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Met police tweets may encourage young people to carry knives, research finds

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Met police tweets may encourage young people to carry knives, research finds

Young people may be nudged into carrying knives by the police, research has found, as a new count showed the Metropolitan police circulated more than 2,100 images of seized knives on Twitter in a year.

In the same period, three leading violent-crime prevention charities – Hope Collective, the Ben Kinsella Trust and Dwaynamics – circulated two images of knives between them, according to research by the Green party in the London assembly.

“It’s deeply worrying to see police sharing such frightening images of knives when the charities involved in reducing knife harm don’t do this at all,” said Caroline Russell, a Green party assembly member who sits on London’s police and crime committee. “The disparity of approach is staggering, with the mayor’s own violence reduction unit sharing no images of dangerous knives.”

According to the Greens, between July 2020 and August 2021, images of knives were published 612 times by Met borough accounts, 229 times by the Met taskforce, 82 times by the roads and transport command, 16 times by the firearms command and 15 times by the main Metropolitan Police Service account.

Based on the average number of knife images posted by a sample of ward accounts from various boroughs, they estimated that local policing teams published a total of 1,176 images of knives.

There has been a long-running debate around sharing images of weapons on social media. The Met says it publishes pictures of seized weapons to reassure the public that its officers are committed to tackling violent criminals.

“We aim to include images of our officers in action showing the breadth of policing, alongside any images of weapons,” a spokesperson said. “This is not always possible. We always include wording which explicitly discourages weapon carrying and violence to accompany any imagery.”

Critics have said the images contribute to a sense that the carrying of weapons is widespread. At a youth violence summit in London, an adviser to the city’s violence reduction unit said photos of blades could prompt young people to consider “upgrading tools”.

That assessment seems to be backed by research published as a pre-print this month that suggests knife seizure images “potentially encourage knife-carrying”. Young people in Glasgow shown images of seized knives told researchers led by the University of Strathclyde that they thought the pictures contributed to a climate of fear and perpetuated negative stereotypes of certain groups and areas – although all said they were personally opposed to knife-carrying.

Dr Charlotte Coleman, a psychologist at Sheffield Hallam University who was involved in the study, said the researchers questioned young people in high- and low-crime areas. “For those young people that were living in high-crime areas, they felt quite stigmatised by the volume of knife imagery that was flooding their area,” she said.

Such images had the potential to frighten susceptible young people into carrying knives for self-defence, but equally others could be excited by them, prompting them to carry a knife because they thought doing so was “cool”, Coleman said.

Regarding the Met’s use of images of seized knives, she said: “I find it concerning that so many images are used. It’s not just the 2,100 times that they are posted by the police, because they are posted and reposted. So, actually, the exposure becomes amplified by the number of shares.” People more worried or excited by knives were more likely to share, she suggested.

There was a 31% year-on-year fall in knife offences recorded in London in the year to March. But an increase in the severity of attacks in early 2021 led to a rise in the number of killings by a quarter, and police have warned London could be on track for its worst year of young homicides since 2008.

A Met spokesperson said: “The Met is an evidence-driven organisation, and that extends to the way in which we communicate with Londoners. We look forward to the results of this research being published in the coming months, which will help inform our approach moving forward.”

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Group hails IG as mother accused Hospital of stealing Placenta

The Inspector General of Police, (IG) Kayode Egbetokun has received praises for the prompt arrest of suspects accused of stealing the placenta of a new born baby in privated hospital located in Kwara State. The suspects were taken from Ilofa to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Thursday.
In a statement signed by NHRC’s official, Mr Taiwo Adeleye said the arrest of the suspects was an important step towards securing justice for the families of Mr Rotimi Williams whose wife accused health officials at a private hospital of stealing the placenta of her new born baby.
The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC),a coalition of 130 civil society groups spread across Nigeria on Thursday expressed delight at the arrest of the suspects by the police.
The group said it was aware of plots by some powerful individuals to clog the wheel of justice but was delighted that the IG has brought hope to the despairing family. It called for full investigation that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of all culprits.
Few days ago, Mrs Williams accused the management of Cottage hospital, Ilofa, Kwara State of failing to account for the placenta of her new born baby. In complaints lodged with the NHRC, Mrs Williams said a nurse, Mrs Alabi took the delivery, one nurse Adeloye cleaned up the baby while one Mrs Toyin, a ward attendant claimed she mistakenly threw away the placenta.
“In Nigerian agelong tradition, the placenta is linked to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of a new born baby. There is a customary and agelong way of burying placenta of which every medical staff is aware.The disappearance of a baby’s placenta is a source of eternal trauma for the parents and a prelude to impugn the future of the child based on timeless tradition and beliefs,” the NHRC said.
The Coalition said the placenta could be stolen for rituals, adding that stealing a placenta is like killing the child or using the child for ritual by other means The group said it would follow-up the case “day and night” to ensure justice is done. The NHRC said Mrs Toyin brought out the mother’s bags from the labour room but failed to take the placenta along.
The rights group said one Mrs Ayoni Awolusi in the course of the delivery, claimed she was to be on duty but was absent. The medical personnel expected to be on dury was Dr. Ajibola. NHRC said Mrs Williams put to bed around 7pm on Sunday May 12 but discovered the missing placenta very early on Monday 13th, May.
The group called on the IG to intensify the probe and ensure every one connected with the gory episode is brought to justice

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AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccines from market as demand reduces

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca on Wednesday said it was withdrawing Covid vaccine Vaxzevria, one of the first produced in the deadly pandemic, citing “commercial reasons” following a slump in demand.

“As multiple, variant Covid-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson added in a statement.

“We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

AstraZeneca rapidly developed the successful Covid-19 jab during the coronavirus pandemic which erupted in the first half of 2020.

Vaxzevria, developed alongside Oxford University, was at first offered at cost but Astra decided in late 2021 to sell it for profit.

But the world pivoted towards mRNA vaccines, particularly the one produced by US drugs giant Pfizer and German peer BioNTech, after rare blood-clot problems with Astra’s jab increased public hesitancy about taking it.

Sales collapsed further as global Covid restrictions were fully lifted worldwide and the world emerged from the global health crisis.

The AstraZeneca spokesperson said the group had begun the process from taking it off the market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) region.

The company will work with other regulators globally to start market authorisation withdrawals for the Vaxzevria “where no future commercial demand for the vaccine is expected”.

The spokesperson said that, according to independent estimates, “over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone” and more than three billion doses were supplied globally.

“We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. ”

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NMA lauds Police for arresting fake doctor in Lagos

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has commended the Nigerian Police Force for arresting an alleged fake medical doctor.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman, NMA Lagos, said the arrest will strengthen the association’s fight against quackery in the medical profession.

Olowojebutu explained that medical quackery was a dangerous practice that posed a threat to the well-being of citizens and the delivery of quality healthcare in the state, and country.

“The arrest is a welcome development for the health sector; we would expose these quacks and ensure that Lagos does not suffer further morbidity and mortality from their nefarious activities.

“We are glad that our work on anti-quackery has started yielding progress as we are determined to weed out quacks from the medical profession,” he said.

The chairman pledged that NMA Lagos, with the support of the Ministry of Health, Health Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, HEFAMAA, and police, would eradicate quacks from the state.

According to him, the association would hold an anti-quackery summit soon, after which it would present a white paper to the Lagos State Government on anti-quackery.

Olowojebutu warned hospitals to refrain from employing staff whose certificates and licences had not been verified by the MDCN to safeguard the health of the populace.

The 37-year-old medical practitioner with suspected forged certificates was arrested by police at Skylink Medical Centre, Elepe-Ikorodu.

The police said they arrested the suspect, who claimed to be the managing director of the health facility, based on intelligence gathered by the command through members of the Elepe community concerning the activities of the suspect.

The police recovered two suspected forged certificates of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, after searching for the facility.

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