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KnowAbout Coventry, West Midlands
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Coventry, West Midlands

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12:43 AM

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RECORD NUMBERS ARE JUMPING ON THEIR SADDLE FOR CHARITY

A record number of cyclists will be getting on their bikes for a charity ride organised by West Midlands Police staff. More than 700 people have signed up for the Wolverhampton to Wales ride this summer which is collecting cash for 14 worthy causes. The event - which is celebrating its 25th anniversary - helped raise £150,000 last year after attracting 650 keen cyclists. Now over 750 have agreed to jump on their saddle this year with organisers hopeful it will collect a record amount for the chosen charities. The annual journey from Wolverhampton to Aberdovey was initially started by a team of 30 bobbies from West Midlands Police. It has been expanded over the years to include members of the force and wider public and the fully-booked ride takes place from West Park on 16 June.  There are two routes of 105 and 125 miles with participants raising money for charities including Brain Tumour Support, Acorns Children's Hospice, Wolverhampton Alz Cafe and Mary Stevens Hospice. There is also the ultimate four day Snowdonia challenge where around 60 of the entrants will do over 400 miles - climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest - with the main ride forming the last leg of their endurance test.     Sgt Greg Evans, from Force CID is helping to organise the fundraiser, said: "The response has been fantastic and we are delighted to have a record number of people taking part in the annual event. "Cycling is a great way to keep fit and active - regardless of your age - and travel through some lovely surroundings you may never otherwise see. "But the main thing is to raise money for people's chosen charities and everyone will be putting their foot on the pedal hard in aid of their cause."  For more details about the fundraising visit the www.aberdoveybikeride.co.uk website.  

URGENT APPEAL AFTER MAN DIES IN WALSALL COLLISION

URGENT APPEAL: Did you see this car in Walsall on Wednesday 19 April? Police have released an image of a Mercedes car that was involved in a collision in Walsall where a man lost his life, in a bid for witnesses to come forward.  It is believed that the Mercedes was involved in a theft at a petrol station in Ablewell Street at around 10.50am and drove away from the scene before being involved in a hit-and-run on Lichfield Road near to Rushall Care Home at around 11am. The car struck an 80-year-old man who sadly died in hospital Friday afternoon (21 April). Officers now need people to come forward who may have seen the car between Ablewell Street to where it was found abandoned on Brundard Close, Blakenall at around 2.40pm. Following the collision the car did have extensive windscreen damage and would have been very distinctive. Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes, from the Regional Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Do you live or work in Lichfield Road and have CCTV that may have captured the car? Were you driving along Lichfield Road on Wednesday and have dash cam footage that may have captured this car travelling? “Were you walking near to the Arboretum, Ablewell Street or Walsall and saw this car? “If so then I need you to call me urgently. It may seem that the information you may have is insignificant but it may be vital for me in my investigation. “We are supporting the man’s family at the sad time and our thoughts remain firmly with them. “My investigation is now focusing on bringing the person responsible for this tragedy to justice and I need people to come forward with any sightings of this car on the day of the collision.” Anyone with information is urged to contact DS Paul Hughes urgently by calling 101. A 41-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested and charged with serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and for having no insurance. He appeared at Walsall Magistrates on Friday 21 April and was remanded in custody.

COVENTRY HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER AND GIRLFRIEND JAILED

A family of a man killed in a Coventry hit-and-run have said they finally have justice after the driver was jailed for four years today (21 April).  Christopher Masterson was mown down by a blue Renault Clio that was travelling the wrong way along Dame Agnes Grove on 30 January. The driver, Daniel Stewart, left the 56-year-old injured in the road and sadly, Mr Masterson’s injuries were so severe he died in hospital later that day. Officers from the regional collision investigation unit searched CCTV and were able to track down the owner of the car to Stewart’s girlfriend Sophie John. But intent on helping her boyfriend to cover his crime, she had disposed of the car by having it scrapped just two days later.  Sophie John, aged 29 of Mills Meadow, Coventry, denied having any knowledge of the crash but after her phone was examined it proved that she had arranged the sale. Stewart, aged 31 from Beacon Road, Holbrooks pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice and was jailed for four years. He was also disqualified from driving and will be required to sit an extended retest before being able to get behind the wheel again. John denied her involvement and only changed her plea at Leamington Justice Centre today (21 April) where she was jailed for 19 months for perverting the course of justice. The family of Christopher Masterson have released a statement, they said: "After 15 long months there is finally justice for our youngest brother Chris. "Daniel Stewart’s plea of guilty from the outset demonstrated that he has taken full responsibility for his actions on 30 January 2016.  “Conversely Sophie John has consistently attempted to dodge accountability for her role in the aftermath of Chris’s death until the eleventh hour. In doing so, she has prolonged our family’s agony, especially for our elderly mother who lost her son and, as a direct result, had to move from her home of sixty years. "Sophie John has shown us not one iota of compassion throughout this process, until today in court. It is hoped that she will one day regret her actions and the heartache she has caused us. "There are no words to express our gratitude to the police and our family liaison officers for the tremendous support they have given us throughout this difficult time."  Sergeant Alan Wood, from the force’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: "We hope that today’s sentence will offer some comfort to the family as they continue to grieve for their loved one and come to terms with their loss. "Even though John was not in the car at the time of the collision she colluded with Stewart to cover his crime. "They should have done the right thing and come forward. They have now lost their liberty, but our thoughts remain firmly with Mr Masterson’s family who have lost a beloved son and brother."

PC JAILED OVER BENEFIT FRAUD LIES

A West Midlands Police officer who lied to cover up a £20,000 benefit fraud has been jailed for a year.   PC Steven Cook initially denied he was in a relationship with his girlfriend who wrongly claimed housing, income support and council tax benefits over a two-and-a-half year period.   An investigation was carried out by Sandwell Council with the support of West Midlands Police and the 38 year-old later admitted perverting the course of justice.   He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £750 costs at Wolverhampton Crown Court today (Friday 21 April)   The officer - who was based in Birmingham when the allegations came to light - was suspended by the force. Following the sentencing he will now face gross misconduct disciplinary proceedings.   Chief Inspector Brian Carmichael, from the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “We demand the highest standards from all our officers and PC Cook failed to show the level of honesty and integrity we expect from someone in such a position of trust."

SUPPORTERS ENCOURAGED TO ENJOY TROUBLE-FREE DERBY AS VILLA HOST BLUES THIS WEEKEND

West Midlands Police is encouraging Birmingham City and Aston Villa supporters to enjoy derby day and ensure it remains trouble-free this Sunday (23 April).  The game at Villa Park is the second league fixture between the clubs this season.  A visible police presence will be in place in and around the ground as part of policing plans to ensure the safety of the public.  Match commander Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman said: "The first match of the season between the clubs at St Andrews last October passed without any major disorder and we are hoping that this weekend’s game will run even more smoothly.  "We will have a similar policing operation in place with a highly visible presence of officers and once again we will be deploying a drone which will enable us to monitor crowds and any flashpoints.  "Our ‘eye in the sky’ can fly up to 400ft and covers a wide area in a short amount of time capturing quality, high definition video in real time."    Chief Supt Sturman added: "The vast majority of supporters are well-behaved but there may be some who see the fixture as an excuse to cause trouble.  "We will not tolerate crime or violence which is connected to football. Anyone who is arrested for football-related matters may face the risk of a banning order which will prevent them from attending future fixtures."  There will be a police and club search operation at the turnstiles to ensure pyrotechnic devices such as flares and smoke bombs are not taken into the ground.  Officers on the ground will also be wearing bodycams to capture trouble should it arise, but more importantly it acts as a deterrent as those intent on violence know their images will be recorded.  Plans for accessing and exiting the ground will cause some local disruption and may require different routes to be taken by some supporters. The disruption will be kept to a minimum.  Officers have worked extensively with both Birmingham City and Aston Villa clubs, and more importantly with both sets of supporters in preparation for the fixture.  Chair of the Football Supporters Independent Advisory Group Nick Reynolds, said: "We work in close partnership with West Midlands Police to represent the views of football supporters, and are pleased to have been given the opportunity to offer advice and support for the planning of the second city derby this weekend. This has been one of the real positive outcomes of the Football Supporters Independent Advisory Group."  The Football Supporters Independent Advisory Group was formed in September 2016 and is made up of representatives from all six main midland football clubs with the aim of working together with WMP’s football unit to improve relationships with football supporters, increase communication links and improve the overall footballing experience.  The group, hailed by the Football Supporters Federation as a model of best practice, has been involved in assisting police planning for local derbies and high profile fixtures. The success of the group has allowed for greater transparency and legitimacy in policing tactics but also an opportunity to really engage with supporters.  To follow the latest updates on accessing the ground, parking, road closures, pub/bar availability and much more follow @WMPVillaFC and @WMPBCFC  

WEST MIDLANDS POLICE DUO BRING THE FORCE’S FASCINATING HISTORY TO LIFE

West Midlands Police is marking the centenary of women in policing with a fascinating new book uncovering the history of women in the force.  WMP employees Corinne Brazier and Inspector Steve Rice have spent the last couple of years working on ‘A Fair Cop’ – a book bringing the force’s history to life for future generations. The pair are both volunteers at the West Midlands Police museum as well as holding down police ‘day jobs’.  This gave them access to a whole wealth of fascinating stories of the force over years going back to the original creation of the City of Birmingham police from the 1800s.  Many of which had never made it out of the force’s archives.  They set to work bringing these stories out of the force’s archives and in to the public arena.   Corinne commented: ““The stories in this book belong to all of us and there will be many people across the West Midlands and beyond that can relate to the experiences and people featured in the book.”  Corinne had previously headed up a project to digitise the force’s thousands of archive files – old personnel files that went back as far as the 1800s. This took several months and took Corinne on a journey of discovery that ended in the momentous decision to write a book about the pioneering women who have paved the way for the women in the force today.  Corinne commented: “We unearthed some amazing stories. We discovered two full cabinets where all the female officers’ records were stored separately. That is where we found all the information about one of our very first female officers - Evelyn Miles. The file for the other officer who joined the same day has unfortunately not survived.” The discovery of these women’s files triggered something in Corinne.  She started thinking about what she could do to recognise the contribution of women to the force since they were permitted to join in 1917.   With the 100 year anniversary of women joining the force coming up, it seemed to be the perfect time to pull all of this fascinating history together. Corinne delved further and further into the force’s archives and unearthed more fascinating stories.  For example she discovered one of the force’s first ever female officers, Evelyn Miles, had lied about her age when she joined making her the oldest serving female officer – having finally retired at the age of 77.  Spurred on by her discoveries, Corinne asked fellow police museum volunteer Inspector Steven Rice to join her in writing book.  Titled  ‘A Fair Cop’ – the book looks at the history of women in WMP.    Corinne added: “We found a book of Evelyn Miles reports from 1929 to 1940 which provided a great starting point for the book. It was fascinating reading and really helped us understand what women had experienced over the years.  In an interview with the Birmingham Post from 1940 shortly after she retired, Evelyn stated that she believed virtually all prejudice against women police had vanished from Birmingham.” ‘A Fair Cop’ takes the reader right through from the trail blazing pioneer policewomen up to modern day – looking at all the various female firsts and incredible stories along the way including many original images that have never previously been published.  “We started with Evelyn’s 20 years of records and worked from there,” said Corinne.  “We discovered Rebecca Lipscombe became an officer the same day as Evelyn, both of them having been employed by the force as lock-up matrons prior to that. Rebecca was 60 and Evelyn 54 when they started their new careers!”   “I was so inspired by these women’s stories and the more I found out, the more I wanted to share so everyone could learn more about them, see their pictures and know what they did. It was a travesty that these stories had just been sitting in dusty cabinets for all those years.” Corrine said: “It took eight months in total to pull the whole thing together and it was worth all the effort. We are both really proud of it.  We’ve had some fantastic feedback and we are absolutely thrilled to be bringing these women to life for a whole new generation of officers and staff and recognising the achievements of women throughout the force’s history.” The West Midlands Police Museum Committee funded the initial print run of 1,000 copies. Any profits go to local women’s charities who were nominated by the force Public Protection Unit  – Coventry Haven, Black Country Women’s Aid and Anawim.  If you would like to purchase your own copy of ‘A Fair Cop’ please send a cheque to Corinne Brazier at Lloyd House, Colmore Circus Queensway, Birmingham B4 6NQ made out to the West Midlands Police Museum for £9.99 (£12.80 with your address if you would like your copy sent to you in the post). For more information follow @museumcop on Twitter or e-mail Museum@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk   

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PAGE DATE:Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 7:44:06pm