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Domestic abuse lockdown calls up 11% in Devon and Cornwall

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Police in Devon and Cornwall recorded an 11% rise in calls relating to domestic violence at the start of lockdown

Data from 41 UK police forces, released to the BBC under freedom of information laws, shows 19 recorded more calls about domestic abuse in March 2020 compared with the same month last year, while 22 recorded a fall.

In March 2020, there were 646 domestic abuse calls to Devon and Cornwall Police, up from 582 in March 2019, and 484 in March 2018.


Suffolk's police force recorded a 58% increase in domestic abuse calls, while Avon & Somerset and Lancashire both reported a 23% surge.

The charity Refuge, which runs the national domestic abuse helpline, said it has had a 10-fold increase in visits to its website in the past two weeks.

For information and support on domestic abuse, contact:

  • Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can't speak
  • Refuge UK wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247

For local services, you can find more information for Devon here and more information for Cornwall here.

Stately home's gardens and dinosaur trail reopen

Knebworth House has opened its formal gardens and dinosaur trail from today - but visitors must pre-book a time slot.

Knebworth House
Knebworth House

Visitors can book tickets in two time slots of either 11:00 to 13:30 or 13:30 to 16:00. Season ticket holders are also required to book a slot, but will not be charged.

If you have bought a ticket, you can also use the parkland for games and picnics outside of their allotted garden time slot, but the adventure playground remains closed.

The house said that health and safety and social distancing measures are in place

"We want everyone to enjoy a wonderful day out... and would like to reassure all visitors that we are adhering to all guidelines issued by Public Health England and the government," a statement said.

Private dental practices to reopen from 1 June

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News Online

Private dental practices in Jersey will be allowed to reopen from 1 June, the minister for Health and Social Services has said.

Deputy Richard Renouf told ministers guidance would be ready for surgeries by the end of the week.

"It is complex. We must appreciate the risks that are involved, and that's why it is necessary to put in place good, precautionary hygiene measures", he said.

"We in Jersey are leading the way here, and all credit to those involved including dentists who are working with the public health team."

Fake teeth

RNLI lifeguards return to seven Cornwall beaches

BBC Radio Cornwall

Seven major surfing beaches in Cornwall will have lifeguard cover this weekend.

RNLI lifeguards

They are: Gwithian, Fistral, Mawgan Porth, Polzeath, Constantine, Perranporth and Widemouth, as well as Croyde in Devon, as a limited roll-out progresses.

The RNLI said it would only be covering 70 of the usual 240 beaches around the UK.

But a senior Cornwall councillor said he was worried not enough beaches would be covered if people poured into the county in August if the Covid-19 lockdown was relaxed even more in England.

Rob Nolan, portfolio holder for environment and public protection, said the council would like to see the normal 54 beaches covered in the county, and the authority had the money ready to pay for lifeguards.

The RNLI said on Tuesday is was being forced to "choose between keeping the public or our lifeguards safe" because of difficulties rolling out a lifeguard service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an open letter, chief executive Mark Dowie said the matter was not as "simple as putting a lifeguard on a beach."

Newcastle social distancing makeover begins

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

A makeover of Newcastle city centre to make it easier for people to social distance is beginning in the area around the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

On-street parking spaces will be removed on Queen Victoria Road and new one-way pavements, cycle lanes, and temporary crossings will be introduced there and on St Thomas’ Street. The parking bays will be suspended from today and works will be taking place on tomorrow and Friday.

Cars parked on Queen Victoria Road outside RVI

Officials say they are also planning to install markings around city centre businesses that have now reopened to show walkways, queuing areas and two-metre distancing guidelines.

Council documents state that stores on Northumberland Street will be given “defined property entry points” to enable safe access to shops and pedestrian movement up and down the street.

Marshals are also set to be patrolling the city centre to make sure people are obeying the new systems. Pedestrian crossings in the city centre will be altered from this Thursday so that traffic is stopped more regularly, thereby reducing queues as people wait to cross the road.

Coronavirus mobile testing site comes to Aylesbury

A coronavirus mobile testing site will be running in Aylesbury for up to three days from today.

Stewart Turkington, Bracknell Forest Council

Anyone aged five years and over who has coronavirus symptoms - a high temperature, a new, continuous dry cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - is now eligible to be tested.

However, tests for essential workers, such as frontline healthcare staff, are being prioritised.

To arrange a test, go to the government website and you will be directed to your nearest available site. Tests must be booked and are not available on a "drop-in" basis.

Covid-19 testing facility damaged by thieves

Sue Nicholson

BBC News

Withdean Sports Complex

A sports stadium being used as a drive-in Covid-19 testing facility has been targeted by thieves.

The Withdean Sports Complex in Tongdean Lane, Brighton, is attended by people displaying symptoms of coronavirus who have received an appointment.

Sussex Police said lighting and sports equipment were reported stolen and damage caused to a marquee and bins.

Anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious at about 20:30 BST on 19 May is asked to contact officers.