Police watchdog will launch inquiry into ‘racial discrimination’ in forces’ use of stop and search  


The police watchdog is to launch an inquiry into racial discrimination in the use of stop and search by forces across England and Wales.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will look into how stop and search powers are used by police to examine whether there are any patterns of prejudice against ethnic minorities.

The watchdog will use its powers to look into allegations of racism within stop and search, claiming it can ‘drive real change in policing practice’, The Guardian reported.

Police across the UK are facing increasing levels of scrutiny for how they use stop and search following a string of high profile cases that were recorded on video and the increase in awareness around racism following the Black Lives Matter protests.

Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, apologised earlier this week to athlete Bianca Williams, who had been stopped by police with her partner.

Police stop and search during Notting Hill Carnival, London, August 27, 2017. Police across the UK are facing increasing levels of scrutiny for how they use stop and search following a string of high profile cases that were recorded on video

The sprinter and Portuguese runner Ricardo dos Santos accused the Met of racial profiling after their car was pulled over and searched on their way home from training.

They were both handcuffed by police and they claimed that since they switched from a Japanese to German car brand they had received more police attention.

Data already shows that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to be on the receiving end of police powers, with black people nine times more likely to be stopped and searched and are almost eight times as likely to be tasered.

In the face of allegations of racism police forces have maintained that bias is not why powers are used more often against BAME (black and minority ethnic) people.

As well as looking at stop and search the IOPC will look into whether BAME people are failed by police when they are victims of crime.

The murder of Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, will be investigated after two officers were arrested after it was alleged that they took selfies with their bodies in the background.

Figures from the Met Police show that less than one per cent of the more than 250 annual complaints about racism are upheld.

Cressida Dick (pictured), the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, apologised earlier this week to athlete Bianca Williams, who had been stopped by police with her partner

Cressida Dick (pictured), the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, apologised earlier this week to athlete Bianca Williams, who had been stopped by police with her partner

Deputy assistant commissioner Amanda Pearson said young black men were more likely to be victims of crime and commit it.

Searches are concentrated in areas where crime is the highest, she told The Guardian: ‘Stop and search is a tool we can use in order to prevent violent crime.

‘When we look at the victims and perpetrators of violent crime they are over-represented by predominantly young black males.’

She added: ‘There [are] areas that we are going into, they are disproportionately more diverse than the other areas in terms of where policing takes place.

‘Therefore stop and search will have a disproportionate effect on the people who are living in those areas.’

Michael Lockwood the Director General of the IPOC said: ‘Evidence of disproportionality in the use of police powers has long been a concern which impacts on confidence in policing, particularly in the BAME communities.

Bianca Williams, 26, a European and Commonwealth gold medallist, and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, 25, the Portuguese record holder over 400m were stopped and searched near their London home

Bianca Williams, 26, a European and Commonwealth gold medallist, and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, 25, the Portuguese record holder over 400m were stopped and searched near their London home

‘But even with the numbers and the statistics, particularly from stop and search data, we still need to better understand the causes and what can and should be done to address this.

‘In the coming months we will be launching race discrimination as a thematic area of focus to establish the trends and patterns which might help drive real change in policing practice.’

He added: ‘Initially we will focus on investigating more cases where there is an indication that disproportionality impacts the BAME community, including stop and search and use of force.

‘We will also be investigating more cases where victims from BAME communities have felt unfairly treated by the police.

‘For example whether the police are treating allegations of hate crime from BAME complainants seriously and where it is alleged the police have not recognised or treated BAME victims of crime as victims.’

‘Our police forces can only police effectively with the trust and confidence of the community they serve. Having independent oversight and an evidence base which helps the police to learn and improve where necessary will help build that community confidence.’

Kate Langbroek reveals why she returned to Melbourne from Italy


Kate Langbroek and her son Lewis flew to Melbourne from their adopted hometown of Bologna, Italy, last month.

And on Friday, the radio presenter revealed the real reason for their trip was to visit her father, Jan, who is gravely ill.

The 54-year-old shared a touching photo to Instagram of Lewis, 16, comforting his grandfather.

Heartbreaking: On Friday, radio star Kate Langbroek (pictured) revealed  the reason behind her and 16-year-old son Lewis’ return to Melbourne from Italy, to visit her ill father Jan 

‘My son. My father. May we all have a kind hand at our back when we need it,’ she captioned the post.

The poignant image shows Lewis placing a supportive hand on Jan’s back as he leans on a walker and makes his way down a corridor.

The photos appears to have been taken at a hospital or nursing home. 

Touching: Kate shared a poignant image of Lewis placing a a supportive hand on Jan's back as he leans on a walker to make his way down a corridor of what appears to be a hospital or nursing home to Instagram

Touching: Kate shared a poignant image of Lewis placing a a supportive hand on Jan’s back as he leans on a walker to make his way down a corridor of what appears to be a hospital or nursing home to Instagram 

Last month, Kate said on Fox FM’s Hughesy and Ed show that she had been granted special approval to visit Australia and return to Italy on ‘compassionate grounds’ due to her father’s condition.

‘We spoke to the embassy and we could come home on compassionate grounds,’ she said.

Kate, who was required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon her return, added that she was always allowed back into Australia as an Australian citizen, but the issue was leaving for Italy afterwards.

Her husband, Peter Lewis, other three children stayed behind in Bologna. 

Special reasons: Last month Kate told her former radio co-host, Dave Hughes, on FOX FM’s Hughesy and Ed show that she had been granted special approval to visit Australia and return to Italy on 'compassionate grounds' to vist Jan due to his condition (Jan is pictured with Kate's mother Anne)

Special reasons: Last month Kate told her former radio co-host, Dave Hughes, on FOX FM’s Hughesy and Ed show that she had been granted special approval to visit Australia and return to Italy on ‘compassionate grounds’ to vist Jan due to his condition (Jan is pictured with Kate’s mother Anne) 

She explained: ‘I just said [to immigration officials], “Look, I have to be able to see my dad and I also have to rejoin my family. I can’t be separated from them for the next six months or however long the lockout goes for.’

Kate, who had previously spent 10 weeks in lockdown in Bologna with her family, shared her joy with fans on lats month after she and Lewis were released from their mandatory 14-day quarantine in a Melbourne hotel.

On June 30, the media personality shared a photo of herself and Lewis wearing face masks as they travelled from the hotel to their next destination.  

Safety first! Kate Langbroek and her 16-year-old son Lewis donned face masks as they headed into Melbourne after being cleared of COVID-19

Safety first! Kate Langbroek and her 16-year-old son Lewis donned face masks as they headed into Melbourne after being cleared of COVID-19

An excited Kate wrote in the caption: ‘SO MUCH TO SEE!’

She and Lewis had passed a mandatory coronavirus test after arriving back in Australia from Italy.

At the time, she shared a photo to Instagram of herself enjoying a celebratory glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne, writing in the caption: ‘We passed our Covid test! Thanks @pullmanmelbourne… you’ve been so lovely – now you can kick us out!’

'We passed our COVID test!' It comes after they celebrated being cleared of COVID-19 following mandatory tests they underwent on Saturday

‘We passed our COVID test!’ It comes after they celebrated being cleared of COVID-19 following mandatory tests they underwent on Saturday

Kate and her husband of 17 years, Peter, relocated to Bologna with their four children, Lewis, Sunday, 15, Artie, 12, and Jan, nine, in January 2019.

It was supposed to be a ‘family gap year’, but they decided to extend the break for an additional 12 months before coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Kate Langbroek for comment.

Family adventure! Kate and her husband of 17 years, Peter Lewis relocated to Bologna with their four children, Lewis, Sunday, 15, Artie, 12, and Jan, nine, in January 2019. It was was supposed to be a 'family gap year', but they decided to extend for an additional

Family adventure! Kate and her husband of 17 years, Peter Lewis relocated to Bologna with their four children, Lewis, Sunday, 15, Artie, 12, and Jan, nine, in January 2019. It was supposed to be a ‘family gap year’, but they decided to extend for an additional 12 months

Wild BISON will roam British woodland for the first time in thousands of years


Four wild bison will be released into woodland in Kent by spring 2022 as part of a plan to naturally boost Britain’s wildlife habitats.  

The European bison will live in a cordoned-off area of Blean Woods near Canterbury, close to the University of Kent campus. 

Although they are thought to have grazed here thousands of years ago, no bison bones have ever been found under our soil.

Their bones have, however, turned up under the North Sea from nearly 12,000 years ago on Doggerland – the land bridge that connected the UK to Europe.

The lottery-funded project, led by Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust, aims to use the grazing 6ft-tall beasts, which can weigh up to 1,000kg (2,200lbs) to help rejuvenate the native woodlands. 

It is known as an ‘ecosystem engineer’ because of its ability to create and improve habitats for other species. 

European bison – the continent’s largest land mammal – is the closest living relative to ancient steppe bison that once roamed Britain, becoming extinct at the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago.

Scroll down for video 

Bison from the Slikken van de Heen nature reserve in Zeeland. Bison are being introduced to a British woodland in a project project led by Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust to restore ancient habitat and its wildlife

The European bison will live in an cordoned-off area of Blean Woods near Canterbury, close to the University of Kent campus

The European bison will live in an cordoned-off area of Blean Woods near Canterbury, close to the University of Kent campus

 The enormous animals are largely peaceful and live on a diet of grasses and other forms of vegetation. 

They are not dangerous animals and only manifest aggression in response to prolonged disturbance at close range, according to a 2018 study. 

Despite being peaceful, the closely-knit herd will be introduced into a fenced enclosure away from public footpaths. 

They will be within a wider 500 hectare (1,200 acre) patch of land which will also use other grazing animals such as Konik ponies to create varied and healthy habitat. 

It will be the first time bison have been introduced to a nature reserve to help woodland thrive in the UK. 

‘The partners in this project have long dreamt of restoring the true wild woodlands that have been missing from England for too long,’ said Paul Whitfield, Director General of Wildwood Trust. 

‘This will allow people to experience nature in a way they haven’t before, connecting them back to the natural world around them in a deeper and more meaningful way.’ 

European bison, the continent's largest land mammal, are the closest living relative to ancient steppe bison that would have once roamed Britain and naturally managed the habitat

European bison, the continent’s largest land mammal, are the closest living relative to ancient steppe bison that would have once roamed Britain and naturally managed the habitat

The £1 million project led by Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust will help manage the ecosystem of Blean Woods near Canterbury, Kent (pictured)

The £1 million project led by Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust will help manage the ecosystem of Blean Woods near Canterbury, Kent (pictured)

The UK project will likely initially involve four bison who are already acquainted with one another to ensure the herd is a tight group. 

The animals will be introduced from a wild population from other similar projects in Europe, according to the Kent Wildlife Trust.  

Similar projects across the continent since 2000 have already seen the successfully reintroduced in Poland, Romania and the Netherlands.  

Bison are particularly useful as a form of natural environment control because of the unique way in which they graze. 

They prefer bark to other parts of plants and trees, which is the opposite to many other large herbivores.  

The European bison closely resembles their North American cousin but is considered a separate species

The European bison closely resembles their North American cousin but is considered a separate species

A closely-knit herd of four European bison will be introduced into a fenced enclosure away from public footpaths, in what is the first time the animals have been introduced to a nature reserve to help wildlife in the UK

A closely-knit herd of four European bison will be introduced into a fenced enclosure away from public footpaths, in what is the first time the animals have been introduced to a nature reserve to help wildlife in the UK

They will be within a wider 500 hectare (1,200 acre) area which will also use other grazing animals such as Konik ponies to create varied and healthy habitat

They will be within a wider 500 hectare (1,200 acre) area which will also use other grazing animals such as Konik ponies to create varied and healthy habitat

They fell trees by rubbing up against them and then eat the bark, creating areas of space and light in the woods.

It also benefits a range of smaller animals and plants by providing trees which turn into deadwood, offering food and habitat for insects, small mammals and plants.  

Bison have shaggy coats and can often be seen rolling around in dry patches of land, a habit called dust bathing.

The practice helps them rid themselves of parasites while simultaneously removing moulting fur.

In Blean Woods, dust bathing would be good for lizards, burrowing wasps and rare arable weeds, while bark stripping would create standing deadwood that benefits fungi and insects such as stag beetles, conservationists say. 

Due to their large size and strength, they also create corridors through densely vegetated patches, which joins various swathes of lands and prevents populations of smaller animals from becoming isolated.  

Clearing paths also provides more light to the woodland floor which helps plants grow.   

‘Without an animal like bison these functions are missing in woodlands, and this project aims to restore those functions,’ a Kent Wildlife Trust spokesperson told MailOnline.            

The project is funded by £1,125,000 from the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund, created to help realise good causes, over a two-year period.

Kent Wildlife Trust owns several woods in the Blean area, one of the largest areas of surviving ancient woodland in England.

It will be responsible for the overall management of the project, including the installation of maintenance of infrastructure, such as fencing.  

‘Using missing keystone species like bison to restore natural processes to habitats is the key to creating bio-abundance in our landscape,’ said Paul Hadaway, director of Conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust.   

A HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN BISON 

European bison previously roamed throughout western, central and south eastern Europe. 

Their range originally extended eastward across Europe to the Volga River and the Caucasus Mountains. 

The animals are known to historically populate Poland and Belarus, but other countries that are home to the European bison include Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine. 

European bison – the continent’s largest land mammal – is the closest living relative to ancient steppe bison that once roamed Britain, becoming extinct at the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. 

After the Ice Age, man hunted the bison so intensively that it was forced into the most remote corners of Europe. 

Although European bison are believed to have grazed in Britain thousands of years ago, no bison bones have ever been found under our soil.

Their bones have, however, turned up under the North Sea from nearly 12,000 years ago on Doggerland – the land bridge that connected the UK to Europe.

European bison (Bison bonasus) went extinct in the wild mainly due to hunting, but habitat degradation and competition with livestock also played a part.

In Europe it became extinct in the wild after World War I.  

Occupying German troops killed 600 of the European bison in the Białowieża Forest for sport, meat, hides and horns. 

By 1927, the species had been lost from the wild entirely and only 54 individuals survived in European zoos.  

Between 1920 and 1928 there were no single European bison in the Białowieża Forest.  

The European bison was successfully reintroduced in the Białowieża Forest in 1929 from the animals kept in zoos. 

The first two bisons were released into nature to the Białowieża Forest in 1952 and by 1964 more than 100 existed.    

Since then there have been re-introductions to forests in Belarus, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, Romania and Slovakia. 

Up until now, zoos and wildlife parks have helped save the European bison from extinction, including at Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie, Highland, Scotland. 

The European bison closely resembles their North American cousin but is considered a separate species. 

The European bison’s dense coat is dark to golden brown in colour and is less bushy than that of the American bison. 

Both sexes have short horns that project outwards and then curve upwards. 

European bison prefer a woodland habitat where they live in small herds browsing on leaves and other vegetation. 

Madeleine West reveals on her miscarriage 11 years ago


‘I’ll never forget, my darling girl’: Madeleine West reveals her devastating miscarriage on the 11-year anniversary of her heartbreaking loss

Neighbours actress Madeleine West has revealed she suffered a tragic miscarriage 11 years ago.

Posting to Instagram on Thursday, the mother of six opened up about her devastating loss in a tribute to her baby.

She uploaded an ultrasound scan and also shared a tribute she’d previously written for all women who have suffered the same loss.

Heartbreaking loss: Neighbours actress Madeleine West (pictured) has opened up about her tragic miscarriage 11 years ago

‘I didn’t forget, my darling girl!…I never ever will,’ Madeleine captioned the post. 

‘Today that little bundle of hope would have turned 11… had she not been called on to greater things before we had the chance to meet her.’

Madeleine also posted several text slides in which she paid tribute to ‘a friend’ who lost her baby, but was presumably referring to herself.

Painful memories: She uploaded an ultrasound scan and also shared a tribute she'd previously written for all women who have suffered the same loss

Painful memories: She uploaded an ultrasound scan and also shared a tribute she’d previously written for all women who have suffered the same loss 

Despite women being encouraged to wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news, Madeleine revealed that her ‘friend’ was already ‘planning names’ and ‘plotting nursery layouts’.

But those dreams ended in heartbreak. 

‘My friend bequeathed an entire lifetime of hopes and dreams to that little heartbeat on an ultrasound screen… until it stopped,’ she wrote.

Tribute: Madeleine posted several text slides in which she paid tribute to 'a friend' who lost her baby, but was presumably referring to herself

Tribute: Madeleine posted several text slides in which she paid tribute to ‘a friend’ who lost her baby, but was presumably referring to herself

Dreams: Despite women being encouraged to wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news, Madeleine revealed that her 'friend' was already 'planning names' and 'plotting nursery layouts'

Dreams: Despite women being encouraged to wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news, Madeleine revealed that her ‘friend’ was already ‘planning names’ and ‘plotting nursery layouts’

Madeleine went on to remind women that their miscarried baby will never be forgotten.

She wrote: ‘That little one will always be a part of you both, a pure and perfect bud on your family tree that never had a chance to blossom, but worthy of its place on the branch.’  

Madeleine’s post has touched women everywhere, with many sharing their own heartbreaking stories in the comments section. 

Helping others: Madeleine's post has touched women everywhere, with many sharing their own heartbreaking stories in the comments section

Helping others: Madeleine’s post has touched women everywhere, with many sharing their own heartbreaking stories in the comments section

Sharing: Madeleine also stressed of the importance of talking about the pain of miscarriage

Sharing: Madeleine also stressed of the importance of talking about the pain of miscarriage

Madeleine also stressed of the importance of talking about the pain of miscarriage. 

She concluded by vowing to post a tribute every year to commemorate the daughter she lost.

‘I will reprint these words to remind the world that she was here, on this day every year, for the rest of our lives,’ she wrote. 

Madeleine shares six children – Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xalia and Margaux – with her ex-partner, celebrity chef Shannon Bennet. 

Co-parents: Madeleine shares six children - Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xalia and Margaux - with her ex-partner, celebrity chef Shannon Bennet (left)

Co-parents: Madeleine shares six children – Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xalia and Margaux – with her ex-partner, celebrity chef Shannon Bennet (left)

Madeline West reflects on her miscarriage 11 years ago


‘I’ll never forget, my darling girl’: Madeline West reflects on her miscarriage on the 11-year anniversary of her heartbreaking loss

Neighbours actress Madeleine West has opened up about her tragic miscarriage 11 years ago.

Posting to Instagram on Thursday, the mother of six opened up about her devastating loss in a tribute to her baby.

She uploaded an ultrasound scan and also shared a tribute she’d previously written for all women who have suffered the same loss.

Heartbreaking loss: Posting to Instagram on Thursday Madeleine West opened up about her heartbreaking loss in a touching tribute to her baby

‘I didn’t forget, my darling girl!…I never ever will,’ Madeleine captioned the post. 

‘Today that little bundle of hope would have turned 11… had she not been called on to greater things before we had the chance to meet her.’

Madeleine also posted several text slides in which she paid tribute to ‘a friend’ who lost her baby, but was actually referring to herself.

Tragic loss: Madeleine shared an ultrasound photo of the baby alongside an emotional tribute dedicated to 'a friend.'

Tragic loss: Madeleine shared an ultrasound photo of the baby alongside an emotional tribute dedicated to ‘a friend.’

Despite women being encouraged to wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news, Madeleine revealed that her ‘friend’ was already ‘planning names’ and ‘plotting nursery layouts’.

But those dreams ended in heartbreak. 

‘My friend bequeathed an entire lifetime of hopes and dreams to that little heartbeat on an ultrasound screen… until it stopped,’ she wrote.

Emotional tribute: Madeleine shared an ultrasound picture of the baby and in the following slides she shared an emotional tribute dedicated to 'a friend.'

Emotional tribute: Madeleine shared an ultrasound picture of the baby and in the following slides she shared an emotional tribute dedicated to ‘a friend.’

Dreams: Despite women being encouraged to wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news Madeleine revealed that her friend was already 'planning names' and 'plotting nursery layouts'

Dreams: Despite women being encouraged to wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news Madeleine revealed that her friend was already ‘planning names’ and ‘plotting nursery layouts’

Madeleine went on to remind women that their miscarried baby will never be forgotten.

She wrote: ‘That little one will always be a part of you both, a pure and perfect bud on your family tree that never had a chance to blossom, but worthy of its place on the branch.’  

Madeleine’s post has touched women everywhere, with many sharing their own heartbreaking stories in the comments section. 

Helping others: Madeleine's post has touched women everywhere with many posting their own heartbreaking miscarriage stories on the post

Helping others: Madeleine’s post has touched women everywhere with many posting their own heartbreaking miscarriage stories on the post

Sharing: The actress went on to remind her followers of the importance of talking about the pain of miscarriage

Sharing: The actress went on to remind her followers of the importance of talking about the pain of miscarriage

Madeleine also stressed of the importance of talking about the pain of miscarriage. 

She concluded by vowing to post a tribute every year to commemorate the daughter she lost.

‘I will reprint these words to remind the world that she was here, on this day every year, for the rest of our lives,’ she wrote. 

Madeleine shares six children – Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xalia and Margaux – with her ex-partner, celebrity chef Shannon Bennet. 

Co-parents: Madeleine shares six children - Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xalia and Margaux - with her ex-partner, celebrity chef Shannon Bennet (left)

Co-parents: Madeleine shares six children – Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xalia and Margaux – with her ex-partner, celebrity chef Shannon Bennet (left)

Car thefts are soaring with 300 cases every day – but just 0.6% end with a conviction


At least 300 cars are stolen in Britain every day – but only 0.6 per cent of the thefts result in convictions.

Police said 106,291 vehicles were taken last year, a rise of 50 per cent in six years, according to the Office of National Statistics.

But the Ministry of Justice said only 666 offenders were found guilty, of which 243 were jailed.

This means 99.4 per cent of car thieves escape justice – and of the small number sent to prison, most were out within nine months.

Car thieves steal a £39,000 Mercedes from a driveway in Dudley, West Midlands, in under a minute without using a key

But because the theft figures, which were compiled by the AA, cover only police forces in England and Wales – and don’t include Greater Manchester Police – the true total is likely to be far higher than 106,291.

It marks a sharp increase on 2014 when car thefts hit a low of 70,063.

Insurers paid out a record £413million in claims for stolen cars last year – up from £376million in 2018.

The crime has been fuelled by a rise in keyless thefts in which crooks use hi-tech devices to unlock vehicles without breaking the locks or windows.

£39,000 Mercedes gone in 60 seconds 

The owner of this Mercedes GLC could have been forgiven for thinking that the hi-tech £39,000 car might be difficult to steal.

But CCTV footage shows how it was taken from outside a house in less than a minute – without the key.

Brazen thieves were filmed in February using a relay to steal the luxury car from outside a home in Dudley, West Midlands.

Video of the theft – which was shared online by a furious family member – showed how the trio took the vehicle at around 4am.

The clip shows a man wearing a hoodie and scarf pulled over his face creeping around the car before two others appear.

All three duck down and two make their way to the back of the vehicle.

One holds up a device towards the CCTV camera – thought to be a gadget to relay signals from the car key inside the house to the car, thereby unlocking it.

Following this, the other two thieves appear to be able to get into the Mercedes. 

Security experts say motorists should store their car keys and fobs away from house doors if they want to avoid falling victim to the scam.

 

Police chiefs blamed car manufacturers for ‘doing virtually nothing’ to stop keyless theft, but admitted that the decline in traffic police meant offenders were less likely to be caught.

Many forces have also begun to treat car theft as a lower priority offence.The news comes a week after a report by Sir Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said the public may need to ‘tolerate’ crimes such as car theft going unsolved unless they were prepared to give the police more funding through their council tax.

It has also emerged that a Government taskforce set up last year to tackle the issue has done little.

Many modern cars don’t need to be physically unlocked when the owner wants to open the door – the proximity of the hi-tech key fob in the driver’s pocket is enough to gain access.

To steal such a vehicle, one thief stands beside it with a transmitter while another moves a small amplifier around the perimeter of the owner’s house until it detects a signal from the car key fob inside.

The amplifier then relays the signal to the transmitter, which effectively becomes the key by passing it on to the car’s security system, tricking it into thinking the real key is nearby.

This so-called relay theft can take just 60 seconds.

Luxury vehicles are usually stolen to order and shipped abroad or dismantled in illegal backstreet ‘chop shops’ before the parts are sold on.

While thieves may earn just £1,500 per vehicle, it remains a lucrative crime, and West Midlands Police shut down around 100 chop shops last year.

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘It is a total disgrace that manufacturers allow their sophisticated, hi-tech vehicles to be stolen by 17-year-old kids within 40 seconds.

‘Some manufacturers have started to take responsibility – but for years they have been doing virtually nothing on keyless theft.

‘They always seem to be about three phases behind the criminals because the keyless access technology is developing so quickly.

‘It has become a multi-billion-pound business. The problem is, we have lost a quarter of police officers in ten years and have started to prioritise other crimes. In some areas, roads policing is almost non-existent.’

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA, said: ‘If your car is stolen it is highly unlikely that the thief will be brought to justice.

‘Old tactics such as “smash and grab” have changed as thieves adapt to changes in car technology. Where possible, people should park their car in a garage or in a well-lit and secure location with CCTV.’

It comes days after Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured meeting new recruits during a visit to Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes on Monday) told chief constables to prosecute more shoplifters over concerns that the offence had become virtually decriminalised

It comes days after Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured meeting new recruits during a visit to Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes on Monday) told chief constables to prosecute more shoplifters over concerns that the offence had become virtually decriminalised

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims, head of vehicle crime on the National Police Chiefs Council, said: ‘The increase in vehicle theft is clearly linked to organised crime and police are putting more resources into tackling it.

‘This is not a low-level offence – it is a serious crime which causes distress to victims and we do take it seriously.

‘The rapid development of technology has dramatically improved the experience of drivers, but it has also allowed criminals to exploit weaknesses in electronic security.’

It comes days after Home Secretary Priti Patel told chief constables to prosecute more shoplifters over concerns that the offence had become virtually decriminalised.

Car thefts are soaring with 300 cases every day – but just 0.6% end with a conviction


At least 300 cars are stolen in Britain every day – but only 0.6 per cent of the thefts result in convictions.

Police said 106,291 vehicles were taken last year, a rise of 50 per cent in six years, according to the Office of National Statistics.

But the Ministry of Justice said only 666 offenders were found guilty, of which 243 were jailed.

This means 99.4 per cent of car thieves escape justice – and of the small number sent to prison, most were out within nine months.

Car thieves steal a £39,000 Mercedes from a driveway in Dudley, West Midlands, in under a minute without using a key

But because the theft figures, which were compiled by the AA, cover only police forces in England and Wales – and don’t include Greater Manchester Police – the true total is likely to be far higher than 106,291.

It marks a sharp increase on 2014 when car thefts hit a low of 70,063.

Insurers paid out a record £413million in claims for stolen cars last year – up from £376million in 2018.

The crime has been fuelled by a rise in keyless thefts in which crooks use hi-tech devices to unlock vehicles without breaking the locks or windows.

£39,000 Mercedes gone in 60 seconds 

The owner of this Mercedes GLC could have been forgiven for thinking that the hi-tech £39,000 car might be difficult to steal.

But CCTV footage shows how it was taken from outside a house in less than a minute – without the key.

Brazen thieves were filmed in February using a relay to steal the luxury car from outside a home in Dudley, West Midlands.

Video of the theft – which was shared online by a furious family member – showed how the trio took the vehicle at around 4am.

The clip shows a man wearing a hoodie and scarf pulled over his face creeping around the car before two others appear.

All three duck down and two make their way to the back of the vehicle.

One holds up a device towards the CCTV camera – thought to be a gadget to relay signals from the car key inside the house to the car, thereby unlocking it.

Following this, the other two thieves appear to be able to get into the Mercedes. 

Security experts say motorists should store their car keys and fobs away from house doors if they want to avoid falling victim to the scam.

 

Police chiefs blamed car manufacturers for ‘doing virtually nothing’ to stop keyless theft, but admitted that the decline in traffic police meant offenders were less likely to be caught.

Many forces have also begun to treat car theft as a lower priority offence.The news comes a week after a report by Sir Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said the public may need to ‘tolerate’ crimes such as car theft going unsolved unless they were prepared to give the police more funding through their council tax.

It has also emerged that a Government taskforce set up last year to tackle the issue has done little.

Many modern cars don’t need to be physically unlocked when the owner wants to open the door – the proximity of the hi-tech key fob in the driver’s pocket is enough to gain access.

To steal such a vehicle, one thief stands beside it with a transmitter while another moves a small amplifier around the perimeter of the owner’s house until it detects a signal from the car key fob inside.

The amplifier then relays the signal to the transmitter, which effectively becomes the key by passing it on to the car’s security system, tricking it into thinking the real key is nearby.

This so-called relay theft can take just 60 seconds.

Luxury vehicles are usually stolen to order and shipped abroad or dismantled in illegal backstreet ‘chop shops’ before the parts are sold on.

While thieves may earn just £1,500 per vehicle, it remains a lucrative crime, and West Midlands Police shut down around 100 chop shops last year.

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘It is a total disgrace that manufacturers allow their sophisticated, hi-tech vehicles to be stolen by 17-year-old kids within 40 seconds.

‘Some manufacturers have started to take responsibility – but for years they have been doing virtually nothing on keyless theft.

‘They always seem to be about three phases behind the criminals because the keyless access technology is developing so quickly.

‘It has become a multi-billion-pound business. The problem is, we have lost a quarter of police officers in ten years and have started to prioritise other crimes. In some areas, roads policing is almost non-existent.’

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA, said: ‘If your car is stolen it is highly unlikely that the thief will be brought to justice.

‘Old tactics such as “smash and grab” have changed as thieves adapt to changes in car technology. Where possible, people should park their car in a garage or in a well-lit and secure location with CCTV.’

It comes days after Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured meeting new recruits during a visit to Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes on Monday) told chief constables to prosecute more shoplifters over concerns that the offence had become virtually decriminalised

It comes days after Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured meeting new recruits during a visit to Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes on Monday) told chief constables to prosecute more shoplifters over concerns that the offence had become virtually decriminalised

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims, head of vehicle crime on the National Police Chiefs Council, said: ‘The increase in vehicle theft is clearly linked to organised crime and police are putting more resources into tackling it.

‘This is not a low-level offence – it is a serious crime which causes distress to victims and we do take it seriously.

‘The rapid development of technology has dramatically improved the experience of drivers, but it has also allowed criminals to exploit weaknesses in electronic security.’

It comes days after Home Secretary Priti Patel told chief constables to prosecute more shoplifters over concerns that the offence had become virtually decriminalised.

London girl, 13, who helped win the Battle of Britain


The work was done by lamplight, over a small kitchen table in North London. 

Night after night throughout the early months of 1934, Captain Fred Hill and his 13-year-old daughter Hazel burned the midnight oil, plotting graphs and labouring over complex algorithms.

It was tiring, unrewarding work but they both sensed how vital it would prove to be. 

And their instincts would before long be ratified by history because their intricate calculations would go on to help the RAF secure victory in the Battle of Britain — a triumph that many historians now believe changed the course of World War II.

Firepower for freedom: Spitfires in formation. The image is from new book To Defeat The Few

Bent together over their graphs, father and daughter concluded that the new generation of aircraft being built by the Government to prepare for a future war should be armed not with four powerful machine guns but eight — an idea that was seen as deeply radical, even impossible, at the time.

Yet only then, the Hills had come to believe, would the new generation of Spitfires and Hurricanes have sufficient firepower to bring down enemy aircraft.

A scientific officer in the Air Ministry, Captain Hill managed to convince his superior officers of the importance of his and Hazel’s findings — and six years later, in 1940, their calculations were put to the test in the skies above Britain as the RAF fought Adolf Hitler’s much-feared Luftwaffe in a four-month battle that has been described as the most important military campaign ever fought.

Night after night throughout the early months of 1934, Captain Fred Hill and his 13-year-old daughter Hazel (above) burned the midnight oil, plotting graphs and labouring over complex algorithms

Night after night throughout the early months of 1934, Captain Fred Hill and his 13-year-old daughter Hazel (above) burned the midnight oil, plotting graphs and labouring over complex algorithms

‘Without victory in the Battle of Britain, it’s almost certain we would have been invaded by Germany,’ says military historian Stephen Bungay, who adds that without the Hills’ persistence ‘it could have been a very different outcome’.

Yet until now the compelling story of the schoolgirl who helped to win a war has been sadly untold. Hazel’s only public recognition was in a memoir written by her father’s superior officer in the Air Ministry.

Now, 80 years after the Battle of Britain — and ten years since the mother of four sons passed away aged 90 — the RAF has publicly acknowledged Hazel’s heroic contribution for the first time, paying tribute in a fascinating BBC documentary in which the modest schoolgirl is described as an ‘inspiration’.

‘It’s just wonderful that Hazel’s story is reaching the light of day,’ says Group Captain James Beldon, the RAF’s director of defence studies.

‘What a great inspiration to young people today, and young girls in particular, who can look upon someone like Hazel in the 1930s making such an important contribution to our later success in the Battle of Britain, which was vital to this country’s survival.’

Few would disagree. In July 1940, the fate of the free world hung in the balance, as RAF pilots bravely fought off deadly attacks from the Nazi air force.

Outnumbered three to one, their victory was by no means certain and depended on their skill and bravery; many were barely out of their teens.

Those magnificent men did have one crucial advantage: their flying machines were the latest generation of fighters — Spitfires and Hurricanes.

That those aircraft carried eight guns was thanks to the persuasive efforts of Captain Hill. Four guns, the RAF had long believed, were the maximum possible — any more and the planes would be rendered too slow and too difficult to manoeuvre, becoming easy pickings for enemy fighters.

Cast-iron evidence was needed to back up the claims that eight guns would work — so Fred had turned for help to his 13-year-old daughter. An only child, Hazel was close to her father — and happened to be a talented mathematician.

‘My mother was partially dyslexic, and she had terrible trouble spelling,’ her eldest son Robin, 69, recalls now. 

German photo of Luftwaffe flying over the Channel. To Defeat The Few, by Paul Crickmore and Douglas Dildy, is published by Osprey and costs £30

German photo of Luftwaffe flying over the Channel. To Defeat The Few, by Paul Crickmore and Douglas Dildy, is published by Osprey and costs £30

‘This got her into trouble as she was obviously highly intelligent, so teachers thought she was naughty and lazy. I think when she did mathematics, she had none of these problems, which is why it appealed to her so much.’

Armed with the new ‘calculating machines’ of the time — to our eyes, very rudimentary computers — father and daughter worked long into the night analysing the data at their kitchen table. Their complicated calculations showed conclusively that each Spitfire needed to be capable of firing 1,000 rounds a minute — per gun.

They also calculated the exact distance the Spitfire — whose top speed was about 360mph — had to be from the enemy to hit them: just 755 ft. 

‘The biggest thing was the huge increase in speed of the new fighters, which was way beyond anything people had experienced before,’ says mathematician Niall MacKay.

‘What they had to do was take trials conducted at a much lower speed, then work out what would be necessary for a really high-speed fighter. That would have been particularly difficult.’ 

Not least for someone just into her teens. ‘You wouldn’t expect most 13-year-olds to be able to do that kind of maths so she must have been a remarkable mathematician,’ says Stephen Bungay.

Their conclusions — presented by Captain Hill in July 1934 — stunned officials. ‘They called it ‘staggering’,’ Hazel’s youngest son Ted says. ‘I think some higher echelons of the RAF said that it was going too far.

Most of them had grown up with World War I fighters that had one or two guns. The idea of four guns was radical, and eight was incredible.’

Nonetheless, the generals were persuaded, and as Britain headed inexorably towards war, the planes were put into production.

Finally, in July 1940, the Hills’ calculations were put to the test when Britain came under enemy bombardment in a campaign that led to more than 1,000 British planes being shot down. Germany’s Messerschmitts and other planes suffered nearly twice as many losses — but the margin of victory proved terrifyingly narrow.

‘There are stories of German bombers getting back to France with more than 200 bullet holes in them. The calibre of the bullets we were fitting was only just sufficient,’ says Group Captain Beldon. 

‘While many German bombers may have been damaged beyond repair, they were insufficiently damaged to shoot down.’

In other words, just a slight shift in calculations — and four fewer guns per plane — could have meant a very different result.

A German Messerschmitt after crashing in Kent in 1940. The image is from new book To Defeat The Few

A German Messerschmitt after crashing in Kent in 1940. The image is from new book To Defeat The Few

‘It’s amazing how history can hang by a fine thread,’ says Ted. ‘If [Hazel] got the calculations wrong, if she hadn’t been asked to help, and the decision hadn’t been made to go for eight guns, who knows what could have happened?’

Hazel was, at least, briefly rewarded for her extraordinary efforts: after watching a Spitfire in action at the Hendon air show in 1936, she was given permission to sit briefly in the cockpit of the aircraft she had helped design.

After school, she studied medicine at university in London — graduating in 1943 and joining the Royal Army Medical Corps, where she treated injured soldiers who had returned from Dunkirk, civilians injured in the Blitz and returning prisoners of war.

At the end of the war Hazel became a female GP — very unusual at the time — and in 1948 married Chris Baker, one of the soldiers she had treated.

They moved to Wednesbury, Staffordshire, where Hazel took a groundbreaking position in the new National Health Service, setting up a child health clinic before training as a psychiatrist and publishing pioneering research into school phobia, anorexia and autism.

She did all this while raising her four sons Robin, Richard, 67, Frank, 66, and Ted, 64.

Yet while Hazel never tried to hide her contribution to her father’s work, she remained modest about it.

‘She told us she had helped her father with some important calculations but it was really only after she died in 2010 and we started to go through some of her paperwork that we realised the extent of her involvement,’ Robin says.

‘She was proud of it, but I don’t think it was where her heart lay. If she wanted to be remembered for anything, I think it would be for her medical work.’

Nonetheless, her sons are thrilled to see their mother’s contribution finally acknowledged. 

‘Society is made up of ordinary people making a difference — and she is one of those people,’ says Ted. ‘We are very proud of her.’

The Schoolgirl Who Helped To Win A War is on the BBC News channel at 1.30pm tomorrow, with repeats across the weekend.

The battle to beat the Few: Unseen photos show the Luftwaffe facing RAF firepower during bombing raids of England’s south coast… as Hitler hoped to strike a decisive blow and pave the way for invasion

  • Incredible previously-unknown images showed the battle of the skies between the German and British
  • Hitler had wanted to weaken Britain’s forces enough for the Nazis to invade and take over
  • But these pictures show his Operation Sealion failed thanks to the efforts of RAF heroes known as The Few
  • They successfully outwitted and out-fought the Luftwaffe to keep Britain safe and start turning tide of the war

A trove of unseen photos showing a different side to the Battle of Britain has been unearthed ahead of the famous conflict’s 80th anniversary.

The fascinating images, which feature dramatic scenes of bombing raids on the south coast, tell the story of the battle from the German perspective.

Many have been brought into the modern day thanks to a colourisation process that adds more layers of detail to the historic shots.

The Battle of Britain began on July 10, 1940, as Hitler sought a decisive blow paving the way for the invasion of Britain.

He declared that the aim of Operation Sealion was to ‘occupy it completely’, ordering the Luftwaffe to ‘overpower the English air force… in the shortest possible time’.

However, in the face of the brave resistance of ‘The Few’, Hitler called it off that October, with the Luftwaffe switching to bombing British cities.

All of the pictures are featured in new book To Defeat The Few, have been curated by British historian Paul Crickmore and US retired fighter pilot Colonel Douglas Dildy from the German archives.

He said: ‘It was completely vital that The Few rose to the occasion in the way they did.

‘You can’t overestimate the importance of the Battle of Britain in keeping us afloat in the war, so we could be the base from which to launch the invasion of France in 1944.’

Two sections from 65 Squadron, making up a flight of six aircraft, on a training flight as they prepared to take on the Luftwaffe. They were the line of defence against Hitler and the Nazis Operation Sealion, which aimed completely occupy Britain by overpowering the airforce and exhaust the spirit of the British people in the shortest possible time.

Two sections from 65 Squadron, making up a flight of six aircraft, on a training flight as they prepared to take on the Luftwaffe. They were the line of defence against Hitler and the Nazis Operation Sealion, which aimed completely occupy Britain by overpowering the airforce and exhaust the spirit of the British people in the shortest possible time.

A German Messerschmitt ditched into a field near Eastbourne on September 30 after being shot down on a bombing run. The Luftwaffe was said to have the edge in the air and shot down three fighters for every two they lost. But British factories able to produce three times more replacements than Messerschmitts were made so the German aerial tactics were nullified

A German Messerschmitt ditched into a field near Eastbourne on September 30 after being shot down on a bombing run. The Luftwaffe was said to have the edge in the air and shot down three fighters for every two they lost. But British factories able to produce three times more replacements than Messerschmitts were made so the German aerial tactics were nullified

This aircraft, flown by Oblt Fronhoefer, crashed into the ground near Ulcombe, Kent, just after 6.45pm on August 15. It had been based in Calais, France, but was shot down by the brave British forces. Fighter Command headquarters used radar systems to help squadrons intercept approaching German aircraft, helping them to turn the tide against the Luftwaffe

This aircraft, flown by Oblt Fronhoefer, crashed into the ground near Ulcombe, Kent, just after 6.45pm on August 15. It had been based in Calais, France, but was shot down by the brave British forces. Fighter Command headquarters used radar systems to help squadrons intercept approaching German aircraft, helping them to turn the tide against the Luftwaffe

A German crew servicing their bomber, part of the KGr 100 specialist pathfinder unit which was based at Brest in France. By now the Nazis had invaded France and taken their grip on the country to focus on other targets, including Britain. The brave actions of The Few meant they were never able to go any further after fights for supremacy in the area were won by the RAF

A German crew servicing their bomber, part of the KGr 100 specialist pathfinder unit which was based at Brest in France. By now the Nazis had invaded France and taken their grip on the country to focus on other targets, including Britain. The brave actions of The Few meant they were never able to go any further after fights for supremacy in the area were won by the RAF

German Dornier bombers passing over the Netherlands in May 1940 on a bombing run as the Luftwaffe began their campaign of the skies. At the time they were the largest and most formidable air force in Europe. The way the fleet of aircraft was designed was as close-support weapon who were supposed to move in tandem with troops fighting on the ground

German Dornier bombers passing over the Netherlands in May 1940 on a bombing run as the Luftwaffe began their campaign of the skies. At the time they were the largest and most formidable air force in Europe. The way the fleet of aircraft was designed was as close-support weapon who were supposed to move in tandem with troops fighting on the ground

Portsmouth in the grip of a bombing raid during WWII

A prisoner of war index card for German Airforce crew member Walter Scherer

Pictures of Portsmouth during a bombing raid during World War II in July 1940. Families were warned of the attack by air raid sirens and took shelter as the Lutwaffe’s Messerschmitts filled the air (left). German pilot Walter Scherer was taken as a prisoner of war in a document (right) that listed his characteristics as well as his profile and front view portrait

German bombers leading a formation with the aircraft in the background known to be was lost in the sea off Portland, Dorset on 12 August 1940. The Luftwaffe suffered so many casualties that Adolf Hitler soon turned his attention to night-time Blitz campaigns of cities like London, Coventry and Liverpool in an effort to try and overcome the brave efforts of the RAF

German bombers leading a formation with the aircraft in the background known to be was lost in the sea off Portland, Dorset on 12 August 1940. The Luftwaffe suffered so many casualties that Adolf Hitler soon turned his attention to night-time Blitz campaigns of cities like London, Coventry and Liverpool in an effort to try and overcome the brave efforts of the RAF

This aircraft, a Spitfire X4111, lying damaged on the ground after being completely written off in a dog fight in August 1940. It had only been delivered to 602 Squadron at RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex, earlier in the day but was soon prepped to fly when it was hit by the Luftwaffe. From August 12 through to September 15, the Germans shot down more planes than the RAF

This aircraft, a Spitfire X4111, lying damaged on the ground after being completely written off in a dog fight in August 1940. It had only been delivered to 602 Squadron at RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex, earlier in the day but was soon prepped to fly when it was hit by the Luftwaffe. From August 12 through to September 15, the Germans shot down more planes than the RAF

The menacing sight of German aircraft patroling the Channel shortly before the series of attacks known as the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe actually held the edge over the Allies in dogfights, shooting them down at a ratio of 1.77 to 1 lost. It prompted the Allies to change approach and keep their planes on the ground when possible to not rise to the Luftwaffe bait

The menacing sight of German aircraft patroling the Channel shortly before the series of attacks known as the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe actually held the edge over the Allies in dogfights, shooting them down at a ratio of 1.77 to 1 lost. It prompted the Allies to change approach and keep their planes on the ground when possible to not rise to the Luftwaffe bait

A German Messerschmitt fighter in the Battle of Britain gliding in the skies ready to strike against the British forces. September 15 was the day when  the RAF - known as The Few - started winning the battle with aerial combat that day marked a notable victory for the defenders who inflicted heavy losses on the German fleet

A German Messerschmitt fighter in the Battle of Britain gliding in the skies ready to strike against the British forces. September 15 was the day when  the RAF – known as The Few – started winning the battle with aerial combat that day marked a notable victory for the defenders who inflicted heavy losses on the German fleet

Spitfire fighters from 225 Squadron over the English countryside, flying in formation over the green fields below. The brave resistance of The Few infuriated Hitler, who had to switch tactics by October and order the Luftwaffe to bomb British cities. Factories had ramped up aircraft production to the point where they were building far more planes than the Germans

Spitfire fighters from 225 Squadron over the English countryside, flying in formation over the green fields below. The brave resistance of The Few infuriated Hitler, who had to switch tactics by October and order the Luftwaffe to bomb British cities. Factories had ramped up aircraft production to the point where they were building far more planes than the Germans

German BF 109 fighter aircrafts fly in formation as they continue their deadly mission above the clouds towards the shores of Britain. They were said to have had superiority in air-to-air combat, but their numbers were insufficient to overcome the British production advantage, meaning their mission to try and destroy Flight Command could never be achieved

German BF 109 fighter aircrafts fly in formation as they continue their deadly mission above the clouds towards the shores of Britain. They were said to have had superiority in air-to-air combat, but their numbers were insufficient to overcome the British production advantage, meaning their mission to try and destroy Flight Command could never be achieved

This fascinating black and white picture is an high-altitude reconnaissance image of Dover taken by the German air force. The spy shot was captured in an effort to try and work out where anti-aircraft guns could be hidden before they went on the attack after taking off from France for the daytime raid on September 15, 1940 - Battle of Britain Day

This fascinating black and white picture is an high-altitude reconnaissance image of Dover taken by the German air force. The spy shot was captured in an effort to try and work out where anti-aircraft guns could be hidden before they went on the attack after taking off from France for the daytime raid on September 15, 1940 – Battle of Britain Day

British anti aircraft fire rips through the tail and wings of enemy planes as they zoom through the air trying to engage with the RAF heroes who had out-produced and out-thought their tactics. This image is of an area between Bristol and Cardiff and marks a success of the British forces after German spy planes had failed to detect the powerful weapons

British anti aircraft fire rips through the tail and wings of enemy planes as they zoom through the air trying to engage with the RAF heroes who had out-produced and out-thought their tactics. This image is of an area between Bristol and Cardiff and marks a success of the British forces after German spy planes had failed to detect the powerful weapons

Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring

Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding

Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, is seen left in a colourised picture. He kept control of the fleet until the last days of the war but lost the public when the Allies were able to bomb German cities. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, seen right, developed tactics that helped the RAF stave off the Luftwaffe and win the Battle of Britain

A German reconnaissance photograph showing the Swingate transmitting station near Dover with its barrage balloon screen. The Nazis sent a number of spy planes to the UK to try and work out what areas they should target as well as spots to avoid to try and slip past anti-aircraft fire. They were also often deployed to try and help ground forces in where they should go.

A German reconnaissance photograph showing the Swingate transmitting station near Dover with its barrage balloon screen. The Nazis sent a number of spy planes to the UK to try and work out what areas they should target as well as spots to avoid to try and slip past anti-aircraft fire. They were also often deployed to try and help ground forces in where they should go.

FIGHTERS IN THE SKY: SPITFIRE VS MESSERSCHMITT

Manufacturers: Vickers-Armstrong Ltd

Type: British single-seat fighter

Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin

Speed: 387 mph

Range: N/A

Ceiling: 36,000ft

Rate of climb: 2,300 ft per minute

Armament: Mk 1A model – 8 Browning .303 machine guns (4 in each wing).

Dimensions: Length: 28ft 11in, height: 11ft 5in, wingspan: 26ft 10in, wing area: 242 sq ft

 Source: RAF 

Manufacturers: Messerschmitt AG

Type: German single-seat fighter 

Engine: Daimler-Benz DB 600 

Speed: 354 mph

Range: 460 miles

Ceiling: 36,900 feet

Rate of climb: 3,345 ft per minute

Armament: 3 x 20 mm MG FF Cannon and 2 x 7.92mm MG17 machine guns.

Dimensions:  Length: 29ft 7in, height: 8ft 2in, wingspan: 32ft 6in, wing area: 173.3 sq ft