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Tag Archives: Wales

Police pursuit laws under review as moped crime soars

Metropolitan Police BMW X5 carImage copyright Getty Images

The Home Office is to review the law around police pursuits following a rise in crimes carried out on mopeds.

Police have raised concerns about the potential risk of officers facing charges if a pursuit ends in a crash.

In 2016/17, 28 people died in police pursuit-related incidents.

Policing Minister Nick Hurd said it was vital officers were able to pursue criminals, while the Police Federation of England and Wales hailed the review as a “significant step”.

Figures from the end of last year found crime involving the mopeds, scooters and motorbikes had risen by 600% over two years.

Meanwhile, Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) figures show there were 24 police pursuit-related incidents in 2016/17 in which 28 people died – more than double the 13 deaths in 2015/16.

Crimes such as snatch thefts and acid attacks are often conducted on stolen motorbikes or scooters, and ridden by people without helmets.

Skilled officers

The Home Office review will look at whether current arrangements need to be changed to ensure officers who engage in pursuit have the correct legal protections.

“While it is clearly vital that we protect public safety and that officers are accountable for their actions, it is also important that skilled officers have the confidence to protect the public by pursuing offenders where it is safe to do so,” Mr Hurd said.

At a motorcycle-related crime forum earlier this month, ministers heard there is a perception among the public and some police officers that the police will not pursue suspected offenders riding vehicles at high speeds.

In addition, there is anecdotal evidence that criminals are deliberately removing – or not wearing – helmets because it is wrongly believed that police will not continue a pursuit if that happens.

The Home Office emphasised that there is no ban on the police pursuing motorcyclists who are not wearing helmets.

Momentum gathering

Currently, the conduct of vehicle pursuits is an operational matter for the police and are set out in the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice (APP)

The APP states pursuit should only be carried out by “pursuit-trained” drivers where “it is in the public interest to protect life, prevent or detect crime, or to apprehend an offender”.

“Staff must discontinue a pursuit as soon as the risk becomes disproportionate to the reasons for undertaking it.”

“Motorcycle and quad bike pursuits clearly present higher risks for suspects than conventional vehicle pursuit,” the APP states.

But adds: “Where such vehicles are used to facilitate serious crime or used repeatedly as the mode of transport for organised crime groups then, to minimise risk to the public from criminality and to secure public confidence in policing, a pursuit may be justified.”

Tim Rogers, from the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Momentum has been gathering in recent months and this marks a significant step in bringing about the change we feel is necessary.

“Trained professionals are being judged by the same standards as a member of the public in any normal driving situation with no differentiation in law to recognise the professional training emergency response drivers undertake.”

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Two in court over Chris Boardman’s mother’s death

Liam Rosney and Victoria Rosney arriving at Mold Magistrates' Court
Image caption Liam Rosney (blue shirt) and Victoria Rosney will appear in court again at the end of October

Two people have appeared in court in connection with the death of Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman’s mother.

Carol Boardman, 75, was riding her bike when she collided with a Mitsubishi Warrior in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, on 16 July last year.

Liam Rosney, 32, and Victoria Rosney, 31, both of Connah’s Quay, appeared at Mold Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

He is accused of causing death by dangerous driving and both are charged with perverting the course of justice.

Magistrates sent the case to Mold Crown Court where the two will appear on 27 October.

Mrs Boardman was taken to hospital with serious injuries after the crash but died in the early hours of the next day.

Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Chris Boardman tweeted a picture and tribute to his mother Carol after her death

Chris Boardman, 47, who won individual pursuit gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games and bronze in the individual time trial at Atlanta 1996, posted a tribute to his mother on social media on behalf of the family.

He said: “Our mum was the most positive outgoing person you could ever hope to meet and her generosity of spirit inspired everyone she met.

“Many of our childhood memories involve my mother and the outdoors, walking out over Hoylake sandbank, swimming in the deep gullies or hunting for fossils on Llandegla Moor in north Wales.

“Wanting to share her passion for cycling, even well into her 70s, she often took groups of young novices out on their first forays into north Wales.”

Defence solicitor Gwyn Lewis said Mr and Mrs Rosney would be pleading not guilty, but the couple only spoke to confirm their names and ages.

They were released on bail until their crown court appearance.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Chris Boardman won gold at the 1992 Olympics

Motorway delays due to a broken down vehicle

Arson attack on abandoned motorbike

Motorbike attacked by arsonists in early morning blaze

Universal credit ‘making financial abuse easier’

Woman at tableImage copyright Thinkstock

Changes to benefit payments have made it easier for abusive partners to withhold money, according to a charity.

Welsh Women’s Aid said universal credit, which combines multiple benefit payments into one, was “enabling” financial abuse.

One woman from south Wales claims she was “dragged” to the bank and forced to take out a loan by her former husband.

The Department for Work and Pensions said its staff were trained to support victims of abuse.

Universal credit merges a string of previously separate benefits into one payment – now paid into one bank account.

The charity said abusive partners manipulate the system by getting universal credit paid into their account and keeping it for themselves.

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One woman from south Wales, who does not want to be identified, said her former husband brandished weapons and “took the reins” of her finances – building up debts in her name.

“He ended up dragging me down to the bank to get a loan out in my name that he had already investigated,” she said.

“[My husband] popped out of the room to get a leaflet, I was able to signal to the bank manager that I did not want to be there.

“He said ‘I can see that’ but, in the end when the forms came through, he stood over me and I signed them,” she added.

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Welsh Women’s Aid said 38% of women accessing specialist violence services in Wales in 2016-17 were identified as victims of financial abuse.

It said welfare reforms such as the benefits cap and changes to housing benefit were making it more difficult for people to leave abusive relationships.

By 2022, more than 400,000 households in Wales will receive universal credit.

Gwendolyn Sterk, public affairs manager at Welsh Women’s Aid, said the new single payment system needed to change.

“We need a system that recognises a women’s right to an independent income, rather than going back to the idea that one bread-winner would have that money paid into their account – and give them ultimate control over the whole finances of that household,” she said.

While claimants in abusive relationships can arrange split payments, many were reluctant to do so out of fear the abuse would get worse, the charity said.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Domestic abuse in any form is completely unacceptable and we are committed to doing all we can to improve support for people affected.

“Our staff are trained to support vulnerable people, including those who are victims of domestic abuse.

“That includes referring people to specialist organisations for more support and alternative payment arrangements can be made for those on universal credit.”

Newspaper headlines: Brexit battle and Germany election

Image caption The row in the Tory party rumbles on in the Daily Telegraph, which says allies of Chancellor Philip Hammond have accused Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of being “simple-minded” over Brexit and warned that the transition period may need to be extended until after the next election.
Image caption The Metro says Theresa May has a fight on her hands to stay in Number 10, with up to 50 Conservative MPs said to want her out. “The prime minister is struggling to keep a lid on Brexit tensions after failing to heal divisions within her cabinet over the manner of the UK‘s departure from the EU,” it says.
Image caption The i reports that Brexit Secretary David Davis is ready to mount a leadership bid if Mrs May is forced from office. The paper describes how the prime minister is fighting for her future after the cabinet’s EU truce unravelled.
Image caption The Daily Express says fears of “a new Franco-German plot to sabotage Brexit”h and keep the UK tied to Brussels have emerged. The paper reports that a fresh plan by French President Emmanuel Macron to offer the UK a flexible new membership deal is expected to win the backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Image caption The Guardian focuses on the election in Germany, saying that Angela Merkel secured her fourth term as chancellor but with her authority diminished after her conservative bloc failed to halt the march of far right-wing populists.
Image caption On the same story, the Times says the far-right “stormed” into the German parliament for the first time in 50 years as it capitalised on fears about the influx of migrants under Mrs Merkel. “More than five million voters ignored appeals from Mrs Merkel and other mainstream leaders not to back the Alternative for Germany (AfD),” it reports.
Image caption The Financial Times says Mrs Merkel is heading for her fourth term as German chancellor after winning the election, despite a sharp fall in support for her conservative Christian Democrat-led alliance.
Image caption The Daily Mail says patients trying to see a GP are being screened by receptionists in a controversial scheme designed to cut the number of appointments. According to the paper, the scheme was devised to reduce “avoidable” appointments but campaigners say it is “absolutely ridiculous”.
Image caption The Sun says a holidaymaker got home from France – and found an Ethiopian illegal immigrant hiding in the boot of his van. He had apparently been driven all the way from Calais to Wales.
Image caption The Daily Star leads on the decision by Fifa to allow the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland football teams to wear poppies. The four associations were fined when they did so last year.
Image caption The Daily Mirror also has a poppy story, saying that Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has complained that he cannot buy wreaths on expenses. The Mirror says he complained: “There are huge costs which can’t be claimed.”

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Fifa to lift ban on poppy following talks with football associations of UK

Scotland and England players wore black armbands with poppy symbols during their World Cup qualifier at Wembley on 17 November

Fifa is set to lift the ban on the poppy following talks with the football associations of the United Kingdom.

Last year, football’s world governing body fined England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for their use of the poppy to commemorate Armistice day, deeming it to be a political symbol.

England and Scotland wore the emblem on black armbands during their World Cup qualifier at Wembley last November.

Wales and Northern Ireland were fined for displaying it in their stadiums.

The ensuing row drew criticism from the Prime Minister, with Theresa May calling Fifa’s stance “utterly outrageous”.

“Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security,” she said. “I think it is absolutely right that they should be able to do so.”

Last week Fifa is understood to have sent out a draft proposal to its member nations with revised provisions that could see the poppy permitted if opposing teams and the competition organiser for the relevant match both accept its use in advance.

The new law is expected to be passed in time for November’s international games, which are to be played between 6 and 14 November – a period that incorporates Remembrance weekend.

England are set to play Germany in a friendly at Wembley during this time and it is understood the German FA has no objections over the use of the poppy.

England players are now expected to either wear armbands with a poppy on them or have the poppy embroidered on their shirts in the same way as Premier League teams.

The match will be given the go-ahead provided both countries avoid the World Cup play-offs. To do so, England need to beat Slovenia at Wembley next month to secure automatic promotion while a draw is enough for Germany against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

The FA declined to comment until the decision to change the game‘s laws has been fully ratified.

Last year, England and Scotland displayed the poppy on a black armband in an unsuccessful attempt to circumvent the regulations.

That echoed similar actions in 2011 when, under now-departed leadership, Fifa permitted England, Scotland and Wales to use armbands.

Football bosses stopping UK players wearing poppies is utterly outrageous, says PM

The new wording of Fifa’s law tightens the definition of what is deemed a ‘political’ symbol prohibiting:

  • the commemoration of any living or dead person
  • political parties or groups
  • any local or national government
  • discriminatory organisations
  • any group whose aims / actions would offend a notable number of people
  • any specific political act / event

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the guardian organisation of the sport’s laws, is expected to approve the amendment in early October.

The issue looked likely to be pursued in the courts at one stage after Fifa sanctioned the UK‘s football associations for using the poppy late last year.

Instead, with the prospect of increased fines being levied for repeat offences, negotiations have taken place to find a solution.

The emphasis will now be on competition organisers, such as Uefa and Fifa, to determine if a particular symbol is ‘political’ under the new regulation.

It is believed the fines levied against the UK associations last year will not now need to be paid.

Police searching for missing 26-year-old man find a body

Police in missing man inquiry find a body