The victims of the most serious crimes who are having to wait longer than ever for the police to turn up. Figures obtained by 5 Live Investigates reveal some of the biggest police forces in the UK are taking almost twice as long to respond to so called ‘grade one’ emergencies as they were five years ago. The programme hears from the parents of a schizophrenic who made an emergency call to the police saying they feared for his girlfriend’s safety because he was attacking her. When police arrived three hours later Suzanne Brown was found dead from multiple stab wounds. 5 Live’s findings follow a spate of fatal knife attacks this year which have prompted Britain’s most senior police officer Cressida Dick to warn cuts in police numbers are contributing to a rise in violent crime. The Home Office says it ensures police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work.
Parents accused of inventing children's illnesses
The mums and dads threatened with having their disabled sons and daughters taken into care – accused of inventing or exaggerating their child’s illness. These are parents of children with conditions which are sometimes difficult to diagnose - such as autism spectrum disorder or rare inherited conditions. Some parents claim their council has used child protection concerns to delay paying for expensive care. They’ve been accused of a rare form of child abuse known as Fabricating or Induced Illness (FII) also known as Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy where a parent or carer exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child.
Photo credit: Deborah Faulkner
The Men Who Go Missing
Teenager Thomas Jones went missing on a night out with friends during his first week at university in Worcester. His body was recovered from the River Severn more than a week later. 5 Live Investigates has been told that Thomas's death and dozens more like it could have been prevented - if only certain safety measures were put in place. 150 young men have died after going missing on a night out over the last nine years. 5 Live Investigates has seen new research which reveals between 10 and 20 men die every year after going missing in towns and cities across the UK – the majority of them under the age of 35. Practical safety measures like late night transport to get people home, improved lighting and barriers between footpaths and waterways could all help prevent similar tragedies in the future, according to campaigners and charities.
Supermarkets Misleading Shoppers
5 Live Investigates has discovered three of the UK’s leading supermarkets are misleading customers by selling food which is high in salt or fat in the healthier choices sections of their stores. The British Dietetic Association says the supermarkets are being ‘unhelpful’ and the practise is ‘confusing’ for customers.
Researchers visited the top five supermarkets in the UK and found Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco were all selling products high in salt and saturated fat in areas marked as containing healthy or healthier choices food. The Royal Society for Public Health says the findings raise the possibility of the introduction of a supermarket regulator.
Tesco has told 5 Live it’s sorry some of its products were mistakenly included under a ‘Healthy and Diet Meals’ sign. Morrisons says their 'Healthier Choices' section gives customers the option to buy an item that is healthier than a product that meets a similar need – even though it might still carry a red traffic light label. And Sainsbury’s say it’s going to update its signage to reflect that vegetarian and plant based meals are now stocked alongside their range of healthier meals.
Photo credit: Helen Clifton
Parents of poorly babies demand extra leave
Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year. Many can spend weeks or even months in hospital fighting for their lives. But limited maternity and paternity rights mean many parents are having to return to work much sooner than they would like. The charity Bliss which supports families of premature and sick infants has surveyed more than 700 parents and shared its data with 5 Live Investigates. It reveals two thirds of fathers had to return to work whilst their baby was on a neonatal unit and more than a quarter of them had to choose between taking time off when their baby was is in neonatal or when their child went home. The programme hears from parents like Gemma and Andy Reid who were forced to make some tough decisions when their baby Gabriel was born a year ago.