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Witches, zombies and ghosts reported to police
More than 70 reports of zombies, witches and ghosts have been made to West Midlands Police over the past three years. Figures revealed by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show the force was contacted about 15 ghosts, 55 witches, and a pair of zombies. Birmingham East had the most reported paranormal activity, with the least in Birmingham South. There were 17 in 2011, 24 in 2012 and 30 in 2013. Although all other categories were reported every year, zombies only made an appearance in 2013. 'Deeply-troubled individual' Force spokesman Billy Corrigan said: "The reports include ghost, zombie and witch sightings; hearing and communicating with the aforementioned; the use of witchcraft; claims to be a witch; and witch-hunters. "I have not included items such as 'she called me a witch', or 'he was in a zombie-like state.'" He said that while the figures could seem amusing, behind some of the calls may be "a deeply-troubled individual". Six of the reports were categorised as "malicious" and Mr Corrigan said West Midlands Police always took action against people who knowingly made nuisance calls to the emergency services. Over the same period there were 19 calls to the force about sightings of UFOs. The FOI request was submitted anonymously.
Staffordshire Police officer suspended for 'knock-out threat'
A police officer has been suspended after a video posted online appeared to show him threatening to "knock out" a woman in Stoke-on-Trent. The footage seems to show an argument between a group of people and some officers outside a nightclub in Hanley. Police were called to the Individual Bar in Trinity Street at 02:00 BST on Sunday after reports of disorder. The video appears to show an officer claiming a woman tried to punch him and threatening her. The footage appears to show him telling her: "Do that to me again and I will knock you out." It has been posted on YouTube and the Sentinel newspaper website. Staffordshire Police said the incident was being investigated and had been referred to the police watchdog.
Devon and Cornwall police handbrake failure costs £30,000
A police force is spending thousands of pounds every month repairing patrol cars and property because officers are failing to apply the handbrake. Devon and Cornwall Police said about £30,000 of damage was caused over the past six months. Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly said they had to issue instructions to officers advising them of the problems caused by not applying the brake. He said there were seven incidents in six months. Mr Skelly said the number of incidents were "relatively low" considering the force had more than 1,000 vehicles but said it was still a public safety concern. He said the number of officers with access to police vehicles prompted the need for the instructions to be posted on the internal website. Mr Skelly said although his staff had to "operate in challenging circumstances, often having to leave their vehicles quickly dealing with emergency incidents", they needed to be reminded that "public safety is critical". He added: "Not only that but every penny counts and we must do all that we can to make sure we spend public money wisely, avoiding any unnecessary expense whenever possible - this is one of those occasions."
Police apologise for Basingstoke van shunt
Ch Insp Simon Dodds said the officer was "mortified" and had taken full responsibility A police officer has apologised after reversing a police van into a car parked in a Hampshire street. CCTV footage posted on Facebook by the car's owner, Andy Garrad, showed the officer reversing the van into his Fiat 500, seemingly without looking. Mr Garrad said he was "fuming" after the crash, which happened outside his house in Basingstoke on Monday. Ch Insp Simon Dodds said the officer was "mortified" and had taken full responsibility for the shunt. He said a roads policing officer had been sent to the scene and the CCTV footage would assist in their investigation. Mr Garrad said he was "really annoyed and quite frustrated" at how the van had been driven. He said the "wallop" had caused damage to the bumper and the car was being checked for what repairs would be necessary.
Suffolk Police job cuts 'may be necessary', inspectors say
Police job cuts "may be necessary" in Suffolk following a decision not to merge its force control room with Norfolk, government inspectors said. Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore rejected the plan in April. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said the decision meant Suffolk Police had to identify "significant alternative savings". Savings plans for the county are due to be announced in the autumn. Norfolk Police has agreed to make savings of £20m from its £150m annual budget over four years. It has already pledged to cut 350 posts from its workforce of 1,621 officers, 252 police community support officers and 1,137 civilian staff.
Boy, 16, arrested over spate of shootings in Sheffield
A 16-year-old boy has been arrested over a spate of shootings in the space of two hours in Sheffield on Monday. A 13-year-old girl suffered minor injuries on Deerlands Close in Parson Cross, where shots were fired at the door of a house. South Yorkshire Police was called to the estate on Monday after reports of shots on three separate roads between 21:30 and 23:10 BST. Vehicles were also shot on Barrie Crescent and Lindsay Avenue. Police said all three incidents were thought to be linked. The 16-year-old boy remains in police custody. Carol Wilson, who lives nearby, said the incident had frightened local residents. "It's not safe like it used to be when we were kids - I daren't let mine out," she said. "I've got five kids and I don't like them going out."
IPCC to investigate death after police dog bite The death of a woman who was attacked by a police dog is to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Irene Collins, 73, was bitten several times by the German shepherd after police went into her garden in Middlesbrough searching for a suspected burglar on 16 July. She was taken to hospital but died in hospital four days later. Cleveland Police had referred the case to the watchdog voluntarily.