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VIDEO: Schools in Medway 'underperforming'

The education watchdog, Oftsed, has delivered yet another damning report on one of the south east's education authorities. They say many primary schools in Medway are failing and the action plan to improve them is not fit for purpose with little chance of success.

We spoke to Tristan Osborne, who is a councillor in Medway, and hoping to become a Labour MP in the area.

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Cancer-causing toy dolls seized at market

Fruit-head dolls containing a chemical which can cause cancer Credit: Medway Council Trading Standards

Dangerous toy dolls banned across Europe have been seized from a market stall in Medway. Fruit-head dolls containing the chemical phthalates which can cause cancer, deformity in unborn babies and infertility in men, were confiscated by Medway Council Trading Standards.

Traders, who may buy them in good faith, if convicted, could face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000 for breaching toy safety rules. The dolls were discovered on a stall at a Medway market but the council say it cannot be identified while an investigation is continuing.

Cllr Peter Hicks, from Medway Council, said: 'These dolls were selling cheap and would appear to be an attractive present. I would urge anyone who has bought one of the dolls to keep it away from their children and tell our trading standards service immediately.'

Medway welcomes Heathrow closure report

The leading councillors for all three parties on Medway Council have welcomed a joint report by three London authorities that says closing Heathrow would be an economic disaster.

The report by the London boroughs of Houslow, Ealing and Slough warns that up to 250,000 people could lose their jobs. Councillors in Medway say it proves the proposals for new airports in Kent should be rejected.

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Council urges commission to drop airport plan

Kent, Thames Estuary
Plans for airport expansion in the Thames Estuary

Medway Council is making a last ditch effort to have proposals for a Thames Estuary airport dropped before an expected announcement next week.

It's widely anticipated that Sir Howard Davies, chair of the government's Airports' Commission, will announce its preferred options on December 17th.

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council, said: "While we have an expectation that the commission will keep in at least one proposal for a Thames Estuary airport, we would urge Sir Howard Davies to seriously consider dropping all proposals for the estuary.

"This would allow for Sir Howard, his colleagues on the commission and, ultimately, government to focus their full concentration on options that are not only far more realistic, but could also be completed far more quickly and at far less cost."

Mother falsely claimed £33,000 in benefits

A mother of three from Medway has admitted to falsely claiming more than £33,000 in benefits. 33 year-old Louise Simpson from Gillingham failed to notify the authorities that her circumstances had changed and that she was living with a partner.

She continued to claim housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support for four years.

She pleaded guilty to 9 charges at Chatham Magistrates Court of dishonestly failing to notify her change in circumstances.

She was given a six month sentence (suspended for 2 years) and was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.

CCTV hub leads to thousands of arrests

by Sarah Saunders

A great way to tackle crime or a big brother style invasion of privacy? CCTV cameras can be found on most high streets nowadays. And one of the largest CCTV hubs in the country, covering North Kent has resulted in thousands of arrests since it came into operation last April.

The majority, for shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, assault and affray. Sarah Saunders spoke to Sgt Steve Holpin from Kent police and Medway Council's Robin Cooper.

CCTV in Medway leads to thousands of arrests

Nearly 3400 arrests have been made in Medway since the new CCTV hub was introduced in April 2012.

The control centre in Strood looks over 750 cameras, covering Medway, Swale, Maidstone and Gravesham.

From April 2012 to August 2013, 3396 arrests were made, with the majority for shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, assault and affray.

Councillor Peter Hicks, Medway Council's portfolio holder for Community Safety said, "This partnership with our neighbours has proved the value of CCTV in making people feel safer in their local areas, as well as leading to arrests."

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