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'Public safety paramount' in decisions on CCTV

A government official has said that "public safety is paramount" in decisions on CCTV.

'Public safety paramount' in decisions on CCTV. Credit: PA

A spokesman said: "Public safety is paramount and the majority of local authorities have continued to balance their budgets and increased or maintained public satisfaction with services.

"Decisions on CCTV provision should be a local decision by elected local councillors, reflecting local circumstances and the views of local residents - especially in relation to any concerns about crime."

'Drug cartel henchmen' killed in Mexico gunfight

Forty-two 'suspected drug cartel henchmen' have been killed in a shootout with police, a government security force official confirmed today.

Mexico gunfight leaves 42 drug cartel members dead Credit: APTN

National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said the gunfight on a ranch just inside the Michoacan state border with Jalisco, western Mexico, lasted three hours and began after security forces were alerted to an "invasion" of the ranch.

After calling in air and ground support, government forces reportedly managed to capture three suspected gang members and seized a grenade launcher and 39 guns of varying calibres during the assault.

Federal policemen gather outside a ranch where a gunfight between hitmen and federal forces left several casualties Credit: REUTERS/Alan Ortega

One federal policeman died and another was injured in the battle which is being described by Reuters as "one of the bloodiest shootouts in a decade".


Plan to force mergers and speed up adoption rates

The proposed Schools and Adoption Bill will contain new powers to require local authorities to merge to speed up adoption rates if they do not do so themselves within two years.

Plan to force mergers and speed up adoption rates. Credit: PA

The Government said it would encourage town halls to set up their own mergers or outsource services to a single regional agency, while they will also be offered financial support to establish regional services.

Last year, according to the DfE more than 5,000 children were found the permanent home, representing a record increase of 26% over 12 months.

Weather: Plenty of warm sunshine into the afternoon

Any early morning mist and fog will lift quite readily today, leaving plenty of warm sunshine into the afternoon.

Early morning mist will lift and most place will enjoy sunshine. Credit: Met Office

Rain will start to move into the northwest through the morning, with heavy pulses arriving here late afternoon and the winds will strengthen too.

It will feel warm in the long sunny spells, with highs of 20 or 21 degrees Celsius (68 or 70 F).

Plans to 'speed up' adoption will be in Queen's Speech

Plans to force councils to merge services in order to speed up adoption rates are to be announced in next week's Queen's Speech.

Measures to speed up the adoption process will be outlined in the Queen's Speech. Credit: Lukas Coch / AAP/PA Images

Adoption is "happening at too small and localised a scale", the Department for Education (DfE) said, and mergers would increase the pool of potential adopters, reducing waiting times.

Every single day a child spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability. This just isn't good enough.

By coming together and joining forces, councils can make sure more children are matched with families far quicker - regardless of where they live.

– Children and families minister, Edward Timpson

Official figures suggest more than 3,000 children are waiting to be matched with new parents, with more than half having spent 18 months in care.


Council cuts leading to 'scaled back CCTV coverage'

Councils are scaling back on the use of CCTV cameras in an attempt to cut costs, a surveillance watchdog has warned.

Tony Porter, the surveillance camera commissioner, said he was concerned about local authorities cutting back on monitoring cameras because it could make it more difficult for police to detect and investigate crime.

He added that town halls could face greater scrutiny of their use of CCTV, including potential inspections and enforcement.

Mr Porter, who is due to give the findings of a review into standards to the Home Secretary this autumn, has written to council chief executives to remind them of the law and code of practice.

The British Security Industry Authority has estimated there are up to six million CCTV cameras in the UK. Credit: Stephen Rafferty / Eye Ubiquitous/PA Images

He told the Independent: "There are an increasing number of examples where councils and employees are citing a lack of money as being the rationale to reduce the service or completely change its composition - and that does concern me. Because CCTV isn't a statutory function, it is something a lot of councils are looking at.

"Most people recognise the utility of CCTV for supporting law enforcement. To degrade the capacity may have an impact on police. It may well be that they will find it increasingly difficult to acquire the images that will help them investigate crimes."

Government targets six-figure public sector payoffs

The Government will announce plans to curb public sector payouts in the Queen's Speech. Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The Government is ready to act to end six-figure "golden parachutes" for high-earning public sector bosses who are made redundant.

The Queen's Speech next week will include legislation to enact the Conservatives' general election manifesto pledge to cap the amount public sector employees can receive if they lose their jobs.

Chancellor George Osborne said "it was not fair that hard-working people see taxes used for these massive payouts for people who leave the public sector."

According to officials, more than 1,800 public sector employees received pay-offs of more than £100,000 in 2013.

The Government will consult on the detail - including whether it will cover the BBC - but ministers are said to be "minded" to set the cap at £95,000.

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