Tuesday, 6 January 2009


I read an interesting story in The Independent on Sunday about the police's handling of a mentally disabled 40-year-old man, Sean Rigg, who ended up dying in custody. You can read it here: http://tiny.cc/TKjxM. I recently saw Changeling, a new film starring Angelina Jolie, where the police trace her lost son only to find it isn't actually him - and then they lock her up in a mental home for trying to accuse them of corruption. Whilst this was based on a true story in America, there are similarities to the UK, especially in the wake of the Jean Charles de Menezes case. Regarding Sean Rigg, the police clearly made a hash of his arrest as they thought he was like any other south London chav. Actually, his hostel had asked the police to take him to a 'place of safety' on August 21 at 5pm as he was suffering a breakdown. The police didn't come. By 7pm he left the hostel in a 'dangerous state' and was arrested after alledgedly assaulting a police officer. What's strange about this is that although he collapsed when he arrived at the police station and died soon after, nobody spotted that he'd previously been detained under the Mental Health Act. Evidence? No CCTV footage in the van and the footage from the police station is missing. Police claim the camera filming the spot where he collapsed had been broken for three months. The family's solicitor, Anna Mazzola, said: "There has been a clear unwillingness to reveal information. This is contrary to the overriding principle set out in the IPCC guidance on disclosure." My opinion? This needs an independent investigation. If the Independent Police Complaints Commission can't provide that, then its role is redundant. Action needs to be taken to find out what really happened - and fast.

I've just started work experience at The Week magazine and I'm going to be stationed there until next Wednesday. If you're not familiar with The Week, it's a Dennis Publishing magazine that goes through all of the newspapers from the previous seven days and picks out the best stories from Britain and abroad, mixing in analysis and commentary from the media. Therefore it's a pretty big research job to source all of the information, and that's what I've been doing over the last few days - in addition to things like fact-checking as well as writing up bits and pieces. It's a unique magazine that has a strong and loyal band of subscribers, but is also growing very fast. The target audience seems to be the upper class, but it also makes people who aren't upper class feel like they're upper class (I feel a Frost Report sketch coming on...) which is always nice. Anyway, I'll let you know next week how I'm getting on, but it's been fun so far!

My relationship with ITV Sport has gone through a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few days. After they showed 30 seconds of highlights for Chelsea v Southend at the weekend I was absolutely gutted, but then they announced they're going to show the replay live on ITV1 next Wednesday! If you hadn't heard, the FA Cup game finished 1-1 on Saturday, which was one of the biggest shocks of the round - and certainly one of the biggest results in Southend's history. But why ITV aired 20 minutes of Forest Green Rovers 3 Derby County 4 in their highlights programme is beyond me. Perhaps it was as bait to ensure the fans of bigger clubs stayed up through the advert breaks until their team was on, but that's no excuse for giving this round's other shock results like Torquay 1 Blackpool 0, Hartlepool 2 Stoke 0 and Man City 0 Nottingham Forest 3 under a minute of coverage. Give The FA Cup back to the BBC!
PICTURE: Football Association