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  |   Jan. 1, 2010 at 6:30 AM
Brit official: Police like staying warm

LONDON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Britain's justice secretary downplayed claims police are overworked by saying some officers enjoy being "warm" inside filling out paperwork.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said in response to claims that many police officers in the country are overworked and spend hours on forms that some officers "actually quite enjoy being in the police station in the warm," the BBC reported.

"I'm afraid I'm rather skeptical about the excuse that a public service, in this case the police, is overworked and therefore can't change," Straw said. "With a given level of resources, some police forces, or some parts of police forces do very much better than others.

"And it is the ones who are the less efficient and who have the wrong approach to the public who fall back on this 'Oh, I'm overworked' (argument)."

Simon Reed, vice chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, called Straw's comments "irresponsible and inflammatory."

"It wasn't police officers who brought in 3,000 new laws, it wasn't police officers who brought in a 30-page prosecution file and it wasn't police officers who brought in multiple forms and authorities to use a pair of binoculars," he said. "This was all done by politicians. Police officers are not the architects of bureaucracy, they and the public are the victims of it."


Man barred from nightclub due to braids

CHICAGO, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A Chicago man said he was denied entry to one of the city's nightclubs by a bouncer who told him the club did not allow "white boys with braids."

Austin Pedigo, 22, said he organized a party for more than a dozen friends at nightclub Soundbar, complete with a $400 limo, and paid $60 to have cornrow braids put in his hair for the event, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

However, when the group arrived at the club Saturday night, Pedigo said he was stopped by a bouncer at the door, who he described as an "Indian guy with a stocking cap on his head."

"They are not letting any white boys with braids in here tonight," Pedigo said the man told him.

"I am not being judgmental, but I've seen African-American males with braids in their heads in there before," Pedigo said. "I know there is a dress code at these clubs, and I am not going to go in there wearing gym shoes."

Haider Rizvi, a club worker, said door workers have discretion over who is let into the club.

"We have several employees with cornrows," he said.


Dad, daughter arrested in kidnap prank

LACOMBE, La., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Louisiana police said a man and his 12-year-old daughter were arrested for a kidnapping hoax that led to at least three 911 calls.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said at least three motorists driving on Interstate 12 Wednesday afternoon to report a man driving a vehicle with a girl inside bound and gagged with duct tape, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.

Motorists boxed the vehicle in and deputies pulled over Tim Williams, 45, of Lacombe, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies said they discovered the girl was Williams' 12-year-old daughter and she was bound as a prank the pair thought up while driving home from the Texas border, where the girl's mother had dropped her off for a visit.

Cpl. Sean Beavers said the prank was apparently designed to get reactions from other motorists.

"I don't know who in their right mind would want to play at a child abduction with their 12-year-old daughter," he said.

Williams was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was released on $3,000 bond. His daughter was cited for criminal mischief and released into the custody of an uncle.


Man accused of organizing own abduction

NEW DELHI, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A 22-year-old man in New Delhi, India, allegedly staged his own kidnapping in an attempt to get nearly $43,000 in ransom from his father, police say.

The Hindustan Times reported Tuesday Pawan Verma, 22, was arrested after allegedly trying to pick up the ransom for his safe return in Dwarka, India.

"Pawan's girlfriend demanded he take her to Macau on New Year's Eve. He hatched a plan to fake his own abduction with the help of a friend, Himanshu Kumar," Deputy Police Commissioner Jaspal Singh alleged. "Verma's elder brother Punit accompanied us to deliver the ransom. Six hours later a man in black jacket came to pick up the bag. Punit was shocked to find it was his own brother."

Topics: Jack Straw
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