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Crawley Council awarded for commitment to Armed Forces community

Cabinet member for Community Engagement, Councillor Brenda Smith says the award ‘reflects the council’s continued commitment to the Armed Forces.’

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Crawley Borough Council has been recognised for its commitment to the Armed Forces community with a prestigious Employer Recognition Scheme silver award.

The council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2013. It aims to:

  • Strengthen the supportiveness and understanding between the Armed Forces community and the wider community
  • Raise awareness of issues faced by the Armed Forces community
  • Encourage further integration into local life
  • Continue and develop opportunities for 103 Battalion REME to support community activity
  • Organise and encourage participation in events and joint projects.

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The council also signed up to the Veterans’ Interview Programme, which guarantees an interview to ex-servicemen and women who meet the essential criteria of the job they have applied for.

Councillor Brenda Smith, Cabinet member for Community Engagement, said:

“This award is very pleasing and reflects the council’s continued commitment to the Armed Forces.

“We work closely with the local Armed Forces Community, meeting our pledges in the Community Covenant and holding events like Armed Forces Day and planting the Heroes Walk in Memorial Gardens.”

Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans, said:

“I am delighted to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Employer Recognition Scheme silver awards. A silver award recognises the fantastic efforts of employers throughout the UK who have both elevated their commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant and provided actual benefit to the Armed Forces Community.

“The winners should all be proud of the life-changing impact and fresh opportunities they are providing to our reservists, veterans, wounded injured and sick and their families. We’ve seen a record number of winners this year, which shows that the Armed Forces family talent pool is also providing tangible business benefit.”

The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) was launched in 2014 to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. The scheme encompasses awards for employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to Defence and the Armed Forces community. This includes the Reserves, Service leavers, Armed Forces Veterans, the wounded, injured and sick, Cadets, military spouses or partners and their families.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The Covenant is enshrined in law, and the Government is committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for the Armed Forces community by working with a range of delivery partners who are signatories of the Covenant. Signatories include local authorities, charities, community organisations and businesses.

Crime

Two jailed after attempt to smuggle 8.5kgs of cocaine through Gatwick

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK”, says Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South.

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The drugs, which had been wrapped in plastic and hidden inside boxes marked ‘rum’, weighed approximately 8.5kgs.

Two men from Barbados are facing a total of 13 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle an estimated 8.5kgs of cocaine into the UK.

On 1 September, Border Force officers stopped 62-year-old Grantley Herbert Thompson, and 30-year-old Jamal Ricardo Walcott, in the customs channels at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Both had arrived on a flight from Barbados.

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During a search of their baggage officers discovered a white powder, wrapped in green plastic, and hidden inside boxes marked rum. The powder was subsequently tested and gave a positive reaction to the field test for cocaine. The cocaine had an estimated street value of £535,000.

Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South said:

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK and I commend the Border Force officers whose work ensured that Thompson and Walcott are now behind bars.

“Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies. They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.

“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

The case was referred to the NCA and Thompson and Walcott were charged with importation of a class A drug.

62-year-old Grantley Thompson.

On Thursday, 11 October the pair appeared at Croydon Crown Court where they admitted the smuggling attempt. Both were sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment immediately.

30-year-old Jamal Walcott.

The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.

It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

Nationally, they use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling

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