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Police forensics service faces a major shake-up

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Jobs could be at risk in the Devon & Cornwall Police forensics service under a major shake-up.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer has revealed the force’s science support service is undergoing modernisation to take into account new digital processes.

But concerns have been raised about the impact of changes on the service in Plymouth, which has already seen the effect of cutbacks with fewer crimes being investigated by forensics staff.

Under the restructuring plan, fingerprint and chemical laboratories would be based with Avon & Somerset Police and Devon & Cornwall would host a digital centre. The force would also have a series of forensic hubs where staff would collect material from crime scenes for analysis.

Devon & Cornwall Police
BBC

The plan follows a decision in March to drop a plan to transfer employment of the Devon & Cornwall team to Dorset Police.

Mr Sawyer told members of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel that the changes could take between six months and a year, adding he hoped any staff who might lose their job could be retrained and redeployed, but redundancies could not be ruled out.

Discussions would be taking place with staff and the GMB union.

He said there were concerns about a backlog in forensics work which was having an impact on the progress of sexual offence cases.

Mr Sawyer said: “Digital fingerprints can be looked at as easily from Scotland as Saltash. We have to work in the real world.”

The chief constable was responding to a question about the changes from Plymouth Labour councillor Sally Haydon, who commented: “We don’t want to lose any of our highly skilled staff from here.”

Salcombe says farewell to round-Britain dinghy sailors

BBC Radio Devon

Two sailors have left Salcombe on an epic journey in an open boat, sailing non-stop around the UK.

Wayfarer
Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchell

Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchell are sailing a 60-year-old 16ft wooden Wayfarer dinghy Nipegegi anti-clockwise around the UK.

They are fundraising for the RNLI and Surfers Against Sewage.

Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchell
Will Hodshon and Rich Mitchell

New website for young people in Plymouth

Generation Plymouth
Generation Plymouth

A new website has been launched "written for and by young people in Plymouth".

Generation Plymouth was set up "with the aim of encouraging young people living in Plymouth to engage with news stories happening in their local communities" according to the creators of the site.

All of the contributors are aged 16-25 and the site promises opportunities for young people in Plymouth to get experience in journalism.

Knee op prep reveals prostate cancer

Jenny Walrond

Health Correspondent, BBC Spotlight

Lesle Burden and Paul Gidley
BBC

A Plymouth man's life was saved by having a pre-operative assessment for a knee replacement, he says.

Nurse Lesle Burden checked on earlier blood tests Paul Gidley had had and picked up the signs of an aggressive prostate cancer after seeing a high PSA [prostate-specific antigen] level.

She told him to go straight back to his GP and to have this followed up, which led to him being treated with radiotherapy, surgery and hormone therapy.

About 3,000 men a year in the South West are diagnosed with the disease, with one in six men nationwide developing it.

In the meantime, Paul said he hoped to get his new knee soon and he was urging other men to go to their doctor if they had concerns.

Paul Gidley
BBC

If you notice anything different, if anything changes, if you get up to go to the loo a couple of times a night, just go and see your GP. No one wants to go, but, believe you me, if you don't you may well end up paying the ultimate price."

Paul GidleyProstate cancer patient

South Western Railway staff to strike

BBC News England

Rail commuters on some of the country's busiest routes are facing disruption due to a planned five-day strike over the future of train guards.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) plan to walk out on Tuesday over South Western Railway's (SWR) "failure" to satisfy their request for a guard on each train.

Commuters into London, as well as racegoers at Royal Ascot, are likely to be impacted. SWR also has services from London to Exeter, via Honiton and Salisbury.

The operator called the strikes "unnecessary".

South Western Railway train
PA

Police use informal punishments for sex offenders

Ben Woolvin

BBC South West Home Affairs correspondent

Devon and Cornwall Police has handed more than 100 informal punishments to sex offenders in four years despite guidance restricting their use.

Community resolutions are intended to be used outside of the court service to resolve low level offences or anti-social behaviour incidents. Offenders agree to apologise and perhaps repair damages.

The offender does not get a criminal record and it does not show up on a DBS criminal records check, which is why using them to deal with reported sex offences is controversial.

New figures from the BBC's Shared Data Unit show community resolution orders have been used in more than 102 reported sex offences in the force area since 2014.

That is a very small proportion of the total number of reported sex offences - just under 1% of the 12,000 sex offences reported to Devon and Cornwall Police in that time. But, of course, sex offences are serious by definition.

The charity Victim Support said it was "very concerning and completely inappropriate for community resolutions to be used in cases where a sexual offence has been committed" and that the public "could be put at risk if sexual offenders are not receiving criminal records".

Devon and Cornwall Police said the resolutions were only used for sex offences in very rare instances - for example, "peer-on-peer" offences where young people in relationships were having sex before reaching the age of consent, or "sibling on sibling" offences within a family.

It added they were also only employed for such offences "when the victim, or their parent or guardian, has been consulted, and the offender accepts responsibility".

Devon and Cornwall Police car
BBC

Severe accident: A386 Devon both ways

BBC News Travel

A386 Devon both ways severe accident, between Bourna Farm House Bed and The Bull And Dragon pub.

A386 Devon - A386 in Huish blocked and stationary in both directions between the Bourna Farm House Bed junction and The Bull And Dragon pub junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Land's End to John O'Groats wheelchair challenge for amputee

BBC Radio Devon

A woman who had a leg amputated after years of pain in her foot is planning to travel by wheelchair from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Lexi Chambers
Lexi Chambers

Exeter nurse Lexi Chambers, 40, had five operations to cure pain from "hammer toes" in her left leg, but the constant pain forced her to go for an amputation of her leg.

Lexi Chambers
Lexi Chambers

Lexi, who is blogging about her journey, said: "I am dependant on my very heavy NHS wheelchair. It was whilst using this chair that I wondered how far I could travel using a chair.

"Why do I want to to do this? To show that having a disability doesnt mean the end of your life.

"It doesn't mean that you can't achieve something big.

"I hope to maybe inspire others to realise that you can achieve anything you set your mind to."

She plans to start the challenge in June 2020 and will be raising money for the Steel Bones amputee charity.

Fourteen fire stations tackled 'terrifying' fire

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

building on fire
Hilary Smith
Those living close by described it as "terrifying".

A fire broke out on Friday evening with almost 70 firefighters called to the scene.

Fourteen crews worked through the night to tackle the blaze at Crediton Milling, Crediton.

About 100 people worked at the building that burst into flames.

Emergency services were called to the scene at 21:29 on Friday.

Crediton Milling said no one was injured in the fire and it was working to establish the cause of the blaze.

View more on twitter

Man seriously injured in attack at seaside town

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

College Way in Dartmouth
Google maps

A 50-year-old man has been seriously injured in an attack in Dartmouth.

Police were called to College Way at about 21:30 on Friday following reports that a man had been beaten.

A 33-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

Lightning strike shuts Dartington school

BBC Radio Devon

A school in Dartington is shut on Monday and Tuesday because of a lightning strike, staff say.

The River Dart Academy said the strike damaged its alarm system and the electronic locking system on the doors, so the closure was for health and safety reasons.

"We expect the school to re-open to pupils on Wednesday 19th June," it added.

Man suffers life-threatening wound in Brixham stabbing

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

A man has suffered a life-threatening knife wound in a stabbing in Torbay, police say.

Officers said the man, in his 40s, was injured in an altercation after he "approached a vehicle" outside the Sprat and Mackerel pub on The Quay in Brixham at about 19:00 on Friday 14 June.

Firearms officers and local police units were sent to the scene after what they described as a "serious assault".

The man is in a critical condition in hospital in Plymouth after being airlifted by air ambulance.

A 48-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman from Brixham were arrested and later released on police bail until July.

Police have appealed for witnesses.

The Quay, Brixham
Google

Concern for man, 31, missing from Ivybridge

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A 31-year-old man is missing from Ivybridge, police have said.

Officers said they are concerned for the welfare of Daniel Stevens who was last seen in the Hartford Road area on Sunday.

He is described as white, about 6ft (1.8m) tall, of large build, with a stubbly beard and wearing a blue T-shirt and jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call 999.

Daniel Stevens
Ivybridge and Rural Police

Weather: Cloudy start, sunshine later

Emily Wood

BBC Weather

A fairly cloudy morning with some scattered showers.

More in the way of sunshine in the afternoon, with most areas remaining dry, and it will be breezy.

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

weather map
BBC

Severe disruption: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe disruption, between J29 for A3015 Honiton Road Exeter and J28 for A373 Honiton Road Cullompton.

M5 Devon - One lane closed on M5 northbound between J29, A3015 (Exeter) and J28, A373 (Cullompton), because of a lorry having a tyre changed. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A361 Devon both ways

BBC News Travel

A361 Devon both ways severe disruption, between A396 Bolham Road and A396.

A361 Devon - It's slow on A361 in both directions in Tiverton between the A396 Bolham Road junction and Sampford Peverell turn-off, because of earlier police incident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe disruption, from J29 for A3015 Honiton Road Exeter to J28 for A373 Honiton Road Cullompton.

M5 Devon - One lane closed on M5 northbound from J29, A3015 (Exeter) to J28, A373 (Cullompton), because of a lorry having a tyre changed. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon southbound severe disruption, at J29 for A3015 Honiton Road Exeter.

M5 Devon - M5 lane closed on exit slip road southbound at J29, A3015 (Exeter), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M5 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon southbound severe accident, at J29 for A3015 Honiton Road Exeter.

M5 Devon - M5 exit slip road blocked southbound at J29, A3015 (Exeter), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Devon both ways

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon both ways severe disruption, at J30 for A376 Sidmouth Road Exeter.

M5 Devon - M5 lane closed on entry slip road from one at J30, A376 (Exeter), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A38 Cornwall westbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Cornwall westbound severe accident, from A388 to The Crooked Inn Turn-Off.

A38 Cornwall - A38 Liskeard Road in Carkeel blocked and queues westbound from Carkeel Roundabout to The Crooked Inn Turn-Off junction, because of an accident involving five vehicles.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Weather: heavy rain tonight

BBC Weather

It is a mainly cloudy afternoon with some bright or sunny spells. There will also be some showery outbreaks of rain. Winds will be moderate gusting fresh south westerly, but strong later in the west.

TONIGHT: Cloud will lower and thicken from the west with occasionally heavy rain spreading eastwards overnight. Winds will be fresh southerly, gusting near gale at times.

Minimum: 9°C

weather map
BBC

Severe disruption: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe disruption, at J27 for A361.

M5 Devon - M5 entry slip road partially blocked northbound at J27, A361 (Tiverton), because of a broken down horsebox. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe disruption, at J27 for A361.

M5 Devon - M5 exit slip road partially blocked northbound at J27, A361 (Tiverton), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Jewellery stolen from Honiton home

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

A large amount of designer jewellery was stolen from a house in Honiton last month.

Devon and Cornwall Police said thieves crept in through the window of a property on Hale Lane between 10:00 and 13:35 on Friday 31 May.

Stolen items include a silver Pandora necklace with diamonds, a silver Armani watch, a gold cross diamond necklace, a silver link bracelet, a black and white diamond necklace and a gold and silver ladies watch.

The suspect was wearing a long dark-coloured coat, dark trousers, white trainers and a dark baseball cap.

View more on twitter

Man 'assaulted by three people' in Plymouth

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A man was taken to hospital with multiple injuries after being assaulted by three men in Plymouth, police have said.

It happened between 03:00 and 03:20 on 9 June in Jigsaw Park.

The man, in his 30s, was reported to have been assisting a woman up the stairs outside M&S and Bill's when he was assaulted by three men who approached him from behind - knocking him to the floor.

Officers added the three men repeatedly kicked the victim in the head and body.

He was taken to Derriford hospital with multiple injuries and later released.

Any witnesses are asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police via 101.

Jigsaw Park, Plymouth
Google

Two service medals taken in Torquay burglary

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Two military service medals and some jewellery have been stolen from a house in Torquay, police have said.

The burglary happened at about 20:45 on Sunday 10 June at a house on Marldon Road.

Officers said the medals are inscribed with the name Ronald Smith and/or Edwin Full.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police via 101.

Marldon Road, Torquay
Google

Teignmouth's first ever air show hit by £10k funding row

BBC Spotlight

A row has broken out over the funding of Teignmouth's first ever air show.

Organisers were expecting Teignbridge Council to give them £10,000 toward the free event, but the new Liberal Democrat administration's climate change policy doesn't fit in with the displays.

The event is going ahead, but they need more money and it could impact future plans.

Severe disruption: M5 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon southbound severe disruption, between J29 for A3015 Honiton Road Exeter and J30 for A376 Sidmouth Road Exeter.

M5 Devon - Ducks on the road on M5 southbound between J29, A3015 (Exeter) and J30, A376 (Exeter). Approach with care.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Control call on kung-fu knife teaching
The British Council for Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA) has called for mandatory registration of instructors.

Devon schools see real terms funding cut of 10 per cent

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Education funding in Devon has seen a real terms reduction of 10 percent from 2009/10 to 2017/18, Devon County Council's children's scrutiny committee has heard.

Schools in the county also have a maintenance backlog of more than £40m, with £23m of the repairs considered critical.

school
Getty Images

On Monday, the committee agreed to call on the cabinet to once again lobby parliament and the region's MPs over the inadequacy of the current funding for Devon's schools.

Cllr Alan Connett, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Devon County Council, said the county was being short-changed in education.

Is Parliament listening and are our MPs - other than the one for Exeter - listening, as they keep voting for the budget and are the ones depriving the children of Devon? At what point do we just say that we can do no more? Every council meeting, every cabinet meeting, and probably every scrutiny meeting, we say that Devon is being shortchanged when it comes to education, but they are not listening."

Alan ConnettDevon County Council

Dawn Stabb, Head of Education and Learning at Devon County Council, said schools have had to make a significant reduction in staffing levels, and that some had discussed reducing their hours or closing early on a Friday due to the lack of funding.

The Department for Education (DfE) said school funding in England was at "its highest ever level".

Weather: A cloudy start but sunny spells later

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

A rather cloudy and damp start, but rain will ease and cloud will break up during the morning.

This afternoon will see some bright or sunny spells, but perhaps with the odd shower.

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

weather map
BBC

Conservatives snatch by-election win

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The Conservatives have won a by-election to deny the Liberal Democrat’s outright control of North Devon Council.

Tory candidate Ray Jenkins topped the poll in Chittlehampton with the Green Party in second place and the Lib Dems in third.

The election had been delayed from last month due to the death of a candidate.

The Liberal Democrats are the largest party and will lead the council but are one seat short of total control.

Severe accident: A38 Devon westbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Devon westbound severe accident, from B3413 Forder Valley Road to A386 Outland Road.

A38 Devon - A38 The Parkway in Plymouth blocked and stationary westbound from the B3413 Forder Valley Road junction to Manadon Roundabout, because of an accident involving three vehicles.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Plans for new dental centre in Plymouth

Ed Oldfield

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plymouth City Council is working with partners on a plan for a new dental centre to tackle the city's waiting list for NHS care.

There are an estimated 8,000 people waiting for an appointment, including about 1,600 children.

The work at the new clinic would be carried out by supervised fifth-year students from the Peninsula Dental School at Plymouth University, councillors were told.

It is understood that talks are at an early stage and no detailed plans have been brought forward.

NHS England says it is reviewing NHS dental provision in Plymouth to provide more access, which has been affected by a shortage of dentists due to difficulty recruiting and retaining staff.

Dentist
BBC

We will continue with that work essentially targeting children and young people who are in greatest need, and we will ensure we work to improve access to dental services. If we can put a dentist on the high street we could potentially wipe out the waiting list for dentists in the city."

Cllr Jemima LaingPlymouth City Council

Severe accident: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe accident, from J29 for A3015 Honiton Road Exeter to J28 for A373 Honiton Road Cullompton.

M5 Devon - One lane closed on M5 northbound from J29, A3015 (Exeter) to J28, A373 (Cullompton), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Youth services in Devon protected for five years

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Youth services in Devon will continue to be provided for the next five years after a vote from Devon County Council's cabinet on Wednesday morning.

They also agreed to launch an invitation to tender for the running of the next five years of the service, with the successful bidder taking over on 1 April, 2020.

Councillors praised the decision to continue to run the service, as other areas of the country had seen it cut.

The county's eight youth and community centres are in Barnstaple, Okehampton, Exeter, Totnes, Bideford, Tiverton, Newton Abbot and Dawlish.

They will continue to be made available to support young people who are at risk of permanent exclusion from mainstream education, and there will be a temporary presence in both Cranbook and Sherford until a permanent facility is built and handed over to the respective town councils.

The eight hubs delivered 23,000 visits in the last year and 1,400 separate sessions. They are also working with 150 vulnerable people across Devon.

Devon County Council
BBC

Severe accident: M5 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon southbound severe accident, at J31 for A30.

M5 Devon - An accident, which is now on the hard shoulder on M5 southbound at J31, A30 (Okehampton turn off). Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Council backs out of refugee home plan

Sophie Pierce

BBC Radio Devon

A woman from Devon who's in the process of buying a house for a Syrian refugee family says she's shocked the council she's been working with has pulled out of the project.

Anthea Duquemin came into some money after her mother died and decided to use it to buy a house in Crediton, where a family could be homed under the government's Syrian Vulnerable Person's Resettlement Scheme (VPRS).

Mid Devon Council approved her choice of house and she went ahead with the purchase - set to be completed by the end of the month - only for the council to withdraw from the project.

Ms Duquemin said she "could not believe it".

"I was totally totally shocked and I had to ask them to put it in writing to me because I couldn't believe what I was hearing."

"Mid Devon Council made a commitment to contribute to the government's scheme by supporting up to five families."

Anthea Duquemin
BBC

In a statement Mid Devon Council said it would discuss the matter at a meeting next week.

"A briefing paper regarding the council's involvement in this (VPRS) scheme has been prepared and is due to be discussed by members," it said.

"Until their discussions have taken place it would be inappropriate to comment further."