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Knife crime keeps rising in West Midlands, figures show

Allen Cook

BBC News

Knife crime in the West Midlands has risen by nearly a fifth, according to the latest figures from police forces.

In the 12 months to the end of June 2019, offences in the region rose by 18%.

Forensic officers at crime scene
Getty Images

The data's from the Office for National Statistics with the whole of England and Wales seeing an increase of 7%.

In the West Midlands, West Mercia Police saw the biggest rise of 30% as the force recorded 578 offences in the year to June.

But the most crimes for the period were recorded by West Midlands Police with 3,560 - an increase of 20%.

The increase for Warwickshire was 25% while both Staffordshire Police and Cheshire Police saw falls in knife crime.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a chilly start it will be a day of sunshine and showers with highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Dry night ahead but chance of a shower

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Staying mainly dry tonight, although there's the chance of the odd shower around in the West Midlands:

Alex Hamilton

Keep up-to-date with the latest forecast for your area by heading to the BBC Weather website at any other time.

Early rain should clear away

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early rain should soon clear this morning to leave it mainly dry if cloudy:

Alex Hamilton

You can keep up-to-date with the weather in your area by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a dry night with some clear skies and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a wet evening it should be a drier night with some clear spells and lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Flood risk warning as heavy rain returns

Parts of the West Midlands could face flooding as heavy rain moves across the region.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for between 12:00 and midnight.

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The Met Office said the wet weather will move northwards across much of England on Monday, with the heaviest rain forecast for the afternoon and evening.

Flood alerts have been issued in Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be increasingly wet with heavy rain and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Schools funding news welcomed

Seven councils in the West Midlands are among a group of 42 across the country campaigning for fairer funding in schools.

The F40 group includes some of the lowest funded local authorities in England and says it wants "fairness and equal opportunities in education for all children, regardless of where they live".

Graphic
BBC

The F40 group includes:

  • Cheshire East Council
  • Herefordshire Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Solhull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Worcestershire County Council

Responding to today's news, Shropshire Council said it was "generally pleased with the settlement" and acknowledged it came at a time when schools "have been experiencing challenges in balancing their budgets".

“Shropshire’s schools have not been well funded and so we would hope this is a fairer settlement in relative funding terms with those schools in other areas, who have historically attracted higher levels of funding per pupil," Ed Potter, cabinet member for children’s services, said.

The F40 group has previously said while it recognised that those schools with pupils with higher additional needs should receive more funding, "the way this is applied across the country is inconsistent and unfair".

Graphic
BBC

West Midlands to get an extra £175m for schools

Schools in the West Midlands will receive an extra £175m over the next three years, but it is the second-lowest increase in funding per-pupil in the country.

The figures are laid out in the government's provisional spending plans and the West Midlands will see an average increase of 3.6% per pupil by 2020-21.

Only London is expected to see a lower per-pupil increase with 3.2%.

Cash
Getty Images

The spending plans will increase the total budget for the region to £3.97bn by 2020-21.

The prime minister has promised to boost spending in UK schools by £14bn over the coming three financial years.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a windy day with showery rain and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a breezy night with some showers and lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Charity rugby match for Oscar Saxelby-Lee

West Mercia Police beat Warwickshire Police by 45-5 in last night's charity rugby match at Sixways.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee
Family handout

A crowd of just over 2,000 turned up to help raise money for the Oscar Saxelby-Lee appeal.

The five-year-old from Worcester, who's battling an aggressive form of leukemia, is currently having more tests to see whether he's well enough to travel to Singapore for potentially life-saving treatment

An appeal has raised almost £563,000.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a bright start it will be a cloudy day with some showers and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Dry night for the West Midlands

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

We're in for a dry night in the West Midlands and it'll be quite breezy:

Alex Hamilton

Get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

New officer targets set for police forces

BBC Midlands Today

Police forces across the West Midlands will be able to recruit 590 new officers in the first year of a government pledge to hire an extra 20,000 by 2022.

Police cars
BBC

The Home Office has set out recruitment targets for the first year with West Midlands Police given the biggest of 366.

Warwickshire will be able to hire an extra 41, Staffordshire 90 and West Mercia 93.

Home Office figures show that forces in England and Wales lost 20,564 officers between March 2010 and March 2019.

Boris Johnson pledged the extra 20,000 officers earlier this year although the College of Policing at the time warned of "logistical challenges", partly because of concerns of a lack of instructors for training.

A breezy day ahead

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a damp start in places, today should stay mainly dry but breezy.

Alex Hamilton

You can keep up-to-date with the latest weather forecast for your area at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It should be a mainly dry night with the odd shower and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a fine start blustery showers will move in with highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Rural crime police team launched

A police team dedicated to reducing rural crime has been launched in Warwickshire.

Police team
Warwickshire Police

The cost of rural crime has risen to £44.5m as organised criminal gangs target farm machinery, said NFU Mutual.

The new team based at Greyes Mallory near Warwick is expected to build links with the rural community in an effort to tackle the issues of theft, fly-tipping and illegal butchering of sheep.

Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said it would send a message that "crime will not be tolerated in any part of Warwickshire, including our rural communities".

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Rain will gradually clear leaving a dry night with lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

End of police alliance 'could cost millions'

BBC Shropshire

The breaking up of an alliance between two police forces could end up costing taxpayers millions of pounds, according to one of the men who helped set it up.

Police car for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police forces
BBC

The forces have been sharing services since 2012, but West Mercia Police wants to pull out, saying it is subsidising Warwickshire Police, which it denies.

The alliance was due to end tomorrow, but Warwickshire Police sought Home Office intervention, saying it had not had enough time to split services.

Over the weekend, the Home Office told the pair to stay in the alliance for three more months to ensure vital services are maintained.

Barrie Sheldon was deputy police and crime commissioner for West Mercia for four years from 2012.

There's going to be hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions, spent on legal fees and the potential of millions of pounds being paid out to put Warwickshire Police back into a state where they can get back to becoming a viable force."

Barrie SheldonFormer deputy police and crime commissioner, West Mercia Police

Knife crime 'rising fastest outside London'

Knife crime in Warwickshire has been increasing faster than in London, figures show.

New figures obtained by the BBC have shown the scale of knife crime across England and Wales with the number of recorded cases rising by two thirds between 2014 and 2018.

Knife crime map
BBC

The increase has been fastest in areas such as Warwickshire, Surrey, North and West Wales and Norfolk.

Birmingham is one of nine areas outside London with the highest number of knife crimes.

Data from 34 out of 43 police forces reveals almost half of suspects are under the age of 24.

The Home Office says 20,000 new police officers will be recruited over the next three years to help tackle violent crime.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a cloudy start rain will spread from the west leading to a wet and windy afternoon with highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It should be a dry night with some clear intervals and lows of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Police forces split: Warwickshire 'saddened' over Home Office request

Warwickshire Police said it was "saddened" to request the Home Office step in to help agree its break-up plans with the West Mercia force.

The two forces have been in talks since the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Chief Constable Anthony Bangham announced they wanted to end their strategic alliance by 8 October.

West Mercia said negotiations have now ended without an agreement.

Police officers
PA Media

The Warwickshire force has now written to the government and asked it to require West Mercia to continue to collaborate with them "across joint business areas" past the split deadline.

A joint statement from Chief Constable Martin Jelley and Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: "We are saddened that it should have ever been necessary to make this request to the Home Secretary.

"Throughout the last 12 months of negotiations with West Mercia, we have remained focused on achieving an orderly separation which protects the interests of our communities and our workforce.

"We have made multiple offers to this effect, which have been refused on each occasion by West Mercia."

The Home Office has been approached for a comment.

Warning for heavy rain issued

Parts of the West Midlands could experience heavy rain causing travel disruption on Sunday.

A yellow warning for rain has been issued and lasts until 18:00.

Weather warning
Met Office

BreakingHome Office could intervene in police break-up row

The Home Office might have to step in help the West Mercia and Warwickshire police forces agree their break-up plans.

The two forces have been in talks since the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion and the Chief Constable, Anthony Bangham, announced they wanted to end their strategic alliance. West Mercia said negotiations have now ended without an agreement.

Police logos
BBC

In a statement, the West Mercia force said: "We now anticipate intervention from the Home Office in the coming days to allow further time for Warwickshire to transition to a standalone model."

The force said it also understands a High Court injunction is being applied for by Warwickshire to try to prevent the termination of the current alliance arrangements.

"We cannot simply accept the continuation of the current arrangement, which sees West Mercia significantly subsidising a neighbouring force," the statement added.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a cloudy day with some rain and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Tree campaigners 'won't leave threatened woodland'

A group of campaigners say they won't leave woodland in Warwickshire due to be cleared to make way for HS2, despite the government putting the felling on hold.

They're camping out in Cubbington Woods which stands in the way of the high-speed rail route.

HS2
Siemens/PA

The transport secretary said any work was on hold while an independent review into the project is carried out.

There are 11 woodlands in Staffordshire and Warwickshire likely to be affected and work on six will now be deferred to early 2020 and autumn or winter 2020 on the remaining five.

M42 crash causing congestion

BBC News Travel

A crash involving two cars has closed one lane of the M42 in Warwickshire.

There's queuing traffic in the area up to the crash site on the southbound carriageway between J3A and J3.

Congestion is building on the northbound side as traffic slows down past the crash site.

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Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a dry, bright start it will be a cloudy day with some rain later and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Weather: Rainy weather to return later this week

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Enjoy this dry spell while you can, because the rain clouds are returning tomorrow afternoon.

Here's the forecast:

BBC Weather Watchers

Flood warnings still in force as water levels remain high

The Environment Agency says there is still a danger of flooding around the West Midlands, as river levels remain high.

It has issued a new flood warning for the River Severn in Shrewsbury and still has warnings in place for the River Vyrnwy in Shropshire and the River Sence in Warwickshire.

Upper Arley
Wanderlass

It has stood down a number of other flood warnings, including those in Staffordshire, and flood alerts, but says they could be reintroduced, with more rain forecast at the end of the week.

More than 140 drivers stopped during crackdown

More than 140 vehicles were stopped by police on roads around the region during last week, for a range of offences, including one person trying to do paperwork while at the wheel.

Officers from Warwickshire Police and the Central Motorway Police Group said they patrolled the area in a lorry cab and handed out 71 fines for seatbelt offences, and caught 31 drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel.

One person was arrested for failing a roadside drugs test and for possession of drugs.

Police HGV
Central Motorway Police Group

Warwickshire Police said one lorry driver was found to have faulty brakes, defective tyres and no number plate.

Other offences included no insurance, insecure loads, careless driving, and reversing on the hard shoulder.

In the papers: Pictures show how city could be transformed

Coventry Live

Here are three of the stories featured on Coventry Live today:

Number of flood warnings scaled back

The number of flood warnings affecting the West Midlands has fallen, with the Environment Agency saying river levels are falling.

Five rivers were listed this morning, but that has now been reduced to two - the River Vyrnwy in Shropshire and the River Sence in Warwickshire.

River
Shropshire Lass

A number of lesser flood alerts are still in place and the Environment Agency has warned river levels will remain high for the rest of the week and could rise again, with more heavy rain forecast for the weekend.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After yesterday's rain and floods, today looks set to be a little more settled.

A ridge of high pressure means it is going to be a little more sunny, but it will feel chilly.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

'Torrential rain' causing travel disruption

Torrential showers are hitting parts of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, the Met Office says.

A yellow warning for rain is in place until 20:00 with flood alerts and warnings issued across the West Midlands.

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