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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. Truck driver 1

    Brexit Discussion

    Nigel Farage will lead a march from Sunderland to London in protest against attempts to “betray the will of the people over Brexit”. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/brexit/nigel-farage-to-lead-leave-means-leave-march/ar-BBUPRW2?ocid=spartandhp
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Britain's most senior police officer has accused middle-class cocaine users of having blood on their hands as the capital's knife crime epidemic continues. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/met-police-chief-cressida-dick-says-middle-class-cocaine-users-have-blood-on-their-hands-over-stab-deaths-and-admits-there-is-a-link-between-violent-crime-and-cut-in-officers/ar-BBUoaF5?ocid=spartandhp
  7. Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has defended the £1.4 million cost of his office amid calls for him to stand down. https://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-hubs/staffordshire/2019/02/09/staffordshire-pcc-defends-14m-office-cost/
  8. A woman has been jailed following a robbery at an ATM in Leytonsone. Dwayer Jude, 28 (10.05.90) of no fixed abode, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 8 February where she was sentenced to two years and nine months’ imprisonment for the robbery of a woman at an ATM on Leytonstone Road in Walthamstow at 15:10hrs on 28 November 2018. http://news.met.police.uk/news/woman-jailed-for-leytonstone-cash-machine-robbery-358136
  9. A pregnant teacher today told of her terror after her car was flagged down and stolen by bogus traffic police. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/pregnant-teacher-tells-of-terror-after-her-13k-bmw-was-stolen-by-men-posing-as-police-in-southeast-a4045401.html
  10. A man has been arrested after allegedly carrying a sword on train. Armed police descended on Dartford station in Kent shortly before 12.45pm on Friday and arrested a 23-year-old man on the platform. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/dartford-station-man-with-sword-arrested-after-armed-police-descend-on-busy-train-station-a4043221.html
  11. A police officer was threatened with a loaded handgun when he questioned a suspect during a drugs stop in south London early today. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/suspect-pulls-gun-on-police-officer-in-drugs-swoop-a4040386.html good job the officers had a taser with them and no harm was done.
  12. 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
  13. An arsonist who douses parked cars in petrol before torching them in dramatic roadside blazes is being hunted by police https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/police-hunt-for-fireball-maniac-behind-arson-attacks-on-cars-a4036181.html

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