Seagull Weekly Briefing 19/04

Police apology, autism strategy, Volk's Electric Railway and more.

Seagull Weekly Briefing 19/04
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. Team Seagull had a good break for Easter—a particular highlight was a trip to see both Brighton's AA baseball teams face off against each other. Great fun, we're going to be back soon: come along too—Brighton Baseball Club, every Sunday at midday from now until August.

News This Week

Sussex Police issues apology for historic failings in murder investigation

Sussex Police have apologised to the families of two children who were murdered in Brighton in the 1980s, for 'failings in its investigations into the case'.

On October 9th 1986, 9-year-old Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows were killed by Russell Bishop as they played near their homes in Wild Park in Moulescoomb.

A jury found Bishop not guilty following an initial trial in 1987, but changes to double jeopardy laws, and developments in forensic technology led to a reinvestigation. Bishop was convicted of both murders and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2018, and died in prison in 2022.

Karen and Nicola's families have made complaints to Sussex Police since the case started, and a full review of these was commissioned by Chief Constable Jo Shiner, then Deputy Chief Constable, who has met with and apologised to both families.

An independent review by Surrey Police found that there were failings in the 1986 criminal investigation and that Barrie, Nicola’s father, should not have been arrested as part of a connected investigation in 2009.

Jo Shiner said:

The murders of Karen and Nicola were horrific crimes which rocked the local community, and still resonate today.

The impact on the community, however, pales into insignificance against the life-long impact these crimes had on Karen and Nicola’s parents and families.

When I was Deputy Chief Constable I made a commitment to ensure that all their outstanding complaints were answered, and that Sussex Police would take full responsibility for any past mistakes no matter the passage of time.

It is clear that, despite the successful prosecution in 2018, mistakes were made in those earlier investigations in 1986 and 2009.

On behalf of Sussex Police, I have met in person with both families to formally and personally apologise for those failings in the initial investigation.

Elections coming up for Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Queen's Park and Kemptown

With two upcoming elections (depending on where you live) less than two weeks away, we're here to tell you everything you need to know in the run-up.

Elections for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner will be taking place on Thursday 2nd May. By-elections will take place on the same day to elect new ward councillors for Queen’s Park and Kemptown.

The candidates standing to be the new Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner are:  

  • Jamie Bennett, Liberal Democrats
  • Katy Bourne, Conservative Party
  • Jonathan Christopher Kent,  Green Party
  • Paul Adrian Richards, Labour and Co-operative Party

You can find more information on the candidates, including their aims and proposals here.

The by-elections in Queen's Park and Kemptown will fill the vacancies caused by the resignation of Chandni Mistry and Bharti Gajjar.

The candidates are:

The candidates for the by-elections are:

Queen’s Park:

  • Sunny Choudhury, Conservative Party
  • Milla Gauge, Labour Party
  • Dominique Hall, Liberal Democrats
  • Adrian Hart, Brighton & Hove Independents
  • Luke Walker, Green Party


  • Robert James Brown, Liberal Democrats
  • Gary Farmer, Brighton & Hove Independents
  • Jamie Gillespie, Independent candidate
  • Théresa Ann Mackey, Labour Party
  • Josephine Victoria O’Carroll, Conservative Party
  • Ricky Perrin, Green Party

Don't forget photo ID! Last year, the government brought in new legislation which means you have to show photo ID at polling stations.  voters to show photo identification when voting at polling stations.

'Serious concerns' raised on government’s draft 'Guidance for Schools and Colleges: Gender Questioning Children'

The council has raised 'serious concerns' on the government’s draft 'Guidance for Schools and Colleges: Gender Questioning Children', highlighting potential contradictions and shortcomings.

The consultation, which concluded on March 12, sought input on the guidance's content and its ability to help educational institutions and stakeholders in navigating issues related to transgender children and fostering inclusive environments.

However, the council has flagged significant issues with the draft guidance, particularly concerning its alignment with human rights and equalities laws. They say that the draft guidance deviates from established government guidance, such as the Equalities Office's 'Trans People in the UK' document published in 2018.

The council also say that the welfare of transgender children has not been prioritised in the guidance, that it lacks nuance and practicality, potentially placing schools and colleges at risk of legal consequences by following government recommendations.

Councillor Lucy Helliwell, co-chair of the council's Children, Families, and Schools Committee, said:

As the council’s response to the consultation sets out, the draft guidance on gender questioning children raises serious concerns. It lacks clarity and accuracy on the law, which risks serious legal consequences for schools and colleges.

Most concerning of all, it lacks humanity and understanding for the very real distress of children and young people who are either questioning their gender or can be properly termed as transgender.

The blanket approach of the guidance appears to be based on principles which are discriminatory, fail to understand the complexity of the needs of the children concerned, and fundamentally do not recognise their rights as transgender children, which is mischaracterised from the start as ‘gender identity ideology’.

The council are asking for the guidance to be rewritten, taking into consideration the guidance and practice in Brighton & Hove City Council’s Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit.

To find out more, read the council's full response to the government’s ‘Guidance for Schools and Colleges: Gender Questioning Children’ consultation here.

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Dog of the Week

It's just a bit of fun!

This is Elsie! She's a six and a half year old King Charles cavalier spaniel, and a devoted reader of Seagull. She once fell asleep snoring behind co-founder Adam's head, and he didn't complain once because she's such a sweet angel.

🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • The King Alfred swimming pool has received a £205,000 boost from Sport England which will help to prolong its life. The funding, from Phase 2 of the Swimming Pool Support Fund, will go towards replacing two of the 40-year-old boilers with new, more sustainable, energy efficient models. The support will help to keep the King Alfred pool open and operational while a decision is made on replacing the centre with a new state of the art leisure facility.
  • The Victoria Fountain Restoration Project has won the Refurbishment Project Category of the Institution of Structural Engineers South Eastern awards! We drove past the other day and the lights are looking absolutely smashing :)
  • The Volk’s Electric Railway has reopened 🎉! It will be open daily until the end September.
  • Workers at the Hollingbury Asda have voted in favour of industrial action, following disputes around health and safety, and management bullying. Strike dates will be announced soon.
  • Charlie Southall watch: an excellent update on the man who just won't quit, here.
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

Source: The Brighton Seagull

What's happening? The council has launched its adult autism strategy.

What is the adult autism strategy? It focuses on improving the lives of autistic adults in Brighton & Hove and their unpaid carers and wider support networks, while working to celebrate the strengths of autistic people and promote neurodiversity, amplify autistic voices and recognise autistic culture.

What does the strategy cover? Mental and physical health, relationships, housing, social care, interactions with the police and justice systems, and ways in which those with autism can feel valued in the city.

How was the adult autism strategy made? We've been following the creation of the strategy since May 2023: consultations were held to enable autistic people, their carers, family members and people who work closely with autistic people to share their views on local services.

What are the findings? There's so much to the report, but right at the top of it is a focus on language to use. Don't use: people with autism. Do use: autistic people. Don't use: high or low functioning Aspergers's syndrome. Do use: autistic people with a learning disability or autistic people without a learning disability.

How many people in the city are autistic? Based on estimates from the UK government, around 1.1% of the population, or 3,250 in Brighton and Hove as of 2020. However, many consider the 1.1% statistic used by national government to be too low.

Councillor Tristram Burden, Chair of Adult Social Care and Public Health Sub-Committee, said: "I’m delighted that we’ve launched Brighton & Hove’s Adult Autism Strategy as part of Autism Acceptance Month.

How will this plan affect council services? The council has committed to delivering several action points over the next five years, including:

  • Inclusive adjustments made to universal services and development of specialist services where there are large gaps in provision.
  • A review being co-produced with the police, the justice system and the youth offending service to look at how they can better support autistic people.
  • Co-producing a review with public transport providers of how buses, train stations and taxi schemes can be more accessible for autistic people.
  • Making sure there is specialist support for autistic people to manage tenancies within the private rental sector.

There are dozens more actions listed out by the council, which can all be found here.

What has the council said? Councillor Tristram Burden, chairman of the council's adult social care and public health sub-committee, said:

The Adult Autism Strategy marks the beginning of a new era for autistic people in Brighton & Hove.

The strategy will give us a solid base to work from now and in the future to better support those with autism, recognise their strengths, and ensure Brighton & Hove continues to celebrate diversity across the city.

Where can I read the strategy? Read the full adult autism strategy and action plan or an easy-read version of the adult autism strategy.

That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!