CABLE THEFT ON THE INCREASE AS THOUSANDS OF PASSENGERS SUFFER ACROSS
MANCHESTER AND MERSEYSIDE
are ruining the lives of thousands of passengers in Manchester and
Merseyside and cost the railway industry nearly £640,000 in
compensation costs alone last year as they targeted the railway for
metal to sell as scrap.
Criminals are targeting the cables which control vital rail
infrastructure such as signals and points, causing delays to tens of
thousands of trains and millions of people.
Figures released by Network Rail has reveal a £43m cost to this
crime-spree over the past three years, resulting in over 16,000
hours of delay. Over the same period in Manchester and Merseyside,
Network Rail paid over £2m in compensation alone and services were
delayed a total of over 1,890 hours (or 78 days).
Jo Kaye, route director at Network Rail, said:- “These
criminal acts have to stop. Every day passengers and essential
freight deliveries upon which our economy relies are being delayed
by thieves looking to make a quick buck at our expense. I cannot
over-emphasise just how serious these crimes are. Cable thieves deny
passengers the service they rightly expect and, through the massive
cost to the industry, deny everyone improvements to rail services.
We are doing everything we can to protect the railway and will
continue to work closely with British Transport Police and other
rail partners to do everything in our power to deter thieves and
bring those who attack our network to justice.”
Nationally, in 2010/11:-
► £16.5m was lost through cable theft
► Nearly 1,000 individual attacks on essential rail systems - a 52%
jump on the previous year
► Passenger services delayed by more than 6,000 hours
► BTP recorded 3,000 crimes
► BTP made more than 900 arrests
Detective Inspector Andrea Rainey of British Transport Police,
said:- "The railways have seen significant delays and
cancellations as a result of thieves cutting and stealing signalling
and power cables from the side of the track. But we are working to
tackle the issue and in the past few months have seen significant
jail sentences handed down to cable thieves put before the courts.
We are determined to send a clear message that such attacks on our
critical infrastructure are unacceptable and the police and rail
industry are working together to tackle the problem."
Methods used to deter and catch the thieves include:-
► Dedicated BTP task force, increased patrols, intelligence led
policing. Priority second only to terrorism.
► Network Rail has recently funded extra, dedicated officers
► Partnership working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
► National intelligence cell with members from BTP, Network Rail and
soon external non-rail partners.
► Use of the Network Rail helicopter, CCTV, forensic marking,
trembler alarms and other devices to protect the cable.
► Fast response teams to get trains on the move as quickly as
► Introduction of new type of cable that is easier to identify and
harder to steal.
► Use of approved scrap yards for disposals of used materials.
Gary Cooper, head of operations at the Association of Train
Operating Companies, added:- “Train companies want to do all
they possibly can to reduce the number of cancellations and delays
caused by cable theft, which regularly leads to considerable
disruption for many of their passengers. Operators and the industry
as a whole are determined to crack down on the thieves, whose
actions lead to extra work for staff and cost of millions of pounds,
money which could otherwise be invested in improving services for
passengers. The thieves are also putting themselves at risk of
serious injury. Train companies are working closely with Network
Rail and BTP to reduce and eventually eliminate this dangerous and
disruptive crime, but tougher measures are needed to help tackle
Anyone with any information about cable theft should contact British
Transport Police or Crimestoppers where they can report the crime
anonymously and could receive up to £1,000 reward if their
information leads to a conviction.
BTP can be contacted on:- 0800 40 50 40 and Crimestoppers on:- 0800
Nationally figgers show:-
► Nearly £43 million lost in just 3 years
► 52% jump in attacks in past year - averaging over 6 per day
► Millions of
passengers affected and delayed by more than 16,000 hours over the
past 3 years
MUNRO REVIEW OF CHILD PROTECTION – UNISON RESPONSE
UK’s largest union, has welcomed Professor Eileen Munro’s review of
social work, and its focus on tackling bureaucracy to help social
workers to get out from behind their desks and into their
But the union warned that the avalanche of cuts hitting councils –
including to early help services and admin support in social work
departments - will set back the cause of giving social workers more
time to focus on children and families.
Helga Pile, UNISON national officer for social work, said:-
“Tackling bureaucracy is key to boosting social work. But the
avalanche of cuts hitting councils means that children’s services
are haemorrhaging staff. Many are making cuts of up to 25% to the
admin workers who provide vital support to social workers. Reports
are already emerging of social workers spending hours filing, data
inputting, organising meetings and booking taxis for contact visits
– all because their admin support has been taken away. This is a
crazy situation. Professor Munro rightly stresses the importance of
early help services, but sadly this comes too late for the hundreds
of children’s centres and early help projects that are already
closing this year, and for those facing the chop when the second
year of cuts hits councils.”
UNISON reiterated its call for the government to put its weight
behind the union’s social work contract. This 10 point plan sets out
the minimum conditions needed for social workers to practise safely
SOS - the contract social workers need...
In order to practice safely, and effectively, social workers should
have a new contract with the government and with employers, that
1. The right to a manageable workload with a reasonable number and
mix of cases. In high risk areas such as child protection, mental
health and older people's teams, we believe the Government should
publish a recognised benchmark that practitioners can use to raise
the alarm when caseloads are becoming too high.
2. The right to have time off or get paid to compensate when excess
hours are worked.
3. The right to raise professional concerns when workloads become
unmanageable to the highest level of their organisation, for example
to an elected member, board member or trustee.
4. The right to a minimum of monthly professional supervision from a
qualified social worker of at least one and a half hours and more
frequently for newly qualified social workers.
5. The right to 10% of working time to be available for continuing
professional development and related activities like reflective
practice, mentoring colleagues, supporting students and peer
6. The right to a functioning IT system and adequate administrative
support so that social workers can use their time on activity that
requires their expertise.
7. The right to safe working practices, which address the high risks
social workers are exposed to from lone working, threats and
8. The right for support to deal with stress and traumatic cases.
9. The right to management training and realistic limits on the
numbers of social workers any one manager is expected to supervise.
10. The right to a clear definition of respective roles between
assistant practitioners and qualified social workers so that there
is clarity about who is responsible for cases.
HALF OF SCHOOL STAFF HIT BY FALSE ALLEGATIONS
NEARLY half of
all school support staff in the UK have been the victim, or
witnessed a colleague become the victim, of false allegations,
according to a new UNISON survey.
The UK’s largest union has written to English Schools Minister, Nick
Gibb MP, demanding that school support staff are included in
government proposals to grant teachers anonymity from allegations by
pupils, or their families.
The union is concerned at the huge damage caused to the careers and
health of support staff. In only 2% of cases were the allegations
found to have serious substance and ended in the staff member being
dismissed, or pressured into leaving.
Jon Richards, UNISON’s Senior National Officer for Education, said:-
“It is unfair for teachers to be protected from the public
firing line, while school support staff are open to being named and
shamed for a huge number of false allegations. This leaves support
staff with enormous stress hanging over their heads. School support
staff should be protected from malicious allegations and the
situation dealt with fairly and properly – to protect both the pupil
and member of staff. The Government should not make one rule for one
staff member and one for another.”
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