Housing Benefit Cuts Caused Debt Spiral

According to recent study, the housing benefit cut led to a debt spiral fro thousands of families in Merseyside.

The changes a.k.a the “bedroom tax” were announced in April and since then over 14 000 residents are now in rent arrears. The housing benefit cut aims at recipients, whose property has a bedroom, which is deemed to be surplus to requirements. May be at some point they will be forced to take loans and sign loan agreements in order to ensure they have somewhere to live.

By doing so, the government is trying to free up larger properties, so that families, who live in homes, too small for their needs could move into them.

It sounds good, however there is a lack of small properties, which can be hired by the “under occupiers”, which leads to additional expenditures for many peple, which puts them into a difficult financial situation.

The NHF (The National Housing Federation) collected information from 18 social  landlords in Merseyside and found out that almost 26,500 households were affected by the recent cuts, but there were only 155 smaller houses available for those people.

Chief executive of the National Housing Federation, David Orr, commented: “The fact is there aren’t enough smaller social homes in Merseyside for people to avoid the bedroom tax, even if they wanted to move.”

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman, however, said: “We always monitor the impact of our policies carefully but there is no conclusive evidence that people affected by our housing benefit reforms are not getting the help they need.”


Met Police Discusses Positive Discrimination Law Change

The government and the Metropolitan Police are now arguing about a change in the law saying it would allow them to positively discriminate when hiring new officers.

The discussion is over a policy due to which when a white person joins their ranks one from an ethnic minority must also be recruited, so dear employers think about your Equal Opportunities Policy.

Most people think this “50-50” system would not be helpful enough as less than 50% of the London’s population considers themselves as “white British” and at the same time nine in ten officers are white.

The talks with the government are still going on but Simon Byrne, Met Police assistant, stated that if the proposed plans started functioning, these would lead to a change in the law as it would amount to “positive discrimination”.

According to him modern London is a non-stop changing place so the force had to think of proper ways in order to reflect its diversity better.

In his words things had to change as with the years this organization got mainly white males.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, also told the Guardian that the ethnic makeup prevented the UK police from struggling with terrorism.

“A big part of dealing with terrorism and crime is gathering intelligence, having people who get to know local people so they have the confidence to pass information.”

However, there were many who did not like the idea.

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police branch of the Police Federation, John Tully, said that people who have chosen this job should only prove they were capable of coping with it. The skin and background should not have any influence for the choice of police officers.

Criminal Records Bureau Checks To Be Relaxed

Due to the new changes to laws announced by the Home Office if job applicants want to succeed they will have to disclose to their employers their past criminal activity.

These changes had to be made after the decision of the Court of Appeal that the criminal record checks done now were not compatible with human rights laws.

The results from the legislation which is about to start functioning soon will be the decreased number of serious convictions being filtered from checks because of the elapsed time. When 11 years have passed after adult convictions which resulted in a non-custodial sentence they will now be filtered. The number of years for adults’ cautions is 6.

Young offenders’ convictions will be filtered after five and a half years for non-custodial sentences, and 2 years for cautions.

Nowadays certain employees such as doctors and teachers for example require the criminal records checks which are carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

CRB used to be responsible about these checks but under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 DBS took over their work.

In spite of the changes, convictions for serious violent and sexual offences will continue being disclosed by the DBS.

According to the Minister for Criminal Information, these changes were needed in order to “[strike] a balance between ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected and avoiding intrusion into people’s lives.”

It all started from a job applicant who was not allowed to work part time at a football club because of police cautions. The reason for these cautions appeared to be the two bicycles he stole when he was 11 years old.

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MPs Want Changes in Laws Governing Undercover Police Officers

After a report criticizing the behaviour of officers who had infiltrated protest groups over the last 40 years, came to light, MPs asked for tighter regulation of undercover officers.

According to the Commons Home Affairs Committee these undercover officers ruined the lives of women who had decided to live with them and have relationships with them. Another things MPs mentioned was the fact that the usage of the names of dead children to forge fake identities was a disrespectful practice.

It was announced that five women and one man are taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police because of their relationships with undercover officers. The committee also said that one undercover officer have most probably fathered a child with an activist before disappearing.

“It is unacceptable that a child should be brought into the world as a result of such a relationship and this must never be allowed to happen again,” the committee said.

In the words of the MPs, all families whose children’s names and identities were used had to receive full explanations and apologies.

“It is easy to see how officers infiltrating serious, organized criminal and terrorist gangs using the identities of real people could pose a significant risk to the living relatives of those people,” they said.

The report claims that the laws governing undercover police work need serious review.

The Association of Police Officers (Acpo) also supported the calls for a review of laws.

Head of crime, Merseyside Chief Constable Jon Murphy, said: “Used correctly, the tactic is lawful, ethical, necessary and proportionate. But it is also one of the most challenging areas of operational policing and can have considerable impact on public confidence.”

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Disproportionate Force Against Burglars To be Legalised

Homeowners might be able to use “Disproportunatte force” if they need to defend their homes from burglars. This is the clause that is expected to be added to the crime and courts bill, which is currently under review by the House of Lords. This information has been hiven by Justice secretary Chris Grayling, who announced recently his intentions to change the laws concerning self-defence from intruders.

And on Sunday, Grayling said: “The public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. That is why I am toughening up the current law for those who defend themselves and their loved ones. Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way.”

Currently home owners, who are victims of intruders are required to force which they genuinely feel to be “reasonable in the circumstances”, which means the new changes may seem unreasonable. This, according to legal experts will lead to difficulties related to the implementation of the proposed changes in the real world.

“It’s a vote-catcher,” said the chair of the Criminal Bar Association, Michael Turner QC. “There’s no concept elsewhere in British law of allowing anyone to use disproportionate force for pretty obvious reasons.
“It’s no surprise that a non-lawyer would come up with such a crazy
idea. Are we really saying that the police should not even investigate
cases [in which an intruder is harmed]? I can’t believe this will make
it into statute.”

Apparently, there is little evidence the changes offered to give
better protection for the victims of this kind of criminal offence.
Recent researches show that there are very few house owners, who
fought against burglars and got charged – only 11 cases for more than
15 years, with only 7 of them inclusive of domestic burglaries.

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