News Most forces reported a decline in crime, although the City of London had a one per cent

Official statistics reveal 10% reduction in criminal offences

The Laughter Police go to the Fringe

Alfie Moore, the Scunthorpe policeman's with another career

Police forces at record strength

Police officer numbers hit a record high in England and Wales last year, figures revealed today.

Pair jailed for race-hate crimes

Two men were jailed today for inciting racial hatred online.

Police swoop on Yorkshire in Bloom 'thief' (but was it a plant...?)

Villages taking part in horticultural contest targeted in £10,000 crime spree

Hull set to open Owen talks

Hull manager Phil Brown has revealed the club intends to speak to Michael Owen's representatives "within the week".

Owen set to leave Newcastle

Michael Owen has confirmed he will leave Newcastle when his contract expires at the end of the month.

Swine flu patient dies in hospital

A patient suffering from swine flu has died in hospital, the Scottish Government said tonight.

Saints lose talisman Long to Hull

Sean Long, St Helens' most talismanic player of the Super League era, is leaving to take up a two-year contract at Hull. Saints were prepared to offer the 32-year-old scrum-half only a one-year deal and he has opted to move on, after 12 hugely successful years at Knowsley Road, when his contract runs out at the end of this season. "We fully respect Sean's decision," said Saints' chairman, Eamonn McManus. "We wish him well."

Michael McCarthy: The truth about Elliot Morley - the man I knew

Sometimes sheer longevity gives you a right to pass judgements. In the course of reporting on the environment for The Independent, I have observed every single Labour environment minister since the party came into office in 1997, and I have no doubt at all that the one who has done the most to protect the natural world is Elliot Morley.

Page Turner: How the toffs and the cons wrote a book

There are glamorous and not so glamorous places to be a writer in residence. Ian McMillan has tried most of them, as poet in residence for Humberside Police, Barnsley FC and Northern Spirit Rail Network. Fay Weldon checked into the Savoy in 2002, where the beds were reportedly so comfy that she hardly got any work done. Shoreditch House's literary salonista Damian Barr has the enviable role of reader in residence at the Andaz Hotel. He qualifies owing to his dulcet tones and his stripy pyjamas. But none of these has yet been brave enough to go to jail for their writing.

Police chief warns over forces' cuts

Many police forces will be weakened by a funding squeeze at a time when crime could increase because of the recession, one of Britain's top policemen warned today.

Helicopter crashes in Lincolnshire field

A helicopter crashed in a field today, emergency services said.

Reptile escape fear in blaze drama

A fire at a reptile emporium housing poisonous snakes and scorpions led concerned neighbours to seek shelter at a football stadium last night.

Children free to learn about life outside

Children around Britain were given the day off, with many heading straight out into the snow to play.

Hull to bill Millwall for damage to stand

Hull City 2 Millwall 0
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A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
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Carrie Hope Fletcher
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Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
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Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
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Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
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Jonny May scores for England
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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin