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Policing review says violence against women is as important as terrorism

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A new report says tackling violence against women must be considered as much of a priority for the police as anti-terrorism.

The report, undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), was commissioned by home Secretary Priti Patel in the wake of the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in March this year and recommends a “radical shift” in the way crimes against women and girls are considered.

It further expressed “grave concerns” regarding the number of cases closed without charge, “major gaps” in the data recorded on offences, and the “staggering” degree of variation in attitudes toward domestic abuse across police forces in England and Wales.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning, the report’s author, Zoe Billingham HM Inspector of Constabulary said that, “ There is a real sense, I think, in the wake of this epidemic of violence, that enough is enough. There needs to be a whole new way of dealing with this and this is what we set out in our report today”.

Although acknowledging that the police had vastly improved in their response over the last 7 years, Billingham said, “We are not going to police our way out of the breadth and depth of the crimes that are being committed against women every day” stating that “we think there needs to be an uplift in the prioritisation of the violence against women crimes”.

The report also found that the total of investigations into sexual attacks against women shelved because of ‘evidential difficulties’ tripled from 4,326 cases in 2014-15 to 13,395 in 2019-20, a figure Billingham described as “eye-wateringly” high.

She went on to argue that some sexual predators and domestic abusers are ‘laughing’ at the law, as police will often not act against people who have repeatedly breached non-molestation orders.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Friday, Labour MP and former minister Harriet Harman said she gave “all credit to the Home Secretary” for commissioning the review, but said she hoped the government would now take action as a result of the findings, and said the home office must “immediately tackle domestic violence a priority in the strategic policing requirement – which at the moment it isn’t”.

She also said it was “completely not acceptable” that Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who has attracted controversy due to her comments on gender self-identification, may not attend the Labour Party conference due to fear of personal safety.

Ahead of the report’s release, shadow minister for domestic violence Jess Phillips said via Twitter:

“So who is now the Home Office Minister for safeguarding with responsibility for the biggest violent crime type in the UK? Because tomorrow there is a report coming from the inspectorate in to how well that’s going, so they better get reading pretty quick.”

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Ringway to replace Kier on Surrey roads deal worth up to £2.5bn

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Ringway will take over from current incumbent Kier next April to carry out road repairs, resurfacing and specialist structural projects as well as the upkeep of drains, winter gritting and snow clearing under the contract which will initially run for 10 years with the potential to be extended up to 21 years.

Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure, Matt Furniss said: “Ringway will work with SCC to invest £200m in Surrey’s highways over the next five years which will see improvements to approximately 350 miles of road and 180 miles of pavements. This will include the development and adoption of innovative materials, construction techniques and ways of working.

“I would like to thank Kier Highways Limited who have successfully delivered highways activities on behalf of the Council over the past eleven years.  We will work with them to ensure a smooth transition that doesn’t detrimentally affect services for residents.”

Mike Notman, Ringway Managing Director added: “We are very much looking forward to working with local people, partners and communities, ensuring that Surrey’s roads deliver connectivity and accessibility benefits for local people, as well as supporting the council’s climate change ambitions.”

The contract was awarded following a 12-month procurement process which saw seven organisations initially submit expressions of interest for the contract and Amey, Kier and Ringway make the shortlist.

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John Nicolson takes aim at Newcastle Supporters over Saudi takeover

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SNP MP John Nicolson took aim at Newcastle supporters for ‘not caring’ about Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses following the club’s controversial takeover last week.

The SNP culture spokesperson criticised some sections of fans for being “numpties dancing around in cod-Arabic dresses outside Newcastle United” after the takeover, and for the “enormous abuse” journalists received when reporting on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

Nicolson claimed “there was nobody who could have taken over that club, no matter the level of evil of the person… that would have resulted in anything other than celebration for large numbers of these Newcastle United supporters.”

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BFT boosts fleet with new mastclimbers

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The new BFT120 Mastclimbing machines can reach heights of 130m with a total platform length of 30m when in a twin mast configuration.

The standard platform is 1.1m wide with a max SWL capacity of 3,700kg making it very versatile and suitable for many different construction projects.

BFT has around 600 of this machine type making up around one third of the fleet.

The new machines are all sourced from European manufacturers that BFT has held longstanding relationships with and come complete with CE certification and full service records available throughout their life.

BFT said: “It is important to note that these high quality machines meet all UK construction safety standards and we would actively encourage contractors to book a visit to our health and safety and maintenance facilities to see for themselves how this will benefit their projects.

“By keeping the machines maintained via rigorous safety checks both on site and back in our new manitenance facilities we are proud of our safety record and look forward to having more brand new machines out on sites in 2022.

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