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Police team-ups beat Nigeria's scammers
New Scotland Yard
Cooperation between Scotland Yard and Nigeria has improved
As part of BBC World Service's series on Intercontinental Cops, Jenny Chryss explores how investigators from London and Lagos have linked up to combat corruption and fraud in Nigeria.

Globally, Nigeria has become associated with what is known as "advance fee" or 419 fraud.

Virtually anyone with an email account will be familiar with this crime, which involves sending emails or faxes to potential victims around the world, sucking them into a highly attractive but utterly false financial deal.

Back in Nigeria, the rewards are potentially highly lucrative - but now, owing to a crackdown and much-improved co-operation between police forces globally, it has become more risky for the perpetrators.

"Historically we've always had a problem getting evidence from Nigeria, but that's changing," says Detective Sergeant Mark Radford, head of the Africa desk at New Scotland Yard.

"They're keen to co-operate and bring a lot of the criminals in Nigeria to justice."

Black money

At the holding cells in the centre of the country's commercial capital, Lagos, more than 50 suspects are waiting for court appearances on 419 charges. It is a busy place.

Recently Nigeria has, for the first time ever, begun a major crackdown on all sorts of economic crime - and it is needed.

Money next to a keyboard
This fraud is doing a hell of a lot of damage, unbelievable tampering with our image, our standing, our honour, our dignity in the world
Malam Nuhu Ribadu, chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Last year it was ranked the sixth most corrupt country in the world - and that was its best rating ever.

Now, though, internet service providers who allow online fraudsters to operate will face criminal charges, while decades in jail await the scammers themselves - with little chance of early parole.

Still, with rich pickings still to exploit, Nigeria's criminals will not give in easily.

As well as the most well-known scams, others are now coming into vogue. In one - the so-called "black money" scam - people are shown what appear to be bank notes which have been dyed.

The scammer appears to show how to remove the dye, and sells the "notes" for cash. In fact, the notes are worthless waste paper.

To give credence to their operations, the warehouses and hotels Nigerians use as meeting places are usually in European cities, with London being a favourite.

Olaolu Adegbite, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission's Advance Fee Fraud section in Lagos, said one man from the US had ended up paying $2.1m after been conned in this way.

"The gentleman got convinced when he arrived in the UK and the men were well-dressed, some black, some white, and looked responsible," he said.

"He was convinced, he was carried away."

In this case the fraudster was eventually caught in Nigeria and sentenced to 342 years in jail. He must also repay the $2.1m in full.

State corruption

But there is a long way to go. Allegations of corruption go to the very highest level.

London detective Peter Clark has been trailing one Nigerian state governor, suspected of corruption in Nigeria and money-laundering in London, since January 2004.

Only when he began delving into what initially was a credit card fraud case that he realised how significant it might prove to be, when it became apparent that millions of pounds had been secretly moved from Nigeria into London banks.

For years, widespread corruption has been blamed for many of Nigeria's ills. Schools, hospitals and public services are falling far short of what could be expected of a country that is oil-rich and, in many areas, highly fertile.

Villagers in Nigeria's Central Plateau state
Accusers say corruption makes Nigerian states poorer
And there now growing evidence that the people living in Nigeria's poor Central Plateau state are worse off even than they should be, because, it is alleged, the governor has siphoned off millions of pounds from the public purse.

Specifically, it is claimed he redirected at least £6m meant for environmental improvements into his own bank accounts.

"Every so often states make a bid to the federal government for extra works within their state - and what we've been able to find out is that as a result of cheques being issued for that work, the state governor basically steals that cheque," detective Clark said.

"We've identified that portions of that cheque have found their way into London bank accounts."

However, the governor of Central Plateau continues to rule because the assembly here has elected to keep him in office, where he has immunity from prosecution.

Although he declined to be interviewed by the BBC, the speaker of the assembly, Simon Lalong, told us the money allocated to the central plateau had been properly spent.

"We invited the EFCC to come and prove the allegations - because what we had at first was just paper telling us this is the bundle of allegations against his Excellency, including the jumping of bail," he said.

"They wrote and said this is the allegation, but we said, 'what are the facts?'"

In Nigeria it is being reported that 24 of the country's 36 state governors are now under investigation.

Allowing these men to go free is not an option for the EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu.

"If this country is going to change, if anything is going to work, we have to fight corruption, we have to establish rule of law and order," he says.

"We cannot do it alone, because we are fighting the power, the authority, those with the money, and we need those who are good, who understands the need of such things to stand by us."


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Sunday Mirror 6th August 2006

 

EXCLUSIVE: COPS TO GET HEADCAMS
EXCLUSIVE Spy cameras fitted on helmets
By Vincent Moss Acting Political Editor

POLICE are to be issued with tiny spy cameras attached to their helmets to help provide evidence for the courts.

The miniature "headcams" could also reveal exactly what happens in the seconds after cops smash down the doors of suspected criminals.

The devices could have been crucial in revealing the truth behind the bungled terror raid at Forest Gate and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station.

A six-month trial will start on September 1 in Devon and Cornwall, Home Secretary John Reid has revealed.

If it increases conviction rates, the cameras are likely to be issued across the country.

Police chiefs believe offenders are more likely to plead guilty when confronted with video evidence of their crimes. They reckon they will also cut the risk police face from violent thugs.

But the "body-worn surveillance system" could also be used in investigations against the police.

One Home Office source admitted:

"There is a possibility that the video footage could be used by people making accusations against the police."

The trial scheme will involve 250 officers in Plymouth using 50 of the £1,700 cameras.

The camera is worn at eye level. A wire links it to a fourinch screen worn on the belt on which footage can be played.

In March Fiona Linehan, 22, from Plymouth, became the first person convicted using evidence recorded by a head camera after assaulting a police officer wearing one.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

BEGGING LETTER FOR COP CHIEF
By Nick Irving

POLICE staff are furious after being asked to donate to a leaving present for a Chief Constable who tried to slash their pay.

Devon and Cornwall boss Maria Wallis took early retirement after facing a storm of criticism over the way she ran the force.

Hundreds of vital civilian staff walked out over her scheme to cut pay by £7,000 a year.

Now workers are outraged by a memo from the acting Chief Constable Nigel Arnold asking for contributions for 50-yearold Mrs Wallis - who is retiring on a full pension.

Keith Townson, head of fingerprinting, said: "It is very ill-judged because of the damage she caused."

A FAREWELL party for Brian Milstead, chief executive of Truro's Royal Cornwall Hospital, was scrapped after a boycott by staff who faced redundancies.

 

 

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8 August 2006
3 CONS BREAK OUT OF CELLS...
 

THREE prisoners escaped yesterday after a riot broke out in the cells of

a court.

 

Police threw a security cordon round the building after the men burst

through a toilet roof and hid in a crawl space under the courtroom floor.

 

Depute justice minister Hugh Henry was told of the break-out minutes

before he was due to arrive at Paisley Sheriff Court for an official

ceremony.

 

Two of the remand prisoners were quickly caught after dog handlers 

were called in.

Henry arrived for the function when the situation was under control.

But the third man was still talking to police negotiators from the crawl

space last night.

Early reports suggested he had got himself stuck.

The three men escaped as dignitaries began to arrive for a presentation

to mark the fifth anniversary of the Witness Service in the area.

Earlier, there had been noisy disturbances from the packed cells below

the court where more than 40 prisoners were held.

They banged on the walls and shouted so loudly it could be heard

throughout the building.

Sheriff Desmond Leslie was forced to abandon the custody court sitting.

A Reliance guard was punched and spat on as he tried to quell

the disturbance.

Police in riot gear surrounded the James Street building after prisoners

broke through the roof of the toilet in the cells area.

They clambered into a void containing pipes, cables and ducting -

immediately under the floor of Court One.

Normal procedure is that prisoners going to the toilet are not handcuffed

and the guard does not follow them in.

A Reliance spokesman said: "Our normal procedures were applied.

"While in the toilet area, three prisoners entered the roof space.

Our staff alerted police."

 

*********************************************

8 August 2006
TOUR DE FORCE

Bicycle police are being brought in to beat city traffic.

 

A spokesman said the 18-strong Edinburgh team, equipped with

helmet cameras, could "pursue criminals through places a car could

not go".


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The Times August 09, 2006

Royal editor held over 'phone tap at palace' claims


THE royal editor of the News of the World and two other men were arrested yesterday for allegedly tapping phone calls from the Royal Household.

Clive Goodman and the unnamed pair were arrested after a seven-month investigation by Scotland Yard prompted by three members of the Prince of Wales’s staff. They suspected their mobile phones were being tapped and contacted Scotland Yard’s royalty protection unit. Officers from SO13, the antiterrorist branch, were brought in because of fears that the electronic interceptions might be extensive, raising security issues.

As the trio were being interviewed by police yesterday there were claims that the investigations had spread beyond Clarence House and that possible victims included ministers, an MP, military chiefs, a leading media figure and celebrities.

Officers have not ruled out the possibility that other Royal Households, including Buckingham Palace, could have had their phones intercepted.

ITN claimed last night that a conversation between their political editor and Tom Bradby, their former royal correspondent, and Clarence House about Prince William prompted initial inquiries.

A spokesman said the “innocuous” chat ended up as a small news piece in the Sunday newspaper, raising questions at both the television station and the household of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. Last night the News of the World confirmed that Clive Goodman had been arrested.

Police also searched the newspaper offices at Wapping, East London. Two other men aged 35 and 50, who are not journalists, were also arrested yesterday in raids which included one at a home at Sutton, Surrey. Detectives also searched business premises in Chelsea and Sutton.

Police said the arrests were made under section one of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 which prohibits unlawful intercepts and followed an investigation which began last December.

The Scotland Yard team spent four months looking at technical aspects before beginning a full investigation which led to the arrests yesterday.

Police have consulted lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service and mobile telephone networks.

Mr Gooodman, 48, was arrested at dawn yesterday at his home in Putney, southwest London. The News of the World is published by News International which also publishes The Times.

The 35-year-old man was arrested at the same time and the third man was held three and a half hours later in Sutton. Last night police would not identify them or their occupations.

All three were still in custody late last night and likely to face more questioning today. Mr Goodman was taken to Charing Cross police station in Central London while the other men were taken to separate stations. Any decision on prosecution requires the agreement of the Director of Public Prosecutions under current legislation.

The investigations are still trying to find how many people might have been affected by the tapping.

In a statement last night Scotland Yard said the investigation “is focused on alleged repeated security breaches within telephone networks over a significant period of time and the potential impact this may have on protective security around a number of individuals”.

Scotland Yard said the investigation started in the Royal Household but “police, as a result of their inquiries, now believe that public figures beyond the Royal Household have had their telephones intercepted which may have potential security implications”.

Dickie Arbiter, a former royal aide, said there was considerable sensitivity within the Royal Family over phone interceptions after the infamous “Squidgygate” episode in the 1990s, when details of an intimate telephone conversation said to be between the Princess of Wales and a long-standing friend, James Gilbey, were published.

Cyril Reenan, a retired bank manager, later admitted recording the “Squidgygate” tape conversation using a radio scanner and selling it to a national newspaper.

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Two charged over phone hacking
9.51, Wed Aug 9 2006


The News of the World's royal editor has been charged with a string of offences after being questioned over alleged mobile phone hacking.

Senior journalist Clive Goodman, 48, is accused of a total of nine offences, including plotting with Glen Mulcaire to "intercept communications, namely by agreeing to access individuals telephone voicemail messages, in the course of their transmission by means of a public telecommunication system, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977."

Both he and Mr Mulcaire, 35, from Sutton, were also each charged with eight charges of intercepting communications on dates between January and May this year.

Both have now been released on police bail to appear at Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court next Wednesday.


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Times Online Law Weblog August 09, 2006

Police crackdown on tabloid tactics could lead to their own doorstep

Tabloids long ago moved away from unscrupulous newsgathering techniques such as bugging and bin-burgling for fear of criminal prosecution and instead employed agencies to do it for them, allowing them to credibly deny how they had got their information. We have seen the odd telephone company employee found guilty of passing information in breach of the Data Protection Act, usually for the purpose of uncovering a celebrity sex scandal, and the odd bent copper sanctioned for illegally prying into a target's criminal records or running number plate checks on the targets of news investigations. Significantly, however, none of them to date have been traced back to any media organisation.

Yesterday's arrests over the alleged bugging of the Prince of Wales's residence could lead to the first prosecution of a newspaper editor under such circumstances, but I suspect it may not be the last. There is now a raft of criminal offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, various data protection laws, the Misuse of Computers Act 1990 and the Interception of Communications Act that newspapers who break the law could be punished with. A RIPA conviction alone carries a potential penalty of two years imprisonment and a vast fine.

The challenge for Scotland Yard is that historically police themselves have been a vital source of tips for reporters. How much effort will they put into cleaning their own house?

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13 August 2006
SUSPECT: I'LL KILL THEM ALL...
 

A PLANE bomb suspect was dubbed the Bucks Bin Laden by neighbours - and allegedly boasted he wanted to kill all non-Muslims.

Security services believe Waseem Kayani, 29, was the head of a terrorist cell in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

They were continuing to search his home - removing items including bottles of Pepsi - yesterday as locals told of his regular trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Kayani, like Bin Laden, is a member of the Wahabi sect, who preach a puritanical strain of Islamic fundamentalism.

Followers oppose men and women mixing anywhere unless they are related and are closely linked to jihadis engaged in "holy war" against the West.

Yesterday, a friend of Kayani's said he had talked about wanting to kill non-Muslims only last month.

The woman, a convert to Islam who asked to be identified only as Rachel, said: "The Muslim community here is close-knit and everyone knows one another.

"I bumped into Waseem at the petrol station a few months ago and he said, 'I think all kaffir (an Arabic word for non-Muslims) should be got rid of'.

"I thought what a stupid thing it was to say and wondered if he was joking. I said, 'Why are you saying that? Isn't Islam about peace and respecting your neighbours?' After I said that, he was quite respectful and didn't say anything back and we just left it at that.

"He took one of my friends, Abid, to Afghanistan last year.

"The irony is his dad Khalid, who we call Curly, told me he was glad his son had turned to religion because it was keeping him on the straight and narrow and taking him away from his rowdy friends."

Kayani is the nephew of High Wycombe's most notorious gangster, drug dealer Mohammed 'Superfly' Shabir Kayani, who is serving 11 years for peddling heroin.

Although the two were never particularly close, it made neighbours wary of the younger man and other family members.

Rachel said Waseem was among a group turfed out of High Wycombe's main mosque because of their views.

She said: "Waseem got involved with the Wahabi lot. They think that if someone doesn't fit into their way of thinking, then they need to die.

"They were trying to say this kind of thing during a prayer meeting but were told it was not welcome."

A retired Scots couple who live next door to Waseem said his family were perfect neighbours.

Lorna and Don Murray said they got on well with Waseem's dad, mum Naseema and three sisters.

Don, originally from Leith, said: "I am very surprised and anxious. If something has happened, I cannot believe other family members would have known about it."

Lorna said Waseem gave up his western clothes two years ago after a trip to Pakistan. A year later, he brought back a bride, Manoor.

She said: "We noticed the change in him but we didn't really think much of it. He's always polite to us. His wife was also very sweet."

Another neighbour said: "People called him the Bucks Bin Laden but only because of his long beard, his robes and the fact he visited Afghanistan. He is a quiet man."


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14 August 2006
BLITZ ON DEADLY BLADES...
 
knife in mans hand and trousers 

SCOTLAND'S killer blade culture faces a tough new crackdown today.

Under fresh restrictions, all "non-domestic" knives will only be sold by shops with a special licence.

Almost all swords, meat cleavers and machetes will be banned completely.

The clampdown will be unveiled by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson at a Glasgow police station.

The move comes two months after a Scotland-wide knife amnesty netted 13,000 weapons - including a lethal arsenal of machetes and meat cleavers.

The latest measures will be included in a new Sentencing Bill due to go before the Scottish parliament later this year.

They should become law by next spring and form part of a five-point Executive anti-blade plan that comes into effect next month.

The new initiative will be unveiled by Jamieson at London Road police station in Glasgow's east end.

An Executive spokesman said: "We are determined to crack down on violence in Scotland - particularly the booze and blade culture which strikes fear into the heart of too many of our communities.

"Knives and sharp objects are the most common method of killing in this country, consistently accounting for around half of all murders each year."

Scotland's blade culture has claimed more than 400 lives since 1998.

But from the start of next month, the minimum age for buying a blade will rise from 16 to 18.

Police will also get greater powers to stop, search and arrest people they believe to be carrying weapons.

The maximum sentence for possessing a knife will double from two to four years.

Those measures were part of the Police Bill, passed by MSPs earlier this year and which comes fully into force on September 1.

The new licensing scheme will cover all nondomestic knives, including potentially deadly hunting knives, curved Bowie knives - which can be a foot long - and machetes.

It means only shops vetted and approved by local councils will be allowed to sell nondomestic knives

Non-licensed shops which sell such blades will be committing an offence.

The ban on sword sales - including vicious Samurai-style weapons - will be near total.

There will be just few exceptions for "religious, cultural and sporting" purposes.

No swords will be allowed on display in shop windows.

Shops will need a licence to sell swords and will have to take customers' names and addresses.

Police have long been concerned at the number of second-hand shops selling potentially deadly weapons cheaply.

And campaigning MSPs have been angered by the sight of giant broadswords on display in souvenir shop windows right on Holyrood's doorstep on Edinburgh's RoyalMile.

Last year, 72 per people in Scotland died from stab wounds.

The figure has been rising steadily since 42 people were killed in 1998.

In the recent blade amnesty, more than half of the 12,645 weapons were handed over in the Strathclyde police area.

A further 1000 blades have been seized by police using metal detectors since the amnesty ended two months ago.

New metal detector gloves have been used on the streets of Glasgow and Falkirk.

And airport-style scanners have been introduced at Glasgow's Central Station and in Largs.


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BBC News Sunday, 20 August 2006
                               
Pc shocked to become crime victim

                               
                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                       
                                Pc David Inglis and his dog Bruce                                
Pc Inglis said he felt shocked and humiliated by the incident
                       
                       
                               
Scotland's real life Hamish Macbeth has become a victim of crime for the first time - just days after leaving his job.

Pc David Inglis, 51, who has spent the last nine years patrolling Britain's remotest beat in Sutherland, had his wallet stolen in Inverness.

On his own patch he had never come across any thefts against people.

"I felt humiliated," he said. "In my time I even remember a £5 note being handed in as lost property. That's how honest people are in my area."

The theft happened just three days after Pc Inglis - who, like fictional Highland policeman Hamish Macbeth, has a West Highland terrier - hung up his truncheon having worked for Northern Constabulary for 30 years.

While talking to shop staff about tiles for his new home he left his wallet on the counter. Moments later he realised it had been stolen.

       

               
               
       
                                I was always telling folks in my patch to be careful when they are away and visiting strange places                
       
       
Pc David Inglis
       

It contained £40 in cash, a number of credit and debit cards and his driving licence.

Pc Inglis had to persuade bank staff to allow him to withdraw enough money for him to drive home.

"I have never been a victim of crime before," he said.

"I can't remember the last time I dealt with a case of theft - it is certainly over a year and I have only ever dealt with half a dozen in my time on my beat.

"In fact, the only one I remember was a group of Italian tourists who took a £200 bottle of malt whisky from a hotel in Tongue and I caught them in Durness and made them give it back.

"The lads at the station in Inverness were very professional and took my details, but there was a bit of gentle ribbing and a wee smile on their faces."

'Own stupidity'

The long-serving policeman said he felt shocked by the incident.

"I am angry at my own stupidity," he said. "It is ironic. I was always telling folks in my patch to be careful when they are away and visiting strange places. Then I don't heed my own advice.

"If my wallet had been lost in my patch it would have been handed in. But one thing's for sure - nobody would have stolen it."

                       

                                       
                       
                                Durness beach (picture courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland)                                
The beat is the most remote in the UK
                       
                       
                               

His last crime list for July was just one unpaid £11 meal - the result of a foreign couple running off without paying at a Durness restaurant - a minor road traffic accident and a dead sheep, possibly caused by dog worrying.

Pc Inglis, who is technically still a policeman until the end of October, also had to deal with a false alarm with good intent after canoeists failed to tell locals where they were heading.

He was responsible for 900 sq miles of Highland wilderness - the longest single beat in Europe.

He had just 1,100 people on his patch, which he patrolled in his Ford van in an area that stretched for 100 miles from Elphin to Loch Eriboll.

In nine years, he only ever dealt with one-break-in and never dealt with a murder, serious crime or drug offence.

Northern Constabulary hopes to announce Pc Inglis' successor in the next few weeks. Other officers are carrying out his duties in the meantime.

                                                       
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Scots footprint expert takes big step forward 

PIONEERING research by a Scots academic will help police build profiles of suspects by examining foot and shoe prints left at crime scenes.

Although fingerprint identification has been available since the early 20th century, there are only a handful of experts in foot markings in the UK.

 

But police believe that Bill Kerr, a podiatry lecturer at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, could help improve the use of the technique and solve cases where impressions from feet, ridges on toes and sole marks are obtained.

Kerr's method, which has been tested over the past eight years on a database of 400 feet, allows him to estimate a person's height and weight.

When combined with other crime scene evidence it could be used to identify or eliminate suspects. There is also the possibility that it could be used to re-examine unsolved crimes.

Kerr's research will culminate in him being awarded a PhD in footprint identification by Edinburgh University in December.

He said: "No two footprints in the world have the same shape, and the right foot is always different from the left. There is never a mirror image.

"The ridge patterns on certain areas of the feet are as identifiable as fingerprints and that's why foot printing is just as interesting as the science of fingerprinting."

Kerr, who has already acted as an expert witness in criminal trials, is also able to profile potential suspects through wear marks on their shoe prints.

He said: "From both footprints and shoe prints it is possible to identify the way someone walks and abnormalities with their feet. I would know from a shoe print that someone has high arched or low arched feet. It would then be up to police to prove that the accused, and not someone else, was wearing those shoes at the time."

A bare sole impression was used to convict the killer of Edinburgh schoolgirl Maria King in 1971. Footprint evidence was also used to convict Daniel Ward of the murder of Andrew Kerr in Edinburgh in 1992.

Tom Finney, a senior identification officer with Lothian and Borders Police, said both cases proved that footprint evidence could make or break criminal cases.

"Footprint and shoe print evidence is important to us," he said, "and Bill's expertise could well prove crucial. We have not used this type of profiling service before but it could help corroborate other findings."

Dr John DiMaggio, a former US police officer turned footprint expert who has testified in 10 murder cases, said: "I've dealt with a number of cases where bloody footprint or shoe prints have been left at the scene.

"Each foot has a profile which a podiatrist can analyse and draw conclusions from. It's really down to whether the police have taken evidence properly at a crime scene which is then capable of being analysed.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing Bill's research."

Gordon Findlater, the senior lecturer in anatomy at Edinburgh University who supervised Kerr's PhD, said: "Although most criminals wear shoes there have been crimes committed barefoot where foot marks have been left on hard surfaces, like linoleum.

"We all have differently arched feet and Bill has measured various parameters which can then be used to eliminate or identify suspects."

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Centrex 14th August 2006

Officer points to £450,000 inquiry waste

 

A police officer from the Lancashire force says that his employers threw away some £450,000 when investigating £90-worth of expenses which he had overclaimed purely by mistake.

Joseph Lobo found himself handed a three-year suspension - on full pay - during which time he was cleared in a court of perpetrating a criminal offence and subjected to a separate internal investigation.

He has now been invited back to work after the force accepted that his action had not been malicious - but the local police federation has urged for disciplinary protocols to be reviewed in the light of what was effectively a waste of time.

According to Scotland on Sunday its chairman, Steve Edwards, said: "This case has removed a dedicated police officer from the streets for three years. I would urge the constabulary to be more proportional in both their investigations and their decisions in relation to misconduct inquiries and would ask them to revisit their policy on the suspension of officers."

Mr Lobo himself is suing the force for what he perceives to have been racial discrimination, and part of his statement to this effect read: "Throughout the last three years my name has been publicly damaged, my integrity has been questioned and I have been accused of being corrupt.

"I am informed that to date this inquiry has cost the taxpayer of Lancashire approximately £450,000. I believe this has been a gross misuse of public money for which somebody ought to be held accountable."

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23 August 2006
SCOTS 'KITT' ON PATROL

THE world's most advanced police car has hit Britain's streets - and it talks in a Scottish accent.

Electronics experts have created a supercomputer that talks to officers, just like KITT from 1980s TV show Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff.

The car patrols roads across Dorset and is fitted with powerful normal and infra-red cameras which detect speeding.

They can also spot if a driver has no MOT, tax or insurance.

Fingerprint and face-detection software will soon be added.

Developer Paul Chick said: "The voice is of a Scottish female because manufacturers say that is the easiest electronic voice to hear."


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24 August 2006
TRAGEDY OF MAN DUBBED MR UNLUCKY...

THE man dubbed the unluckiest in Scotland has died.

Michael Mosey, 57, passed away in hospital on Tuesday night, 10 days after he was found seriously injured following a disturbance at his home.

A 33-year-old man was due to appear in court yesterday in connection with the incident.

Three years ago, the Record revealed how Michael, known as "Mr Nae Luck", and his wife Frances, 53, were the nation's unluckiest couple after being hospitalised more than 20 times.

They told how they had suffered at least 50 accidents between them.

The calamitous couple, of Forth, Lanarkshire, said they were scared to leave their home because they were so accident-prone.

Michael had broken his back and ankle after incidents that included falling from a horse, tumbling out of bed and falling into a pond.

He was partially blinded after drinking poisonous black-market vodka and fell through the glass of his greenhouse three times.

He once missed a court appearance after breaking his right leg when he tripped over a puppy.

Frances "died" briefly on the operating table during a routine op in 1963 and in 1996, she cut her finger off while making dinner - then her pet dog ate it.

The couple wed on Valentine's Day 1974 but even their honeymoon was marred by mishap - the roof of their hotel room collapsed while Frances was in the bath.

In 2003, Michael admitted he believed he was cursed. He said: "When I broke my leg everyone was saying 'break a leg', which is usually a message of good luck.

"But as usual, there was no way anything to do with good luck was going to happen to me."

Michael died on Tuesday night at Wishaw General Hospital when his life-support was switched off.

A police spokesman said: "A 33-year-old man has been arrested in connection with this incident."


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The Times August 24, 2006

Father shot after clash with youths dies in front of his family


A FATHER has been shot dead in front of his fiancée and young son by a gang of young men after being terrorised for months.

Peter Woodhams, 22, staggered to his front door in Canning Town, East London, after being shot in the chest and collapsed onto the ground.

His fiancée, Jane Bowden, 23, who rushed out with their three-year-old son, Sam, to see what was happening, claimed that the same gang had stabbed Mr Woodhams in the neck in January, narrowly missing his jugular vein.

She said that she gave the names and addresses of his alleged attackers to the police but no-one had been arrested and officers had not even taken a statement from her.

Speaking about the fatal attack she said that Mr Woodhams had come home from a trip to the shops on Monday and had said that there had been some trouble before going back out.

When she heard shooting she ran out with her son in her arms. “Peter turned to me and walked a few steps. I could see blood on his clothes,” she said.

“Then he just collapsed into some bushes and I started screaming. He managed to drag himself up and walk over to the front door and then fell on to his front. He had been shot in the chest and a bullet had gone through his hand where he had tried to protect himself. Peter was still conscious and talking to me. He kept saying that he couldn’t breathe, he was panicking.”

Mr Woodhams, a television satellite engineer, had been to the local shops in his car where there is believed to have been an altercation with some youths.

Ms Bowden told the Evening Standard how Mr Woodhams had been held down and stabbed in the neck several times at the beginning of the year after he confronted them for throwing a stone at his car.

“They wrestled him to the ground and one said, ‘Hold him down’. Three held him while one slashed his face and stabbed him in the neck. They knew what they were doing — they tried to kill him.

“I phoned the police every day for five weeks and they never even came to take a statement from me.”

She said that since then the gang of youths, believed to be aged between 14 and 18, had mounted a campaign of intimidation against them. “They knew they had stabbed Peter and got away with it. They thought they were untouchable. He was traumatised by it, but he was determined not to let them win. He wanted to stand up to them and protect me and Sam — that’s the way he was.”

Shopkeepers and residents in the area said that the gang terrorised everyone and regularly stole from cars and shops.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said that “a full review” would take place into the initial stabbing inquiry to make sure the “correct police procedure” was followed. She said that at the time a full statement was taken from the victim and officers were given a list of names and addresses of possible suspects but no arrests had been made in connection with the stabbing.

The spokeswoman said: “Following the tragic murder of Peter Woodhams, officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate were made aware of a serious stabbing incident involving the victim in January 2006. Officers from the SCD have been liaising with the senior officers from Newham borough to establish the outcome of this incident; as a result a full review is currently being conducted to ensure correct standards of police procedure were initially taken.”

A 14-year-old has been arrested in connection with the murder.

 

 

Times Online

 

 

 

 

 


Police face double probe over father's shooting


The Metropolitan Police is under intense scrutiny tonight after two inquiries were launched into allegations that officers mishandled the investigation of a father who was stabbed and later shot to death on his doorstep.

Peter Woodhams, 22, was slashed across the face and stabbed in the neck by a gang of youths seven months ago and then shot dead on Monday after he refused to be intimidated by them.

His fiancee, Joane Bowden, claims that after the attack in January near their home in Canning Town, East London, the police were given names and addresses of suspects but nothing was done. It was only today, she said, after much media attention, that police came to pick up the bloody clothes he was wearing at the time.

After an altercation on Monday night Mr Woodham was shot at several times and died outside his home in front of Ms Bowden and their three-year-old son Sam.

His family blame the police for his death.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) tonight announced that they were investigating the Metropolitan Police over its handling of the stabbing of Mr Woodhams in January.

And Scotland Yard confirmed that an internal inquiry into the investigation was being carried out by the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has also been asked by the Metropolitan Police Association (MPA) to look into the alleged failings of his officers.

Mr Woodhams’ father, also called Peter, talking about the bag of clothes, said: "These clothes are covered in his blood and their DNA. But they have been sitting in a plastic bag in a cupboard at his house for months.

"They could have held the key to putting these people away and saving Peter’s life."

Ms Bowden’s father John, 52, said that Mr Woodhams would still be alive if the police had done their job properly.

He said: "I think Peter would still be alive now if the police had acted earlier. We were told the police were overstretched. I said to them ‘Where in the pecking order is attempted murder?’ As far as I am concerned attempted murder is quite a serious thing."

It was revealed today that a 14-year-old arrested over Mr Woodhams’ murder this week had also been held in connection with the earlier stabbing.

David Petch, the IPCC Commissioner, said: "There has been considerable public concern about this case and I therefore decided our own investigators should look at the police's response to the stabbing incident in January."

 

He said it was vital that concerns about the initial incident be robustly investigated.

Senior Investigator Peter Orr, who is leading the IPCC inquiry, is hoping to meet with the family, who have not lodged a complaint, in the next few days.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman, asked if officers had only just removed clothes from Ms Bowden’s home that he was wearing in January, said: "As part of the murder inquiry officers have recovered numerous items for examination."

She said officers were aware of "issues" surrounding the initial investigation but they would form part of the DPS inquiry.

Sir Ian has been asked to "report fully" to the MPA "on both incidents and investigations relating to Mr Woodhams".

An MPA spokeswoman said: "We will want to know how police responded to the earlier stabbing incident in January when Mr Woodhams was allegedly attacked with a knife and whether the handling of that incident had any bearing on his murder.

"Without prejudging the outcome of the Metropolitan Police’s own investigations, we will want to see if there are any lessons to be learnt."

Last night a senior officer apologised to the family of Mr Woodhams for "any hurt" that the previous investigation into the stabbing of Mr Woodhams may have caused.

Commander Rod Jarman told said: "We will robustly deal with any failings in our investigation of the previous incident and make sure that those matters are dealt with.

"I would also like to make my apologies for any hurt that that investigation may have caused the family."

Mr Stevenson also revealed that a handgun had been used in Monday’s attack, and added that it was likely that more than one shot had been fired.

Ms Bowden claims that she phoned police every day for five weeks following the attack earlier this year, but that officers never even took a statement from her.

 

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Airports have been under increased security...

Airports have been under increased security since police revealed details of the alleged bomb plot two weeks ago

Story in full RESTRICTIONS on what passengers can take into the cabins of airliners could be in place for years to come, the government signalled yesterday, as security officials admitted there was still no timetable for introducing airport scanners able to detect liquid explosives.

Although limits on the size of bags allowed into airline cabins are likely to be lifted within weeks, rules banning drinks, shampoo, shower gel and other toiletries are set to remain indefinitely.

While it is 11 years since the first known al-Qaeda plot involving liquid bombs - foiled in the Philippines by US agents - government sources concede British airports still cannot detect some kinds of the liquid-based explosives said to have been involved in the plot police say they foiled this month. "There are a whole range of liquid explosives, and some of our processes are able to detect some of those explosives," an official said.

But recent intelligence suggests terrorists have changed their planning to focus on chemical compounds that cannot be picked up by current security equipment.

Since the anti-terror arrests on 10 August, the Department for Transport has "re-prioritised" research work on chemical "sniffers" and other sensors that could allow security staff to detect potential explosives in hand luggage.

But with terrorists apparently developing methods of creating explosives by mixing liquids on board, government scientists say the technical challenges involved in sensing all potential components are immense.

While secret field-trials of the new sensors are believed to have begun, transport security officials concede there is no firm date for their widespread introduction.

The US Transportation Security Administration warned yesterday that the increased number of bags being checked into aircraft holds was raising security concerns, as the systems for screening hold baggage come under more pressure. But British security officials insist they are confident about hold-baggage screening in this country.

However, the severity of the threat and the limits of airport precautions mean some of the new cabin-baggage rules are likely to remain in place for years. "We cannot escape the fact that the current threat from liquid explosives represents a step-change and one that will need to be dealt with on a permanent basis," another security official said.

But Gordon McPhee, 43, a consultant from West Lothian who flies between Edinburgh and London every week, said: "There's a lack of common sense in all of this, and it will only end up hurting tourism because travel in Britain will be seen as a hassle. The restrictions are only in place because airports have not invested in the necessary technology. Why travellers and airlines should be punished in this way is beyond me."

Until effective chemical scanners are in widespread use, airport staff must search for potentially hazardous liquids using conventional X-ray machines, which are not designed for the purpose.

Because of the difficulty of detecting liquids, the size of cabin baggage has been severely curtailed - officials say it was necessary to strike a balance between security and passenger convenience. But as airport X-ray operators get used to searching images for liquids, they are expected to be able to scan larger bags without causing lengthy delays.

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