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News Daily: Organised crime threat 'greater than terror', and cannabis on prescription

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Scale of organised crime revealed

Image copyright PA

The threat posed by serious and organised crime is far greater than terrorism, according to a new government assessment. It says more people are affected, harmed or killed by criminal gangs than by all the other national security risks combined.

The crimes committed by about 4,600 groups include child abuse, trafficking, drug dealing and cyber crime, and it's estimated to cost the UK £37bn a year, the National Crime Agency says. A new strategy to tackle it is being announced by the government later.

It comes as one of Britain's most senior police officers says forces should focus on catching thieves and violent criminals - rather than investigating allegations of behaviour such as misogyny or claims against dead people.

Sara Thornton, who chairs the National Police Chiefs' Council, told a conference that although such incidents mattered very much to some people, they undoubtedly took resources away from dealing with "today's crime today". She called for a "refocus on core policing", saying it had become "seriously stretched". She also highlighted figures showing arrests in England and Wales have halved in the last decade.

Cannabis products available on prescription

Specialist doctors in the UK can now prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients for the first time. It will only be available for a limited range of conditions - severe epilepsy, vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy, and multiple sclerosis. Here's a helpful video explaining how medicinal cannabis can help patients.

The law's been changed in response to an outcry over two boys with severe epilepsy being denied access to cannabis oil. But the government's been quick to point out this isn't a first step towards legalising cannabis for recreational use. Find out more about that debate here.

Sea heating 'underestimated'

A global study has warned the amount of heat absorbed by the oceans over the past 25 years has been seriously underestimated. Researchers say the seas have absorbed 60% more heat than previously thought, meaning it could be harder to keep global warming within safe levels this century. Here's a helpful guide to what we know and don't know about the Earth's changing climate.

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Is Stranger Danger still the right message for children?

By Dougal Shaw, BBC News World Hacks

Primary school teacher Suzie Morgan tried to get the Stranger Danger message across to her son a few years ago, but it backfired badly. He got frightened and confused, couldn't sleep at night and was worried somebody was breaking into the house.

Suzie had grown up with the Stranger Danger herself - government videos that warned against talking to strangers, advising children to "say no to strangers".

Like any parent she wanted to keep her child safe, but she was worried this message she was passing on to her son was making him too afraid of the world. So she was hopeful when her son's school piloted a new safety message, Clever Never Goes.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Image copyright Daly Mail, Sun

The call for a refocus on core policing is on the front of some newspapers. The Times says police chief Sara Thornton warned the "PC brigade" was wasting police time. "At last, a police chief who wants to catch criminals," says the Mail's headline. The Sun reports the government is planning a crackdown on round-the-clock alcohol sales in airport bars. It calls the story a "stag do bombshell". According to the i, at least three universities are on the verge of bankruptcy. The paper says they've been hit by a perfect storm of increased competition for students, falling numbers of 18-year-olds and tighter immigration controls on international students.

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Lookahead

11:30 England rugby team is announced ahead of Saturday's Autumn International against South Africa

12:00 The Bank of England announces its latest interest rates decision and publishes its quarterly inflation report

On this day

1986 A catastrophic fire at a chemicals factory near Basle, Switzerland, sends tons of toxic chemicals into the nearby river Rhine, turning it red

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