Newspaper headlines: Sex crime concern, bird flu and Auld Enemies in headlines

Concerns over the accuracy of police crime figures are once again in the headlines,

The Guardian and Metro lead on the report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary suggesting that more than 800,000 crimes - including a quarter of all sex offences - are not recorded properly by forces in England and Wales. As the Guardian points out, that's the equivalent of 19% of the total official recorded crime.

The Daily Mail lists the five best forces for recording incidents, along with the five worst: Hampshire, Merseyside, Avon and Somerset, West Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys. More than 200 rapes are dismissed as "no crime", with victims being "discredited" by officers "for no good reason" because of a target mentality, the paper notes.

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In an editorial column, the Sun describes this as a scandal. "People reporting any crimes are entitled to be taken seriously by police, not treated with scepticism or even disbelief. That happens to a scandalous degree with rapes. Yes, they are hard to prove in court. That's no reason to give up."

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph says the under-recording doesn't mean that claims of falling crime are wrong, given they are backed by the separate Crime Survey for England and Wales. However, it adds: "It is not the recording of crime that matters but whether or not it is acted up on when reported... If victims contact the police about a crime and are ignored in order to meet some spurious target then it his hardly surprising if their trust in the rule of law diminishes."


Bird flu

An image of officials wearing protective boiler suits and masks - splashed across the Daily Mirror's front page - offers readers a stark reminder of the threat of bird flu, a case of which has been confirmed at an East Yorkshire duck breeding farm.

Despite that, the paper points out that because it is not the deadly H5N1 strain the risk to humans is thought to be "very low". Aside from the culling of 6,000 birds, the Daily Star is worried about the effect it could have on the forthcoming festive season for Britain's families, using the headline: "Bird flu could wipe out our Xmas turkeys." Likewise, the Sun reckons there's a threat to 10 million birds bound for Christmas dinner tables.

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The Times explains that turkey breeders are among 57 farmers who've had restrictions placed on moving their poultry as a result of the outbreak. However, also it quotes a British Poultry Council spokesman saying farmers should be able to obtain movement licences "relatively easily", without significant delays in the delivery of slaughtered birds to retailers.

More worrying, perhaps, is the Telegraph's headline declaring that the disease was in the country up to a week before it was discovered, prompting fears it could have spread before the containment measures were put in place.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail uses the report to shed light on the duck-rearing industry, reporting that about 15 million of the birds "never see open water" and are slaughtered about seven weeks after hatching. Cherry Valley, which owns the affected farm, is quoted saying it keeps ducks in "large, airy, well-lit barns... [with] a constant flow of clean water for drinking and preening".


Wait over

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The papers report great strides made by women trying to forge careers in male-dominated environments, with the Telegraph noting that BBC Radio's Test Match Special is to have a female summariser for the first time in more than half a century of broadcasting. Former Indian cricketer Isa Guha is to join the team.

Meanwhile, the Church of England General Synod's formal adoption of legislation to allow women bishops is celebrated on the Guardian's front page by south London priest and columnist Giles Fraser. The headline reads: "Hallelujah. The long wait is over at last."

The Telegraph says: "The Church of England has been strengthened by the adoption of women vicars, and it will doubtless be strengthened by this new measure, too." Meanwhile, the Times already has one eye on the next battle, noting: "The church was also challenged to end its next area of 'prejudice' and appoint its first gay bishop."


Auld enemy

It might only be a friendly but Tuesday night's football international between Scotland and England promises to have a tasty atmosphere, if the headlines are anything to go by.

"Fright night," is how the Daily Mail's London edition headlines a warning from England skipper Wayne Rooney to his young teammates not to be intimidated by the Celtic Park atmosphere. North of the border the paper's headlines focus on members of Scotland manager Gordon Strachan's "fired-up squad" pleading not to be rested after Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Ireland. The Sun's national editions, below, follow similar lines.

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Meanwhile, sportswriters enjoy soaking up the history. The Telegraph's Henry Winter writes: "This is more than a game, not just because of the oft-tense dynamic between two devoted sets of supporters, and between not-always-neighbourly nations, but also because of the competitive instincts of proud professionals who share club dressing rooms."

The Mail's Jeff Powell picks his greatest combined team from the "auld enemies" and points out that despite jokers telling him "good luck finding a Scot", he picked five alongside six Englishmen, while several papers pick classic matches through the decades between the two rivals.

Despite all that, the Times finds the managers keen to forget past rivalries. Strachan seeks only to maintain his team's resurgence, it says, while England manager Roy Hodgson wants his side to move on from the summer's setbacks.

The Mirror's Dave Kidd, however, reckons Hodgson will attach more importance to the game when speaking privately to his players. "Not that they need convincing. They crave matches with meaning, occasions with electricity, atmospheres which ring in the ears and can never be erased from memory." There is no reason, Kidd argues, why it couldn't be restored to an annual fixture.


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