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Response to Channel 4's Dispatches programme

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) responds to Channel 4’s Dispatches programme which appears to show that forces are so overstretched that nearly a million crimes are not being fully investigated.

PFEW chair John Apter said: “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I find myself wondering why there is a sharp intake of breath every time new crime figures come out.

“We have been warning for some time of the impending crisis in policing, which is now here.

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Self-harm is at an all-time high in prisons

Assaults and self-harm incidents in prisons in England and Wales have reached a record high, according to the government’s Safety in Custody quarterly bulletin.

Over the last year, there have been 325 deaths in prison custody - up 8% on the previous year. Out of those, 87 were self-inflicted deaths. A huge 9,485 assaults were recorded against staff, up 27%, and  prisoner-on-prisoner assaults reached 23,448.

The report also stated that nearly 50,000 self-harm incidents took place over the last year, up by 20%.

Commenting on the publication of today's safety in custody statistics, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “Despite the unrelenting effort of many in the system, all of these indicators show that there is no end in sight to the catastrophe that has engulfed many of our prisons.

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Lorry driver was caught smuggling tobacco behind these crates

A lorry driver who was caught smuggling millions of cigarettes into the UK has been jailed for two years and 10 months after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Border Force officers stopped a lorry at the Port of Dover on 17 September 2018. A search of the trailer revealed 6.4 million Richmond Blue and NZ Slim cigarettes, worth an estimated £1.8 million in lost duty hidden behind pallets of black pudding.

The driver Daniel Ossowski, 38, from Tczew, Poland, was arrested, the cigarettes were seized and the matter referred to HMRC to investigate.

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police officers

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has expressed concern over the interpretation of new guidelines which will come into play when a member of the public dies or is seriously injured following contact with the police.

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Frustration on the front line because of 'chaotic' police IT

New survey sponsored by the Police Federation unveils the glitches and poor planning hampering Britain’s police forces

Only half (50%) of the UK’s police officers say they can rely on the information held on their forces’ computer systems, a new survey reveals today. And just 65% are able to access a computer at work when they need to.

The shock findings are unveiled in the Police ICT survey of 48 forces run by Policing Insight, with input from the Police Federation of England and Wales’ technology lead Simon Kempton.
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HM Inspectorate Of Prison Report On HMP Exeter

The HMP Exeter Action Plan, which the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke called for following a damning inspection in May this year, has been published.

The HMCIP stated that prisoner safety, living conditions and the prevalence of drugs made him rate the prison as its lowest rating, "poor", and prompted the Urgent Notification (UN) process. 

The action plan included a review of the Drug Supply & Reduction Strategy, stating that by March 2019: "This strategy will ensure that every department contributes to the prevention of drug use. It will include the role of key work, incentivise targets, engagement in regime and promotion of drug services. Progress will be reviewed at the monthly Senior Management Meetings and Drug Strategy meetings."

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Waterside Press: Michael Crowley's The Stony Ground

Despite financial cut-backs, the creative side of prison life always seems to win through. Events such as the annual Koestler Awards are evidence of this. So is the sterling work of, for example, Birmingham’s Geese Theatre, whose The Geese Theatre Handbook: Drama with Offenders and People at Risk has been a staple manual for trainers of all kinds since we had the privilege of working on it with them at the start of the millennium.

A similarly prized work is Michael Crowley’s Behind the Lines: Creative Writing with Offenders and People at Risk published in 2012. It shows how imaginative approaches to confronting offending behaviour – and imparting skills valuable on the outside – can have a real impact on whether someone returns to custody. Michael is a seasoned advocate for improving literacy in the prison setting. Quite apart from giving presentations at establishments such as Bristol and Erlestoke, he was for six years writer in residence at Lancaster Farms (then a young offender institution). He also helped set up a residency at Arohata Women's Prison in New Zealand in 2014. 

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Police Federation to challenge Home Office failure to implement pay body recommendations in full

Following the Home Secretary’s failure to honour in full the recommendations of the independent Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB), the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has started proceedings with the Home Office which could lead to a Judicial Review of the decision.

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Police heroes from World War I amongst those honoured at National Police Memorial Day ​

Thousands of police officers who have died or been killed in the line of duty were honoured at today’s annual National Police Memorial Day service, held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

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Sue Wheatcroft, blog author of 'My experience of mental health in prison', in red top with the rest of the Mental Health Together committee

The Custodial Review invites Sue Wheatcroft, a former inmate with a borderline personality disorder, to talk about mental health in prison. Here, Sue highlights the lack of resources available to prisoners who need mental health support and explains what she did about the problem on her release…

At the age of 55, I went to prison for the first time. I take full responsibility for the actions that led me there. However, I strongly believe that if I had received help from the mental health services, things would not have got so bad. I was desperate but received no help because I was ‘too ill to treat’. My story is not uncommon, and the more people who highlight what happens, the more chance there will be of changing attitudes and transforming the lives of people with mental illness.