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  1. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Households across the country are receiving their annual tax bill Recently opened your council tax bill? You've no doubt noticed you'll be paying a bit more this year. But one figure in particular might have grabbed your attention, probably because it's risen by more than 10%. You're not alone. What is going on? The figure we're talking about is the "police precept" - the portion of your council tax that goes to the local police force. Almost everyone in England in a Band D house - the middle council tax band - will have to pay an extra £24 this year. Previously, local Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were only allowed to raise this by a maximum of £12. But, in December, the government increased the limit and almost every force opted for the new maximum. Now we're starting to pay it and, perhaps unsurprisingly, some people aren't impressed. Image Copyright @jonnymarshall7 @jonnymarshall7 Report Image Copyright @varlmacher @varlmacher Report Image Copyright @TracyFavell @TracyFavell Report Is it the same everywhere? Police have become more and more reliant on cash from your council tax. In the mid-1990s, just 12p in every pound of police spending came from the precept, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. But last year 32p in every pound of funding for forces in England and Wales came from the precept, Home Office figures show. Police forces most reliant on council tax Percentage of funding (%) in 2018-19 from the precept Source: Home Office The amount you pay for your police force varies across the country. Almost everyone in a Band D home faces the same £24 increase, but as a percentage this can differ greatly between areas (depending on what you paid previously). In the North East, the increase puts the police precept up an average of 16% while in London it adds about 11%. The price of policing Average Band D council tax precept (£) Source: Cipfa Where is your cash going? According to the Home Office, £509m would be raised if each force in England and Wales adopts the £24 increase this year. That's in addition to a £304m boost from central government. How they spend the cash is up to them. Many say they will use it to put more officers on the streets and to deal with rising serious violent crime. Council tax to rise an average of 4.5% English authorities 'plan council tax rise' Council tax rise to pay for extra police For example, Leicestershire Police says it plans to hire 107 police officers and create a digital policing team to tackle high-tech crime. Surrey Police has promised to recruit 100 officers, who will work as detectives tackling organised and drug crime, and double the size of their neighbourhood teams, while saving 25 posts which would otherwise have been lost. Last month Home Secretary Sajid Javid said a total of 2,800 extra officers had been proposed. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some forces are still having to make cuts But budgets are still tight. Forces such as West Midlands Police say they will simply use the extra cash to plug a funding gap and maintain their current level of policing. In Lincolnshire, the chief constable has said there will be cuts, including the loss of 40 officers and 30 support staff, despite the rise in tax. And the settlement is not enough to reverse the 30% real-terms cut in central government funding since 2010. By last December there were 44,000 fewer officers, staff and community support officers than in 2010. On top of this, the government passed a £330m annual cost for police pensions on to local forces, so many will have to use the extra money to cover this new cost - meaning taxpayers may not see much difference in policing levels. Image caption Increases range from 11% to almost 16% Some PCCs, such as Dyfed-Powys' Dafydd Llywelyn, have expressed their frustration at having to implement the rise. He said the decision had been "difficult" but "vital to service sustainability", adding that the force was still "in a critical and precarious position". Why are councils paying? The government claims that raising money this way means police are more accountable to the local population. It also says the money will contribute to 2019 having "the most substantial investment in policing since 2010". The National Police Chiefs' Council has welcomed the move and says it shows the government recognises the "severe strain" budget cuts and increasing violence have caused. But Labour's Shadow Policing and Crime Minister Louise Haigh says local taxpayers are "being forced to pay the price for reckless Tory cuts to local police forces" and that it will create a postcode lottery where some areas are hit harder by austerity than others. Image copyright PA Image caption Shadow policing and crime minister Louise Haigh has criticised the increase in tax The Police Federation agrees, saying the government is "passing the buck" to local forces and that there is the risk of creating "a two-tier system where wealthier communities will have more money available for local policing than others". Were the public consulted? The PCCs had to find out what the public thought of the idea, but this was not binding. In Leicestershire, for example, they carried out a consultation via the force's website, the commissioner's social media accounts and through local partner organisations. Around 1,000 taxpayers responded - and 72% were in favour of the increase. In the West Midlands, around 500 people responded via online polls - with 76% in support. In Wales, Gwent Police asked residents online and in person if they would support a £1 monthly increase, with 67% of about 2,000 people saying they would. In the end, it went up by about £1.40 a month. Gwent Police say they promoted the consultation online and in local media. In Newport, you even had to answer the survey to access the free bus wifi, although those results were not included in the end because it was deemed too localised and people did not have enough information when they answered. What about Scotland and Northern Ireland? In Scotland, policing is a devolved matter. Police Scotland is centrally funded by the Scottish government and has no council-tax raising powers, although local authorities are able to put some of their general budgets into funding local policing priorities. Northern Ireland also has a single police service, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) which is centrally funded from Westminster. It bids for funding from the Treasury and cannot raise money through local taxes. Like in England PCCs in Wales were allowed to increase the Band D precept by £24, although only two of the four went for this amount, in South Wales and Dyfed-Powys. Gwent Police chose to raise it by only £16.69 and in North Wales by £19.98. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47625966
  2. Image copyright PA Image caption Fiona Onasanya left prison by car with the closest window to her covered by a hi-vis jacket Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya has been released from prison less than four weeks after she was convicted of lying to police over a speeding ticket. Onasanya denied being behind the wheel when her car was spotted being driven at 41mph in a 30mph zone in July. She was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and served her sentence at Bronzefield Prison, Surrey. The 35-year-old solicitor was expelled by the Labour Party but remains MP for Peterborough. Image copyright PA Image caption Onasanya was convicted at the Old Bailey Image copyright PA Image caption The MP's Nissan Micra was caught by a speed camera in Thorney Onasanya's Nissan Micra was caught by a speed camera in Thorney, Cambridgeshire. She was jailed for three months on 29 January having been convicted at the Old Bailey. Her release comes a day after the attorney general's office rejected a complaint which said the sentence given to her was unduly lenient. Onasanya - who has said she intends to appeal against her conviction - is the first sitting MP to be jailed since Terry Fields was sentenced to 60 days for failing to pay his £373 poll tax bill in 1991. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-47369669 To me it is all wrong to let her out now with a tag after the lies she has told she should have served her sentence in full.
  3. Christchurch mosque shootings Media captionChristchurch was put into lockdown as events unfolded Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as a terrorist attack and one of New Zealand's "darkest days". A man in his late twenties was charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, police confirmed. Two other men and one woman were detained nearby and firearms seized, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. He said one of those detained was later released, while officers were working to understand if the other two were connected. Police also found multiple explosive devices in a car belonging to one of the suspects. The attack, which came around the time people were attending the mosques for Friday prayers, was the deadliest in the nation's history. A gunman, who identified himself as a 28-year-old Australian called Brenton Tarrant, live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque. Police called on the public not to share the "extremely distressing" footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman's Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage. Media captionJacinda Ardern: "This can only be described as a terrorist attack" The suspect who was charged appeared to have published a document before the attack outlining his intentions and in which he espoused far right and anti-immigrant ideology. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the man as an "extremist, right-wing" terrorist. Police Commissioner Bush confirmed that the man was not known in advance to either New Zealand or Australian security services. Witnesses 'prayed for end to bullets' Bangladesh cricket team escapes shooting New Zealand police said on Twitter that officers went to a property in the city of Dunedin in connection with the attack in Christchurch. "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," Prime Minister Ardern said in a press conference. How events unfolded The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Witnesses told local media they ran for their lives, and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the building. A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was evacuated, but there were fewer details from that site. Police also defused "a number of IEDs [explosive devices] attached to vehicles", Mr Bush said. Image copyright EPA Image caption Armed police patrolled the streets following the shooting at the Al Noor mosque Authorities advised all mosques in the city to shut down until further notice. Armed police were also seen at Papanui High School in Christchurch, which was cordoned off. Mr Bush said a number of firearms had been recovered from both mosques, and explosive devices were found in a car belonging to one of the suspects. Footage filmed by the gunman at the Al Noor mosque showed him driving up to the front door, before taking weapons from his car, entering the mosque and firing at those inside. One unnamed survivor told TV New Zealand he saw the gunman shoot a man directly in the chest. The attacker reportedly targeted the men's prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women's room. "What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets," the witness said. "He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies' section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died." A Palestinian man who asked not to be named told the AFP news agency he heard rapid gunfire and saw a man shot in the head. "I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds it started again - it must have been an automatic, no one could pull a trigger that quick," he said. "Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood." A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was also evacuated. The police commissioner said "multiple fatalities" were recorded at two locations. Media captionEyewitness: "My hands were shaking so hard" Police advised Christchurch residents to remain off the streets and stay indoors and a lockdown was implemented at all schools in the area. The lockdown was later lifted and parents allowed to collect their children. The main suspect Brenton Tarrant identified himself in the video live-streamed on Facebook. Social media accounts in that name were used to post a lengthy, racist document in which the author identified the mosques that were later attacked and set out anti-immigrant motivations for the attack. Although New Zealand police said they had charged a man in his late twenties with murder, they did not identify the man. Cricket team escapes attack The Bangladesh national cricket team appeared to have narrowly escaped the shooting. A reporter following the team, which was due to play New Zealand in a now-cancelled test match on Saturday, tweeted that the team had "escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters". Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that the "entire team got saved from active shooters". Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team had gone to mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place. "They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel," he told the AFP news agency. What has the reaction been? US President Donald Trump offered his "warmest sympathy and best wishes" to New Zealand. "The US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!" he wrote. Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump UK Prime Minister Theresa May offered her "deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand". Skip Twitter post by @theresa_may End of Twitter post by @theresa_may The Queen said she was "deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences". Skip Twitter post by @RoyalFamily End of Twitter post by @RoyalFamily Skip Twitter post 2 by @RoyalFamil End of Twitter post 2 by @RoyalFamily Pope Francis offered his "heartfelt solidarity" and was "deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the senseless acts of violence", Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said in a telegram. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she mourned "with New Zealanders for their fellow citizens who were attacked and murdered out of racist hatred while peacefully praying in their mosques". And French President Emmanuel Macron called it an "odious attack" and said France stood "against any form of extremism". https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-47578798
  4. Image caption The shooting happened in Wheeleys Lane, Birmingham A man has been shot dead by armed police in Birmingham during an "intelligence-led operation". It happened in Wheeleys Lane in Lee Bank just before 05:00 GMT, West Midlands Police said. "A man, in his 50s, was shot and died a short time later at the scene," a force spokesman added. The area has been cordoned-off while investigations continue and the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "I scrutinise the police use of force very closely. "Officers involved in this incident were wearing body-worn cameras and that footage is being reviewed." The force said it had also been granted a warrant for the operation. Image caption The ambulance service sent two paramedics and a trauma doctor to the scene West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called at 05:04 and found a man in cardiac arrest. "CPR was already being performed, which ambulance staff took over and also administered advanced life support," a spokesman said. "However, despite everyone's best efforts it sadly became apparent nothing could be done to save him." It is the second fatal shooting by West Midlands Police this year. The IOPC is investigating the death of Sean Fitzgerald who was killed by armed police in an operation in Coventry in January. It is the fourth time the force has deployed a firearm since 2017, when ex-gang member Sharif Cousins was shot in the chest in an alleyway in Rubery. Mr Cousins survived and was the first person to have been shot by a West Midlands Police officer since 2000. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-47584386
  5. The BBC joined Lancashire police officers as they raided the home of suspected sex trafficker Octivan Cretu. The Romanian is alleged to have had control over up to six women who were being forced to work as prostitutes. Twenty people in the Blackburn area have been convicted of sex trafficking offences over just 12 months through work done by the force's East Lancashire Exploitation Team. The evidence against Mr Cretu, who told the BBC he was not involved in trafficking, will not be tested in court as he has since been deported. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-lancashire-47559973/lancashire-police-raid-suspected-human-trafficker
  6. Image copyright Alamy Image caption Mark Kennedy (left) in his police uniform and (right) in his undercover days, when he used the name Mark Stone A woman who found out her partner was a policeman paid to spy on her group of activists has said she is the victim of a "conspiracy to rape". Rosa and another woman have spoken of feeling betrayed after falling in love with men who turned out to be spies. An ongoing public inquiry into undercover policing has seen several women get apologies and compensation. Police said officers who had long-term sexual relationships with their targets "abused their positions". "If you put all these things together, you have a team of officers conspiring to rape," said Rosa - not her real name - who told BBC Wales Investigates she discovered the man she thought was her long-term partner was a paid police spy. "They know there was no informed consent. "It's the whole gang of them, and there's no other way of terming it for me than a gang. "You've got mentors, you've got handlers a whole backroom team of people monitoring - and directing it would seem - their relationships, their activities." Image caption Det Con Jim Boyling, who had a relationship with a woman he was spying on For the first time Rosa, and another woman - both from Wales - have revealed on camera the full story of how they became involved in intimate relationships which seemed genuine, but were in fact charades as police forces infiltrated groups they thought needed monitoring. BBC Wales Investigates has spoken to people and groups across the country coming to terms with finding out the men who posed as friends, fellow campaigners and in some cases lovers, were living a lie. In 2000, Rosa spent three months in South Africa looking for Jim Sutton, the man she was in love with. The trouble was that man did not really exist. Rosa met him in a London pub while she was a political activist in a group called Reclaim the Streets. The pair fell for each other quickly, to the extent that Rosa wanted to call the relationship off. Woman wants undercover officer prosecuted Police knew undercover officer was having sexual relationship Spy cops report 'will take eight years' Machynlleth woman on her life with undercover policeman "It was too intense for me… I felt like I could forget to breathe. He seemed to be my life partner, he seemed to be some kind of blueprint I didn't even know I was looking for," she added. They were together for 10 months, but the man who called himself Jim Sutton was not who he claimed to be. He was an undercover policeman. Rosa said she and Jim were talking about having children, and moving to Wales, where she had family. Then Jim stunned her by saying he wanted to go travelling - on his own - to "sort his head out". He left, saying his plan was to go to Turkey, Syria and then South Africa. After months missing, Jim got back in touch. Rosa started her own detective work, and could find no trace of the family he said he had. So she headed to South Africa, to find him. Image copyright "Rosa" Image caption Jim Boyling, who used the name Jim Sutton while working as an undercover policeman "I was walking round South Africa just saying 'excuse me have you seen this person?'. I was in torture, I needed answers." She found no trace of him, and returned to the UK. Her search continued though, and clues led her to south London, and the offices of the secret police unit Jim worked for. Just two days later he re-appeared. "I was in the fiction section - if you made a film out of this you'd say this is not realistic - and in he walked," she added. Rosa believes his reappearance was no coincidence. She believes she had triggered a response from the police and Jim had been sent to find out how much she knew. The encounter forced Jim to confess he had been living a lie. He was not Jim Sutton, he was police officer Jim Boyling. Rosa said he told her he actually empathised with activists like her and was not spying on them but was instead working on a separate, criminal investigation. She said this was another lie and said she was deceived for a second time - but that deception only came to light after she and Jim were married and had two children together. Media captionTwo women had long-term relationships with men only to learn they were undercover officers Rosa said she was so damaged that she found it easy to believe Jim. "The idea that my partner had never existed and was played by an actor, sent in by the state in order to spy on me as a peaceful green activist, was ludicrous and shook everything I believe in, so he was telling me stuff I knew, that I thought I knew," she added. There was no happy ending however. Rosa said Jim was controlling and manipulative - allegations he denies - and eventually she fled to a women's refuge in Wales and the couple divorced. Mark Stone and his partner of six years Lisa were on holiday in Italy in 2010 when she opened the glove compartment of his van looking for a pair of sunglasses. What she found inside would begin a process which dismantled undercover policing in the UK. It was a passport. The picture in it was the Mark she knew but the name next to it said his surname was Kennedy, not Stone. It also said he had children. Image copyright "Lisa" Image caption Mark Kennedy with 'Lisa' during their relationship, when he called himself Mark Stone What Lisa did not know was that the man she knew as Mark Stone was an undercover policeman and had been paid to spy on her group of environmental activists. His covert deployment had just finished and he had handed back all his false documents - including his passport. It was a stroke of bad luck for him, and the Metropolitan Police, that she found the real one. Like Rosa, Lisa said the violation of trust by Mark and his employers feels like rape. "It's been difficult for me to think of it in those words [rape] but I actually think that was what it was when it comes down to it. "And the thing that also makes me feel even more violated, most violated, is that this deception, this relationship, this abuse wasn't just being perpetrated by one person. It wasn't just between myself and Mark, it was the whole police department." Lisa, a committed environmental activist, met Mark in 2004. A willing participant in protests, he told her he was a professional climber. Although there were moments when Lisa had her suspicions, such as never meeting his parents, his stories about his difficult upbringing which left him with a frosty relationship with his family eased any concerns. On top of that, she was in love. "He wasn't just somebody who was fleetingly in and out of my life. He was somebody I did everything with. I really did think we had a future together. This was somebody I was planning my life with," she said. In 2009, Mark suddenly left. He was gone for three months, with Lisa fearing he had had some sort of breakdown. Then, out of the blue, he returned. Their reunion led to the holiday in Italy, and the discovery of the fake passport. Image copyright "Lisa" Image caption Undercover policeman Mark Kennedy on holiday with his partner Lisa and a friend began to investigate to find out who Mark really was and discovered he was married, had two children and lived in Ireland. Armed with this knowledge, Lisa and her fellow activists confronted Mark. In the face of the evidence, he had to admit who he really was. "He was in tears and I was in tears," recalled Lisa. "It was a hugely difficult and emotional evening. It's a very difficult memory to be thinking about." The confirmation that Mark Kennedy was a police spy was the first step in the undercover policing network in England and Wales collapsing. Dozens of undercover officers were unmasked, and when it emerged that police had even spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence, the teenager murdered in London in 1993, Theresa May - then Home Secretary - ordered a public inquiry. 'Some officers abused their positions' The Metropolitan Police told BBC Wales Investigates: "The Metropolitan Police Service has made clear its position on long-term, sexual relationships some undercover officers are known to have entered into with women in the past. These relationships were wrong and should not have happened. "Undercover policing is a lawful and important tactic that takes dangerous offenders off the streets and helps protect communities, but cases such as these demonstrate that some officers abused their positions." Image copyright "Lisa" Image caption Policeman Mark Kennedy at the Glastonbury Festival during the time he was working undercover Mark Kennedy and Jim Boyling both declined interviews with BBC Wales Investigates. In a statement in April 2018, Jim said his relationship with Rosa was genuine, and did not come about because she was a person of interest to the police. "I trust a more accurate picture of police covert operations may emerge from the Undercover Policing Inquiry, including perhaps the testimony of others who formed genuine relationships during the course of a deployment lasting several years," he said. Mark, speaking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire in 2012, insisted his relationship with Lisa was built on genuine affection, and denied filing reports about her to the police. "I know that the relationship we had - outside of what the names were - was probably one of the most loving experiences I've ever had," he said. In 2018 the Met admitted that Mark's handler and line manager knew about and approved him having a sexual relationship with another activist. Jim was sacked by the Met for gross misconduct because of his relationship with Rosa. The disciplinary panel said: "The system of control and governance over officers like DC Boyling was severely lacking." But despite apologies from the police and compensation, Rosa and Lisa say their sense of betrayal remains. "When people have had bereavement, you need to know what happened to a loved one before you can move on. In this case it almost feels as if there was a bereavement but I haven't just found out my partner has died, I found out he never existed in the first place," said Lisa. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47240670
  7. Image caption Mahamed Hashi, Gwenton Sloley and Ken Hinds all say they have been targeted by the Met Police Three prominent, black community advisers have claimed they have been wrongfully searched or arrested by the Metropolitan Police. The men work with police in London on youth violence but said their treatment harmed race relations with the force. It comes 20 years after the MacPherson report said the Met was "institutionally racist" over its handling of Stephen Lawrence's murder. The force has denied allegations of racial profiling. It said the officers in the men's cases acted appropriately. About 14% of Met officers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. While this was the highest proportion in England and Wales, the 2011 census showed a far higher proportion of Londoners, 40.2%, identify as BAME. As a result the force has said it wants to recruit 250 extra BAME officers a year. Wrongly accused Image caption Ken Hinds was convicted of an assault that was later found not to have happened Ken Hinds, the chair of the Haringey Independent Stop and Search Advisory Committee, has worked for decades to promote community cohesion. In April, he was arrested after intervening in the search of a young black man near his home in north London. He told the BBC: "This officer pushed me out of the way. I asked him not to put his hands on me. "The next thing I know I'm under arrest for obstruction and assault, accused of head-butting." Image caption Mr Hinds was convicted of an assault that was later found not to have happened Mr Hinds was charged and found guilty of assault. But his conviction was quashed nine months later by an appeal judge who said the assault did not take place. He said: "The community was so incensed by my arrest that we held a public meeting and decided we weren't going to deal with the police until my case was settled. "As soon as I got arrested the whole establishment washed their hands of me. "Being a black man in this area, it fits the racial profiling that we're the victims and perpetrators of violent crime." The Metropolitan Police said it had reached out to Mr Hinds, who is in the process of pursuing legal action. In 2009 Mr Hinds won £22,000 compensation after he was arrested by British Transport Police for watching a stop and search procedure. 'Stitch me up' Image caption Gwenton Sloley said police were "desperate to take me down" Gwenton Sloley has won awards for helping young people escape violent lifestyles. Mr Sloley said his home in Lewisham was raided by detectives last October, while he was an adviser to the Met Police - the officers were looking for a previous occupant who was involved in drug dealing. "They totally destroyed the property, ripped off my air-vent, stole money from me, took my children's stuff, phones, earrings, parking tickets, letters, bank statements, pictures of me. "They know I live here because they invoice me to the same property - the same people who searched the house." Image caption Mr Sloley says the Met Police have raided his home "twice in three months" After the raids, Mr Sloley said officers tarnished his reputation by telling his clients about the warrant, which resulted in them cancelling valuable contracts with him. "The police are trying to stitch me up," he said. "They've raided me twice in three months, desperate to take me down, telling people I'm too big for my boots." Scotland Yard said the Directorate of Professional Standards was investigating. 'Specifically Targeted' Image caption Mahamed Hashi says the police should apologise for "targeting" people like him Mahamed Hashi is a Labour councillor for Stockwell and a recent winner of a Community Champion award for his work to support vulnerable young people. In 2017, he said he was stopped by police officers who surrounded his car in Brixton. "They asked me 'have you been taking any drugs mate? Your eyes look glazed', and I said 'I don't smoke, I don't take drugs'." "They put cuffs on me because they thought I was a threat. I said 'what part of me constitutes a threat?' And they said 'your size'." 'I've been stopped and searched 400 times' Why 56 black men are posing in hoodies Young black men 'shatter' stereotypes Mr Hashi has raised his concerns with the deputy mayor of policing. "It feels like we're being targeted as specific people. I feel there should be apologies you know," he said. "We're standing in Brixton where we've had four riots because of police action, and on one side we're trying to heal those rifts but it's being eroded by officers who don't seem to know any better." How the most ethnically diverse police forces compare to the population Proportion from Asian, black, mixed and other ethnic groups Note: Figures for police are as of March 2018, population as a whole from 2011 Census Source: Home Office 'Human endeavour' Image caption Commander for community engagement Mark McEwan said the Met Police had not engaged in racial profiling Met Police commander for community engagement Mark McEwan said he did not agree Mr Hinds and Mr Hashi had been racially profiled. "They were dealt with due to the circumstances the officers perceived at the time and they acted appropriately," he said. "I'm sorry that relationships have been damaged but this is not a case of right or wrong. "Policing is a human endeavour and we will at times find ourselves in these situations. "What's important is how we respond to that and reach out to the individuals involved." Despite their concerns, Mr Hashi and Mr Sloley are still working with the Met, while Mr Hinds told the BBC now his appeal had been upheld he would engage with the police again. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-47462633 words fail me when they play the race card and put the blame on the police when things go wrong.
  8. Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police Image caption The officer is due to appear before a police misconduct panel next week A volunteer police officer has been accused of deliberately sharing private sexual photographs and video to "distress" another person. The case came to light after someone complained to police that the officer had sent the material without consent. Identified only as Special Constable A, the officer admitted the offence when interviewed under caution by police. The special constable is due to appear before an Avon and Somerset Police misconduct panel next week. The panel will consider whether the individual has "breached the standards of professional behaviour for police officers". Special constables are volunteer police officers who have the same powers as regular police officers once they have completed their training. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-47426818
  9. Image copyright BSG Image caption Blacklist campaign: Workers across the UK are still demanding justice A secret police document has revealed how the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch helped the illegal blacklisting of trade unionists - preventing them from getting jobs because of their political views. In one case, detectives suggested one individual was a terrorist, despite the claim being wrong. The illegal practice - exposed ten years ago - involved major construction firms accessing secret files on 3,000 workers and their union activities. But until now, little has been known about the police's role, other than a Scotland Yard admission it had been involved. Image copyright MPS Part of the secret report underpinning that admission has now been disclosed, after initially being classified as so secret it was for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner's eyes only. The report - codenamed Operation Reuben - found "numerous areas of concern" with "inappropriate contact of Special Branch officers with private organisations", including with one of the two blacklisting groups, the Economic League and the Consulting Association. Blacklisting: How it worked Blacklisting began with the Economic League in 1919 which shared records on left-wing activists with industry to keep them out of the workplace It was closed in 1993 after a Parliamentary inquiry. The Consulting Association sprang up to replace it The Information Commissioner's Office raided The Consulting Association in 2009, revealing for the first time the scale of the operation - triggering legal action that continues to this day In 2016 eight major construction firms offered settlements to end legal action: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Keir, Lang O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska and Vinci Image caption Mark Jenner: Gathered intelligence on 300 workers in the late 1990s The Reuben investigators found no systematic records of the relationships - but one sharing incident from 1978 had been recorded after a senior officer intervened. On that occasion, a trade union activist had applied for a job making educational videos with a company linked to the construction industry. The company passed the individual's name to the Economic League to be checked - which in turn contacted the police for any further intelligence "due to the perceived risk of involvement in education". "The receiving officer's initial inquiries revealed a potential link to [redacted] which in his opinion had not been resolved satisfactorily... he returned to EL asking for any further information, stressing the matter's importance due to the possible link to terrorism. "This was recorded as fact by the EL representative." EL then passed this on to the prospective employer - ending the candidate's chance of getting a job. Image copyright BSG Image caption Campaign: Some cases settled but more legal action is coming The applicant appears to have learned that they had been "blacked by the security people". One of their relatives was a retired senior police officer who demanded an investigation - and that appears to explain why the incident remained recorded. One major blacklisting allegation is that an officer called Mark Jenner collected information after he infiltrated the construction union UCATT between 1995 and 2000. The report says that Jenner, who used the alias Cassidy, provided information on 300 people - and 16 of those appeared in the illegal blacklist database. Operation Reuben said it found no evidence to prove that Jenner directly provided that intelligence - but it added it could not rule out other officers doing so. Roy Bentham, joint secretary of Blacklist Support Group, said that many questions remain unanswered. "The police are supposed to uphold law and order, not spy on perfectly democratic organisations such as trade unions," said Mr Bentham. "Blacklisting is a national scandal and confirmation that the police colluded with this shameful and unlawful activity is beyond the pale." Police admit role in blacklisting workers New action over construction 'blacklist' Imran Khan QC, lawyer for the Blacklist Support Group, said that the onus was now on the undercover policing inquiry to dig deep. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said that the internal report into blacklisting had established that "certain conduct" amounted to improper sharing of information under the law as it stands today. "Allegations about police involvement with the 'blacklist' will be fully explored during the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (UCPI)," said the spokesman. "The Metropolitan Police Service will await the conclusions of the UCPI before considering any appropriate next steps." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47457330
  10. Video recorded by a police helicopter shows the moment a laser pen was shone at it, which a judge said risked a "fatal and catastrophic" crash. The National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter was searching an area of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, for three men carrying knives when it was dazzled by the green light in September. It was traced to a house in Minerva Way and Voyslav Dimitrov, 29, was arrested. He admitted endangering the aircraft at Northampton Crown Court and was sentenced to six months in prison. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-northamptonshire-47470832/laser-pen-shone-at-police-helicopter-in-wellingborough shows how stupid some can be.
  11. Image copyright Metropolitan Police Image caption One of the many knives seized by police in London this year Dozens of knife offenders in London will be tagged with GPS devices upon release from jail, Sadiq Khan has said. The Mayor of London announced the project as part of his public health approach to tackle "unacceptably high" levels of violent crime in the city. Last year nearly 80 people were stabbed to death in London. The trial will target 100 offenders across the four London boroughs worst hit by knife crime - Lewisham, Lambeth, Croydon and Southwark. Those deemed most likely to reoffend will have their movements automatically checked against locations of reported crime and matches will be shared with police. Mr Khan said the causes of violent crime were "extremely complex". Trackers will be fitted to offenders leaving prison for crimes such as knife possession, wounding and grievous bodily harm under the plan to be launched on 18 February. The latest measures are part of the Violence Reduction Unit which aims to mirror an approach successfully used in Glasgow to get police, housing, health and care workers to work together to tackle violence. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-47195857
  12. A police officer who allegedly failed to pass on images of a suspected acid attacker is under investigation. The Met Police detective was investigating an acid attack in March 2017 in north London in which a woman suffered hand and leg injuries. The officer obtained CCTV footage of the incident but allegedly did not circulate it until 20 months later. The suspect was identified as Xeneral Webster, who went on to commit a second attack, killing a 47-year-old woman. Image copyright Thames Valley Police Image caption Xeneral Webster was jailed for the manslaughter of Joanne Rand who died after being splashed with acid In June 2017, during an argument with a man in High Wycombe, Webster took out a bottle of acid which splashed 47-year-old bystander Joanne Rand head-to-toe. She died of her injuries 11 days later. Webster was jailed for 17 years for Ms Rand's manslaughter in July. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was investigating the police officer in a gross misconduct case, for alleged breaches of professional standards relating to his duties and responsibilities. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-47044322 Not good if the officer did not circulate it until 20 months later.
  13. Image copyright Sgt Chris Harris/Norfolk Police Image caption Police saw the car driving erratically on the A11 at Wymondham Police said they were "shocked" to find a car being driven erratically on a major road was missing a front tyre. The driver was stopped on the A11 near Wymondham, Norfolk, by officers in the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team (NSRAPT) on Saturday. The vehicle was missing its front right-hand tyre. After giving a breathalyser reading of more than three times the drink-drive limit, the driver was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-47019387 Skip Twitter post by @NSRAPT
  14. Four people, including two firefighters, have been killed after an explosion caused a huge fire at a bakery in the French capital, Paris, officials say. Cars were wrecked and other buildings were damaged by the blast on Rue de Trévise in the 9th Arrondissement. A gas leak is said to have caused the explosion around 09:00 (08:00 GMT). Paris and other cities have been bracing themselves for new anti-government protests. Some 80,000 police officers due to be on duty on Saturday as "yellow vest" demonstrators keep up their pressure protest, even though the Paris explosion is not thought to be connected with the demonstrations. What happened? The Hubert bakery at No 6 Rue de Trévise was not due to be open at the time of the blast, Le Parisien newspaper reports. A gas leak had been reported in the building and firefighters had been on their way to deal with it when the explosion occurred. Image copyright AFP Image caption Firefighters were reportedly hurt in the blast Helicopters landed on the nearby Place de l'Opéra to evacuate the injured, Reuters news agency reports. A passing journalist, Emily Molli, described the force of the blast and vast extent of the damage. Skip Twitter post by @MomesMolli End of Twitter post by @MomesMolli Skip Twitter post 2 End of Twitter post 2 by @MomesMolli A resident named Killian was asleep when the explosion blew in his windows. Everybody in the building came downstairs, he said, and he could hear screaming. The blast also destroyed a theatre, he told French news channel BFMTV. "I was sleeping and woke up by the blast wave," Claire Sallavuard told AFP news agency. "All the windows in the apartment exploded, doors were blown off their hinges, I had to walk on the door to leave the room, all the kids were panicking, they couldn't get out of their room." Image copyright EPA Image caption At least 20 people were hurt Paula Nagui, a receptionist at the nearby Diva Hotel, said there had been an "enormous blast" that shattered all the windows. Anxious guests had received assurances that it was not a terror attack, she told Le Parisien. Why such heavy security for the protests? For the ninth Saturday in a row, demonstrators are turning out to criticise the government's policies in a mass phenomenon which began with a protest over tax on vehicle fuel on 17 November. Called the "yellow vests" because of the colour of the high-visibility vests they wear symbolically, they have disrupted traffic on roads and in towns across France, and their marches have descended into some of the worst rioting France has seen in decades. Who are the 'gilets jaunes'? Les gilets jaunes: The full story Yellow vests could be seen gathering outside the finance ministry in Paris on Saturday. Image copyright AFP Image caption Protesters have gathered outside the French finance ministry Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently announced plans to punish people who hold unsanctioned protests. Ten deaths have been linked to the unrest, all but one in traffic accidents, the tenth being an elderly woman hit in the face by a tear gas grenade in her flat in Marseille. More than 1,500 people among the demonstrators have been injured, 53 of them seriously. Nearly 1,100 members of the security forces were also hurt, French TV reported on 5 January. As of 6 January, 5,339 people had been taken into custody and 152 had been sent to prison, the justice ministry told L'Express newspaper. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46849633
  15. Mayor of London With three months to go until the launch of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the central London Congestion Charge Zone, the Mayor of London is urging London’s drivers and business owners who drive in the zone to check whether their vehicles comply with new emissions standards designed to tackle the capital’s toxic air. The ULEZ will come into effect in the current central London Congestion Charge Zone on 8 April and will replace the current Toxicity Charge. Vehicles will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries) to travel within the zone.

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