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Former police community support officer faces prison

A former police community support officer with the Metropolitan Police is facing a prison sentence after admitting he contacted the Sun to say a supermodel was attending a police station accused of assault.

Paul Randall - who is 49 years old - was told by a judge at the Old Bailey: "This reveals a serious breach of trust and a prison sentence is likely."

Randall, of south west London, admitted one count of misconduct in public office.

He will be sentenced on September 18.

Campaigner sets up camp on minister's roof

New Fathers 4 Justice campaigner
Martin Matthews on Chris Grayling's roof in Surrey Credit: New Fathers 4 Justice

A protester has set up camp on the roof of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in Ashtead in Surrey. Martin Matthews unrolled a banner saying: “No rights? Go MAD”

Martin Matthews
Martin Matthews is believed to have food, water and a mobile phone Credit: New Fathers 4 Justice

Martin Matthews says he has enough supplies to keep him going for five days. Surrey Police say they're monitoring the situation.

Martin Matthews
Police are at the scene after being called to reports of a trespasser Credit: New Fathers 4 Justice


'Hackney Heroine' quits national Lib Dem campaign

A woman who was dubbed the Hackney Heroine for standing up to rioters in 2011 has announced she is stepping down from the race to be Liberal Democrat president over the party's "Neanderthal views on diversity".

Pauline Pearce, 48, posted a video statement on her Facebook campaign page accusing the party of "underhand racism" and claiming senior party figures would not support her because of her criminal record.

She said she would remain in the party but was resigned to remaining "the token person who sits and smiles in the background" rather than being able to take on prominent roles.

The party said it was saddened by the decision and would look into her claims "as a matter of urgency".

Theatre backs down in UK Jewish Film Festival row

London's Tricycle Theatre has backed down on objections to funding for the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF), which saw the venue refuse to host the event.

The theatre announced it could not support the event while the crisis in Gaza was ongoing, as it is sponsored by the Israeli government.

The festival will not go ahead as originally planned in November, but it is hoped it can return next year.

The Tricycle Theatre has withdrawn its objections
The Tricycle Theatre has withdrawn its objections Credit: PA

A joint statement from the UKJFF and the theatre admits the decision provoked "considerabe public upset", and said they joined forces to tackle that.

Following lengthy discussions, the Tricycle has now withdrawn its objection and invited back the UK Jewish Film Festival on the same terms as in previous years with no restrictions on funding from the Embassy of Israel in London.

The UKJFF and the Tricycle have agreed to work together to rebuild their relationship and although the festival is not able to return in 2014, we hope to begin the process of rebuilding trust and confidence with a view to holding events in the future.

We both profoundly hope that those who take differing views on the events of the last few weeks will follow our lead and come together to acknowledge that dialogue, reconciliation and engagement will resolve points of difference and ensure that cultural diversity thrives in all communities.

– UKJFF and Tricycle Theatre

Read: Protest outside Tricycle Theatre

Thousands take part in protest march

Palestinian Solidarity march on London
Marchers on the route of the demonstration in support of Gaza Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Thousands of demonstrators marched along London's streets today to protest at the bombing of Gaza, calling the Israeli offensive a "massacre".

Many of those taking part waved placards and the black, white, green and red flag of Palestine, as they converged on the BBC's Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus this afternoon.

Chants of "Free, Free, Palestine" were shouted across London's busy West End as marchers made their way to Hyde Park for a rally.

Accompanied by a samba band, families, students and others from across Britain marched to call for an immediate halt to the killing in Gaza.


Minister says fire service strike is "damaging"

Penny Mordaunt MP, a minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government
Penny Mordaunt MP, from the Department for Communities and Local Government Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The MP with responsibility for the fire service has said the current round of strike action is "damaging".

Penny Mordaunt is the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser in the Department for Communities and Local Government.

In a letter to the Fire Brigades Union published on the Government's website and dated 7th August, Ms Mordaunt said she would be happy to meet with union representatives if they called off "further damaging industrial action."

In a previous letter to Andy Dark, Assistant General Secretary of the FBU, dated 6th August, she wrote: "The public may rest assured that business continuity and resilience measures have been and will remain in place. But this takes place at a cost to the public purse; to the income of striking firefighters, but also to those who protect their communities during strike action. I know you appreciate that the strain on colleagues who remain at their posts is considerable, and that strike action is both unnecessary and counterproductive."

She ended the letter by saying: "I hope that you will reconsider your decision and call off this reckless and unnecessary action."

London Fire Brigade will provide "reduced" service

The London Fire Brigade has warned it will be providing a "reduced" service during the 16 strikes by Fire Brigades Union members taking place over eight consecutive days.

In a statement on its website, it said: "The Authority has a legal duty to provide London with an emergency fire and rescue service and has taken action to ensure the continuing provision of a reduced service during a strike (or any other event which deprives the Brigade of its usual workforce).

"The provision, known as ‘CapitalGuard’, is a contracted service providing up to 27 fire engines. It is intended to provide a reduced level of operational capability sufficient to fulfill the Authority’s basic statutory duties."

The service means 27 fire engines will attend a limited range of incidents and that the initial response to calls during the strikes will be to send just one engine.

Fire strike starts at noon

Firefighters on strike at Soho Fire Station in June this year
Firefighters on strike at Soho Fire Station in June this year Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will launch a fresh wave of strikes today - the latest in a long-running row with the Government over proposed changes to pensions.

The first walk out will begin at noon, lasting for two hours. Union members will down tools again for an hour at 11pm. Strikes will be held at the same times for the next eight days. There is currently no sign of a breakthrough in the dispute.

The union has been campaigning for the past few years against Government plans to change pensions. It claims firefighters will have to work longer and receive lower pensions when they retire.

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