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:
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.
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.
I discovered there is a big difference between the number of police officers in Avon and Somerset accused of assault and the number who are disciplined as a result.
This stemmed from a Freedom of Information request I submitted to Avon and Somerset police. I asked for a comparison between a) the number of complaints of assault received by A&S between 2007 and 2009 and b) the number of officers facing disciplinary action.
The resulting figures were that just over 1,200 officers had been named in around 600 complaints of assault during that time. However, of these, only yhree had faced verbal warnings, with none facing written warnings or criminal charges.
What I wanted to discover was: why? Two possible causes suggest themselves. The first is that accusations of assault against officers are routinely frivolous, or done out of a desire for revenge. The second, that accusations of assault are not taken seriously. I set out to ask whether either of these was the case, or whether there was another explanation.
I looked broadly at radical politics at Glastonbury 2011. One of the things I wanted to look at was how charities and pressure groups use the festival to get their message across. This is one part of that. I went to speak to two very different environmental organisations to see how they use the festival. I think there’s quite an interesting contrast.
The first is the permaculture field, which promotes a radical type of complete sustainability.
The second is from a gentler, but no less passionate organisation, the Somerset Wildlife Trust.
This is a blog by Martin Jones, a broadcast journalist from the south west of England. I currently work for BBC Somerset and used to work in commercial radio. Any views expressed are my individual opinions and not those of the BBC.