Security services should have the power to access everyone’s emails and messaging apps, according to a Devon MP. Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer was speaking after the Home Secretary called on companies such as WhatsApp to allow security services access to their encrypted messages. Mr Mercer told BBC Daily Politics: “We all understand the points around civil liberties and how important they are, but freedom isn’t free . We have to protect our way of life, and if those we are going to ask to do that require extra powers in a digital age which is becoming more complex, I think we should give them to them. “I know from intelligence and security services that I’ve worked with in the past, we need the tools at our disposal in order to be able to do the job . One of those is electronic surveillance of individuals to try to identify these attacks, which are really difficult to identify.”
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Lord Brian Paddick said “not every single innocent member of the public” should be subjected to increased surveillance. He also accused the Government of cutting police budgets, but Mr Mercer said spending on tackling “digital threats” is going up. “The spend around counter-terrorism, the visible part of policing that is so important in our communities, is as important as it has ever been,” he said. “But this digital threat, around technology and so on, that is exponentially growing all the time and that requires the resources . If you actually look at what this Government is doing from 2015 to 2020 increasing that by 30 per cent and protecting counter-terrorism budgets this is a team effort across Government to try to counter these threats.
“We defeat this as a team, as politicians, as police, as community providers . I don’t really think it’s the time for cheap political points above what is an existential threat that is really difficult to get a hold of . We have a very challenging set of threats which are getting greater all the time, I think the police are doing a good job and we should get behind them.”
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Security guards are being fitted with body cameras at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill after more than 1,000 attacks on doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Doctors, nurses, receptionists and hospital staff have been spat at, bitten, racially abused and had their faces gouged by patients, relatives and visitors. Now, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is warning anyone caught on camera attacking or abusing an NHS worker1 anywhere in either hospital will be subjected to the full force of the law and hauled before the courts.
Edward McGee, security contracts manager at the trust, said: “I’m appalled by some of the things I’ve seen.
“Staff have been scratched, bitten, punched, kicked, been gouged at and spat on . And these assaults are recorded across the spectrum, not just in A&E. Read more:Nursing associates take up new jobs at Hull Royal and Castle Hills2
“Behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated and we will pursue every conceivable chance of prosecution. “Our staff are here to help and treat people . They are not here to be abused and assaulted.”
Figures show 1,045 assaults have taken place at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill since 2011/12 . The number of attacks peaked in 2013/14, when 249 assaults took place. Although assaults had dropped to 174 in 2015/16, there have been 233 assaults in the past year.
Of those, 167 were classed as “clinical assaults” where a patient assaulted a member of staff because of a medical condition such as dementia, hallucinations or an adverse reaction to medication. However, 66 were assaults not linked to a person’s illness.
Mr McGee said 14 body cameras are now in operation, warning signs have been placed around the hospital and the trust has teamed up with Humberside Police and Hull City Council to gather evidence against those abusing staff. As well as prosecuting anyone assaulting staff, anti-social behaviour3 warning letters are being sent to people caught shouting, swearing or racially abusing staff, with more than 50 sent out to January alone. Mr McGee said staff were reporting anti-social behaviour on the trust’s internal Datix reporting system with security staff using the information to send warning letters to perpetrators about their conduct.
Evidence will then be passed onto Humberside Police and Hull City Council as intelligence, with the real possibility of people being banned from both hospitals4 as part of future antisocial behaviour orders. If the offender has a drink or drugs-related problem, the authorities will take action to get them help. “We have had one member of the public receiving a letter and they rang up to say they were really sorry for their behaviour, that it was totally out of character and it will never happen again,” said Mr McGee.
“That’s proved its worth . All we’re asking is people, when they come into hospital, to please treat us with the respect with which we treat you.” All staff using the cameras have received hospital conflict resolution training to the standard laid down by NHS Protect and have security industry licences to ensure they have the skills to diffuse dangerous situations.
Security staff will now be trained in using the body cameras fitted to their uniforms, activating them as soon as they witness a situation with the potential to spill over into violence against staff. As well as the footage being used in future prosecutions through the courts, it will also be used in the monthly training sessions for security staff, showing them real-life examples of what they could face on the frontline. Mr McGee said those guilty of violence against staff represented a tiny minority of the tens of thousands attending East Yorkshire’s hospitals.
He said: “We want to reassure people that Hull Royal and Castle Hill are not violent places . We do have times, like everywhere else, when there is violence but people shouldn’t be worried about coming here. “Our priority is the safety of our staff, patients and visitors and we will take as many proactive steps as possible to prevent assaults or other acts of violence taking place.”
- ^ anyone caught on camera attacking or abusing an NHS worker (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ Nursing associates take up new jobs at Hull Royal and Castle Hills (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ anti-social behaviour (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ people being banned from both hospitals (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
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A security guard has described how he disarmed a knifeman who said he was going to behead a man at a Hull mosque. Haidar Hamid, 22, “frog-marched” a neighbour to Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre while holding a serrated knife to his throat and a Stanley knife in his other hand. With his victim bleeding from cuts to his cheek and chin, Hamid forced his head down in the mosque and asked: “Are you going to pray now?”
But he was spared further injury in a dramatic rescue by worshipper Ebrima Touray, 45, who put himself in harm’s way to disarm Hamid.
Read more: Jeremy Kyle Show couple’s argument lands David Fuller in court1 Recalling the incident, Mr Touray, a security guard at St Stephen’s shopping centre, told the Mail: “I was at the mosque praying when I saw this guy walk in with his shoes on. “Shoes are not allowed to be worn in any mosque and one of my friends kept telling him, ‘No shoes, no shoes’.
“When I looked back he hadn’t left but instead closed the door and that’s when I saw the knife in his hand. “I saw the guy with him had a slice on his face, so I asked him, ‘Who did that to you ? Did he do this to you?’
“He nodded, so I told Hamid to put the knife away . At that point he said, ‘This is my knife’, and put it in his pocket. “My friend at the mosque was speaking Arabic to Hamid so I told him to keep his concentration and keep talking to him .
That’s when I managed to grab the knife off him. “He ran off so I called the police2, and I saw a guy pull up in a car shouting his name, and I told him he wasn’t taking him anywhere. “He said he was from his hostel, but I wasn’t having that . He hadn’t protected him when he left with this guy with a knife, so I wasn’t going to let him protect him now.” Asked by police why he had the knife, Hamid said “to cut off his head”.
Hamid, of Albany Street, west Hull, has now been jailed for ten years as a judge commended Mr Touray and fellow worshipper, Taha Mohammed, for their “extremely remarkable courage”. Mr Mohammed comforted the victim until police arrived, arrested Hamid and recovered the knives from the mosque in Berkeley Street, west Hull. Mr Touray believes his 14 years’ experience as a security guard helped him talk Hamid out of further harming the victim.
“I knew I had to help when I saw what was happening,” he said. “If I didn’t he could have easily gone out and hurt someone in the street. “My job helped me in the situation, because I knew what to do . I don’t think I would have gone as near him if not. “But I think everyone needs to help out in some little bit when these things happen. “I have been visiting this mosque for years and this is the first time anything like this has happened.
“This is a community we all have to live in.” Hamid and his victim were followed to the mosque from Albany Street by another neighbour, who believed the man was in “grave danger”.
Read more: Hull looks to host more ‘big attractions’ and a winter festival when City of Culture finishes3 When Hamid was interviewed by police the day after the incident on September 9, last year, he said he was going to kill the man with one of the knives, and asked why, said: “To stop him doing bad things to me.” He admitted kidnap, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and threatening with an offensive weapon.
Imam Hafiz Salik said: “We have never had anything like it and we have been there for more than 30 years.”