Daily roundup: Seaside towns, rotting teeth, and railway arrests

Gabriella Jozwiak
Monday, August 5, 2013

Fears of "social breakdown" in coastal towns; children at risk of serious tooth decay; and dozens of children arrested each week by British Transport Police, all in the news today.

The report found that many coastal towns have "declined beyond recognition". Image: Jim Varney
The report found that many coastal towns have "declined beyond recognition". Image: Jim Varney

A study by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) says living standards in some of the UK’s best-known coastal towns have “declined beyond recognition”. Researchers found that some councils in high cost areas take advantage of cheap accommodation in seaside towns and use them to place vulnerable people, such as children in care. “This has caused some areas to become dumping grounds for people with complex needs and intensifies pressure on schools, social workers and other services,” CSJ policy director Alex Burghart, who edited the report, said.

Half of children in England have rotting teeth or are at serious risk of tooth decay, according to Department of Health research. Survey results published in the Daily Mail show 13 per cent of children under 18 have a “red rating” for their teeth, under a new traffic lights scheme currently being trialed by dentists. Only 55 per cent of children were given a green rating for healthy teeth and gums.

Around 40 children a week are being arrested by police patrolling Britain’s railways, it has emerged. Figures obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform show that British Transport Police (BTP) made 2,090 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and younger during 2011 – a 12 per cent fall from 2009, when 2,374 arrests were recorded. The Howard League has been campaigning for BTP to take a different approach to children that involves educating them about the dangers of playing on or near railways rather than punishing behaviour.”

Rising numbers of nurseries are banning physical contact with children, the Daily Mail reports. An investigation by online guide daynurseries.co.uk found early years staff are increasingly being told not to kiss or cuddle children to protect them from pedophilia accusations. Penny Tassoni, president of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said: “Policies that are draconian in terms of not allowing children to be reassured are not fit for purpose as they ignore children’s right to being nurtured.”

A consultation on the regulations governing school and early years finance has been launched by the Department for Education. It includes changes to regulations for the dedicated schools grant that have not previously been announced. The consultation closes on 11 October.

And finally, plans to protect children from explicit images on the internet have been dismissed as “ridiculous” by a government advisor. David Cameron said last month that major web providers had agreed to block internet pornography to new customers unless households opt to access it. But the BBC reports that Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said the idea will not work. Wales said: "The software you would use to implement this doesn't work. Additionally when we use cases of a paedophile who's been addicted to child porn videos online, you realise all that Cameron's rules would require him to do is opt in and say, 'Yes, I would like porn please'."

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