magistrates urged to impose fewer prison sentences
MAGISTRATES on Merseyside
are more than twice as likely to send someone to prison as courts in
other parts of the country, figures obtained by the Howard League
for Penal Reform.
New research by the charity shows that people who have been
convicted of a crime in England and Wales face a postcode lottery
when they are sentenced.
A growing number of magistrates' benches are making good use of
community sentences which reduce crime and help people to turn their
lives around. However, some benches are still imposing prison
sentences in cases where they are unnecessary.
The statistics show a striking disparity between sentencing rates in
different parts of England and Wales. Courts on Merseyside imposed
custodial sentences in 3.7% of the cases they heard in 2011; more
often than areas such as Warwickshire (1.5%) and Northumbria (1.6%).
The national average was 3.8%.
Magistrates' courts on Merseyside handed down 40,955 sentences to
men, women and children during 2011, of which 1,496 were custodial.
Overall, magistrates' courts in England and Wales reduced their use
of custody by a quarter between 2001 and 2011.
The maximum sentence that a magistrates' court can impose is a
6 month prison term, or up to 12 months in total for more than one
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal
Reform, said:- "It is pleasing to see that magistrates' courts
are sending fewer people to prison overall than they have in the
past. However, one cannot ignore the striking disparity in
sentencing trends between different criminal justice areas.
A short-term prison sentence is a catastrophe for everyone. It does
not help change the life of the person sentenced; indeed, it is
likely to compound issues such as drug addiction and make them more
likely to reoffend. It costs the taxpayer a fortune and it does
nothing to help victims, who get no recompense or easing of trauma.
A court which imposes short prison sentences increases the
likelihood of local people becoming victims of crime, because the
failure rate is so high. Community sentences are much cheaper
than custody and they deliver better results. They not only address
a person's offending, but allow them to access other services they
need, such as help with drink, drugs or mental health problems."
The statistics have been published as Ministry of Justice figures
show that short-term prison sentences are failing to cut crime. Only
36% of adults who began community orders between April 2010 and
March 2011 went on to reoffend within a year. This compares with 58%
of adults who completed a prison sentence of 12 months or less
during the same period.
A survey, conducted by the Howard League and the Prison Governors'
Association, found that many prisoners preferred a short-term prison
sentence to a community sentence because they were easier to
complete. Others considered community sentences to be a greater
punishment than prison.
The country's best community sentencing programmes are recognised by
the Howard League's annual Community Programmes Awards, a
competition which began in 2005.
Proportion of defendants dealt with by magistrates' courts on
Merseyside who received immediate custodial sentences:-
Airport staff raise thousands for charity
LAST week saw SSP, located
at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA), raise £3,700 for UK
children's charity, When you Wish Upon a Star. SSP has XX
catering outlets located within LJLA's terminal building and all
have been involved in this year's drive to raise money for the
charity, which aims to grant the wishes of children suffering from
life-threatening illnesses. Hollyoaks actress Rachel Shenton,
who played Mitsee Minniver, came to show her support last week as
the SSP team took part in a charity abseil down the multi-storey car
park, encouraging airport staff to take a leap of faith with them.
In addition to adrenalin filled activities the team held a fancy
dress day including a raffle and sold Lavazza coffee, hot drinks and
cakes outside the terminal in a campaign supporting the charity.
Manager of When You Wish Upon a Star, Sue Hickling, said:- "SSP
Air UK employees, having taken the charity to their heart,
constantly use their ingenuity to find new ways to raise funds.
Abseiling at Liverpool Airport and selling coffee from a mobile cart
proved a huge success raising £3,700! So far their efforts will
enable children to swim with dolphins, visit Cinderella's Castle for
tea with a princess, and travel to Infinity and Beyond with Buzz
Lightyear. We couldn't be more grateful constant for their support."
SSP will continue its fundraising efforts nationwide
throughout the year.
takeaway boss bids for national title with her roast dinner special
A sandwich shop owner in
Birkenhead aims to put the perfect topping on her successful
business by carrying off a coveted national title. Paula
Smith, who has run the popular takeaway Let's Lunch in The Grange
and Pyramids Shopping Centre for the past decade, has been chosen as
one of seven from the North West of England to go through to the
final of this year's Sandwich Designer of the Year competition.
And she is hoping that the fantastic filling which carries her to
victory in the final will be her mouth-watering roast chicken dinner
sandwich, which has been wowing her own customers since she launched
it last November. When she makes it for sale at Let's Lunch, 43 year
old Paula builds it from slices of juicy chicken, stuffing, gravy
and real roast potatoes. But she reveals that the version she will
be preparing for the grand final at a swish London hotel in May will
have an added ingredient which she hopes will be the secret weapon
that mops up the opposition. It was the result of a competition she
ran to mark the tenth anniversary of Let's Lunch last November that
the idea for the novel roast dinner sandwich was cooked up. Her
business has become firmly established since it opened, drawing in
customers from a wide area, and Paula currently has a team of three
assistants helping her to operate the takeaway six days a week
supplying a wide range of sandwiches, filled jacket potatoes,
toasties and home-made soup.
Paula, who lives with husband Lee and their 6 year old son Harvey in
Wallasey, said:- "The competition was for our customers to
come up with a new sandwich with the best one being made up for sale
at Let's Lunch. One of my customers, Pete Walsh, suggested the roast
dinner sandwich and we chose it because I'd never heard of anything
like it being done before. I make it with lovely fresh ingredients.
It can be based on chicken or turkey, or even beef or lamb. I then
put on gravy, but to bind it together and stop it being runny I add
stuffing. The other key ingredient is potatoes roasted the
traditional way in duck fat. Since I introduced it and started
selling it for £2.50, the sandwich has proved very popular. In fact,
one lady comes in for it three or four times a week because she
enjoys it so much. When I decided to enter this year's Sandwich
Designer of the Year competition I knew it had to be my roast dinner
one I was going to make as I reckoned no-one else would think of
Paula's strategy was correct because at the North West heat held at
Tameside College in Greater Manchester she beat off stiff
competition from around 20 other designers, who collectively
submitted around 80 sandwich ideas, to become 1 of 2 winners in the
chicken category who go forward to the final at the Lancaster Hotel,
London, on 16 May 2013. Derek Millar, Commercial Director for
The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre, who said:- "Paula's
sandwich shop business is a real success story and we were delighted
to hear that she is taking it a step forward by even winning
competitions. Her sandwiches are lovely and I know she has a
terrific following so I am not surprised her entry stood out to
judges. We all wish her every success for the London final."
Remembering the North West heats, Paula said:- "It was tough
going as the competition in the heat was really excellent. Many of
them were actually chefs. Only 6 people were supposed to be picked
by the judges from the North West, but in the end they chose an
extra finalist; which was myself; as the entries were so good they
couldn't make up their minds. I'm now really looking forward to
competing down in London. This time I'll be up against the very best
sandwich designers from all over the United Kingdom, but I'm
confident of success with my roast dinner sandwich. On the day we
have half an hour to make our sandwiches. I will be doing my usual
ingredients but I'll be adding something I don't normally use. It's
cabbage fried in bacon fat and incorporating bacon bits. It's my
secret weapon. I'm very much looking forward to going down to London
with my husband Lee and going to the gala dinner later. If I win it
will be prestige for my business."
Last year's Sandwich Designer of the Year was Richard Henderson of
Cheddar in Somerset who won the title with a butter brioche sliced
apple, raspberry and Italian marscapone toastie.
SERIOUS RTC -
CROSBY ROAD SOUTH, SEAFORTH DOCKS AREA, SEFTON
MERSEYSIDE Police have that
a have confirm that a 47 years old male died following a collision
with a HGV in Seaforth on Friday, 19 April 2013. The road traffic
collision (RTC) happened on Crosby Road South in Seaforth, close to
the entrance of the Royal Seaforth Docks. A 72 year old driver of
the HGV involved in the collision was taken to hospital as a
precaution but has been discharged. He is assisting officers with
their investigation and has not been arrested as far as we have been
informed, at time of uploading this report. Anyone who witnessed the
incident, which happened at around 7.15am this morning, is asked to
call Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 5444.