Letters and emails on June 13, 2011

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The Lancashire Evening Post’s letters’ pages online

Almost 9,000 vehicles across the UK were stolen in just 36 days at the beginning of this year, equating to one stolen every six minutes, reports the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS). The statistics have been revealed by the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service to coincide with Car Crime Awareness Week, which begins today. The initiative aims to raise the public’s awareness of vehicle crime methods in order to drive down offences. This new data illustrates that 50% of thefts were made when a vehicle was left at the owner’s home address or close by, including 17.6% through the burglary of properties to obtain car keys. A third were stolen when vehicles were away from the home and 4% of crimes during the 36 day sample were made by opportunist thieves, where keys were left in or within easy reach of the vehicle. Shockingly, this would mean that annually 3,400 thefts could be easily prevented through heightened awareness. Criminals will use a variety of means to steal cars, from towing them away or simply driving them off when owners leave the keys in the ignition to burgling houses and sophisticated attacks on manufacturers’ security systems. Our aim is to increase general awareness, including encouraging motorists to take simple precautions. We shall also be releasing information on crime relating to freight vehicles, agricultural equipment, caravans and motorhomes. For more information visit www.avcis.police.uk or the Car Crime Awareness Week Facebook page www.facebook.com/CarCrimeAwarenessWeek DCI Mark Hooper, Head of AVCIS

Staggered by suspensions

During the past eight years Cardinal Newman College has made such excellent progress that I am staggered to hear the Principal,Steve Pegg, and his deputy Lynne Caddick, have been suspended pending an independant enquiry into allegations made against them. Their leadership has been recognised as outstanding not just by government inspection teams but by colleagues, head teachers throughout the area and by the thousands of young people who have achieved such magnificent results whilst in their care. The College can ill afford to lose people of their calibre particularly during these difficult times. Any management team faced with the prospect of losing £1.4 million from its budget would have very difficult decisions to make. The reduction in budget is not within the control of the management team but how to best deal with the problem is. Steve Pegg and his team have a magnificent record of guiding the college which is now recognised as being one of the best in the country. The governors, staff and students cannot afford to lose their Principal and deputy. They should be supported in this crucial period of dealing with a budget deficit. Instead they are in a stuation where they can do nothing. The Catholic community of Preston and the surrounding area should speak up on behalf of the leaders of their college and not allow its splendid achievements to be wasted. It is not easy to find senior management teams of this calibre and I for one would be very saddened to lose them. I hope that sound, common sense prevails and that they will soon be back doing what they are good at...leading Cardinal Newman College to further success, particularly now when the going is getting tough. Mike Flynn,former Head, All Hallows Catholic High, Penwortham.

We can’t just rely on private care

The uncertain future of the country’s largest care home provider shows the folly of closing council run homes and relying entirely on the private sector to cater for the urgent needs of our elderly. However this government seems not only to remain committed to this policy but to be intent on putting the NHS under a similar system with the private sector being heavily involved in providing services for our future healthcare. One bad year financially and the sharks in the private sector will either want more money or they will be running for the hills as fast as their legs can carry them! Either way we poor ‘customers’ will be carrying the can. Jeff McCann, Hoghton, via email

A case of supply and demand

Your report on June 7 on the future of night classes, while mostly accurate, did include an extremely misleading headline. “Night classes facing the axe”, neither reflects the reality of the situation nor the tone of the remainder of the article. You have accurately reported most of my comments which clearly indicate that our advertised programme of adult education courses is dependent, like anything else, on the level of demand for it. The truth is this: If fewer people want adult education, then of course there will be fewer classes. However, if demand rises, we can consider increasing the volume of provision. This situation isn’t in any way reflected in the headline. Furthermore, I should point out that not all our courses are ‘night classes’. We run courses across the county during the day, in the evening and at weekends. If any of your readers want to find out about our wide range of courses in Chorley starting in September, they can contact us on 01257 276719. Steve Hailstone, Principal, Lancashire Adult Learning, Chorley

Homes closure is short-sighted

Although I agree with Councillor Charles that “a residential home is not always the best environment for a troubled person’, the proposed closure of two children’s homes in Lancaster is short-sighted and unacceptable. In many cases, a children’s care home is the only safe place for a young person, especially if family members are not present or capable of providing the kind of environment needed for a safe upbringing. What we don’t need is for children’s care homes to be run into over capacity as this will lead to a reduction in the quality of care provided and an increase in the number of vulnerable children. Paul Nuttall, North West MEP, UK Independence Party

Not so wild about this delay

In a parliamentary debate, speaker after speaker called on the Government to bring about, without delay, a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. Answering for the Government, James Paice, the Minister for Agriculture said a more effective way forward was to licence and regulate and to set standards so high, that it would be most unlikely that large mammals such as lions and tigers, would continue to be a feature in circuses in England. However, he then described the timetable which means we could be looking at 2013 or even later. Meanwhile, wild animals are still in beast-wagons, still being trained and still performing. Welcome to the 21st Century. Will Travers, via email