Paper review: Terror, immigration and footballer Ched Evans photos

The disruption of British terror plots, David Cameron's proposed immigration curbs and the imminent release of footballer Ched Evans are all examined in Friday's papers.

The extent of the terror threat to Britain and the work being done to combat it is laid bare in the Guardian's front page, among others.

It quotes Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer who says there has been a "step change" in the "volume, range and pace" of police activity.

Some 50 people a week are being referred to counter-radicalisation programmes, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley says.

The stats

The Times and Guardian break down the police's figures

218 the number of terror-related arrests so far this year

16 people charged after returning from Syria

66 missing persons feared to have travelled to Syria and reported to police by their families

1,000 pieces of illegal content removed from the internet every week

And how to deal with British citizens who may have travelled to fight with Islamic State militants in Syria?

A suggestion by Tory MP Philip Hollobone to pursue them for treason reaches the front and inside pages of the papers.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said swearing allegiance to Islamic State raised "questions about whether offences of treason have been committed".

"You can either be a jihadist or you can be a loyal British citizen but you can't be both," Mr Hollobone tells the Times.

But using the 1351 Treason Act - last invoked to try and hang a Nazi collaborator - would be fraught with legal problems, the paper notes.

'Devastating' attacks

According to human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC: "It only remains on the statute books because of the laziness of law reform and our nostalgia for history.

"It is precisely that nostalgia which should deter us from treating vicious Islamic State killers on a par with Sir Roger Casement, Anne Boleyn and Sir Walter Raleigh."

The Daily Star runs the story on its front page, claiming 100 plots per week are being foiled by the security services.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the Guardian reports on very real attacks by IS.

A "wave of devastating car bombs and mortar attacks" in Baghdad have killed at least 150 people since Sunday, the paper says.

IS militants have targeted Shia neighbourhoods, according to the paper, "following a series of dramatic advances".

The Islamist group now controls territory in Iraq and Syria where it has been laying siege to the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Shula neighbourhood of Baghdad was among those targeted by IS

But, speaking to the Telegraph, an adviser to Turkey's prime minister has dismissed US-led air strikes intended to bolster the resistance to IS as a "public relations" exercise.

"Air strikes are necessary," Cemal Hasimi told the paper. "But if you don't have a political perspective on the future of Syria, aerial bombardment is not enough."

Blood swept lands

Image copyright PA and others

Almost all the papers publish spectacular photographs of the Queen's visit to the Tower of London, where hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies are being laid.

The evolving Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War One.

Criticism of the NHS features prominently in Friday's press - after a report by the Care Quality Commission found a "wide variation in [the] quality" of health and social care.

"Four out of five hospitals inspected by regulators are not safe," is the Telegraph's top line, describing the report as "damning".

Writing in the paper, chief executive of the CQC, David Brehan, says: "Our inspectors found some outstanding care and rated many services as good.

"We have also found services that are inadequate or require improvement."

Mr Brehan says the commission is "calling time" on an "unacceptable lottery" which has seen "too many hospitals, care homes and GP practices" unable to match the standards of the best performers.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Guardian leads on the report's finding that: "Some A&E departments and maternity units are so short of doctors and nurses that they pose a danger to patients."

"Inspectors found examples of children being treated on adult wards, too few staff caring for patients overnight, patients waiting to have their call bells answered, lengthening waits for treatment, and low staffing levels leading to more elderly people falling," the paper notes.

The Daily Mail, which carries the story on its front page, adds: "In one shocking case, casualty patients were left for hours on trolleys in a temporary building to await treatment."

But it's another health story that makes the Independent's front page lead.

The paper claims in an exclusive that outsourcing to the private sector has called into question "the safety of tens of thousands of NHS patients".

It cites a "secret report" which describes how "dozens were left in severe pain by botched eye surgery carried out by private providers".

The Department of Health tells the paper its "tougher independent inspections" apply to both NHS and private facilities.

Brain surgeons, not fruit pickers

The imminent Rochester and Strood by-election continues to dominate Conservative minds and column inches.

There's something of a consensus on the opinion pages that the contest and the prime minister's pledge to attempt to negotiate a better deal for Britain from the EU are intertwined.

Across the board, the papers report that a Tory contender to fight for the seat has adopted UKIP immigration policy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lots of the papers carry shots of Margaret, the Lake District Wildlife Park's female tortoise, giving a ride to her offspring - Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo, named after the Ninja Turtles

Anna Firth told a hustings Britain needs a "sensible" policy, according to the Times: "One that says if you come to this country with skills we really need — say you're a brain surgeon in Australia as opposed to someone who has no skills, a fruit picker in Romania — then we say yes."

Nigel Farage, the paper notes, "has put the Australian [points-based] model at the heart of his policy".

Ms Firth's comments are picked up by the Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, who imagines David Cameron standing between the two prospective candidates before a poster that reads: "If you want a fruit picker for a neighbour, vote Labour."

With weeks to go until the by-election, the Times has reported the PM wants to put an "emergency brake" on immigration from some EU countries.

But in its editorial the paper warns: "Mr Cameron needs to be careful that he does not excite expectations he cannot meet."

The Sun - which has campaigned for the prime minister to make immigration his "EU red line" - adds: "His belated conversion is welcome. But it is a reaction to UKIP's surge."

For the Financial Times: "David Cameron's promise to impose new restrictions on EU migration had a clear audience in mind: the voters in the Rochester and Strood by-election, where the Tories are locked in a bitter battle with UKIP."

'Hell on earth'

A British man who was held in a Moroccan jail for committing "homosexual acts" has given his first interview since being released.

Ray Cole tells the Guardian about confronting one of the policemen holding him.

Image copyright PA

"I haven't been told what my rights are," he recalls. "I realised: you don't have any."

After being arrested by plainclothes officers, he was put in a police van then into holding cells. "They were hell on Earth," the 69-year-old says.

Mr Cole was reunited with his family earlier this month, after spending 20 days in prison.

Coverage of Ched Evans's impending release from Wymott Prison in Lancashire continues, with columnists disagreeing over what should now happen to the footballer.

It would send out a "corrosive message" if Evans was to continue playing for Sheffield United after his rape conviction, reckons Jan Moir in the Daily Mail.

Image copyright Getty Images

"Will he waltz back into his career, with all the money and celebrity and glory that goes with it?" she asks.

"To be adored by the thousands of impressionable teenage boys who will watch him every week, knowingly cheering on a convicted rapist?"

But Ian Birrell in the Guardian diverges, saying there is a "vital liberal principle at stake".

"However vile his assault, however arrogant his unremorseful stance, even a rapist such as Ched Evans deserves the chance of rehabilitation and should not be punished twice for the same offence."

Vinyl countdown

Image copyright Thinkstock

Sales of vinyl LPs are reportedly about to hit a 20-year high, with predictions that more than a million albums will have been sold by the end of the year.

The Mail and Telegraph report on figures from the Official Charts Company.

Lynne McDowell, from the British Phonographic Industry, says: "Vinyl may once have been considered a by-product of a bygone era but it's now well and truly a flourishing format making a comeback in a digital age."