Channel 4 to broadcast week of hard-hitting films on Paralympic legacy and disability

Monday, 22 October 2012
By Tom Degun

a legacy_to_stand_onOctober 22 - Channel 4, the host broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympics, is set to broadcast a week of films from today on the legacy of the Games and disability in general.

The Channel 4 News films, titled A legacy to stand on?, show hard-hitting stories with one victim, Michael Bailey, telling of how he had his mobility scooter set on fire and had youths trying to tip him out of his wheelchair.

Bailey, who is from Belfast, is shown as a man who spends every hour of the day worrying when he will next be attacked because he is being tormented by groups of youths who hang around outside his house and abuse him.

Channel 4 News gave him a video camera to record what happens to him as he describes being called a "freak" and he looks panicked as youths shout outside.

It comes with tomorrow being the fifth anniversary of the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter, Francecca Hardwick, who had severe learning disabilities.

Her mother called the police more than 30 times because her family was the target of a campaign of abuse by youths but her cries for help went unanswered and ultimately, Pilkington set her car on fire, killing them both.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report was heavily critical of the police for the way they handled the case.

The Home Office said then, this should never happen again.

Michael Bailey_22-10-12Michael Bailey had his mobility scooters torched, his bin set on fire and was set upon by four youths who demanded money and tried to tip him out of his wheelchair

Channel 4 News has been given a preview of a report to be published tomorrow by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which criticises some police forces for their continual failure on disability hate crime.

In addition, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) tells Channel 4 News that it has had eight incidents recorded involving Bailey, only one of which it recorded as a disability hate crime.

"After an examination of the reports concerning Michael, we believe we should have tried the previous incidents as disability hate crime, we would expect that from our officers," the PSNI says in the report.

The films appear to draw the conclusion that despite the feel-good factor towards disability in Britain during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure a lasting legacy.

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz
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