This is probably the most complex story I’ve been involved with at Points West so far. I discovered that all of the local authorities in the West have money invested in tobacco stocks via their pension funds. That’s even though they took responsibility for public health campaigns – including stopping smoking services – in April 2013. I wanted to ask whether this created a conflict of interest. There is more information about this on public health specialist Stewart Brock’s web site.
I went to Swindon to film this story for Points West at Christmas 2012. The charity had been going for ages and said they saw many more people than were officially registered as homeless in Swindon. On reflection, I think the story would have been more powerful if we had also spoken to people who were on the streets to see if they thought the same. This was the first piece I filmed entirely myself. My piece begins at 1’58″ into the bulletin.
A belated blog post, but this was the first report I did for Points West, in November 2012. I looked at a project run by Knowle West Media Centre called the University of Local Knowledge. The idea was to get people from south Bristol to make short films about their lives and experiences, and to make those available on the web. I had no idea how popular keeping horses was in the middle of inner-city Bristol until I met the people who did it!
I spoke to a man from Frome who had served three months in jail for a public order offence. I was interested in how he kept in contact with his family while he was inside. Partly, this was inspired by the TV show Prisoners Wives.
Here is the report I produced:
Here is a longer version of the interview with his wife:
And the Howard League for Penal Reform:
IMPACT Minister InterviewAvon and Somerset Police is the first in the country to use a method of dealing with prolific acquisitive criminals known as IMPACT. I describe it as being a carrot and stick approach. The stick is that the offenders are regularly drug tested and kept under much closer supervision by the police and probation service. The carrot is that they are given whatever help and advice they need to turn their lives around, whether that is rehab, housing advice, job help, psychiatry or whatever. It’s also been seen as controversial because of the sympathetic relationship that seems to develop between the police/probation officers and the offenders. Advocates say that is irrelevant because it works, and reduces crime. I set out to find the truth behind the scheme.
Here is my radio report:
Here is an interview with one of the offenders on the scheme:
The scheme is jointly managed by the probation service and the police. Here is a probation officer’s take on it.
We also asked a government minister what he thought of the scheme.
Channel 4′s Dispatches Programme has also covered this. Here’s a link to their film.
I went to see the opening of a new cafe in Bridgwater aimed at raising money for, and supporting, people with mental health issues.
I conducted a long investigation into the operation of the family courts. What I ended up focussing on was whether or not it was possible for the family courts to meet a target, suggested in a recent government report, that they should speed up the process.
On one hand, any observer can see that the faster a care case is resolved, the better that will be for the child and for the families involved. On the other, no-one wants decisions about a child’s future to be made quickly, if that means the decision is poor. I wanted to ask what balance should be struck?
Here is a report I produced for BBC Somerset:
Here is a longer version of an interview with a ‘Children’s Guardian’, a family court official appointed to represent the interests of the child in the court case.