Professor Bill Miller: Appreciation for a peerless academic

Bernard Ponsonby recalls with affection the late, distinguished political analyst Professor Bill Miller.

'Best in his field': Prof Bill Miller worked with STV for decades. STV
'Best in his field': Prof Bill Miller worked with STV for decades.

There have been two seminal elections of the post-war period which ushered irreversible change. Labour’s 1945 landslide entrenched the welfare state and Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1979 recast economic orthodoxy.

1979 was also the first time that David Dimbleby anchored the BBCs overnight election results programme. He was flanked by the doyen of election studies, David Butler from Nuffield College Oxford, and Robert McKenzie, the Canadian professor with the swingometer.

In the Glasgow studio a young academic offered interpretation of the Scottish results. Professor Bill Miller steered viewers through a night when the SNP lost nine seats and Labour defeated the man who would have been Mrs Thatcher’s Scottish secretary, Teddy Taylor.

The ease, calm and authority with which Miller analysed the results should have led BBC bosses to sign him up as a resident analyst. They didn’t. Their loss was to be STV’s gain as Bill Miller went on to have a 30-year association with the commercial broadcaster.

First Minister leads tributes to pioneering election analyst Read now
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Professor William L. Miller was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School, the Royal High School of Edinburgh and at the Universities of Edinburgh and Newcastle.

After finishing a PhD on information retrieval, the mathematician took his career in a different direction and applied for a job teaching politics at the University of Strathclyde, where the driving force was a colossus among political scientists, Professor Richard Rose.

He recalls: “William Miller had a very clear and good mind. But he didn’t want it to be empty and that’s why I hired him.” Rose, like Miller, was a pioneer in a field now dominated by Professor Sir John Curtice.

Former STV producer Henry Eagles remarks: “It is remarkable how three great analysts, Rose, Miller and Curtice have come out of Glasgow’s universities. They sound like a 70s band. They had enormous influence.”

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The former Labour minister Brian Wilson said Miller played a major part “in establishing Strathclyde University’s reputation as a centre for psephology at the highest levels” and he paid tribute to the “clarity of his communication”.

James Mitchell, professor of public policy at Edinburgh University says Miller was the best psephologist in Scotland in his time, adding: “His combined strengths in mathematics and politics were evident in his highly innovative approach to the study of political opinion,”

During the Hillhead by-election of 1982, Bill Miller oversaw a telephone opinion poll taking STV viewers through the results. The “by-election of the century”, as it was dubbed, propelled the anglicised Welshman Roy Jenkins to Westminster as the then-SDP leader started a love affair with Glasgow’s west end.

‘The question, ‘Professor Miller, what does it mean?’, was a cue to have the tablets of stone handed down from the master as Bill identified trends, corrected politicians intent on spin, offered wider context and provided a bedrock for solid public service broadcasting.’

Bernard Ponsonby

Bill Miller remained at Strathclyde until 1985 when he crossed the city to become the Edward Caird Professor of Politics at the University of Glasgow. His study areas included elections and the democratic process and he published widely throughout his career as well as spearheading numerous research projects.

Miller belonged to that school of academic who was more interested in the university as a powerhouse to enrich the mind than a business pitching for an eye-catching line in the financial section of the annual report.

I recently came across one of his lectures STV filmed and the rapport with his students was so obviously warm and respectful.

In common with a lot of academics, he was never in danger of becoming a style icon, and tweed, corduroy, gingham and wool ties were never far away. He had a slight air of trying to invent shabby as chic but it didn’t matter, for the crispness and authority of his broadcasting cut through any temptation to pass sartorial comment.

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Colin MacKay, STV political editor from 1973-1992, shared many an election studio with Bill Miller. He said: “His presence at pre-election planning meetings at STV lent reassurance.

“Calm, considered, thoughtful yet incisive, he explored with us the Scottish and British party strengths and weaknesses, surveyed the general trends in voting intention polls and mapped out the likely battlegrounds.”

The first three hours of election night programmes are an exercise in turning padding and waffle into something watchable. Bill Miller’s command of his subject helped build a sense of anticipation before the inevitable deluge of results.

He spoke softly but quickly and if there was something substantial to report, he became animated to convey that the contribution was significant in terms of the story of the night.

The question, ‘Professor Miller, what does it mean?’, was a cue to have the tablets of stone handed down from the master as Bill identified trends, corrected politicians intent on spin, offered wider context and provided a bedrock for solid public service broadcasting.

STVs long-standing politics and current affairs producer Stephen Townsend said: “Bill was a total joy to work with. On election nights, he commanded the screen with his fresh insights and warm personality.”

My first ever interview for STV was with Professor Miller. For twenty years I worked regularly with him and became acutely aware that working in broadcasting affords the privilege of meeting people who are simply the best in their field. Bill Miller was, quite simply, peerless.

His combination of huge intellect and unassuming manner drew an undiminished affection from students, colleagues and journalists and won the respect of politicians even when his judgements unnerved their desire to tell it as they saw it.

Bill Miller died within two weeks of the passing of his wife, Fiona Miller, to whom he was married for more than 50 years.

He is survived by sons Iain and Andrew and daughter Shona as well as six grandsons. Those grandsons did not know their grandfather in his prime.

Recently, a compilation of his STV broadcasts was sent to the family. Now, those grandchildren too can appreciate the mind of a lovely man who will be remembered with gratitude and affection by everyone he taught and worked with.

Ayr explosion: 35 homes remain sealed-off after blast destroys house

A family of four were seriously injured in the explosion in Gorse Park on Monday night.

Katielee Arrowsmith via SWNS

Around 35 homes remained cordoned off after an explosion ripped through an estate in South Ayrshire.

The blast, which happened in Ayr’s Gorse Park on Monday night, razed one home and caused severe damage to several others.

A 43-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy are currently being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

A 47-year-old man is receiving treatment at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, while an 11-year-old boy is being cared for at the Royal Hospital for Children.

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On Wednesday, South Ayrshire council confirmed 46 properties were safe to return to, however 35 homes remained cordoned off due to damage. 

It is likely four homes within the cordon will be demolished. 

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The incident took place on Monday evening.

Out with the cordon, four homes were significantly damaged and will require extensive repairs before householders can return. 

Many residents from the Kincaidston housing estate have spent two nights away from their homes following the blast. 

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Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Peter Henderson said: “I know that council teams, the emergency services and partners have been working tirelessly to help as many people as possible to return to their homes.

“This is no easy task and I am relieved that their painstaking work has allowed some families to get back home today. Of course, it’s still very early days and the devastation caused by this tragic event will take considerable time to rectify.

“We are committed to working alongside our communities and partners to support them through the aftermath of this terrible event.”

A “complex” investigation into the cause of the explosion continues, with police adding gas is “one potential being looked at”. 

Engineers from gas distribution company SGN remain at the scene as they work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the blast.

Bradley Barlow, spokesperson for SGN, said: “We’re continuing to assist the emergency services in Gorse Park following an explosion on Monday evening.

“This is a complex incident and we’re supporting several organisations to establish the cause of the explosion.

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“We’ll have an ongoing presence on site at this time, with our engineers continuing to monitor our gas network and the surrounding area.

“We’d like to reassure the Ayr community that the gas network remains safe and secure.

“Our thoughts remain with those injured and everyone in the community impacted by this incident.”

South Ayrshire Council said it had been overwhelmed by donations from the public and offers of help from local businesses.

A hub for residents affected by the incident has been set up at Kincaidston Community Pavilion.

If you have been affected by the explosion and require council support, call 0300 123 0900.


New training centre will make difference to NHS crisis, says Yousaf

The health secretary has warned that Scotland faces a ‘really difficult winter’ ahead.

Jane Barlow via PA Ready

A new NHS training centre could make an immediate impact to tackle the staffing crisis in the Scottish health service ahead of a “really, really difficult winter”, Humza Yousaf has said.

The health secretary acknowledged the NHS has “immediate workforce issues”, with the Army being drafted in to assist two struggling health boards and two further boards also calling for help.

Nursing and midwifery vacancies are at an all-time high and A&E waiting times have reached record levels, with 612 patients waiting longer than 12 hours to be seen in the most recent statistics.

But speaking at the official opening of the NHS Scotland Academy at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, Yousaf said he expects the centre to help in the short-term and as the health service recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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During a tour of the new training facility, Yousaf attempted a practice colonoscopy and watched surgical training of a knee replacement, meeting staff and trainee healthcare workers.

The Scottish Government is providing £9m of funding over three years for the centre, which is aimed at training graduates in high-demand sectors of the health service.

Among the courses now running is a programme to qualify nurses to work in theatres after six months, rather than a year, and training community pharmacists to issue prescriptions for specific conditions that would usually require patients to see a GP.

Speaking to the PA news agency after the official opening of the centre, Yousaf said: “It’s a collaboration between NHS National Education Scotland and the Golden Jubilee to deal with some of the immediate workforce issues that we’ve got, but also to bolster the workforce of the NHS for the future, which obviously is going to help with our recovery and remobilisation of the NHS.

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“I saw how they’re training pharmacists in order to become independent prescribers, that’s going to help us right now, particularly with some of the challenges that we’re facing in our clinical care setting.

“They’re also treating – immediately, right now – people in endoscopy which we know we have a big backlog in.”

Yousaf insisted he has “always been upfront and honest with people” about the scale of the challenges facing the health service, when asked about the record A&E waiting times and the use of the Army.

“This is going to be the most difficult winter probably in the NHS’s entire 73-year existence, so what we’ll do is leave no stone unturned – whether that’s reaching out to the military for assistance, whether that’s the £300m of funding we announced,” he said.

“I’ve got to be open, honest and upfront with people that, even with that investment, it will still be a really, really difficult winter and that’s even before the flu season has really come and hit us.”

Yousaf also suggested that the deteriorating A&E performance, with 28.7% of patients waiting longer than four hours to be seen, is unacceptable.

He added: “I absolutely regret that anybody doesn’t receive the standard of service that we’d expect.

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“That’s why we’re working to invest, that’s why we’re leaving no stone unturned to assist – whether that’s from the military or elsewhere.

“But I will do everything in my gift to try to get some improvement, but it will be an incredibly challenging winter ahead.”

Chief executive of NHS Golden Jubilee, Jann Gardner, said: “The pandemic has made it clearer than ever the need to offer fast, efficient and effective access to training and education for health and social care staff.

“Drawing on the strengths of the Golden Jubilee’s state of the art facilities, and the educational expertise and technology offered by NHS Education for Scotland, the NHS Scotland Academy will support the workforce, and benefit the people of Scotland for years to come.”

NHS Education for Scotland chief executive Karen Reid added: “Having the right staff with the right skills in the right place is fundamental to delivering the best health and social care outcomes.

“The pandemic has made us think about working in new ways and about making better use of technology.

“Our partnership in the new NHS Scotland Academy allows us to join up educational expertise and technology – enabling faster learning, and a more skilled workforce, for the people of Scotland.”


Police Scotland urged to take ‘bold position’ on diversity

Current and former officers were surveyed on experiences of discrimination or harassment in the force.

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Female respondents to a staff survey listed reasons why they would not recommend a career in policing.

Police Scotland needs a “strong and bold” position on equality and diversity, a watchdog has recommended.

It comes as a survey of current and former Police Scotland officers found 41% of respondents experienced discrimination or harassment while in the force.

A total of 542 officers responded to a survey on their experiences of equality and diversity in Police Scotland.

Just under half of respondents said they would not recommend policing as a career, while only 28% expressed satisfaction with their training and development.

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The survey was part of a wide-ranging report by HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) on how Police Scotland treated under-represented groups within the organisation.

One respondent said there was a ‘boys’ club’ culture (Andrew Milligan/PA)

HMICS said the survey respondents were self-selecting and the results would not reflect the experience of everyone in the organisation.

While more than half of respondents agreed the force was committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, nearly a third said they felt they “did not belong”.

Female respondents listed reasons why they would not recommend a career in policing.

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One said: “I have been sexually assaulted at work, as have most female colleagues I have spoken to.

“I have also spent years being on the receiving end of sexist ‘jokes’ and banter, been asked questions regarding what sexual practices I take part in and so on.”

Another said: “Although there have been improvements since I joined the organisation it still very much feels like a ‘boys’ club’ and I feel women’s performance comes under far more scrutiny than males.”

Other respondents said issues around race and ethnicity were the reasons they would not recommend a career in policing.

One said: “Most people from ethnic minority backgrounds don’t feel they belong here and they feel that the colour of their skin and accent is a hurdle when it comes to their progress.”

Another said: “The police are corrupt, racist and Islamophobic and I would never want my family and friends to go through what I did.”

Another respondent said there were “daily racial microaggressions” and a “pack-like canteen culture”.

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Gill Imery, the chief inspector of constabulary in Scotland, said progress in recruiting people from underrepresented grounds had been made since her previous report in September 2020.

However there is little visibility of underrepresented groups in senior management, her report said.

She said: “The inspection found evidence of genuine commitment at the most senior levels of Police Scotland to ensure that the service is welcoming and inclusive.

“Where the evidence is less clear is the extent to which the strong message from the top is being translated into action that has a positive impact on the day-to-day experience of police officers and staff from under-represented groups working in Police Scotland.

“The limitations of data available to help the service understand the impact of its activities, identify trends and make improvements, was a recurring theme in this inspection.”

Her report recommended that “Police Scotland should assert a strong and bold position in its external and internal communications on equality and diversity matters”.

Inspectors noted there had been improvements in recruitment (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Responding to the report, deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor said: “This report recognises our commitment to building a service with a culture founded on our values so that we better reflect, represent and serve the public.

“Dame Elish Angiolini’s independent review underlined the depth of these challenges and we know through engagement with our own staff associations that there is much work to be done.

“Although HMICS acknowledges the limitations of the survey conducted as part of this inspection, the chief constable has been clear that police leaders must enable and support those who speak up so that they can be heard.

“We have introduced a recruitment and promotion process based on our values.

“Our intakes are more representative of society than in the past and our leadership training will foster culture change.”

Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur said the report should challenge Police Scotland to do more to tackle condescending behaviour and derogatory comments.

He said: “This long-overdue report shows that ignorance isn’t bliss.

“Nobody should have to face derogatory comments about their gender or any inappropriate behaviour in their workplace.”


Warrant issued for arrest of man accused of murdering his mum

Sean Flynn was due to go on trial over the death of Louise Tiffney.

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Louise Tiffney, 43, was last seen leaving her home in Edinburgh in May 2002.

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of murdering his mother after he failed to turn up at court.

Sean Flynn was due to go on trial over the death of Louise Tiffney, who disappeared from her home on Dean Path in Edinburgh in May 2002.

The 38-year-old’s address was given as Berlin, Germany.

The Crown told the High Court in Livingston it did not believe Flynn would be attending court in the near future, having made inquiries.

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Flynn has been charged with murdering Ms Tiffney and of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by concealing her body in the boot of a car, driving it into a wooded area and disposing of it there.

At a previous hearing in January, his lawyer said Flynn denies the charges.

Ms Tiffney’s body was found at stately home Gosford House in East Lothian in 2017 after the 43-year-old was last seen leaving her home in the capital.


Challenges faced by women in business ‘amplified by Covid’ – study

Female-owned businesses such as those in the retail, beauty and fitness sectors were hit hardest by lockdown restrictions.

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There are calls for financial support and assistance to be provided.

The historic challenges faced by female entrepreneurs has been “amplified” by the pandemic, new research suggests.

A study by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in 2018 found 231,390 jobs in Scotland were created by women-owned businesses and contributed £8.8bn annually to the economy.

Research by Professor Norin Arshed of Dundee University – which included 12 focus groups from six regions in Scotland, one-to-one interviews with 12 businesswomen and 26 enterprise support organisation staff members – found access to finance, networking and social cultural barriers were exacerbated during Covid-19.

Female-owned businesses such as those in the retail, beauty and fitness sectors were hit hardest by lockdown restrictions, which closed all but the most essential firms to stem the spread of the virus.

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Prof Arshed called for a “one-stop shop” to be created for financial support and assistance, citing the need for increased speed in the delivery of funding.

Women interviewed told Prof Arshed they were juggling their career and other responsibilities such as childcare and home schooling when schools were closed.

“My children and schooling are predominant,” one woman from Edinburgh said.

“I had a new addition, which was my parents who are elderly, so while they were independent prior to this, all of a sudden they were shielding.

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“I was having to manage various things for them as well. I guess the caring commitments broadened and I guess the need to provide support in the community also extended as well.”

As well as speeding up access to funding, the report pushes for seed funding for female businesswomen to be facilitated, offering mentoring opportunities and lowering the cost of and expanding childcare to help women in the world of business.

But the research also found that some women-owned businesses were able to expand during the pandemic, thanks to the shift to a more digital-focused environment as restrictions forced people to work from home.

Others reported a structural change within their business, with a particular focus on flexibility at work.

More on:

18,000 mobile SIMs sending scam texts blocked by EE since July

Providers have been battling a wave of bogus SMS communications during the pandemic.

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Scanning technology looks out for certain traits, such as the construct of the message.

Mobile network EE has blocked 18,000 SIM cards after detecting some 42 million scam text messages since July.

Providers have been battling a wave of bogus SMS communications during the pandemic, particularly around parcels and PCR Covid-19 testing but also related to the petrol crisis more recently.

The BT-owned firm has invested millions in a new anti-spam filter which can identify and limit the spread of scams, after some customers were tricked into parting with thousands of pounds.

Scanning technology looks out for certain traits, such as the construct of the message, whether the number is sending out huge volumes, and looking out for dodgy web addresses.

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The number of EE customers reporting scams since the system was introduced has fallen by 85%.

BT’s customer care change director, Christopher Howe, told the PA news agency: “The environment and the landscape of scamming has changed and that’s really brought us to where we were earlier this year.

“During Covid, the chances of receiving a parcel on a day-to-day (basis) significantly went up because we all started ordering more online, but I think it’s just exploiting life events.

“What the scammers do is they try and pick on emotional vulnerabilities and exploit those.

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“Sadly we have seen a number of customers who have fallen into financial hardship or certainly had a significant financial impact because of this. It’s the age-old story – they’ve provided personal details or banking details and then that scammer has then really impacted them; that’s why it’s so important for us to protect our customers.”

Many of the SIMs that have been barred are pay-as-you-go.

It came as Ofcom said an estimated 44.6 million adults in the UK have received a suspicious message in the form of a text, recorded message or live phone call to a landline or mobile over the last three months.

A survey by the regulator suggested text scams are the most common, with seven in 10 saying they had received one.


Police to assess scale of spiking at nightclubs amid injection claims

It comes as officers in Scotland investigate alleged incidents in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

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Spiking: Concerns have been raised after incidents were reported in several areas of the country.

Police have been asked to urgently assess the scale of drink spiking at nightclubs and parties amid a rise in reports and claims some people have been drugged by injection.

Home secretary Priti Patel has asked forces for an update after some said they had seen more spiking incidents in recent months.

Police chiefs have also been tasked by the Commons Home Affairs Committee to urgently provide more information on their assessment of the scale of the problem after reports of incidents in several parts of the country, including Scotland, Nottingham and Northern Ireland.

Groups from more than 30 universities around the UK have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs, with campaigners seeking “tangible” changes to make them safer, such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.

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A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 120,000 signatures.

The ‘Girls Night In’ campaign has asked for women to avoid the venues on Thursday, October 28, in protest at safety concerns not being taken seriously.

It has gathered support from across the UK, with campaign groups having been established in cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

It comes as a University of Nottingham student told how she believes she was spiked with an injection during a night-out with friends.

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Zara Owen, 19, from Surrey, said she blacked out soon after arriving at a venue last Monday, telling BBC Breakfast: “I know I didn’t drink as much as I usually would on a night out this night, and the fact that I don’t remember anything is terrifying for me because this is something that is a very rare occasion to me.

“I’ve never suffered with memory loss and then the next morning I woke up with a really painful leg.

“I found a pin prick in my leg which was the epicentre of all pain. It made me unable to walk and I was limping around.

“As a young person who’s at university, I’m hearing stories of people who have been to nightclubs and they have been injected. I have heard stories of someone having it through their hand or through their back, so this kind of gave me an idea this had happened to me.”

Nottinghamshire Police said it has seen a rising number of reports of spiking over recent months and has arrested a man as part of a wider operation.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Over the last few months we have seen an increase in reports where people believe that drugs may have been put in their drink.

“But we’ve also received a small number of reports where people are telling us, as Zara has, that this has been associated with a pain or a mark on a part of their body, scratching sensation, and as though they have been physically spiked.”

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The University of Nottingham said it was “extremely concerned” by the reports and was working with police and venues to “monitor, review and learn from incidents and experiences in the city centre”.

Police Scotland is also looking into similar reports.

A spokesman said: “Officers are carrying out inquiries and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow areas are being investigated. These do not appear to be linked.”

They are also investigating a possible injection incident in Aberdeen.

A spokesperson said: “We are making enquiries into a drug spiking incident, reported to have occurred on Friday, October 15, at a premises in Aberdeen city centre. Our enquiries are at an early stage.”

Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that in the past few days a number of students have reported instances of women being spiked on nights out.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds described the reports of the “vile act” as “terrifying”, adding: “This awful crime needs to be clamped down on without delay.”

The chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association Michael Kill said the organisation was “very concerned” about the reports and called on the Home Office to do more to investigate the problem.

Although the industry is working to try to keep customers safe, Mr Kill warned: “The truth is, though, very real challenges still exist.

“We know this is a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is.”

Sarah Crew, temporary Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset Police who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) work on rape and adult sexual offences, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday: “In terms of the injection spiking, I only became aware of that this morning so I know about the reports.

“I think it’s a fair assumption there may be a sexual motive in those, but there isn’t an indication.”

It is “difficult to make an assessment on that particular trend at the moment, in terms of the more general drink spiking we do know that that’s a problem,” she added.

Metropolitan police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she had not heard about the injection spiking incidents but told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that they sounded “very worrying”.

Reports of women having their drink spiked in London have increased in the past five years from 136 in the year to September 2017 to 473 in the year to September 2021, the committee heard.

The Met’s assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe said this had coincided with awareness campaigns which may have led to an increase in reporting.

Spiking drinks can lead to up to ten years in prison – or even higher if other offences like rape, robbery or another assault has taken place.


Steven Gerrard accepts Rangers’ clash with Brondby is ‘must win’

Rangers take on the Danes at Ibrox with no points to show for the Europa League efforts so far.

Craig Foy via SNS Group
Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has no problem with Thursday’s Europa League game against Brondby being described as a must-win match for Rangers.

After a 2-0 home defeat to French club Lyon and a 1-0 loss away to Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic, the Scottish champions are bottom of Group B, one point behind the Danish club ahead of their meeting at Ibrox.

The Gers boss, who will be without suspended Glen Kamara after his sending-off in Prague, was asked if the match fell into the must-win category.

He said: “I don’t mind if you put it that way.

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“We want to try to win every game here at Rangers, no matter where we are sitting in the table, but having lost the first two games I think it is very important that we win this head-to-head (with Brondby).

“We have to take a minimum of four points, ideally we take six, so tomorrow we need a performance and result that is going to try to kick-start this campaign.

“I don’t think our two performances have been miles away, but it is a results business and to get out of the group you need results, we are well aware of that.

“If that adds a little bit more pressure going into tomorrow’s game and people on the outside want to make it a must-win game we are okay with that.”

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Gerrard called for an improvement on his side’s record in front of goal, particularly from striker Alfredo Morelos, who spurned several chances against Hearts in the 1-1 cinch Premiership draw at Ibrox at the weekend.

The Gers boss is unimpressed by the Colombia international’s five goals in 15 appearances in all competitions this season as he sits on 99 Rangers goals and urged him not to “over-think” things.

He said: “Five in 15 is not enough for me. Not just from him, I think we need to score more goals, all our strikers.

“We are at Rangers, the chances we are creating I would expect the guy who has played the majority of the minutes as the number nine to have more than five in 15, so those are stats we need to improve on.

“If you look at previous number nines and Alfredo’s record in previous seasons it has been better than five in 15.

“I am sure Alfredo himself and certainly me and the coaching staff, in terms of our attacking units and our number nines, we want to get more goals in to them.

“If I have any advice for him it will be keep getting in the right places and he will absolutely smash 100 goals in no time. He is going to score many more goals so he shouldn’t over-think it.”

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Gerrard was quizzed on UEFA’s decision not to subject Sparta Prague to disciplinary proceedings after an investigation into allegations of racism towards Kamara found “insufficient evidence”.

The Ibrox club contacted European football’s governing body after the midfielder, who was on the receiving end of a racist slur from Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela in March, was booed during the 1-0 defeat in the Czech Republic last month.

Sparta fans were banned from the Letna Stadium following racist abuse of Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni in August, but around 10,000 schoolchildren were permitted to attend the match, along with some accompanying adults.

Asked if he was surprised or disappointed by UEFA’s decision, Gerrard said: “Probably a bit of both.

“I have said it before and I will say it again, I don’t think the punishments are big enough for this type of stuff, not just in this game, in terms of the Glen incident.

“As a whole I don’t think the punishments for racism are enough and I think that is the reason it won’t be totally eradicated out of the game any time soon.”


Brewdog’s ‘solid gold’ beer can competition ruled as misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld 25 complaints from customers over the 'misleading' promotion.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Brewdog: Ellon-based brewery launched a 'solid gold' beer can competition in 2020.

A Brewdog competition which claimed customers could win “solid gold” beer cans was misleading, a watchdog has said. 

The Ellon-based brewer launched the promotion in 2020, which initially stated customers could find one of ten gold cans hidden in packs of beer purchased from its online store. 

In social media posts published in February 2021, the company claimed there were five gold wrapped cans to be found, which could be swapped for a “solid gold, 24-carat” beer can.

However it was revealed the cans were actually gold plated and worth significantly less than a “solid gold” version, which would be worth $500,000 at the current gold price. 

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Brewdog said the “solid gold” claim was an error due to a “miscommunication” between its marketing and social media teams.

The company stated the prize was worth £15,000 and stood by the evaluation, adding that it “could not see that any reasonable consumer who entered the competition would assume they were going to win over half a million dollars of gold”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld 25 complaints over the competition, ruling three adverts were misleading.

The watchdog said it “understood the prize consisted of 24 carat gold-plated replica cans” but added “because the ads stated that the prize included a ‘solid gold’ can when that was not the case, we concluded the ads were misleading.”

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The ASA added: “We told BrewDog plc not to state or imply that consumers would receive a solid gold can when that was not the case.”

On Wednesday, Brewdog said the company had “messed up” over the promotion and added it would offer all the winners from the first round of the contest the cash equivalent of the gold cans. 

It has also now launched a new gold can competition where customers can win a “diamond encrusted gold plated can” or a £25,000 cash equivalent. 

The company added “clear T&C’s” would be provided to customers. 


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