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Driver guilty of manslaughter in school coach crash

A coach driver has been found guilty of manslaughter after a crash in France in which a teacher from Worcestershire was killed.

The crash happened 90 miles east of Paris in 2012 Credit: ITV News

The coach crashed 90 miles east of Paris in 2012 as the group from Alvechurch School returned from a skiing trip.

Peter Rippington, a teacher, died and other children and staff were injured.

Peter Rippington died in the crash Credit: ITV News

The driver, 49-year-old Derek Thompson, was given a six month suspended sentence at a hearing in France.

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Suspected child abduction attempt in Redditch

The attempted abduction took place on Abberley Close, Redditch. Credit: Google street view

Police have released a description of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a suspected abduction attempt of a 15-year-old girl in Worcestershire.

The incident occurred at approximately 2.00 am this morning on Abberley Close, Redditch, on a path known locally as the ‘black path’.

The man is described as black, in his 20s, medium build and possibly with a shaved head. He's described as having protruding cheek bones, big lips and blue eyes. He was wearing dark clothing and had a local accent.

The girl told police she was making a phone call when she was approached by a man who tried to grab her, she received minor cuts and bruises but no serious injuries.

We’re extremely concerned about this incident which has been traumatic for the victim but which could have been a lot more serious. We are very keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at this time or who saw anyone acting suspiciously.

– Detective Inspector Tim Bower

HMIC release report into West Mercia Police's child protection work

West Mercia Police Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

An inspection into West Mercia Police's child protection work has criticised the force's 'weak' responses to child sexual exploitation.

In a report published this morning, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary praised officers' rigorous supervision of registered sex offenders, but said complex investigations were often poorly planned.

The watchdog carried out the inspection in November last year as part of a rolling programme of reports into police forces in England and Wales.

HMIC inspected West Mercia Police's child protection work Credit: PA

In a summary of their findings, inspectors said that they were impressed by:

  • The force's 'clear commitment' to improving services for vulnerable people and children.
  • Quick response times to allegations about child abuse.
  • The sensitivity and skill shown by the specialist teams who question very young children, or children with learning difficulties.
  • The force's rigorous supervision of registered sex offenders.

Inspectors were concerned to find:

  • Investigations were poorly planned or insufficiently thorough in difficult or complex cases.
  • Recognising and responding to child sexual exploitation was weak.
  • Too many children were being unnecessarily held in police custody overnight.
  • In cases that were allocated to non-specialist teams, enquiries and investigations were undertaken by insufficiently skilled and knowledgeable staff.
Drusilla Sharpling Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

“West Mercia Police is clearly committed to improving child protection services and has invested in new structures, specialist teams and resources to improve the timeliness of investigations.”

“Despite this commitment, West Mercia Police needs to improve in a number of areas. We found that the initial response to child protection issues was sometimes slow, and that investigations were not always of the highest quality. We also found that there were significant delays in some investigations, which can have a negative impact on the child. The force also needs to make sure staff who undertake child protection work are sufficiently skilled.

“I encourage West Mercia Police to act on our recommendations as a matter of urgency, and have asked that within six weeks it provides us with an action plan to demonstrate how it will take forward these recommendations.”

– HM Inspector of Constabulary Drusilla Sharpling
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