The Telegraph 2024-02-07 06:00:31


Prince Harry dashes to his father’s side after King’s cancer diagnosis

Prince Harry made a transatlantic dash to Britain to see his father on Tuesday following King Charles’s cancer diagnosis.

The Duke landed after a 10-hour flight from Los Angeles and was driven straight from the airport to Clarence House with a police escort to see the King for the first time since his Coronation nine months ago.

The Duke and his father had a 30-minute meeting before the King and Queen retired to Sandringham, where the monarch will stay while he recuperates.

Palace sources said the King would now spend the majority of his time in the countryside, only returning to London around once a week for business and further treatment.

The King was seen in public for the first time since his diagnosis on Monday as he and the Queen were photographed waving from the windows of the Bentley state limousine on their way to the peace and quiet of Norfolk.

The Duke of Sussex was the first relative seen to visit the King since his diagnosis was made public. While another visit to his father has not been ruled out, The Telegraph understands that there are no plans for Harry to meet his brother, the Prince of Wales, while he is in Britain.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor a spokesman for the Sussexes commented on whether the Duke had any further plans to see the Royal family.

The King was said to be on his “usual good form in every way” on Tuesday, albeit “just a little frustrated”, with all of his public engagements cancelled.

The 75-year-old, whose diagnosis of an undisclosed type of cancer was announced by Buckingham Palace on Monday, will now begin his new working life, largely away from the public eye.

The King will continue his state duties from home, including his red boxes. He will be supported by the Queen and their trusted aides, but is not expected to appear in public for walkabouts or receptions until he has finished his treatment.

Currently at Sandringham, he will return to London weekly for business, likely to include his regular audience with the Prime Minister, Privy Council meetings and further treatment.

A palace source said of the King: “He’s on his usual good form in every way, just a little frustrated that his condition has affected not just his own plans but impacted on others.”

Seen from the car, he appeared buoyed by the sight of waiting crowds on the short route between Clarence House and Buckingham Palace, following messages of goodwill from around the world and his meeting with his younger son.

“When you see him in person, you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong,” one source said on Tuesday night.

The Duke of Sussex had flown from Los Angeles to Heathrow overnight on Monday. He was seen boarding a plane after the King’s diagnosis was made public.

Wearing a plain black T-shirt with a suit, he was photographed being driven straight to Clarence House, accompanied by police cars, arriving at 2.45pm.

The presence of marked police cars did not go unnoticed, with the Duke currently embroiled in a High Court judicial review over his entitlement to automatic police protection when in the UK.

Just after 3.30pm, the King and Queen left Clarence House. A helicopter took off from Buckingham Palace 10 minutes later, taking them to Sandringham.

From now on, they are expected to base themselves at Sandringham or Highgrove for most of the week, returning to London regularly but briefly.

When necessary, to protect his health, the King can hold meetings via secure telephone line or videolink. The Queen will continue with her programme of public engagements and is expected out in person later this week.

The Princess Royal maintains her usual busy schedule, out on three engagements in Nottingham and London and a Windsor investiture on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Prince of Wales returns to public engagements for an investiture and a speech at London’s Air Ambulance fundraising gala. He is in regular contact with the King, but has not yet seen him in person since the diagnosis was announced.

The Princess of Wales remains out of action until at least Easter as she recovers from abdominal surgery.

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said on Tuesday that he was thankful the King’s cancer had been “caught early”. 

Asked what the diagnosis meant for the day-to-day running of the country, he told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We’ll crack on with everything.”

The King has this week embarked on what has been described as a “period of treatment and recovery”, attending a London hospital as an outpatient. 

It is understood the treatment will be precise and highly specialised, with a source pointing out that medical interventions for cancer have come on “leaps and bounds” in recent years. “This isn’t a Blitzkrieg, but a precision-guided missile,” said the source.

The side-effects are expected to be limited but, like any other patient, the King must wait to see how his body responds.

He will take time out of public engagements to minimise the risk to his health, with a cautious approach to hosting in-person events even within palace walls while undergoing active treatment. 

Ordinarily, he would meet hundreds of members of the public each week. Overseas trips will be postponed until he has recovered.

The Buckingham Palace team will adapt plans depending on how the King responds to treatment. “We are taking it very carefully and cautiously,” said a source.

Asked about the King’s treatment, a palace spokesman said: “No further details are being shared at this stage, but His Majesty is receiving expert care and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”

Good wishes continued to pour in for the King on Tuesday, with the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I’m praying for the King and his family – for God’s comfort and strength in the weeks and months to come. I wish His Majesty a swift and full recovery.”

Anthony Albanese, the Australian prime minister, said: “Australians know that His Majesty King Charles has always reached out to us in our country’s toughest moments, showing kindness and care for those doing it tough. All of us are thinking of him and his family in this very hard time.”

Rev Ken MacKenzie, the minister of the Parish of Braemar and Crathie in Aberdeenshire and a domestic chaplain to the King, said: “Many people in the parish have got to know the King over many years and are concerned for him.

“King Charles lives a busy life and I hope that he enjoys a quieter time over the coming months while he recuperates.”

It would have been particularly important for the King to be at Sandringham on Tuesday, the 72nd anniversary of the death of his grandfather, George VI. The three-year-old Prince Charles was staying with him at Sandringham in 1952. 

Elizabeth II marked the day there annually and privately.

Watch: Constance Marten tells police they can’t arrest someone for hiding a pregnancy

Constance Marten argued with officers, saying that it was not possible to arrest someone for hiding a pregnancy, police body cam footage shows.

Body-worn camera footage recorded when she and her partner were arrested in Brighton last February showed officers becoming increasingly frustrated as the couple refused to cooperate.

As she is spoken to by police, Ms Marten repeatedly insists that concealing the birth of a baby “is not an arrestable offence”.

She adds: “You can’t arrest someone for hiding a pregnancy.”

Ms Marten, 36, and Mark Gordon, 49, had allegedly concealed the birth of their baby and then had gone on the run, living off-grid with baby Victoria in a tent on the South Downs in the depths of winter last year.

A nationwide hunt was launched when their burnt-out car was discovered at the side of the M61 near Bolton on Jan 7 last year.

On Feb 27, police tracked them down to the Hollingbury area of Brighton following a tip-off from a member of the public.

But the baby was not with them and, despite repeated questions from officers, neither would say where Victoria was.

Her body was discovered on March 1 in a Lidl supermarket bag covered in rubbish in a disused shed.

In footage shown to the jury at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, Sgt Robert Button informs Mr Gordon he is under arrest on suspicion of child neglect.

Mr Gordon, who is carrying some shopping, replies: “Let me eat … let me eat.”

As the officer continues to engage with the couple, Ms Marten remonstrates with them, saying: “Stop with him please, he’s not well.”

The officer said the couple smelled “unclean and unwashed” and had an odour that he associated with homeless people.

Mr Gordon continued to ask for food, saying: “Let me eat, let me eat.”

Ms Marten, who tells the police she is called Arabella, is then heard to say: “Oh my God, I can’t, I can’t watch … leave him alone. Let him eat his food, he is starving.”

After placing the couple under arrest, a police dog handler asks Ms Marten: “Madam, where’s the child?”

She does not answer and another officer is heard asking urgently: “Where is the child, please?”

Ms Marten does not answer but is heard to say: “Daddy bear,” thought to be a reference to Mr Gordon.

Sgt Button then says: “Look at me, Constance, Arabella, whoever you are… Right where’s your child?” But again she does not answer.

In another piece of footage shown to the jury, fellow officer Pc Matthew Colburn repeatedly asks Mr Gordon about the whereabouts of the missing baby, but instead of answering, he asks about food.

The officer asks: “Where’s your child, my friend? Where is the child?”

Mr Gordon replies: “Where’s my food?”

The officer goes on: “In a minute, where’s your child?”

Mr Gordon asks: “Who?”

The officer asks a further five times about the whereabouts of the baby and if she is still alive.

Mr Gordon then responds: “Do you have any food?”

Pc Colborn says: “Chicken. Is that alright?”

Mr Gordon replies: “Perfect … with mayonnaise please.”

Another male officer says: “With mayonnaise? We are not going to be able like, give an entire meal mate … we are not going to make you a sandwich, we need to work out where your child is.”

Pc Colborn tells Mr Gordon that it is important they locate the baby, but he replies: “My food is important.”

He is asked a further three times where the child is and eventually responds: “What’s the big deal?”

Pc Colborn then replies: “What’s the big deal? We need to find your child, mate. That’s the bigger deal than getting you your food.”

The couple can be heard telling one another they love each other before Mr Gordon again demands food from the police.

The officer stresses: “Your child is the bigger deal than your food. Is the child alive?”

Both defendants, of no fixed address, deny the manslaughter of baby Victoria by gross negligence between Jan 4 and Feb 27 last year.

They also deny perverting the course of justice, concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child. The trial continues.

Dentists to be paid £20k golden hellos to move to NHS ‘dental deserts’

Dentists will be paid golden hellos worth £20,000 to move to rural areas where there is a shortage of NHS appointments, under plans announced by the health service on Wednesday.

Lump sums will be offered to 240 dentists willing to relocate to “dental deserts” where patients cannot access care.

Dentists will also be paid up to £50 for every NHS patient they see who has not had an appointment within the last two years. The latest figures suggest this is more than half of England – around 30 million people.

Patients, meanwhile, will be forced to pay more for a check-up, with the minimum price set to increase from £23 to £28  unless they are exempt.

There are currently around 2,300 people for every dentist in England, but they are not evenly distributed around the country.

The scale of the crisis was highlighted on Monday as hundreds of patients descended on a new dental practice in Bristol, the first in the city to offer NHS appointments in more than six months.

Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, pledged to “jump-start” NHS dentistry with the initiative, being funded by £200 million of Government investment.

In an article for The Telegraph, she wrote: “I know that in many parts of the country, just finding an NHS dentist can be difficult, even impossible – and many do not want to take on new NHS patients. That is why today we’re launching the dentistry recovery plan to jump-start the sector.”

A newly qualified dentist will earn a base salary of £36,288 on the NHS in their first year, increasing to £43,923 in the second year. The most experienced dentists earn base salaries of around £130,000, which does not include any private work.

The NHS predicts an extra 2.5 million appointments will be delivered over the next year under the plans. Nearly five million people have been denied an appointment with an NHS dentist in the past two years, according to research published in October.

Fluoride will be added to water under the first programme of its kind under the plans. The natural chemical, found in soil, food and water, is added to toothpaste because it helps strengthen tooth enamel and increases protection against tooth decay.

While it is already found in drinking supplies, the NHS said increasing the concentration in areas where it is lower than optimal, starting in the north-east of England, could help reduce tooth decay and extractions and benefit 1.6 million people.

A quarter of children have rotting teeth by the age of five, according to a report published earlier this week, while 52,000 patients across England went to A&E with an abscess caused  by tooth decay in 2022-23.

Specialist dental vans will also be used in parts of the country where patients are struggling to access appointments.

The vans will provide pop-up appointments and move around “dental deserts” to tackle the backlog, including in rural and coastal areas such as the south-west of England, where fewer than one per cent of dental surgeries have been accepting new patients.

Roving dental teams will also work at schools and nurseries, while pregnant women will be targeted in a “smile for life” initiative that will give advice and treatments to young children and parents. Ms Atkins said it would make oral hygiene part of a child’s routine before they start school.

Labour, which will roll out supervised tooth-brushing at schools for children aged three to five if it comes to power, said the Government had stolen its ideas.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said: “Patients are desperately queuing around the block to see a dentist, literally pulling their own teeth out.

“The Conservatives are only promising to do something about it now there’s an election coming. By adopting Labour’s proposals for recruitment and supervised tooth-brushing, they are finally admitting that they are out of ideas of their own.”

Police were forced to intervene in Bristol on Monday after people queued from 4am in the hope of securing an appointment at the new St Pauls Dental Practice after the closure of a Bupa surgery seven months earlier. 

Only four dental surgeries in the South-West have been accepting new NHS patients out of 456 providers, according to Labour analysis, but health sources denied the images of patients clamouring to register on Monday had fast-tracked publication of the plan.

Amanda Pritchard, the NHS chief executive, said the package included “a wide range of practical measures to help make it easier for people to see a dentist”.

Industry leaders welcomed the initiatives but called on the Government to start its consultation on a dental contract reform.

Proposals in Rishi Sunak’s long-term NHS workforce plan, published last June, suggested a tie-in scheme to force dentists to spend a minimum amount of time delivering NHS care after they qualified.


We’ll make getting dental care faster and fairer

Healthy teeth and gums are vital for good quality of life at any age. That is why, as Health and Social Care Secretary, I want to ensure that everyone has access to a dentist and to dental care – it is one of my top priorities, writes Victoria Atkins.

Things are improving, and last year 1.7 million more adults and around 800,000 more children saw an NHS dentist compared to 2022. But I know that in many parts of the country, just finding an NHS dentist can be difficult, even impossible – and many do not want to take on new NHS patients.

As an MP for a rural and coastal constituency in Lincolnshire, I’ve seen these problems first hand. That is why we’re launching the Dentistry Recovery Plan – to jump-start the sector and deliver up to more than 2.5 million additional NHS dentistry appointments across the country.

We’ll do this by offering cash incentives to dentists taking on new NHS patients, and golden hello payments of up to £20,000 over three years to those going to work in “dental deserts”, where services are lacking.

Specialist dental vans will be rolled out to reach patients in some of the most isolated areas of the country, ensuring everyone who needs treatment can get it. And we’ve already set out our ambition of growing the number of dentists in England by 40 per cent and helping dental therapists and hygienists work to the top of their training.

But treatment alone is not enough, and that is why our plan includes measures to prevent tooth decay from an early age.

We’ll send mobile dental teams to schools in more deprived areas to give advice and deliver preventative treatments. Nurseries and early years settings will be supported to ensure good oral hygiene becomes a part of every child’s daily routine before they go to primary school, because it is not the job of primary school teachers to watch children brushing their teeth.

And we’ll educate pregnant mums and new parents on how to protect their baby’s gums to help give them the best start in life.

We have lots of work to do, but we’re making long-term decisions to deliver change that will ease waiting lists and build a brighter future. The launch of this plan will help make things faster, simpler and fairer for everyone who needs dental care up and down the country.

The King leaves Prince William free to put family before Firm

While his estranged brother flew from LA for a 30-minute meeting with the King, and the monarch in turn flew with the Queen to Sandringham, the Prince of Wales was at home.

After the school run for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, he was on hand to help the Princess of Wales in her third week of recovery following major abdominal surgery and quietly get on with work from Windsor.

On Wednesday he will re-enter the world of public duty for an investiture at Windsor Castle and a speech at a gala to raise money for first responders at London’s Air Ambulance.

Then he will be back home for half term with his family.

As the King ploughs on with his state duties despite a diagnosis of cancer, his eldest son and heir is on hand to help but, perhaps unexpectedly, is not needed to deputise for the top job quite yet.

He may undertake “some duties” on behalf of the King, a palace source said, but it will be a “few select engagements rather than a whole tranche”.

Instead, he has the blessing of the King to take the time to see his wife settled and comfortable at home.

From Adelaide Cottage the Prince is said to have been in “constant communication” with his father but is not known to have seen him since his cancer diagnosis.

A source said Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace were liaising “work wise” over practicalities while the Prince was kept informed of the latest news about Charles’ health.

In common with the rest of his immediate family, the King personally told him the results of medical investigations that revealed cancer.

Prince William in turn, alongside the Princess, had to break the news of their grandfather’s health to his young children before they heard it from elsewhere.

William’s support for his father is “given privately”, it is said, with “nothing he needs to pick up for the King in the immediate future”.

That the Prince of Wales is free to look after his wife and children is both unremarkable – the straightforward action of any good father – and remarkable: he is the first future king fully able to do so.

It is a real change from the policies of the past. No stiff upper lip, no Firm before family.

Next generation can do better

When asked whether the Prince would need to “pick up” the King’s public duties, a palace source said it was “anticipated” that he will only return to public duty once the Princess of Wales had settled in for recuperation at home.

Although they would not use the same phrase as Prince Harry’s “generational pain”, this is a King and Prince mindful that the next generation can do better.

When Charles was just three, his mother became Queen and theirs was a life devoted to duty. Long absences from overseas tours, a life based around a nursery with beloved nannies and being sent away to school were his formative experiences.

Prince William, who had a homelier start, went on to live between divorced parents before the untimely death of his mother.

“The King, like the late Queen, has been keen that William has as much time [with his family] as he can, while he can,” a source said.

In time, there is no doubt the Prince will need to step up further. The King can do much of his state business from home, keeping him away from the risk of infection that meeting hundreds of members of the public would bring, but there will still be a gaping hole in the Royal family’s usual schedule.

The King did more than 500 engagements in 2023, travelling the length and breadth of the country in a model set by his parents.

Those will fall by the wayside for now.

If he suffers any health setbacks during treatment, which can be gruelling, Prince William will be the one to get the call-up to step in as a Counsellor of State or the endless important meet-and-greets which make up the life of a sovereign.

While he had 52 years to make his mark as Prince of Wales – and few would argue that the legacy of The Prince’s Trust is not enough for any man to be proud of – his son has been in the job for 17 months so far.

William committed to his causes

His major causes, an environmental prize and a homelessness project, are underway but have not yet had time to reach their full potential.

“His focus won’t be taken away from Earthshot and Homewards, that won’t change,” said a source close to the Prince. “He is totally committed to those causes.

“The job of the Prince of Wales is to support the monarch and he is already doing that alongside his own programme.”

William has already picked up some of the monarchy’s overseas administrative duties, flying to Kuwait in December 2023 to pay his condolences following the death of Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

But there is a sense that he can and should have time to stretch his legs and build his own legacy before the crown beckons.

Regardless of the King’s prognosis, time marches in one direction and William’s future is inescapably on the throne.

He is in no rush to get there.

Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane entitled to benefits because he is not in prison

Triple killer Valdo Calocane is entitled to claim thousands of pounds in state benefits a year despite being detained in a secure hospital for his violent crimes, The Telegraph can reveal.

Calocane, 32, is eligible for Universal Credit payments of up to £360 a month after being sent to the high-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside rather than being jailed.

Prisoners are banned from claiming state benefits, but most convicted criminals ordered by the courts to receive treatment as patients in secure psychiatric hospitals remain eligible for welfare payments.

Paranoid schizophrenic Calocane was originally charged with the murders of 19-year-old students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, but these were downgraded by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to manslaughter as a result of his diminished responsibility.

Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby, speaking on behalf of the families of the three victims, told The Telegraph: “This is truly devastating to hear and it adds yet more layers of grief and a sense of injustice to those of us left behind.

“Whilst we are desperately trying to process our enormous grief, battle to try and find a way forwards to return to work and support our families, this vicious monster not only has tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent to keep him inside, he can also amass a small fortune of state benefits. How can this possibly be fair? 

“This may be the law, but we strongly suggest the law is wrong, and urgently needs to be reviewed.”

MPs and campaigners expressed shock at the revelation and called for an immediate review of the policy under which hundreds of other killers, kidnappers and violent offenders are getting benefits because they are held in secure hospitals rather than prisons.

‘Justice is not being done’

Sir Mike Penning, a former justice and home office minister, said: “How can it be right that someone who is a killer and guilty of such a horrendous crime can still get benefits at the taxpayers’ expense? Justice is not being done, and not being seen to be done.

“We desperately need to put the victims first. This needs to be reviewed immediately as part of the new victims’ law.”

Julian Hendy, founder of the Hundred Families charity, which supports families in mental health-related killings, said: “The Nottingham families have struggled to get proper support and counselling from the state, yet the man who killed their loved ones so violently will be entitled to receive many thousands of pounds in state benefits.

“This cannot be right. It is unjust and completely unacceptable. If victims are really to be at the heart of the criminal justice system, this needs to change, and change quickly.”

It is understood that Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is urgently considering the case and government sources indicated the right of criminals to claim benefits would be reviewed as part of the multiple inquiries into the Nottingham killings. Rishi Sunak has not ruled out a public inquiry into the case.

Calocane is entitled to claim state benefits because the judge ordered that he should be detained in a high-security hospital under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act. He can only be released if he recovers his sanity and is deemed by the Justice Secretary to no longer be a risk to the public.

The benefits are designed to ensure that his dignity is maintained while in care, with funds for items such as clothes, food, books and electronic equipment.

Calocane would not have been entitled to benefits if the judge had issued a section 45 or 47 order, requiring his transfer to prison on release from hospital. This would, in effect, have categorised him as a prisoner.

Nearly 3,000 offenders eligible for benefits

A Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “All our patients within Ashworth High Secure Hospital are entitled to state benefits depending on their personal circumstances, which are paid by the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) according to their rules and regulations.”

The latest Ministry of Justice figures from 2022 suggest there are nearly 3,000 potentially dangerous offenders deemed eligible for benefits in secure hospitals, including Ashworth, Rampton and Broadmoor.

Some are said to have savings of tens of thousands of pounds as they receive benefits but have no outgoings. One woman, Nicola Edgington, who killed her mother in 2005, secured £8,000 in benefits back payments on release from a secure psychiatric unit, documents seen by The Telegraph show.

Mrs Webber said it contrasted with the experience of victims. “Victim support in this country is utterly inadequate. The scarce resources made available do not begin to scratch the surface of how to process the tragedy that we have been thrown into,” she said.

“For example, immediate family members are ‘entitled’ to a maximum of 12 therapy sessions. Other close family and friends are entitled to nothing. Once these are used up, we are left to fend for ourselves.

“So grieving families trying to manage their unfathomable pain may also be forced to try and find thousands of their own money in keeping essential therapy support going.

“The system needs an overhaul. It’s no wonder that victims’ families of serious crimes often lose their relationships, their livelihoods and sometimes even themselves.”

A government spokesman said: “We have been clear that questions need answering in all aspects of this case. Entitlement to benefit is, by law, dependent on sentences handed out, and the Work and Pensions Secretary is looking at the specifics of this case.”

Victoria Prentis, the Attorney General, has already received a complaint that Calocane’s sentence was “unduly lenient” and is considering referring the case to the Court of Appeal to determine if it should be increased. One option would be to upgrade it to a section 45 order. 

She has also ordered an independent review of the CPS’s decision to downgrade the charges to manslaughter.

No such thing as a minor crime, Chris Philp tells police

There is no such thing as a minor crime, Chris Philp, the policing minister, has said as he demanded officers take a “zero tolerance” approach to all crime.

In an article for The Telegraph, Mr Philp said he wanted a “significant increase” in the number of criminals caught and prosecuted to reverse charging rates that were “still too low”.

This required officers pursuing “all reasonable lines of enquiry” for all types of crime, whether anti-social behaviour, theft or vandalism.

“This means that the minimum the public can expect is that, where there is tangible evidence, such as CCTV footage or victims’ stolen goods appearing on a website, the police should be taking full advantage to identify suspects, track down stolen goods and bring more offenders to justice,” he said.

The proportion of crimes resulting in charges has collapsed from 15.5 per cent in the year ending March 2015 to 5.5 per cent in the year ending March 2022, as police have been accused of screening out low-level crimes that are hard to solve and neighbourhood policing has been slashed.

Andy Cooke, HM chief inspector of constabulary, warned that the failure to stop thieves and burglars threatened the police’s “bond of trust” with the public.

“There is no such thing as a minor crime. Anti-social behaviour, theft and vandalism all create environments where more serious crimes can flourish. Victims should not be left feeling violated and unsafe in their own communities,” said Mr Philp.

‘Back to basics’

“I want to see zero tolerance towards all crime from the police and a back-to-basics approach that significantly increases the number of criminals caught and prosecuted.”

With an extra 20,000 police officers recruited and a police funding increase to £843 million in April, Mr Philp said he expected these additional resources to “deliver a significant increase in the number of criminals caught and crimes being solved”.

He also urged police forces to double the number of searches they make of images of suspects caught on recorded CCTV against police databases, using retrospective facial recognition. The target would be to increase it to 200,000 by the summer.

Mr Philp said hotspot policing to counter anti-social behaviour would be rolled out to all 43 police forces in England and Wales by this April after it was found to reduce crime by more than one-fifth.

The tactic – where officers target locations plagued by anti-social behaviour – has been tested in 10 police forces, and has cut not only incidents of such behaviour by up to a half but also reduced overall crime by as much as 24 per cent.

Ministers estimate it will enable each force to deploy officers for an average of between 25,000 and 30,000 hours in the “hotspot” areas, equivalent to 10 beat officers completing eight-hour shifts every day for a year. Across all 43 forces, it will amount to a total of one million hours of officers’ time.

The 43 forces will share £60 million to train officers and invest in data software to identify its local crime hotspots, enabling patrols to be targeted. Research shows that 50 per cent of crime is carried out in just 5 per cent of areas on average.


Police must go back to basics to put offenders where they belong – behind bars

By Chris Philp

There is no such thing as a minor crime. Anti-social behaviour, theft and vandalism all create environments where more serious crimes can flourish. Victims should not be left feeling violated and unsafe in their own communities.

I know the country has been shocked by the sentencing of Brianna Ghey’s killers and of course the murders of Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar last year. There are no words that will be able to describe how the families impacted by these dreadful crimes must feel, and victims and their families must always be at the forefront of our thoughts and criminal justice system.

I want to see zero tolerance towards all crime from the police and a back-to-basics approach that significantly increases the number of criminals caught and prosecuted.

Our streets are safer than they were in 2010. Like for like, overall crime has reduced by 55 per cent since then. Charge rates have improved on last year, but they are still too low. We are moving in the right direction, but there is more that can be done if we stick with our plan to keep communities safe.

The first step is giving police the tools they need to deliver for the public. We delivered our manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers last year, meaning we now have more police officers than at any time in history. Funding for policing is also increasing by up to £843 million in April compared with the previous year. I expect to see these additional resources being used to deliver a significant increase in the number of criminals caught and crimes being solved.

Last year, I secured agreement from chief constables that their officers would pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry for all types of crime. This means that the minimum the public can expect is that, where there is tangible evidence, such as CCTV footage or victims’ stolen goods appearing on a website, the police should be taking full advantage to identify suspects, track down stolen goods and bring more offenders to justice. It follows a previous commitment by the police to attend every reported home burglary.

And we know this approach works – Greater Manchester Police adopted this approach a year or two ago, and the latest statistics show a 21 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of recorded charges brought against offenders.

Innovative technologies are also vital in supporting the police to prevent and solve crimes. It is why I want to see police forces double the number of searches they make of images of suspects caught on recorded CCTV against police databases, using retrospective facial recognition. I also want to see live facial recognition used by policing more widely, which is already helping some forces to quickly and accurately identify wanted criminals, and can help to find high-risk missing people.

I have seen this work to great effect in my own borough, Croydon. In the last two months, the Met have used live facial recognition in hotspot areas to arrest 44 people wanted for offences including threats to kill, recall to prison for robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

This alone shows how game-changing live facial recognition could be if it is used by every force. Wanted criminals across the country would have no place to hide. The biometric data of passers-by not matched to the wanted list are immediately and automatically deleted, safeguarding privacy.

Harnessing these technologies can also drive efficiencies in policing, freeing up officers’ time and resources so they can spend more time on the beat, engaging with communities and carrying out complex investigations.

Efficiency in our public services is vital. Time spent on needless bureaucracy could be spent in our neighbourhoods, being there for the public and giving them that reassurance that they are safe. As the Home Secretary rightly said, “confidence does not come from a spreadsheet”.

I have listened to the concerns raised by police leaders about the pressures that mental health call-outs place on policing and am championing a new approach, created by Humberside Police alongside its local health and social care partners, which sees people experiencing a mental health crisis being cared for in the right environment, by someone with the most relevant skills and experience.

Humberside Police reports that it has saved 1,441 officer hours on average every single month – and a total of 46,114 officer hours were freed up between May 2020 and December 2022. This approach is now being rolled out nationally, and if replicated could save more than one million hours per year of police time.

We are supporting the police to focus on the crimes that strike at the hearts of our communities. From April, every police force across England and Wales will receive funding – totalling £66 million – for intensive hotspot patrols in areas where violence, anti-social behaviour and robbery are concerns. Where piloted in the last few months, the police report that the impact on crime and anti-social behaviour has been dramatic.

We are also taking steps to reduce shoplifting, with the police committing to prioritise urgently attending the scene where the incident involves violence against a shop worker, security guards have detained an offender or attendance is needed to secure evidence.

I have been encouraged by the hard work and dedication forces have been putting in to drive up performance, including Humberside and South Yorkshire Police, who were both previously put into “engage”by His Majesty’s inspectorate, and are now two of the top performing forces. I want to see this great work replicated across all 43 forces in England and Wales.

Crime has fallen in recent years, we have delivered record police officer numbers last year and we have new technology giving policing an edge in the fight against criminals. This shows that our plan is working – we must stick to it or risk going back to square one.

A zero-tolerance back-to-basics approach to protecting the public and catching more criminals will keep crime falling and put offenders where they belong – behind bars.

Chris Philp is minister of state for crime and policing

Birmingham curry house with just one Indian chef awarded two Michelin stars

A Birmingham curry house with just one of its 15 chefs heralding from India has become the first in the UK to be awarded two Michelin stars.

Described as “progressive Indian cuisine”, Opheem opened in England’s curry capital in 2018 and counts Michael Buble and Gary Barlow as regulars.

It was among six British restaurants to be given two Michelin Stars at the annual awards ceremony this week, making it the first in Birmingham to win the accolade.

It also became the UK’s first Indian restaurant to be awarded two stars, alongside Gymkhana in Mayfair, which received the accolade at the same time.

However, while Opheem was lauded by the judges for its “highly original Indian cooking”, of the 15 kitchen staff who work there, just one is of Indian heritage.

Aktar Islam, the restaurant’s head chef and owner, said he did not believe in the notion of cultural appropriation when it came to producing fine food, adding that it should have nothing to do with “ethnicity” or “the colour of your skin”.

“We’ve got a very colourful team, people from various backgrounds and the only commonality is our love for food, and our love for delivering good experiences for our guests,” he told The Telegraph.

“We’ve always had these issues of cultural appropriation in the industry, and I’ve always argued against that.

“As long as someone is passionate about food from any part of the world, as long as they love what they’re doing, then it should be celebrated.”

Mr Islam added: “It should have nothing to do with your ethnicity or the colour of your skin.

“There are people out there who may not be from your ethnic background who love and revere your food so much that they want to take it on board themselves and dedicate their life to it.

“It should never be something that should be ostracised or looked at in a negative light,” he said.

Mr Islam also draws inspiration from other cuisines for his cooking, shunning the traditional Indian tandoor in favour of a Japanese charcoal grill called a konro.

While Opheem’s flavours reflect the “culinary heritage of the Indian subcontinent”, the restaurant also prides itself on celebrating British seasonal foods.

Orkney scallops and Cornish monkfish are among the British produce boasted on its 10-course tasting menu, which costs £125 per person.

“All our core produce comes from independent British producers, that’s something that’s very important for us,” said Mr Islam, adding: “Apart from spices, which sadly we can’t do anything about, everything else we try and source as locally as possible.

Mr Islam, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants who came to Birmingham in the 1970s, said his journey to becoming a Michelin-star chef began 31 years ago when he got kicked out of school and began working in his father’s curry house.

In an emotional acceptance speech on Monday night, he said his success “goes to show what this industry can give someone with no prospects”, adding: “Anyone who says this industry has no opportunities, I’m proof that it’s bulls—.”

Meanwhile, renowned Chinese restaurant Hakkasan in Fitzrovia this week lost its Michelin star after 20 years.

It was the first Chinese restaurant to be given the award, while its sister restaurant in Mayfair also lost its Michelin star on Monday, with the chain’s owner describing the past year as “challenging”.

The Ledbury was the only restaurant to win a third Michelin Star this year, making it the ninth in the country to be awarded the top honour.

It comes after the Notting Hill restaurant announced it had closed its doors for good in June 2020, citing the challenges of the Covid lockdown, and subsequently lost the two Michelin stars it had won a decade earlier.

However, following its reopening in February 2022, it regained both by March 2023.