justice.
Mr Ellison QC, who was commissioned by the Home Secretary to conduct the review, successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for Stephen’s murder in 2012.
The Ellison report says that, in late July 1998, Scotland Yard’s Anti-Corruption Command held a debriefing with former Detective Constable Neil Putnam, in which he made claims against Mr Davidson.
The barrister says that both the intelligence picture suggesting Mr Davidson was a corrupt officer and the content of Mr Putnam’s debriefing should have been revealed to the public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson.
“It is a source of some concern to us that nobody in the MPS who was aware of the detail of what Neil Putnam was saying about Mr Davidson appears to have thought to ask him about Mr Davidson’s motives in the Lawrence case,” the report says.After the Macpherson report was published in 1999, Mr Putnam, who was jailed for his own, separate corruption offences in 1998, alleged that, in the summer of 1994, Mr Davidson had admitted having a “corrupt connection” with Clifford Norris, the convicted drug-smuggling father of Stephen’s murderer David.
Mr Ellison says that, while independent corroboration of Mr Putnam’s allegation does not currently exist, there are “outstanding lines of inquiry” that could be investigated, which may change that assessment.
The barrister adds that “it is not impossible to envisage that the inquiry might have been driven to the conclusion that there must have been more to John Davidson’s failure to develop information and evidence in the Lawrence investigation than simply an inappropriate manner and unfortunate unconscious racism”.
Assuming Mr Putnam is available and willing to give evidence, there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that Mr Davidson acted corruptly, the findings said.
Mr Ellison’s report adds: “Other than Mr Putnam’s potential evidence, the material available which suggests that Mr Davidson may have been corrupt in the Stephen Lawrence investigation remains ‘intelligence’ and not ‘evidence’.”
In addition, Mr Ellison said his review has not been able to uncover all material evidence relating to the issue of corruption, adding that it is clear there are “significant areas” where relevant Metropolitan Police records should exist but cannot be found.
The original anti-corruption intelligence database itself cannot be accounted for, the report adds.
Considering whether a further public inquiry should be held, Mr Ellison said the potential for any such inquiry to discover more than his own review has may well be “limited”.
“Fundamentally this is because of the chaotic state of the historical records held by the Metropolitan Police Service,” he added.
A senior prison officer who struck up an intense sexual relationship with a heroin dealer inmate and smuggled in drugs hidden inside chocolate Kinder egss for prisoners has been jailed.
Julie Turton, 54, exposed herself to a risk of blackmail by engaging in sexual contact with heroin dealer Danny King, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
The wing manager claimed she had enjoyed the best day of her life during her relationship with King, aged in his 30s, and even sent him an intimate picture of herself on her iPhone when he was transferred to another jail.
Turton, who worked at HMP Birmingham, was jailed for two years and eight months after she admitted five charges of misconduct in public office.
She had acquired stereo equipment from Argos for another prisoner, conducted illicit phone communications with inmates and supplied cannabis found hidden inside two chocolate Kinder eggs.
Robert Price, prosecuting, told the court that King had been housed on M Wing at HMP Birmingham between November 2011 and May 2012 before he was moved to HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire.
Turton’s affair was exposed after police raided her home in May last year and found a hand-written, but undated, letter from King addressed to ‘my beautiful sexy Julie….’
‘In the body of that letter, Danny King was expressing his undying love for Miss Turton,’ Mr Price told the court.
Subsequent police inquiries established that the lovers had spent almost 400 minutes chatting over the phone while King was serving his sentence.
Jonathan Park, mitigating, told the court that Turton’s life had spiralled out of control after she found out her husband had been unfaithful.
‘At that stage, for the first time in her life, she felt particularly isolated and she was emotionally vulnerable,’ Mr Park said.
‘Her position is that the sexual activity (with King) was restricted to two occasions, that they happened in a prison setting, and that the activity itself was a combination of kissing and sexual touching – and on each occasion lasted no more than five minutes.’
Passing sentence, Recorder Thomas Rochford told Turton, of Hembs Crescent, Hamstead, Birmingham, that her ‘special link’ with King and inappropriate friendships with others defied belief.
Pointing out that Turton was well aware her actions would compromise the security of the 160 inmates in her care, the judge told her: ‘What you did in your role as a senior prison officer was to form a sexual relationship with Danny King.
Persuasion: Arteef Hussain, 25, who is already serving a six-year term for possession of a handgun, was sentenced to a further 12 months for encouraging Turton to supply cannabis
‘The precise details and frequency of what went on between you is not known, suffice it to say that some sort of sexual intimacy took place on prison premises in Birmingham.
‘You also knew, no doubt, that your sexual relationship was bound to cause serious risks to security and to discipline.
‘People like you are trusted and the prison service depends upon the trust that is placed in staff such as you.’
Recorder Rochford also sentenced 25-year-old Arteef Hussain, who is serving a six-year term for possession of a handgun, to a further 12 months’ custody for encouraging Turton to supply cannabis while he was being held at HMP Birmingham.
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brennan, who led the investigation, said the prison had raised concerns about Turton, who was then dismissed from her post.
Pete Small, director of the privately-run prison, said the sentence properly reflected Turton’s ‘reckless’ behaviour.
‘As an established prison officer with more than 20 years of experience, Julie Turton not only let herself down, but abused the trust of her colleagues and the prison service,’ said Mr Small.
‘The overwhelming majority of our staff act with integrity and professionalism to provide a safe environment for prisoners, staff and prison visitors.
‘There is no place for misconduct or corruption at the prison and if we have any suspicions over any staff, we will always investigate and, if necessary, work with the police to bring a prosecution as we did in this case.’
Prison riot squads were called out to calm tensions in prisons almost four times every week on average last year prompting warnings that jails have become “dens of violence”.
The National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) was called out to deal with 203 separate prisoner disturbances in 2013, a 57% rise on the previous year (129), Justice Minister Jeremy Wright has revealed.
The number of callouts of the NTRG, the specialist response group for serious incidents in prisons, has increased by 72% from 118 incidents in 2010 when the coalition was elected to last year’s figure.
Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan blamed the Government for cutting prison workers while jails become more overcrowded, creating rising fears of attacks on staff.
At the start of the month the prison population stood at 85,469, with just 441 spaces left in the whole system.
This means prisons are now running at 99.5% of capacity, beyond the 99% level when the Government is meant to implement the “emergency footing” for prisons known as Operation Safeguard, according to the Labour frontbencher.
Mr Khan, who uncovered the figures using a parliamentary question, said: “In the space of a year, our jails have become much more dangerous places for staff and prisoners. These figures are a further sign of the Government’s failure and lay bare the mess in our prisons on (Justice Secretary)Chris Grayling’s watch.
“This Government promised us a rehabilitation revolution. Instead, violence has risen by nearly three quarters since 2010. Prisoners are going up and prison staff down.
“Jails are more overcrowded than ever, and instead of prisoners putting their time to good use working, undertaking training and education they’re idling away in their cells or on prison landings.
“Prisons are about reforming criminals as well as punishing them. If our jails are dens of violence there is no chance of any rehabilitation.”
Young offenders institute Hindley prison had the most callouts with ten, closely followed by HMP Lindholme and HMP Woodhill, which houses some of Britain’s most dangerous criminals.
Mr Wright said the riot squad was only called out to half of Britain’s prisons (51%) in the last year and were mainly dealing with “minor incidents” such as prisoner protests.
He said there was no rise in the number of serious incidents attended.
In his response to Mr Khan, the minister wrote: “NTRG staff have been called to attend incidents at only 51% of establishments in the past year.
“There has been a rise in the number of callouts during 2013. This is mainly due to minor incidents such as prisoners protesting by climbing on to the netting between landings.
“NTRG staff have the specialist skills required to deal with such incidents which accounted for 67% of all the callouts during 2013, and they are frequently called to attend as a precautionary measure.
“Not all callouts result in engagement by NTRG staff, with a number of situations being resolved locally.
“Of all the incidents attended during 2013, 74% were resolved by surrender.
“There has been no rise in the number of serious incidents being attended.”
The Howard League for Penal Reform said the rise in riot squad callouts was a direct consequence of Government budget cuts.
Andrew Neilson, its director of campaigns said serious unrest could be on the horizon.
He said: “These worrying figures are a direct consequence of the dangerous way the Ministry of Justice has cut prison budgets in response to the austerity drive within government.
“Rather than looking at the fact the prison population has doubled over the past 20 years and finding community sentences for the large number of people imprisoned needlessly, ministers took the gamble of slashing prison budgets by cutting back on staff, safety, security and useful things for prisoners to do.
“This policy has made our prisons increasingly dangerous places to live and work, with the potential for serious unrest on the horizon. If things go wrong, it will only lead to more crime, an increased risk to the public and a vast amount of taxpayers’ money wasted.”
Prisons Minister Mr Wright said: “We are reforming and modernising the prison estate to ensure best value for the taxpayer but are committed to maintaining safe prisons with appropriate staffing levels in order to deliver effective rehabilitation.
“Specialist trained staff have been called to an increase in minor incidents, but there is no rise in serious incidents. These staff are not riot squads.”
Here is a full list in alphabetical order of the prisons the National Tactical Response Group was called out to in 2013, followed by the number of callouts for each jail, as provided by Justice Minister Jeremy Wright in response to a parliamentary question from shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan:
Camp Hill 1
Channings Wood 1
Cookham Wood 2
Full Sutton 1
Glen Parva 3
Guys Marsh 3
Holme House 1
Lancaster Farms 1
Long Lartin 7
Lowdham Grange 6
Morton Hall 1
Rye Hill 7
Stoke Heath 1
Swinfen Hall 7
Wormwood Scrubs 1
HMYOI Werrington was working more positively with the young people it held, but still had areas to address, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the young offender institution near Stoke-on-Trent.
HMYOI Werrington holds up to 160 boys under the age of 18. During the inspection about two-thirds were sentenced and one-third on remand. The significant risks and accountability of institutions holding children and young people means they are now inspected more frequently. This inspection followed an inspection in 2012 where inspectors found a reasonably caring institution, but one that had slipped back, where expectations were too low, poor behaviour not sufficiently challenged and where young people had little to do. This inspection found some improvements, but with significant shortcomings remaining.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- the new purpose-built reception was impressive and young people reported very positively about their treatment on arrival;
- behaviour management had improved;
- use of force had fallen, was better managed and incidents were now more likely to be de-escalated by staff;
- child protection and safeguarding arrangements were very effective and Werrington was well connected with the local authority in support of this work;
- relationships between staff and young people were positive, but this was often not reflected in formal structures such as case notes or an effective mentoring scheme;
- there were higher expectations of young people and outcomes for young people from minorities were reasonably good;
- young people generally had a reasonable amount of time out of cell;
- Werrington was developing its strategy to improve learning and skills and attendance and behaviour were better; and
- work in support of resettlement remained good.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
- although anti-bullying measures were more robust, levels of violence remained high;
- the quality of respect was critically undermined by some very poor environmental conditions: some cells were filthy and a few were not in a fit state to house young people; and
- some teaching required improvement and the range of vocational training was limited.
Nick Hardwick said:
“Werrington has taken steps to address some of the key issues we identified at our last visit. There is now a more positive approach to working with young people and some significant risk continues to be reasonably well managed. This will be more sustainable and useful if it is supported by effective systems and structures to embed the improvement. Improvements to the provision of purposeful activity need speeding up and the cleanliness of accommodation requires immediate attention.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector recognises the progress that is being made at Werrington.
“The Governor and his staff are working positively to offer good resettlement and improve the behaviour of a complex and challenging population.
“They will continue to build on these improvements as they address the recommendations set out in the report.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 6 March 2014 at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/werrington
THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER FOR PRISONERS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
32 PACKED PAGES
AROUND 60,000 COPIES A MONTH
DELIVERED TO 130 PRISONS
JUST SOME OF WHAT IS IN THE LATEST EDITION
PLEBGATE COP JAILED FOR 12 MONTHS
FAKE EMERGENCY PARAMEDIC STRUCK OFF
SWAIN AND CO “ADJUDICATIONS UNCUT”
PORN COPS FACE NO CHARGES
WHISTLE BLOWING COP TO KEEP HIS JOB
DENNEHY ACCOMPLICES CONVICTED
DENNEHY ALMOST UNIQUE SAY EXPERTS
CITY LAWYER DISBARRED FOR LYING
BARRISTER’S APPEAL DISMISSED
TRAFIC COP DONE FOR DRINK DRIVING
1 PUMP COURT – STEPHEN FIELD PAGE
FAMILY WINS NEW INQUEST
KNUCKLE WRAP FOR LOUDMOUTH JUDGE
GUILTY JP STILL ON BENCH
DENNEHY MURDER TIMELINE
DENNEHY INNOCENT VICTIMS
DEWANI LOSES EXTRADITION APPEAL
PC WHO OFFERED COCAINE AVOIDS JAIL
WHOLE LIFE TARIFF APPEAL
100s OF COPS SNOOP ON THEIR WIVES AND KIDS
TV BOSS JAILED OVER INSURANCE SCAM
RHONDA HESLING WRITES
CONSCRIPT – READERS LETTERS: RULE 46 PROTECTION: WITNESS INTIMIDATION
100,000 SIGN DRUG REFORM PETITION
PRISONER GUILTY OF GLASS ATTACK
CONQUEST LEGAL QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY MICHAEL MORGAN OF ONEILL MORGAN
COP WATCHDOG SUSPECTS SURVEILLANCE
THREE LOSE APPEALS OVER SHOOTING
WITNESS APPEAL OVER VIGILANTE MURDER
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FIGURES RELEASED
WHOLE LIFE TARIFF FOR CHILD SEX MURDER
CAMILLA VISITS COLDINGLEY
THE PRISONS HANDBOOK 2014 SPECIAL OFFER
GROSS INJUSTICE OF INQUEST COSTS
LIFE FOR MAN WHO KILLED SINGER WIFE
WATCHDOG SLAMS COPS COLLUSION
“PRISON IS EASY” COP KILLER JAILED
MAN JAILED FOR TERRIFYING RAPE
DUNCAN LEWIS SOLICITORS
FOUR COPS SACKED BY FORCE
OFFENDERS TO PAY COURT COSTS
FORMER PRISON OFFICER ARRESTED
ROACH MISHEARD JURY VERDICT
PRISONERS’ HOSTAGE TRIAL TO BEGIN
SPOTLIGHT ON HOLME HOUSE
and much more and much more!
HMP Blantyre House had many strengths but needed to adjust to its changed population, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the resettlement prison in Kent.
Blantyre House is a small, semi-open prison which holds prisoners who are coming to the end of long or indeterminate sentences and are being prepared for release. Its last inspection in 2010 found that outcomes for prisoners were good in all areas. Outcomes in this recent inspection were less good, although the prison still compared well with similar establishments. In 2010 the prison had been able to select the prisoners it held and was able to tailor its services to meet a significant but narrow range of needs. At the time of this inspection, a central unit made the allocations and Blantyre House could no longer select who it held. As a consequence the prison was holding men who presented a wider range of needs and risks than before but its work and resources had not been sufficiently adjusted to meet these new requirements.
Inspectors were concerned to find that:
- the primary purpose of the prison was resettlement, but the prison had not assessed how the needs of its new population had changed;
- contact between offender supervisors and prisoners was good, but not sufficiently focused on reducing reoffending;
- public protection work was insufficiently robust;
- there were too few places available for paid or unpaid work in the community and efforts to assist prisoners in finding something suitable were lacklustre;
- there were insufficient training and employment opportunities inside the prison;
- there had been two recent serious assaults, which appeared, in part, to be due to the availability of ‘Spice’ – a synthetic cannabinoid – and associated debt and bullying; and
- there was very little self-harm but a self-inflicted death shortly before the inspection, the first at the prison, underlined that there was no room for complacency.
Despite these shortcomings, most prisoners still had a safe, respectful and productive experience at Blantyre House. Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- staff-prisoner relationships were excellent and underpinned much of the work of the prison and made good its procedural deficiencies;
- the environment was decent and most prisoners had very good time out of their rooms;
- most practical resettlement arrangements were effective;
- release on temporary licence, a critical part of the rehabilitation process, was well used for most purposes and overall the risks were properly assessed, though there was insufficient multi-agency engagement in managing the risks of those released;
- few prisoners felt unsafe; and
- there was very little use of force or formal disciplinary processes, but prisoners whose behaviour was concerning were quickly sent back to closed conditions.
Nick Hardwick said:
“Blantyre House still retains many of the strengths we have identified in the past. In particular, its small size means there is an opportunity for its experienced staff to get to know prisoners well and address their needs and behaviour in a personalised way that is simply not possible in larger establishments. Those strengths should be advantages in dealing with the wider and more complex range of needs among the prisoners Blantyre House now holds – but neither the prison nor the wider prison service have yet got to grips with the changes required to meet these needs or the resources necessary to make them.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has highlighted Blantyre House as a good resettlement prison with safe and productive conditions – this is a credit to the hard work of the Governor and his staff.
“We recognise that the population at Blantyre House is more complex and challenging than previously and the Governor and his team will continue to have the support needed to take forward the recommendations in the report.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/blantyre-house
HMP Dovegate’s Therapeutic Community was doing some good work with prisoners to reduce the risk they posed, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the facility at the Staffordshire jail.
The Dovegate Therapeutic Community (TC) is a distinct institution holding up to 200 men, contained within the larger HMP Dovegate. The main prison, a category B training prison, is inspected separately. Dovegate TC is based on the concept that democratic therapeutic communities, run by both staff and prisoners, should be central to the way the prison operates. Prisoners are given a real say in the day-to-day running of the prison and have far more influence over their experience of prison life than at normal prisons. This happens within the context of the usual security imperatives of a category B prison holding men on indeterminate or long sentences. Men arrive at Dovegate TC needing to be more open about their offending and related institutional behaviour and to being challenged by peers and staff within therapy and community groups. Often they have a history of serious violent offending, poor institutional behaviour and prolific self-harm.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- Dovegate TC remained a safe prison, with very few incidents and most day-to-day safety problems dealt with by the communities rather than by more formal processes;
- support for the small number of men vulnerable to self-harm was good, as was support for men with substance misuse issues;
- staff-prisoner relationships were very good, which underpinned much of the work being done;
- time out of cells was good, but sometimes affected by problems in the main prison;
- leadership of learning and skills was developing, but some elements of quality improvement needed to be fully embedded;
- resettlement support was good and men were encouraged to address their risks of re-offending; and
- some very good work was being done during therapy, but problems in delivering some key aspects of therapy risked undermining effectiveness.
However, inspectors had some concerns:
- men spent their first few months on the assessment unit and they had little to do that was purposeful;
- the lack of experienced TC members in the unit was affecting the transfer of some key elements of the TC’s ethos;
- prisoners needed to feel confident enough to raise concerns in therapy about other prisoners’ behaviour, and this was not fully embedded, which needed to be addressed head on;
- the focus of learning skills as complementing therapy needed to be better understood and supported by staff; and
- the promise of the national integrated personality disorder pathways strategy had not yet been realised, which was a wasted opportunity to ensure men arrived at the prison at the right time, and that there was a structured plan for them to progress after completion of the programme.
Nick Hardwick said:
“Overall, Dovegate provided a safe, respectful but testing environment for the prisoners it held and the public as a whole benefited from its effective work to reduce the risk that they would reoffend after release. We identified some weaknesses, but we were reassured that management had already identified and begun to address most of them. This provided grounds for optimism that the good work of the prison would not just be continued but be enhanced.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has highlighted the good work at Dovegate Therapeutic Community.
“It is a safe prison that is working well to rehabilitate a complex population and reduce their risk of reoffending.
“The director and his team will take forward the recommendations made in the report as they continue to build on their progress.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 27 February 2014 at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/dovegate
A man convicted of murdering a Cardiff teenager whose remains were found wrapped in carpet 25 years ago has had his case sent to the Court of Appeal.
Alan Charlton is serving a life sentence for killing 15-year-old Karen Price, who disappeared from a children’s home in 1981.
He was convicted in 1991 and an appeal failed three years later.
But it has now been referred because of concerns over techniques used by South Wales Police to investigate the case.
‘Body in the carpet’
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) said there had been concerns about the alleged “oppressive handling” of key witnesses by officers and alleged breaches of police regulations.
It became known as the “body in the carpet” case after the teenager’s remains were discovered wrapped in carpet in a shallow grave on 7 December 1989.
A plastic bag had been placed over her head and her arms had been tied behind her back.
The body was found by workmen in the garden of a property in Fitzhamon Embankment, Cardiff, eight years after Karen had disappeared.
After failed attempts to identify her body, Richard Neave, of Manchester University, created a clay facial reconstruction of the skull.
Karen was identified following the reconstruction and DNA samples taken from her parents and the skeletal remains.
Charlton, from Bridgwater, Somerset, was living at Fitzhamon Embankment at the time the teenager went missing.
He was convicted on 26 February 1991 at Cardiff Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years, but he remains in jail more than 20 years later.
In 1994, Charlton’s appeal was heard alongside that of co-defendant Idris Ali, from Birchgrove in Cardiff, who was Karen’s pimp.
The court dismissed Charlton’s appeal but quashed Ali’s conviction and ordered a retrial, where he admitted manslaughter and was released from prison.
But following a lengthy investigation, the CCRC has now referred Charlton’s conviction to the Court of Appeal as it considers there is “a real possibility that the court will quash the conviction”.
CCRC has said a number of officers involved in the case also investigated two notorious cases that resulted in miscarriages of justice – the murders of Lynette White and Philip Saunders.
The CCRC has also told the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary about its concerns.
IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said it raised important questions about the conduct of South Wales Police during the 1980s and 1990s.
“In the light of questions around other similar cases, this clearly raises serious issues for public confidence in the integrity of the force at that time,” she said.
“We therefore expect South Wales Police to review all the evidence from the CCRC, make a decision, and record and refer any conduct issues that may come to light and which may then require IPCC action.”
Following news of the appeal, South Wales Police Chief Constable Peter Vaughan said: “We note that the Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the conviction of Alan Charlton for the murder of Karen Price to the Court of Appeal.
“In light of this referral we must now allow the judicial process to take its course and therefore cannot comment further at this stage.”
Breaking – Michael Adebolajo jailed for life with whole life tariff and Michael Adebowale jailed for life with 45 years minimum term tariff
Here are profiles of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
Michael Adebolajo horrified millions of people by appearing on camera with bloodied hands clutching a knife and a meat cleaver moments after killing Lee Rigby.
The 29-year-old, who was raised as a Christian, became a committed Islamic extremist who tried to join jihadis in east Africa, and then brought terror to the streets of the UK.
In the shocking footage, he was seen ranting about how Muslims in other countries had to witness similar horrors to that which he and Michael Adebowale had wreaked in south-east London.
Another film clip captured him charging towards police clutching a knife and a meat cleaver, and flying through the air after he was shot by the embattled marksmen.
Giving evidence in court, he only showed emotion when talking about his religious beliefs, but remained calm when describing his chilling attempts to decapitate Fusilier Rigby.
He told jurors that he had converted to Islam in 2002 or 2003, when he was a student at the University of Greenwich, and chose to take the name Mujahid Abu Hamza.
Adebolajo said he wanted to be called Mujahid, meaning fighter, after he learned “how much Allah loves the mujahideen”.
He was born to Nigerian parents at King’s College Hospital in south-east London on December 10 1984, and later went to Marshalls Park School in Romford, east London, where he made friends with Kirk Redpath, who went on to become a Lance Corporal in the British Army and was killed in an explosion in Iraq.
Adebolajo told jurors that most of his friends growing up were white British, and that he blamed Tony Blair for Mr Redpath’s death.
His nurse father Anthony and social worker mother Tina had tried to dissuade him away from the clutches of Islamic extremism, but in 2010 he was arrested in Kenya, apparently trying to get to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabaab.
Adebolajo said he wanted to get to the African country so that he could live under Sharia law.
His friend Abu Nusaybah claimed that Adebolajo was asked to work for the British security services after he was caught, and Adebolajo told police that MI5 had visited his home.
The Commons Intelligence and Security Committee is looking at what security services knew about the suspects before the murder, and is expected to make at least some parts of its findings public.
In police interview and throughout his court appearances he rambled on about his political and religious motivations.
Before his defence case began, a hearing took place to establish ground rules for what would happen in court, to try to stop him using the Old Bailey as his soap box.
Mr Justice Sweeney told his barrister David Gottlieb: “In the light of what we all saw in the (police) interviews what needs to be clearly understood is that in the court arena at least a question is not a cue for a speech, it’s a cue for an answer.”
Adebolajo was held at high security Belmarsh prison after he was charged with the murder of Fusilier Rigby, and there he claimed that he was attacked by a group of prison officers, and lost his front teeth when they put him under restraint.
Five members of prison staff were suspended after the incident, but the Prison Officers’ Association insisted that only approved restraint techniques had been used.
Michael Adebowale attacked three police officers in his first 24 hours in custody, it can now be reported.
The 22-year-old, who was confronted by courageous “Woolwich Angel” Ingrid Loyau-Kennett in the aftermath of Fusilier Rigby’s murder, was said to be “very unpredictable” when held by police.
As a teenager, he was victim of a knife attack in which his best friend was killed, and he told psychiatrists that he was haunted by the voices of his would-be killers.
He was discharged from hospital six days after Fusilier Rigby’s murder, and was formally charged on May 29, appearing in court for the first time the next day.
There the rare step was taken of allowing him to be handcuffed while in the dock because of the risk to police, prison and security officers.
It emerged that he had attacked three police officers in 24 hours. The first incident was when he was in his cell picking out his stitches, and when a police officer came in to stop him, he punched him in the face with his right hand.
Then when he was interviewed for the first time, he spat in an officer’s face; and in a third incident he spat in a glass of water and threw it in a police officer’s face.
While in prison he told psychiatrist Dr Neil Boast that he would hear voices in the morning for about 10 minutes.
The medic described: “People he doesn’t know and people who took part in an assault on him when he was injured and a friend was killed. He hears people he doesn’t know speaking in a Nigerian accent about him.”
Experts said he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being a victim of the knife attack at the age of 16. Police said he was “quite a troubled young man” who had gone missing from home more than once.
Former bare-knuckle fighter Lee James was found guilty of murdering 18-year-old Faridon Alizada in 2008 at a flat in Erith, south east London, and wounding Adebowale and another 16-year-old friend.
Adebowale, who was known as Tobi, was the son of Juliet Obasuyi, reportedly a probation officer, and his father Adeniyi, who works for the Nigerian High Commission.
He was raised as a Christian in south east London, and went to school in Kidbrooke. As he moved into his teens, he became involved in drugs and was linked to the Woolwich Boys gang – as was Adebolajo.
His concerned mother appealed for her friend Richard Taylor, the father of tragic Damilola who was killed at the age of 10 in a knife attack, to mentor her son, but he later fell into extremism.
Mr Taylor said that he was “terribly shocked” to see him involved in the brutality, having spoken to him only two months before the murder, but that he felt there was nothing that could have changed the 22-year-old.
In an interview with ITV News, he said: “Having seen how my own son was stabbed to death, it made me feel that…at the end of whatever happens, they will still be alive, they will still be on the street or maybe they will take them away from the public and go and change their faces. They don’t deserve to live.”
Adebowale, who asked to be called Ismail Ibn Abdullah in court, ultimately chose not to give evidence and refused to explain his horrific actions to the jury or Fusilier Rigby’s family.
BBC Panorama has obtained footage of Adebowale speaking at a demonstration associated with radical preacher Anjem Choudary.
The event took place outside St Paul’s Cathedral in central London and both Choudary and Adebowale were in attendance.
The never-before-seen footage shows Adebowale publicly embracing extreme Islamist views.
He is heard saying: “You talk about Britain, talk about there being a problem in Britain. Islam is going to take over the whole world, you can see it. It’s coming, inevitably, even if you hate it.
“In Somalia we see that there was a few people who rose up to establish Islamic law, and what happened?
“America came and dropped bombs on their heads and then after they dropped bombs on their children’s heads, on their mothers’ heads, on their wives’ heads and innocent people.
“The prophet said if you see an evil, like, change it with your hand if you can do so; if you cannot do so then speak out against it, and if you cannot do that then hate in your heart.”
Choudary denies meeting Adebowale there or organising the event – although his mobile number is on the web poster.
He told Panorama he was unaware that Adebolawe had been at the protest which he attended.
Wednesday February 26, 2014.
Sentencing was delayed by Mr Justice Sweeney to allow time for a specially-constituted court to decide if “whole-life” tariffs can still be handed to criminals who have committed the very worst of crimes. Mr Justice Sweeney’s move was a clear signal that a whole-life order – that is, sentenced to life in prison with no minimum term or chance for a Parole Board review – was firmly on the table for at least one of the defendants.
It is still down to Mr Justice Sweeney to decide if a whole-life term is appropriate. Last week, a panel of five judges, including the most senior judge in England and Wales,
Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, declared that sentencing judges can continue to impose whole-life tariffs. The guidance comes in the wake of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights last year in an appeal by three murderers.
Prisons need to manage prisoners’ property better to avoid claims for compensation and the cost of investigating complaints, said Nigel Newcomen, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). He added that if prisons paid greater attention to their responsibility for prisoners’ property, this would avoid frustration for prisoners and the wasting of staff time on investigating complaints and arguing about compensation. Today he published a report on the lessons that can be learned about complaints received from prisoners about property
While the PPO investigates some very serious complaints, including assaults and racism – as well as all deaths in custody – the most common subject of complaint is lost or damaged property. These complaints also have the highest uphold rates where the PPO finds in favour of the prisoner. Over the past ten years, property complaints made up between 14% and 18% of all eligible complaints received. This proportion increased to 21% in 2012-13. The report, Learning from PPO Investigations: Property complaints, reviews property complaints received by the PPO in the first six months of 2012-13.
The report highlights steps that prisons can take to improve:
- ensure paperwork is completed correctly to record prisoners’ property so it can be reviewed if disputes arise;
- recognise that possessions even if low value can have great importance to prisoners and should be managed according to Prison Service instructions;
- follow Prison Service instructions about which religious items prisoners are allowed in their cells;
- be proportionate when destroying items;
- use photography more widely to better record which items prisoners hold and to reduce compensation claims.
- respond effectively to prisoners’ complaints about lost or damaged property; and
- accept responsibility when processes have not been followed, and when a prisoner is transferred, the sending prison should ensure that property arrives intact and undamaged at the receiving prison.
Nigel Newcomen said:
“Most property complaints concern small value items, but these can still mean a lot to prisoners with little. Unfortunately, too many of the issues involved could and should have been dealt with more quickly and efficiently by the prisons concerned. Instead, despite perfectly sound national policies and instructions, prisons too often refuse to accept their responsibilities when property has been lost or damaged. This leaves prisoners in limbo, creates unnecessary frustration and tension and leads to complaints, too many of which require independent adjudication. Using up scarce staff resources in this way, both in prison and then in my office, is not a good use of public money.”
A copy of the report can be found on the PPO website. Visit www.ppo.gov.uk.
A shop worker has been jailed for a minimum of 27 years for murdering his “friendly and popular” boss in a frenzied knife attack in South Yorkshire.
Naeem Mehmood, 27, stabbed Parvaiz Iqbal 51 times in the freezer room of his butcher’s store and supermarket in Rotherham in October last year.
Mr Iqbal, 40, was found with a 7in (18cm) knife stuck almost up to the hilt in his chest, a judge at Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Another shop worker who came to his boss’s aid was stabbed in the stomach but survived the ordeal.
Prosecutor Peter Moulson QC described how, after the attack at the Bismallah Food Store, Mehmood went on a 10-minute rampage, smashing windows and threatening members of the public with a huge machete he picked up after leaving the murder weapon embedded in Mr Iqbal’s chest.
Mr Moulson said the defendant shouted “Don’t come outside or I will gut you up” in Punjabi to strangers as passers-by fled in terror.
He was eventually arrested after he was confronted by an unarmed police officer, Chief Inspector Ian Womersley.
Mr Moulson said the attack on Mr Iqbal was “unprovoked, sustained and determined”.
Mehmood was jailed for life by Mr Justice Males who ordered he serve a minimum of 27 years.
Earlier, Mehmood had pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Iqbal and causing Saied Husseine grievous bodily harm with inten
The judge said: “This was a brutal, sustained and unprovoked attack, beginning with a cowardly stab in the back by a lethal weapon.”
He told Mehmood: “All murder is very serious but the seriousness of this offence was particularly high.
“It involved a savage and ferocious attack with a lethal weapon, premeditation and gratuitous violence continuing well after Mr Iqbal was bleeding to death on the floor.
“There was also a deliberate and murderous attack on Mr Husseine, which could very easily have caused his death. Your conduct as you left the store and proceeded along the road, terrifying and threatening innocent members of the public as you went, was a serious aggravating factor.”
The judge said father-of-three Mr Iqbal was “a friendly and popular member of the community who was well-liked and respected by his employees, his customers and all who knew him”.
He noted how Mehmood terrified members of the public as he made “bloodthirsty threats” in the street while brandishing the 10in (25.5cm) machete above his head.
The court heard that he smashed up glass displays in Mr Iqbal’s shop, swearing and shouting as young children looked on.
Mehmood then smashed up a series of cars outside the store before breaking the windows of a barber’s shop, showering customers with glass and threatening the owner.
The judge said: “The aftermath, as you left the store and rampaged down the road in broad daylight for about 10 minutes, leaving a trail of destruction behind you, caused real and understandable fear to many members of the public.”
But he said: “Why you acted as you did is not apparent.”
The court heard that Mehmood, who came to Britain from Pakistan in May 2011, started work at the shop in June 2013 but went on sick leave in August after part of his finger was chopped off in a machine at the store.
The judge said the defendant had returned to work the day before he attacked his boss, on October 15.
He said: “It may be that you were reacting to what you perceived, with no justification at all, as some kind of slight or that you harboured some kind of grudge.
“But, in any event, there is not the slightest excuse for what you did.”
The judge said there was also no evidence of Mehmood suffering from any kind of mental disorder.
Passing sentence, he told Mehmood: “It is apparent from your conduct in this case that you are a very dangerous man and present a considerable risk to public safety.”
The judge also commended the actions of Mr Womersley, who confronted Mehmood in the car park of a Tesco supermarket. The unarmed officer approached the bloodstained defendant, who was still brandishing the machete, and convinced him to put down the weapon.
Outside court, Detective Inspector Kevin Brown, from South Yorkshire Police, said Mr Womersely “put his life at risk” to disarm Mehmood, who appeared in the dock surrounded by prison officers.
“There’s nothing really that’s come out in our investigation to explain why,” the officer said.
Mr Brown said Mehmood originally suggested that he had been disrespected by Mr Iqbal but more than a dozen of his other employees talked of him as being the “perfect boss” when interviewed by detectives.
Mehmood, of Herringthorpe Valley Road, Rotherham, was given a 10-year prison sentence for the attack on Mr Husseine, which the judge ordered to run concurrently.
INQUEST response to Youth Justice Board report on deaths of children in custody
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“Whilst this report offers some insight into the Board’s learning from child deaths, it can be no substitute for a wider review.
“INQUEST’s work on the deaths of children shows the same issues of concern repeat themselves with depressing regularity. This demonstrates that the current mechanisms, including the YJB, are not preventing deaths of children.
“And recent government proposals relating to restraint and secure colleges for children also call into question the extent of the impact the YJB’s learning is having on policy-making.
“A short report cannot be a substitute for a full, holistic, independent review of child deaths in custody that encompasses all findings and recommendations, and examines the wider public health and welfare issues and a child’s journey into the prison system. The government must extend the remit of the inquiry it is commissioning into the deaths of 18-24 year olds in prison to include children.”
Notes to editors:
1. The YJB report can be accessed here: http://www.justice.gov.uk/youth-justice/monitoring-performance/serious-incidents
2. The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill can be accessed here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/criminaljusticeandcourts.html
3. INQUEST’s briefing on the need for an independent review of the deaths of children and young people can be accessed here
For further information, please contact Hannah Ward, INQUEST Communications Manager on 020 7263 1111 / 07972 492 230.
INQUEST provides a general telephone advice, support and information service to any bereaved person facing an inquest and a free, in-depth complex casework service on deaths in custody/state detention or involving state agents and works on other cases that also engage article 2 of the ECHR and/or raise wider issues of state and corporate accountability. INQUEST’s policy and parliamentary work is informed by its casework and we work to ensure that the collective experiences of bereaved people underpin that work. Its overall aim is to secure an investigative process that treats bereaved families with dignity and respect; ensures accountability and disseminates the lessons learned from the investigation process in order to prevent further deaths occurring.
Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.
The YJB’s report Deaths of Children in Custody: Action Taken, Lessons Learnt explains the actions taken by the YJB in response to recommendations made by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, coroners and Serious Case Reviews, following the deaths of children in custody since 2000. It also identifies the work that still needs to be undertaken to ensure that when children must be held in custody, it is in a safe environment which protects them from harm.
A Whitehall whistleblower has claimed the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has ordered advisers to vet all answers given by his department to official parliamentary questions to ensure a “favourable reply” is provided.
In a letter to shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan MP, the “concerned official” claims Ministry of Justice (MoJ) staff at all levels are “infuriated” by the way the minister’s advisers have sought to drag them into “the spin machine”.
Mr Khan has written to MoJ permanent secretary Ursula Brennan to demand an investigation into the allegations made by the whistleblower and has accused Mr Grayling of politicising the department.
The shadow justice secretary and MP for Tooting has also called for a review of parliamentary answers given to him in recent months, which he says have shown a “noticeable deterioration” in timeliness and quality.
An MoJ spokeswoman said it is committed to answering parliamentary questions “in a way that provides the necessary context for members”.
Mr Khan said: “It appears as if I am being deliberately denied information I am entitled to.
“The only explanation is that Chris Grayling wants to hide how badly he is doing as Justice Secretary.”
He went on: “Asking parliamentary questions is absolutely crucial to MPs. Without them, it would be almost impossible to get to the bottom of what’s really happening in the justice system, what taxpayers money is being spent on and whether the Government’s policies are succeeding or failing.
“If my answers are being manipulated for party political purposes, the public are denied the true facts.
“This is bad for democracy and bad for the British public.”
The shadow justice secretary labelled the Justice Secretary a “cowboy” and attacked his record at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
He added: “That’s why I’m demanding an immediate inquiry by the most senior officials to get to the bottom of whether the Ministry of Justice is being blatantly politicised with MPs being denied information we are entitled to with obstacles put in our way.
“Information must be freely available, quickly, with no grubby interference by a political spin operation trying to hide the embarrassment of Chris Grayling.”
MoJ officials preparing answers to parliamentary questions have been told to pay “particular interest” to questions in 48 areas, including prisoners in police cells, first-class rail travel, deaths in custody and ministers’ personal matters, the whistleblower claimed.
In his letter to the permanent secretary, Mr Khan said parliamentary answers go unanswered, some are dealt with via holding answers, which fail to be followed up, and some provide answers to different questions.
Among unanswered questions, issues such as prison capacity and the experience of staff at Oakwood prison run by G4S are covered, some of which Mr Khan says are “clearly politically embarrassing” for the Justice Secretary.
An MoJ spokeswoman said: “Special advisers are employed to provide advice and assistance to ministers across a wide range of areas, as required and in line with the code of conduct for special advisers.
“The MoJ receives a high volume of parliamentary questions on a wide range of subjects.
“These vary in complexity, and can sometimes involve compiling detailed statistical information. We are committed to answering PQs in a way that provides the necessary context for members.”
Middlesex-based property partner James-Guy Jacobs has been struck off the solicitors roll and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 following a conviction for child pornography offences at Harrow Crown Court in November 2012.
Jacobs was convicted of ten counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of a child, five counts of taking indecent photographs and one count of possessing an indecent photograph or pseudo photograph of a child.
He was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.
Jacobs is married and lives in Pinner. He was a partner at Healys at the time the offences and left in May 2013. He then moved to Fletcher Day as a consultant, where he was when the SRA decided to prosecute.
In a case brought by the SRA at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) on Monday (11 February), Jacobs was found to have failed to uphold the rule of law, acted without integrity and in a way which was likely to diminish public trust in the profession.
The SDT noted that despite showing remorse after the event, Jacobs had been oblivious to the effect his behavior had on the children in the photographs.
The tribunal heard that Jacobs had been under a great deal of stress, both at home and at work, and that the events in question were an error of otherwise good judgement.
SRA head of legal and enforcement Jennifer Johnson said: “Any solicitor convicted of sexual offences involving children can expect to be dealt with severely. The public needs to be able to trust solicitors and all those who provide legal services.”
Jacobs has 21 days from the publication of the judgement by the SDT to appeal the decision. It usually takes seven to 10 days from the day of the hearing for a judgment to be written and published.
Leading judges gave a crucial ruling backing the use of whole-life sentences today – which was criticised as ‘right wing’ by commentators.
A panel of five judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, announced their decision on controversial “life-means-life” orders at the Court of Appeal in London.
The judges increased the 40-year minimum prison term being served by killer Ian McLoughlin, who murdered a man while on day release, to a whole-life tariff.
And they dismissed an appeal by Lee Newell, who murdered a child killer while in prison, against the whole-life order imposed in his case.
Sentencing in a number of high-profile criminal cases has been put on hold – including the terms to be handed out to soldier Lee Rigby’s murderers – pending the judgment.
The Government has said that whole-life tariffs are “wholly justified in the most heinous cases”.
Reacting to today’s ruling Attorney General Dominic Grieve said on Twitter: “I am pleased CoA (Court of Appeal) has confirmed those who commit the most heinous crimes can be sent to prison for the rest of their lives.”
Mr Grieve added: “As someone who has killed three times, Ian McLoughlin committed just such a crime, and following today’s judgment he has received the sentence that crime required.
“I asked the Court of Appeal to look again at McLoughlin’s original sentence because I did not think that the European Court of Human Rights had said anything which prevented our courts from handing down whole life terms in the most serious cases.
“The Court of Appeal has agreed with me and today’s judgment gives the clarity our judges need when they are considering sentencing cases like this in the future.”
Lord Thomas said the court had held that the statutory scheme enacted by Parliament which enabled judges to pass whole-life orders was “entirely compatible” with the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Judges should therefore continue as they have done to impose whole-life orders in those rare and exceptional cases which fall within the statutory scheme.
“Under the statutory scheme as enacted by Parliament, the Secretary of State has power to release a prisoner on licence if he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the prisoner’s release on compassionate grounds.”
He added that the court had given guidance as to the meaning of that under domestic law.
At a hearing in January, Lord Thomas, Sir Brian Leveson, Lady Justice Hallett, Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Burnett were urged to find that imposing sentences which mean a prisoner can never be released are not “manifestly excessive or wrong in principle”.
Such terms were deemed a breach of human rights following a successful appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by murderers Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore.
Last year the trio won a ruling that their whole-life sentences amount to “inhuman and degrading treatment”.
Whole-lifers should be entitled to a review of their sentence 25 years into their term at the very latest, the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg-based court said.
The ruling by 17 judges from across Europe sparked further outrage among critics of the court – despite reassurances that the decision did not amount to grounds for imminent release.
As well as dealing with the appeal by Newell, who murdered child killer Subhan Anwar, they were asked to decide if the 40 years imposed in McLoughlin’s case could be regarded as “unduly lenient” and should be increased.
In the case of McLoughlin, the judges heard that he was aware of the proceedings but did not wish for any argument or representations to be made on his behalf.
His stance was explained to the court by barrister Kevin McCartney, who said McLoughlin had not considered the legal aspect, but had approached it from a “purely personal approach”.
It appeared from letters written by McLoughlin that he had been “very anxious at the sentencing hearing” and that this was a “sentiment that carried on… not to act in any way that would cause any further distress to the deceased’s family”.
Mr McCartney said: “That is a factor that played very heavily, as I understand it, in his attitude towards these proceedings.”
It was successfully argued on behalf of the Attorney General that the “failure to impose a whole-life order renders the sentence unduly lenient”.
On behalf of Newell, Joe Stone QC, in seeking permission to appeal against sentence, argued that a whole-life term was “manifestly excessive”.
Newell, now 45, challenged a whole-life sentence imposed last September at Warwick Crown Court.
He was convicted alongside Gary Smith for the February 2013 murder of convicted child killer Anwar in his cell at Long Lartin Prison, Worcestershire. Newell was already serving a life sentence for a previous murder committed in 1988.
Triple killer McLoughlin, 55, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey last October for stabbing a man on his first day-release from prison after 21 years in custody.
When sentencing McLoughlin, the trial judge imposed a 40-year tariff, saying he could not pass a whole-life term because of the European court ruling.
McLoughlin – who had killed twice before – stabbed Graham Buck, 66, as he came to the aid of a neighbour in Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire, last July.
Those currently serving whole-life terms in England and Wales include Moors Murderer Ian Brady, who tortured and murdered children along with accomplice Myra Hindley, and serial killer Rosemary West.
Mr Justice Sweeney has said he will wait to sentence Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, and Michael Adebowale, until after the Court of Appeal decision. No date has yet been fixed for that sentencing hearing.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is a timely and welcome decision. Our courts should be able to send the most brutal murderers to jail for the rest of their lives.
“I think people in Britain will be glad that our courts have disagreed with the European Court of Human Rights, and upheld the law that the UK Parliament has passed.”
Lord Thomas said: “These two cases are exceptional and rare cases of second murders committed by persons serving the custodial part of a life sentence.
“The making of a whole-life order requires detailed consideration of the individual circumstances of each case.
“It is likely to be rare that the circumstances will be such that a whole-life order is required.”
Lord Thomas said that “although there may be debate in a democratic society as to whether a judge should have the power to make a whole-life order”, it was evident in the court’s view that “there are some crimes that are so heinous that Parliament was entitled to proscribe, compatibly with the Convention, that the requirements of just punishment encompass passing a sentence which includes a whole-life order”.
Lord Thomas said the Strasbourg court held last July that there had been a violation of Article 3 – inhuman and degrading treatment – in relation to whole-life orders on the basis that they were “not reducible”.
He said the Court of Appeal did not read the Grand Chamber’s judgment “as in any way casting doubt on the fact that there are crimes that are so heinous that just punishment may require imprisonment for life”.
He added: “There may be legitimate dispute as to what such crimes are – at one end genocide or mass murder of the kind committed in Europe in living memory or, at the other, murder by a person who has committed other murders, but that there are such crimes cannot be doubted.”
He said: “Under our constitution it is for Parliament to decide whether there are such crimes and to set the framework under which the judge decides in an individual case whether a whole-life order is the just punishment.”
Lord Thomas said: “We therefore conclude that no specific passage in the judgment, nor the judgment read as a whole, in any way seek to impugn the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, as enacted by Parliament, which entitle a judge to make at the time of sentence a whole-life order as a sentence reflecting just punishment.”
In their ruling the five judges concluded that the sentencing regime established by Parliament does provide for “reducibility”.
They ruled that the Grand Chamber was wrong when it reached a conclusion that the law of England and Wales did not clearly provide for reducibility.
In the Court of Appeal’s view the domestic law “is clear as to ‘possible exceptional release of whole-life prisoners’.”
A power of review arose if there were “exceptional circumstances”. An offender was required to demonstrate to the Secretary of State that although a whole-life order was just punishment at the time the order was made, exceptional circumstances had arisen since.
The Secretary of State “must then consider whether such exceptional circumstances justify the release on compassionate grounds”.
Lord Thomas concluded: “In our judgment the law of England and Wales therefore does provide to an offender ‘hope’ or the ‘possibility’ of release in exceptional circumstances which render the just punishment originally imposed no longer justifiable.”
Ruling on the McLoughlin case the Court of Appeal said the sentencing judge did not think he had the power to make a whole-life order, but he was “in error”.
The seriousness of the case was “exceptionally high”, and just punishment required a whole-life order – 40 years was unduly lenient.
In a letter written by McLoughlin to his lawyers explaining why he did not want representations made on his behalf, he said: “It is just that I believe I deserve the whole-life tariff which the AG is seeking and that the family of Graham Buck deserves to know officially that I will never be released.”
In Newell’s case, Lord Thomas said: “The murder was premeditated and involved the use of an improvised weapon. It occurred in prison whilst Newell continued to serve a life sentence. The deceased took a significant time to die.
“There was no mitigation. This was a murder where the seriousness of the offence was exceptionally high. The judge was right in making a whole-life order. This appeal is accordingly dismissed.”
However Mark Leech editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales, criticised the judgment as ‘right wing.’
Mr Leech said: “I am not against whole life tariffs in principle, for the most heinous crimes it is absolutely right that society must be able to lock the door and throw away the key.
“But the point of a review of such a sentence 20 or 25 years after it was imposed, as held by the European Court of Human Rights, is crucially important in terms of fairness even if nothing changes when those reviews take place.
“It should not be the case that a whole life prisoner should have to prove exceptional circumstances before a review takes place - all whole life sentences should be reviewed 20 or 25 years after they are imposed because they are effectively a death sentence, a sentence of death in jail, and a review of all such sentences would show that British Justice goes that extra mile of fairness for which it has become famed around the world.
“Sadly today’s judgement shows that we currently have the most right-wing higher Courts since the days of Lord Chief Justice Goddard in the 1950′s, our senior judges – who are all appointed by the Queen on the political recommendation of the Prime Minister it must be remembered – have today shown they have little respect for human rights and they have done so-called British Justice a huge disservice by serving their political masters rather than the rights of those people they swore to uphold.”
HMP Pentonville was very concerning, despite the best efforts of many staff and governors, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the north London local jail.
At the time of the inspection, Pentonville was seriously overcrowded and held 1,236 men, 35% above its certified normal accommodation. More than half the population were held on remand or for short sentences of less than six months. All local prisons hold needy and challenging populations but at Pentonville this was especially so. Eleven per cent of men had been assessed as malnourished when they were admitted to the prison. About half of all the men held were on the caseload of the prison’s drug and alcohol service. The mental health service received about 100 referrals a month. The prison was shortly to start taking remanded young adults who would no longer be held at HMP YOI Feltham.
The staffing reductions the prison was required to make were having a number of serious consequences. A number of staff accepted for voluntary redundancy were still working at the prison; some were disengaged and their attitudes were having a detrimental effect on the prison as a whole. Prison service procedures, which did not take into account the London recruitment market, were making it difficult to fill some critical posts. The prison was operating at well below its agreed staffing levels and the governor was due to move. In the face of all this, inspectors were impressed that in some areas there had been improvements.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- some good systems were in place to tackle antisocial behaviour;
- the very high levels of violence found at the last inspection had reduced, but levels remained slightly higher than in similar prisons;
- first night arrangements had improved;
- support for those most vulnerable to self-harm was good, but the application of some safer custody processes needed to be more consistent;
- the prison was vigorously combating the supply of drugs and alcohol and support for the large number of prisoners with substance misuse issues was well developed;
- managers had worked hard to improve the personal officer scheme;
- the large number of foreign national prisoners received some good support, but the Home Office’s input on immigration matters was inadequate;
- the quality of teaching mostly good;
- strategic management of resettlement work had improved and the approach was based on a good needs analysis of the population; and
- reintegration planning was reasonable, though too many prisoners were being overlooked.
However, inspectors were concerned that:
- almost half of prisoners said they had felt unsafe in the prison at some time;
- the core day was unpredictable and prisoners were often unlocked late and association cancelled because of staff shortages;
- the segregation unit environment and regime were particularly poor;
- despite the prison’s efforts to combat drugs, positive drug testing results were high;
- the physical conditions were poor and there were vermin infestations;
- prisoners struggled with basic needs such as access to showers;
- while some staff carried out good work, too many were distant and, on occasion, dismissive;
- management of learning and skills had not sufficiently progressed, there were insufficient activity places for the population and those available were not well used; and
- although good work was being carried out with high risk and indeterminate sentence prisoners, the focus on other groups was less well developed.
Nick Hardwick said:
“Pentonville faces huge challenges and many staff and governors have worked with determination and skill to meet them. At the time of the inspection the prison was going through a particularly difficult time as it made the transition to new staffing levels. Nevertheless, it is clear that Pentonville cannot operate as a modern 21st century prison without investment in its physical condition, adequate staffing levels to manage its complex population and effective support from the centre. It these things cannot be provided, considerations should be given to whether HMP Pentonville has a viable future.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector recognises that progress has been made at Pentonville in important areas despite the challenges inherent in running a large, old prison with a highly transient and challenging population.
“The reduction in violence and the advances in resettlement are particularly noteworthy and the former Governor and staff deserve credit for the progress made.
“At the time of the inspection the prison was transitioning to new staffing profiles and new working arrangements which will provide a decent, consistent and stable regime for prisoners going forward. Pentonville will receive the support it requires to build on the progress made and to address the further recommendations set out in this report.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/pentonville
A murderer who once worked as an aide to Sarah Ferguson could be freed from her life sentence within weeks after applying for early release – but one prisons expert argues it will be at least another three years before she is in any realistic position to be freed.
Jane Andrews, 46, who stabbed her wealthy lover Thomas Cressman to death in a row over marriage, has reportedly applied for release after reaching the minimum 12 years in prison recommended as part of the life sentence she was given in 2001.
Although she will still have to convince a parole board that she is no longer a danger to society, Andrews, who had a similar release request turned down in 2012, could be back on the streets within weeks.
Andrews became a close friend and confidante of the Duchess of York during nine years as her employee – joining her on royal duties both in the UK and abroad.
In 2000, after Mr Cressman refused to get married, she clubbed the 39-year-old businessman unconscious with a cricket bat at their home in Fulham, west London. She then stabbed him to death.
During an argument in the hours before the murder, Cressman called police saying ‘somebody is going to get hurt’, but officers decided not to attend the scene.
Andrews attacked her boyfriend just a few hours later while he was sleeping.
Shortly after the killing, Andrews contacted her ex-husband Christopher Dunn-Butler and sent out text messages to friends inquiring about her lover’s whereabouts and well-being.
She claimed to have had no involvement in Cressman’s death and said she believed he was being blackmailed.
After she disappeared for several days during the police investigation, officers launched a manhunt and finally located her in Cornwall, where she was found overdosed in her car.
After her recovery and a subsequent police interrogation, Andrews was arrested for murder.
During her trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard Andrews had a history of depression and violent mood swings, and had made several suicide attempts and threats.
Speaking to Jeremy Armstrong at the Mirror, Mr Cressman’s brother Rick said he was ‘disappointed’ Andrews was applying for early release.
He said: ‘She remains a seriously dangerous individual and shouldn’t be freed… we have to live the rest of our lives without Tommy. That’s our life sentence.’
Expressing his anger that Andrews was applying for early release again despite being turned down two years ago, Mr Cressman added: ‘The justice system allows for people who have committed heinous crimes the opportunity to have parole. As a family we can’t do anything about that.’
Andrews is understood to held at Send Prison in in Surrey, having been moved for East Sutton Park open prison after absconding in 2009.
Andrews spent two days on the run before being returned to the prison, although the Crown Prosecution Service said she would not face additional charges after considering psychiatric reports.
The Parole Board confirmed their review was ‘currently ongoing’, adding that Andrews remained in ‘closed conditions’.
Born to a working class family in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, Andrews was 21 when she answered a personal advert in The Lady for a personal dresser.
She was hired by the Duchess of York six months later and was a trusted member of her inner circle until being made redundant in the late 1990s as part of a Buckingham Palace cost-cutting exercise.
Andrews’ murder trial attracted huge media attention at the turn of their millennium, seemingly as much for the glamorous circles she moved in over the previous decade as for the brutal killing itself.
Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said he thought it ‘highly unlikely’ that she would be freed any time soon.
Mr Leech said: “It is highly unlikely she will be freed any time soon even though she is now post-tariff – that is, has served in excess of her minimum term.
“She remains in closed conditions following her abscond from East Sutton Park in 2009, and that in itself is a huge indicator that she is not yet considered suitable to be trusted.
“Realistically I suspect we are looking at a minimum of three more years before she is in any realistic position to be released – and she will have to be tested in an open prison again for at least a couple of years before release becomes any kind of possibility.”
While some offenders will have to wait less time before they can apply for jobs without disclosing their convictions under reforms coming into effect in March, the Ministry of Justice has announced, some commentators argue they do not go far enough..
Offenders who have committed crimes with sentences of four years and under will see the time it takes for their convictions to become “spent” slashed under reforms passed in 2012.
But all offenders will still have to declare previous convictions when applying for jobs in sensitive workplaces like schools and hospitals, or when working with people in vulnerable circumstances, the MoJ said.
The reforms were brought in under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012 and will come into effect on March 10.
The changes, which will apply retrospectively, will mean those with half-year sentences or under will only have to wait two years before they do not have to declare their convictions, rather than seven years as under the previous rules.
Offenders who had sentences of between six and 30 months will have to wait four years rather than seven, and those with sentences of between 30 months and four years will have to wait seven years before their conviction is spent.
Under the old system anyone with a sentence over 30 months never saw their convictions spent.
Fines and community orders would only have to be declared for a year, rather than five years under previous rules.
Justice minister Simon Hughes said: “The coalition Government is committed to making sure that offenders take responsibility for their actions.
“But we also need to make sure that ex-offenders are able to contribute to society by getting an honest job and putting their offending behind them.
“These reforms will help guarantee the continued safety of the public.
“They will also give offenders who have served their sentence a fair chance of getting their lives back on track.”
Graham Beech, acting chief executive of crime reduction charity Nacro, said: “We welcome the long overdue reforms because it will remove some of the difficulties that people face when they try to secure education, employment and insurance.
“It cannot be right that someone who made a mistake in their teens – the only act of criminality they’ve ever been involved in – is prevented from entering the labour market when they are in their thirties and forties because they still have to disclose the conviction to a prospective employer.
“Whilst some ex-offenders will still face barriers, and those who’ve served more than four years in prison will still need to disclose their previous convictions, many people who have successfully managed to put their offending behind them will no longer face the same obstacles in moving their lives on because of an age-old criminal record which has continued to hang around their necks.
“They will be hugely relieved to hear that these legislative changes have finally come into effect.”
Mark Leech the editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners, and the former Chief Executive of UNLOCK, the national charity for reformed offenders which has long campaigned for rehabilitation Act reforms, said he was delighted with the reforms “but they do not go far enough”.
“These reforms have been many years coming” said Mr Leech, “But drawing an arbitrary line when someone no longer has to declare their convictions is meaningless.
“Just because someone has not been convicted of an offence for a few years doesn’t necessarily mean they have left crime behind – they could simply have become much more adept at not being caught.
“The long-term solution is to give Magistrates a power to sit as a Criminal Records Tribunal to which people can apply to have their convictions quashed on production of evidence that they have changed their way of life – that protects the public much more than any arbitrary period of years will ever do.”
HMP Grendon was an important national resource working with some very serious offenders, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training jail and therapeutic community in Buckinghamshire.
HMP Grendon is based on the concept that democratic therapeutic communities, run by both staff and prisoners, should be central to the way every part of the prison operates. Prisoners are given a real say in the day-to-day running of the prison and therefore have more influence over their experience of prison life than at normal prisons. This is within the context of the usual security imperatives of a category B prison holding men sentenced to indeterminate or long sentences. Men arrived at Grendon ready to be more open about their offending and institutional behaviour and to be challenged by peers and staff within therapy and community groups. Grendon was a more demanding environment than many conventional prisons; the process of facing up to and being challenged about behaviour and attitudes was, rightly, very tough. Grendon was a very safe prison.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- entry to custody was well organised, violence reduction and safer custody work was good and the communities played a central part in keeping people safe;
- there was very little need for formal disciplinary procedures and substance misuse was well controlled;
- at the core of the prison were excellent staff-prisoner relationships;
- time out of cell was good;
- therapy was the primary purposeful and resettlement activity and accounted for a substantial part of the core day;
- the therapeutic approach helped prisoners to address risk factors and difficulties in coping with institutional life;
- offender management processes were generally good, as was public protection; and
- support to help prisoners maintain contact with their families was impressive.
However, inspectors had some concerns:
- prisoners who were not in the communities and were waiting for transfer to another prison were isolated and had a poorer regime, and potentially less safe;
- support for disabled prisoners needed to improve;
- the night sanitation system, though more functional than at previous inspections, was still undesirable; and
- the prison needed to improve learning and skills to ensure it supported therapy.
Nick Hardwick said:
“Grendon used to be an anomaly in the prison system and its future always felt insecure. However, the new national offender personality disorder pathway identified a clear role for Grendon and other therapeutic prisons and promised a much more coordinated process for allocating prisoners to the establishment and promptly moving them back to a suitable place in the main prison system once their time at Grendon was over. The benefits of the new strategy have yet to be realised but there is now the real prospect that Grendon’s value as an important national resource, working successfully with some of the system’s most serious offenders, will be fully realised. It is an opportunity that should not be missed.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am very pleased that the Chief Inspector has acknowledged the good work being done at Grendon.
“It is a very safe prison with excellent staff-prisoner relationships and a therapeutic approach that is helping to rehabilitate a complex population.
“The Governor and his team continue to build on their progress and will take forward the recommendations from the report.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/grendon
HMP Norwich had improved in some important areas but much remained to do, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of the local Norfolk jail.
HMP Norwich is an overcrowded local prison holding a complex mix of remand and sentenced prisoners and young adults. The prison was split across three distinct sites with different functions. Most prisoners were held on the ‘reception’ site which acted as a local prison for mainly remanded and category B prisoners. The Local Discharge Unit (LDU), outside the main perimeter, held category C prisoners and some specialist functions. Britannia House, also outside the main perimeter, was a resettlement unit for category D prisoners. The last inspection in January 2012 identified some serious concerns and inspectors returned to check progress more quickly than usual.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- vulnerable prisoners had been moved from the threatening environment on A wing and most were now held in a better and calmer environment on C wing and had a better regime;
- the number of violent incidents and the use of force had fallen;
- the number of prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm who were being managed on open ACCTs (assessment, care in custody and teamwork case management) had fallen;
- the segregation unit offered a better environment;
- the care and management of older prisoners and young adults was better than inspectors normally see;
- prisoners had more time out of cell and there were more activity places available; and
- there had been improvements in the quantity and quality of learning, skills and work since the last inspection, though more was required.
However, inspectors had some concerns:
- the numbers of prisoners on open ACCTs, though reduced, was still high and care was inadequate in too many cases;
- prisoners who were the victims of bullying felt unsupported and inspectors found some prisoners too frightened to leave their cells;
- the prison was not sighted on the true levels of violence and bullying;
- problems were most acute on A wing which acted as a first night and induction centre and a centre for those receiving treatment for drug and alcohol misuse;
- many prisoners on open ACCTs were held on A wing and staffing levels were completely inadequate to manage the mixed population safely;
- prisoner mentors were being used to conduct sensitive first night interviews with new arrivals, which was dangerous and open to abuse;
- staff were stretched across the prison and prisoners sometimes struggled to get basic issues, such as mail, sorted out;
- many prisoners assessed as having poor literacy and numeracy were unwilling to address this; and
- offender management was not central to the work of the prison, though most practical resettlement services were adequate.
Nick Hardwick said:
“HMP Norwich has made progress since our last inspection. The treatment and conditions of prisoners was satisfactory and they had good practical help to prepare them for release. The treatment of older prisoners and young adults was very good. Prisoners in Britannia House had very good opportunities to obtain and keep a job on release. However, there were still too many exceptions: not enough prisoners had an activity place, too many services were inconsistent and, of most concern, A wing was not safe. The issues on A wing need to be addressed as a matter of urgency and we hope this report will help the prison to do this and to make the sustained improvements required.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“Norwich is a complex prison and I am pleased that this report acknowledges the progress it has made, which is to the credit of the Governor and his staff.
“As the Chief Inspector points out there is more to do – and the Governor has taken action to address these issues, particularly on A Wing.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/norwich
The needs of many people with learning disabilities are going unnoticed when they are arrested by police, go to court and are sentenced, according to independent inspectors. They have published the report of a joint inspection into people with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system which said their needs should be recognised and addressed.
The report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase 1 from arrest to sentence, reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Care Quality Commission. The inspection covered activity at police stations, the prosecution and court process, pre-sentence report preparation and the assessment and planning undertaken at the start of the community order.
No clear definition or agreement exists across criminal justice and health organisations about what constitutes learning difficulties or disabilities. Although believed to be a sizeable minority, possibly as high as 30%, there is no way of knowing the number of people with such conditions within the criminal justice system. Adequate provision is, consequently, not always made by the agencies involved to cater for their specific needs.
Inspectors were concerned to find
- little had changed by way of effective screening of detainees with a learning disability at the police arrest stage;
- few medical or psychiatric professionals were specifically trained to work with people with learning disabilities in police custody suites;
- a lack of knowledge and training led to offenders with a learning disability being perceived as a problem to be processed rather than an individual with particular needs requiring individual help;
- too often, offenders with learning disabilities were not receiving the support they required to reduce their risk of harm to others or their likelihood of reoffending;
- in some areas police custody sergeants said appropriate adults were not always available to assist with cases;
- only one of the police forces inspectors visited had a mechanism to divert offenders from custody before arrest on the grounds of identified mental health problems or a learning disability;
- in other areas, diversion schemes were implemented within the court building rather than before or at arrest. Earlier interventions might have avoided the need for a costly and stressful court process in some cases;
- in two-thirds of the cases inspected, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was not provided at key stages with information regarding the offender’s learning disability; although all the decisions examined were correct, this information is vital to ensure they are properly informed; and
- pre-sentence reports were not always based on an appropriate risk/needs assessment and in the majority of cases, the assessment emphasised the offender’s need rather than any risk they may have posed to the public. As a result, these offenders were sometimes denied access to interventions to address their offending.
In his review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, published in 2009, Lord Bradley suggested that ‘the police stage in the offender pathway provides the greatest opportunity to effect change’. The recent government announcement confirming the decision to extend the provision of mental health and learning disability nurses to police stations and courts in ten pilot areas is a positive development.
The chief inspectors made recommendations for improvement for police forces, the CPS, the Department of Health and NHS England (Health and Justice), probation trusts, and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. These recommendations included the criminal justice agencies jointly adopting a definition of learning disability, ensuring information is shared and making effective screening tools available in custody suites.
HM Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service and Chair of the Criminal Justice Chief Inspectors Group, Michael Fuller QPM, said on behalf of all inspectorates:
“Although we found some excellent examples of professionals going the extra mile to ensure that individual offenders with learning disabilities received the appropriate support they required, such instances were exceptional and these deficits were mirrored across the criminal justice system.
“A balance needs to be struck between the support needs of those with learning disabilities and the need to hold them to account, where appropriate, for their offending. If offender engagement is to have any real meaning it has to start with an understanding of the offender’s learning ability and style based on an effective screening of all offenders.
“For those with a learning disability this is even more important as failure to identify and address their needs denies them their right to access services both inside and outside the criminal justice system.”
A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-probation/inspection-reports-thematic
HMP Holme House had made some solid improvements but needed to go further, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the local jail near Stockton-on-Tees.
Holme House is a large prison holding around 1,150 prisoners. Its last inspection in 2010 was broadly positive although the prison faced significant challenges. This more recent inspection was similar. Findings were largely positive with some significant exceptions, exacerbated by the disruption arising from the implementation of the prison service ‘benchmarking’ exercise.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- levels of violence were low and most prisoners felt safe;
- the care for prisoners identified as being at risk of suicide and self-harm was good and there were few self-harm incidents;
- the use of force was low;
- there had been some improvements in tackling the misuse of drugs but these needed to be sustained;
- staff-prisoner relationships had improved considerably;
- mental health services were very good and most officers had been trained in mental health awareness;
- most prisoners were involved in work, training or education throughout the day and the ‘working prison’ operated in four workshops; and
- resettlement agencies worked hard to identify and help prisoners to prepare for release, assisting them with housing, job-related, health care and substance misuse issues.
However, inspectors had some concerns:
- there had been five self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection and what appear to be two further self-inflicted deaths since this inspection;
- although care for those identified at risk of self-harm was good, there was a danger that poor first night safety arrangements meant that those who needed support might be missed;
- first night cells were dirty with broken equipment and there was little support from staff or prisoner mentors for those new to prison;
- many cells were dirty, toilets were inadequately screened and some prisoners shared cells designed for one which were too small;
- laundry arrangements were chaotic and there were insufficient phones and showers; and
- the needs of prisoners with protected characteristics were not sufficiently identified or met and staff still refused to push prisoners in wheelchairs.
Nick Hardwick said:
“Holme House faces significant challenges and has to make a difficult transition to the new working arrangements its benchmarked staffing levels require. Despite these challenges, important progress has been made since the last inspection. Ensuring adequate first night arrangements, that prisoners can deal with their basic personal needs and that all prisoners receive equitable outcomes are key priorities for the future.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I’m pleased that the Chief Inspector recognises the progress that has been made at Holme House and the safe and purposeful environment it provides for the prisoners it holds. The improvements achieved are a credit to the Governor and her staff.
“We are determined to maintain momentum and once established the new working arrangements will ensure that we continue to deliver a good quality regime but at lower cost to the public.
“Action has already been taken to address the concerns about first night care and arrangements are in place to meet the wider recommendations in the report.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/holmehouse
The Keppel Unit at HMYOI Wetherby was extremely well run and provided a model for other specialist units for young people, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the special unit at the young offender institution in West Yorkshire.
HMYOI Wetherby’s Keppel Unit, which opened in 2008, is designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for some of the most challenging and vulnerable young people in the country whose needs cannot be met in the mainstream prison system. It is the only unit of its kind in the secure estate. This was its third inspection. Each time inspectors have reported positively about the conditions and the way young people were being treated. On this inspection, inspectors found that the positive culture and work practices had developed to a higher level and now provided a model of how a specialist unit should be run.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- high quality care was delivered in an environment where young people had the chance to settle and the opportunity to thrive;
- all young people had an up-to-date care plan which ensured that their needs were under constant review;
- levels of self-harm remained a concern but those at risk were well supported;
- relationships between staff and young people were very good and staff intervened quickly to prevent bullying and fights from escalating;
- leadership of the unit was strong and consistent, helping staff from different disciplines to work well as a team;
- the unit was well designed, which helped to create a calm atmosphere;
- the education department offered a supportive environment and poor behaviour was dealt with effectively;
- time out of cell was adequate and young people had regular time in the open air; and
- progress had been made in co-ordinating resettlement work and there was now greater involvement by external partners in safeguarding and child protection arrangements.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
- removal from the unit was still used as a punishment and routine strip searching still took place with force sometimes used to gain compliance; and
- many young people struggled to maintain regular contact with their families, a key element of support working towards and on release, due to the distance they were held from home.
Nick Hardwick said:
“In the five years since its inception a positive ethos has been established and sustained within the Keppel unit and good work practices have become embedded. Despite their vulnerability, young people were provided with a high standard of care within a well-run facility. Our findings reflect the positive reaction from most young people and overall, the outcomes available were having a constructive and positive influence on some otherwise difficult young people. The secure estate has much to learn from the positive way the Keppel unit has been developed over recent years.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has recognised the excellent work being undertaken at the Keppel Unit.
“Staff look after some very challenging young people with highly complex needs, and the care they provide is outstanding. They can be very proud of this very positive report.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/wetherby
The Court of Appeal is to rule today on a challenge over the legality of random stop-and-search powers aimed at tackling street violence.
The Metropolitan Police have been accused of breaching human rights laws by using the controversial powers against a disproportionately high number of black Londoners.
Ann Juliette Roberts, 39, of Upper Edmonton, north London, claims that the powers allowing ”searches without justification” were discriminatory on the grounds of race and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
She became involved in a row with police on September 2010 after a ticket inspector discovered there were insufficient funds on her Oyster to pay her fare after she boarded a number 149 bus.
According to the police, she lied about her details and was uncooperative and behaved in a suspicious manner.
A police officer called to the scene thought she might be concealing a knife in her bag and she was subjected to a search under section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.
She was arrested after obstructing the search and handcuffed but had to be taken to the ground when she continued to resist. No weapons were found.
Mrs Roberts, who was of good character, received a caution which was later quashed.
The police had been authorised to use section 60 powers, which allow ”random” searches, in the Haringey area because of gangland violence involving the use of weapons.
Mrs Roberts, a black woman with an African-Caribbean heritage and a grown-up son, applied for a judicial review but two High Court judges ruled the police had acted lawfully and section 60 did not breach human rights.
She has now asked Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Lady Justice Rafferty and Lady Justice Macur to rule the High Court has gone wrong in law.
A prison officer has been jailed after she enjoyed a secret lesbian romance with an inmate serving life for murder in a Holloway Prison.
Sophia King-Chinnery, 25, embarked on a relationship with Sarah Anderson after she was locked up at the notorious jail in Parkhurst Road for a minimum of 15 years for stabbing a cyclist to death in the street.
They exchanged hundreds of love letters in which Anderson addressed the prison officer as her “wife”, Southwark Crown Court heard.
King-Chinnery also allowed the inmate to keep a mobile phone for eight months so the pair could spend hours chatting to each other.
But the convicted murder was left distraught after hearing rumours that King-Chinnery was cheating on her.
After being confronted by bosses King-Chinnery accepted she had an “emotional relationship” with her jailbird lover after experiencing difficulties with her colleagues, but letters between the two were said to “make clear” the relationship was sexual.
King-Chinnery, of Hook Rise South, Surbiton, Surrey, admitted to two counts of misconduct in a public office and sobbed after she was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Friday.
Sentencing, Judge Michael Gledhill QC told her: “The fact of the matter is you were a prison officer and from the moment you became a prison officer, you were well aware of the rules, which don’t include having any sort of personal relationship with the prisoners that you are supposed to be looking after.
“I’m aware you will have a much harder time than others when serving your sentence but you brought that on yourself.”
Prosecutor Andrew Howarth said: “Clearly the relationship went further than an emotional one.’
“The letters made clear the nature of the relationship between the two women was sexual.”
The judge gave Anderson a concurrent three-month prison term after she admitted to causing the transmission of a sound or image from prison.
A police officer will appear in court today charged with misconduct in public office.
Intelligence officer Detective Constable Simon Abell is alleged to have sent sexually explicit text messages and carried out sexually inappropriate behaviour against a woman between November 2011 and August 2012, Nottinghamshire Police said.
The force confirmed the 41-year-old, who was based at Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, has been suspended from duty.
Abell, on police bail, will appear before Nottingham Magistrates Court charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office.
A police investigation into a young offenders’ centre in County Durham has now heard claims from more than 140 people that they were abused between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s.
Detectives announced in August they were starting a new investigation into allegations young men sent to Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett, were abused by staff, which led to 83 people coming forward.
That number has now increased to 143 and police chiefs said detectives were left shaken by some of the accounts they heard.
Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, of Durham Constabulary, said: “We said from the outset this was going to be a long and complex investigation which we fully expect will last at least another 12 months.
“So far we have been contacted by more than 140 former inmates of Medomsley, who have reported they were victims of either sexual or physical abuse at the centre between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s.
“The accounts we have heard have been horrific and have shaken some very experienced detectives who are working on this.
“It is obviously distressing to hear from so many victims, but at the same time I am relieved they have shown the confidence in us to get in touch and allow us to help them.
“Our efforts are directed not just at establishing what happened in Medomsley over that period but ensuring the victims are left in a better place and get the support and advice they need.”
In 2003, a previous police investigation called Operation Halter led to the conviction of Neville Husband, a prison officer at the centre.
Husband was initially jailed for eight years after being found guilty of abusing five youngsters.
The publicity surrounding the trial then led to others coming forward and Husband was subsequently jailed for a further two years for these attacks.
After being released from prison he died from natural causes in 2010.
Britain’s biggest privately-run jail downplayed a ‘full scale riot’ which saw inmates take over an entire wing and booby-trap the doorways, a prison officer has claimed – causing one commentator to say that if true G4S should lose all their prison contracts.
Prisoners were in a nine-hour stand-off with guards earlier this month at the £150 million HMP Oakwood near Wolverhampton, run by G4S and nicknamed ‘Jokewood’ for its alleged lax security.
But while the firm insisted just ’15 to 20′ were involved, an officer who dealt with the incident has said it was a ‘full-scale riot’ with many more.
Speaking to the BBC, the specially-trained officer said he was part of a ‘tornado team’ drafted in to tackle the prisoners.
The anonymous man told Hannah Barnes of The Report, to be aired tonight on BBC Radio 4: ‘Our briefing was that the prisoners were armed and dangerous and that it was a very large number of prisoners and they had completely taken over an entire wing of the prison.
‘They’d interfered with locks to try and prevent staff getting into the wing and they were destroying everything they could get their hands on. I did hear prisoners shouting threats, saying, “We’re ready for you, come on – we’re gonna get you” and words to that effect.”
He said debris and iron bars had been thrown to the floor in Cedar Wing and tripwires had been strung up at neck, chest and leg height.
He added: ‘I would sum it up as a full-scale prison riot and we were very lucky that it only took place on one unit and didn’t spread.’
G4S has firmly denied the allegations.
Another officer, who also remained anonymous, told the BBC staffing at the prison was so low it put suicidal inmates at risk – and sometimes suicide watch records were falsified due to a lack of time.
G4S told the BBC any allegation of falsified records would be fully investigated.
One of Britain’s largest with 1,600 inmates, Oakwood Prison was described as a model for future prisons by the government yet has been beset by controversy.
In October inspectors gave it the lowest possible rating – quoting one prisoner who said drugs were easier to get hold of than basics like soap.
Staff were passive and ‘compliant almost to the point of complicity’, they said, and they found hard core pornography on cell walls despite the jail holding some 300 sex offenders.
Responding to the prison officer’s claims, a G4S spokesman told the BBC the incident was still under investigation but it was a case of ‘concerted indiscipline’ confined to one wing, and the jail is improving.
‘The incident was brought under control just after 2am without injury to any prison officers, although one prisoner has been treated for minor injuries.
‘Reports of prison staff being taken hostage are completely untrue. The safety of our personnel and those prisoners in our care is our top priority, and we are grateful to our colleagues who were able to help us bring the incident to a close safely, and effectively.
‘Established incident procedures were followed correctly and worked as they were meant to.
‘An investigation has now commenced into the reasons for this disruption, as well as a criminal investigation.’
Speaking to the Today programme, Jerry Petherick, managing director for custodial and detention services at G4S, said it was more difficult because Oakwood was being treated as a test case by politicians and the public.
He said: ‘I think it would be useful for people to acknowledge the very good work my staff are doing at Oakwood.
‘There was an instance of concerted indiscipline that was dealt with. For a period of time that wing was occupied by prisoners. It was a number of hours as we accumulated the necessary resources to contain the incident.
‘I would like to see Oakwood come out of the media spotlight to give people the opportunity to develop the work. If you’re operating in the media spotlight everything becomes magnified.’
Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said if the cover up claims proved to be true it was time for G4S to lose its prison contracts.
Mr Leech said: “I absolutely get why Jerry Petherick wants to see Oakwood come out of the spotlight, G4S has shareholders for whom this constant criticism must be deeply concerning coming as it does on top of the tagging fraud scandal, devastating criticism of Oakwood from the Chief Inspector of prisons, not to mention the Olympics debacle – the solution however is not to blame the media, but for G4S to get a grip on the prison’s management.
“Tornado teams sent to Oakwood to qwell the riot would have been fully briefed on what was known based on what incident commanders on the ground were reporting – that briefing now needs to be published.
“If the cover-up claims prove to be true G4S should lose its prisons contracts – it would be a dishonesty that simply could not be overolooked nor tolerated.”
Reports at the time claimed up to 40 inmates had taken two guards hostage during the riot – before demanding McDonald’s meals were brought to their cells.
Yet G4S and the Ministry of Justice dismissed these claims as ‘completely untrue’.
A joint statement read: ‘The disruption, which was confined to one wing of the Category C prison for male prisoners, began just after 5pm on [January 5] as prisoners were out of their cells on association, and involved around 15-20 prisoners, who threatened officers and caused damage to cells and prison property.
‘A number of prisoners returned to their cells voluntarily. The Ministry of Justice was informed immediately, and standard procedures were initiated to deal with the incident, with rapid response teams deployed. Staffordshire Police were also informed.
‘Owing to damage caused to cells, a number of prisoners were moved to other wings and to other prisons in the area.
Some of what is in the latest edition – 32 pages, delivering up to 60,000 copies into over a 120 prisons every month – THAT is Converse!
OAKWOOD INCIDENT RESOLVED AMID COVER UP CLAIMS * ‘MURDERED’ PRISONER NAMED * SWAIN AND CO – FAIRNESS NOW THE MAJOR FACTOR IN ORAL DECISIONS * DISTASTEFUL – MINISTERS PLAN TO SIDE STEP HUMAN RIGHTS RULING * COP CHARGED WITH SEX OFFENCES * CARRINGTONS SOLICITORS CONTINUE TO EXPAND * COP STOLE VICTIMS DETAILS * JUDGE REMOVED FROM OFFICE * 1 PUMP COURT BARRISTERS WORKING FOR YOU * FORMER PRISONS MINISTER DIES WHILE OUT RUNNING * TORY PLANS ON HUMAN RIGHTS SHAKE UP REVEALED * POLICE PROBE OVER CAMERA THREAT * ABSCONDER RECAPTURED * SPEEDING JUDGE GIVEN ADVICE * COP CHARGED WITH ASSAULT * CALL TO REPEAL ARCHAIC LAW * HOSPITAL WORKER ASHAMED OF TWEETS * IRVINE HANDED JAIL TERM OVER BRAWL * JUDGE WARNED FOR MISCONDUCT * SENTENCES ARE AN INSULT TO VICTIMS * ‘PLEBGATE’ COP PLEADS GUILTY * KYLES LEGAL PRACTICE * CONSCRIPT READERS LETTERS * COP JAILED FOR UNDER-AGE SEX * TERRORISTS FACE TOUGHER SENTENCES * CONQUEST READERS LEGAL QUESTIONS * HESLING HENRIQUES – RHONDA HESLING WRITES * EXPERT SLAMS TERROR SENTENCING PLAN * REOFFENDING CRIMINALS ‘AVOID JAIL’ * SLASHING CONVICTION SATISFIES STAR * MARK DUGGAN INQUEST VERDICT – WAS HE REALLY ARMED? * LAWRENCES SOLICITORS – LEGAL AID CHANGES – ADJUDICATIONS * KILLER BRIDGER DROPS SENTENCE PLEA * THREE HELD AMID COCK FIGHTING PROBE * MP TO PROBE OFFENDING BY VETERANS * THE PRISONS HANDBOOK 2014 * FALLING CRIME RATE MAY SAVE 84m * APPEAL IN HUNT FOR STOLEN TURTLE * ASHES TARGETTED * CRUTCH CROOK * MAN GUILTY OF RAPE DAYS AFTER LEAVING JAIL * JURY SWORN IN JUDGE TRIAL * MACKESYS * DLT “GROPED WOMAN” ON TOP OF THE POPS * EX-DEATH ROW MAN BID TO CLEAR NAME * DUNCAN LEWIS AND CO * ONEILL MORGAN SOLICITORS * SHIPMAN MAY HAVE PASSED TESTS * MINIMUM 17 YEARS FOR FAMILY DEATHS * RARE WATERLILLY STOLEN * SPOTLIGHT ON FOREST BANK * CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS * CONVICTS THINK THEY’RE MORE MORAL* and much more!
Criminals who go on the run to avoid being sent back behind bars could face an extra two years in prison under new measures announced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
The new measure is aimed at punishing criminals who have been released from prison but abscond to avoid being recalled for breaching their licence conditions.
Under current laws, once they are caught they can be sent back to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence, but there is no additional penalty for going on the run.
The introduction of a new offence of being unlawfully at large following recall to custody will mean they could face additional punishment when they are recaptured and hauled before the courts.
The Ministry of Justice said around 800 criminals a year could face prosecution under the new offence which will carry a maximum two-year sentence.
It is already a criminal offence to escape from jail, to not surrender to custody when on bail and to not return from release on temporary licence, and this change will close a loophole in the law when offenders remain unlawfully at large following recall to custody.
Mr Grayling said: “It is unacceptable that criminals who disregard the law and attempt to evade the authorities are able to do so with impunity.
“I am today sending a clear message to those people that if you try to avoid serving your sentence you will face the consequences when you are caught. I think the hard-working taxpayers of this country would expect nothing less than tough punishment for offenders who try and beat the system.
“From my first day in this job I have been clear that punishment must mean punishment. We’re on the side of people who work hard and want to get on and my message is simple – if you break the law, you will not get away with it.”
A former Metropolitan police officer who resigned after testing positive for cocaine use has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting drug and theft offences, Scotland Yard said.
Pc Michael Andrew Johnson , 47, left his post at the Met’s Traffic Garage at Hampton, south west London, after failing a drugs test in May last year, the force said.
An investigation by the Directorate of Professional Standards found the officer was a cocaine user and had stolen a police uniform which he supplied to another defendant, Zayn Corkett.
Johnson was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at Croydon Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty on December 4 to conspiracy to possess class A drugs, conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office and theft of police property.
Corkett, 41, a fleet manager, from Kingswood, Surrey, was sentenced to a four-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine, conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office and handling stolen police property.
Both men were arrested on May 30 last year by officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards.Johnson was also sentenced to 180 hours of community service, while Corkett was ordered to complete 120 hours of community service, Scotland Yard said.
Chief Superintendent Alaric Bonthron, from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “Police officers have to live by the highest standards, no criminal activity will be accepted and where we have evidence officers are behaving in a criminal way we will pursue them, resignation from the service will not stop criminal prosecution.”
Police and MI5 will put “tailored plans” in place to manage the risks posed by terror suspects when existing supervision measures expire later this month, the Home Office has insisted
The orders have a two-year time limit and the Daily Telegraph reported that restrictions are due to be lifted on seven suspects, who would be granted lifetime anonymity to protect their human rights.
Terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), which include restrictions on overnight residence, travel and finance, are imposed by the Home Secretary, who is given access to secret evidence that cannot be placed before juries.
Unlike the control order regime they replaced they have a maximum time limit of two years. Control orders could be extended year on year without limit, while Tpims can be extended only after a year for another 12 months before they expire.
By January 26 the controls on seven of the eight people subject to Tpims will have expired because of the time limit, which can be extended only if new evidence of terror activity is found, the newspaper reported.
Last year David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said the Tpims on six suspects would expire this month.
The Home Office said as of November 30 last year eight Tpim notices were in force but they would not provide a “running commentary” on the issue or comment on individual cases, and the next official statistics on the regime would be published in March.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “The police and Security Service believe Tpims have been effective in reducing the national security risk posed by a number of individuals. However, they are just one weapon in the considerable armoury at their disposal and are imposed as part of a package of measures designed to disrupt a person’s activities.
“It is not possible to discuss individual cases, but the police and Security Service have been working for some time to put tailored plans in place to manage the risk posed by these individuals once their Tpim restrictions are removed. These plans, which are similar to those put in place for the release of prisoners who have served their sentences, are kept under constant review.”
But shadow crime and security minister Diana Johnson told the newspaper: “The Government needs to explain what the plan is to deal with the extremist terror suspects whose Tpims run out at the end of January because of Theresa May’s decision to downgrade terror laws.
“These are suspects that only this year the Home Secretary was arguing were too dangerous to be left uncontrolled and that was agreed to by judges.
“We need an urgent independent threat assessment of whether Tpims on any of the January suspects needs to be extended. If Theresa May won’t do this, the Prime Minister needs to instead.”
Keith Vaz, Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, added: “It would be odd to have a situation where anonymity remains in place even though these orders have expired.”It would be sensible to have a review of this situation.”
Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: “The nonsense of these ‘anti-terror asbos’ is once more exposed. Innocent people can be punished for long periods without charge or trial, whilst dangerous ones live in the community and not behind bars.
“This sloppy law, in which all the main parties have been complicit, serves neither justice nor security and should now be scrapped once and for all.”
A police officer based in south Birmingham has been jailed for six years after being convicted of sexual activity with a child.
West Midlands Police said Christopher Semak carried out the crimes between April 2010 and November 2011 when the girl, who was known to the man, was aged 14 and 15.
The 33-year-old officer was arrested on January 24, 2012 from his Kings Norton home – on the same day the girl, then aged 16, revealed that she had been systematically assaulted over the course of two years, police said.
He was handed the prison sentence following a four-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
A major police investigation was immediately launched and the officer, who joined the force in 2010, was suspended from the force with his access to police buildings restricted.
A police spokesman said that as part of the lengthy inquiry in which texts and emails were scrutinised, detectives did not find any other victims other than the girl who was known to Semak outside of work.
Detective Superintendent Tim Bacon, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Christopher Semak has today been found guilty of sexual activity with a child. It is clear that he groomed the victim for his own sexual gratification. His actions were disgraceful for any person let alone a man who, when he became a police officer, swore an oath to protect people.
“Throughout his trial Semak failed to take responsibility for his own actions.
“The verdict of the jury today reflects their belief that this was in fact a tissue of lies designed to undermine the victim and save himself.
“The sexual exploitation of children is child abuse. In this case the offender is a police officer who whilst not on duty at the time betrayed the trust that the victim and others had in him to take advantage of the victim and in doing so has caused her severe emotional trauma.
“I hope that he will reflect on his actions and the emotional scars he inflicted on his victim and those around him.”
Police said Semak was handed a sexual offences prevention order in addition to the jail sentence.
Semak is banned from working with or having unsupervised access to children under the conditions attached to the order.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
With criminal proceedings now completed, the case will go before a special police disciplinary panel where senior officers will determine his future with the force in line with national guidelines.
‘PLEBGATE’ COP ‘PLEADS’ GUILTY
Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell has said he is pleased “justice has been done” after a police officer who falsely claimed to have witnessed the Plebgate row pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey.
Pc Keith Wallis, 53, of West Drayton, west London, admitted misconduct in public office between September 19 and December 16 2012, by saying that he had witnessed the incident.
He was charged after he sent an email to Conservative deputy chief whip John Randall, who was his MP, wrongly claiming that he had seen what happened in Downing Street on September 19, 2012.
A row erupted when then-chief whip Mr Mitchell became involved in a heated confrontation with another police officer, Toby Rowland, after he was refused permission to cycle through the main gate.
Mr Mitchell admitted swearing but denied Pc Rowland’s claim that he used the word ”pleb”.
Today, the Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield welcomed Wallis’s guilty plea but said the police officer’s behaviour was “very sad and worrying”.
He said in a statement: “I am pleased that justice has been done in a criminal court today.
“It is very sad and worrying for all of us that a serving police officer should have behaved in this way. There remain many questions unanswered; in particular why Pc Wallis wrote this email and who else was involved in this process.
“I am looking forward to seeing justice done in the up to 10 other related disciplinary cases involving police officers so that I can focus all my energy on delivering for my constituents and help David Cameron win a Conservative majority at the 2015 election.”
Wallis, wearing a black suit and tie, stood in the dock and spoke only to confirm his name and that he understood the charge before entering his guilty plea.
The court heard that Wallis, who is from the Metropolitan Police Diplomatic Protection Group, admitted the offence in police interview and offered to resign.
Mr Justice Sweeney adjourned sentencing to February 6 pending pre-sentence psychiatric reports.
He released Wallis on unconditional bail but warned him that “all sentencing options remain open to the court”.
Last month the Police Federation confirmed that the officer at the centre of the row was to sue Mr Mitchell.
Pc Toby Rowland issued a letter of claim for libel against Mr Mitchell relating to the issue in the wake of their differing accounts of the heated confrontation in Downing Street.
Prosecutors have found there was insufficient evidence to charge Pc Rowland with any criminal offence after the row, and Scotland Yard has said he will not face disciplinary action.
Mr Mitchell previously said he hoped the officer would give evidence on oath as part of the libel proceedings against the Sun newspaper. But Mr Rowland said he stood by his account of what was said.
Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which has held several evidence sessions on the Plebgate affair, said: ” This plea is not only the first public acknowledgement that Mr Mitchell has been the subject of gross unfairness but it also an admission that a criminal offence has been committed against him.
“With 11 other officers being subject to misconduct hearings, and the further investigation by the IPCC, this appears to be a complete vindication of Mr Mitchell’s position.
“Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told the Home Affairs Select Committee that he would await the outcome of the criminal proceedings, as well as misconduct hearings, before making any statement. I welcome his apology to Mr Mitchell, which is the right thing to do.
“Taken with the apologies of the other Chief Constables, it shows that the internal mechanisms of the police have not worked on this occasion. Lessons have to be learnt in order to restore full public confidence in way these matters are dealt with.
“Now is the time to turn the page on this whole unfortunate incident, which took only 45 seconds but has cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds, Mr Mitchell his job and damaged the reputation of the police.”
Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe apologised to Mr Mitchell and said Wallis’ behaviour “falls way below the standards expected” of his officers.
He said: “This investigation has been a ruthless search for the truth as at the heart of this are extremely damaging allegations that officers have lied and falsified statements against a Cabinet minister.
“The evidence against Pc Wallis was such that he has entered a guilty plea. To lie about witnessing something and provide a false account falls way below the standards that I and Pc Wallis’ colleague expect of police officers. His actions have also negatively impacted upon public trust and confidence in the integrity of police officers.
“I would also like to apologise to Mr Mitchell that an MPS officer clearly lied about seeing him behaving in a certain manner. I will be writing to him offering to meet and apologise in person.
“I expect my officers to serve the public without fear or favour, where officers break the law they must expect to be held to account and answer for what they have done.
“As there are still a number of gross misconduct hearings I must take great care not to say or do anything that prejudices the outcome of those very important hearings as these officers have important questions to answer.”
An incident lasting more than five hours at the country’s largest prison has been resolved, security firm G4S has said.
The trouble broke out on a wing at HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, near Wolverhampton, yesterday evening, but the operator of the privately-run prison would not give any further details.
The incident was contained by staff before being resolved shortly after 2am.
HMP Oakwood, which houses more than 1,600 category C prisoners, was the scene of a number of rooftop protests last year and was slammed by inspectors during a surprise visit.
A G4S spokesman said: “This incident was resolved successfully at 2.10am.
“Police and internal investigations will now take place.”
It would be inappropriate to comment further until these have been completed.”
The spokesman said earlier the company was applying standard procedures to manage the incident.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said the force was offering support and assistance to G4S.
The prison – the largest in England and Wales – opened in April 2012 as a training prison next to the existing HMP Featherstone and HMP Brinsford near Wolverhampton.
In a report published in October, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) reported inexperienced staff and high levels of violence and self-harm at the jail – dubbed ”Jokewood” by prisoners.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick warned here were ”real risks if matters were allowed to drift” at the prison.
At the time G4S said improvements were being made but admitted launching the prison was a “complex and challenging operation”.
G4S – well-known for its botched handling of its Olympics security contract – has been under review by the government following revelations it overcharged for criminal-tagging contracts.
The government has since announced that electronic monitoring will handed to another firm on an interim basis at the end of the financial year.ends
Murderers and those convicted of other serious offences could be given sentences lasting hundreds of years to sidestep European regulations that ban whole-life terms, it is reported – which one critic called ‘distasteful’..
Ministers are considering introducing the lengthy sentences to get around a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the Daily Telegraph said.
The court last year declared that whole-life tariffs, which can be imposed by English judges, were a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights because they allowed for no “right to review”.
Allowing judges to sentence criminals for hundreds of years is one of the options the government is considering to overcome the human rights ban.
Sentences of extreme length would effectively amount to the same as a whole-life term, but would still allow for prisoners to have their sentence reviewed and potentially reduced.
A government source told the Telegraph: “The European Court of Human Rights seems to be making decisions a million miles away from what the vast majority of the public think.
“They don’t want any possibility of the most horrible of criminals walking the streets again, and this plan could be a way to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
There are 49 prisoners serving whole-life terms in England and Wales. One killer, Ian McLoughlin, who was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years for murdering a man while on day release from another murder sentence in July, avoided a whole-life term because of the ECHR ruling, the Telegraph said.
Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners said side-stepping court judgements was not the way for any government to behave.
“There is something quite distasteful about this Goverment’s constant chipping away at Human Rights legislation and court judgements – and this attempt to sidestep a court ruling is not the way for any government to behave.
“Instead of sidestepping judgements with some deft but dishonest legislative changes they should instead comply with the court’s ruling and ensure that those given whole life terms have the chance to have those terms reviewed after serving 25 years – the chances are nothing will change anyway, but at least they should be given the chance to argue their case.”
A former police constable will stand trial today (2nd January) accused of selling personal data from her force’s computer system.
Sugra Hanif, 27, of Bretch Hill, Banbury, Oxfordshire, faces two counts of obtaining and disclosing personal data from Thames Valley Police’s command and control systems and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
She will appear at Winchester Crown Court alongside Raza Khan, 27, of Ivy Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, who is charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and obtaining personal data, and his wife, Paramjeet Kaur, 26, from the same address, who is charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
It is alleged that between January 2011 and December 2011, Hanif sold information about accident victims to Khan and Kaur.
All three deny the charges.
The Conservative Party will draft proposed new laws to curtail the impact of European human rights legislation on Britain in the coming year, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said.
Pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights altogether is still being considered by the party, Mr Grayling added.
Other possibilities are also being reviewed as the Tory pitch for the 2015 general election is drawn up.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Grayling said the final proposals would emerge shortly.
He said: “Whatever we try to do as a party – because this is not an issue that unites the Coalition… the Conservative Party’s intention is to go into the next election with a clear plan for change.
“It is absolutely clear Parliament has the sovereign right to implement that change should it choose to do so.
“We have been looking at a number of options, of which leaving the Convention is one. It’s not the only option we are considering and we will bring forward plans in the next few weeks which will set out very clearly what we will do and how we will do it.
“Later in the year we will publish a draft Bill which will set out precisely how that legal change will take place.”
Mr Grayling said the original drafting of the Convention was not a problem as it included a “sensible balance” between rights and responsibilities.
But he repeated criticisms of its interpretation and implementation – and impact on the British courts.
“There are four different principles that have to underpin what we do,” he said.
“We have to curtail the role of the court in the UK, we have to replace the Human Rights Act, which as (former Lord Chief Justice) Lord Judge rightly says is one of the key reasons why the European Court of Human Rights seems to have such sway in the UK.
“We have got to ensure there is a balance of rights and responsibilities in our laws – and that balance of rights and responsibilities does exist in the original Convention.
“And above all, we have to make our Supreme Court supreme. I do not believe decisions about the way this country is governed – we are a democracy after all – should be taken elsewhere.”
A prisoner from Nottingham who was allegedly murdered in jail has been named by police.
Two men were arrested after Michael Hennessy, 22, died from a stab wound he suffered at HMP Lindholme in South Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon.
The force said it was not yet clear how the stab wound was inflicted and the two arrested men, aged 23 and 26, have been bailed.
They have been returned to the prison and continue to serve out their sentences.
The statement said: “Two men aged 23 and 26 who were arrested by police in the prison on suspicion of murder on Saturday evening have now been released from police custody on bail and returned to the prison service while the investigation continues.”
HMP Lindholme is classified as a Category C and D prison with a capacity of over 1,100.
The former RAF base near Doncaster opened as a prison in 1985 and houses men over the age of 21.
That can include people serving life and those on indeterminate sentences.
A snap inspection in the summer was highly critical of the jail’s wing for low-risk prisoners, and it has since been closed.
Among its findings, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said there were religious tensions on the wing and discovered someone had defecated in washing facilities for Muslim prayers.
Described as an ”astonishing situation” by the inspectors, more than a third of prisoners interviewed had felt unsafe at some time, while drugs and alcohol were widely available on the D wing, which was shut down shortly after the inspection.
Out-of-control warders took over the running of the Maze Prison after the IRA escape in 1983, a secret Irish government report states.
Declassified documents show Irish officials warned the British government to take back control of the notorious jail before republican paramilitaries starting killing “easy target” prison officers.
Dublin’s then Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Barry was so worried about events inside the Maze, he despatched an underling to the British Embassy to make his concerns known.
In that meeting, the official describes the situation as “potentially explosive”.
“It is our understanding that the prison officers and their association are virtually running the prison, independent of the management of the prison which is powerless at present in enforcing its wishes,” a note of his remarks states.
“There is a danger of confrontation between the minority and the authorities reminiscent of the hunger strike as the facts begin to emerge.
“It is likely that the paramilitaries on the outside will react violently by killing prison officers and that we would strongly advise the British authorities to exercise command of the prison and ensure that all in the prison (prisoners and wardens alike) accept the norms of prison behaviour and act in accordance with prison discipline and within the prison regulations.”
Tensions were at boiling point inside the high-security facility after 38 republican prisoners escaped on September 1983, in what was the biggest mass breakout in British penal history.
In a further memo from the time, marked “Secret”, an Irish government official says he was satisfied members of the Prison Officers Association were “acting against the wishes of the prison authorities” and bore responsibility for the tensions.
It adds: “There have been inordinate beatings of prisoners, despite denials by the Northern Ireland Office.”
Two sources for the Irish government at the time were Father John Murphy, Catholic chaplain inside the Maze, and Father Denis Faul.
In one report in the Foreign Affairs files, Father Murphy told a government official that the only way inmates could have got weapons for the break out was through collusion from prison officers.
“There are suggestions among the prison officers that money may have changed hands, and one prison officer mentioned to him that certain bank accounts should be checked,” it states.
The memo details ill-treatment of inmates in the aftermath of the escape including their being stripped naked, dragged across the compound, leaving lacerations on their backs and buttocks.
Eighteen inmates were said to have suffered dog bites.
“The prison officers, who are almost without exception poorly educated Protestants, have taken complete control,” the Irish government files state.
“There is blatant sectarianism within the prison.”
In another note marked confidential, it says wardens were completely ignoring instructions from the second-in-command at the Maze, a Catholic, not to beat prisoners.
It also states prison officers demanded in vain to be issued guns by prison management.
The situation was top of the agenda during a meeting between then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Prior and Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Barry at Hillsborough on October 19 1983.
Briefing notes for the talks direct the minister to raise evidence showing the ill-treatment by prison officers, “who seem to have taken effective control of the prison”.
Claims by the European Court of Human Rights to set judge-made law on a widening range of social issues is threatening to undermine the sovereignty of Parliament, one of Britain’s most senior judges has warned – but critics have said judges should not make political statements while still on the bench.
Lord Judge, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, said that Parliament needed to decide for itself how much power it was willing to cede to the Strasbourg-based court.
His intervention came as the President of the Court, Judge Dean Spielmann, warned Britain’s refusal so far to implement the court’s ruling that the blanket ban on prisoners voting must end was a breach of international law.
At the same time, he said that any attempt by Britain to pull out from the European Convention on Human Rights could set the UK on the path to leaving the European Union altogether.
However, Lord Judge expressed concern that Judge Spielmann was claiming too much power for a body of unelected judges whose decisions could not be overruled.
“This is a court which is not answerable to anybody,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“If it’s right, it can’t be overruled by anybody. I genuinely don’t think that a body of judges – however distinguished – should have that sort of power.”
Lord Judge, who described himself as a supporter of the convention, said the court’s claims had implications for the sovereignty of every nation in Europe – not just the UK – and he urged the Government to seek allies in trying to rein it in.
“His (Judge Spielmann’s) view means that the court in Europe is entitled to tell every country in Europe how it should organise itself,” he said.
“He refers to it as a living instrument. Of course the convention isn’t a dead instrument, but it means that legislation can be made by judges on all sorts of societal issues – binding legislation – and if that’s the position there is a very serious problem with sovereignty.
“It’s not a UK problem, the sovereignty issue affects every single country in Europe.”
He added: “It is time for us to recognise that it is a very important time. My own view is: stop here.”
Judge Spielmann, however, insisted that the UK should not defy the court’s ruling on prisoner voting rights.
“This would be clearly inconsistent with the international law obligations of the United Kingdom and also the obligations under the convention,” he told the Today programme.
He said that if Britain sought to pull out of the convention – as some Tory MPs are demanding – it would mean leaving the Council of Europe, the body which created the European Court of Human Rights, and ultimately the EU.
“I cannot see how the United Kingdom could remain a member of the Council of Europe while at the same time withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights,” he said.
“All the members of the European Union are also members of the Council of Europe. I can hardly see how a member of the European Union could withdraw from the Council of Europe. I see a problem there.
“I think from a political perspective it might be very difficult to stay in the European Union.”
Lord Judge acknowledged that there were differences among British judges as to what extent the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights were binding on the UK which MPs now needed to resolve.
“My very strong belief is that this issue now needs to be resolved by Parliament,” he said.
“The issue that is in play here is not the convention, it’s sovereignty .The most fundamental principle of our unwritten constitution is parliamentary sovereignty.
“Our elected representatives have ultimate sovereignty not only over our own unelected judges but in my view over the unelected judges of any other jurisdiction, including Europe, unless we choose to give them sovereignty.”
Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners criticised Lord Judge for making ‘what are in essence political statements’.
Mr Leech said: “It’s a bit rich for Lord Judge to criticise Judges in the European Court for not being elected – he is not elected either and unlike European Judges who play no part in the formal legislative process Judge is also a member of the House of Lords.
“Lord Judge is a political appointee in reality, appointed by the Queen but only on the recommendation of the Prime Minister – he should be apolitical and he would have done better to have criticised the Government for failing to implement the ECHR ruling on prisoner voting, instead of openly supporting the Prime Minister who put him where he is.
“Our senior Judges should not make what are in essence political statements while sitting on the bench – if he wants to become political resign from the bench and stand for parliament – until then he should button his judicial lip and not bring the judiciary into disrepute.”
A disgraced former police officer has been ordered to pay £600 compensation to a doorman he attacked in a racially aggravated assault.
Pc James Balneaves, 29, wept in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court while receiving £1,510 in fines during his sentencing for racially aggravated assault.
Prosecutor Jonathon Swain said the incident occurred when Balneaves, who has since resigned from his role as a Metropolitan Police constable in Brent, refused to accept he was not allowed into a central London nightclub.
Mr Swain said an off-duty Balneaves, his girlfriend and a colleague tried to gain entry to the Opal Nightclub at Embankment on October 19 but the doorman, who was described in court as “Mr Ahmed”, refused them entry because his girlfriend appeared too intoxicated.
The prosecutor said Mr Ahmed asked Balneaves, who had alcohol on his breath, whether he had a booking and he replied: “No, but our friends are inside. Do you do a police discount?”
Mr Swain said Balneaves kept asking about a discount and the doorman told him the cost of entry was not the issue, but the fact his girlfriend was too drunk to enter.
He told the court Mr Ahmed began filming Balneaves when he became agitated and continued to ask about the discount while showing his warrant card, before he and a colleague picked him up and took him away from the entry.
Mr Swain said Balneaves then yelled at the doorman: “Get off me bloody foreigner, get off me f****** foreigner.”
He then punched the doorman twice, causing him a small cut to the inside of his lip.
Balneaves was then arrested and taken to Charing Cross police station.
Defence lawyer Mark Lake said his client resigned as a police officer immediately after he pleaded guilty to the offence earlier this month.
Mr Lake said Balneaves and his girlfriend had both had a bottle of wine each before trying to enter the nightclub and, while his client described himself as tipsy, he agreed his girlfriend was quite drunk.
He said his client should have known better being a police officer and moved along, but instead decided to argue and demanded to see the club’s manager while showing his warrant card.
He said the “catalyst” came when the doorman began filming Balneaves, who took offence.
The lawyer described his client, who wore a dark suit and navy tie in the dock, as a man of good character who had received two bravery awards and been injured while on duty.
“In many ways, this is a tragedy,” Mr Lake told District Judge Nick Evans.
“A few moments of madness… and he’s thrown away his career.
“That is a terrible consequence for him and one he’s going to regret for the rest of his life.
“When he leaves this court, regardless of the penalty you impose today, he leaves as a disgraced ex-officer who now has a conviction for racially aggravated assault, which may make it difficult for him to find further employment.”
Mr Evans fined Balneaves £750 for the racially aggravated assault and ordered he pay his victim £600 in compensation. He also had to pay a further £160 in court costs and fees.
The judge told Balneaves: “It’s a sad story when somebody in your position comes to this court and pleads guilty to this offence.”
Balneaves is still technically a police constable given his resignation will officially take effect on January 11 after his 28-day notice period has lapsed.
An ex-policeman has been jailed for 19 years for a string of serious sex crimes.
Wayne Scott, 37, was convicted of rape and the attempted rape of a woman after a five-day trial, having already admitted raping a different woman seven times over a number of years.
He also confessed to two common assaults, one sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual touching.
Sentencing Scott at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge James Goss QC described him as manipulative, controlling and domineering.
“Your offending has had an enormous impact on the wellbeing, confidence and lives of those against whom you offended, destroying their lives,” he said.
His offences came to light after he was dismissed by Cleveland Police when a member of the public complained about him touching her sexually while he was on duty.
Although he was not prosecuted for that offence, the publicity led other women to come forward and make complaints.
Speaking after the sentence, Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips of Cleveland Police said: “I’m really pleased with the sentence today. Wayne Scott is a sexual deviant and a predator who manipulated his victims and had a significant detrimental impact on their lives.
“Yet he has never exhibited any remorse and he does not appear to understand the horrific nature of his crimes.
“I would like to pay tribute to all of his victims, in particular those who we managed to trace and who were brave enough to provide us with the details of his crimes.”
Judge Goss said Scott would serve 15 years in custody and also passed a sexual offences prevention order and placed him on the sex offenders register.
A statement from one of his victims was read out saying she was worried about his release as he had already tried to contact her since being in prison.
On hearing his fate, Scott became unsteady on his feet, first bending over before sinking into his seat.
His appearances in the dock had been characterised by attempts to mouth words, sobbing and hanging his head.
Since his arrest, the 37-year-old, formerly of Stockton, Teesside, has twice tried to kill himself – jumping from a prison balcony and leaping from a moving vehicle while on his way to a medical examination.
Senior officers have said there are allegations from eight more victims that did not make it to court and they have again appealed for any other victims to come forward.
Mr McPhillips said: “I hope this sentence will send a positive message to victims of sexual abuse, that we will listen to them and together with our partners work with them to bring offenders to justice.
“I would again appeal to anyone who believes they were a victim of Wayne Scott to contact officers.”
A police community support officer is to appear in court accused of an assault in South Gloucestershire.
PCSO Nicholas Pearce has been reported for summons to court for common assault.
Avon and Somerset Police said that the family of a 15-year-old boy complained that he had been assaulted by PCSO Pearce during an incident at Downend sports centre in June this year.
“The complaint was investigated by our professional standards department and the evidence passed to the Crown Prosecution Service,” a force spokesman said.
“Authorisation was given to prosecute PCSO Nicholas Pearce for common assault and he has been reported for summons for the offence and will appear before magistrates court at a date to be fixed.
“This action demonstrates that we will vigorously investigate all complaints from the public about alleged misconduct by our staff.”
A rapist ex-policeman will be sentenced today for a string of serious sex crimes.
Wayne Scott’s offending came to light after he was dismissed by Cleveland Police when a member of the public complained about him touching her sexually while he was on duty.
Although he was not prosecuted for that offence, the publicity led other women to come forward and make complaints.
Following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court the disgraced PC was last month convicted of rape and attempted rape. He had already admitted seven counts of rape on another woman.
In addition, he confessed to two common assaults, one sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual touching.
And senior officers believed there could be more victims who have yet to come forward, with one estimate being that he preyed on 11 women.
Scott, formerly of Stockton, Teesside, has made two attempts on his life after his arrest.
The 37-year-old jumped from a prison balcony and on another occasion leapt from a moving vehicle while on his way to a medical examination.
After the five-day trial, Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police, said: ”Wayne Scott is a sexual predator who has been a disgrace to the office of constable, and deserves to be behind bars.
“Scott was arrested in August 2011 following on-duty allegations, and subsequently suspended and dismissed.
“Our objective since has been to discover whether his behaviour was more widespread and to protect the public from him. That objective has now been achieved.
“The offences for which Scott has been convicted of today occurred off duty but as a police officer he knew better than most the severity of his crimes.
”He was a disgrace to his uniform and there can be no place for people like him in the police service.”
Judge James Goss, the Recorder of Newcastle, remanded him in custody at the last hearing to allow for reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing.