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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 04 November 2010

Date changed for Chris Riddell Event!

WE are working with Pritchards in Formby and they have just informed us that the Chris Riddell event has been changed... "Apologies to all your readers and to his fans! Chris Riddell is and will be... now heading to the Formby Pool on Wednesday, 10 November 2010, from 4pm to 5pm. Sadly we are sharing his time with another shop and the publishers have slipped up and had to make a few change... PLEASE spread word and do try and pre-order, as we are slightly limited on numbers of books... His book 'ALIENOGRAPHY' is absolutely stunning... ideal for a Christmas Present! Pop in and look at his wonderful books..! His book cover all types of stuff for 3+ upto teens through to adults... so plenty of choice of books to get signed! What is more... He also is doing 'live drawing' and we will be raffling it off afterwards..!" said book shop manager Tony.

Who is he?  Background links:- Link 1, Link 2 Link3, & Link 4.

"Damned if we do, damned if we don't"

USDAW has released survey results that reveal over 75% of shopworkers have experienced problems asking for proof of age ID from customers and that most shopworkers are worried about facing criminal prosecution or disciplinary action from their employer if they get a decision about a sale wrong.

The survey shows that a shocking 65% of shopworkers have been subjected to verbal abuse as a result of asking for ID, while over 16% have been threatened with violence and more than 2% have actually been physically assaulted. Over 70% of shopworkers say they are worried about facing criminal prosecution if they get a decision wrong with over 60% worried about being disciplined by their employer.

The figures follow the results of Usdaw's annual survey of abuse, threats and violence against shopworkers that revealed that over a million shopworkers have been assaulted, threatened or abused in the last year. Previous Usdaw surveys have shown that around 43% of all incidents of abuse resulted from shopworkers asking customers for proof of age ID or refusing a sale of an age-restricted product.

Most responsible retailers now operate a 'Think 25' policy on age-restricted sales which means shopworkers are instructed to ask for proof of age ID from any customer the shopworker thinks might be under 25. Many retailers previously had a 'Think 21' policy and the change to 'Think 25' has greatly increased the potential number of customers who are now routinely asked for ID. As a consequence, the number of potential flashpoints for abuse, threats and violence has also increased.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:- "These figures are a matter of grave concern and show that age restricted sales are real minefield for our members to negotiate. If they make a mistake and sell alcohol to a customer under-18 they risk being prosecuted and receiving a £80 on-the-spot fine for a first offence with repeated breaches incurring a court appearance and a fine of up to £5,000. If they fail to ask for age identification from somebody under-25, they run the risk of being disciplined for not following company policy.  On the other hand, asking for age identification often leads to abuse from frustrated and angry customers and a refusal of a sale can be a real flashpoint for threats or even violence. As one anonymous member said in the survey,.  we're damned if we ask for ID, damned if we don't.  We think a better understanding of the 'Think 25' policy and why it exists could lessen the impact on our members, which is why we are campaigning to raise awareness of the policy. We are asking shoppers to show respect and understand that shopworkers asking for ID are only doing their job and protecting themselves from possible criminal prosecution or disciplinary action from their employer.  Usdaw wants the Government to launch an awareness campaign about age-restricted sales and we'd also like them to introduce a single and voluntary national entitlement card for young people that would show proof of age. This would make it much easier for workers to check a person's age when needed.  We'd also like to see a change in the law to make it an offence for an underage person to attempt to buy any age-restricted product, not just alcohol, or for an adult to proxy purchase any age-restricted product. The law definitely needs to be rebalanced so that those attempting to break the law are the focus rather than the shopworkers who are currently expected to police the law."

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MERSEYSIDE Police recorded a significant fall in the number of reported incidents over the Halloween weekend despite it traditionally being one of the busiest times of year for the Force.

Following months of careful planning by police, other emergency services and local councils there was a 14% reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage compared to the same period last year.

In addition, there were 316 fewer emergency calls received on Saturday, 30 October 2010 and Sunday, 31 October 2010 in comparison to the same dates last year – a 22% reduction.

The number of non-emergency calls also fell by 19.5%.

In 2009, there were 1,445 calls made to 999 across both dates compared to 1,129 this year and 1,747 non-emergency calls made in 2009 in comparison to 1,407 in 2010.

Despite the increased call volumes over the weekend, 99.2% of emergency calls were answered within 10 seconds and 99.9% of non-emergency calls were answered within 30 seconds.

Chief Inspector Claire Richards said she was pleased the vast majority of people enjoyed the Halloween period safely and responsibly.

Chf Insp Richards said:- "Merseyside Police and our partners have put in a lot of effort planning this operation and it is very encouraging to see a significant fall in the number of incidents, especially considering that Halloween once more fell on a weekend and during half-term. Together we put in place a wide variety of activities such as free cinema tickets, community discos and other events for young people, which were very popular and well-attended by nearly 3,000 young people on Saturday and a further 2,100 youngsters on Sunday.”

As a result of visits to retailers the FIRST team - Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Merseyside Police - seized 1 3/4 tonnes of illegal fireworks over the weekend, preventing them from entering the streets of Merseyside.
While reports of criminal damage were fewer than last year, in response to several incidents of criminal damage directed towards buses and taxis on Saturday, Merseyside Police used decoy taxis and buses on Sunday, which the Force will continue to use in the future to help prevent further incidents.

Three youths were arrested in connection with these incidents.

Two boys aged 12 and 15 from Huyton were arrested on Rupert Road in Huyton on Sunday night after a plain clothed officer riding on a bus caught them throwing eggs at the vehicle. They have been referred to the restorative justice team and will be made to speak to the bus company about their behaviour.

A 13 year old boy from Toxteth was arrested over night, on Saturday, 30 October 2010, after officers received a report of objects being thrown at taxis in the Mulgrave Street area of Toxteth.

He was arrested on suspicion of causing disorder and for possession of fireworks and was given a £40 fine.

Chf Insp Richards added:- "While the vast majority of young people behaved themselves there was a small minority of both youngsters and adults whose actions went beyond innocent mischief. Merseyside Police will not tolerate any criminal behaviour and robustly dealt with all those who crossed the line. Throwing objects at public transport is totally unacceptable. It jeopardises the safety of the public and Merseyside Police will take action against offenders to find them and bring them to justice. It was also disappointing that we still had to seize more than 335 bottle and cans of alcohol from young people across Merseyside who had either been sold it by adults or had been given it by adults who should know better. But overall the operation was a real success and I would like to thank the vast majority of people across Merseyside for acting responsibly this Halloween.”

For the second consecutive year Merseyside Police used Twitter to provide live updates throughout the evening and received positive feedback from residents.

One Twitter user said:- "Great idea! It makes one appreciate what a great job you guys do! And gives you an insight too."

Another user added:- "Thank you for the wonderful job you are all doing on our streets! I for one am very grateful! Thanks."


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