In the second largest scheme of its kind in the world, ministers have ordered dozens of cameras to be installed on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness, weeks after the latest multiple-death crash on the road.
The £2.5 million scheme – the biggest outside the United States – is expected to be operating by next summer to enforce the 60mph single carriageway and 70mph dual carriageway limits on the main route to and from the Highlands.
Cameras will be sited every four miles over a 136-mile stretch between the Keir roundabout, south of Dunblane, and just south of the Raigmore interchange in Inverness. They will measure vehicle speeds over set distances by recording number plates and taking the average speed between the cameras.
Pressure has intensified on Scottish ministers to take action to make the road safer after the latest fatal crash, on 9 July, in which three people were killed on a single-carriageway section near Newtonmore.
On Tuesday, Professor Donald Macleod, a former principal of Free Church College in Edinburgh, described the A9 death toll as “a shame to the nation”.
Ministers have privately acknowledged that extra safety measures are required in the short term, as completing the dualling of the Perth-Inverness section will take at least 12 years. Construction of what will be one of the biggest projects in Scottish history is not due to start until 2015 and will cost £3 billion
Former Merton PCSO chosen to guard royal baby
12:00pm Wednesday 24th July 2013 By Lauren May, Chief Reporter
A former Merton PCSO took centre stage yesterday as the royal baby was presented to the world.
Alec Burns, a former Merton PCSO and now Wandsworth police officer, was chosen to help guard the royal baby.
He was seen outside of the Lindo wing at St Mary's Hospital as Carole and Michael Middleton came to visit their grandson for the first time.
The iCrime wave: 10,000 phones are stolen in London every month
Jonathan Prynn, whose 15-year-old son has been mugged four times, twice violently, calls for the phone industry to find solutions
Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Editor Published: 25 July 2013
It is known as “Apple picking” but there is nothing wholesome about the explosion in smartphone theft on the streets of London. My 15-year-old son fell victim to this very 21st-century crime epidemic for the fourth time last week as he came home from school.
He was relieved of his mobile on a residential west London road near our local Underground station and punched hard in the mouth by way of a thank you.
In his case, the harvest must have been a disappointment. His two muggers, both no older than him, had almost certainly hoped for a shiny Apple iPhone 5.
What they actually got was a battered, cracked old Samsung, but how were they to know? They saw a schoolchild ambling home with, in all likelihood, a valuable item of highly desirable electronic hardware in his pocket.
It is little consolation that his frightening ordeal — which utterly ruined what should have been a blissful start to the summer break — was very far from unusual.
For London teenagers, particularly boys it seems, mobile phone theft has become an almost unavoidable if deeply unpleasant fact of life. Virtually every London parent of secondary school age children I speak to has a similar story to tell.
It is estimated that up to 10,000 handsets a month — or 120,000 a year — are stolen in the capital, with teenagers and those in their early twenties by far the most likely victims.
It is one of the few categories of crime that has been rising in the capital. According to figures from the Mayor, levels of personal theft in London rose 12 per cent last year — the vast majority of it involving smartphones — although the Metropolitan Police’s most recent figures suggest incidents have been falling since February. Even so, smartphones have far surpassed wallets and cash as the most frequently stolen items in London
Frankie Boyle backs community worker cleared of PCSO assault charge
Published: 25 July, 2013 by TOM FOOT
COMEDIAN Frankie Boyle helped out a community worker charged with assaulting two police support officers despite a lack of evidence – by sending him some smart trousers to wear for his day in court.
The case against Awate Sulieman, 22, who lives on Maiden Lane estate in Camden Town, collapsed on Friday after prosecutors told a district judge that there was “insufficient evidence” to back up the charges.
The court heard that the case would be “disestablished”.
Mr Sulieman had denied assaulting “an accredited or designated person” under the Police Reform Act.
He claimed he was stopped without cause while on the street near his home in March.
Mr Boyle had biked round a new pair of trousers on the day of the hearing after the pair met at a stand-up gig and later struck up friendly Twitter exchanges.
On hearing the judge’s decision, Mr Sulieman’s barrister Helen Butcher told the court: “I am grateful for the sensible decision but we maintain serious concerns about the legality of this case.
“Essentially, a man has been stopped for listening to music on his estate.”
She told Highbury Magistrates’ Court that the costs of bringing the case were “quite considerable” after an initial plea hearing and the prosecution’s calling of six witnesses to a trial it decided to scrap on the day.
At a time when legal aid defence lawyers were under intense criticism for allegedly wasting public money, it was the Crown Prosecution Service at fault on Friday, she said outside the court.
Mr Sulieman, who had his £6.40 travel costs reimbursed by the court, runs a “Shed” music project at St Pancras Community Centre.
He has built up a loyal fanbase for his political music, writings and stand-up comedy.
The only previous time he had been to court was when he played the prosecutor in a mock trial at Highbury Magistrates’ Court in 2005.
He was representing Acland Burghley in a national competition which the Tufnell Park school won that year
More than 80% of children lie about their age to use sites like Facebook
Youngsters see inappropriate content because social media sites too lax on self-declaration, says ASA
Mark Sweney The Guardian, Friday 26 July 2013
The UK advertising watchdog has criticised the lax age verification systems used by websites such as Facebook, after finding that more than 80% of children lie about their age when using social media.
The Advertising Standards Authority uncovered the issue while conducting a survey assessing what kind of ads young people see and whether companies are sticking to the UK advertising code.
The survey found that 83% of the 11 to 15 year olds whose internet usage was monitored registered on a social media site with a false age.
Just over 40% of the children signed in stating they were over 18 years of age, with one even claiming to be 88.
While the report found that advertisers were accurately targeting their ads many children were seeing inappropriate content – such as ads for gambling, alcohol, slimming aids and overtly sexual dating services – because they were lying about their age.
The ASA said that the report "clearly asks questions" of social media owners such as Facebook, which it believes knows that young users are using false ages to log in.
"We will be raising these issues with social media companies," said Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA. "If advertisers and social media companies know that children say they're older than they are don't they have a crucial part to play?"
Parker said that the ASA intended to talk to social media companies about considering "taking a tougher line" than using the easy-to-bypass self-declaration system.
"We all need to be part of this conversation about how best to set the boundaries within which our children explore the world around them," he added.
The ASA, which commissioned market research firm Actual Customer Behaviour, found that the group of children viewed 427 ads in the time period they were monitored online. Of those 98.4% adhered to the ASA's advertising code
1:00pm Tuesday 23rd July 2013 in Dorset Echo
A WOMAN has admitted assaulting a police community support officer in Weymouth.
Donna Marie Waring of Hereford Road in Westham, Weymouth, was fined £75 after the court heard she struck the officer twice.
The 50-year-old was also ordered to pay £35 compensation and £15 costs. Prosecuting, Elizabeth Valera told Weymouth Magistrates Court that police were called by paramedics who had attended because Waring was ‘very drunk’.
As the officers prepared to drive away, the defendant approached the car, she added.
“Waring tried to open the car door and the victim says she was swearing at her colleague who was in the vehicle.
The PCSO tried to get the defendant to move away from the car, the court heard.
Miss Valera said: “Waring did not like this and, flailing her arms in a windmill motion, struck the left arm of the victim, and punched her right shoulder.”
In mitigation, Ted Bament said the defendant had tried to apologise to the PCSO. He said: “She is trying to take steps to make sure any problems she has with drink and drugs are overcome.”
Chairman of the bench William Gibbons said: “You obviously caused a lot of fright to the PCSO.”
Driver killed cyclist as she altered her satnav
Tuesday 23 Jul 2013 9:09 pm METRO NEWSPAPER
A driver mowed down and killed a cyclist as she fiddled with her satnav, a court heard.
Victoria McClure spotted the 46-year-old rider only as she hit him, causing ‘unsurvivable’ head and chest injuries.
She ‘drove blind’ for almost 20 seconds, the jury was told, allegedly using the zoom function on her car’s built-in satnav when she collided with Anthony Hilson on September 16.
Although McClure, 38, admits causing death by careless driving, the prosecution insists her actions amounted to dangerous driving.
Prosecutor Matthew Walsh said Mr Hilson had been out for a Sunday morning ride on the A4 Bath Road near Twyford, Berkshire, where motorists typically had about 500m visibility.
He told the jury at Reading crown court: ‘Assuming she’s travelling at the speed limit of 60mph, it takes about 18 seconds to cover the distance – that’s the length of time she would have had the cyclist in her view.
‘There weren’t any skid marks on the road to suggest emergency braking or any evasive action.’
McClure, from Reading, was breathalysed at the scene and gave a negative reading, the court heard
There can be no starker warning to all road users to concentrate than the awful case of Victoria McClure. The 38-year-old former paediatrician and mother of two had been fiddling with her sat nav last September for 18 seconds, unaware that she was approaching Anthony Hilson, 46, a cyclist riding in the same direction. She saw him too late and killed him.
Simon Usborne Friday 26 July 2013
McClure is now waiting to find out if she will be sent to prison after being convicted this week of causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. She sobbed in the dock at Reading Crown Court as the verdict was read out. “For the cyclist, for his family, I don't stop thinking about it and I feel very sorry,” she said.
One life ended, several more rattled, including McClure’s and, depending on her sentence, her children’s, too. While nobody would remotely justify such bad focus on the road - or feel anything but great sympathy for Hilson’s family - how many of us can honestly claim never to have been driven to distraction by technology, and not to feel a tiny bit sorry for McClure?
Four years ago I stepped into a driving simulator at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire. Studies had shown that as many as three in four crashes are caused by distraction. Top of the list of causes was texting, something 40 per cent of people in one survey admitted to doing while driving. Other research had shown the reaction times of drivers fiddling with gadgets were 50 per cent slower than normal – and 30 per cent slower than while driving drunk.
Sure enough, I was a terrible (virtual) driver while intentionally distracting myself with a sat nav, phone, while texting and cueing music on an iPod.
What has changed even since I wrote that story, is the number of cyclists on the road who, inevitably, are harder for even the most attentive drivers to spot than other cars. Bradley Wiggins discovered this to his cost last year when he was knocked off his bike by a driver who simply hadn’t seen him (controversially, I expressed some sympathy with that driver, too).
My brother, Patrick, one of dozens of recent converts to road cycling I know, suffered an almost identical fate last month when a driver pulled out into his path on a quiet country lane in perfect visibility. Patrick even remembers making eye contact with the man before he was launched head-first across his emerging bonnet. Thankfully, he sustained only scratches and battered knees. The mortified driver offered only that familiar defence: “I just didn’t see you”.
That cyclists can be rendered invisible even in the eyes of focused drivers only reinforces the importance of good attention as the number of cyclists on our roads continues to soar - along with the temptations that come with our technology. Should McClure ever find herself behind the wheel again, one suspects she will pull over before adjusting her sat nav. In the meantime, we should all do the same lest we ruin more lives - including our own.
| New police community support officer PCSO Mark Rogers for Helston|
HELSTON'S latest police recruit has been born and bred in the town.New PCSO Mark Rogers, 26, has been working alongside PCSO Beth Pascoe.
I've lived in Helston all my life and worked here so I know the area really well," he said. "I've been involved with various community events and worked with young people with the air cadets."
After nine weeks' training in Exeter and six weeks' mentoring, PCSO Rogers is now due to begin the job on his own.
JUSTIN DAVENPORT AND JOSH PETTITT published: 26 July 2013 Updated: 13:03, 26 July 2013
An alleged gunman seized by members of the public after a failed bank raid was on day release from jail, it is understood.
A suspect, wielding what appeared to be an AK47 assault rifle, is claimed to have threatened staff at Barclays in Borough High Street and demanded cash before fleeing empty-handed.
Passers-by chased the man, still brandishing the gun, through the 17th-century pub the George Inn, sending about 40 drinkers diving for cover.
Security staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital joined the chase and the suspect was hauled to the ground. He was being questioned at a south London police station today. The Ministry of Justice refused to comment on claims that he was a prisoner on day release.
Teresa Byrne, 20, who works at a coffee shop near the spot where the suspect was apprehended, said: “I heard lots of shouting and saw people going full pelt after this guy. Three people jumped on him to get him to the ground. Crowds of people came out of the hospital to take a look.”
Minutes later armed police arrived and arrested the gunman, described as black, bearded and wearing a baseball cap, yards from the entrance to the hospital.
ITV journalist Darren Burn, 27, said he was having “a nice quiet drink” with friends at the George Inn when the gunman came running through.
“At first I thought it was some kind of stunt, but then they shouted, ‘Get down he’s got a gun,’” he said. “There was no screaming or shouting, it was just deadly silent and we all got down on the floor.”
Sam Luck, 29, manager at the nearby Heeltap bar, said: “One of my customers reckoned he got hit in the street by a vehicle and might have been limping a bit. There were quite a few people chasing him.” Police said a weapon was recovered and is being examined to determine whether it was a real firearm or an imitation.
Scotland Yard praised the bravery of those who tackled the gunman. A spokeswoman said: “No shots were fired and no members of the public were injured.”
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