DIARY

Pilfering at the Prison Service

Some of the men and women who run our prisons have been spending too much time in the company of undesirable elements. At any rate, they seem to have picked up some nasty habits, according to the contents of a memosent to the entire staff of the Prison Service headquarters in central London.

The memo comes from the HQ librarian Philip Kemp, and explains that as from 4 March he is going to have to lock the staff library outside working hours (9.15am to 4.30pm), and occasionally during lunchtime - "in the unlikely event of only one staff member being available" - on account of "theft of publications and computer equipment".

Sources say that such sorry behaviour is far from unknown to the Prison Service HQ. But it is never reported to the media, for obvious fear of embarrassment. Sure enough, when I called the press office, a copy of Mr Kemp's memo in front of me, a spokesman professed astonishment, and then disappeared and neglected to call me back.

Mr Kemp's memo catalogues an impressive list of thefts: "Last year, the library had to replace a complete set of stolen hotel guides. ... Last month, a high specification computer, purchased to improve the range of services offered by the library, was stolen. ... On Friday 16 February, library staff discovered that a large run of the journal Architectural Review had been removed."

The Architectural Review? Perhaps the next phase of apprenticeship criminality involves studying how to case the joint in preparation for possible break- outs?

Two cheers for the local bobby

I note a wee contradiction in the information sent out by the Home Office on Monday to accompany the latest findings of the British Crime Survey. The good news, according to the summary on the press release, is that 82 per cent of the public feel that their local police do a good job; and, even better, that "satisfaction with the police has risen among those reporting a crime" from 66 per cent in 1992 to 72 per cent now.

The slightly less good news is that a graph towards the end of the report shows that 82 per cent represents a drop of 10 per cent from 1982. Public confidence in the police seems to have been sliding gently downhill ever since ...

Wrong day for a government leek

Allow me to defend the 35-year-old Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague (right). It has appeared to some of those he represents that the Yorkshireman is ignorant as to the date of St David's Day (1 March). In the current edition of House magazine (Parliament's in-house rag), dated 26 February, Hague has written an article that starts: "As we celebrate St David's Day today, the prospects for Wales are brighter than at any time for a generation".

Understandably, the Welsh Office has been receiving complaints. Fortunately the House magazine's editorial staff are gallantly taking the blame.

"There was an error over the publication date," says a spokeswoman. "Please let me reassure everybody that the Secretary of State does know when St David's Day is."

The key to democracy is ... missing

Democracy has gone mad in Harrogate. Last week, the teachers at Harrogate Grammar School organised their own ballot on whether the school should go grant-maintained. They voted overwhelmingly against. The governors decided, however, to hold a repeat ballot among the staff, in order to decide whether the school should hold a ballot of all parents to decide whether to go grand-maintained. This manic decision-making descended into farce yesterday when the key to the ballot box could not be found. The school's caretaker had to be sent for to cut the box open with a saw.

He needn't have bothered. More than 70 out of 125 staff had decided not to take part. A mere 17 voted in favour of balloting parents. Which at least, thankfully, saves the school from having to shell out for a new ballot box.

Eagle Eye

Be seen in the right places - and save ten bob Green Street, the trendy watering hole in London's Mayfair, was the venue for the launch of Single Girl's Diary, the first novel by Kate Morris (above), the Tatler columnist (the book takes the same title as her column). Unsurprisingly, the room was packed with wealthy, willowy young women. Jane Procter, editor of Tatler, neatly summed it up: "Single Girl is all about affluence. Look around you. We have here a room full of Trustafarians [rich trendy young people who have inherited trust funds]. They have come to honour one of their very successful number."

Humph. Trustafarians may be affluent but they are also, in true Nineties style, prudent and thrifty: they know a bargain when they see one. The Heinemann paperback (pounds 9.99 to you and me) was available a price that had the ladies queuing for their copies. The discount? 49p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Businessman at desk circa 1950s
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of UK Magento hosting so...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Development Manager - North Kent - OTE £19K

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea