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Retired South Wales Police officer carried out breathalyser tests on himself to meet targets | UK News

A retired police officer who was having an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable woman carried out breathalyser tests on himself to meet internal targets, a disciplinary hearing has heard.

The panel found in favour of gross misconduct allegations against former PC Julian John and concluded that he would have been dismissed from South Wales Police had he not already retired.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated an inappropriate relationship the former constable formed with a vulnerable woman.

Their investigation began after the IOPC received a referral from South Wales Police relating to an allegation of an inappropriate relationship formed during the course of his duties as an officer.

Flirtatious text messages were found on John’s work mobile sent by him to the woman.

These messages were sent over a nine-month period and evidence suggested that he had stayed overnight at her property on at least one occasion.

The hearing was told that in mid-December 2019 John carried out two negative breathalyser tests on himself – which measures how much alcohol is in the air you breathe out – before he falsely recorded them as tests carried out on the public.

He said in an interview that he wanted to see if a mince pie he had eaten would impact his blood alcohol level, which the panel found to be “wholly implausible”.

They say it is more likely to have been a conscious attempt to inflate breathalyser figures during an anti-drink and drugs driving campaign over the Christmas period.

The IOPC’s investigation came to an end in January 2021 and found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

He retired from the force in March this year.

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Following the hearing held on 28 March, which was overseen by an independent legally qualified chair, John has been added to the police-barred list.

Dangerous plug-in heaters promoted in fake reviews and dodgy ads fail fire safety tests | UK News

Dangerous plug-in heaters are being sold online – taking advantage of those trying to stay warm despite surging energy bills, Which? says.

Some of the products were featured in fake reviews and dodgy ads, leaving people at risk of fires or electric shocks.

Ten mini plug-in heaters – some as cheap as £12 – were tested by Which? and all of them failed safety tests. Four of them – three on eBay and one on Amazon – were a fire risk.

All of the models tested did not meet the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said the products were illegal, could cause serious harm, and show that online platforms must do more to protect consumers.

She added: “The government must urgently legislate to strengthen product safety, including giving online marketplaces greater legal responsibility for unsafe products sold on their sites so that consumers are far better protected.

“Self-regulation of online platforms is simply not working. These platforms have put in place inadequate measures which leave consumers at risk. The government must give these platforms greater responsibility to protect people online.”

Among the problematic heaters was the Plug-In Wall Heater 500W sold by a third-party seller on eBay.

Which? said the plastic surround holding the heating element in place melted and the heating element slipped down to create another melted area, which was against the outer grill, meaning that touching it could result in shock or burns.

Several versions of this heater sold on Amazon, eBay and Wish all failed, and Trading Standards also issued a recall notice for another model sold on eBay that appeared to be identical.

An electric portable plug-in heater, sold on Amazon, had counterfeit fuses that had been used in the plug for the heater. They posed a risk of electric shock, fire or even an explosion, Which? said.

Another plug-in wall heater, sold on eBay, posed a risk of fire or electric shock, with internal wires soldered directly onto a circuit board, while another circuit board was just loose within the product.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “Safety is a top priority at Amazon and we require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations.

“Two products were removed in December, including one in relation to safety concerns, and we have proactively removed similar items and introduced measures to prevent new products going on sale.

“We have removed the remaining two products while we investigate. If customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action.”

An eBay spokesperson said: “We take the safety of our users very seriously. We had already removed three of the five listings that Which? flagged to us. One of the two remaining listings is selling a different product and the other one has already ended.

“We use block filter algorithms aimed at preventing unsafe products from being listed. These filters blocked 4.8 million listings in 2022 and are updated on a regular basis.

“On the rare occasion that an unsafe product does make it on to site, we swiftly remove it and provide product safety education to the sellers to prevent relisting.”

Wish said: “Product safety is a top priority for Wish. The listing highlighted by Which? has been removed from our European platform, and we are monitoring for any identical or similar listings. We will take further action as appropriate.”

Google was asked for comment but had not provided one.

‘Surveillance programme’ to begin random COVID tests for travellers from mainland China to UK | UK News

Random passengers on direct flights from mainland China into the UK are to be tested for COVID-19 in a new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) surveillance programme which starts today.

Concern is growing that COVID is overwhelming the health system in China as the virus continues to spread through a large population which possesses little immunity thanks to the government’s now scrapped Zero-COVID policy, which relied on isolation rather than inoculation.

There are also fears about how accurate the country’s data is over the outbreak.

It is anticipated the currently low numbers of travellers from China will increase from today, as quarantine requirements on return to China are removed, so the new surveillance will begin.

Since 5 January, people travelling from mainland China have been asked to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test.

But the UKHSA said its new programme would also see “a sample of passengers arriving in England from mainland China tested for COVID-19 at the point of their arrival”.

Read more:
Patients build up outside entrances as hospitals in China struggle with rising COVID infections
Zero-COVID U-turn means infection rate will be shrouded in secrecy
Half of passengers on China flight to Italy have COVID

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COVID tests for Chinese travellers

The agency said passengers at Heathrow would be invited to take part in the study and all positive samples sent for sequencing.

“This will further enhance the UK’s ability to identify any new variants which may be circulating in China that could evade the immune response of those already vaccinated, or which have the potential to successfully outcompete other variants and spread internationally,” an agency statement explained.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay said as China reopened its borders, it was “right for us to take a balanced and precautionary approach by announcing these temporary measures while we assess the data”.

He added: “This allows our world leading scientists at the UK Health Security Agency to gain rapid insight into potential new variants circulating in China.”

The end to Zero-COVID rules at the beginning of December has unleashed the virus on China, which is home to 1.4 billion people.

The population has little immunity after being shielded since the coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Many funeral homes and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, while international health experts have warned of at least one million deaths in China this year.