Policing news

The following are a selection of articles concerning the police that were featured on BBCI over the past week:-

Policing News

Groomer Richard Hewitt jailed after Dark Justice sting

A man confronted by internet paedophile hunters "fought like a pitbull" and tried to smash his phone to destroy evidence. Richard Hewitt drove from Cheshire to Newcastle after arranging to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl. The 40-year-old, of Ellesmere Port, had used an online teen chat room and sent messages asking for sex. He admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and was jailed for two years. At an earlier hearing at Newcastle Crown Court he also pleaded guilty to breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which he had been subject to since 2007. The fake profile of a girl called "Jessie" had been created by members of Dark Justice, which describes itself as a group of concerned citizens targeting paedophiles online. Hewitt, who had 26 previous offences on his record, asked for naked selfies and sent WhatsApp messages requesting sex. They included one which said: "I will be your first".

Ofsted warning over police weaknesses in child protection

The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has criticised police forces in England for failing to take child protection matters seriously. He said that a failure to change could lead to further cases of child abuse like the ones in Rotherham and Oxford. Sir Michael said police forces were not sharing information "in a timely way" and were not informing social workers quickly when children went missing. His criticisms were made in a letter to the chief inspector of constabulary. In response, Sir Thomas Winsor said he would work to ensure officers fully understood their duties on safeguarding children. In his letter to Sir Thomas, Sir Michael said there were cases where police officers had failed to attend key meetings about child protection or visits with social workers. In a number of forces there were delays in flagging up domestic abuse cases to the local council. He said the "most serious concerns" were raised about Cleveland Police's support for children's services in Stockton-on-Tees. In one case, an Ofsted inspector questioned a police decision to close a case even though "there was clear evidence that the children concerned had suffered non-accidental injuries".

Southern Health: Mother killed herself year after son's suicide

A grieving mother killed herself days after the first anniversary of her son's suicide, an inquest has heard. Karin Cheshire was found hanged after the troubled Southern Health NHS Trust failed to identify her as at risk. Winchester Coroner's Court heard she "could no longer cope" after her son Jay died in Riverside Park, Southampton following a rape allegation last year. Coroner Grahame Short said the trust "failed to understand the significance" of the anniversary. Southern Health NHS Trust was criticised for failing Ms Cheshire, 55, after she was hospitalised on five separate occasions over a six-month period. The inquest heard how, after being discharged from hospital, Ms Cheshire was not seen by the Southern Health team for two months and she had become "disengaged." She was found dead at the family home in Bitterne Park, Southampton, on 18 July. The trust has been under intense scrutiny since an NHS England-commissioned report in December found it failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of hundreds of patients.

Ex-vicar, 83, charged with child sexual offences

A former vicar has been charged with sexual offences against young girls dating back to the 1970s. Guy Bennett, 83, of Lewes Road, East Grinstead, East Sussex, is charged with 22 counts of indecent assault and one count of outraging public decency. The alleged offences happened over a 15-year period in Surrey and London between 1977 and 1992 against nine victims aged under 16. Mr Bennett is due to appear at Redhill Magistrates' Court on 21 November.