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Police officer run over by thieves backs 'Andrew's Law'

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

A police officer who nearly died after being run over by car thieves has added his support for mandatory life sentences for anyone who kills a member of the emergency services.

PC Gaz Phillips

A campaign was launched by Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper who died in Berkshire in August 2019.

PC Gaz Phillips, 43, was critically injured in Birmingham a few days earlier.

He has made a remarkable recovery and on the first anniversary of the incident has just returned to work.

Weather: Mainly sunny before the showers

BBC Weather

We might see the odd shower this morning but mainly there will be sunny spells today and it will continue to feel very warm and muggy. High: 30C/86F.

This morning in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire
This morning in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire

Then turning cloudy this evening with showers starting to appear which could be sharp and possibly thundery. Low: 17C/63F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Police officer run over by thieves backs 'Andrew's Law'
PC Gaz Phillips who nearly died just days before PC Andrew Harper is supporting his widow's campaign for tougher sentences.

Thunderstorms warning for next week

People in the West Midlands should be prepared for severe thunderstorms early next week, the Met Office said.

Area covered
Met Office

It has put out a yellow warning from 00:00 on Monday until 00:00 on Wednesday.

However, the alert covers the whole country as the Met Office said there was "significant uncertainty in location and timing".

Weather: A warm and sunny Friday

BBC Weather

Plenty of sunshine around and it will be mainly dry and fine with just the chance of a few showers this afternoon. High: 28C (82F).

BBC Weather Watcher Sue Snaps
This morning in Codsall, Staffordshire

Warm and muggy tonight with any lingering showers clearing away to leave it dry with clear spells. Low: 16C (61F).

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Pay dispute threatens future of reopened leisure centres

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The Local Democracy Reporting Service in the West Midlands has been covering these stories this week:

  • Council-run swimming pools and gyms in Sandwell which reopened last week could shut again over a pay dispute. Unions say they will ballot staff on strike action unless Sandwell Leisure Trust improves its offer of a 1% wage increase over the next two years. The trust says the proposed offer is about the financial viability of the leisure centres.
One of Sandwell's leisure centres

  • Children going to a pupil referral unit in Walsall are set to move to temporary buildings ahead of the construction of a brand new school. The council's expected to approve spending £850,000 on facilities for pupils of the New Leaf Centre while a new £7.5m new centre is built.
  • A new learning centre could be built next to a Sikh temple in Wolverhampton to teach younger members about the religion. Guru Nanak Gurdwara, in Wednesfield, has submitted a proposal to Wolverhampton Council for a two-storey building next to the temple.

Weather: A dry and warm Thursday

BBC Weather

Today's going to be very warm and mainly dry with just the chance of the odd shower this morning. High: 25C/77F.

This morning in Moreton on Lugg, Herefordshire
BBC Weather Watcher Mightyship
This morning in Moreton on Lugg, Herefordshire

It will stay dry tonight with clear spells, feeling humid and mild with a low of 15C/59F.

Keep up-to-date on the forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Guard of honour at funeral of special constable

A funeral has been held today for a special constable who died months after he was hit by a car.

Special Constable Resham Singh Nahal pictured in 2017 at Pride with Chief Constable Dave Thompson
West Midlands Police

Resham Singh Nahal (left) was hit by a car while attending the scene of a separate collision in Oldbury, on 8 November.

Last month, West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson confirmed his death and the force said tests would determine if his death related to the injuries he suffered on duty.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said Mr Nahal was also part of its Patient Transport Service and colleagues formed a guard of honour at Perry Barr Crematorium.

Colleagues at the funeral
West Midlands Ambulance Service

Coronavirus: How many cases are there in your area?

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Sandwell has fallen, according to new figures.

A test sample is held at a COVID-19 testing centre

The borough was named as an area of concern by Public Health England last month after a rise in cases.

But data from Public Health England shows there were 66 new cases in the week up to 31 July. Figures for the seven days to 24 July showed 96 cases.

That means 20.2 people tested positive for every for every 100,000 population (up to 31 July), down from 29.3 a week earlier.

Here are the rate of infections (per 100,000 people) for all local authorities in the West Midlands - for the seven days up to 31 July, compared with the previous week.

  • Birmingham down to 12.7 from from 13.4
  • Bromsgrove down to 6.1 from 7.1
  • Cheshire East up to 6.6 from 1.3
  • Coventry up to 14.7 from 8.7
  • Dudley up to 4.7 from 3.4
  • East Staffordshire up to 9.3 from 8.4
  • Herefordshire remains at 5.7
  • Lichfield up to 6.7 from 2.9
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme up to 7.0 from 3.1
  • North Warwickshire is down to 6.2 from 9.3
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth up to 17.8 from 8.5
  • Redditch remains at 1.2
  • Rugby up to 6.5 from 1.9
  • Sandwell down to 20.2 from 29.3
  • Shropshire up to 6.2 from 5.0
  • Solihull up to 7.0 from 4.2
  • South Staffordshire down to 3.6 from 6.2
  • Staffordshire Moorlands up to 6.1 from 1.0
  • Stoke-on-Trent down to 3.1 from 4.3
  • Stratford-on-Avon up to 3.1 from 0.8
  • Tamworth up to 2.6 from 1.3
  • Telford and Wrekin remains at 3.9
  • Walsall remains at 8.1
  • Warwick remains at 4.2
  • Wolverhampton up to 16.8 from 14.5
  • Worcester down to 3.9 from 7.9
  • Wychavon down to 4.7 from 7.9

Weather: Mainly dry and sunny today

BBC Weather

Monday will be mainly dry with sunny spells although there could be some more cloud around this afternoon with a few light showers. High: 19C/66F.

Leek this morning
Tammys Pics
This morning near Leek, Staffordshire

Then although there'll be some patchy cloud with the odd shower tonight, it will generally turn dry with clear spells through the night. Low: 8C/46F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

How hot is it going to get today?

BBC Weather

It will be a dry and hot day for most of the West Midlands with plenty of sunshine.

Later in the afternoon, some patchy cloud will build up, with the small chance of catching a sharp shower but temperatures could reach 32°C (90°F).

This was the scene in Eckington, Worcestershire, this morning and taken by BBC Weather Watcher Jo.

BBC Weather Watchers/Jo
Paramedic on struggle to recover mentally from stabbing
Deena Evans and her colleague Michael Hipgrave were stabbed while attending a patient in Wolverhampton.

Warning against anti-social behaviour issued ahed of Eid

Muslims across the West Midlands will be celebrating the festival of Eid al-Adha on Friday.

Worshipers are being asked celebrate virtually due to social-distancing measures brought in during the coronavirus pandemic, and not gather in large family groups.

West Midlands Police is also asking people not to gather this evening causing anti-social behaviour including "revving engines and blowing horns into the early hours."

"Police ANPR operations and officers [will be] on duty until the early hours of the morning to deal with this problem should it arise," the force said.

Robots used to clean airport in coronavirus fight

Robots that can clean door handles and seats are being trialed at a Yorkshire airport to see if they can help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Robot cleaner

The University of Leeds has been using the machines at Leeds Bradford Airport and in Leeds city centre where they spray objects with a mist of diluted alcohol.

The robots use artificial intelligence to identify objects that need regular cleaning, like seats, bike stands or doors.

They then work together to avoid crashing into things or people.

The project, which involves the universities of Leeds and Birmingham, and University College London, was set up in May to look at how robots can help slow the spread of the virus.

Dr Mohammed Shaqura, from the University of Leeds, said: “The aim is to have robots that can regularly disinfect those spaces, doing away with the need for people to clean them and the risks they would face in becoming contaminated themselves.

“We are using machine learning techniques to have the robots fully autonomous, so they "know" which objects need cleaning – and will only require high-level supervision from operators.”

Weather: Sunshine and showers

BBC Weather

A mix of sunny spells and showers today. Cool and breezy with a high of 17C/63F.

Knowle, Solihull this morning
BBC Weather Watchers/Dammo
Knowle, Solihull this morning

Then any remaining showers will die out through tonight with clear spells appearing later on. Low: 11C/52F.

Get an up-to-date forecast for your area at any time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Weather: Showers all day

BBC Weather

There'll be outbreaks of showers today, with gusty winds, and the rain could be heavy at times with a small chance of thunder and lightning. High: 21C/70F.

Rain in Bromyard, Herefordshire, this morning
Mrs Baggins
Rain in Bromyard, Herefordshire, this morning

Windy this evening with a few showers before turning largely dry and clear overnight. Low: 11C/52F.

You can keep up-to-date on the forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a largely dry day with areas of cloud and the chance of some showers with highs of 23°C (73°F).

This was the view in Bromyard, Herefordshire, earlier taken by BBC Weather Watcher Mrs Baggins.

BBC Weather Watchers/Mrs Baggins

Swimmers told 'arrive beach ready' as pools reopen

Allen Cook

BBC News

Swimmers are being asked to arrive "beach ready" if they want to swim at Walsall's council-run leisure centres when they reopen on Monday.

Wider swim lanes at Walsall pool
Walsall Leisure

Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities were told they could reopen from 25 July by the government as lockdown eases across England.

Walsall Council said its four centres at Oak Park, Bloxwich, Darlaston and Gala Baths had been prepared for social distancing, but people would have to book in advance.

Swimming will be allowed in double-width lanes and gym equipment has been moved further apart while one-way systems will be signposted.

Spread out gym equipment
Walsall Leisure

University reveals £5m expansion plan

Hundreds more students could be trained at Birmingham City University under a £5m expansion plan.

Birmingham City University

The university said it had bought a property for £2.2m on Harborne Road, near its City South Campus, which it's going to spend £2.8m transforming.

Once the makeover is carried out, officials said it would provide additional teaching and training space for more than 1,000 health and education students.

Weather: Sunny spells giving way to rain

BBC Weather

Some sunny spells this morning but it will soon turn pretty cloudy with some patchy, light rain forecast for this afternoon. A breezy day with a high of 19C/66F.

Barnt Green, Worcestershire this morning
Barnt Green, Worcestershire this morning

Any lingering rain will fizzle out through this evening, leaving a dry, fairly cloudy night with just a few clear spells. Low: 13C/55F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Online harassement cases 'spiralling' during lockdown

The number of online harassment incidents has been "spiralling" during lockdown, West Midlands Police has said.

The number of cases has risen by 40% in recent weeks, with 2,500 reported in the last month.

Mobile phone
Getty Images

The force said the increase had come as "people spend even more time on social platforms" and that one victim had received 104 offensive or abusive messages in just one day.

Family and relationship disputes are listed as being the cause for about a third of incidents, but there have also been disputes between neighbours and workplace fall-outs.

The force has launched a social media campaign to warn offenders they could face jail and to highlight the impact online abuse can have on victims.

Zero Covid-19 deaths recorded for fifth day

BBC Midlands Today

There have been no coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the West Midlands for a fifth day in a row, figures show.

A test being carried out

The data from NHS England has the total number of Covid-19 deaths recorded since the pandemic began at 3,852.

This evening from 18:30, BBC Midlands Today will be examining if this marks the start of the end of the pandemic or if we are just moving into a new phase of living with coronavirus.

Force 'can't afford pay rises'

West Midlands Police might have to lose 36 officers to pay for the government's proposed pay increases, its Police and Crime Commissioner has warned.

David Jamieson said that the 2.5% increase couldn't be afforded from the existing budget for his force.

David Jamieson

Almost 900,000 public sector workers are to get an above-inflation pay rise, including doctors and teachers.

But the Treasury said the money for the pay increases of up to 3.1% would come from existing departmental budgets.

No social distancing required on school buses

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Mark Cardwell

Children going back to schools across the West Midlands in September will not have to observe social distancing on school buses, a meeting has heard.

Transport for West Midlands signs
Transport for West Midlands

Documents from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) show school bus operators may be asked to increase capacity while space on public transport remains limited due to Covid-19 rules.

Pupils in all year groups are being told to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term, and schools are instructed to maintain social distancing “wherever possible” within buildings.

Government advice states pupils will not be required to keep two metres or “one metre plus apart” on dedicated school transport – used by more than 32,000 five to 18-year-olds in the West Midlands.

Can we expect more sunshine today?

BBC Weather

After a dry and sunny start some cloud will build later with top temperatures of 20C (68F).

It was a lovely start to the morning in Upton upon Severn as captured here by BBC Weather Watcher Dee.

Upton upon Severn
BBC Weather Watchers/Dee

Coronavirus cases continue to fall in West Midlands

Allen Cook

BBC News

Cases of coronavirus infections in the West Midlands are continuing to decline and the region's infection rate remains low, according to health officials.

However, spikes in Herefordshire, almost entirely connected with an outbreak on a farm, and in East Staffordshire saw those areas picked out as areas of interest.

Sign to Covid-19 test centre
AFP/Getty Images

The latest figures show there were two deaths reported in local hospitals today and the University Hospitals Birmingham said it now had 73 coronavirus patients compared with 180 four weeks ago.

At the latest West Midlands weekly briefing, the Covid-19 regional covenor, Clive Wright, said the local reproduction or R number was 0.7-0.9, lower than the national figure.

He added there was currently a low level of infections across the region and Stoke-on-Trent had the highest rate regionally, but is still about 10% of the rate in Leicester, which remains under a strict lockdown.

Two areas in the West Midlands have seen a rise in new cases in the past week compared to the previous seven days.

Herefordshire's cases per 100,000 rose from 3.1 in the week to 6 July to 43.2 for the following week during which 93 workers tested positive at a farm in the county.

There was also a big rise in the East Staffordshire area, from 7.6 cases per 100,000 to 28.7. By comparison, Leicester's cases fell from 127.0 per 100,000 to 101.1

Huge drop in rail and bus use post-lockdown

Allen Cook

BBC News

The number of passengers using rail services in the West Midlands since lockdown was eased is a fifth of what it was before Covid-19, a transport boss has said.

Face masks being handed out by West Midlands Trains staff

Face masks became compulsory on public transport more than a month ago and Laura Shoaf, Managing Director of Transport for West Midlands, told a weekly briefing staff had seen more than 90% of people complying with the rule.

At the briefing, West Midlands mayor Andy Street said it was positive for the prime minister to encourage more workers to use public transport but it was up to each business to decide whether staff can safely return.

Coronavirus: How many cases are there in your area?

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus across the West Midlands is rising in a few areas, but dropping on the whole, new figures show.

The data from Public Health England shows the number of positive tests (in hospitals and the wider community) for every 100,000 population in the week up to 12 July.

Herefordshire's figures are up from 2.1 to 37.0, with 71 new cases recorded in the week linked to an outbreak on a farm near Worcester.

Covid-19 test

The local authority figures in alphabetical order are:

  • Birmingham 6.5 up from 6.1
  • Bromsgrove remains the same at 4.1
  • Cheshire East down to 3.2 from 6.0
  • Coventry 2.7 down from 4.1
  • Dudley 1.9 down from 3.1
  • East Staffordshire up to 28.7 from 7.6
  • Herefordshire up to 37.0 from 2.1
  • Lichfield remains the same at 3.8
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme down to 6.2 from 11.6
  • North Warwickshire is down to 0.0 from 3.1
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth up to 12.4 from 8.5
  • Redditch down to 0.0 from 3.5
  • Rugby up to 11.2 from 8.4
  • Sandwell up to 7.9 from 4.3
  • Shropshire down to 3.7 from 7.2
  • Solihull up to 4.7 from 3.7
  • South Staffordshire up to 2.7 from 0.0
  • Staffordshire Moorlands up to 6.1 from 5.1
  • Stoke-on-Trent down to 10.9 from 12.1
  • Stratford-on-Avon up to 4.7 from 3.9
  • Tamworth down to 5.2 from 6.5
  • Telford and Wrekin up to 6.7 from 3.4
  • Walsall up to 8.8 from 4.2
  • Warwick remains the same at 0.7
  • Wolverhampton down to 3.4 from 5.3
  • Worcester down to 2.9 from 4.9
  • Wychavon up to 5.5 from 1.6

By comparison in Leicester, the rate has dropped from 127.2 in the seven days to July 5 to 104.4.

It was 143.6 in the seven days to June 28.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a largely fine and dry day with lots of cloud around but also some hazy sunshine breaking through. Highs of 22°C (72°F).

BBC Weather Watchers/Les at Large

Weather: Getting warmer on Thursday

BBC Weather

It should be mainly cloudy and dry tonight as well as feeling milder than in recent days, with a low of 13C (55F).

Burton-upon-Trent this afternoon
Poetic Verse
Burton-upon-Trent on Wednesday afternoon

Then it will get warmer on Thursday with some sunny spells and a high of 21C (70F).

Keep up-to-date with the forecast where you live by going to the BBC Weather website.

Weather: Early rain set to clear away

BBC Weather

A soggy start to Wednesday but the rain should soon clear away to leave us with a mainly dry day with some sunshine around this afternoon. High: 17C (63F).

Church Stretton, Shropshire
BBC Weather Watcher Peter Steggles
Church Stretton, Shropshire

Staying mainly cloudy and dry tonight with a low of 13C (55F).

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Footballer demands answers as he's handcuffed by police
The girlfriend of Bradford City player Ben Richards-Everton films him being handcuffed by police.

Students to be taught ethical hacking

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Dare

Students will be taught how to hack computers and defend against cyber-attacks.


The students will be given the chance to learn a range of new skills as part of an ethical hacking, computer network and security challenge centre set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Across the UK small firms are hacked on average every 19 seconds.

Tthe basics of cyber offense and defence; hands on practice and an insider perspective on cyber security and the most common cyber attacks will be on the curriculum.

Six million pints of beer down the drain

Local Democracy Reporting Service

David Irwin

More than six million pints of stale beer have been thrown down the drain across the region as a result of the lengthy closure of pubs.

Bottles of beer

Severn Trent confirmed this week that it had given approval to tip out a vast volume of alcohol, which had gone off during the lockdown.

The water authority said it was important that the drink was properly disposed of, with the risk that such a large amount sloshing into the sewage works could cause problems.

The fear is that the bacteria which is used to break down waste could be “impaired” if too much booze enters the system at any one time.