UK horse racing chiefs play down Dubai vet drugs bust
Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women , published in September by the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) , has been praised by Muslim leaders for its candour. Thousands of UK children vulnerable to abuse Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam from Leicester and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain , said: “We welcome the findings of this report, but particularly the recommendations within it, which we believe provide vital tools in the quest to eliminate and eradicate this heinous crime from all our communities.” Unheard Voiceschallenged a myth commonly repeated in the British media suggesting that child sexual exploitation is mainly a racial crime in which Asian men target white girls. Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), a national police body, says child sexual exploitation spans “all cultures and ethnicities” – but acknowledges that cultural factors may help to explain why research to date suggests most victims are white. The Muslim Women’s Network report has united frontline agencies and community leaders in their determination to raise awareness of the issue in minority communities – and to tackle a crime that has risen rapidly up the political agenda in the UK. Police forces across the UK have dramatically raised the importance they have given to child sexual exploitation in recent years. Greater Manchester Police has made it a top policing priority, and recent awareness initiatives have been launched by police in the northern counties of Durham, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Police in West Yorkshire, which has high Asian and Muslim populations, unveiled a hard-hitting video on September 29 featuring parents whose children have been victims of child sexual exploitation as part of its on-going ” Know the Signs ” campaign. Detective Chief Inspector Susan Jenkinson, the force’s head of safeguarding, said that officers trying to combat child sexual exploitation did not approach this as an ethnic minority issue – yet were fully aware of the special problems faced by Asian and Muslim children. DCI Jenkinson said: “For me it’s not a minority issue: there are people committing horrendous crimes against children, and it’s the children that the police, social care and all the partner agencies and third-sector workers want to protect. “I don’t want it to become a race or minority issue: it’s something that we should all be looking at together to try and prevent it happening and get the people who are committing these offences to justice.” The approach taken by West Yorkshire Police reflects a practice now gaining ground in this area that stresses multi-agency partnerships where officers work with a host of other bodies in local safeguarding units to identify and tackle the crime. In areas such as Bradford, this enables community leaders to help in ways that take account of cultural factors. Awareness is seen as key to reducing the risk of child sexual exploitation in minority communities, and groups such as Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (PACE) work alongside parents and carers of children at risk. The organisation has worked withMuslim and Sikh families where children have been victims,and some of the parents it has helped teamed up with West Yorkshire Police in its video. People are beginning to acknowledge that the problem of child sexual exploitation is much bigger than anyone ever was willing to acknowledge. -Fleur Strong, deputy chief executive of PACE Fleur Strong, deputy chief executive of PACE, said: “We are aware of children within those communities who are being sexually exploited and also acutely aware of the added difficulties and sometimes social restraints that these families are experiencing. We have families that have been targeted who are in the British Muslim communities – and we know the difficulties they face.” Strong acknowledged that although her organisation has been campaigning for years, frontline public services have only recently begun to consider this a priority.
UK banks face higher capital demands under new tests
The test will be mainly used to form supervisory approaches rather than just to identify any capital holes to plug. “These new proposals should reinforce confidence in the financial system by letting regulators make judgments that balance systemic risk with the need to support growth,” the British Bankers’ Association said. Mike Trippitt, director of banks’ research at Numis Securities in London, said banks were already starting to see strong enough profits to build up capital buffers that would meet even a pessimistic stress test scenario. At any rate, shares in Britain’s biggest banks were unperturbed by the BoE’s announcement, with most outperforming a rise in the broader market on Tuesday. “The capital position of banks is pretty strong and without looking at the detail of the stress tests, what the market is saying is that these banks should be able to fare well,” Trippitt said. Analysts at Citi said uncertainty over details of the test will constrain dividends for 2013 and its lack of harmonisation with European tests may dent credibility. But having a clear framework could in the long run reduce the “risk premium” on Britain’s banks due to “ongoing concerns over regulatory creep”, Citi said. Britain, which had to rescue several banks in the financial crisis, has already required its lenders to do more to bolster their capital reserves than required under global rules and that approach looks set to continue under the new framework. “At the very least, banks would need to maintain sufficient capital to be able to absorb losses in the stress scenario and not fall below internationally agreed minimum standards,” the BoE said. “But the level of capital that banks would need to maintain in the stress scenario could be set above strict internationally agreed minima and vary across banks.” REMEDIES Since the near meltdown of global markets in 2008, Britain’s banks have undergone several, ad hoc stress tests to check if individual lenders hold enough capital to withstand future shocks without more help from taxpayers. The new system proposed by the BoE in a discussion paper released on Tuesday would take a broader approach to also check the health of the banking system as a whole. Apart from topping up capital levels, remedies could include raising margin requirements on derivatives contracts, curbing dividends and bonuses, forcing banks to shrink risky business lines and changing management. Unlike past tests, the BoE said it intended to publish the results of its future checks, perhaps bank-by-bank, having already crossed this bridge after detailing its capital demands for named lenders earlier this year. The bank said that in previous tests there was “insufficient engagement” by management, poor test design, discrepancies in data and too little challenge of underlying assumptions. Under the plan, the Bank plans to use a twin approach to testing, with all banks facing a common set of stressed market scenarios and individual ones to look into their specific vulnerabilities.
British authorities seized the unlicensed products, which included steroidal injections, anaesthetics and anti-inflammatories, from a Dubai government private jet at London’s Stansted airport earlier this year. There was also a subsequent raid by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate on a farm in Newmarket, the eastern Engiish town that is the “headquarters” of British flat racing, owned by the Sheikh’s Darley company. Although these incidents were reported several weeks ago, they were given fresh coverage by Monday’s edition of Britain’s Guardian newspaper. Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk at the British Horseracing Authority governing body, said in a statement issued Tuesday his organisation was told by the British government “they consider there to be no link between the seizure and the racing industry and that the products were not intended for use on thoroughbreds”. Reports in several British newspapers said Princess Haya, the Sheikh’s junior wife, was leading an inquiry into the seizures in her role as the president of the International Federation of Equestrian Sports (FEI), something which many commentators said was bound to lead to questions regarding “conflict of interest”. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is Britain’s leading racehorse owner and runs Godolphin Racing, the Maktoum family’s private thoroughbred horseracing stable. The stable was recently hit by the biggest doping scandal in racing history when the BHA revealed 22 horses trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni had tested positive for anabolic steroids. The BHA said there was no evidence that anyone other than Al Zarooni was involved in the case at the Gulf outfit’s Newmarket stables. Al Zarooni was suspended and later banned. In the separate sport of endurance racing, Sheikh Mohammed, in his role as a rider, was banned as the result of a failed drug test by his horse Tahan in 2009. The Sheikh was banned from competition for six months, while Abdullah bin Huzaim, the horse’s trainer, was banned for a year.