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Merseyside police officers investigated over sex act claims
Two Merseyside police officers are being investigated over claims they abused their position to sexually exploit women. A police sergeant is alleged to have threatened to arrest a woman unless she performed a sex act on him. A detective constable is also accused of asking a victim of domestic violence to perform a similar act. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating both claims. The sergeant who was on patrol in Liverpool at the time of the alleged incident is also being investigated over the handling of police property. In the second investigation, the detective constable is also accused of contacting the victim in an inappropriate manner over a prolonged period of time. The IPCC said both investigations will look at other potential victims and examine whether Merseyside Police has adequate systems to identify officers abusing their powers for sexual gratification. Merseyside Police said it is "absolutely committed to the highest integrity and professional standards of its officers at all times." "As the investigations are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time."
PC Neil Doyle: Pair in court accused of murdering off-duty officer
Two men have appeared in court accused of murdering an off-duty policeman on a Christmas night out. PC Neil Doyle, 36, was attacked near the Aloha Club in Liverpool on 19 December. Andrew Taylor, 28, of Cherry Tree Road, Huyton and Christopher Spendlove, 30, of Brandearth Hey, Stockbridge Village appeared via videolink from prison at Liverpool Crown Court. They will next appear in court on 20 March for a plea hearing. A provisional trial date has been set for 22 June. PC Doyle was out with two other off-duty officers, Michael Steventon and Robert Marshall, when the attack happened on Colquitt Street at around 03:15 GMT. His colleagues were treated in hospital for facial injuries. Both defendants also face charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to those two officers.
Rotherham child sex cases to get 62 more police staff
Sixty-two more police staff will be put to work on Rotherham child abuse investigations, South Yorkshire's police chief has said. South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Alan Billings said it would mean more prosecutions for child sex abuse. The Jay Report published in August estimated 1,400 children were sexually exploited in the town over 16 years. Dr Billings became PCC in October after the resignation of Shaun Wright. Dr Billings said the additional staff working on Rotherham child sex exploitation cases would not necessarily all be warranted officers and some may be civilians. The report published by Professor Alexis Jay in August criticised how South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council dealt with complaints from teenage girls who said they had been raped and trafficked by gangs of mainly Asian men.
Shrewsbury school body: Woman 'not murdered'
The death of a woman whose body was found in the grounds of a Shropshire junior school is no longer being treated as murder, police have said. The woman, in her 20s, was discovered late Sunday night at Harlescott Junior School in Shrewsbury. A post-mortem examination failed to establish the cause of death. Further tests are due to be carried out. Three people arrested on suspicion of murder are now being questioned on suspicion of obstructing the coroner. A West Mercia force spokesman said: "We are not currently treating this as a murder inquiry.
Avon and Somerset Police staff sickness rates blamed on budget cuts
Sickness rates among staff and officers at Avon and Somerset Police are rising due to budget spending cuts, the Police Federation has said. A Freedom of Information request showed since 2010 staff absences has cost a total of £4.1m with 844 staff off sick. Insp Kevin Phillips, from the federation, blamed added stress on diminishing number of officers. The force admitted the time taken off sick had gone up but said staff absence rates have remained constant. Public 'worse off' since cuts, Essex Police Federation survey finds Essex's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has acknowledged officers are under "considerable pressure" following a Police Federation survey of members. The survey showed 94% of officers felt the public was getting a worse service since £70m of cuts began in 2010. The federation said it was concerned about public safety following the loss of 410 officers. Nick Alston, PCC, said he did not believe effective policing meant more "bobbies on the beat". Essex Police, which has an annual budget of £265m for 2014-15, has made cuts of £50m since 2010, with a further £20m to be found. The number of officers has fallen from 3,636 in 2010 to 3,096 in 2015.
Southampton arson attack: Officers hospitalised after tower blaze
Two police officers have been treated in hospital for the effects of breathing in smoke following an arson attack on a Southampton tower block. The fire started on the 12th floor of the 13-storey block in Warburton Road, shortly after 19:30 GMT on Tuesday. Residents from neighbouring flats had to be led to safety while the fire was brought under control. Police said a 55-year-old woman had been arrested on suspicion of arson following the blaze. A third police officer was treated at the scene by paramedics after breathing in the smoke. Hampshire Constabulary said the two officers taken to hospital were not thought to be in a serious condition. The force has appealed to residents who may have seen or heard a disturbance inside the block to contact them.
Man arrested in Crawley on suspicion of terror offences
A 40-year-old man has been arrested in Crawley, West Sussex, on suspicion of terror offences. Police said the man was detained as part of an ongoing investigation into the conflict in Syria. Officers from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU) and Sussex Police are searching one residential address. The arrest is not linked to any immediate threat in the UK, police said. Crawley MP Henry Smith said police told him early this morning that a 40-year-old man had been arrested at a property thought to be in the Langley Green area of the town. He said: "I understand he has been arrested in relation to membership of organisations which are connected with activity to the Syrian civil war."