Catch up on all the justice sector headlines you may have missed this month...
Private Sean Benton died of suicide at Deepcut army base, coroner rules
A renewed inquest into the death of Pte Sean Benton, who was found with five gunshot wounds to his chest at Deepcut army base in 1995, has concluded that his death was the result of suicide.
Delivering the verdict, Judge Peter Rook QC said three suicide notes were found after his death.
Sean’s sister Tracy Lewis says his family will call for police to open a criminal investigation. Pte Benton was the first of four soldiers to die at the Surrey base between 1995 and 2002.
UK intelligence and police admit to using child spies when ‘necessary and proportionate’
A committee of the House of Lords raised concerns earlier this month about the use of “juvenile covert human intelligence sources”.
A child’s participation in espionage activities, said the committee, “may increase the risks to their mental and physical welfare”.
Ben Wallace, Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, defended the use of spies under the age of 16, saying they were used to gain unique information into grooming rings, gangs and terrorist operations.
Gurkhas to recruit women for the first time
The Gurkha regiment of the British Army will open recruitment to female candidates after 2020.
Female applicants to the elite regiment will be expected to complete the same physical fitness examination and meet the same minimum physical charactertistics as male candidates.
Lt Gen Nick Pope CBE, colonel commandant for the Brigade of Gurkhas, says the decision reflects “the openness and diversity of the British army”.
London Fire Brigade issues urgent plea as heatwave threatens grass fires
The London fire service urged citizens not to drop cigarettes or matches onto dry grass and to be sensible when using disposable barbecues, after a spate of fires in the city.
More than 220 firefighters responded to a blaze at Wanstead Flats earlier this month, while services were also called to blazes at Heathrow and Bedfont.
Nationally, firefighters have responded to over a dozen fires resulting from the UK heatwave. A wildfire at Saddleworth Moor near Manchester destroyed over 4,500 acres throughout June and July.
Metropolitan police’s anti-corruption unit investigated by Independent Office for Police Conduct
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating allegations of “serious corruption and malpractice” against the Metropolitan police.
Gross misconduct notices have been served on three officers. The allegations include claims of racial discrimination and interfering in investigations. The BBC understands that up to 14 officers may be involved.
The Met said it was “fully co-operating” with the investigation.
Three in five councils in England have cut their transport budgets, says AA
The motoring organisation found that 62% of local authorities’ budgets were lower during 2017/18 than in the previous year.
The average budget had fallen by £500,000, from £12.1 million to £11.6 million. The Greater London Authority made the largest cut of any council, reducing their budget by £59.5 million.
The AA understands that councils are expected to make up for the cuts by raising parking fees.
Banksy offers to help save Bristol’s libraries from £1.4m cuts
The anonymous street artist Banksy has offered to help save Bristol’s under-threat library service.
The future of 17 out of 27 libraries in Bristol was left unclear after the council announced £1.4 million of cuts, though they did later announce a reprieve.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, confirmed a “very well known person from Bristol wrote in and asked us the nature of the challenge”. Banksy is believed to have met the Mayor, though it is understood the two did not discuss finances at the time.