In 2012 an inquiry into pay for British Police officers was launched. Led by Tom Winsor the inquiry concluded that an overhaul of police pay, conditions and allowances was overdue. The review recommended that a cut of £1bn from police pay was possible.The recent 'plebgate' in the UK proved, in some people's opinion, that police officers had an axe to grind with Tory politicians.
Today pay cuts have been announced.UK Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that the starting salary for a police officer will be cut by
by £4,000 to £19,000. The BBC
has reported that May has now accepted proposals agreed by the Police Arbitration Tribunal.Tom Winsor is a former Rail regulator. He was controversially appointed
Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, last year. He is the first non-policeman named to the post. Compulsory redundancies have been put on hold until further negotitions are complete.
Theresa May said
"These reforms build on the changes we implemented [in January last year]. 'Modernise pay' "They continue our programme to modernise police pay and conditions so that they are fair to both officers and the taxpayer. They include measures to retarget pay to reward contribution, increase local flexibility and make important structural changes to enable further reform."
The Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo)
"In a service where over 80% of budget is spent on people, it is more vital than ever that we have terms and conditions for all staff that both reward them for what they do and represent value for money. "Acpo was concerned about the starting salaries range proposed and the outcome of these negotiations means that chief constables will now have the flexibility to pay a starting salary of up to £22,000 depending on skills and qualifications. Officers can also reach the top rate of pay three years earlier than under the current arrangements."
How the rank and file in the police service respond remains to be seen. They will need to take into account Tory plans to raise their national insurance contributions, under UK pension reform. A wide range of other increases, plus inflation of course is constantly undervaluing money in the UK.
The breaking news in the UK lunchtime April 10, 2012, is that the UK can extradite Islamist Cleric Abu Hamza to the US. Just why this decision has taken so long will baffle most people in the UK. After all retired businessman Christoper Tappin was shipped off double quick and the European Court of Human Rights thought that would be fine and dandy.
Six controversial extradition cases were up for a ruling today and in 5 out of the 6 cases the judges agreed the accused could be sent to the US.
Hamza had argued that extradition to the US would be a violation of the European human rights code, which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners. Although Hamza is in effect on his way to the US in reality there is still some way to go. If a further appeal is lodged within the next three months the extradition will be halted once again.
UK Home Secretary Theresa May has used some of these high profile cases as examples as to why the Human Rights Act is flawed. However to imply that this means the Act should be scrapped is nonsense. It may need some revision but these days our Human Rights need protecting more than ever. As the media have reported, "Critics claim the extradition treaty, which was agreed after the September 11 terror attacks in New York, needs to be rebalanced to give Britons greater protection."
Currently however there appears to be a farcical feeling to the UK and its extradition laws. UK citizens are being shipped off with hardly a thought to their human rights, take for example Christopher Tappin,
whilst people such as Abu Qatada
have their appeals upheld.
After today's ruling SkyNews reported that: "The judges rejected the men's claims they could face prison conditions and jail terms that would expose them to "torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The ruling is a boost for the Government, although the court stressed it only becomes final after three months, if there is no further appeal. Home Secretary Theresa May welcomed the decision and said the suspects would be handed over "as quickly as possible" Between 1999 and 2006, the six men were all indicted on terrorism charges by the US and their extradition requested - leading to their arrests in Britain"
The other men have been named as, Babar Ahmad
, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Tahla Ahsan and Adel Abdul Bary. Full report here
Tags: Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Tahla Ahsan, Abu Hamza, Adel Abdul Bary, Abu Qatada, ECHR, Theresa May
The UK Coalition government has announced that it is looking at stopping the sale of cut-price alcohol. Supermarkets currently offer many deals and bogoff offers, buy one get one free. Of course many people use the cheap offers to stock up for Christmas, a birthday bash, a barbecue and so on.Some in the UK however believe that the cut-price booze culture in the UK is the reason for an alarming increase in al
cohol consumption. The increase has seen a huge number adults and young people needing treatment for drink related diseases. There has also been an increase in the incidence of alcoholism and drunken behaviour. Most UK city centres become virtual no-go areas after dark thee days. Drunks rule the roost.The government has however been accused of simpl
ifying the British drink problem. It has also been accused of using the proposed changes to alcohol pricing as a distraction from this week's budget. The media does appear to have forgotten the Granny Tax and more as it latches on to the "price of a pint".Home Secretary Theresa May
made the announcement today, which makes it the fourth announcement to be made on a Friday in the last 10 years. May claims that the allegations are basically nonsense and that the announcement was made today in order to get it public before the MPS take a well earned recess. Sorry. That last statement was sarcasm. Could not resist it.The Coalition is proposing that there is a minimum price set for a unit of alcohol. This will be 40p per unit. It will come into effect in Wales and England. The Coalition has said that it will not make any money out of these changes. It maintains that it will go into the till of the retailer.The announcement has caused a mixed reaction. There are so many ifs and ands with this decision.
For what it is worth here are this blogger's thoughts on the matter.Opinion:Parts of the UK have always had a drink to excess culture, as far as alcohol goes. Experts have today said that the news of a price cap will prevent those consumers who drink to excess at home, on their own, from doing so.
The price of alcohol in Pubs is presumably to stay as it is. This price is currently higher than in supermarkets anyway.The theory appears to be that social drinkers in pubs are less likely to "get of their face" It generalises that those who do, have drunk plenty before they even get to the pub. It also generalises that alcoholism is more likely in solitary drinkers who consume alcohol at home.Whilst any attempt to target the ever increasing problem of
alcohol in the UK is good it is debatable if today's proposals will have any effect in real terms. Here are some other considerations:
- UK licensing laws were relaxed and in 2005 24 hour drinking, in pubs, became a reality. Plenty of pubs now have 24 hour drinking. It has never been so easy to become paralytic drunk.
- The anti-smoking legislation went a step further than it had previously, in 2007. Smokers who enjoyed a smoke with their pint were now ostracised. There were no longer any smoking areas allowed in a place such as a pub. In a warm climate that may work well, sitting in the sun but in the North of England in December, what fun is that? Pubs often have more people outside than in them. Ultimately of course for many pubs it has sounded a death knell. People prefer to enjoy a drink at home. This is when cheap alcohol comes into play. Will a price increase change this?
Alcohol can and does wreck lives, including the lives of loved ones. The UK Coalition needs to address what can be done. They have in the past come down hard on smokers so why should drinkers be any different? Drunks can and do, at times, cause fights, start arguments, cost the health service a great deal of money, abuse hospital staff, beat up partners, become involved in traffic accidents and so much more.That said it does not mean that all people who drink behave in such a way. In proposing the 40p per unit limit the UK government will hit all people who may consume al
cohol. It will no doubt affect the alcohol trade negatively.Will it help fight the "drunken UK culture" Probably not. Perhaps the government need to ask just why so many people feel a need to drink to oblivion these days and "get off their face". Final thought:
Politicians in the UK enjoy the privilidge of subsidised alcohol prices in the Commons Bar. They are often "the worse for wear" during late night debates. Recently a bar brawl ensued in the Commons Bar and criminal charges have followed.So will the Government lead by example and get rid of cut price booze in the Commons? Surely they must if they want to lead by example?
The UK Home Secretary Theresa May has in recent weeks signed away the rights of more than one UK citizen. When the US requests extradition of a UK citizen May it seems willingly obliges. It may seem a two way street but it is far from that. UK citizens are not afforded the same legal safeguards as US citizens.TEK reported on the case of Christopher Tappin a retired UK businessman who was extradited to the US after a long battle to stay in the UK.
His case is ongoing. Yesterday May signed an extradition order regarding 23-year-old Richard O'Dwyer.
He will now face charges in the US related to file sharing and his TV Shack website. As Reuters reported,
"Campaigners argue O'Dwyer's is the latest in a series of cases that demonstrate Britain's extradition rules with the United States are lopsided, allowing suspects to be extradited without criminal charges from British authorities". Once again the UK is letting its citizens down and surrendering to US bullying.Perhaps however there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. According to the BBC David Cameron has raised the matter of this extradition treaty with President Obama during the current US visit.
They have reported that David Cameron "wants to review how extradition arrangements are working between the UK and US in the light of recent controversial cases"About time is all this blogger can say.
. Remember though debating an issue is no guarantee that a change will occur. If you feel strongly on the issue of the 2003 extradition treaty please sign the petition.
Abu Qatada, a radical Islamist preacher, was released from jail in the UK last week. He had been held as a prisoner for more than six years. His release from prison hardly gave him his freedom though. Under a daily 22 hour curfew, with severe restrictions and monitoring in place, Qatada waits as the UK keep the deportation dialogue necessary with Jordan open.
It is claimed that should Qatada be returned to Jordan, where he is wanted to face criminal charges, he could be the subject of torture. Whether this would happen is up for debate but this report is about the cost of keeping Qatada in the UK.
His deportation was prevented by the European Court of Human Rights and without reassurances regarding his personal safety the man is not going anywhere. One has to wonder if France, for example, would have put up with this situation, and if so for as long as the UK? Mr Qatada has been in the UK since 1993 when he claimed asylum. After 9/11 he came firmly on the radar of British Intelligence services and ultimately he was arrested for his militant sermons and more.
So the cost of all this.
Qatada cost the British penal system when he was held in jail. His family were supported by the British taxpayer during his time in jail. Now he is home, albeit under a strict curfew, the mounting costs continue. His assets said to be in excess of £120,000 are frozen. This means that he, his wife and his children are all being supported by the state. Educational needs and health care will be paid for by the good old British public.
Home Secretary Theresa May is planning on visiting Jordan in an effort to secure a deportation deal. More expense, this time wages and travelling costs. The Prince of Jordan has already said that his country cannot make any assurances regarding torture and Qatada. Some in the UK believe that Great Britain could simply choose to ignore the ECHR decision if they wanted to. May's Jordanian visit is a follow on to one by Home Office minister James Brokenshire earlier in February. More expense then. Currently the security bill for ensuring that Qatada poses no threat to the UK is reidculously high.
All in all it is fair to say the ECHR decision is costing the UK taxpayer dearly. The latest estimate is that it will cost us at least £10,000 a week. Qatada's London address has obviously not been revealed to the public but it has been reported that the house is valued at over £400,000.
The deportation of Abu Qatada leaves a lot to be desired. The cost to the UK in such austere times seems ridiculous.Settling the case of Abu Qatada once and for all must surely be a UK government priority?
Most people would agree that the world has a lot of serious ongoing problems right now. Many of these will prove hard to solve and some may prove impossible. With all of this in mind one would assume that the UK Conservative Party would have plenty of serious busines to occupy them this week, at their Party annual conference, this year held in Manchester.
It seems though that one of the most headline grabbing debates at conference involved a Bolivian man's cat.
TEK reported earlier this week
on the saga involving the cat, Home Secretary Theresa May and a Bolivian man living in the UK. Now it seems that there was perhaps some truth in her initial claims.May claimed that the man had been saved from deportation, by way of the Human Rights Act, because he owned a cat. A series of interviews and debates followed in which some claimed the judge had merely said the cat added to the evidence that the man was building a stable family life in the UK.If a politicians is to use such examples it should be important that they get it right. However many politicians care little for the actual truth and twist and turn it to suit.The latest information is that the man was in a gay relationship. He and his partner needed to show that they were in a stable long lasting relationship. The cat added weight to the stability of their life.
Yesterday, October 5, 2011, it emerged that the Bolivian man arrived in Britain as a student in 2002 and overstayed his two-year visa only when he was arrested for shoplifting in 2007.As yet he has faced no criminal charges as far as the shoplifting goes.The Home office had initially told the man that,
‘Although you have a cat called Maya she is considered to be able to adapt to life abroad with her owners. While your cat’s material quality of life in Bolivia may not be at the same standard as in the United Kingdom, this does not give rise to a right to remain in the United Kingdom.’
The judge in the case disagred and said, ‘The evidence concerning the joint acquisition of Maya (the cat) by the appellant and his partner reinforces my conclusion on the strength and quality of the family life that the appellant and his partner enjoy.In Canada and to a much lesser extent in the United States there is an increasing recognition of the significance that pets occupy in family life and of the potentially serious emotional consequences pet owners may suffer when some unhappy event terminates the bond they have with a pet. The Canadian courts have moved away from the legal view that animals are merely chattels, to a recognition that they play an important role in the lives of their owners and that the loss of a pet has a significant emotional impact on its owner.’ The UK Home Office launched an appeal but the Bolivian one. However it has been stressed he did not win this appeal on the grounds of the cat.The furore of the "cat" has left the Tory Party with egg on its face and looking in disarray. PM David Cameron has taken the side of his Home Secretary Theresa May. He has attacked Justice Secretary Ken Clarke who had derided May, saying Clarke was "siding with criminals".Although all of this smacks of a comedy such as "Carry on Politician"
it detracts from the serious side of this debate. Certain members of the Tory Party seem hell bent on scrapping the Human Rights Act. The Act may be flawed but resiging it to the scrap heap is bad news.It would make more sense to draft our own Human Rights Act or appeal for amendments to the act than scrap it in its entirety. As Big Brother reaches out
further all the time such an Act is vital. Remember amongst all the cat's out of the bag, Tories in cat flap and cat-gate jokes that a serious threat to UK Human Rights is on the cards. Don't let them scrap it for good.For every rogue person misusing the Human Rights Act ther will be many more honestly being helped by it.
Speaking at the UK Tory conference Home Secretary Theresa May used various examples to show why she believes that the Human Rights Act should be scrapped in the UK. It had already been reported that she would announce her intention to scrap this EU Act.
Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister for the UK Coalition Government has previously said that the Act will remain in tact and it seems that veteran Tory, Ken Clarke, is with him on this score. Kenneth Clarke, who is the Justice Secretary and Ms May are definitely not singing from the same song sheet on this one.
What most of the media has picked up on though is one of Ms May's ill thought out examples.
She used an example of a Bolivian man who was not deported due to the fact that he had a cat. She claimed the cat had given him family status in the UK, protecting him from deportation. In true Tory style she assured the audience and viewers that she was telling the truth. As she said, she promised them this had happened. Now it seems it was a distortion of the facts at the very least if not a lie. What a surprise!
You have to wonder at the intelligence of politicians who fabricate the truth so blatantly. Do they not realise that sources can soon check facts out and many will be quick to publicise untruths.
One official on TV said he could categorically say that the cat was not the reason the man was allowed to stay in the UK. The pun was not wasted on me although I was not sure if it was intentional or just one of those funny things that happen.
Suffice to say May looks set on whittling away at UK Human Rights if she can. Perhaps this time though her own political bedfellows will not let her. After all the "Cat's out of the Bag" now.