A tourist visiting Newcastle was stopped before her flight home because of an illicit substance – pease pudding. Helen Hook had been visiting old friend Anne Watson in the North East over the weekend and had picked up two tubs of the Geordie delicacy to share with her friend and husband.
But just before boarding her plane from Newcastle1 to Bristol on Sunday evening, she was stopped and made to hand over the contraband from her hand luggage. Security officials said that the pease pudding, a traditional delicacy made using split peas which are turned into a sandy coloured spread, was a liquid and therefore banned.
The tasty condiment, usually spread on top of ham inside a stottie, is rarely available outside of the North East.
Anne Watson of Backworth, North Tyneside, holds some pease pudding (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
She said: My friend Helen had come up from Bristol to spend the weekend up here.
She was asked by a friend to take some pease pudding back so she bought two tubs of pease pudding from the market in Tynemouth at the Priory.
She had it in her hand luggage when she went to the airport on Sunday.
They said it was a liquid and confiscated it. Anne, a former teacher, added: We were just flabbergasted . How can you describe pease pudding as a liquid?
I know you have got to have the security but we re trying to sell the North East and it s a local delicacy.
Helen had been taking in the sights of the North East during the weekend break, following Anne s recent move back to the region after 35 years in London.
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During the trip, the friends of 25 years went to the Tynemouth Christmas Market where Helen picked up a jar of original pease pudding for a friend and a beer-flavoured one for her husband. On her way to board an easyJet flight to Bristol, before travelling back to Dubai where she now lives, Helen s haul was confiscated. Despite trying to give the tubs to a security officer to take home, the gifts were instead binned.
Anne, 52, said: She said to one of the ladies, I bought this from a farmers market can you have it?
But they put it in the bin in front of her.
Anne added Helen had been disappointed to leave the pease pudding behind. This is not the first time pease pudding has been flagged up by airport security. In 2015, a 58-year-old man was stopped on his way to fly from Newcastle to Gatwick during routine searches of his hand luggage.
He was allowed to take his pease pudding on the flight though, after being warned to keep it in the hold next time. According to Newcastle Airport s guidelines, only a limited quantity of liquid can be carried in hand luggage. Liquids, creams, gels, pastes and aerosols must be 100ml or less and need to be shown in a transparent plastic bag.
An airport spokesperson said: In accordance with security regulations, we regrettably could not permit the customer s item through the security search.
The safety of our passengers and staff is of paramount importance and as such security is taken very seriously.
Brexit1 could push Britain s access to vital intelligence systems off a cliff-edge if the Government does not act urgently to ensure continued security cooperation with the EU, a new report has warned.
European Arrest Warrants (EAW) have been used to arrest criminals including drug traffickers, murderers, rapists, terrorists, paedophiles and some of Britain s most wanted fugitives2. The UK also uses its membership of Europol and the European Criminal Records Information Exchange System (ECRIS), and it s access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Pr m Convention on DNA data, to catch wanted people abroad and identify EU suspects inside Britain. The Government has repeatedly claimed security cooperation and intelligence sharing will continue after Brexit but its proposals have not yet been formally discussed.
Academics at King s College London have now warned that the political will for continued partnership is not enough to surmount serious practical and legal barriers. A report by its independent UK in a Changing Europe research division said that unless the Government acts quickly to secure a deal with the EU, there could be serious disruption to security cooperation.
There is much at stake here, it continued . Thus far, however, neither side has engaged strongly with the detail in public, nor demonstrated much awareness of the trade-offs that might be required in order to achieve their aims.
Andrea Leadsom on whether Brexit committee stage will finish by Christmas: It s difficult to project forward with absolute certainty
David Davis and Michel Barnier have not yet started discussions on the issue, which are due to take place in the delayed second phase of the floundering talks. Anand Menon, director of the research unit, said good intentions were not enough when negotiations are likely to involve constitutional issues and disagreements over jurisdiction.
Brexit has been an immigration issue and there s actually far more to this, he told The Independent.
The question is whether control means being able to close your borders, or being in a position to know as much as possible about who is coming in through them . And the latter is based on collaboration.
Prof Menon said it could take more time than is left before the Brexit deadline in March 2019 to build a new legal framework allowing intelligence sharing to continue on current levels, leaving the prospect of a Brexit cliff-edge in security .
We re not saying it s impossible but we need to start taking this seriously, quickly, because otherwise membership will come to an end with no obvious way to stay in these systems, he added.
The Home Office has talked about a treaty but what we re interested in is not broad structures but detailed proposals. Prof Menon said he hoped the lack of detail was a deliberate move made necessary by security protocol or negotiation tactics, but that he had not yet heard from anyone that concrete proposals are there . Theresa May herself warned of the security threat posed by leaving the EU during the referendum campaign, but claimed any risk will be mitigated by new agreements since becoming Prime Minister.
Her predecessor, David Cameron, asked whether peace and stability in Europe was a risk worth taking while arguing for Britain to remain in the EU. But security faded from the official campaign s radar after failing to attract interest in focus groups, the report said, despite the rising terror threat and Isis s deadly attacks across Europe. A backlash against Mr Cameron s speech and criticism of Project Fear are believed to have prevented a detailed Home Office paper on the potential impact of Brexit before the referendum being released, despite it containing evidence that the UK would be less protected from terrorism and crime.
Researchers concluded that although the EU will not want to lose access to British intelligence, the European Commission would have to approve transfers and could demand adequacy on data protection. The European Court of Justice, which the Prime Minister has vowed to leave, has already ruled mass data collection under the Investigatory Powers Act illegal3 and the efforts could prove a stumbling block in negotiations. Researchers cautioned that although several non-EU countries have signed agreements with Europol, they do not guarantee access to operational projects.
The UK may be able to achieve an unprecedented future relationship, based on its strong role within the agency, but the Danish government may object to a deal that goes further than its own, the report concluded.
This would mean the UK cannot retain direct access to Europol databases, nor a participating place on the management board.
The towers of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (Reuters)
There is also precedent for access by countries outside the EU to the EAW system, but Norway and Iceland s deals took years to negotiate and a similar agreement would probably mean that some EU countries won t be able to surrender their own nationals to the UK, the report said. Europol itself has warned that Brexit could worsen crime in the UK and damage security across Europe4. Brian Donald, its chief of staff, said last month that although the Government has drawn up proposals to remain a part of the organisation, an adverse impact should be expected.
Almost certainly the arrangements governing the UK s police cooperation with EU partners will not be as deep and effective as they are today, Mr Donald warned.
Reasonable assumptions point to a worse situation than now in the UK.
This week, the Commons Home Affairs Committee sounded a fresh warning over potential chaos at British borders if customs arrangements are not shored up. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the group, said: As things stand, the Government is running the risk of celebrating their first day of Brexit with the sight of queues of lorries stretching for miles in Kent and gridlock on the roads of Northern Ireland, which would be incredibly damaging to the UK economy and completely unacceptable to the country. The committee described Home Office plans to boost Border Force staff by 300 members as completely unconvincing .
A separate assessment published on Tuesday warned that failure to complete the introduction of a new customs system by the Brexit date would be catastrophic . The Government has proposed a new security treaty between the UK and EU to ensure a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership after Brexit. A policy paper published days after the attempted bombing of a London Underground train in September said the treaty would be underpinned by our shared principles and should make sure our partnership has the agility to respond to the ever-changing threats we face .
A Home Office spokesperson said: As we prepare to leave the EU it is vital that we agree a new way to ensure continued security, law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation.
We recently outlined our proposal to seek a new treaty with the EU which will underpin our future partnership, building on the already deep level of collaboration we have on security, policing and criminal justice.
Both the UK and EU have made clear our shared commitment to continued cooperation to keep Europe safe and this Government will do everything it can to keep the country secure.”
- ^ Brexit (www.independent.co.uk)
- ^ Britain s most wanted fugitives (www.independent.co.uk)
- ^ ruled mass data collection under the Investigatory Powers Act illegal (www.independent.co.uk)
- ^ Brexit could worsen crime in the UK and damage security across Europe (www.independent.co.uk)
- ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)
The Prison Officers Association has told Sky News equipment is “no replacement for staff,” as the Government unveils a 3m investment in new technology to protect prison guards. The investment comes amid an increase in violence against prison officers and disturbances inside jails. Two million pounds will be spent on 5,600 body-worn cameras which will be made available to prison guards in England and Wales, following the successful roll-out of the cameras among 22,000 Metropolitan Police officers last October. Plans announced by the Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah also include 1m for new police-style handcuffs and restraints, which will reduce the need for staff to use physical holds to control aggressive prisoners. Four prisons – HMP Wealstun, HMP Risley, HMP Preston and HMP Hull – will also trial PAVA incapacitant spray, similar to pepper spray, to boost officer safety.
Image: Two prison officers were seriously injured last year at Wormwood Scrubs in west London
Mr Gyimah said: “Prison officers do an incredibly hard job . Assaults on prison officers are up 34% in the last year . Of course prison officers have got to be professional at all times but where these cameras could make a real difference is with prosecutions and also deterring assaults against prison officers.
“I am absolutely determined to tackle head-on the issues that undermine the safety and security of our prisons and to ensure our dedicated officers have the tools they need to do the job.” The Prison Officers Association welcomed the introduction of the new safety measures, but told Sky News the central issue remains the number of guards. In a statement, the union said: “Whilst we welcome protective measures such as PAVA spray and body worn cameras nothing can replace correct and safe staffing levels.
“The 30% cut to staff since 2010 and the increase in violence and riots during that period still has to be addressed and equipment is no replacement for staff.” The Government says 1,290 extra prison officers have been recruited, but admits that number is below its own target of 2,500. Former convict John Hirst told Sky News there needs to be a more widespread reform of the prison system.
He said: “What they need to do is improve conditions . Some of the prisons are still Victorian and they still use Victorian prison rules. “If you keep dehumanising prisoners when you put them into the system in the first place, how do you think they are going to behave?”
The Government says 10m has already been given to priority prisons to ramp up additional security measures including 24-hour patrol dogs, CCTV cameras, mobile phone detection technology and metal detectors.