Security van makes 120 mile trip to escort prisoner 200 yards
A security van was sent on a 120-mile round trip to move a prisoner 200 yards to avoid breaching his human rights. Mark Bailey, 35, was taken to a Crown Court but after a brief hearing sent immediately to the magistrates' court across the road. Police said Bailey could not be walked across the street in handcuffs because it would breach his human rights - so a van was scrambled from 60 miles away for the 30 second journey. Campaigners and MPs branded the decision "a shocking waste of money" and said it was "no wonder" Britain's criminal justice system was in such a state of chaos.
Bailey appeared from custody before Northampton Crown Court Tuesday morning charged with stealing cable from a railway line. A judge decided it was better dealt with by magistrates and Bailey was ordered to appear the same day. However, by this time the prison van had gone. Police refused to walk him across Victoria Road, which separates the buildings, so a van was called from Cambridge, 57 miles away, to pick him up and drop him off.
He finally arrived at the magistrates' court two hours and 40 minutes after the van was called. Charged with theft and going equipped, Bailey, from Northampton, was remanded in custody.
A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire police said it would "not be appropriate" to walk a prisoner down a public street. She said: "Once a person is in the courts system, they are no longer in police custody and police are not responsible for their transportation. "It would not be appropriate for prisoners to walk in a public area while in custody for many reasons, including public safety issues, as well as the safety and human rights of the prisoner. "Until someone has been convicted of an offence they are innocent in the eyes of the law and it would therefore be inappropriate for them to be escorted across a busy main road in handcuffs."
Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South, said: "I've never heard such nonsense. Why we should have to suffer such ludicrous incompetence, and pay for it, is beyond me. "In my view, Bailey should have been escorted across the road but if they were worried about him absconding, they could have put him in a squad car - the police station is just around the corner."
Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, added: "This is absurd and a total waste of money. "No wonder our prisons are in such a state of chaos, if they can't even manage to escort a prisoner 200 yards between buildings. "If anyone had shown a bit of initiative this could have been sorted out in five minutes, but instead taxpayers had to foot the bill for this wasteful trek."
A barrister at the court - who wishes to remain anonymous - said: "The transport of prisoners to court is ludicrous and a joke." A spokesman for Global Solutions Limited, responsible for the movement and security of prisoners, said: "It was an unplanned movement and the van had gone to do other things. It is not a taxi service and has a range of duties to make best use of taxpayers' money. "It is more efficient doing it this way than having a load of vehicles sitting around outside court just in case." He said he did not know whether the van came from Cambridge
The incredible British police again
Masked men caught on church roof stealing lead... but that's not enough evidence, say police
When three masked men were caught on the roof of an ancient church that had been stripped of lead worth œ100,000, villagers felt their prayers had been answered. Police arrived in time to catch the trio - in balaclavas and masks - red-handed. Lead had been taken off and rolled up nearby ready to be taken away. But to the astonishment of residents they only got a caution because officers decided they may just have been admiring the view.
After ten thefts of lead in as many months from St Helen's Church in Treeton, South Yorkshire, locals had become so desperate they had even set up their own undercover operation to catch them. However, police let the suspects off because of 'insufficient evidence'. The men had nothing incriminating in their possession when searched and no fingerprints could be taken from the stolen lead.
Churchwarden's wife Carole Robinson says 85 per cent of the lead on the roof has been taken. She added: 'It was beyond belief. The police said they could claim they had only gone up to look at the view. It left people furious. 'We have been plagued with lead thefts and when we finally catch men on the roof they let them off.'
The roof is covered with plastic sheets while officials raise 100,000 pounds to fix it, plus the same amount to repair the tower of the church, which is in the Domesday Book. Builders have erected scaffolding to replace the roof with stainless steel sheets, but thieves have used it to get easier access and steal lead they could not reach before.
Residents spotted the men on the roof after evening service on Sunday. Mrs Robinson said: 'The police arrived and the men came down and in effect gave themselves up. 'It seemed they had been caught red-handed. Lead had been removed and rolled up ready to be carried off. 'But the police said lead was not the kind of material you could get fingerprints from and they did not have enough evidence to take them to court because they could not link the men to the lead. I felt totally vulnerable. The law seems to be on the side of the criminals.'
Suggestions from police that the men were just 'youths' caught on scaffolding were angrily refuted. She said: 'They were men aged between 20 and 30 and they had balaclavas and gloves. I think it's quite wrong for the police dismiss this as youths playing on the scaffolding.'
But Chief Inspector Jason Harwin said: 'Four officers, including a dog handler, spoke with three youths who were on the scaffolding. 'Officers searched all three and examined the surrounding area but found no evidence that any offences had been committed, nor that the youths possessed any articles with which to commit any offences. Officers had no power to arrest these youths. They were warned to stay away from the property. 'Operations have been conducted to catch offenders stealing lead but these have been to no gain. Work is continuing to tackle the issue.'
Thefts of lead from church roofs have become a national problem. Ecclesiastical Insurance, which covers 95 per cent of Anglican churches in Britain received 2,000 claims relating to lead thefts worth 6 million in 2007. In 2005, there were 80 claims for 300,000 pounds.
The Left is leaving the workers
And the workers are reciprocating
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands or the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) is Germany's oldest political party dating from 1863. At times, it has been Germany's largest party and it has elected German Chancellors such as Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and more recently Gerhard Schr”der. And it remains a junior coalition partner in Angela Merkel's government.
The current SPD leader is Kurt Beck and under his watch the SPD has seen its polling numbers drop and drop hitting a new low last week of just 20% support and its membership base erode by 8% in just two years. Der Spiegel provides the coverage:
A political party of historic importance is imploding in Germany. Even worse, though, is that the Social Democrats (SPD) themselves don't seem to care. Indeed, it is precisely this indifference, this indolence and this lethargy among prominent party members that explains in part why the SPD has sunk to such low depths.Sound familiar? Perhaps the US Democratic Party is taking lessons from Kurt Beck and the SPD? Here is the takeaway again from Der Spiegel:
The SPD of 2008, at any rate, has bid farewell to itself, turning its back on much of what made it great. First, the SPD has disconnected itself from the working class. Since the 1998 general elections, much of the SPD's slide has resulted from blue-collar voters turning their backs on the party. Support among workers having dropped 15 percent in the last decade. In a number of state elections during the second term of SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schr”der (from 2002 to 2005), the SPD lost as much as one-fifth of its blue-collar support.
For the SPD, this shift is a profound disaster. The industrial working class has long formed the ideological center around which the SPD orbited. It was the party's raison d'etre, the source of party stability and the guiding light of all its efforts. The cool, unsentimental exodus of the working class has robbed the SPD of its core image, an image built up over more than a century. The SPD without support from the workers is a party stripped of its goal - namely that of emancipating the lower classes.For the US Democratic Party, their raison d'ˆtre should be the working class because since at least 1928 the Democratic party has been the party of labor rights and labor protections, of the working class and of the American middle class. And it has been their votes that have propelled the party to victory. Now some argue that a new coalition is set to transform American politics, the creative class plus the young plus African-Americans. If the Democratic party no longer stands for the working class, and it has struggled mightily in trying to win their support since the 1980s, the working class will find a new political home and it will the Democratic party left standing in the cold halls of Congress, not in the warm chambers of political power. Has the political left forgotten its reason for being? Is it a temporary forgetfulness or a permanent delusion of grandeur?
I wonder if in a few year's hence, we too will be writing the political obituary of a working class party that has competed in elections since 1828, that of the US Democratic Party. I wonder if the German SPD can wither away, is this a lesson or a blueprint for the US Democratic Party?
Australia: Attack on fatherhood defeated by Christian party
The Rev Fred Nile from the Christian Democrats has successfully amended a NSW same-sex reform bill some feared would see the genetic father's name deleted from birth certificates of children born to lesbian partnerships. The amended bill was agreed to by the NSW lower house late yesterday. On Tuesday, Mr Nile's amendments found the support of all members of the MLC bar the four Green Party members.
The Attorney General John Hatzistergos said he accepted Mr Nile's two amendments because `it is not the Government's intention to modify the way birth certificates are issued in the sense of removing the names of mothers and fathers'.
Mr Nile has thanked his colleagues in the Legislative Council for their support `in ensuring we retained recognition of fathers and paternity under the law'. "I'm pleased we have managed to look beyond our own political differences and agenda and come together in recognising the important role fathers play in the lives of children," he said.
Mr Hatzistergos argued that the reforms were primarily aimed at ensuring the children of same-sex couples had the same rights that every other child has in a family, such as access to workers compensation, access to victim compensation benefits, and the rights of inheritance. "At the moment, if the birth mother were to pass away, the same-sex partner who has been in a relationship with the birth mother and who has been raising that child would have no legal nexus to that child. This legislation simply reflects reality, and that reality is based on decisions that have already been made by this Parliament," he said.
Earlier, Christian groups, including the Sydney Diocese's top ethical body, had raised serious concerns about the reform. In its briefing document released earlier this week, the Social Issues Executive of Sydney Diocese says it was concerned that the change to identify `social parents rather than genetic parents' would deny children `the possibility of knowing about their genetic origins'.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.