News Headlines

'Racism is real virus': Protesters ignore COVID risk as 23 held in London rally against racial violence

Thousands of people gathered in central London on Sunday as the protests in American cities spread to the UK.

The protesters were supporting Americans angry about violence suffered by black people at the hands of police in the US, a feeling galvanised by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this month.

Demonstrators ignored social distancing rules as they gathered at Trafalgar Square and marched to the US Embassy, where a long line of police surrounded the building.

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Manchester tower block residents ineligible for £1bn recladding fund

Residents of a Manchester tower block facing bills of thousands of pounds to fix dangerous cladding have been dealt “a massive blow” after finding out they are ineligible to apply for the government’s new £1bn building safety fund.

The fund, which was officially launched on Tuesday, excludes remediation work that started before 11 March, the day the fund was announced as part of the spring budget.

A leaseholder at Skyline Central in Manchester, where work to remove the cladding and fix other fire safety issues started in November and is nearing completion, said: “When they announced the fund it was a massive relief because we thought this was all over. So to find out a few days ago that it is not applicable to work that’s already started is a massive blow.”

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Online child abuse rising during lockdown warn police

Police forces across the world are warning that criminals and paedophiles are using the coronavirus lockdown to target children. Data gathered by the BBC reveals demand for abuse imagery has shot up.

Reports of obscene online material more than doubled globally to more than four million between March and April. The US-based Center for Missing and Exploited Children said some of that rise related to one especially horrific and widely-circulated video.

In the UK, where 300,000 people are considered a threat to children, there were nearly nine million attempts in the last month to access child sexual abuse websites which had been previously blocked by the Internet Watch Foundation.

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Police and Crime General Police force faces inquiries over tasering of black men

The police watchdog has promised to investigate allegations of racially motivated brutality by England’s second biggest force.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said that it was carrying out nine “full, fair and thorough” inquiries into officers at West Midlands police over use of force on black men.

The investigations are connected to six incidents in Birmingham, including claims black men were wrongly tasered by a rogue officer, the watchdog said.

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COVID-19 Police prepare for post-lockdown gang violence fuelled by social media

There could be a significant increase in violent crime fuelled by gang rivalries on social media which may spill on to the streets when lockdown rules are lifted, a senior police officer has warned.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said social media sites "have been a breeding ground" for gangs to taunt each other.

"We are very much aware of the pressure cooker that has developed when it comes to gang members who want to create mayhem when this lockdown is eased," he said.

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COVID-19 Government coronavirus contact tracing site crashes within minutes of launching as staff reveal first shift has been a 'complete shambles'

The government's coronavirus contact tracing site crashed on launch this morning amid complaints it has been a 'complete shambles'.

Doctors and other staff reported major teething troubles as the much-trumpeted scheme finally got up and running, with some saying they had not even received passwords to start work.

Meanwhile, NHS chiefs have warned that 'key bits' of the system are not yet operational and it cannot be described as 'world class'.

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COVID-19 Police step back from action against breaches of lockdown

Police are “retreating” from lockdown enforcement and will now only break up large gatherings.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) have told ministers that most lockdown issues are now a “personal and moral responsibility” rather than a policing issue, The Times has learnt.

Kathryn Holloway, the Conservative Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner and APCC spokeswoman for civil contingencies, wrote to fellow commissioners on Tuesday and said the government had accepted that police had “retreated” to engaging, explaining and encouraging rather than enforcing the lockdown.

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Fire Salford agrees deal for cladding removal

Salford City Council has revised a deal with a property management organisation to remove dangerous cladding from nine tower blocks in the city.

Deputy mayor John Merry signed the agreement at a cabinet meeting earlier this week, after a previous proposal was rejected by the government.

Pendleton Together, a subsidiary of housing association Together Housing, estimates that the cost of the work is around £32m, which it would fund under the proposed deal, a council report said.

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Technology Dark web drug supply surges nearly 500% during Covid-19 pandemic

Drug dealers have shifted from street-level dealing to online sales during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.

Listings for illegal drugs on the dark web – a hidden section of the internet that is only accessible with specialist software – surged by 495 per cent in recent months, as lockdowns forced dealers to seek alternative ways of distributing their products.

Cannabis postings on illicit marketplaces grew by 555 per cent, while postings for MDMA jumped by 224 per cent.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown breakers telling police 'if it's okay for Cummings, it's okay for us', says crime commissioner

People are breaking lockdown rules and using the actions of Boris Johnson's special adviser - Dominic Cummings - as an excuse, a senior police commissioner has said.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said members of the public were telling officers "if it is okay for Cummings, it is okay for us".

Mr Cummings has been accused of breaching coronavirus lockdown rules by travelling 260 miles with his wife and child from London to Durham, then making a 30-mile trip to Barnard Castle - which he claims he did to check if he was fit to drive.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus: 'Local lockdowns' to be introduced in UK for future coronavirus 'flare-ups'

Future "flare-ups" of coronavirus infections could lead to localised lockdown measures, the health secretary has said.

Matt Hancock revealed stricter social distancing measures could be introduced in certain areas in future as part of the NHS "test and trace" system for continuing to suppress the spread of COVID-19.

"We will have local lockdowns in future where there are flare-ups," he said at the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown forcing young drivers to seek solitude in their cars

Young drivers are seeking solitude in their cars during the coronavirus lockdown, a new survey suggests.

Some 30 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 have escaped their household by finding an excuse to go for a drive, an AA poll of 18,000 motorists indicated.

The vast majority (84 per cent) of respondents aged 18-24 said they have taken action of some sort to give themselves space away from people they live with, compared with an average across all age ranges of 62 per cent.

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COVID-19 Rise in assaults on emergency workers ‘driven by Covid spitting craze’

A nationwide rise in assaults on emergency workers may be due to a new trend in criminals spitting on officers during the coronavirus outbreak, police have said.

New data published this week showed a 14 per cent rise in attacks in the month leading up to May 10 compared to the same period last year. The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) for England and Wales suggested the rise is driven by ‘common assaults on police constables, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.’ It said the figures were surprising given that most assaults on emergency workers tend to be alcohol-fuelled incidents that have otherwise fallen with the closing of Britain’s nightlife. Overall crime fell a staggering 25 per cent, with every other category of offences showing a fall in figures.

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Police and Crime General Capital's Fed calls on Khan to reverse congestion charge for officers

Police officers are still required to pay while NHS staff, ambulance staff and care workers exempt from the charge, a decision which the Federation has called “inexcusable”.

The charge was re-introduced on Monday 18 May at £11.50. It applies seven days a week and will rise from to £15 on 22 June with extended hours from 7am to 10pm. The Federation have estimated it could cost officers over £300 a month.

The letter – jointly sent from Met Federation Chairman Ken Marsh and City Police Federation Mike Reed – reads: “The Police Officers we represent have without hesitation performed their duty as asked of them by the Government to support the wellbeing of the public and limit the spread of this deadly virus.

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Police and Crime General Police Federation calls for help to protect mental health of officers

The Police Federation has called more for more help to protect mental health, as a quarter of police officers worldwide drink to “hazardous” levels, according to a new University College London study.

The research, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, revealed that one-in-seven police officers worldwide meet the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression.

John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "The Government should do more to protect police officers both physically and mentally.

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Police Finances £814,000 announced to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence across the Thames Valley

Charitable and community organisations across the Thames Valley can now apply for funding to support them in helping victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The Ministry of Justice funding, which has been announced this week as £814,000 for the Thames Valley area, is available to charities, charitable incorporated organisations, company limited by guarantee, community interest and social enterprise organisations who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and who support victims of this type of abuse.

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: “We’re delighted to be able to help charitable organisations with further funding in response to this pandemic. We know that the lockdown will mean that there could be increases in cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence which, of course, is extremely concerning.

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COVID-19 Please help protect children and young people in your community

South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Alun Michael is asking everyone in our communities - family, friends, neighbours, postal workers, delivery drivers - to act as eyes and ears for our children during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to alert their local safeguarding team or the police if they believe a child is being neglected, experiencing abuse, or is at risk of harm.

Lockdown has reduced the opportunity for young people to let someone know what is happening at home. The usual referral routes such as schools and nurseries are closed, resulting in a decrease of about 40% in cases being brought to the attention of police and partner agencies.

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COVID-19 Maximum lockdown penalties rise to £1,920 in Wales

Maximum penalties in Wales for breaching lockdown will rise to £1,920, the Welsh Government has confirmed. First Minister Mark Drakeford has faced calls to raise the penalties to deter breaches.

Initial fixed penalties will stay the same at £60, but will double for each time someone is caught but the police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Dyfed-Powys Police said the changes to penalties do not go far enough.

PCCs had been pushing for tougher penalties, amid claims Wales' tougher restrictions are more difficult to enforce when they were lower than in England.

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Police and Crime General Government plans codeword for domestic abuse victims seeking immediate help

A specific phrase could be used to alert shop workers, who have been trained to identify the key words, the Home Office said.

The codeword scheme is set to be discussed at the virtual Hidden Harms Summit, which is to be hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today (May 21). Representatives from the National Crime Agency (NCA), National Police Chiefs’ Council, the children’s, domestic abuse, anti-slavery and victims’ commissioners and leaders from domestic abuse and children’s charities, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Refuge and Women’s Aid, are among those who are set to attend.

Mr Johnson said: “I am acutely aware that for some people home is not a safe space, and that coronavirus has brought with it additional dangers.”

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COVID-19 Benefit claims fraud could be £1.5bn

Benefit officials have told the BBC they fear that as much as £1.5bn may have been lost in fraudulent claims for Universal Credit in recent weeks.

Huge demand for the benefit has seen some processes relaxed to ensure the majority of claims are paid quickly but officials believe that some organised crime groups - as well as individuals - may have taken advantage of the system.

While officials are keen to emphasise that the vast majority of claims came from genuine applicants, especially in the initial surge, they fear the looser checks have opened the door to individuals and some organised crime groups exploiting the system.

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Technology Police recruitment programme falls victim to hackers

The programme, which works with 30 forces across England and Wales, was targeted by a phishing attack – aimed at stealing people’s data – between April 30 and May 5.

Candidates who applied to its graduate detective scheme were told that an email pretending to be from Police Now had been sent, asking people to click on a link suspected to be “malicious”.

The registered charity, which has received millions of pounds in Government funding, said a single inquiry mailbox was compromised, but other systems, including those used to submit applications, were not affected.

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Justice Terrorists will be sentenced to at least 14 years

Terrorists face at least 14 years in prison for serious offences and up to 25 years of monitoring when they are released, in changes to sentencing after the London Bridge and Streatham attacks.

Those only suspected of involvement in terrorism could have indefinite restrictions on their movements, a proposal likely to start a battle with civil liberties campaigners.

Judges would be able to give tougher sentences to people convicted of non-terrorist offences considered to be linked to terrorism, such as fraud or firearms offences. Adult terrorists would be made to take lie-detector tests as part of licence conditions on release from prison, and automatic early release for serious offenders given extended fixed-term sentences will end.

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Justice Terror suspects could face indefinite curbs under new legislation

Court orders restricting the movements of suspected terrorists could be renewed indefinitely under new legislation unveiled by the government.

The bill would lower the standard of proof to impose the orders, known as TPims, and remove the current two-year limit that applies to them.

Suspects would also have to register all electronic devices at their home address.

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Technology Cyberthieves hit computer worth £43m

Supercomputers across Britain and the world have been hacked by criminals trying to mine for cryptocurrency.

At least a dozen of the supercomputers, many of which were being used for coronavirus-forecasting models and to help develop a vaccine, have shut down. This includes the £43 million Archer supercomputer at the University of Edinburgh, which can perform a million billion calculations a second and was used for modelling on the pandemic.

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Police and Crime General New network set up to share lessons on policing the pandemic

A Europe-wide network to share best practice on policing the coronavirus crisis has been established by a professor from the University of South Wales (USW).

Professor Christian Kaunert, director of the International Centre for Policing and Security at USW, has joined forces with almost 50 other people across Europe to create the interdisciplinary network.

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Police and Crime General A statement from Police Federation Chair, John Apter.

A statement from Police Federation Chair, John Apter, thanking Special Constables for their service during the Coronavirus crisis.

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Technology Security flaws found in NHS contact-tracing app

Wide-ranging security flaws have been flagged in the Covid-19 contact-tracing app being piloted in the Isle of Wight.

The security researchers involved have warned the problems pose risks to users' privacy and could be abused to prevent contagion alerts being sent.

GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told the BBC it was already aware of most of the issues raised and is in the process of addressing them.

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COVID-19 Half a million access suicide prevention course

More than half a million people have accessed online training that aims to prevent suicide in the last three weeks alone, a charity has said.

The Zero Suicide Alliance said 503,000 users completed its online course during lockdown. It aims to help spot the signs that a person may need help. It comes as health leaders warned front-line workers tackling coronavirus could suffer from mental ill health.

The NHS Clinical Leaders Network warned of the possible impact of the pandemic on the mental health of front-line and other workers.

The group wrote in a paper released on Monday that past outbreaks show "we can expect notable increases in mental ill health and related issues for front-line workers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic".

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Fire Government backs away from pledge to remove Grenfell-style cladding from high-rise buildings by June

The government has backed away from its pledge to have Grenfell-style cladding removed from tall buildings by next month, with the dangerous material remaining on hundreds of buildings.

In July last year, James Brokenshire, then communities secretary, said in a written statement he expected all remediation work to be finished by June 2020 and warned building owners should “expect enforced action” if they did not meet the deadline.

A spokesperson for the government did not say whether it would be able to uphold the pledge and said “remediation work takes time and must be done safely and properly”.

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Prisons Prisoners with symptoms not allowed to shower or exercise for up to two weeks

Prisoners with coronavirus symptoms have been prevented from showering or doing exercise for up to 14 days, a new report from the prison watchdog has revealed.

The Prison Inspectorate said tightened restrictions in three large men’s local prisons meant inmates were often out of their cells for only 30 minutes per day, while those who were symptomatic had sometimes gone weeks without showering or exercising.

Phil Copple, director general of prisons, said: “In the face of extraordinary challenges, staff at these three prisons have worked hard to protect the men in their care and the wider public. I am pleased this has been recognised by the inspectorate.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus fines being handed out 26 times more frequently in different areas amid ‘postcode lottery’

Police in some parts of the country are handing out up to 26 times more coronavirus lockdown fines than officers in others amid a “postcode lottery” of enforcement, figures reveal.

Analysis by The Independent shows stark differences between neighbouring forces, leaving people 10 times more likely to be fined in North Yorkshire than Humberside, or in Northamptonshire than Warwickshire.

But campaigners said the figures showed a “worrying postcode lottery of policing” that must be addressed urgently after fines were increased to £100 in England.

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Police Finances Crime bosses offering thousands to help groups supporting the vulnerable during lockdown

COUNTY crime chiefs are offering thousands of pounds in support to help communities in Hampshire and Dorset get through the coronavirus crisis.

The funding pots from Hampshire and Dorset’s police and crime commissioners are open to services which help protect victims and support those vulnerable to crime, and those which work with offenders to reduce demand on hard-pressed providers.

Hampshire’s PCC, Michael Lane, has set up a £500,000 Covid-19 Response Fund to help tackle issues directly linked to the pandemic, including domestic abuse, missing children, hate crime, cyber-crime and the vulnerability of older people and exploitation of youngsters.

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COVID-19 Wales' police seek lockdown fines parity with England

Chief constables and police and crime commissioners in Wales want fines issued for breaching lockdown rules to be the same as England. Fines in Wales are £60 but now start at £100 in England.

In a letter to the first minister, they said there has been "cross-border confusion" and more people travelling into Wales for exercise where rules are different.

In Wales, people have to exercise close to home, whereas those in England can travel further afield, although they have been advised to avoid Wales for the time being.

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Police and Crime General Sharp increase in stop and search as arrest rate falls

Stop-and-search powers were used more than 30,000 times in London last month, the highest level in seven years.

Scotland Yard has markedly increased its use of stop and search, despite relatively empty streets during the lockdown, in an attempt to catch violent criminals.

However, the present arrest rate following stop and search is half that of 2015, when the number of searches was about a third the number carried out now, a statistic that will renew concerns about use of the controversial tactic.

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COVID-19 Judges' holidays could be axed and magistrates forced to work weekends in bid to cut backlogs

Judges’ summer holidays could be cancelled and magistrates required to sit at weekends to help clear the backlog of cases from the coronavirus lockdown.

Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, has been working with ministers and senior officials on new measures to help clear the backlog of 37,000 crown court cases and nearly 300,000 magistrates cases.

The traditional judicial two-month Summer recess - which largely affects the appeal and higher courts - could be axed while evening and weekend magistrates hearings - which have been trialled in Medway, Kent - are likely to be extended throughout the country, according to legal sources.

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COVID-19 Crowds return to beauty spots in England as coronavirus lockdown eases

Beaches, country parks and beauty spots across England were busy on Wednesday as people were allowed to drive as far as they wished to exercise for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was initiated, with police saying it may become more difficult to enforce the new regulations.

Despite pleas from local authorities, public health chiefs and even tourist bosses for people to stay away from visitor hotspots, routes to coastlines and countryside were congested.

Julian German, leader of Cornwall council, said that as far as he was concerned, the county remained shut to visitors. He expressed concern over the lack of clarity from the UK government. He said: “I find it amazing that the government is telling people they cannot see their close family members due to the risk of spreading the virus, but is also telling them they are fine to drive hundreds of miles for a day out.”

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Technology Fraudsters use bogus NHS contact-tracing app in phishing scam

Members of the public have been alerted to a scam in which fraudsters use a bogus version of the UK contact-tracing app being trialled on the Isle of Wight.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) said it had evidence of a phishing scam that uses a text message to try to fool people into believing they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Huge rise in fake goods and scams amid coronavirus lockdown, say UK councils

Trials of the NHS contact-tracing app are under way on the Isle of Wight, ahead of a rollout across the rest of the country later this month.

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COVID-19 Lockdown could bring hope for drugs gang teens

The lockdown could help teenagers caught up in drug violence turn their lives around, an experienced inner-city youth worker says.

The stay-at-home rules had led many to reflect in a "profound" way on their risky lifestyles, Mahamed Hashi, from south London, told BBC News.

The National Crime Agency said crime gangs and dealers had been forced on to the back foot by the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Rishi Sunak extends furlough scheme to and government will cover 80 per cent of pay with staff able to come back part-time

Rishi Sunak today extended the government's massive coronavirus bailout to October.

The Chancellor said the multi-billion pound subsidy, which had been due to end next month, will stay in place for four more months, and it will still cover 80 per cent of wages up to a ceiling of £2,500 a month.

With concerns the scheme is costing £14billion a month - roughly equivalent to the NHS budget - Mr Sunak also told the Commons that from July it will be available for workers who go back part-time, in a bid to 'wean' businesses off the support.

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COVID-19 Police told by Home Office to target big gatherings after warnings eased lockdown will be unenforceable

Police leaders have been told by the Home Office they will only be expected to intervene in large gatherings after they warned that the new rules could make lockdown impossible to police.

Police chiefs said the relaxation of the regulations allowing unlimited exercise, the freedom to travel any distances to open spaces and socially-distanced meetings outside would be unenforceable in full.

It followed a bank holiday weekend of hot weather when daytrippers travelled to beauty spots, friends crowded into parks and socially-distanced street parties spilled into houses after briefings about the prospective relaxation of the rules.

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COVID-19 Jury trials to resume in England and Wales with physical distancing

Jury trials will resume under physical distancing restrictions in a limited number of crown courts in England and Wales from 18 May, the lord chief justice has announced.

Lord Burnett of Maldon said the first courts where fresh juries would be sworn in will include the Old Bailey in London and Cardiff crown court.

Special arrangements to maintain the safety of lawyers, court staff and the jury have been agreed with the Ministry of Justice in line with Public Health England and Public Health Wales guidelines.

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Recruitment and Retention Promotion exams go online as some forces confirm sergeants early

The final group of candidates hoping to become inspectors with the Metropolitan Police will be interviewed on Friday following online tests.

National sergeant exams are still scheduled for the traditional date of the second week in October, the College of Policing has confirmed. It followed the decision in March by the College to cancel the Spring exams the night before candidates were due to sit them.

Forces that urgently needed to fill posts or had already started selection procedures for sergeants have promoted some candidates that had already passed the Part One exam.

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Police Finances Labour wants police recruitment cash switched to Covid-19 fight to be replaced

Home Secretary Priti Patel was urged to guarantee tens of millions of pounds for police recruitment today amid fears cash has been diverted to help the fight against coronavirus.

The Conservative minister faced calls to replace £84million to ease pressures on forces in the Covid-19 battle – cash which had been earmarked to boost officer numbers.

A letter from Policing Minister Kit Malthouse sent to Chief Constable David Thompson – the National Police Chiefs Council's finance coordination committee chairman - suggested money would be stripped out of the recruitment pot.

It indicated a ring-fence for half the £168million planned for recruiting extra constables will be removed and “repurposed” to allow it to be spent on pressures linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Police and Crime General Sadiq Khan warns of coronavirus crime rise if poverty not tackled

The poverty and hopelessness that fuel violence have worsened during the coronavirus lockdown and offending will increase unless the government finds more money to thwart a crime rise, Sadiq Khan has said.

The mayor of London has demanded the prime minister spearhead efforts to stop a rise in offending that police around the country have raised fears about as relaxed lockdown restrictions allow more people back on to the streets.

Khan said there was a “proven link” between rising poverty, increasing deprivation, increasing mental health problems and rises in serious violence.

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Police and Crime General Spitting attacks on police prompt pledge over tests

Police officers in Scotland can be tested for coronavirus if they fear an attack has put them at risk of the disease — even if they display no symptoms.

Ash Denham, community safety minister, said that there was “no barrier to accessing testing”, though officers would first have to contact Police Scotland’s HR department to determine if checking them was appropriate.

Alexander Stewart, the Conservative MSP, pressed the minister on the issue in Holyrood, and said: “Unfortunately some officers report being spat at and coughed at in a disgusting attempt to spread coronavirus.”

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COVID-19 Use common sense to see loved ones outdoors – Dominic Raab

People in England can meet another person from outside their household as long as they are outside and stay 2m apart, the government has confirmed.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said people should "use some common sense" and cannot visit others at their home.

The new rule is part of a 50-page guidance document to be published by the government later. On Sunday, Boris Johnson announced a "conditional plan" to begin lifting England's coronavirus lockdown.

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COVID-19 New guidelines could be 'unenforceable' Fed leaders warn

Police and Crime Commissioners have sought clarifications from Policing minister Kit Malthouse in a conference call yesterday which took place as the government published a 60-page document detailing new rights for the public to be able to travel, exercise and meet people.

Chief Constables and PCCs are concerned that they will be scapegoated if there is an increase in deaths as a result of the changes – by being blamed for not enforcing hard enough.

The government has been warned by PCCs that “we cannot police our way out of this”.

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COVID-19 Doctors and police warn of new coronavirus wave as UK lockdown weakens

Doctors and police reacted to the government’s new “stay alert” slogan and Boris Johnson’s lockdown-easing measures with warnings of growing non-compliance and the “impossibility” of policing.

New guidance is hurriedly being drawn up for officers around the country about the new rules set out by the prime minister, and what they should and should not police.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Police officers will continue to do their best, but their work must be based on crystal clear guidance, not loose rules that are left open to interpretation – because that will be grossly unfair on officers whose job is already challenging. If the message of what is expected of the public is not clear then it will make the job of policing this legislation almost impossible.”

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COVID-19 Policing lockdown 'impossible' without clarity PM warned

Boris Johnson was urged to quickly share details with forces and explain exactly what the public will be allowed to do in the next phase of the lockdown aimed at halting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Police Federation warned that If the message of what is expected of the public is not clear then it will make the job of policing the revised legislation “almost impossible.”

It follows a fractious weekend in which chief constables warned they are finding it increasingly difficult to enforce the legislation.

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COVID-19 PM to review lockdown restrictions with cabinet

Boris Johnson will review the coronavirus lockdown in England with his cabinet later, after suggesting some rules could be eased from Monday. By law the government must review the restrictions every three weeks, and Thursday marks the latest deadline.

The prime minister will address the nation on Sunday to outline plans for the next stage of the lockdown.

The "stay at home" message is expected to be scrapped, with ministers keen to restart the economy.

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Police Finances Coronavirus costing Northumbria Police almost £3million, says crime comissioner

Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness has called on the government to reimburse the “vast majority” of the extra money it has been forced to spend in response to the pandemic.

Force finance chiefs say that, in a worst-case prediction, the estimated cost of Covid-19 to Northumbria Police is £2.87million.

That includes £863,000 spent on procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff, £811,000 to cover extra staffing costs like overtime pay, and £258,000 on IT upgrades to allow people to work from home.

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Police and Crime General APCC and NPCC hate crime leads letter to the IAG

The APCC and NPCC Leads on Hate Crime, Hardyal Dhindsa (PCC for Derbyshire) and DCC Mark Hamilton (PSNI), have written to the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime and also force IAGs across England and Wales, to reaffirm their commitment that hate crimes and incidents will be not be tolerated during this time.

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COVID-19 Domestic abuse could increase in post-lockdown recession, police warn

Police are concerned that a post-coronavirus recession may worsen domestic abuse amid a suspected spike during the UK’s lockdown.

Officers are appealing for victims to seek help after calls to charity helplines rocketed but reported crimes only saw a modest rise.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said forces were bracing for a potential influx of reports when restrictions lift, and victims are no longer confined with perpetrators inside their homes.

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Prisons 500 prisoners set to be released early to combat spread of coronavirus

Five hundred prisoners are set to be released early from jails in England and Wales to combat the spread of coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Lawyers for the MoJ told prison reform charities that 200 have been approved for temporary release while a further 300 are being considered.

It came as documents revealed to the charities as part of their threatened legal action against the MoJ showed that the Government was warned in late March that as many as 3,500 people in prison could die in the pandemic.

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Police Demand Police 'overwhelmed' by backlog of digital devices waiting to be examined

Dorset Police has a backlog of more than 100 digital devices waiting to be examined by investigators, new figures reveal.

The Police Federation of England and Wales said officers are "overwhelmed" by the amount of digital evidence they are faced with, warning that mounting workloads are a result of forces struggling to attract new detectives.

Data provided to the Press Association news agency through a freedom of information request showed a total of 132 devices were awaiting examination by Dorset investigators.

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Police and Crime General Met Police child sex abuse unit arrests 45 during lockdown

The Met Police has arrested 45 suspected paedophiles since the lockdown began, new figures reveal.

Specialist officers safeguarded 92 people in the first four weeks after 23 March, when severe restriction on people's movement were put in place.

Over the same period the Met's Online Child Abuse and Exploitation Unit (OCSAE) received 202 reports of crimes.

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Police and Crime General Parents urged to remain vigilant as nearly 100 children are targeted by predators online in first month of lockdown

Nearly 100 children who were being targeted online by child abusers were saved by police in London during the first four weeks of the lockdown, Scotland Yard revealed today.

New Met figures show that 45 suspects were also arrested during the same period and dozens of homes searched for possible evidence of crimes.

At the same time, an average of 50 alerts a week about potential online abuse cases in the capital are being passed to detectives by the National Crime Agency.

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Police Demand Assaults On UK Emergency Workers Are Rising, Even As Other Crimes Are Falling

Assaults on emergency workers have risen during the coronavirus pandemic even as other crimes have declined substantially, according to police data obtained by BuzzFeed News.

During a four-week period ending in mid-April, police recorded around 260,000 offences — a 29% decrease compared to the same stretch in 2019. Murders fell by 20%, rapes by 35%, vehicle crime by 42%, and shoplifting by 59%.

But assaults on emergency workers increased by 16% — the only crime in the data reviewed by BuzzFeed News that had gone up. Police have been called to more than 3,000 such cases since mid-March, compared to 2,600 during the same period in 2019. More than 300 involved “coughing or spitting on emergency workers” which were often “followed by other assaults”, according to the report.

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Recruitment and Retention New recruit training will go on despite training centre closures

The National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing confirmed that assessments of new recruits is continuing despite training centres being closed and most other police buildings having restricted access

Two forces, Hampshire and West Midlands, have started piloting online assessments including vetting. Changes have also included holding interviews over Skype.

The NPCC and Home Office Uplift teams have issued new guidance to forces recommending they defer fitness testing for new recruits until just before they join. With public gyms closed and limited time for people being allowed outside their homes, some potential recruits could struggle to meet minimum standards.

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COVID-19 Police demand 'absolute clarity' in grave warning to Boris over easing lockdown rules

Police Federation National Chair John Apter has pleaded with the UK Government to have "absolute clarity" when easing the lockdown or risk a situation that is "near-on impossible" to police.

The Government must include "no surprises" and have "absolute clarity" when it comes to easing lockdown restrictions, the National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has warned. John Apter spoke to the BBC's World at One about the challenges involved in policing the reopening of the UK. The police have been criticised for an over-interpretation of the rules regarding the coronavirus shutdown and perhaps enforcing the guidelines too heavily.

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Recruitment and Retention More than 3,000 extra officers join police in recruitment drive

Police ranks across England and Wales have been bolstered with an additional 3,005 officers since the government launched a major recruitment drive, according to figures released today (30 April).

The figures follow the launch of the government’s campaign in September 2019 to recruit 20,000 extra officers over the next three years.

They show 3,005 recruits joined the police specifically as part of the uplift programme. In total, forces recruited 6,435 officers from November 2019 to March 2020, including recruitment planned before the government campaign was announced.

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COVID-19 More than 9,000 fines for lockdown breaches

More than 9,000 fines have been issued in England and Wales for breaching coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Almost 400 of those fined are repeat offenders and one individual was fined six times, according to data from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

Police have been given powers to hand out a £60 penalty, reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks, for breaches of the lockdown rules. The fine is doubled for each repeat offence up to a £960 maximum.

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COVID-19 Medical cannabis access eased amid lockdown

Patients have begun receiving medical cannabis through the post, as the coronavirus pandemic has left them unable to access the drug any other way.

Many medical cannabis users suffer from chronic pain and some have had other types of care, including non-emergency surgeries, postponed because of the outbreak.

Dr Alan Fayaz, a consultant in chronic pain medicine at University College London Hospital, says his patients had been left "very vulnerable".

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Police Demand West Midlands Police braced for summer crime wave from 'jobless young men'

West Midlands Police is bracing itself for a summer crime wave led by alcohol-fuelled young men who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

The region’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said the force is planning for a huge spark in crime in June and July, when pubs may have re-opened if lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

He said he had serious concerns that thousands of young men across the region will find themselves jobless, prompting them to hit the booze heavily and get involved in crime.

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Police Demand Coronavirus could cause 'unprecedented' backlog of court cases

The coronavirus outbreak could lead to court case delays of up to six months and record prisoner numbers once the lockdown has been lifted, according to a leading Whitehall thinktank.

Pressure on the criminal justice system from the pandemic combined with an anticipated rise in suspects facing charges could cause an “unprecedented” backlog of court proceedings in England and Wales, the Institute for Government (IfG) said.

Working alongside the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa), researchers said waiting times to hear cases could increase by more than 70% after a six-month lockdown, with many defendants and victims forced to wait more than half a year for crown court trials.

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Technology Malthouse lifts budget rules to free up ring-fenced funding

Kit Malthouse has told every chief constable and police and crime commissioner that the pensions grant Uplift programme cash has been brought forward and released from ringfencing rules to ease short-term cash flow pressures.

He explained the Home Office was taking a “a flexible and pragmatic approach” to the crisis and did not rule out further funding if needed.

Paying for overtime, PPE, emergency accommodation and more would normally come out of force reserves. With the crisis looking set to last at least a month, forces would be pushed to the financial brink as their funding is agreed on a yearly basis.

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Police and Crime General Sheep rustling soars following meat rationing in supermarkets

The rationing of fresh meat in supermarkets at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic led to a surge in sheep rustling cases across the countryside, according to farmers’ groups.

Criminals gangs, seeking to cash in on food shortages caused by panic buying last month, struck at livestock farms across the UK stealing hundreds of animals.

In some cases they even butchered the lambs in the fields before making off with the carcasses to sell on the black market.

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Police and Crime General County lines gangsters are buying taxis to deal drugs in bid to outwit police during lockdown

County lines drug dealers are buying taxis in a bid to outwit police, says Priti Patel as she revealed the coronavirus lockdown was making it harder for them to operate.

The Home Secretary said the gangs changed their tactics every day including using different modes of transport but were now “more visible, more prevalent” on the emptier streets.

“[Police] have been able to swoop up, do more gang busting, pick up more drugs and shut down more county lines because these individuals are out there when the rest of society is not,” she told MPs on the Home Affairs Committee.

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COVID-19 Child abuse calls to NSPCC up 20% since lockdown

There has been an almost 20% rise in calls to the NSPCC since the start of the coronavirus lockdown from adults concerned about child abuse.

Figures show calls about children facing potential emotional abuse rose from 529 to 792 in the first month since government measures were imposed.

Calls could be from neighbours, extended family or delivery drivers.

Overall calls rose from 1,867 in the four weeks before lockdown to 2,216 between 23 March and 19 April.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Boris Johnson back at Downing Street to lead response

Boris Johnson has returned to Downing Street to take charge of the UK's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The prime minister will chair the regular morning cabinet meeting on Covid-19 before holding talks with senior ministers and officials.

He arrived back at No 10 on Sunday evening amid mounting pressure from Tory MPs to begin lifting the lockdown but Health Minister Edward Argar said "now is not the time to ease up" even if people were feeling frustrated.

The latest official figures bring the total number of deaths in UK hospitals to 20,732, after a further 413 were announced on Sunday.

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Prisons The details of the government's prison early release scheme

Some weeks ago the government announced that it would be releasing prisoners early in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on prisoners and staff living in our overcrowded prisons and “to protect the NHS and save lives”.

The MoJ announced that early release would be focused on two groups:

1) Pregnant prisoners who do not pose a high risk of harm to the public would be temporarily released from prison to protect them and their unborn children from coronavirus. The same criteria applied to women prisoners in Mother and Baby Units who would also be released along with their children.

2) All prisoners who are within two months of their release date and are also assessed as low risk would be temporary released from jail.

So far, there has been relatively little activity with less than 100 individuals released from both these cohorts combined and the early release scheme for prisoners within two months of their release date was suspended after six prisoners were mistakenly freed early.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Prisoners put to work making personal protective equipment

Prisoners are being put to work making personal protective equipment to help in the battle against coronavirus and save hospitals money.

Inmates at eight category B and C jails around the country will start making hospital scrubs and face visors this week as part of a “national effort” to beat the disease, the Justice Secretary said.

The items will cost around a third of the normal commercial rate, with a typical set of scrubs costing around £5, compared with £15 on the open market.

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COVID-19 Calls to domestic abuse helpline jump by half

Calls to a national domestic abuse helpline rose by 49% and killings doubled weeks after lockdown, a report by MPs has revealed.

Following the "surge" in violence, the report called for a government strategy on domestic abuse during the pandemic.

MPs also said "safe spaces", where victims can seek help, should be rolled out to supermarkets and other shops. The Home Office said it was increasing funding to support helplines and online services.

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Police and Crime General Knife crime in England and Wales rises to record high, ONS figures show

Knife crime in England and Wales increased last year to a new record high, figures released by the Office for National Statistics have shown.

The ONS said police recorded 45,627 offences in the year to December 2019, that is 7% more than in 2018, and the highest since knife crime statistics were first collected in 2010-11. The figures - which do not include Greater Manchester Police because of IT issues - showed a 13% rise in the West Midlands.

Downing Street acknowledged there was "more to be done to crack down on thugs carrying knives and ensuring they are properly punished".

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Technology Deploying Intune for Android devices in Cumbria Constabulary

Every region of the 43 in England and Wales has its own set of challenges when it comes to Policing. Cumbria’s challenge is one of size. With the 7th fewest officers in their ranks, but with the 7th largest geographic area of responsibility, efficiency of communication is key. We wanted to learn more about how Cumbria Constabulary have been removing barriers to communication and information with their new mobile devices, so we [transformation police] caught up with PCC Peter McCall and PC Mark Christie to find out more...

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Social restrictions 'to remain for rest of year'

The UK will have to live with some disruptive social measures for at least the rest of the year, the government's chief medical adviser has said.

Prof Chris Whitty said it was "wholly unrealistic" to expect life would suddenly return to normal soon. He said "in the long run" the ideal way out would be via a "highly effective vaccine" or drugs to treat the disease. But he warned that the chance of having those within the next calendar year was "incredibly small".

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] New working arrangements for MPs as Commons returns

The House of Commons has been trying out its new working arrangements in preparation for MPs' return later.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle led a rehearsal on Monday in which ministers faced questions via video link. Screens have been installed in the chamber to allow MPs to speak remotely while the limited number attending in person will be signposted where to sit.

They are part of a raft of changes designed to allow Parliament to continue to operate during the coronavirus outbreak, including reduced sitting hours, virtual committee meetings and strict social distancing measures within the Palace of Westminster.

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Police and Crime General Police officer who threatened to 'make up' offence suspended after outcry

A police officer who was filmed threatening to “make something up” in order to lock up a young man has been suspended after a public outcry.

The man was reportedly pulled over in Accrington, Lancashire, on Friday by police after purchasing a quad bike for a relative when he was accosted by an officer and ordered to surrender his car keys, prompting him to protest he had done nothing wrong.

He was then told at a close distance that police would fabricate evidence to justify detaining him. The footage, filmed by a friend, went viral on social media and Lancashire police issued an apology, which admitted that threatening to make offences up damaged public confidence in the police and that the officer had behaved in an unacceptable fashion.

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Police and Crime General Britain will be a 'more volatile and agitated society' when it comes out of coronavirus lockdown, senior police officer warns

Britain will be a 'more volatile and agitated' society when it comes out of lockdown, a senior police officer has warned.

With the UK lockdown in place until at least May 7, concerns have been raised about the effects of mass unemployment, abuse inside homes and mental health issues on society when the measures are eventually lifted.

Police Superintendents Association (PSA) President Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths told The Independent senior officers fear a rise in crime and disorder post-lockdown - and urged leaders to engage with communities to quell this.

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COVID-19 Rural organisations join forces to call for Coronavirus lockdown travel guidelines to be reviewed

The Countryside Alliance, National Rural Crime Network, NFU and CLA are asking the Justice Secretary to urgently review the interpretation of the coronavirus lockdown enforcement measures following last week's guidance from the National Police Chiefs' Council and College of Policing.

In a letter to Robert Buckland QC MP, Tim Bonner (Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance), Julia Mulligan (Chair of the National Rural Crime Network), Stuart Roberts (Deputy President, NFU) and Mark Bridgeman (President, CLA) said:

"There are, sadly, a great many of us who believe that the published NPCC and College of Policing guidelines around exercise and permissible distances to travel to do so, will make managing COVID-19 more difficult, as well as cause untold anxieties across rural communities.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police chief fears crime wave after coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased

Police should be ready to deal with a "more volatile and agitated society" after lockdown measures are eased, a senior officer has warned.

Crime levels in England and Wales have fallen by more than a quarter during the pandemic, with a 28 per cent decrease in the four weeks to April 12 compared with that period last year.

There has been a 27 per cent drop in vehicle crime, serious assault and personal robbery, and recorded rape offences have fallen 37 per cent.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] County lines drug dealers ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ during lockdown, say police

The coronavirus pandemic could provide an unexpected opportunity for police forces to tackle county lines drug dealing as the lockdown means criminals “stick out like a sore thumb”, senior officers have said.

They said a reduction in street crime such as assaults and burglary had also allowed police more time to be proactive in focusing on the issue.

But officers cautioned that the pandemic could also lead county lines networks to move the trade “behind closed doors” and into the homes of vulnerable individuals during lockdown.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] HSE defends safety kit guidance

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) had deferred to Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. Because it is a workplace issue, the final decision rests with the HSE.

The Police Federation’s Chairman, John Apter, told Police Oracle that provision has improved but clarity on what should be used and what could be reused remains unclear.

The HSE said forces had to work within the Health and Safety at Work Act and it has accepted that officers have to work in circumstances that can rapidly change.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Prison plan on hold after six inmates freed in error

Six inmates were mistakenly freed from prison under the government’s temporary release scheme to combat the spread of the coronavirus, it has emerged, prompting an urgent suspension of the programme.

The inmates were wrongly let out of two open category D prisons – Leyhill in Gloucestershire and Sudbury in Derbyshire – along with another from the Isis category C prison and young offenders institute in south-east London. The Ministry of Justice said the men “returned compliantly”.

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Police Finances Unions slam 'woefully low' council pay offer

The Government should provide extra funding to give council workers a 'proper' pay rise during the pandemic crisis, trade unions have said.

Unison, Unite and GMB have branded the 2.75% pay offer from the National Employers as 'woefully low' arguing it fails to recognise the efforts of local government staff in delivering frontline services during the lockdown.

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COVID-19 LGC survey: Government crisis response given benefit of the doubt

The government’s overall handling of the response to the coronavirus crisis has largely been rated positively by LGC readers.

Asked to rate the response on a scale of one (very poor) to five (excellent), most (41%) opted for average or good (34%). Fewer than a fifth (18%) rated it very poor or poor but only 7% went for excellent. Ratings were slightly higher among senior respondents with 88% of chief executives, directors and senior managers giving a rating of three or more compared to 82% overall.

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Economy & Public Finance Pay offer for council staff increased to 2.75%

Council employees have been offered an improved pay increase of 2.75%, with an extra day’s annual leave.

In February, unions rejected a previous 2% pay offer as “more than disappointing”.

The National Employers, who negotiate pay on behalf of 350 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, described this afternoon’s announcement as the “final offer”.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] UK lockdown extended for 'at least' three weeks

Lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue for "at least" another three weeks as it tackles the coronavirus outbreak, Dominic Raab has said.

The foreign secretary told the daily No 10 briefing that a review had concluded relaxing the measures now would risk harming public health and the economy.

"We still don't have the infection rate down as far as we need to," he said.

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Economy & Public Finance Deficit ‘could reach 12% of GDP’ this year

The UK government deficit could rise to as high as £260bn – about 12% of GDP – this financial year, as a result of the measures taken amid the coronavirus pandemic, economists at PwC have predicted.

An estimated £60bn-£80bn of direct fiscal stimulus, added to the effects of slower economic growth in the wake of the crisis, could cause the deficit to leap to between £180bn and £260bn in 2020-21, PwC’s report said.

The Office for Budgetary Responsibility forecast, pre-coronavirus, was that the deficit would be £55bn.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police guidelines give 'reasonable excuses' to go out

Police have been told to stop people "home-working" in parks or sitting on a public bench for long periods of time.

Guidance to officers in England says neither activity is likely to be a "reasonable excuse" for someone to leave their home in the lockdown.

But the advice from police leaders and trainers says that people can move to a friend's address for a cooling-off period "following arguments at home".

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Lancashire Police issues most lockdown penalties

More than 3,200 fines have been issued for alleged breaches of the coronavirus lockdown by police forces in England.

The National Police Chiefs Council said people as old as 100 were given the £60 penalties from 27 March to 13 April. Nearly 40 fines mistakenly issued to children were withdrawn.

Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen said Lancashire Police handed out the most with 380 due to "barbecues, parties and Blackpool beaches", followed by Thames Valley with 219 and Surrey with 205.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Scammers use 'hook' of pandemic to target victims

People and businesses should be wary of scammers trying to turn the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned.

Scammers have been targeting vulnerable people including those self-isolating at home, the NCA said.

Graeme Biggar, director general of the agency's National Economic Crime Centre, said the virus was increasingly being used as "a hook to commit fraud".

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Police and Crime General Gangs using flaws in postal security to import firearms

British criminals are exploiting the “fast parcel” system to buy blank-firing handguns from European dealers before converting them to fire live ammunition, the National Crime Agency has warned.

Law enforcement officials are alarmed by poor postal security which has allowed the trade to go undetected.

An assessment by the NCA reveals that the blank firers are shipped to the UK in fast parcels by dealers in eastern Europe and the western Balkans. The weapons are legal to own in some EU countries but prohibited in Britain.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police with emergency powers will use drones to spot crowds

Increasing numbers of drones are to be deployed to enforce the lockdown after police were given emergency powers by the aviation watchdog.

Air safety regulations governing the use of the technology have been relaxed to allow police to enforce social distancing rules in locations such as parks, beaches and housing estates.

An exemption introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will permit forces across the UK to fly drones at a higher altitude and closer to people than previously allowed. It also slightly relaxes rules around the operating of devices beyond a drone pilot’s visual line of sight — extending their range — providing they are observed by a second officer.

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Police Demand [Coronavirus] Suspects to avoid criminal charges in UK during Covid-19 crisis

Suspected offenders are set to avoid criminal charges under unprecedented new guidance to ease the burden on the justice system during the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) tells prosecutors in England and Wales to use alternative options to charges, including dropping cases for less serious offences, to alleviate pressure on courts. They have also been told to prioritise the most serious criminal cases during the crisis.

With “less serious” crimes prosecutors are asked to consider out of court disposals, such as a caution or community resolution, as well as stopping cases where the public interest does not require a prosecution.

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Police Finances Solace savages ‘inane’ and ‘crass’ Taxpayers’ Alliance ‘rich list’

Chief executives have condemned the Taxpayers' Alliance’s annual attack on local government pay as “inane and distasteful”, particularly in light of the work councils are doing in the Covid-19 outbreak.

Graeme McDonald, managing director of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers also called the alliance’s report “innumerate” and “crass”.

The alliance - which operates as a limited company - has published the list for 13 years and targets what it believes is profligate pay levels in councils.

It said: “The country is facing a profound challenge and the response of workers from the public, private and voluntary sectors has been laudable. But accountability still matters and taxpayers deserve to know if they are getting value for their hard-earned money.”

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Economy & Public Finance Public sector borrowing set to hit record high

Public sector borrowing as a result of the coronavirus lockdown is set to hit a record 14% of GDP this year but then decline rapidly to the levels predicted in the March Budget, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The OBR says borrowing as a result of the virus could hit £218bn this year, making total borrowing £273bn or 14% of GDP, the largest deficit in a single year since the Second World War and almost half as much again as the 10% deficit in 2010. Once the crisis has passed and ‘the policy interventions’ have unwound the deficit will then fall back to the Budget forecast of around 2% of GDP.

Total public spending is set to hit 52% of GDP this year, also the highest since the Second World War. Total public sector net debt would hit 100% of GDP this year before falling back to 95%. By 2024/5 it would still be £260bn higher than the Budget forecast, or 10% of GDP.

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Economy & Public Finance Tax needs a 'fundamental overhaul', says IfG

A combination of higher public spending due to coronavirus and rising social care costs means the tax system is in need of a fundamental overhaul, says a report from the Institute for Government (IfG).

The institute says ‘the UK tax system has long been in need of reform to shore up the tax base and address long-standing weaknesses’ and that ‘the aftermath of this crisis could provide an opportunity to address these long-standing problems and improve the way in which we raise tax – and indeed, to move to a higher tax system if that is indicated by public desire.’

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Anti-social behaviour on rise but overall crime falls

Reports of anti-social behaviour have increased substantially during the coronavirus outbreak, police have said.

In the last four weeks, there were 178,000 incidents across England and Wales - a rise of 59% on last year.

The National Police Chiefs' Council, which published the figures, said the rise was likely linked to breaches of lockdown measures - with more than 3,200 fines issued in England.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Priti Patel refuses extra powers for cops to enter homes & shut down parties

Priti Patel has shut down demands from police asking for extra powers to enforce social distancing.

Emergency measures won't be extended to let cops enter private homes to shut down parties.

She told ITV: "The answer is no (to extra powers) I speak to the Police Federation on a regular basis, on a weekly basis."

"In Greater Manchester they have had over 600 examples of house parties taking place and to be fair to their police officers, by policing by consent... they've been able to break up those house parties."

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Economy & Public Finance [Coronavirus] Accounts simplification isn’t happening. What next?

An effort to reduce the accounts preparation burden on local authorities in the midst of coping with the Covid-19 crisis was recently abandoned.

CIPFA/LASAAC had made clear that they were considering radical proposals to streamline the 2019-20 statement of accounts. It was not revealed what these proposals were, but if they were in line with the suggestions, the intention would have been to secure the sign-off of the minimum information needed for the effective financial management of the authority as soon as feasible.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police seek powers to break up parties in private houses to help combat spread of coronavirus

Frontline police officers are seeking extra powers to enter private homes to break up parties and prevent the spread of coronavirus but are expected to be rejected by Priti Patel.

The Police Federations believe there is a loophole in the coronavirus rules which means they cannot enter a private dwelling to stop a house party or even a barbecue at a private house.

They can only act if they are allowed in by the householders which they say has hampered efforts to combat such gatherings, a key source for the spread of the disease.

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Fire [Coronavirus] Call for testing of firefighters as 3,000 isolate

Around 12% of firefighters and control room staff in some areas are self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic, says the firefighters' union.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says nearly 3,000 fire and rescue staff across the UK are in isolation.

It has called on the government to provide urgent coronavirus testing of its members so they can return to work. A government spokesman said it is working with fire chiefs to ensure they have the support they need.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] UK Parliament still set to return on 21 April

Parliament is still on course to return on 21 April to debate coronavirus measures and authorise spending on the UK's pandemic response.

It will not be business as usual for MPs, with social distancing measures still likely to be in place.

The government needs to pass its Finance Bill, enacting measures in the Budget, which is due to get its second reading on 22 April.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] UK triples coronavirus response fund for NHS and public services

The government’s coronavirus emergency response fund, set up during last month’s budget to provide financial assistance to public services, has been almost tripled to more than £14bn, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced.

The move comes as the government faces mounting criticism of its response to the pandemic, amid concerns that frontline health workers have not received sufficient protective equipment and that hospitals urgently require more ventilators.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Householders face up to five years in prison if they burn recycling during collection cutbacks

Householders are being warned that they face up to five years in prison if they burn recycling because councils have cut back their regular bin collections.

Some councils have already started to cut back collections to focus on rubbish destined for landfill. More services are expected to be cut this coming week as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

Last week the Government said in official guidance that councils could start to cut back on kerbside collections of recycled waste or garden waste to focus on picking up black bin rubbish and food waste due to staff shortages.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Surge in domestic violence during Covid-19 crisis

Shocking statistics revealed that domestic violence has surged since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, as the home secretary, Priti Patel, insisted that help for all victims of abuse was available.

Patel said that all support services were operating “during this difficult time” and promised that assistance was available for anyone at risk.

The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day, while a separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse seeking help to change their behaviour received 25% more calls after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Ministers to discuss UK lockdown review

Ministers will discuss a review of the UK's coronavirus lockdown later to consider whether restrictions on people's movements should be extended.

The government's emergency Cobra committee will look at evidence from scientists on the impact of measures brought in on 23 March - although a formal decision is not expected.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police chiefs call on No 10 to tighten UK coronavirus lockdown

?Police chiefs want the government to consider toughening coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the Guardian has learned, as they head into the Easter bank holiday weekend with concerns that a growing minority will flout the rules.

More stringent restrictions to prevent people driving long distances are among options supported by at least five chief constables who want enforcement action to be bolstered by clearer and tougher government curbs. Other options include using legislation to enforce the order to limit exercise to once a day.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Gang life 'has stopped' because of COVID-19

Gang rivalries have been "put on hold" and violence has "stopped" as members follow coronavirus lockdown rules, the head of a charity has told Sky News.

Sheldon Thomas, who founded the Gangsline Foundation Trust, said county lines activity has also fallen as police enforce the "stay at home" guidance.

County lines refers to when city gangs exploit children into selling drugs in rural areas and small towns.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police seeing rise in mental health issues during lockdown

A special remote hearing of the Home Affairs Select Committee on Monday (April 6) on police preparedness for the pandemic heard evidence from a number of witnesses that restrictions on outdoor access and a general increase in overall anxiety were factors in the rise.

Simon Kempton, operational lead for Covid-19 at the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), said officers were seeing more cases as pressure on the emergency services meant more vulnerable people were “falling between the gaps”.

Mr Kempton said: “There are very early indications of an increase in suicide attempts and suicides – far too early to say if that’s a real trend, but there are early indications of that. Quite often the police are the agency who are trying to deal with that situation.

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Police and Crime General [Coronavirus] Police want spit guards to protect officers from 'vile behaviour'

MPs have been told that all police officers should be issued with spit guards to prevent some offenders biting, coughing and spitting at officers after claiming they have COVID-19.

The president of the Police Superintendents' Association told members of the home affairs select committee that a minority of offenders had resorted to behaviour which was putting officers at risk of contracting the virus.

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Police and Crime General [Coronavirus] Man jailed after claiming to have Covid-19 and coughing on police

A man who claimed to have been infected with coronavirus before coughing on police has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Christopher McKendrick was detained on Thursday afternoon after officers were called to reports of someone being abusive and threatening in South Derbyshire, and found him waving a piece of wood “in a threatening manner”, police said.

When police asked if he had the virus, he replied: “I’ve already had it, I’ve got over it and now I am a super-spreader.”

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Police and Crime General Labour urges emergency aid for domestic abuse services

Organisations providing domestic abuse support services during the Covid-19 crisis must get an emergency financial package from the government, the new shadow home secretary has said in his first intervention in the role.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, who was appointed to the shadow cabinet by the new Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sunday, has written to his Conservative counterpart Priti Patel to request funds for organisations that run “frontline” domestic abuse services, as well as to turn underused hotel chains and university halls into emergency accommodation.

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Police Finances Reports suggest Big Four, BDO and Grant Thornton discuss furlough behind closed doors

In a virtual meeting on April 3, the Big Four, alongside competitors BDO and Grant Thornton, met to discuss the reputational risks and appropriateness of accepting coronavirus-driven government assistance, according to reports.

The meeting was organised by the ICAEW and attended by a lawyer appointed by the membership body, according to the Financial Times.

Leadership from the accountancy firms debated whether to utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, while two of the Big Four firms confirmed having applied for the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, according to two FT sources.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus: More than 9 million expected to be furloughed

More than nine million workers are expected to be furloughed under the government's job retention scheme (JRS).

That is according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation, using the latest figures on take-up of the scheme from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The cost to the taxpayer over three months is estimated at £30-40bn.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Boris Johnson spends night in intensive care after symptoms worsen

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent the night in intensive care at a central London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened. Downing Street said he was moved to the unit on the advice of his medical team and was receiving "excellent care".

Mr Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputise "where necessary", a spokesman added. The prime minister, 55, was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital with "persistent symptoms" on Sunday evening.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Violent crime falls by up to 40 per cent in coronavirus lockdown

Violent crime has fallen by up to 40 per cent in parts of Britain as a result of restrictions on people’s movement in the coronavirus lockdown, according to the first official figures.

Police forces are reporting falls in overall crime rates of between eight and 30 per cent but street crime and burglaries have seen even steeper declines compared year on year or March on February.

West Midlands, one of Britain’s biggest forces, saw a 41 per cent fall in serious violence and a 39 per cent drop in knife crime during March compared to the same month last year.

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Police and Crime General [Coronavirus] Police call in experts for advice on staying safe

Police officers have called in experts amid claims that those on the frontline are being put at risk of contracting Covid-19 by government advice.

A panel of scientific and medical academics has been set up by the Scottish Police Federation, which represents the rank and file, to ensure that officers are able to carry out their duties in relative safety.

Sir Harry Burns, the former chief medical officer for Scotland, will offer medical advice to the panel alongside Hugh Pennington, the microbiologist, and George Crooks, the chief executive of the Digital Health and Care Institute and former medical director of NHS24.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Allow young people out of lockdown early to get country moving, say business experts

Allowing young people aged between 20 and 30 out of lockdown early could help get Britain moving again and avoid an "extraordinary recession", business experts have said.

As the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, told the daily press conference that the epidemic curve appeared to be "flattening off", speculation is growing as to how the UK can escape from its lockdown.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Concerns over Autumn budgeting after regulators reject Accounting Code simplifications

Plans outlined by the CIPFA/LASAAC Local Authority Code Board– sought to replace the 2019-20 Accounting Code with a simplified alternative, to “relieve the burden on finance professionals” during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the plan has been rejected by auditors and regulators, and the institute has confirmed the 2019-20 accounting code will now be used in full – with CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman concerned about the impact that will have on the sector.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Natwest struggling with calls for emergency loans

Britain's biggest business lender has told the BBC that it is receiving nearly 10 times as many calls as usual from firms wanting to take out emergency loans.

Despite the Chancellor's announcement of an unprecedented package of £330bn in 80%-government-backed loans, there is little evidence that the support is hitting the target yet.

Alison Rose, Chief Executive of Natwest Group (formerly known as RBS), the biggest lender to UK businesses by far, said that although some of the money was beginning to get through, they were facing operational challenges in delivering these unprecedented financial assistance programmes.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Boris Johnson admitted to hospital over virus symptoms

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests, 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus, Downing Street has said.

He was taken to a London hospital on Sunday evening with "persistent symptoms" - including a temperature. It is said to be a "precautionary step" taken on the advice of his doctor.

The prime minister remains in charge of the government, but the foreign secretary is expected to chair a coronavirus meeting on Monday morning.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Five things that will never be the same again because of COVID-19

The virus could permanently change the way people think about government, community, travel, work, shopping and open spaces.

While thousands of people will have lost loved ones, the biggest impact coronavirus could have is on the way millions of people behave in the future.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Town halls consider council tax payment help

Vulnerable people and those most affected by the coronavirus outbreak are being offered help to pay their council tax. Support ranges from deferred payments to discounts for those on low incomes.

A petition on the Parliament website calling for council tax to be scrapped during the duration of the crisis has attracted almost 100,000 signatures. One council said it would be impossible to keep public services going if relief was applied "across the board".

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Domestic abuse calls up 25% since lockdown, charity says

The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown, the charity Refuge says. It received hundreds more calls last week compared to two weeks earlier, the charity which runs the helpline said.

Campaigners have warned the restrictions could heighten domestic tensions and cut off escape routes. The charity said pressure on other services and awareness campaigns could have also led to the increase.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police receive public tip-offs every five minutes about people breaching coronavirus lockdown rules

Police forces are receiving phone calls from residents tipping them off about people flouting lockdown laws as often as every five minutes, a chief constable has revealed.

Peter Goodman, Derbyshire’s police chief, said just over 11 per cent of his force’s 2,300 calls a day were from members of the public concerned at other neighbours’ behaviour or breaches of the social distancing restrictions in towns or countryside.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Mental health incidents rising during UK lockdown, police say

Increasing numbers of mental health incidents are being reported to police during the coronavirus lockdown, senior officers have said.

Amid a raging debate about access to public spaces and the impact of restrictions, witnesses told the Home Affairs Committee that issues were being compounded by mental health and social care services losing staff because of the outbreak.

The Police Federation’s lead for coronavirus, Sergeant Simon Kempton, said it was becoming “all too easy for some of these people in crisis to fall through the gaps”.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] BTPA delays publishing 2020/21 Policing Plan amid coronavirus crisis

The British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) has taken the “unprecedented decision” to delay publication of its 2020/21 Policing Plans to allow officers to focus on the Covid-19 crisis.

Every April, the BTPA publishes the policing plans for the year, including objectives, measures and resource numbers for each of its regional divisions. Prior to this, the police authority reaches out to colleagues in the rail industry, British Transport Police staff and officers, and other interested parties to consult on the draft content of those plans.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Boris Johnson ignores murder warnings and sets free 4,000 prisoners

Ministers have ordered the release of 4,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus crisis, despite officials warning that some of them will reoffend and may even commit murder.

About 3,500 prisoners within two months of the end of their sentence will be temporarily released from jail on licence, and will be fitted with GPS tags from this week.

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Police and Crime General New Labour leader Keir Starmer vows to lead party into 'new era'

Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to lead Labour "into a new era with confidence and hope" after decisively winning the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

The 57-year old defeated Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey in a ballot of party members and other supporters.

The lawyer, who became an MP in 2015, won on the first round of voting, with more than 50% of ballots cast.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] New PPE guidance welcomed but concerns remain over shortages

New guidance on the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is needed in different circumstances for those on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis has been published by the government and NHS leaders.

The updated guidance comes after widespread concern and uncertainty about when PPE was required amid a national shortage of equipment.

The guidance has been agreed by the four chief medical officers, chief nursing officers and chief dental officers, and reflects the fact that coronavirus is now widespread in the community.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Councils given new powers to hold public meetings remotely

Local authorities in England have been handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology from Saturday (4 April 2020).

The government has temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person during the coronavirus pandemic.

This will enable councils to make effective and transparent decisions on the delivery of services for residents and ensure that local democracy continues to thrive.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] £20m tech fund to boost UK resilience following coronavirus

A funding package worth £20m has been announced by Government to help businesses boost the UK’s resilience to the long-term impact of coronavirus and similar future situations.

Technology businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to £50,000 to help develop new ways of working and enhance certain industries including delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport.

New technologies will be focused on more reactive responses within retail to sudden spikes in demands and the improvement of deliveries across the UK.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Woman fined £660 for crime that ‘doesn’t exist’

Police have been accused of using the wrong law to prosecute a woman and fine her £660 in the first arrest on the railways under the lockdown.

Marie Dinou, 41, from York, was arrested and fined after failing to tell police why she was at Newcastle Central station on Saturday morning.

British Transport Police said she was detained because she “refused to speak” to officers after being seen “loitering between platforms”.

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Fire Ministers announce major overhaul of building regulations to boost fire safety after Grenfell

Ministers have announced a major overhaul of building regulations in an effort to boost fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Housing developers will be forced to include sprinkler systems and better safety signage in their properties in a bid to protect residents, under new plans announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

The measures, which will apply to all new builds over 11 metres, come as part of a wider government initiative to improve fire safety following the the Grenfell Tower fire which saw 72 people lose their lives.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] What powers do police have to enforce coronavirus lockdown?

Breaches are a criminal offence and the police can issue fines. They can tell people to disperse, go home or leave an area. Anyone can be prosecuted for “a gathering in a public place of more than two people” unless they are from the same household, with limited exceptions for work, funerals, moving house, where legally obliged to do so or in an emergency. The owners of non-essential premises that stay open can be fined.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] UK coronavirus lockdown: police reissued with guidance on enforcement

Police chiefs have told officers that people should not be punished for driving a reasonable distance to exercise, and that blanket checks were disproportionate, in a bid to quell a row about heavy-handed enforcement of the coronavirus lockdown.

Amid anger at some forces setting up checkpoints and using drones to target people visiting rural beauty spots, the guidance reissued and updated late on Tuesday aims to forge more consistency across 44 forces in England and Wales.

It is issued by the College of Policing, which sets professional standards, and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), and tells officers both what they can do and what police leaders would prefer them to refrain from doing

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police at odds over how to enforce lockdown laws

Chief constables began to turn on each other yesterday about how to enforce the coronavirus lockdown as police forces continued to take drastically different approaches.

Peter Goodman, the chief constable of Derbyshire, criticised other forces for using “more draconian” measures than his own, which had deployed drones to discourage walkers from going to the Peak District. Derbyshire’s tactics were attacked by the former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption.

Mr Goodman said that some forces were using “roadblocks” to enforce the lockdown, which he would not do.

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Police and Crime General Engagement is key to maintaining police confidence

APCC Chair, Katy Bourne OBE said:

“Police and Crime Commissioners fully understand the impact that these massively disruptive measures are having on the public. We are rightly proud of our policing by consent model in this country and PCCs know that, in order for these measures to be truly effective, the police will need to maintain public confidence. That means calmly engaging, explaining and encouraging people to do the right thing, not being overzealous and only taking enforcement measures as a last resort.

“The current situation is unparalleled and it is vital that the right balance is struck. On behalf of the public, all PCCs will continue to support their Chief Constables whilst also holding them to account over how these powers are being used.

“Ultimately though, people understand that this is about protecting the NHS and saving lives. I want to thank all emergency services and frontline workers for the incredible work they are doing to keep us safe. We will, in turn, continue to play our part by staying at home to reduce the spread of this virus and cooperating as fully as possible with the new restrictions so as not to put unnecessary strain on our emergency services.”

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police ‘in the dark’ about Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement, senior officer says

The vast majority of police officers did not know that Boris Johnson was going to announce a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and learned about it at the same time as the public, a senior officer has said.

While national police leaders were informed of the impending measures shortly before the prime minister’s address to the nation on 23 March, there was no time to pass the message down to the rank and file.

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Economy & Public Finance Home Office grants £14 million funding for security at Jewish institutions

The Home Office has granted the Community Security Trust (CST) £14 million for security measures to help keep members of the Jewish community safe in their daily lives.

The grant will cover protective security for the next financial year at Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues.

CST, a charity that monitors and helps protect against antisemitism, recorded 1,805 antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2019, a 7% increase on the previous year.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Former chief inspector of prisons calls for early release of some inmates to ease pressure over coronavirus

A former chief inspector of prisons has called for the early release of some prisoners to help overcrowded jails cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Lord Ramsbotham, a former army lieutenant general before heading the inspectorate, said he was “very worried” that prison staff depleted by the coronavirus would not be able to handle the crisis.

He said many prison officers were inexperienced as the service had lost the equivalent of 80,000 years of operational expertise through cuts to staff in the past eight years at the same time as violence and drug abuse had risen.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Intimidated pharmacists call in police

Police are patrolling high street pharmacies as staff struggle with fights over medicines, aggressive customers and a lack of protective equipment.

The coronavirus outbreak has pushed chemists to “breaking point” as frustrated shoppers react against large queues and limited supplies of some over-the-counter treatments, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said.

Officers have launched routine patrols as a deterrent in some areas. Last week, Arfon Jones, the police and crime commissioner for north Wales, welcomed them in his area after scuffles in queues.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police ordered not to check every car after 'overreach' claims

Police have been told not to carry out blanket checks on cars or penalise people for travelling a "reasonable distance" for exercise, after complaints some forces had overreached their powers in attempting to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The new guidance released by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing on Tuesday night comes after inconsistencies between government guidance and emergency legislation was blamed for the apparently isolated use of heavy-handed tactics by officers.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police told to be 'consistent' with lockdown approach

UK police officers have been told to take a "consistent" approach when ensuring people comply with emergency measures aimed at curbing coronavirus.

Guidance to officers calls on forces to "coordinate" efforts and emphasises the importance of professionalism.

It comes amid criticism of the way some forces have handled the new measures.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Fake news crackdown by UK government

The government is cracking down on misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

A rapid response unit within the Cabinet Office is working with social media firms to remove fake news and harmful content.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said action was needed "to stem the spread of falsehoods and rumours, which could cost lives".

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] UK unemployment set to double as GDP collapses

Unemployment in Britain is expected to more than double in coming months, as economists warn that the impending rise will be even sharper than during the 2008 financial crisis.

Investment bank Nomura predicts an unemployment rate of 8% in the April-June quarter, rising to 8.5% in the following three months. In January, the figure was 3.9%

It says the effects of the pandemic will be an economic hit “multiple times that of the global financial crisis”, despite government efforts to stabilise the economy with huge stimulus pledges.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police will ignore some crimes as officers fall victim to coronavirus

Police will cut services, drop investigations and scale back their response to crime as forces hit different “tipping points” in the coronavirus crisis.

A “graduated withdrawal of service plan” details how officers will be redeployed to critical activities such as 999 calls and serious crime if forces reach black status — the most severe level of interruption to ordinary services — in which they cannot deliver ordinary tasks, according to documents seen by The Times.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Coronavirus message not reaching sections of society – police chief

Some people in the UK are still not getting the message about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the government needs to be more inventive with its information campaign, a police chief has said.

David Jamieson, the police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, said certain demographics in the country were struggling to access important information due to language barriers. Other groups, including teenagers, were also not being reached because of the way information was being distributed.

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Fire Grenfell cladding not the only type to burn easily, tests show

The owners of tall buildings face pressure to continue removing dangerous cladding, despite coronavirus, after a new fire test showed how quickly flames can spread.

Cladding previously deemed safer than that used at Grenfell Tower burned almost as rapidly as the aluminium and plastic panels blamed for the disaster.

These high pressure laminate panels are common in the UK.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police turning parts of UK into 'dystopia' after prosecuting shoppers and people driving 'due to boredom'

Police have been accused of overreaching their powers in the wake of new coronavirus legislation, after one force said it was prosecuting people for activities including driving "due to boredom" and "going to the shops" with other members of the same household.

Legal and human rights experts described Warrington Police's actions as "dystopian" after officers opted to summon people to court for supposed offences such as "returning from parties", with critics arguing the measures were not justified by the new legislation and risked harming the ongoing effort to combat the outbreak.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Coronavirus sends justice system into 'meltdown' as criminal court case backlog passes 37,000

The criminal justice system is going into “meltdown” because of coronavirus and a huge backlog of cases caused by government cuts, lawyers have said.

Thousands of hearings have been delayed indefinitely because of the outbreak, which has also sparked the collapse of several high-profile trials, as courts restrict operations to urgent matters.

But official figures show that a backlog of cases waiting to be heard was growing rapidly before coronavirus had an impact.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Burglars target shops and pubs as coronavirus lockdown creates ‘ghost towns’

Police are responding to burglaries at shops and pubs across deserted city and town centres as criminal gangs begin to take advantage of the lockdown.

Many forces are carrying out night patrols in “ghost town” urban centres as burglars shift their focus from residential homes to unoccupied commercial properties.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Coronavirus restrictions ‘likely to last six months’

Life in Britain will not return to normal for six months, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned, as ministers begin preparing the public for an extended period of lockdown.

At the government’s daily press conference, Jenny Harries said that strict social distancing rules may have to be in place for between two and three months.

But she added that it would be a further three months before all restrictions were lifted, and even then there were likely to be “bumps” as new clusters of cases of coronavirus were identified.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Support for victims of domestic abuse

Measures announced over recent weeks to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19) have seen people’s day-to-day life be drastically altered. These changes are essential to beat coronavirus and protect our NHS.

The government acknowledges that the order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses you are under.

For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you. Guidance is also available to help perpetrators change their behaviour.

The government supports and funds a number of charities who are able to provide advice and guidance and we are in regular contact with the charity sector and the police to ensure that these support services remain open during this challenging time.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Priti Patel pledges to help vulnerable people stuck at home with domestic abusers during the lockdown after police chief reveals online child abuse has increased during the coronavirus c

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to crack down on domestic abusers who are exploiting the lockdown to make their victims feel 'especially isolated, vulnerable and exposed'.

Ms Patel told The Mail on Sunday she was aware that 'home is not the safe haven it should be' – but abusers would be hunted down and punished.

Her remarks come as a police chief revealed that cases of online child abuse have increased during the coronavirus crisis, as home-schooled pupils spend more time unsupervised on their computers.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Military could be brought in to offset police shortages in coronavirus outbreak

The military could be brought in to bolster police numbers during the coronavirus crisis, with up to a fifth of officers expected to be absent in the Government’s worst-case scenario.

National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chairman Martin Hewitt said members of the armed forces would take up back office roles which would not involve interaction with the public in order to free up officers for frontline policing.

The body also revealed officers had already issued some fines to people breaching lockdown rules, less than 24 hours after new laws came into force.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Firefighters to deliver food, drive ambulances and retrieve bodies

Members of the fire and rescue service are going to receive training in driving ambulances and retrieving bodies.

Fire service bosses say a new agreement between their various organising bodies reflects the "scale of the national crisis and the urgency of the response required".

It comes as the number of people in the UK to have died with coronavirus reached 584 on Thursday, with almost 12,000 people infected.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Emergency 999 staff ‘are packed in like sardines’

More than a thousand people who are still having to go into work have written to MPs to raise concerns about their health.

A BT employee who works in the company’s sales department told the Commons business select committee that staff had been told to come into a call centre as a “key worker”.

“It’s just more people in one call centre, shoved in like sardines, possibly infecting or spreading Covid-19 or symptoms to the people who work in the centre that take the 999 calls,” the employee said. BT call centres handle 999 calls.

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Police Finances [Coronavirus] Boris Johnson, 55, has coronavirus: PM tests positive for disease as crisis grips the UK

Boris Johnson today dramatically announced he is suffering from coronavirus.

The Prime Minister said he had tested positive for the disease, after being advised by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty to get checked as the outbreak spreads across the country.

The 55-year-old insisted he has 'mild' symptoms', and will be continuing to lead the national response over video-conference.

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Police Finances [Coronavirus] Non essential services slashed as focus diverted to coronavirus crisis

Waste collection services are being cut to the bare minimum, libraries closed and road repairs postponed as councils redeploy staff to the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.

This week, county councils began to set aside hundreds of millions to purchase thousands of new beds to ensure that those requiring social care are released quickly from hospital, to free up more space for coronavirus patients, including Buckinghamshire CC, which is taking over a hotel to use its beds to free up hospital wards.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police fine people over social distancing

Martin Hewitt, head of the National Police Chief's Council, said the UK was in a "national emergency, not a national holiday" .

The NPCC said going to local beauty spots was not banned as long as there was no mingling.

Police chiefs say the vast majority of people are following social distancing measures to help protect the NHS.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Birmingham and Manchester temporary hospitals announced

Two new temporary hospitals will be set up to help cope with the coronavirus crisis, the head of the NHS in England has said.

Sir Simon Stevens said the new hospitals will be built at Birmingham's NEC and the Manchester conference centre and will be ready next month.

A hospital being set up in London's ExCeL centre will be available for use next week, it was announced.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Video evidence system to be rolled out to four other forces

The system developed by Sussex Police is reducing the amount of time officers need to spend giving evidence in court.

It combines on-camera evidence with an email and messaging system that means officers are notified when court hearings are set to take place - and critically when they are cancelled.

Its use is being stepped up by the force as the Ministry of Justice called for all forces and partner agencies to make greater use of video links to keep the criminal justice system going.

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COVID-19 [Coronaviru] Coronavirus crisis leads to steep drop in recorded crime

The coronavirus crisis has led to a drop in recorded crime, by as much as 20% in some areas.

Offences such as burglary and violence were down last week compared with the previous seven days, after Boris Johnson made his first request for people to stay home on the Monday.

The fall this week could be even larger after the prime minister changed his pleas for social distancing into an order to stay inside.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Inform on crowds flouting lockdown, police chief urges

People should inform police of large public gatherings during the lockdown, a chief constable has said amid continuing confusion over the new rules.

Floods of calls to the police non-emergency number about minor incidents have been discouraged but larger groups that risk spreading the virus should still be reported, said Andy Cooke, chief constable of Merseyside.

Asked what the public should do if they see public gatherings with dozens of people, Mr Cooke said: “We would expect people to call us . . . [but] would urge them to be sensible. When you’ve got two or three people stood at the end of the road we don’t need to be told.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police given new powers and support to respond to coronavirus

New public health regulations will strengthen enforcement powers to reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.

To ensure people stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, from today, if members of the public do not comply the police may:

- Instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse

- Ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules

- Issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days

- Issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Forces raise concern over resilience plans for elderly through LRFs

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has been urged to escalate to central government concerns raised by members of some local resilience forums (LRFs) that councils haven’t got the measures in place to lead with support for vulnerable people during the lock down.

The leading charity for older people warned it was vital that “national and local support mechanisms” were operating within days.

But concerns have been raised that some councils have not taken decisions fast enough to be ready. Contacts outside of gold groups were described by one official as “patchy”.

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Economy & Public Finance Council bodies accept Spending Review delay decision

Councils had been looking forward to a promised multi-year settlement to give them more certainty about future funding for services.

However, chancellor Rishi Sunak has delayed the upcoming Spending Review so the government can focus on dealing with the coronavirus.

Reacting to the news of the delay, Joanne Pitt, CIPFA local government policy manager, said: ‘’During this time of increased uncertainty and strain on public services, it is understandable that the spending review has been postponed to focus efforts on combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Cambridge to lead £20m fight against spread of coronavirus

The University of Cambridge will be taking a major role in the fight against the coronavirus spread after it was announced that a £20m investment will allow for large-scale investigation into the cause of the virus.

The national effort to understand and restrict the novel coronavirus infection is set for a boost as the Government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser announced the role of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium.

Included in this collaboration is the NHS, Public Health Agencies, UK Research and Innovation, Wellcome Sanger Institute and numerous academic institutions, who will work to map the cause of the disease with a view to share that data with hospitals, NHS centres and the Government.

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Prisons [Coronavirus] Inmates could be freed to ease virus pressure on jails

The government is considering releasing some offenders from prisons in England and Wales to ease pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the virus poses an "acute" risk in prisons, many of which are overcrowded.

Some 3,500 prison staff - about 10% of the workforce - were off work on Tuesday because they were ill or self-isolating, a committee of MPs was told.

Mr Buckland said releasing some inmates could help to "alleviate" pressures.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Flout lockdown rules and risk a criminal record, No 10 warns

People who flout new lockdown rules could be left with a criminal record as it emerged that police will use drones to enforce the measures.

From tomorrow police can levy a fine of £30 on those breaking the rules, rising to £1,000, and a refusal to pay would be a criminal offence, Downing Street confirmed.

Officers stopped cars and broke up public gatherings across the country using roadside checkpoints and patrols.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Parliament shuts down for a month

Parliament has shut down until 21 April at the earliest to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Emergency laws to deal with the pandemic have been rushed through both Houses and were given Royal Assent earlier on Wednesday.

MPs voted to plan for a managed return to work on Tuesday 21 April, to deal with Budget legislation.

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COVID-19 Police to get power to use force to impose coronavirus lockdown

Police will be authorised to use force to send people back home if they refuse to obey the coronavirus lockdown, under government plans.

Ministers will issue fuller details by Thursday of how police will enforce the lockdown ordered by the prime minister on Monday, aimed at stopping the spread of the virus by keeping people apart.

It has been learned that, under plans being discussed by ministers and senior officials, officers would first encourage and cajole people to go back indoors if they suspect them of being out of their home in breach of the ban. If that and the issuing of a fine failed, reasonable force could be used as a last resort.

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Recruitment and Retention Forces start to feel the strain as coronavirus culls officer numbers

Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said 19 per cent of police, civilian and community support officers were not available for duty because they either had Covid-19 themselves or were self-isolating because they were displaying associated symptoms.

London is the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, and Mr Marsh said 2,100 of the MPS’s 31,000 officers were off work, including one high-ranking officer. No figures were available for police staff or police community support officers.

Forces nationwide are also reporting higher than average levels of sickness during the pandemic – up from six per cent to ten per cent in Devon and Cornwall, while rates in Northamptonshire have doubled to around eight per cent.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Government urged to introduce emergency measures to protect women trapped with abusers amid concerns violence could soar

The government has been urged to introduce emergency measures to protect women trapped at home with abusive partners in the wake of concerns domestic abuse could soar under social isolation measures brought in to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Frontline service providers warned women who have escaped their abusive partners are fearful about having to continue handing over their children to ex-partners for meetings ordered by the family courts as the coronavirus crisis deteriorates.

Mandu Reid, leader of Women’s Equality Party, urged the government to protect women and children confined to their homes with abusers in the wake of the government’s police-enforced lockdown which has warned citizens not to venture out of the house for all but essential journeys to stop coronavirus spreading.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] ‘You must stay at home’

Boris Johnson declared a “moment of national emergency” last night as he finally imposed a near full lockdown of Britain to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

Police will enforce new quarantine rules under which people will be allowed to leave their home only for essential supplies, one form of daily exercise, medical care or “absolutely necessary” work.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police warn enforcing coronavirus lockdown will actually be a 'real challenge'

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh warned "large amounts of sickness" among the police would make the new measures introduced by Boris Johnson challenging to uphold

It comes after the Prime Minister placed the nation on lockdown, threatening police fines for anyone who ignores the new measures.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Spending review outlining government plans for next three years to be delayed over Covid-19, chancellor says

The comprehensive spending review setting out government expenditure plans for the next three years will be delayed from July because of the coronavirus outbreak, chancellor Rishi Sunak has told cabinet.

Mr Sunak and other cabinet colleagues joined the regular Tuesday meeting of cabinet by video conference call, for the first time.

Today's postponement reflects the uncertainty into which government finances have been thrown by the shutdown of much of the economy and the chancellor's multi-billion pound bailout forced by the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19 [Coronavirus] How criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to scam the public

Criminals are using the internet, telephones and doorstep calls to exploit fear of the coronavirus pandemic, investigators have warned.

They have revealed a blitz of scams that include the sale of fake sanitisers, bogus demands for donations and false offers to run errands for the elderly and vulnerable.

Some scammers are offering "health supplements" that claim to prevent infection from the COVID-19 virus.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Calls for police at stations after packed trains defy lockdown

Boris Johnson has been urged to deploy police at train stations to make sure only those allowed to travel are on board after carriages remained packed with commuters on the first day of a nationwide lockdown.

NHS nurses expressed their frustration on social media on Tuesday morning after being faced with busy services, despite the PM urging the country to remain at home unless absolutely necessary to fight coronavirus.

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Economy & Public Finance Chancellor's package of support could cost ‘several billion pounds’ per month

Rishi Sunak’s support package for workers could cost several billion pounds per month, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The new package, announced last week, will see the government cover 80% of employees’ wages for up to £2,500 per month, if they are unable to work.

The IFS predicts that if 10% of employees are affected, this could cost up to £10bn over the next three months. If more take advantage of the support then the cost will be “proportionally higher”.

IFS director Paul Johnson said: “The chancellor has announced a huge package of support aimed at keeping people in employment. The cost of the wage subsidy package is unknowable at present but will run into several billion pounds per month that it is in operation.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police to use persuasion rather than punishment to enforce coronavirus lockdown

Police officers are to "persuade, cajole, negotiate and advise" the public to follow lockdown restrictions, as police leaders said they did not want to be forced to take more draconian measures.

Hundreds of thousands of people continued to travel to work on Tuesday with the blessing of the government, as Downing Street said that construction work could carry on despite the restrictions on movement announced by the Prime Minister on Monday.

This provoked a row with the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who said that more workers should be staying at home and insisted that the Tube - which was crowded during rush hour - could not run more services.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police chiefs seek clarity on COVID-19 restrictions

Ministers were told by the Police Federation that issues such as closing pubs should be led by council licencing officers, trading standards leads and that local authority public health officials should be leading the response to the virus.

Police Federation Chairman John Apter warned officers were still not getting enough protective equipment.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] ‘Not realistic’ to enforce daily exercise and shopping lockdown rules, Police Federation says

Police will not be able to enforce all the rules of the coronavirus “lockdown” imposed by the prime minister, a senior officer has said.

John Apter, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said it was “not realistic” for officers to check how many times people had exercised in a day.

“Certainly the police will get involved with more than two people gathering in the same place, but as far as policing the bread aisles in the supermarkets, or checking how many times people are going to the shops, that’s simply impractical,” he told BBC News.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Boris Johnson to address nation on new measures

Boris Johnson is to address the UK on new measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, amid concerns people have been ignoring government advice.

The UK has been under growing pressure to follow other countries by ordering the closure of more shops, and enforcing rules on social distancing.

The PM will make a statement at 20:30 GMT. Meanwhile, people in the most at-risk groups have begun getting an NHS text urging them to stay at home for 12 weeks.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Navy standing by to support prisons if officers catch virus

Ready meals will be delivered to prison cells and the Royal Navy will be drafted in if large numbers of prison officers go off sick with the coronavirus.

Prison governors have been told to ensure that each wing has the resources to cope. There will need to be enough kettles available so inmates can rehydrate food and prisons will have to consider renting extra freezers to store contingency supplies of microwaveable meals and sandwiches.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Army to distribute masks and protective suits to frontline NHS staff

The Army will be brought in to help get deliveries of protective equipment to frontline NHS staff who are battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospital trusts have been told they will be receiving deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, safety glasses, gloves, aprons and protective suits "around the clock" during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] New jury trials halted in England and Wales

All new jury trials in England and Wales have been halted until they can be conducted safely, the Lord Chief Justice has announced.

In a letter to judges and magistrates, Lord Burnett said the decision was made to "ensure social distancing in court" amid the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

But he added that, where safe to do so, "efforts to bring existing jury trials to a conclusion should continue".

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police could be brought out of retirement to join coronavirus frontline

Police officers could be brought out of retirement to help in the fight against coronavirus, as Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed she was seeking to change the rules.

Police chiefs believe many officers - as has already happened with doctors and nurses - would be keen to return to the frontline to help their colleagues potentially depleted by sickness.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Coronavirus outbreak could increase gang violence in UK, report finds

The coronavirus outbreak could increase gang violence in Britain as drug dealers compete over a shrinking market, a report has warned.

With bars and nightclubs closed, and most parties cancelled, the Policy Exchange think tank forecast a dramatic reduction in purchases of cocaine and other drugs.

A report released on Monday said the change “may cause an increase in inter-gang rivalry faced with dwindling revenue streams, resulting in increased violence”.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Emergency coronavirus legislation passed by MPs without opposition

Emergency legislation giving sweeping powers to ban gatherings and forcibly quarantine suspected coronavirus patients was passed by MPs on Monday night, despite continued worries about civil liberties and the potential effect on vulnerable people.

The coronavirus bill, which will be in force for two years, completed all its stages through the Commons in one day without opposition MPs forcing any votes after Downing Street offered the concession that it would be reviewed every six months.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Fraudsters impersonating officials are targeting the elderly

Fraudsters are knocking on the doors of the elderly and scamming them out of their savings by impersonating officials during the coronavirus crisis, a body has warned.

Exploitative criminals are committing burglary or fraud by pretending to be Government, council or medical officers, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police to swoop on pubs and restaurants that refuse to close

Police officers were mobilised last night to enforce the shutdown of bars, pubs, restaurants and gyms for public safety.

Chief constables in every force in the country engaged civil contingencies designed to respond to events such as rioting and terrorism, allowing longer shifts and making more officers available.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Ministers urged to release hundreds of prisoners on short sentences to combat outbreak

Ministers are being urged to release hundreds of inmates on short sentences in an effort to slim the prison population and aid the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes after a prisoner tested positive for covid-19 at HMP Manchester earlier this week, and campaigners warned the virus could “spread like wildfire” if it were to infiltrate Britain’s prisons.

The Reform think-tank estimated there are 2,305 “low risk” offenders currently serving sentences for crimes such as shop-lifting and should be released into the community.

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Fire Council chiefs say new Fire Safety Bill ‘step in the right direction’

Building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied buildings are to be held to account for the safety of their residents thanks to new legislation.

The Home Office is today introducing a new Bill to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales. It aims at clarifying that a building’s owner is responsible for ensuring the property is safe.

The Bill, which will amend the Fire Safety Order 2005, states that a building’s owner must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Emergency laws will give powers to close airports and detain and quarantine people

The government will today outline details of new emergency powers to contain the spread of COVID-19 when it publishes the Emergency Coronavirus Bill.

It is expected to include details for shutting down the UK's ports and airports and giving police powers to detain people suspected of having coronavirus.

It follows significant economic measures introduced by Chancellor RIshi Sunak

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Up to 20,000 troops on standby to help deal with COVID-19 outbreak

Up to 20,000 service personnel will be put on standby to help combat the coronavirus, with troops gearing up to drive oxygen tankers, support the police and boost hospital capacity.

On Thursday, reservists will be put on notice to mobilise if required as part of a war-like effort to prepare the armed forces in case the government calls upon them in large numbers.

But the military must also deal with the threat posed by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Police and health officials to get powers to detain under UK coronavirus bill

Police, public health and immigration officers will be able to detain people suspected of having Covid-19 and exact £1,000 fines for refusing tests under emergency powers rolled out by the UK government.

The guidance detailed in the coronavirus bill allows public health officers to order someone believed to be infected to undergo screening and testing within 14 days. They will be required to provide biological samples and disclose their travel history.

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COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Supermarkets 'want police support in event of a London lockdown'

Supermarkets are expecting to get police support to deter unruly behaviour if London goes into lockdown because of the coronavirus.

Source within the industry say they are concerned that panic buying could spike if further restrictions are imposed.

On Thursday, there were frenzied scenes in some stores as shoppers sought to buy bottled water, tinned goods and toilet roll.

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COVID-19 [oronavirus] Civil nuclear police and MoD officers to backfill for sick officers

Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary will backfill officer numbers of the COVID-19 outbreak impacts staffing but the Police Federation have called for clarity from the government on how frontline officers must respond

Police Federation National Chair John Apter, said: “We are in unprecedented and uncertain times, with government advice frequently changing as COVID-19 affects more people.

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COVID-19 Treasury delays Implementation of IR35 tax until 2021

The government’s implementation of the controversial IR-35 tax rules has been postponed until April 2021, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay announced the delay to Commons yesterday, less than a week after the Budget confirmed that tax was to go live next month.

"I can also this evening announce the government is postponing the reforms to the off-payroll working rules, IR35, from April 2020 to April 6, 2021”, Barclay said to Commons.

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Prisons Plan to extend early prisoner release scheme

The government is planning to extend a scheme which allows some prisoners to be freed early to ease pressures in jails across England and Wales.

Under the programme, certain inmates jailed for less than four years can be let out before the halfway point of their sentence.

They are made to wear an electronic tag and abide by a curfew.

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Economy & Public Finance Online political ads should be labelled, says Law Commission

Online political adverts should be labelled or “imprinted” to show who is paying for them, according to the Law Commission, which warns that there is a “very real risk of the electoral process losing credibility”.

The Law Commission’s review is aimed at modernising ballot rules and bringing them together in a single, consistent legislative framework. Other changes proposed include simplifying the nomination process.

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Fire Firefighters told to cease ‘non-essential’ action amid fears over keeping “core emergency service” healthy

A number of fire and rescue services have already decided to take measures to restrict interaction between firefighters and the public.

Firefighters have been told to cease ‘non-essential’ action amid fears over keeping the “core emergency service” healthy for as long as possible.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which represents workers within the fire and rescue services across the UK, issued the warning despite what it deems as “little directive from central government”.

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Police and Crime General Children who experience domestic violence are more likely to engage in serious violence, study reveals

Children who experience domestic violence at home are twice as likely to become involved in serious youth violence as those from stable homes, a major Home Office study has found.

The research showed 14 per cent of 18 year olds exposed to domestic violence engaged in serious violence compared with 7.4 per cent of those who had no experience of it in the family home.

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Police Demand Thousands of trials to be delayed as coronavirus hits juries and judges

Thousands of major criminal trials including at the Old Bailey are to be halted or postponed as judges, jurors and court staff are expected to be laid low by the coronavirus.

Robert Buckland, the Lord Chancellor, and Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice, agreed that all new jury trials lasting longer than three days will be delayed until after the coronavirus pandemic abates.

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Economy & Public Finance Chief constable weeps under pressure of deep budget cuts

A chief constable broke down and wept as he described the weight of responsibility of running a force struggling to keep the public safe amid severe budget cuts.

Gareth Morgan, the head of Staffordshire police, said that he had found it hard to decide how to best serve the public with diminishing resources.

“My job is to try and balance those competing needs. With what I’ve got, where can I get the best return to keep the public as safe as I can? And that’s a continual challenge and I feel that very powerfully with the staff.”

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus: Sector by sector, arms of the state gear up as crisis deepens

Police have been granted additional powers to intervene and force anyone refusing to self-isolate into their homes.

Chief constables have been told that they will have to prioritise time- sensitive investigations and serious crime. This could mean focusing solely on cases involving the loss of life or risk to life.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus: PM says everyone should avoid office, pubs and travelling

The PM has said everyone in the UK should avoid "non-essential" travel and contact with others to curb coronavirus - as the country's death toll hit 55.

Boris Johnson said people should work from home where possible as part of a range of stringent new measures.

Pregnant women, people over the age of 70 and those with certain health conditions should consider the advice "particularly important", he said.

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Police Demand Volunteers and retired officers could be drafted in to help police

Retired police officers and volunteers could be drafted in by Britain’s biggest force if Covid-19 causes staff shortages.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said she had not “ruled out any option” to boost numbers and protect essential services.

National plans have been drawn up if a fifth of officers are put out of action due to the outbreak, including moving staff from neighbourhood teams and cold case squads to frontline duties.

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Police and Crime General Chief Constable of Merseyside Police in self-isolation over coronavirus concerns

The chief constable of Merseyside Police is in self-isolation after developing potential coronavirus symptoms.

Andy Cooke said he took the decision to self-isolate to prevent putting his colleagues at risk.

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Police and Crime General Northamptonshire Police Federation chairman guilty of gross misconduct

A former Police Federation chairman who "kissed and fondled" a woman whose complaint he had been handling has been found guilty of gross misconduct.

The Northamptonshire Police disciplinary hearing was told Sgt Risby had resigned on Friday.

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Police and Crime General Police to tackle violent crime in youth offenders with new programme

A new programme will see violent young offenders being offered support to make positive changes in their lives.

The new police Divert programme, which has already been used in the Metropolitan Police, will now be adopted across Blackburn, Blackpool, Lancaster and Preston.

The programme has already reduced reoffending from 27 per cent to eight per cent in London.

Young people will be invited to engage with a Divert coach who will work to move them away from crime.

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Police and Crime General Met Police vow to prosecute rapists even if victim is unwilling to testify in conviction rate shake-up

A Scotland Yard chief has vowed to prosecute rapists even if victims are unwilling to testify as part of a radical shake-up to improve conviction rates.

Detective chief superintendent Helen Lyons, the Met’s lead on rape investigations, said it showed prospective victims that the police took all sexual offences "extremely seriously" and would prosecute in the public interest amid concerns over falling conviction rates.

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Prisons British prisons could be forced to release low-category prisoners to control coronavirus spread says prison officers’ union chief as inmates with symptoms are isolated

Prisons across the UK could be forced to release low-category inmates to control the spread of coronavirus across the British justice system.

General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association Steve Gillan this morning said that some prisoners across sites in the UK have already been forced to self-isolate within the prisons due to the virus.

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Police and Crime General Local elections postponed for a year over coronavirus

The government has announced that May's local and mayoral elections in England will be postponed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes after the Electoral Commission said on Thursday the polls should be delayed until the autumn to "mitigate" the impact of the virus.

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Police and Crime General Met braced for more criticism in report on Operation Midland fiasco

The Metropolitan police is bracing for fresh criticism in an official report into its response to the disastrous Operation Midland, which investigated innocent people based on the lies of a fantasist, the Guardian has learned.

After Carl Beech falsely claimed to detectives that he was the childhood victim of a fictitious establishment paedophile ring, police raided properties linked to a D-day hero, a former home secretary and another former MP.

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Economy & Public Finance UK interest rates cut in emergency move

The Bank of England has announced an emergency cut in interest rates to shore up the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Policymakers reduced rates from 0.75% to 0.25%, taking borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history.

The Bank said it would also free up billions of pounds of extra lending power to help banks support firms.

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Fire Budget 2020: £1bn fund to strip cladding from tall buildings

A £1bn fund to help strip combustible cladding from homes in privately owned tower blocks is “a huge step forward”, but likely to be too little and would still leave thousands of people in financial and safety limbo, leaseholders said.

The building safety fund goes beyond the £600m already set aside by the Treasury to remove the specific type of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

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Police and Crime General MPs oppose 'bedroom tax' being applied to domestic abuse survivors

The government must stop applying the so-called "bedroom tax" to domestic abuse survivors fleeing their partners, 44 MPs have written in a letter seen by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show.

One rape survivor, living in a home adapted for her safety, had her housing benefits cut because of her spare room.

The European Court of Human Rights said her case was discriminatory. A government bid to appeal was refused.

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Police and Crime General County lines: Hampshire schools pay private firms for sniffer dogs

Teachers have taken action against the potential risk to children being recruited by county lines drug gangs in Hampshire.

It comes after reports gangs are moving their trade to the south, prompting police to warn that drug runners target young or vulnerable people to sell their product.

Now staff in Swanmore College, Wildern School, Wyvern College, The Hamble School, Toynbee School and Thornden School have teamed up to pay privately for a visit from sniffer dogs.

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Technology Undercover detectives use forensic linguistics to unmask online paedophiles on dark web

Police are using forensic linguists to help the mount undercover operations that are so realistic they convince online paedophiles into betraying their identities, according to the authors of a new book.

Professor Tim Grant, a forensic linguist at Aston University, and Dr Nicci MacLeod, of Northumbria University, teach police and other law enforcement agencies the authentic linguistics they need to avoid their cover being blown.

It is understood the National Crime Agency (NCA) which leads the fight against online child abuse has a database of advisers that includes six forensic linguists.

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Fire Grenfell Inquiry told insulation sales tactics 'deliberately misleading'

The project manager for the architects that refurbished Grenfell Tower has said a firm which made flammable insulation used "deliberately misleading" sales tactics comparable to "masquerading horse meat as beef lasagne".

Neil Crawford, of architects Studio E, told the inquiry into the disaster that Celotex "clearly sought to deceive" and exploit "the understanding that an average architect would have" with the way it presented sales literature for its RS5000 insulation.

The insulation - combined together with Reynobond PE cladding panels - made up the external cladding system, which was found to be a key factor in the fire's rapid spread by acting as a source of fuel.

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Police and Crime General Criminals' community sentences will be toughened up thanks to £100m Budget boost

Community sentences are to be made tougher for offenders with more unpaid work, “sobriety tags” and 24-hour GPS tagging under a £100 million Budget package to be announced by the Chancellor.

The cash injection will help fund extra hours on “community service” which is currently limited to a maximum of 300 hours and the nationwide roll-out of sobriety tags that alert police when released criminals with alcohol problems drink.

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Police Finances New £2.5m aircraft added to national police air support fleet

The National Police Air Service is adding four Vulcan P68R planes to its capacity to support all 43 forces across England and Wales plus British Transport Police.

Based at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the planes will do the same work as police helicopters but will offer greater endurance times and increase attendance rates to some of the more remote areas of the UK.

The Italian-made aircraft has six seats and boasts a top speed of nearly 200mph.

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Recruitment and Retention Return to work scheme for female officers assessed by CoP

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Return to work scheme for female officers assessed by CoP - Two schemes from the...

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Return to work scheme for female officers assessed by CoP

Two schemes from the CoP that aim to encourage women into detective and senior leadership roles approach the end of their first year.

Return to work scheme for female officers assessed by CoP

Date - 6th March 2020

By - Chloe Livadeas6 Comments6 Comments}

A pilot initiative by the College of Policing which encourages those who left the police due to care-giving responsibilities to re-join investigative roles is approaching the end of its first year.

The Return to Investigative Practice was launched in the spring of 2019 and aims to support forces to rehire those qualified in investigative and detective work who left the service to care for elderly or disabled relatives or because of child minding responsibilities.

Ten forces are currently part of the scheme: Avon and Somerset, City of London, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, North Yorkshire, South Wales, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus could shut down parliament for months under emergency plans

Parliament could shut its doors for months under emergency government plans to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

It follows the UK's biggest day-on-day increase in cases, with 87 people now confirmed to have the disease.

MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee committee are due to question England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty on Thursday as to how well prepared the UK is to deal with the impact of a possible global pandemic.

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Police and Crime General 24-hour mental health support to keep crisis patients out of casualty

People suffering mental health crises will be able to make use of 24-hour support across England by next year, NHS chiefs said yesterday.

Specialist crisis teams and expanded 111 telephone helplines, as well as mental health cafés or “safe haven” houses where people can go for help, will receive £200 million of national funding.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “The NHS is delivering on its pledge to improve mental health support, with every local health service now signed up to providing a round-the-clock community mental health crisis service by 2021.

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Police and Crime General Knife crime suspects could be forced to play football under Asbo-style orders

Knife crime suspects could be forced to play football under new Asbo-style orders to be trialled from next month.

Ministers yesterday introduced in Parliament new powers for police to take out the orders against anyone suspected of regularly carrying knives or convicted of a knife offence.

The court orders can not only to impose punitive conditions such as curfews and exclusion zones but also “preventative” measures to reform their behaviour such as requiring them to join a sports club or participate in sports.

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Police and Crime General Civil servant 'tried to kill herself after Priti Patel bullying'

A civil servant allegedly attempted to kill herself after being bullied by Priti Patel and later received a £25,000 payout, it has been claimed.

The BBC said it had seen legal correspondence claiming the woman had taken an overdose following the alleged incident in October 2015, when Ms Patel was employment minister.

The woman claimed that Ms Patel had shouted at the woman in her private office and told her to "get lost" and "get out of her face". Ms Patel denies the claims.

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Police and Crime General Domestic abuse: Ministers urged to strengthen revived law to protect children

Proposed domestic abuse laws must be strengthened to give more protection to children, campaigners say.

Barnardo's and the NSPCC said measures due to be published on Tuesday were "disappointing" and risked perpetuating a situation in which children were the "hidden victims" of domestic abuse.

However, Women's Aid welcomed a new legal obligation on councils to provide secure refuges for victims.

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Technology Domestic abuse: Lie-detector tests planned for offenders

Domestic violence offenders in England and Wales could face compulsory lie-detector tests when released from prison under proposed new laws.

Those deemed at high risk of re-offending will be given regular polygraph tests to find out if they have breached release conditions.

Measures to combat "tech abuse" and "financial abuse" are also in the long-awaited Domestic Violence Bill.

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Police Finances Forces fail to claim full Taser funding from Home Office

Met submitted highest bid and will get £2 million as £3.5 million of ring fenced cash left unspent.

North Yorkshire and Staffordshire did not submit bids for the £10 million ring-fenced taser funding leaving £3.3m unspent which the Home Office will now switch to tackling serious violence and County Lines gangs.

Nearly 8,000 new Tasers will be issued to officers – including Special Constables in Kent – at a cost of £6.5m from the Home Office budget allocation.

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Technology AI could be used to boost rape prosecutions under plans considered by ministers

Artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to reverse the slump in rape prosecutions under plans being considered by the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.

He believes the use of AI could protect victims from overly “intrusive” investigations into their personal sexual history by screening out irrelevant data on their mobile phones and identifying only the most pertinent.

Up to half of rape victims withdraw their allegations before their cases come to trial partly because of “digital intrusion” and delays due to the length of time investigators have to spend trawling through messages and social media.

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Police and Crime General UK crime minister left Glasgow drugs summit early after branding safe consumption rooms 'a distraction'

The UK’s crime minister walked out of a national drug summit in Glasgow before hearing from addiction experts - hours after branding safe consumption rooms ‘a distraction’.

Kit Malthouse missed key evidence from internationally renowned drug specialists and Irish and Welsh ministers before departing the conference less than three hours after it began to return to London.

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Police and Crime General County lines car thefts: Police chief says gangs target youngsters to steal luxury vehicles

Car theft gangs are using county lines recruitment tactics to groom youngsters into stealing high-value vehicles, a police chief has said.

Dave Thompson, Chief Constable for West Midlands Police, said cars are now easier than ever to steal because keyless technology has led to a "dramatic" increase in vehicle crime.

Criminals are turning to "exactly the same" strategies as those employed by county lines gangs to encourage children and teenagers to work for them, such as offering to buy food for their family, said Mr Thompson.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus: Shares face worst week since global financial crisis

Stock markets across the globe are suffering their worst week since the global financial crisis of 2008 as fears over the impact of the coronavirus continue to grip investors.

Markets in Europe fell sharply on Friday morning, with London's FTSE 100 index sinking more than 3%.

Asian markets saw more big falls, while in the US, the Dow Jones recorded its biggest daily points drop on Thursday.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel gives top civil servant the silent treatment

Priti Patel has refused to hold meetings with her most senior civil servant, amid a continuing toxic atmosphere at the top of the Home Office.

The Times understands that relations between Ms Patel and Sir Philip Rutnam, her permanent secretary, have all but broken down after she blamed him for allegations of bullying in the department becoming public.

The two are understood not to have held a single one-to-one meeting for more than a week, with one source describing the top of the organisation as being “utterly dysfunctional”.

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Police and Crime General Police help prolific offenders fill in benefits forms, watchdogs reveal

Police officers are helping convicted prolific offenders to fill in forms to claim benefits, watchdogs have revealed, amid growing concern they are being distracted from crime fighting.

Inspectors disclosed that police officers appeared to have taken over some of the rehabilitation work traditionally carried out by probation services even though they were not trained in it and was “not the best use of their time.”

It included helping the offenders to “complete benefit applications or taking them to appointments” such as with doctors, housing officials or drug misuse specialists.

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Police and Crime General UK to withdraw from European arrest warrant

The UK is to abandon a crucial tool used to speed up the transfer of criminals across borders with other European countries.

Acting against the warnings of senior law enforcement officials, the government said it would not be seeking to participate in the European arrest warrant (EAW) as part of the future relationship with the European Union.

In a document setting out the UK’s approach to negotiations with the EU, the government said: “The agreement should instead provide for fast-track extradition arrangements, based on the EU’s surrender agreement with Norway and Iceland which came into force in 2019, but with appropriate further safeguards for individuals beyond those in the European arrest warrant.”

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Technology Scotland Yard makes first arrest using live facial recognition technology

Scotland Yard has made its first arrest using controversial facial recognition technology.

The country’s biggest police force began rolling out the live technology in London last month despite concerns from privacy campaigners that it eroded civil liberties.

Cameras are now regularly positioned at designated locations around the capital to scan crowds and check against a watchlist of wanted suspects.

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Technology Police could identify paedophiles online using AI hand recognition

Researchers are asking for help from the public to help build a database of hands that would allow police to identify tens of thousands of paedophiles every day.

Forensic scientists currently can link suspects to child abuse footage, through analysing the back of the hands in the footage and whether things like blood vessels map up to those on the hands of a suspected child offender.

However, the process is thought to be very slow, with one case taking at least two weeks, and the success rate at around 86pc.

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Technology UK to launch specialist cyber force able to target terror groups

A specialist cyber force of hackers who can target hostile states and terror groups is due to be launched later in the spring, after many months of delays and turf wars between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ.

The National Cyber Force – containing an estimated 500 specialists – has been in the works for two years but sources said that after months of wrangling over the details, the specialist unit was close to being formally announced.

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Economy & Public Finance Budget 2020: Chancellor must raise taxes in first Budget, says IFS

The new chancellor must raise taxes in his first Budget or break the government's rules on borrowing, a leading economic think tank has warned.

Rishi Sunak is under pressure to increase spending on the NHS, social care and schools.

He has also inherited a fiscal target from his predecessor Sajid Javid to bring spending in to balance by 2022.

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Police and Crime General Domestic abuse laws should extend to children – report

Children should get support under forthcoming domestic abuse laws designed to protect victims, campaigners have said.

The charity Barnardo’s called on the Government to expand its plans for the Domestic Abuse Bill so it “explicitly recognises the impact of this crime on children”.

Its report also called on ministers to ensure the Bill includes a “statutory duty on public authorities to commission specialist domestic abuse support for all victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse”.

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Technology MI5 boss Andrew Parker asks tech firms: Create a way to let us read suspects' secret messages to stop UK terror attacks

The director general of MI5 has called on tech companies to create methods which would allow the security services to access the secret, encrypted messages of people suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in the UK.

Speaking to ITV, Sir Andrew Parker says while the real world is regulated and policed, he finds it "mystifying" the same does not apply to cyberspace, calling it "a wild west, unregulated [and] inaccessible to authorities."

Some messaging apps use end-to-end encryption, which means the content of messages can only be read by the sender and recipient, and cannot be intercepted by a third party - such as security services.

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Technology More people seeking help to stop sexual feelings towards children

A helpline for people concerned about their own sexual feelings towards children says the number of calls its has received has doubled.

Stop It Now! is an anonymous helpline and website which tries to help people understand the reasons for their illegal behaviour and how to get support.

The organisation says 94,342 people in the UK asked for help via its website and helpline last year - a 119% increase from the previous year, when more than 43,000 made contact.

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Police and Crime General Forensic science failures putting justice at risk, says regulator

Innocent people are being wrongly convicted and criminals are escaping justice because of the failure of the forensic science system to meet basic standards, the regulator has said.

Delivering a stark message before the release of her annual report on Tuesday, the forensic science regulator, Dr Gillian Tully, told the Guardian the service had been operating “on a knife-edge” for years.

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Police and Crime General Automatic release of about 50 terrorists to be stopped by new law

About 50 terrorists will no longer be automatically released halfway through their sentences as emergency legislation becomes law later this week.

The government has rushed The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill through parliament - days before the previously scheduled release of the next offender is due to take place.

The bill cleared the Commons earlier this month and was backed unamended in one sitting by peers in the Lords.

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Police Demand UK venues could face legal duty to provide protection from terrorism

The owners and operators of businesses and public spaces such as concert halls, shopping centres and parks will be legally bound to protect such venues from terrorism under a new statutory duty proposed by the government.

The so-called “protect duty” reflects proposals put forward by the family of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing attack in 2017.

Home Office officials are to launch a consultation on legally forcing organisations to increase physical security at venues and train staff to respond to terrorist attacks, as well as putting in place incident response plans – and how failure to comply would be enforced.

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Police and Crime General Labour backs positive discrimination to close racial gap in policing

The racial imbalance that has existed in policie forces needs a radical change in the law to allow positive discrimination in favour of ethnic minority recruits, Labour has said.

New research shows the “race gap” in policing has grown in the last two decades and Labour’s policing spokesperson, Louise Haigh MP, said the move was needed to make police forces less white and speed up the “glacial” pace of change.

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Police and Crime General Extra council tax bands call

Former Treasury chief secretary David Gauke has called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to add additional council tax bands in next month's Budget.

Speaking at a Resolution Foundation think-tank event, Mr Gauke, who held three different ministerial roles at the Treasury between 2010 and 2016, said: ‘Clearly there’s a strong case for ensuring a property tax system is more progressive and the case for additional bands is extremely strong.

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Police and Crime General MI5 chiefs ‘do not trust’ Priti Patel with their secrets

The civil war in the Home Office erupted again last night with claims that intelligence chiefs at MI5 do “not trust” Priti Patel.

Officers in the security service have reduced the volume of intelligence they show to the home secretary and regularly “roll their eyes” at her interventions in meetings, it was claimed.

Sources said that Patel has not attended a weekly meeting with security officials from different Whitehall departments for several months, and that she was informed of some issues later in the decision-making process.

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Recruitment and Retention PSNI gets delayed 2.5% pay deal

Officers in Northern Ireland have been awarded a backdated 2.5% pay increase which had been left unsigned due to a lack of a minister.

Northern Ireland’s Department for Justice has announced a police pay deal has been signed off thanks to the devolved government being up and running again with a ministerial team in place.

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Technology US continues fight to stop UK using Huawei kit

America’s top cyber-security official has said that the Trump administration has not given up its fight to stop the UK using Huawei for its 5G networks.

Robert Strayer, the US deputy assistant secretary for cyber and communications, told the BBC he did not believe the UK government’s decision to give the Chinese firm limited access was final.

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Police Finances Pre-Budget boost for Sunak

New chancellor Rishi Sunak has received a pre-Budget boost on the public finances, with latest figures showing a record January for tax receipts.

Government borrowing in January 2020 was in surplus by £9.8bn thanks to self-assessed income tax and capital gains tax receipts which were £22.7bn, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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Police and Crime General Soft-touch Britain: Offenders spared jail despite committing same offence dozens of times

Convicted criminals are being spared jail terms despite committing the same serious offence dozens of times, new figures revealed last night. Police data released in Parliament showed courts gave suspended sentences and community penalties to offenders with long records of knife crime, assault and burglary.

Tory MP Philip Davies, who obtained the information by tabling a series of Commons Written Questions, said the statistics showed the legal system had been “hijacked” by soft-touch judges and magistrates. “These figures will leave people wondering what on earth a criminal has to do in this country to get put in jail,” the senior backbencher said.

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Police and Crime General Government's terror laws adviser raises fears over reforms

Keeping prisoners behind bars for longer could "expose them to worse influences" than if they were released, the government's terror laws adviser has said.

Jonathan Hall QC raised doubts about the "effectiveness" of legislation being rushed through parliament after the Streatham and London Bridge attacks.

He questioned whether keeping "non-risky prisoners" in jail for longer would really "protect the public" in an analysis of the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill, which has completed its journey through the Commons and will be debated by the House of Lords next week.

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Technology Social media firms will face suspension of their services within months if they host 'harmful' videos

Social media firms will face multi-million pound fines and the suspension of their services for showing “harmful” videos under a crackdown by Ofcom in just seven months time.

The Government has quietly handed Ofcom powers to investigate, fine and disrupt video-sharing and live streaming platforms to protect children from “harmful” content including violence, child abuse and pornography.

The legal requirement to protect children from any video content that “impairs their physical, mental or moral development” will come into effect in September as part of an EU-wide directive that Britain has agreed to enact as part of the withdrawal agreement.

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Economy & Public Finance UK Budget date kept at 11 March

The government will not be changing the date of the Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. It will go ahead as previously scheduled on 11 March.

There had been speculation that the Budget could be delayed after Mr Sunak replaced Sajid Javid following his resignation last week.

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Police and Crime General Housing Secretary confirms new support for survivors of domestic violence

Councils are being given a boost (£16.6m)to provide essential, life-saving support in safe housing for survivors of domestic abuse and their children, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed today (17 February 2020).

Seventy-five projects across England will share over £16 million, helping up to 43,000 survivors have access to the help they need as they move towards a safe future, free from domestic abuse.

The new funding will enable victims and their children to stay safe, recover from the trauma, and access safe permanent rehousing where needed.

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Police Demand Police ‘must be out on the street’ to beat violent crime

POLICE must be more visible on the beat and focus on violence, says research out today. The public are concerned officers have abandoned town centres, said the Police Foundation study.

They fear the ­service is being forced to plug gaps for other areas, such as mental health, and this is hitting the fight against crime. Police chiefs should prioritise emergency response, violent and sexual crime, organised crime and terrorism, researchers were told. Just 16 per cent of people said they saw an officer on foot patrol last year – down from 39 per cent in 2010.

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Technology Charities and police struggle to combat rise in online sexual crime

The numbers recorded across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have risen from 729 in 2013 to 1,216 in 2019.

The figures, obtained by the Press and Journal under freedom of information legislation, relate to serious matters like rape, the sharing of indecent images of children and public indecency.

The force says such crimes have been under-reported historically, and believes the rise can partially be attributed to more victims having the confidence to come forward.

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Technology Thousands of drivers a day sent on smart motorway and speed courses

A record number of people took driver awareness courses for motoring offences rather than fines and penalty points last year, in part because of a surge in offences on smart motorways.

Figures show that almost 1.5 million drivers — more than 4,000 a day — opted for a course to avoid points and a possible ban. The number of courses taken has more than tripled in the past nine years.

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Police and Crime General Measures to prevent crime could begin as early as nursery, experts say

Persistently naughty children from primary school upwards and their parents should be given professional support to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour further down the line, experts said.

People who engage in antisocial behaviour throughout their lives tend to start acting out earlier on in childhood, which is when they should be given help, authors of a new study said.

Their research, launched on Monday, suggests that the brains of people who engage in lifelong antisocial behaviour may be smaller and structured differently to those without such a history.

MRI scans on adults aged 45 who had persistently engaged in stealing bullying, lying, aggression or violence throughout their lives revealed a thinner cortex and smaller surface area in certain brain regions.

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Police Demand The number of burglars being brought to court has almost halved to four per cent in four years

Burglars are ending up in court in just four per cent of cases, almost half the rate of just four years ago, Home Office data reveals.

More than eight in ten burglaries across England and Wales are closed without police identifying a suspect, with only 4.4 per cent of offences resulting in a charge or a summons in 2018/19.This is down from 7.6 per cent in 2015/16.

The figures will add to growing concerns at the failure of police to investigate so-called low-level but high volume crimes following reductions in police officer numbers of 22,000 since 2012.

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Economy & Public Finance Budget may be delayed, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The government's budget may be delayed, a cabinet minister has said. It had been set for 11 March, but the timetable was thrown into doubt after the surprise resignation of former Chancellor Sajid Javid on Thursday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the date would be a matter for Mr Javid's replacement, Rishi Sunak. He told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme: "The guy's only been in place for a few days, let's give him a few days to decide on the date."

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Police and Crime General Hell-on-Sea: how a drugs gang took over a sleepy Devon town

Retired couples and a smattering of teenagers bunking off school watch the grey swell of the Channel under a pale winter sky. The gaudy amusement arcades of penny-pushers and flashing gambling machines are almost completely deserted. The bored-looking staff in the ice-cream parlours and takeaways gaze into their phones, waiting for customers.

Dawlish on the south Devon coast is everything you might expect of a seaside resort in February. Yet this ostensibly sleepy West Country town was the nerve-centre of a violent gang from the north-east who over a decade built a brutal drug empire worth at least £1m while also preying on vulnerable young women who fell under their spell.

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Police and Crime General British woman repeatedly trafficked for sex after Home Office failures

A young and highly vulnerable British sex trafficking victim was re-trafficked by county lines drug gangs on multiple occasions after the Home Office repeatedly refused to fulfil its legal obligation to provide her with safe accommodation.

On 2 January this year, the Home Office replied to the hospital, saying the woman’s complex mental health needs made her a danger to herself and others and that there were no appropriate safe-house places available.

Hours before she was due to be discharged on to the street, a high court judge forced the Home Office to act, and 24-hour support was found.

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Technology Met Police's controversial facial recognition cameras correctly identify just one in three women - and black people are far more likely to be wrongly flagged up than white people

Controversial facial recognition cameras used by Britain's biggest police force correctly identify only a third of women, an official report admits.

A review of the technology by Scotland Yard also reveals that two in three men are accurately identified, while black people are far more likely to be wrongly flagged up than white people.

Critics say the findings underline their concern that the system will lead to innocent people being wrongly stopped and searched by police, while genuine suspects are not identified.

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Police and Crime General Khan announces over £55m of funding to tackle causes of crime

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, nnounced that £55.5m of new funding will be available for tackling the underlying causes of violent crime in the capital.

The funding announcement brings the total additional amount the mayor has invested in tackling violent crime in this year’s budget to £100.6m.

Around £25m of the new funding will go to the Young Londoners Fund, which supports projects aimed at providing positive opportunities for disadvantaged young people and helping steer them away from crime.

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Police Demand Knife crime ‘epidemic’ fuelled by cuts, committee says

It found that inequality within communities and difference in opportunities provided across the country makes some young people vulnerable to the draw of violence and gangs.

It also said that school exclusion should be the last step in a long line of disciplinary measures, and schools should be held accountable for their exclusions.

The Youth Select Committee urged the Government to develop long-term funding plans of at least five years to develop effective ways of helping and reaching young people at risk of getting involved in knife crime.

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Economy & Public Finance Economy beats gloomy forecasts to be third-fastest growing in G7

Britain had the third-fastest growing economy in the G7 group of advanced nations last year even though it stagnated in the final quarter.

Official figures show that the economy beat expectations to grow by 1.4 per cent last year. The UK outperformed France, Germany and Italy, which grew by 1.3 per cent, 0.5 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), growth picked up to 0.3 per cent in December alone. The annual 1.4 per cent growth rate meant that Britain was behind only the US and Canada, which posted growth of 2.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

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Economy & Public Finance UK economy saw zero growth at the end of 2019

The UK economy saw no growth in the final three months of 2019, as manufacturing contracted for the third quarter in a row and the service sector slowed around the time of the election.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the car industry had seen a particularly weak quarter.

The ONS figures also showed the economy grew by 1.4% in 2019, marginally higher than the 1.3% rate in 2018.

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Economy & Public Finance Finance settlement pulled for new terror law

Local government minister Luke Hall tweeted: ‘Such swift action to protect the public means we will now hold the vote on the #localgov settlement as soon as possible after recess.

‘Confirming this funding as soon as possible remains a priority and we laid the final material in the House last week to help to give councils the certainty they need to deliver vital services.’

The Local Government Association had been fighting proposals to restrict council tax rises to 2% without the holding of a referendum, but the latest policy proposals in the final settlement are largely unchanged from earlier plans.

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Police Demand Emergency terror law presented to Parliament

Emergency legislation designed to end the release of people convicted of terrorism offences halfway through their sentence has been presented to Parliament.

The measures - which would apply to England, Scotland and Wales - were drawn up after the attack in Streatham, south London, earlier this month.

MPs will consider all stages of the Terrorist Offenders Bill, before the Commons goes into recess. The bill will then move to the Lords in time, ministers hope, for it to become law by 27 February.

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Technology Facial recognition: 'No justification' for Police Scotland to use technology

A report said the software would be a "radical departure" from the current practice of policing by consent.

The report from the justice sub-committee on policing was published as part of their inquiry into the advancement of live facial recognition.

It highlighted the technology was "known to discriminate against females and those from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities". The report added: "The use of live facial recognition technology would be a radical departure from Police Scotland's fundamental principle of policing by consent."

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Technology Met police deploy live facial recognition technology

The Metropolitan police have been accused of defying the warnings of its own watchdogs by beginning operational use of facial recognition CCTV, despite a scathing assessment of its effectiveness from the expert hired to scrutinise its trials.

Commander Mark McEwen, the Met’s lead on crime prevention, said Stratford had been chosen because it had been the scene of “public space violence”, and that there was support from the community for the police to use “whatever tactic we can to deal with violence”.

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Police and Crime General Derbyshire residents ‘fear reporting drug crimes will lower house prices’

Police have criticised residents of a market town for failing to report drug crimes out of fear that it could lower house prices.

Melbourne, south Derbyshire, has been ranked one of the best places to live in the UK and the average home sells for more than £300,000.

The town boasts an attractive Georgian marketplace surrounded by bistros, boutiques and art galleries. One of Britain’s top arts and crafts festivals is held there each September.

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Recruitment and Retention Gwent Police commence training of police staff investigators

Gwent Police has recruited 15 new Police Staff Investigators who are now commencing their initial 16-week training period.

The PSIs who will take two years to become fully accredited, have designated powers from the Chief Constable and can carry out searches, interviews and other duties but cannot make an arrest.

They are required to have successfully passed the PIP Level 1 and 2 exam - the same as a DC – and will be paid between £25,566 and £30,195 for a 37-hour week.

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Fire Imprisoned by cladding: The flat owners who cannot sell

Thousands of people in the UK are living in flats they cannot sell, because the outside wall is covered in cladding. Sometimes it's combustible, like the material that turned Grenfell Tower into an inferno.

Since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, in which 72 people died, cladding has become a national concern. Highly combustible "aluminium composite material" (ACM) cladding spread the Grenfell fire at terrifying speed. The most recent government figures show that 450 buildings are covered in it, 356 of which are residential.

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Police Demand 'Grave concern' as police swamped with 500,000 mental health call-outs in a year

Police were deluged with nearly 500,000 call-outs to deal with mental-health crises in the last 12 months.

Data uncovered by think tank Parliament Street shows incidents have rocketed by

20 per cent since 2016.

he Metropolitan Police had most mental health call-outs in 2019 with 39,584.

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Recruitment and Retention Police recruitment: Officials say Boris Johnson's 20,000 target is too low

Home Office and police officials say the target is not high enough because so many are set to leave the service.

It comes as campaigners say officers need a starting salary of £24,000 or more for the original target to be met.

Current figures show that only one in 10 candidates who applies to join the police is successful - meaning half a million would have to apply to reach the 53,000 goal.

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Police Finances Rape victims to benefit from government funding boost

The move will increase the money available – up from £8 million to £12 million per year – to total £32 million over three years for a range of services including tailored face-to-face support and counselling.

Nationally more than 160,000 sexual offences were recorded by police last year, and this funding will ensure help for victims is available in all 42 of the country’s Police and Crime Commissioner areas.

Today’s (7 February 2020) announcement will also see a £1 million investment to recruit more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) across the country, who provide advice and support for victims, acting as the link between police, support services and criminal justice agencies.

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Recruitment and Retention Federation report calls for ‘fair’ pay for all officers

In a report submitted on Friday (February 7) to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) – the independent team that recommends to the government what pay increase police officers should receive – the two staff associations warn that ahead of an increase in numbers, it is more important than ever that officers are “paid a fair wage for the unique job they do”.

Other parties who are expected to make submissions to the PRRB include the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Home Office and the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association.

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Technology Mobile operators clash on 'notspots' costs

An agreement to share network equipment in order to improve phone coverage in rural areas has hit a stumbling block over costs.

Rival operators are unhappy at the price BT-owned EE is asking them to pay to share its equipment.

O2's chief said the fees being sought by its rival "may undermine the viability of the project".

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Technology Spies to run cybercrime hotline after scandal at Action Fraud

British spies are designing a hotline for businesses that fall victim to cybercrime after failings at Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre, The Times can reveal.

The National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of GCHQ, is planning to launch the phone line by March next year, promising to make it easier for companies to report online crimes.

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Prisons Why UK prisons are 'incubators' for terrorism

Another terrorist, released early from prison, bent on violence, shot dead on the streets of London.

Prison certainly had not deradicalised either Streatham attacker Sudesh Amman, nor the London Bridge attacker Usman Khan.

It may have made matters worse. Both went from plotting, reading, considering acts of terror - to violently acting them out.

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Police and Crime General Innocent are left with enormous bills after cutbacks in legal aid

Tens of thousands of people have been left out of pocket after being acquitted of serious crimes over the past four years because the government ended the reimbursement of legal fees.

More than 120,000 acquitted defendants have had to pay significant legal bills after Whitehall cut legal aid, official figures obtained by The Times reveal.

Since 2014, when a means test for criminal legal aid was introduced, more than 126,000 defendants have paid for lawyers in crown court trials and been acquitted. They accounted for a third of crown court trials over that period.

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Police Finances Apprentice levy ‘failing small firms’

Reforms to vocational training are failing young people and small and medium companies, according to a poll by the Federation of Small Businesses.

The apprenticeship levy has made it harder to access entry-level training and is not providing enough support for smaller companies, its critics say.

More than one in four small companies that employ apprentices say that changes introduced three years ago have been counterproductive.

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Technology BT will build UK’s emergency network using Huawei kit despite security concerns

BT will use Huawei kit to build a telecoms network for Britain’s emergency services despite government advice that it could pose a security threat.

The much-delayed £9bn Emergency Services Network (ESN) is designed to provide the benefits of mobile internet to 300,000 first responders.

This weekend, BT insisted kit from embattled Chinese telecoms giant Huawei could be used in the network, despite Britain’s cyber spy agency warning against “any” kit from the “high risk vendor” being used in critical national infrastructure.

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Police Demand Rape victims waiting almost three years to see suspects charged

Rape victims are being forced to wait, on average, more than two and a half years to find out if their attackers will face charges, amid accusations that the police are wasting time gathering evidence they do not need.

Lengthy delays, which have soared by a staggering 64 per cent over the last decade, are contributing to plummeting conviction rates, with many victims preferring to withdraw their complaints rather than endure an agonising wait for justice.

Police investigations into sexual offences often become bogged down as detectives are forced to trawl through vast amounts of digital data - including social media exchanges between the two parties.

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Police and Crime General Knife crime among top threats to British children, survey says

Knife crime will be among the biggest threats to the safety of British children over the next decade, according to a new survey.

Mental health problems and dangers online make up the rest of the top three concerns among parents polled for the children's charity Barnardo's, with the latter encompassing the likes of grooming and self-harm content.

Social media platforms have come under increased pressure to crack down on graphic images of self-harm since teenager Molly Russell took her own life after viewing such content on Instagram.

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Police Finances Funding formula is 'deeply flawed', says Surrey PCC

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Surrey, David Munro, has written to the Home Secretary calling for the current police funding formula to be urgently reformed following last week’s government settlement.

PCC Munro said the announcement was good for getting more officers on the streets over the next year but warned Surrey’s residents are being short changed by receiving the lowest percentage increase in overall funding in the country at 6.2 per cent.

The figure takes into account the combination of central government grant allocated to Surrey Police and the maximum amount the PCC could raise through the council tax precept for policing.

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Police and Crime General Child sexual exploitation: ‘Everything we said was viewed with suspicion’

Parents of children sexually exploited by criminal gangs can be blamed for not preventing abuse, report finds.

The report draws on semi-structured interviews and focus group sessions with 32 parents or grandparents whose children were sexually abused outside the home.

Their testimony makes disturbing reading: lengthy delays in any action taken; not being listened to by social workers; feeling that their child had not been helped; and that they were often viewed as bad parents, or even possible abusers themselves.

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Technology South Yorkshire Police faces questions over involvement in facial recognition trials

It is understood the force provided photographs of three serious offenders and a vulnerable missing person as part of the trial.

A spokesperson for British Land, which owns Meadowhall, admitted the company had not put up signs warning visitors that the technology was being used.

“In 2018 we operated two short trials of facial recognition technology (FRT) at Meadowhall. The number of individuals with access to this database was strictly limited,” they said.

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Fire Grenfell witnesses demanding immunity from prosecution before testifying

Witnesses involved in designing and choosing materials for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower are applying to claim “privilege against self-incrimination” to protect themselves from the prospect of prosecution, the inquiry into the disaster has been told.

Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said on Wednesday that he had been invited to ask Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC for an undertaking that “nothing said by a witness in answers to questions in the inquiry will be used in furtherance of a prosecution against them”.

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Police Finances Mayor of London doubles council tax rise for policing fund

London's mayor has nearly doubled a planned rise in council tax he says will raise £16m more to fight crime.

A London household in Band D will pay £332 to City Hall next year, a 3.6% increase from £320.51 last year. In December Sadiq Khan proposed to increase on council tax by 2%.

The fund will pay to fast-track an extra 600 police officers next year.

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Recruitment and Retention Gwent Police fast-tracks civilians to become investigators

Crimes will be investigated by civilians who are being fast-tracked by Gwent Police to help ease workloads.

They will have powers similar to detectives who have worked their way through the ranks but will not be able to make arrests.

The force denied it was policing "on the cheap" and said the first 15 trainees would play supporting roles.

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Technology Facial recognition could be 'spectacular own goal', police warned amid accuracy concerns

Facial recognition could be a “spectacular own goal” for police if it fails to be accurate and effective, the government has been warned.

MPs raised concerns about the technology after the Metropolitan Police announced the start of live deployments in London.

Only eight arrests were made as a result of facial matches in almost three years of trials in the capital, which saw a high rate of “false positive” alerts wrongly flagging innocent people as wanted criminals.

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Police and Crime General Call to close teenage sex 'loophole' for faith leaders and coaches

A cross-party group of MPs has called for a change in the law that allows adults in positions of trust, from sports coaches to faith leaders, to legally have sex with children aged 16 and 17 in their care.

At present, the law allows only for adults in certain jobs to be prosecuted, such as teachers and social workers. Roles that fall outside this definition of “position of trust” include private tutors, driving instructors and coaches in after-school clubs, as well as vicars, imams and other religious leaders.

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Technology Unacceptable number of road deaths as ‘cameras have replaced officers’

The number of officers involved in policing the roads has fallen by 24 per cent since 2012. Some forces have seen even more dramatic declines. In Northamptonshire, the number of roads officers has fallen by 83 per cent.

Mr Bangham, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Roads Policing, said there were 1,784 road deaths last year.

“Five people a day are dying on our roads. That cannot be right. Twice as many people die on our roads than through homicide,” he added.

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Technology Huawei set for limited role in UK 5G networks

The UK has decided to let Huawei continue to be used in its 5G networks but with restrictions, despite pressure from the US to block the firm.

The Chinese firm will be banned from supplying kit to "sensitive parts" of the network, known as the core.

In addition, it will only be allowed to account for 35% of the kit in a network's periphery, which includes radio masts.

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Police and Crime General Extinction Rebellion protesters have charges dismissed after police witness goes on holiday during trial

A judge has dismissed all charges against five Extinction Rebellion protesters after a police officer due to give evidence in their case went on holiday.

Deputy District Judge Vincent McDade accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of “abject failure” over the blunder.

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Police and Crime General New powers for the police to enforce drone laws

The government has acted to give police forces across the country new powers to tackle the misuse of unmanned aircraft, including drones, as the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill has its second reading in Parliament today (27 January 2020).

The legislation will give the police new powers to land, inspect and seize drones if an offence has been committed and a warrant is secured.

Drone users could also face an on the spot fine for certain offences such as failing to provide evidence that they have the correct permissions and exemptions if found to be flying their device too high or too close to buildings, or failing to provide evidence of competency or registration.

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Police and Crime General Police chiefs admit failures on diversity 21 years after pledge

Police chiefs have admitted they have been too slow to boost diversity in the ranks and still have a long way to go, almost 21 years since a landmark report into race and policing triggered promises of radical change.

The admission came as a study found that black police officer numbers barely increased since the middle of the last decade, rising by 86 officers across the 44 forces of England and Wales between 2007 and 2018.

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Technology 'Name and shame' forces who do not sign up to national ICT systems

Forces who sign up to national ICT systems and then pull out at the last minute should be named and shamed, according to an academic who leads on the government’s digital transformation strategy.

Professor Mark Thompson who has advised the government on how to digitize large public services such as the NHS, told delegates at last week’s Police ICT summit in Manchester that the lack of a central body driving through much needed police ICT changes was a problem

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Police Finances Launch of Safer Streets Fund

A new £25 million scheme to tackle burglary and theft in crime hotspots has been launched by the Policing Minister.

The Safer Streets Fund will open this week for bids from police and crime commissioners (PCCs) across England and Wales to fund initiatives aimed at stopping these offences happening in the first place.

The fund is specifically designed for areas that need to tackle theft, robbery and burglary – known as acquisitive crimes.

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Police Demand Police attend more than 2,000 domestic violence cases across the UK every day

Most incidents (111,670) were in the North West, followed by the South East (107,692) and Yorkshire and Humber (94,499).

Domestic violence incidents now account for 14 per cent of crimes dealt with by police.

Murders, violent attacks, rapes, sexual assaults, harassment and stalking are included as domestic abuse crimes in the Office for National Statistics data.

It also showed referrals of suspects from domestic abuse-flagged cases to the CPS for a charging decision fell 11 per cent from 110,653 to 98,470 from the previous year.

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Police Demand Knife crime reaches ten year high in Wales and England

The number of knife crimes being dealt with by the police and courts is the highest in a decade, official figures show.

There were 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics.

This is a three per cent rise on the previous year (21,553) and the highest since September 2009 (26,364).

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Police and Crime General Terrorism laws to get tougher within weeks, government vows

Terror offenders will face more time in jail and be monitored more closely as part of new laws being introduced within weeks, the government has said.

Automatic early release from prison will be scrapped for terror offenders while a minimum jail term of 14 years for serious crimes will be introduced.

The Home Office said a bill would be brought before Parliament by mid-March.

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Prisons Children in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, says report

Children are being held in “harmful” solitary confinement in prison with some let out of their cells for just 15 minutes a day, a damning report from jail inspectors said.

Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, has called for a “major overhaul” of the policy of separating children in young offender institutions (HMYOIs). He said this in effect amounted to them being held in “harmful solitary confinement with little human contact and in conditions which risk damaging their mental health”.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary backs county lines crackdown

The Home Secretary joined Merseyside Police on a county lines raid funded by a new £25 million package of measures.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has backed police to step up their fight against county lines gangs as she welcomed the results of a recent crackdown.

British Transport Police (BTP) and Merseyside Police have made over 100 arrests during intensive operations that have taken place in the past 2 months. Officers have also made a number of seizures of weapons, phones, drugs and cash.

This action was funded by £5 million of Home Office money from £20 million that was previously committed by the Home Secretary to dismantle county lines.

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Police Demand Youth services suffer 70% funding cut in less than a decade

Spending on youth services in England and Wales has been cut by 70% in real terms in less than a decade, with the loss of £1bn of investment resulting in zero funding in some areas, according to research.

Analysis by the YMCA youth charity found that local authority expenditure on youth services dropped from £1.4bn in 2010-11 to just under £429m in 2018-19, resulting in the loss of 750 youth centres and more than 4,500 youth workers.

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Prisons Number of prisoners developing drug habit doubles in five years, says report

The drug problem in jails is becoming more serious with the number of inmates developing an addiction behind bars more than doubling in five years, new research suggests.

The proportion of prisoners who said they had experienced a problem with illegal substances rose from around 6.4% to about 14.8%.

And almost 15% of inmates said they were drawn to drugs after being sent to jail, said the report by the Reform think-tank.

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Police and Crime General Multi-agency taskforce to tackle ‘waste crime’ launched

A taskforce has been set up to tackle “waste crime” such as dumping hazardous materials on private land and false labelling so waste can be exported.

The Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) will bring together law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency.

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers said the taskforce will “crack down” on the criminals responsible for waste crime, which she called “a scourge on our environment”.

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Police and Crime General Dangerous drivers who cause death face life imprisonment under new longer sentence regime

Dangerous drivers who cause deaths on the roads face life imprisonment under Boris Johnson’s plans for longer sentences.

The maximum sentence for causing death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone will be raised from 14 years to life, making the offence equivalent to manslaughter.

A separate offence, causing death by driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, will also rise from 14 years to life.

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Police and Crime General Ban on stalkers contacting victims while police investigate

New measures are set to come into force which hope to protect victims of stalking at "the earliest opportunity".

From Monday officers will be able to apply to magistrates for a Stalking Protection Order (SPO) - blocking alleged perpetrators from contacting or approaching their victims while a probe into their behaviour continues.

The measures have been introduced in a bid to take a tougher stance on stalkers.

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Police and Crime General Police force wants someone to run eBay account for £20k-a-year to flog seized goods — almost as much as new cops earn

Items previously sold include a Cartier Santos watch for £4,750 and a Panasonic camera for £972 but the force now needs an administrator to list property and arrange postage and packaging. The salary ranges from £19,359 to £20,619 — just shy of the £22,380 starting constables are paid.

The employee must “describe items honestly, to maintain the integrity of Sussex Police”. The 37-hour-a-week job is described as an “exciting opportunity” and is a fixed-term contract running until December.

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Fire Dozens of social housing blocks still covered in Grenfell-style cladding

There are still 91 social housing buildings covered in Grenfell-style ACM cladding over two years after the tragedy, official figures have shown.

According to government data just one private tower block has received full funding for removal of the cladding despite a £200m pot created last summer to fund such work.

The government had initially provided £400m for local authorities and housing associations to remove the dangerous cladding after the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died.

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Economy & Public Finance MoJ civil servant jailed for £1.7m fraud

A Ministry of Justice civil servant has been jailed for a “sophisticated” fraud worth £1.7m.

Allan Williams created a £7m purchase order in 2017 for a bogus IT company that he set up.

Sopra Business Consulting Ltd was sent monthly payments which Williams, 37, later transferred to his personal bank account.

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Police and Crime General Knife offences hit 10-year high as number jailed falls, official figures show

Knife offences have hit a ten-year high but the number given jail sentences has fallen, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures.

The number of offences for knife and offensive weapons rose by three per cent to 22,286, the equivalent of 60 a day and the highest number since 2009 when there were 26,364.

The increase was driven by knife possession offences which hit 14,135, the highest number since figures were first compiled in 2009.

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Fire Fire services: 999 callers waiting longer than five years ago

The fire service’s average response times to serious fires is more than half a minute longer than it was five years ago, according to the latest Home Office figures.

The average total response time to “primary fires” in England (more serious fires that tend to harm people or cause damage to property) was eight minutes and 49 seconds between 2018-19. This response time is 11 seconds longer than last year’s and 33 seconds longer than in 2013-14.

Although total response times to fires have increased gradually over the past 20 years, the figures plateaued from 2014 up until last year, when they started to rise once again.

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Police Demand Chief constable denies shutting child sex inquiry

A chief constable has been named as the senior police officer who allegedly claimed that an investigation into child sexual exploitation had to close because there were not enough staff.

Dave Thompson, the head of West Midlands police since 2016, confirmed yesterday that he was identified in a damning report into how the authorities in Manchester failed dozens of children who were systematically groomed and abused by gangs of men.

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Economy & Public Finance Fall in inflation raises prospects of interest rate cut

The UK's inflation rate fell to its lowest for more than three years in December, increasing speculation that interest rates could be cut.

The rate dropped to 1.3% last month, down from 1.5% in November, partly due to a fall in the price of women's clothes and hotel room costs.

December's inflation rate was the lowest since November 2016.

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Police and Crime General Paedophiles 'escaped justice' as victims let down by police

A "network of paedophiles brazenly abusing young people" was allowed to escape justice and reoffend, Greater Manchester's mayor has said.

His comments come as a report criticised the "appalling failings" of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) during a 2004 police investigation into the sexual exploitation of children within the Manchester care system.

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Police and Crime General Police errors may have let abusers of up to 52 children escape justice

Up to 52 children may have been victims of a sex abuse scandal in Greater Manchester, with most offenders getting away with their crimes because of errors by police and children’s services, the Guardian has learned.

Some of the police officers involved in the 2004 case are still serving and the police watchdog has been called in to re-examine if there was any wrongdoing.

The revelations came as an independent report found that the police investigation into child sexual exploitation failed vulnerable girls in care after being shut down prematurely — partly because senior officers prioritised solving burglaries and car crime.

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Police and Crime General 90 online abuse crimes against children recorded a day, NSPCC estimates

Ninety cyber crimes a day have been recorded against children since the introduction of Government plans to tackle online harms, the NSPCC estimates.

The charity predicts that more than 25,300 child abuse image and sexual grooming offences have occurred since the Online Harms White Paper was released in April 2019, plans which aim to make the UK one of the safest places to be online.

Based on police data from April to June 2019, it estimates an average of one online abuse offence against a child was recorded every 16 minutes in England and Wales in little over nine months.

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Police and Crime General Revealed: UK concealed failure to alert EU over 75,000 criminal convictions

The UK has failed to pass on the details of 75,000 convictions of foreign criminals to their home EU countries and concealed the scandal for fear of damaging Britain’s reputation in Europe’s capitals, the Guardian can reveal.

European trust in the UK on security issues sank to a new low on Tuesday night after details emerged of the apparent cover-up, which prompted calls for an investigation in the UK and a warning from one senior MEP that a Brussels inquiry was inevitable.

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Police and Crime General More than a million Britons buying cannabis illegally to treat illness

Nearly a quarter of a million people with arthritis, 100,000 cancer patients and 50,000 multiple sclerosis sufferers are among 1.4 million unwell Britons who are being forced to buy cannabis illegally to treat their symptoms.

A landmark YouGov poll of more than 10,000 people has found that almost 3 per cent of the adult population uses cannabis to treat a medical condition, with usage across all age groups, social classes and genders.

More than half are using the drug every day and the average spend is £163 a month. This means patients are spending more than £2.6 billion a year on black market cannabis.

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Police and Crime General Nearly half charged with London knife deaths were previous blade offenders

A total of 379 suspects were charged with knife crime homicides between the start of November 2016 and the end of October 2019.

Some 173 of those charged in that period (46%), had previously committed a knife offence, according to data released by the force.

Police Demand Police leaders to start bidding for more Taser from today

Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales can start bidding today (Monday 13 January) to equip more of their officers with Taser as part of a Home Office drive to give police more powers and tools to tackle crime.

This follows the Home Secretary’s commitment to put more officers carrying Taser on our streets through a £10 million ringfenced fund, allowing them to better protect themselves and others from harm.

Bidding will open on a new online platform launched by the Home Office, where forces will decide how much funding they apply for based on the threat and risk in their local area.

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Technology MI5 chief dismisses US warnings about risk Huawei poses to intelligence sharing

The head of MI5 has said he has no reason to think Britain’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States will be damaged if the Chinese tech giant Huawei is given access to the UK’s 5G network.

The government has come under intense pressure from the US administration not to allow Huawei a role in building 5G network amid fears that granting a Chinese firm access to the communications network could be a security risk.

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Police and Crime General UK Somalis 'racially profiled' over FGM

Parents are wrongly being arrested and having their children taken into care due to the stigma around female genital mutilation (FGM), members of the UK Somali community have told the Victoria Derbyshire programme. They say figures suggesting tens of thousands of girls are at risk in the UK are inaccurate.

"Social services with the police came to the house, removed our children and arrested my wife. We didn't know what the allegations were - nobody said anything, nobody asked us anything, it was just really a shock," said Yusef - not his real name.

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Prisons Prison staff misconduct investigations rise by third

Investigations into alleged misconduct by prison staff have risen by a third in a year, figures have revealed. More than 2,500 charges were investigated in 2018-19, up from 1,894 the previous year.

Alleged "breach of security" - which can include bringing contraband into jails - and use of "unnecessary" force contributed to the rise. The Prison Service said action was taken against the "small minority that engaged in inappropriate behaviour".

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Police and Crime General ‘Martyn’s law’ security checks at venues win government backing

Airport-style security checks could be introduced across public venues after the government backed a campaign by the mother of a Manchester Arena attack victim.

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett was one of the 22 people who died in the 2017 attack, has lobbied for stronger anti-terror security measures.

Brandon Lewis, the security minister, said Boris Johnson was “100%” behind the proposals for bag searches and metal detectors at big venues such as concert and sport arenas.

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Police and Crime General Home Office overhauls police complaints and discipline process

Today the Home Office is introducing legislation that will shake up how complaints made against the police are handled and improve the discipline system for officers.

The changes, which will come into effect on 1 February, ensure that complaints can be dealt with quickly, effectively and proportionately, not just for the benefit of the public but also for the police.

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Prisons Hundreds of allegations of abuse against child prisoners are revealed as serious restraint incidents triple

Campaigners warn that troubled youngsters are being failed by system that is starved of resources – amid a surge in cases of children suffering injuries and struggling to breathe after being restrained.

Hundreds of children are alleged to have been abused and neglected in prison over the last three years amid a dramatic rise in young offenders being injured.

There were more than 550 allegations of child abuse or neglect made against staff in England’s seven child prisons between 2016-17 and 2018-19, according to figures obtained through freedom of information (FoI) requests to local councils by charity Article 39.

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Prisons Prisoner dies after throat slashed in privately run jail in southeast London

A prisoner has died after his throat was slashed inside a privately run jail in southeast London.

Scotland Yard said the man, who was in his 40s, was attacked at HMP Thameside in Greenwich in the early hours of Sunday.

He was discovered suffering a slash injury to his throat and died at the Serco-run facility, which opened in 2012 and holds around 1,200 inmates.

A man in his late 30s has been arrested on suspicion of murder, police said.

A spokesman said: "Police were called at 02:37hrs on Sunday, 12 January to HMP Thameside in Greenwich after an inmate was discovered suffering from a slash injury to his throat.

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Economy & Public Finance UK GDP: Pound slips on unexpectedly weak growth figures

Sterling has slipped following news that the economy shrank unexpectedly in November, extending earlier losses against the dollar.

The UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.3 per cent during the month as the manufacturing and production sectors declined more than expected. The figure was expected to be flat.

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Technology County lines: Call to review 'criminal abuse' of pay-as-you-go phones

The government has been urged to consider imposing restrictions on pay-as-you-go mobile phones to prevent county lines drug gangs using them.

Current rules that allow people to buy the phones anonymously are being exploited by drug dealers, the policing watchdog for England and Wales said.

It called for a Home Office review of the "criminal abuse" of mobile phones. The Home Office said it was investing £20m to further disrupt county lines activity.

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Police and Crime General Police fail to reveal evidence in most cases, says watchdog

Police are failing to comply with evidence disclosure rules in 80 per cent of cases, a watchdog has revealed, highlighting continuing concern over potential miscarriages of justice.

The latest report from HM Inspectorate for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) found that although the police “almost always” used the correct disclosure forms, they were completed in full in only about 20 per cent of cases.

Lawyers described the findings as a demonstration of “ongoing failings in core evidence-gathering and analysis”.

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Technology British police struggling to catch paedophiles because their 'computers are too slow'

British police are struggling to catch paedophiles and find victims of child sexual exploitation because their computers are too slow to use essential software required to identify and analyse images of abuse, according to a technology partner.

Griffeye, which works with police forces across the UK, said years of budget cuts mean "the majority" of UK forces lack the cash or essential hardware powerful enough to use cutting edge artificial intelligence software which is now routinely being applied in the US and other countries.

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Police and Crime General Police leaders support calls for fewer and bigger forces

Britain’s anti-slavery tsar and a former commissioner of Scotland Yard have added to mounting pressure on the government to overhaul the police force system.

Several senior policing figures today call for the 43 forces in England and Wales to be replaced with fewer, larger forces to tackle organised crime including county lines drug dealing, cybercrime and modern slavery.

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Police and Crime General CPS prosecutes 50 assaults on emergency workers each day

Between November 2018 and 2019, 19,771 offences were charged under the Act, which created a specific offence of attacking an emergency worker. Of the total, 14,372 were assaults by beating, 5,362 common assault and 36 were attempted assaults. There was also one case of aiding/abetting an assault.

The CPS figures relate to the number of offences charged, rather than individual defendants.

Nine out of every ten assaults took place against police officers. These invariably occurred when the attacker was intoxicated on drink or drugs and being arrested for an unrelated offence. Spitting was one of the most common forms of assault, but the violence perpetrated was wide-ranging and included kicking, punching, head-butting, slapping and biting.

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Police Finances Facial recognition at South Wales derby 'a step too far', says police chief

One of the most senior policing figures in Wales has warned that the use of facial recognition technology at the country’s biggest football derby this weekend could create miscarriages of justice.

Arfon Jones, a veteran Welsh police officer and the North Wales police and crime commissioner, has expressed grave concern about the deployment of the surveillance technology at Sunday’s clash between Cardiff City and Swansea City.

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Police Finances 'Infrastructure revolution' in March Budget

Chancellor Sajid Javid has set 11 March as the date for his first Budget - the first since the general election.

Mr Javid says billions of pounds will be invested "across the country".

The Treasury will "prioritise the environment", he said and reiterated a plan to make use of low borrowing rates to spend on public services.

John McDonnell, Labour's shadow chancellor, said he doubted whether the government would deliver on its investment or climate goals.

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Police Demand Overhaul outdated system of 43 separate forces, urges head of National Police Chiefs’ Council

Ministers must seize the opportunity to restructure the UK’s 43-force system as part of a forthcoming review of criminal justice, one of Britain’s most senior police officers has told The Times.

Martin Hewitt, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said that now was the right time to rethink policing priorities and set out proposals addressing the national impact of having dozens of force areas.

Mr Hewitt called on the government to include policing in the royal commission on criminal justice set out in the Queen’s Speech.

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Police and Crime General Children filming themselves in graphic sexual videos for 'likes' online in growing trend

A third of child sex abuse images are originally posted online by children themselves, it has emerged – with warnings of a growing trend where minors share graphic footage for “likes”.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said the past year has seen a “significant change” in the amount of self-generated images, which are mostly taken by girls aged between 11 and 13.

A record of 260,400 web pages were reported in 2019, of which 132,700 showed children being sexually abused.

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Police and Crime General Police team up with universities for blitz on county lines drug gangs posing as students before trying to recruit hard-up undergraduates

Police are teaming up with universities to stop county lines gangs infiltrating campuses to sell drugs.

Officers have already caught some criminals signing up for courses as a front. They also fear the gangs are recruiting hard-up students on the promise of making money.

Jon Aspinall of North Wales Police said students have been found with ‘large quantities of drugs and cash’.

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Police Finances Councils paying a private police force millions of pounds a year

Councils are paying a "private police force" millions of pounds a year to do the job of normally associated with bobbies on the beat, the Telegraph can reveal.

The team of uniformed officers, who often patrol with search dogs, have been given delegated powers from the police which allows them to issue fines and carry out searches.

The security firm Parkguard, which describes itself as part of the “extended policing family”, estimates that it now works across a fifth of a capital as well as in areas of Essex and Hertfordshire.

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Police Demand Stop and search failing in knife crime crisis

The Metropolitan Police commissioner’s policy of intensifying stop and search has been called into question after Times analysis showed no correlation with reductions in knife crime.

The use of blanket orders that allow officers to stop members of the public without cause for suspicion has increased by more than 800 per cent since Dame Cressida Dick assumed the role in 2017.

Some London boroughs that have seen huge increases in the use of section 60 orders have seen a rise in knife attacks in the past year, others have seen a fall and the one borough that used fewer orders also saw a fall.

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Police and Crime General The police chief who believes arrests aren’t the key to fighting rising crime

“I am not in a place that’s just ‘lock everyone up’,” says Martin Hewitt, Britain’s most senior police chief.

“We are part of a system that is designed to protect people, to stop people being victimised and equally to stop people offending. I would in every circumstance prefer to be in a prevention space than arresting and prosecuting.”

The chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) strikes a markedly different tone to Boris Johnson’s new government, which has pledged to create thousands more prison places and keep offenders in jail for longer.

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Police Demand Police forces record thousands of hate incidents each year even though they accept they are not crimes

police forces are recording thousands of hate incidents even though they accept that they are not crimes.

More than 87,000 ‘non-crime hate incidents’ have been recorded by 27 forces in England and Wales over the past five years, when the national policing body introduced its Hate Crime Operational Guidelines.

The guidelines state that an incident - perceived to be motivated by hostility towards religion, race or transgender identity - must be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element” and can even show up on an individual’s DBS check, despite them not committing a crime.

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Police Finances Troubled Families programme gets £165m cash boost

The government's Troubled Families project is getting £165m in funding to ensure it continues for another year.

Launched by David Cameron in 2012, the scheme targets families with multiple and complex social and health issues. Existing support for the project was due to run out later this year, prompting speculation about its future but Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it had proved a success in transforming lives and relieving the burden on public services.

The programme was set up by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government in response to the 2011 riots in English cities, at a cost of £448m.

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Police Finances Police fear return of targets as price of 20,000 recruits

Government plans for a “target culture” in policing have been criticised by police chiefs.

One of Boris Johnson’s highest-profile election pledges was to recruit 20,000 extra police officers to combat violent crime.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Bill Skelly, the chief constable of Lincolnshire police, who is involved in negotiations with the Home Office, said the government was “going down the road of targets”, which would create “unintended or perverse consequences”.

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Police and Crime General Young boys in county lines drug gangs ‘are victims, not criminals’

Young boys forced to work for county lines drug-running gangs must be seen as exploited victims and not criminals, the police chief heading the national response to modern slavery has said.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said that girls being sexually exploited would be seen as victims but it was less likely that the authorities would regard boys pressed into working for drugs gangs as victims rather than criminals.

He called for more to be done to stem the huge rise in referrals of children for safeguarding from exploitation under modern slavery legislation. He said that austerity measures had contributed to the increased exposure of youngsters to county lines drugs gangs.

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Economy & Public Finance Voters tell Boris Johnson they prefer public services to tax cuts

Most voters want more cash for public services before tax cuts, insisting Boris Johnson should make good on his promise to end austerity.

Polling for The Times by YouGov found that 57 per cent believed it was more important to increase spending on services such as the NHS and schools than to cut their taxes, against only 16 per cent who felt the opposite.

Among those who voted Conservative last month, 54 per cent wanted increased spending, with 22 per cent preferring tax cuts, after Mr Johnson overturned the traditional party order by winning the support of working-class voters in the north and Midlands.

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Police Finances Police pay millions to tackle claims from their own staff

The region’s police forces have paid out millions to tackle compensation claims lodged by their own officers and staff in recent years, The Northern Echo can reveal.

An investigation uncovering unsafe practices and dangerous incidents linked to forces across the country found that scandal-hit Cleveland Police has spent the equivalent of £640 per employee dealing with such claims.

The spend per employee for the beleaguered force is the highest in the country, almost triple that of the Metropolitan Police and more than the total for Durham Constabulary, Northumbria and North Yorkshire Police.

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Technology Tech bosses face court if they fail to protect users

Social media executives will face fines and the threat of criminal prosecution for failing to protect people who use their services under plans to regulate tech giants in Britain for the first time.

The government is to publish next month its response to a consultation on policing social media companies such as Facebook and Google after Britain leaves the European Union.

Ministers want to place the companies under a statutory duty of care, which will be enforced by Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog.

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Police Demand Thousands of children under 14 have been investigated by police for sexting

More than 6,000 children under 14 have been investigated by police for sexting offences in the past three years, including more than 300 of primary school age, the Guardian has learned.

Figures disclosed by 27 police forces in England and Wales revealed 306 cases of children under 10, including some as young as four, being investigated on suspicion of taking or sharing indecent images of themselves or other minors since 2017.

In one case, a nine-year-old boy was recorded on a police database for sending a naked selfie to a girl on Facebook Messenger. In another, a nine-year-old girl was recorded as an “offender” for sending images to someone on Instagram.

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Police Demand Police given extra £35m to stop young being drawn into gangs

A £35m-a-year scheme to tackle violent crime “by understanding its root causes” is being extended.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, is spending a further £35m on violence reduction units, insisting she “will not tolerate criminals drawing vulnerable young people into a life of violence”.

The money will go to 18 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales to fund early intervention teams for another 12 months.

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Police and Crime General Burglaries rise by 68% in Boris Johnson’s seat

Boris Johnson’s constituency has the fastest rising rate of burglary in England and Wales, with the number of break-ins in Uxbridge and South Ruislip soaring by 68% in a year.

The Sunday Times has analysed street-by-street crime data for the past two years showing the prime minister’s seat in west London has experienced the sharpest rise in break-ins during this period.

There were 692 burglaries in the 12 months to November 2019 in Uxbridge, up from 412 a year earlier.

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Police and Crime General Grooming ‘epidemic’ as almost 19,000 children identified as sexual exploitation victims in England

Almost 19,000 children have been sexually groomed in England in the past year, according to official figures that have prompted warnings of an “epidemic”.

Campaigners say the true figure is far higher and accused the government of failing to tackle child sexual exploitation, despite promises made after high-profile cases in Rotherham and Rochdale.

More than 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation were identified by local authorities in 2018-19, up from 3,300 five years before.

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Police Finances Police face legal action over retention of murder victims' body parts

The families of murder victims are taking legal action against police for secretly retaining the body parts of their relatives.

In the landmark legal action which could lead to a multi-million pound payout hundreds of families could be awarded compensation after police kept relatives’ organs without their consent, long after investigations into their deaths ended.

Bereaved mother Janine Aldridge, whose newborn baby, Leah, was murdered in 2002 by the child’s father, Andrew Ashurst, is the first to take legal action and is suing Greater Manchester police (GMP).

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Police Finances Extra south Wales funding to tackle violent crime rise

Almost £900,000 will be allocated to south Wales to tackle a rise in violent crime, as part of a £35m pot being spent by the Home Office

The funding is given to run an agency of police, councils and health boards to cut violent crime, which has risen by 35% in some areas.

Almost 40,000 violent crime incidents were recorded in the area last year.

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Police Finances West Yorkshire to receive extra £3.3m to tackle violent crime

West Yorkshire is to get an additional £3.3m from the Government to help tackle violent crime across the region.

The cash - from a £35 million pot - has been allocated to the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to continue running West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.

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Police Finances Additional £35 million for Violence Reduction Units

Police and crime commissioners will receive an additional £35 million to continue funding specialist teams to tackle violent crime in their area.

Eighteen police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will receive an additional £35 million to continue funding specialist teams to tackle violent crime in their area, the Home Secretary has announced today (29 December 2019).

Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) bring together different organisations including police, local government, health, community leaders and other key partners to prevent serious violence by understanding its root causes.

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Fire London’s first ever woman Fire Commissioner retires after 32 year service

Today the Brigade’s first ever woman Commissioner Dany Cotton leaves London Fire Brigade after 32 years. Her long career has seen her break new ground for women in the fire service and open up the discussion around mental health issues in the emergency services.

She joined the Brigade at the age of 18 and at that time was just one of 30 female firefighters in London. Within 12 years, Dany became the UK’s first female station officer and from there, steadily rose through the ranks to become London fire Commissioner in 2017.

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Police Demand Domestic violence kills 15 times as many as terrorism in Britain

Domestic violence kills 15 times as many people in Britain as terrorism, say campaigners who want the police to be given more money to tackle the problem.

The huge disparity is highlighted in figures obtained from official sources by victims’ rights campaigners, who say the police budget for combating domestic violence must be ringfenced, as it is for terrorism.

Official figures show there were 1,870 domestic murders in England and Wales between 2000 and 2018, compared with 126 that were terrorism-related. The vast majority of domestic murder victims were women. In addition, campaigners say an estimated 400 victims of domestic violence a year take their own lives.

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Economy & Public Finance Treasury to rip up public spending rules in cash boost for north and Midlands

The Treasury is planning to rip up decades-old public spending rules in an effort to boost economic wellbeing in the north and the Midlands.

Under proposals being drawn up before the spring budget, ministers will reassess how officials calculate the value for money of government investments in transport infrastructure, business development and initiatives such as free ports.

Investment decisions would be less focused on overall national economic growth and, for the first time, Whitehall resources would be allocated on the basis of improving the wellbeing of people in the north, or narrowing the productivity gap with the south.

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Technology Police take over drug dealers’ phone numbers and text users in new fight against county lines gangs

Police are seizing control of drug dealers' phone numbers and texting users themselves in an attempt to combat county lines gangs.

Officers in Sussex have become the first in the country to test a pioneering new tool that allows them to get phone lines turned over to their control

Drug dealing telecommunications restriction orders (DDTROs) mean that officers can disrupt the flow of messages between dealers and users, and therefore the flow of drugs.

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Police and Crime General Revealed: thousands of children in care placed in unregulated homes

Thousands of children in care are increasingly being placed in homes that are illegal or unregulated, in what critics have labelled a national scandal, a Guardian investigation has found.

A lack of places to house vulnerable children in the UK is prompting a surge in placements that are less safe. These include those that are unregulated or not registered with Ofsted.

MPs, the police, charities and the children’s commissioner warn that children accommodated in these homes are at risk of exploitation from sexual predators and drug gangs.

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Police Finances Police 'waste' £1.5million on electric cars that they admit are useless for chasing criminals because they 'can't go fast enough or far enough without a battery change'

Police have spent millions of pounds on electric cars they admit are useless for chasing suspects or rushing to help victims.

Forces around the country have bought at least 448 environmentally-friendly vehicles to help them meet green energy targets.

But almost all of the cars and vans are being used in non-emergency situations or by chiefs to get to work.

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Economy & Public Finance State Opening: Queen to outline PM's Brexit and NHS agenda

The Queen is to set out the Conservative government's agenda for the year ahead following last week's decisive election win.

Legislation to take the UK out of the EU on 31 January will be among more than 20 bills announced during Thursday's State Opening of Parliament.

Other measures include guarantees on extra health service funding and longer sentences for violent criminals.

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Technology Online child sexual abuse: Don't do what I did

After spending time on adult chat sites, a stranger sent "Ben" a file that contained indecent images of children. He looked at all the images but didn't call the police because he didn't want to "get into trouble".

A year later he was arrested and was later prosecuted. He served a seven month prison sentence.

It is illegal to go online and look for child sexual abuse material. It's also illegal if you view, download or share the material with someone else.

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Economy & Public Finance Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold

The Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold at 0.75% but indicated it may cut the cost of borrowing if global economic growth fails to recover or Brexit uncertainties persist.

It said the UK economy was expected to pick up from its current weakness.

However, the Bank said it would monitor companies' and households' reactions to Brexit as well as global growth.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 7-2 in favour of keeping the official rate on hold.

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Fire London Fire Brigade 'slow and wasteful', according to inspectors

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been "wasteful" and "slow to implement changes" needed after the Grenfell Tower fire, a watchdog has said.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found firefighters missed training and attended too many false alarms.

The LFB saw the report six weeks ago and commissioner Dany Cotton stood down earlier than had been planned.

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Prisons HMP Littlehey had 'chronic' heating and boiler issue

Clifford was held at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire before his death in December 2017 and his family previously raised concerns over conditions.

An inspection in July found over two years the problems "had a negative impact on the living conditions". HMP Littlehey is refurbishing its heating and hot water system.

The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons said the jail near Huntingdon, which houses more than 1,000 male sex offenders, was safe and respectful.

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Police Demand Rape convictions: Justice system near 'breaking point', says watchdog

A review of record low rape conviction rates has found a justice system "close to breaking point" because of cuts.

The Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (CPSI) said a "damning" number of cases are lost during "under-resourced" police investigations.

But it rejected claims prosecutors unfairly select the cases they charge.

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Police and Crime General Direct entry superintendents scheme 'paused' for 2020 by CoP

There will be no forces participating in the College of Policing-backed direct entry scheme for superintendents next year due to low levels of interest.

The CoP confirmed that the scheme, which offers direct management entry to candidates with no previous policing experience, had been ‘paused’ while forces concentrate on the 20,000 new recruit uplift.

Last year only two forces participated in the direct entry superintendents scheme - Avon and Somerset and Dyfed Powys. The single direct entry post at Avon and Somerset was fulfilled via a deferral.

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Fire Incoming London fire chief to prioritise rebuilding trust of Grenfell community

London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) incoming commissioner says “reaching out” and rebuilding the trust of the Grenfell community will be his first priority when he takes on the role next year.

Andy Roe, who will replace Dany Cotton as London Fire Commissioner on January 1, faced questions from London Assembly members following the publication of a “damning” report into the LFB.

The review said the brigade – the country’s largest fire service – had been “slow to implement changes” following the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, which left 72 people dead.

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Police Demand Rape charges fall as police delay cases

Delays in investigating rape cases are contributing to a fall in the number of suspects charged with the offence, the prosecutors’ watchdog has said.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate said that in one case police took so long to record a video interview with an alleged child victim of rape that the youngster had forgotten much of the incident by the time the interview took place. No charges were brought.

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson to announce new laws to ban train strikes, toughen prison sentences and stop landlords evicting their tenants this week

Boris Johnson will announce new laws to ban train strikes, toughen prison sentences and stop landlords evicting their tenants when he sets out his policy agenda this week.

The Prime Minister has drawn up an expanded Queen's Speech which will present more legislation than that announced in October. It will include a mix of policies designed to appeal to the right and laws which are meant to bolster Mr Johnson's One Nation credentials.

The Queen will deliver the speech on Thursday, just over two months since the last one. No 10 officials said it would repeat all of the previously announced legislation, with a raft of new measures promised in the Conservative manifesto.

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Police and Crime General General election 2019: Hart gets Welsh post in government reshuffle

Boris Johnson is carrying out a limited reshuffle of his government after urging newly elected Tory MPs to "change our country for the better".

Simon Hart has been named as Welsh secretary, replacing Alun Cairns, who quit at the start of the election.

And Nicky Morgan stays as culture secretary, despite standing down as an MP. She is taking a peerage and will sit as a cabinet minister in the Lords.

Opposition parties said she had been "rewarded for political sycophancy".

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Police and Crime General SFO charges former Serco directors with fraud

Former finance director of Serco Home Affairs Nicholas Woods and Simon Marshall, its former operations director of field services, have been charged with fraud by false representation and false accounting. Mr Woods has been additionally charged with false accounting in relation to the 2011 statutory accounts of the company’s subsidiary Serco Geografix Ltd (SGL).

In July this year, SGL was fined £19.2 million over its electronic monitoring contract with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). It followed claims that Serco had charged the Government for electronically monitoring offenders who were allegedly either dead, in jail or had left the country.

The SFO said Mr Woods and Mr Marshall had both been “charged with fraud by false representation and false accounting in relation to representations made to the MoJ between 2011 and 2013”.

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Economy & Public Finance OBR deficit prediction ‘sobering warning’ for new government

Revised Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts show that Britain’s deficit is likely to be £20bn higher in each year to 2023-24 than was projected in March 2019.

Economists have said the figures will be a “sobering warning” for the new government and will mean tax rises are needed in order for it to meet its own fiscal rules.

The overall deficit, the OBR said, will be £33.3bn by 2023-24 – up from a previous estimate of £13.5bn in March 2019.

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Police and Crime General Taser survey sent to all Leicestershire officers

Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Police Federation are running a joint survey to find out how many officers in the county want to carry taser.

The survey was emailed to all Leicestershire officers today (16 December) and will act as a guidance on how many officers in the force need to be trained in the use of taser.

Officers are asked if they have been assaulted in the past two years and if they would feel safer on duty if they were carrying a taser. Currently around 400 Leicestershire Police officers carry one.

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Police and Crime General Only 12 per cent of motorists think they will be stopped for drink driving

The UK is bucking the European trend of reducing drink-driving deaths and the British public are one of the most likely to think they can get away with driving while over the legal limit, according to a report by the European Union Transport Safety Council.

The AA and the RAC both said there is likely to be a link between these findings and the reduction in the number of road traffic officers.

Jack Cousens, Head of Roads policy at the AA, said: “In the last decade we’ve seen the number specialist road traffic officers reduce by a third which meant that essentially those people drink driving think they can, and do, quite easily get away with it.”

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson pledges to get tough on serious criminals

Boris Johnson has said the criminal justice system “isn’t delivering” as he promised tougher sentences for terrorists, sex offenders and violent criminals if the Conservatives are re-elected.

The Prime Minister’s pledge comes amid growing anger in government following a series of high profile failings in which criminals freed early went on to commit further offences.

Joseph McCann was this week jailed for life with a minimum of 30 years after he was mistakenly freed from prison to go on a rampage in which he raped or sexually assaulted 11 women and children.

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Police and Crime General The Lib Dems have the most radical approach to crime and justice

From the off, the Conservative party hardline approach on crime and justice under Johnson’s premiership became clear: 20,000 new police officers on the streets was one of his first pledges, followed by increased use of stop and search, prison expansion, more Tasers, and longer jail sentences – all of which have ended up in the manifesto.

So, clearly, tough on crime. But what about the causes of crime? Very little on offer. The manifesto briefly mentions a prison education service focused on work and a new approach to drug addiction treatment to reduce drug deaths.

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Police Demand Forces praised for 'impressive' response to child offenders

Figures from the Howard League for Penal Reform show that police officers have focused resources on more complex cases to reduce child arrests by more than 70% in eight years.

The charity said the change was due to determination by chief constables and their teams to rethink the response to young people offending.

Data from more than 40 police forces show that they made 70,078 arrests of boys and girls aged 17 and under in 2018, down from almost 250,000 in 2010. Over the same period, the number of children in prison was reduced by 63.

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Police Demand General election 2019: Conservatives 'see highest rise in Twitter abuse'

The abuse of candidates on Twitter has escalated during the election campaign, research suggests, with Conservatives seeing the biggest rise.

Abuse spiked after TV debates, a study by the University of Sheffield found - with abuse of Tories rising and Labour and Lib Dem levels remaining stable.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn received most, followed by Tory leader Boris Johnson. Others have reported being threatened with sledgehammers and targeted by abusive graffiti and vandalism.

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Police Demand Police cuts blamed as fraud cases fall

Prosecution of white-collar crime has fallen by almost 30 per cent since 2014, according to figures released today.

Analysts blame cuts to police numbers driven by austerity for the fall in the number of cases of fraud, money laundering, cybercrime and insider trading being prosecuted.

Ministry of Justice figures show that there were 9,415 prosecutions in 2014 compared with 6,670 last year. The number of cases fell by 14 per cent last year alone, from 7,790 in 2017. Over roughly the same period, reported fraud and cyber offences across the UK rose by more than 8.5 per cent to 693,418.

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Police and Crime General Chief constable's challenge to policing degree scheme rejected

The Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Bill Skelly has been denied a full judicial review of the College of Policing’s plan to impose the Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) on all forces which means that new recruits will either have a degree or agree to study for one once they are appointed.

With the full support of Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, Mr Skelly had asked for a Judicial Review for a stay of implementation of PEQF until the summer of 2023.

“I wanted to give time for a legitimate evaluation of the new system being imposed across the country and for the results to be assessed and any adjustments made,” he said.

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Police and Crime General Labour election win risks violent crime wave, claims Priti Patel

AJeremy Corbyn Government would lead to 52 more murders a year and a violent crime epidemic, the Tories have claimed.

In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Priti Patel, Home Secretary, claims Labour’s opposition to police use of stop and search would lead to fewer criminals being caught and more weapons on the streets.

Citing an analysis by the Conservative research department, she said the increase in weapons could mean up to 4,000 extra violent assaults a year, nearly 150 more sex assaults and 52 more murders, equivalent to one a week.

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Technology Internet referral officers join forces to take down jihadist content

Specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police-based national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) joined other specialists from nine countries at a Europol event aimed at bringing down websites that show extremists how to build IEDs and use chemical weapons.

The joint action was co-ordinated at Europol’s headquarters in the Hague and involved the EU’s own specialist unit the European Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU).

It mainly targeted manuals and tutorials explaining how to build improvised explosive devices (IED) and use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents.

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Police and Crime General Wildlife crime now 'too complex' for non specialist police

From illegal hunting to importing banned species and egg collecting, wildlife crime is on the rise and the investigations that follow are not simple.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee said: “Wildlife law has been amended so many times in response to new wildlife crime threats that it is too complex for non-specialist police and prosecutors to apply effectively and for the public to fully appreciate.”

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Police and Crime General Force visited by 'Wellbeing Wagon' at officer welfare event

Humberside Police held its wellbeing conference last Friday, which included a visit from a ‘Wellbeing Wagon’, in an effort to improve officers’ mental and physical health.

The van, which is part of the National Police Wellbeing Service - also known as Oscar Kilo - has been parking in front of police stations and officers are encouraged to go for a check-up during their work hours. Visitors are able to have their blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and psychological wellbeing checked by professional welfare staff. They can also receive financial support as well as being signposted to external relevant health services.

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Police Demand Officers have to upload domestic abuse reports onto 13 systems

Police Scotland officers who attend domestic violence incidents have to upload the details manually onto 13 separate force systems.

This is despite the fact that Scotland is a national force and many officers are equipped with mobile electronic notebook technology to record details of the incidents at the scene.

Supt Stevie Dolan, of Police Scotland told a police technology event at Motorola today that although operating as a national force since 2013, Police Scotland still has eight separate crime systems as a legacy from its former eight-force structure.

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Police Finances Knife crime 'fuelled' by brutal Tory cuts to youth services across Liverpool

Brutal Tory cuts to youth services have fuelled knife crime in Liverpool according to campaigners.

In the last ten years, under Conservative leadership, the city has lost 84 council employed youth workers - cutting from 110 to just 26.

The youth service budget was also slashed by more than two thirds from £6,431,000 in 2009 to £2,023,000 in 2019.

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Police and Crime General London Bridge attack: Boris Johnson says some prisoners can't be deradicalised

Boris Johnson has said the "grim reality" is that "some people can't be rehabilitated" in prison.

The PM called for longer sentences and an end to automatic release after convicted terrorist Usman Khan killed two people on London Bridge on Friday.

The father of Jack Merritt, one of the victims, says he would not wish his son's death "to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences".

Labour have accused Mr Johnson of using the attack for political ends.

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Technology FaceApp may pose 'counterintelligence threat' says FBI

The FBI said FaceApp and other mobile applications developed in Russia pose a "potential counterintelligence threat".

The comments were made in a letter to US Senator Chuck Schumer after he called for an investigation into the app.

The face-editing tool went viral earlier this year but prompted privacy concerns.

The FBI comments come amid rising US concern that products made by foreign tech firms could pose security risks.

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Police and Crime General Election promises on police must be genuine, chief says ‘We’ve been failed before’

Police boss John Apter delivered a defiant election message saying: “We have been failed so many times in the past – if the safety and security of the public is a priority this must change.” The serving officer, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has demanded backing from the very top of government and more financial support for tens of thousands of rank-and-file officers.

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Police and Crime General 'Tis the season to improve officer wellbeing

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has teamed up with a range of partners to provide advice and offers to improve police officer wellbeing in the run-up to Christmas.

The advent calendar launched online on Saturday 1 December and will run until Christmas Eve – the idea is that a new door is unlocked each day to reveal a message or offer. The first day contained an offer of a loan from No1 CopperPot to help officers cover the cost of Christmas. Subsequent offers will include money off family days out, foreign trips, meals and advice about staying mentally and physically healthy during what can be an especially stressful time of year.

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Prisons Education in jails 'must not be undermined by London Bridge attack'

Academics and former staff at a prison-based education project have voiced support for the initiative, saying its message should not be undermined, after staff were attacked during an event to celebrate its work.

“Learning Together insists on seeing the best in people. It is unflinching in saying that – no matter someone’s past – everyone has something to contribute.

“The classes reflect this: students from unis and prisons learning alongside one another in genuinely mutual exchange.”

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Police and Crime General County lines gangs turning to guns in Britain’s drug turf wars

County lines drug dealers in Britain are increasingly using firearms when supplying heroin and crack cocaine, an EU report said yesterday.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said there was a strong link between firearms and illegal drugs in a report revealing that Europeans were spending at least £30 billion a year on cannabis, cocaine and other substances. Its study highlighted intimidation and violence linked to county lines as gangs protect their markets.

The report said some British forces had highlighted concerns about “increasing firearms use related to county lines, the supply of primarily heroin and [crack] cocaine from the capital and big cities to provincial towns”.

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Economy & Public Finance General election 2019: Tory and Labour spending plans 'not credible' - IFS

Neither the Conservatives nor Labour are offering "credible" spending plans ahead of the general election. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said it was "highly likely" the Tories would end up spending more than their manifesto pledges.

Labour, it warned, would be unable to deliver its spending increases as it has promised. Neither party was being "honest" with voters, IFS director Paul Johnson said. The Liberal Democrats' manifesto, he said, would involve lower levels of borrowing than under Labour or the Conservatives, but would still be seen as "radical" in "most periods".

However, he added that, given the uncertainty around Brexit, it was difficult to determine what the exact effects of the three parties' offers would be.

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Police Demand Domestic abuse: Big rise in reports to police in Wales

There has been an 83% rise in domestic abuse-related crimes recorded in Wales over the past four years, official figures have shown.

North Wales Police has seen the biggest rise, with 11,327 crimes recorded last year, up from 4,798 in 2015-16.

The force said the rise was partly due to efficient crime recording and better promotion of victim support services.

Across all four Welsh forces, domestic abuse reports rose from 18,960 in 2015-16 to 41,532 in 2018-19.

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Police Demand 28% rise in cases places intolerable strain on forces

The National Chair of the Police Federation has called for a review of what he has called a ‘growing mental health crisis’ as new figures revealed police officers dealt with 28% more cases in the last four years.

An Institute for Government Performance Tracker 2019 survey found the number of mental health incidents involving police officers rose from 385,206 to 494,159 between 2014-18 and there was also an 13% increase in the number of individuals taken to a place of safety by officers under the Mental Health Act.

Chair John Apter said: “This country is in the grip of a growing mental health crisis and my colleagues are at the very forefront of trying to protect and support vulnerable people. These figures show we have reached beyond tipping point, and we would welcome a wider public investigation into these important issues.

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Police and Crime General Labour pledge to boost staffing at violence reduction centres

Labour would significantly increase staffing at 18 violence reduction units in an effort to clamp down on gang warfare and crime, the party has announced.

The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said that if Labour came to power there would be about 20 extra officers employed at each of the government-funded units, which bring together police, local government, probation, health and community leaders.

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Economy & Public Finance Police force spent £23,000 on gender-neutral caps - only to get rid of them 18 months later after public outcry

A police force spent £23,000 on gender-neutral 'Burger King' caps to replace traditional helmets only to get rid of them 18 months later following a public outcry.

Northamptonshire Police introduced the US-style 'bump hats' in May 2017 to attract more transgender officers, claiming that 'gender-based headgear' was acting as 'a barrier to the non-binary transgender community'.

But they were largely scrapped in November last year after critics said they made officers 'look like Jimmy Krankie' and replaced with the traditional helmets that have been a symbol of British policing for more than 150 years.

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Police and Crime General Police urge people to download location app What3Words

Police in North Yorkshire have urged people with a phone to download the What3Words app to help locate them in an emergency.

Emergency services across the country have praised the What3Words app for its ability to provide precise locations anywhere in the world.

North Yorkshire Police Road Policing Group highlighted an incident this evening when they used the app to reach a man whose car had turned onto its side.

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Police and Crime General Labour pledges to rebuild police service

Labour committed to recruit 2,000 more frontline officers than have been planned for by the Conservatives if it wins the general election. The party also pledged in its manifesto to enforce the laws protecting police and other emergency workers from violent assault.

Labour committed to invest in a modern workforce that would tackle the rise in violent crime and cybercrime.

Funding is a critical issue and Labour’s solution will be to work with Police and Crime Commissioners to reform police funding to share new resources fairly.

The policy is squarely aimed at regions in the North of England that have argued they are disadvantaged against forces in the South East and will depend on how much extra funding police forces get.

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Economy & Public Finance Economists warn of deficit rise as borrowing hits 5-year high

UK borrowing has risen to a five-year high as political leaders have laid out large spending plans, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics has said that borrowing in October 2019 was £11.2bn - £2.3bn more than in October 2018.

Borrowing in the current financial year has reached £46.3bn, £4.3bn more than in the same period last year and already exceeds the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of £40.6bn for the whole of 2019-20.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel to double maximum jail sentences for assaults on police officers

Priti Patel is to double the maximum sentence for assaulting a police officer and other emergency service workers to two years to combat a surge in attacks on frontline staff.

It will be part of a major review of the way the criminal justice system deals with assaults on police and emergency workers following evidence by The Telegraph showing the average jail term for the offence is just two months.

The Government has already raised the maximum from six to 12 months but it has failed to stop the “tide” of attacks on police that earlier this year saw Thames Valley police constable Andrew Harper killed when he went to investigate a burglary.

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Police and Crime General Drug dealers sentenced after residents took action

Drug dealers who were exposed when disgruntled residents put up fake street signs have been jailed.

The east London residents commissioned artists to create "drug dealers only" parking spaces and "crack pickup" points last September, sparking a police investigation.

A total of 23 men have now been prosecuted over the drugs trade.

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Police and Crime General General election 2019: Plaid promises extra 1,600 police

Plaid Cymru has pledged an extra 1,600 police officers, saying it could be delivered by handing criminal justice powers to politicians in Wales.

Liz Saville Roberts said the party would spend an extra £50m to provide an extra two officers for each community.

The party also promised to ban the use of "highly inaccurate" facial recognition technology.

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Police and Crime General General election 2019: Norfolk Police chief complains about leaflet

A police force has complained about its chief constable's comments being used in an election leaflet, claiming it compromises his impartiality.

Norfolk Police's Simon Bailey said he was "disappointed" to see his interview about cuts in a leaflet for Norwich South Labour candidate Clive Lewis.

The force complained to the Electoral Commission who said it was "not within our remit".

Labour has apologised to Mr Bailey for using his image without permission.

The chief constable's comments appeared under a banner claiming Norwich was being "wrecked" by the Conservative Party.

The leaflet quoted a headline from an October 2015 newspaper story in which he spoke about cuts to policing in Norfolk.

In response to the leaflet, Mr Bailey said: "As a police officer you must be impartial. Policing is strictly non-party political and we carry out our duties without fear or favour.

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Police and Crime General Humberside most improved force in terms of morale survey shows

Humberside Police has the most improved morale of any force in England and Wales according to the Police Federation Annual National Pay and Morale survey 2019, released today.

The survey was introduced in 2014 by the National Police Federation to give officers the opportunity to highlight how they were feeling and concerns they had working in the service.

The findings are significant for Humberside. Three years ago an internal staff survey showed that the majority of officers felt disconnected from the force and its leadership following changes in management and two highly critical HMIC reports.

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Economy & Public Finance General election 2019: PM puts corporation cuts on hold to help fund NHS

Planned cuts to corporation tax next April are to be put on hold, Boris Johnson has told business leaders, with the money being spent on the NHS.

The rate paid by firms on their profits was due to fall from 19% to 17%.

But the PM told the CBI conference the move could cost the Treasury £6bn and the cash would be better spent on the "nation's priority".

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Prisons Freed prisoners killing themselves at a rate of one every two days

The number of people who took their own life while on supervision after leaving prison has increased sixfold since 2010 to a rate of one every two days, fresh analysis seen by the Guardian shows.

There were 153 self-inflicted deaths among those on post-custody supervision in 2018-19, compared with 24 in 2010-11, Ministry of Justice data analysed by the charity Inquest reveals, although this is partly down to improved recording.

The suicide rate among people leaving prison in 2018-19 was 212 per 100,000, while for people serving community orders and suspended sentence orders (who are under supervision but have not been jailed), the rate falls to 132 per 100,000, Inquest said. The rate for prisoners is about 83 per 100,000 and among the general population it is about 14 per 100,000.

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Police and Crime General Fewest suspects in court for 50 years while crime goes up

The number of suspects facing courts has fallen to its lowest level in 50 years despite a rise in recorded crime, official figures published yesterday disclose.

Ministry of Justice data also showed that the number of criminals given an immediate jail sentence on conviction fell to its lowest level in a decade. The average length of a jail sentence rose to 17.4 months, the highest in the past ten years, from 13.5 months in June 2009.

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Police Finances Met criticised as cost of policing arms fair doubles to £2.4m

Campaigners have accused the police of taking an “increasingly authoritarian” attitude towards peaceful protest as it emerged that the cost of policing an international arms fair in London more than doubled to £2.4m.

Data obtained under freedom of information laws also showed that the Metropolitan police deployed twice as many officers – 5,609 – over a 13-day period covering the DSEI fair in September as during the event’s previous staging, in 2017. More than 120 protesters were arrested in the run-up to and during this year’s convention.

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Police and Crime General County Lines drugs dealing 'under-reported' in North East

Exclusive: The senior officer in charge of policing the movement and transportation of drugs in the UK has told ITV News Tyne Tees County Lines on the transport network is 'under-reported' in the North East.

The National Police Chiefs' Council's (NPCC) Detective Inspector Stuart Liddell, of the National County Lines Coordination Centre, said he wants to encourage the public, transport companies and police officers to recognise the "risk indicators" associated with young people travelling on the network and to report anyone they believe could be involved in County Lines drugs gangs.

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Police Finances Severe flooding becomes election campaign issue

Opposition parties have criticised Boris Johnson’s handling of flooding emergencies in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

This is despite the prime minister convening a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee for this afternoon, which had still not taken place by the time this story was published at 5.15pm.

More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated, about 500 flooded and the Environment Agency still has five ongoing severe warnings, five days after some areas had a month’s worth of rain in just 24 hours.

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Economy & Public Finance Inflation falls to three-year low as energy prices fall

UK inflation rose at its lowest pace in almost three years last month as the energy cap kept a lid on the price of electricity, gas and other fuels, according to official statistics.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said consumer prices rose 1.5% in October, against 1.7% in September.

Energy regulator Ofgem lowered price caps last month.

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Economy & Public Finance UK wage growth slows as unemployment falls

UK wage growth slowed down in the three months to September, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Unemployment dropped by 23,000 to 1.31 million over the same period, while the number of people in work also fell.

Average earnings excluding bonuses increased by 3.6%, compared with 3.8% growth in the previous month.

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Police Finances Police violence scandal: 59 brave police officers attacked every day

Analysis reveals 59 officers a day are beaten, punched or spat at, as lawlessness grips towns and cities. Nearly 20,000 incidents have occurred since the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act came in a year ago today. Frontline officers have suffered horrendous injuries. Some still need medical attention, have post-traumatic stress disorder or had to quit their job.

West Yorkshire Police recorded 1,514 assaults between November 13 last year and August 31 – a rate of five a day and an annual increase of almost 10 per cent.

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Technology General election 2019: Labour Party hit by second cyber-attack

The party says it has "ongoing security processes in place" so users "may be experiencing some differences", which it is dealing with "quickly".

The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack floods a computer server with traffic to try to take it offline. The BBC's Gordon Corera has been told Monday's attack was not linked to a state.

Earlier, a Labour source said that attacks came from computers in Russia and Brazil. Our security correspondent said he had been told the first attack was a low-level incident - not a large-scale and sophisticated attack.

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Police Finances GDP monthly estimate, UK: September 2019

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services produced in the UK. It estimates the size of and growth in the economy.

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Police and Crime General Slavery offences soar as county lines are targeted

Modern slavery offences nearly doubled last year as police increasingly accepted that county lines drug couriers were victims rather than criminals.

The Metropolitan Police recorded 1,284 crimes under the legislation, a rise of 82 per cent on 2017.

The figures mirrored the national picture. The National Crime Agency said in March that almost 7,000 potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery were reported to the authorities in 2018, a rise of 80 per cent over two years.

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Police Finances Thousands of UK workers' pay to rise as living wage increases

More than 210,000 workers in Britain are to receive a pay rise after the charity behind the living wage increased the national minimum hourly rate by 30p to £9.30.

The Living Wage Foundation, which sets the voluntary measure, said London workers’ basic hourly rate will also rise, by 20p to £10.75, compared with the government’s “national living wage” of £8.21 for workers aged 25 years or older.

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Economy & Public Finance UK GDP: Britain ducks recession but annual growth weakest since 2010

The UK has dodged a recession despite seeing the biggest year-on-year slowdown in nearly a decade.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the 0.3% growth for the third quarter signalled the economy "slowing".

That's because the 0.3% figure puts annual GDP at 1% - down from the 1.3% calculated at the end of the second quarter.

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Police and Crime General Cambridgeshire PCC resigns after complaint referred to IOPC

Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has resigned today after a complaint was submitted against him.

An investigation into the allegation has been launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Cambridgeshire PCC Jason Ablewhite, who was elected to the role in 2016, was the county’s second ever elected PCC.

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Economy & Public Finance General election 2019: Labour and Tories to unveil economic plans

Labour has promised an "irreversible shift" of power and investment to working people outside the south-east of England, if they win the election.

John McDonnell will pledge £150bn for schools, hospitals and housing on top of existing spending plans to be paid for through borrowing.

The shadow chancellor says he will move Treasury staff out of London to ensure the regions get a fair share of it.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said Labour's plans were "fantasy economics".

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Police Finances Council finance settlement timing “up to new government”

The government has confirmed that the timing of the 2020/21 local government finance settlement will be a matter for the incoming government following December’s general election.

Last year, the government agreed to publish the provisional settlement earlier than usual – around 5 December, following criticism of the normal timetable in a review published by HM Treasury director general Andrew Hudson.

However, these plans have been thrown off track by Parliament’s decision last month to hold a general election on 12 December.

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Police and Crime General Police concerns over paedophile hunter grow as numbers of prosecutions relying on evidence from vigilante groups soars to four a week

Police have expressed concerns about online paedophile hunters after prosecutions relying on evidence from vigilante groups soared to four a week.

Senior police officers have criticised groups who pretend to be children online in a bid to snare child sex abusers.

They have even suggested they can go beyond the law and could be guilty of crimes such as blackmail, extortion and varying forms of violence. Freedom of Information data has revealed the numbers of people convicted of child grooming offences have increased five-fold between 2013 and 2018 from just 68 to 359.

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Police and Crime General Extinction Rebellion cases suspended after police ban ruled unlawful by High Court

Nine Extinction Rebellion cases were suspended at court in the wake of the High Court challenge where judges deemed a London protest ban unlawful.

The cases were due to be heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning, but have now been sent back to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for “review of evidence”.

Today’s cases were all related to public order offences, which occurred before 14 October, when police banned Extinction Rebellion protests across London.

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Police Finances UK police staff vote to accept 2.5% pay rise

Police staff members in England and Wales have voted to accept an improved pay offer, lifting wages by 2.5% for the year 2019-20.

Trade union Unison announced on 4 November 2019 that 93% of eligible members had voted in favour of the new pay deal, which will see a 2.5% increase on all pay points, backdated to 1 September 2019.

The agreement will see additional increases for staff in the lowest pay bracket, increasing yearly pay from £17,262 to £17,799, equivalent to a 3.1% rise

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson plans to hand police new stop and search powers to target serial knife offenders in desperate bid to crack down on stabbings

Boris Johnson is set to hand police new stop and search powers to target serial knife offenders.

They would allow officers to stop thugs with convictions for knife offences and other violent crimes. The move is part of a major law and order crackdown likely to form a central plank of the Tory manifesto.

Mr Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel are determined to restore the party's reputation for being tough on crime.

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Police and Crime General Care homes accused of being too quick to call police on children

Vulnerable children in care homes across the country are still being taken to court for damaging residential facilities or assaulting care staff, Guardian research shows – a sign the state has failed, according to one prominent MP.

Government guidelines say police should not be used for low-level behaviour management or matters a “reasonable parent” would not call the police about.

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Police and Crime General Grenfell: Jacob Rees-Mogg urged to resign over 'unforgivable' comments

Jacob Rees-Mogg is facing calls to resign after he suggested it would have been "common sense" for Grenfell Tower residents to ignore "stay put" advice from firefighters and leave the burning building.

The leader of the House of Commons has said he was "profoundly" sorry for making the controversial remarks in a radio interview.

On Monday, he told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "It seems to me that that is the tragedy of it, that the more one's read of it over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you're told and leave, you are so much safer.

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Police and Crime General Police could face hundreds of claims over climate arrests

The Metropolitan Police could face hundreds of claims for false imprisonment if the High Court rules that its ban on protests by Extinction Rebellion was unlawful.

More than 400 activists were arrested after the Metropolitan Police imposed the ban during the second week of the “October Rebellion”, a mass demonstration across London that was organised as part of the group’s campaign for action on climate change.

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Police Demand Justice system 'may not cope' with impact of Boris Johnson's 20,000 extra police officers, MPs warn

The justice system may be unable to cope with the consequences of Boris Johnson’s pledge to hire 20,000 extra police officers, MPs have warned.

The Public Accounts Committee said civil servants could not predict the full impact of the uplift, which is expected to lead to more prosecutions and prison sentences.

“Given the operational and financial pressure that court, prison and probation services are already under, it is far from certain the Ministry of Justice will have the capacity and capability to cope with a significant rise in demand,” its report concluded.

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Economy & Public Finance General Election 2019: Public spending 'to rocket' in next parliament

Government spending is likely to head back towards 1970s levels over the next parliament whichever party wins the general election, research suggests.

Think tank the Resolution Foundation said both Labour and the Conservatives were planning big increases in the size of the state.

The 1970s are often described as a period of economic turmoil for the UK, with public spending soaring during the decade.

Technology Police to use facial recognition drones to help find the missing

Police Scotland has unveiled a new aerial drone system to help in searches for missing and vulnerable people. The remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS) can see things we can't to try to work out where people are.

It uses advanced cameras and neural computer networks to spot someone it is looking for - from "a speck" up to 150 metres away. Its recognition software is compact enough to be run on a phone, with the technology learning as it goes.

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Police and Crime General UK terrorism threat downgraded to 'substantial'

The UK's terrorism threat level has been downgraded from "severe" to "substantial", the Home Office says. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the UK was still at "a high level of threat" and an attack could "occur without further warning".

The terrorism threat is now at its lowest since August 2014. Substantial is the third of five ratings at which the threat level can stand.

The separate terrorism threat level for Northern Ireland remains "severe". Ms Patel said in a statement on Monday that terrorism remained a "direct and immediate" risk to the UK's national security.

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Police Finances Third of promised police funds to be kept back for recruitment

Police forces will not receive one third of the money the government announced it would provide to fund the first wave of new officers, the Guardian has learned.

The Home Office will retain some £16.3m for “recruitment programme costs”, out of £45m announced to fund the first 2,000 officers by April 2020.

The decision was contained in official letters sent to forces last week, informing them how much money they would receive. The Home Office said the £16.3m would be used for advertising and key investments to support the biggest police recruitment drive in decades.

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Police and Crime General Primary school students getting self-defence classes for knife attacks

Children as young as seven are being taught self-defence classes at school to prepare them for knife attacks.

Copenhagen Primary School in Islington, North London, said youngsters were being equipped with survival techniques to tackle a "fear culture" which prevents parents from allowing them to leave their homes.

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Police and Crime General MPs warned to not go out alone or after dark during general election

Politicians fighting the general election have been told to take unprecedented security precautions by their parties and police. Those seen as most at risk are being equipped with security alarms amid fears that a winter poll dominated by Brexit could turn violent.

Many have also been advised not to campaign after dark or alone, and not to enter people’s homes even if the weather is bad, as the country heads towards what is expected to be the most fiercely fought and unpredictable election in recent times.

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Police and Crime General Police to be given powers to arrest travellers and seize caravans if they camp illegally on private or public land

Police will be given power to arrest travellers and seize their caravans if they set up illegal campsites on private or public land.

Tough new laws will make it a criminal offence to occupy any land without permission with the intention of setting up home there. Under current law, trespass is a civil matter which means owners face long and costly legal battles to remove unwelcome visitors.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has drawn up proposals that would give police power to act instantly to remove the offenders and their property.

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Technology Police ‘yet to justify’ facial recognition

A legal code of practice is needed before facial-recognition technology can be safely deployed by police forces, the data regulator has said.

The technology scans CCTV footage of the faces of passersby to try to identify wanted criminals. Police chiefs believe its use could cut crime rates and it has been trialled by the Metropolitan Police and South Wales police.

However, analysis by academics of six trials found that the technology mistakenly identified innocent people as “wanted” in 80 per cent of cases.

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Police and Crime General MPs urge compulsory refunds for victims of bank transfer fraud

Financial companies should be required by law to refund victims of bank transfer scams, and should consider reimbursing the many thousands defrauded since 2016, according to a report from MPs.

They also said retailers and other companies that suffer data breaches that lead to fraud should be forced to pick up the bill for the costs of reimbursing customers and issuing new bank cards.

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Police and Crime General 'There is no upside' for UK's national security after Brexit, former head of MI5 says

Lord Jonathan Evans, who was director-general of the Security Service from 2007 to 2013, said it was “absolutely vital” to remain ties with Europol and European Union (EU) countries.

“I find it very hard to see any security upside from Brexit. It seems to me that our task is to minimise the downside," he told a debate held by the Policy Exchange think-tank in London.

Lord Evans, who sits as a crossbench peer, said Britain’s “security interests remain international and globalised, because that’s where the threats come from”.

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Police and Crime General 'Life changing' Domestic Abuse Bill faces further delays due to general election

A domestic abuse charity and leading campaigners have expressed their frustration that a December general election has halted the progression of a Domestic Abuse Bill.

SafeLives said the timing is 'hugely frustrating' after all the hard work that has been put into the bill over such a long period of time.

The bill has already faced parliamentary delays following the prorogation of the House a few months ago. Former president of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, called for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be brought back before MPs when Parliament was prorogued.

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Police Demand Prisons in 'appalling state of crisis' warns report

MPs on the Criminal Justice Committee have warned that safety, security and decency are all lacking in prisons across the country.

The committee condemned the lack of a clear plan for reform and long-term strategy to "reverse the fortunes" of prisons and called for more detailed plans to meet the pledges made.

The report said: "Too often, prisons are identified as needing extra support, but their performance continues to decline.

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Police Demand Mental Health: police detentions up 30% in five years

The number of times police have detained someone under the Mental Health Act has risen by nearly a third in Wales over the last five years.

Better support is needed to avoid a "revolving door" where the same people are repeatedly detained and released, an assembly committee has said. They said work was needed to find out what was behind the increase.

The Welsh Government said it had provided extra investment to improve access to crisis and out-of-hours care.

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Police and Crime General General election: UK set to head to polls as MPs back pre-Christmas election

Voters are set to head to the polls on 12 December after MPs supported a pre-Christmas general election.

The House of Commons voted by an overwhelming majority of 438 to 20 in favour of an election in little more than six weeks' time.

It would be the first December election since 1923 and dominated by debate over the UK's delayed departure from the EU.

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Police and Crime General Football policing needs new approach, says radical pilot

A project backed by the English Football League and six police forces is trialling new methods to control match days based on the science of crowd behaviour.

The ENABLE project is based on research and methods trialled over the last four years. It is scaling up to provide evidence over the next two seasons. The team involved say it could deliver a less hostile experience for fans and lower the costs of policing games.

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Police Demand Met police accused of 'degrading' treatment of disabled XR activists

The Metropolitan police’s advisers on disability have accused the force of “degrading and humiliating” treatment of disabled activists during the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in London this month.

A formal complaint by the Met’s disability independent advisory group says members are “disappointed and angered” the force failed to engage with them over the policing of the protests, and the Met may have caused “irreparable damage” to relations with disabled people.

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Police and Crime General UK intelligence services step up monitoring after death of Isis leader

British intelligence agencies are engaged in heightened monitoring of subjects of interest after the death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to safeguard against the possibility of revenge attacks in the UK.

The response covers about 3,000 people in the UK and abroad who are believed by MI5 to have connections to Isis or who could be inspired by the group to launch terrorist attacks in Britain.

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Police and Crime General Grenfell Tower report – section by section: the 1,000 pages of damning criticism on failures that compounded tragedy

Spanning around 1,000 pages, the first official report into the Grenfell Tower fire delivers conclusions more damning than many survivors and bereaved families would have dared expect.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick was dogged by controversy following his appointment to lead the investigations but his criticisms of the authorities and the construction of the building on Monday appeared to ease fears of a whitewash among those touched by the tragedy.

Dozens of survivors and grieving relatives were handed the report, which weighs around 4kg, on Monday morning to allow them to digest the findings ahead of the formal publication on Wednesday.

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Police Demand Overhaul exclusions to beat knife crime, say MPs

Too many excluded pupils get only a couple of hours teaching each day, says the report. There is evidence this leaves them at risk of being drawn into knife crime, it adds. Ministers warned that "simple causal links between exclusions and knife crime cannot not be drawn".

However, research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime found only a third of councils were able to confirm they had space for newly excluded pupils in their pupil referral units (PRUs).

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Police Demand Violence against MPs is a 'price worth paying' to get their way on Brexit say majority of both Leavers and Remainers in 'genuinely shocking' survey

Violence against MPs is a 'price worth paying' to get the Brexit result they want, say a majority of both Leavers and Remainers in a 'genuinely shocking' survey.

The study, based on polling by YouGov, found 71% of Leavers in England, 60% in Scotland and 70% in Wales believed violence towards MPs was a 'price worth paying' for Brexit.

Among Remainers, 58% in England, 53% in Scotland and 56% in Wales considered violence towards MPs was a 'price worth paying' for Britain to stay in the EU.

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Economy & Public Finance Error found in UK public finances, official statistics body admits

The UK budget deficit is £1-£1.5bn less than what had been previously reported after a statistical error, the Office for National Statistics has said (ONS).

Britain's official statistics agency reported earlier this week a year-to-date budget deficit of £40.3bn, excluding public-sector banks.

The ONS now says there was "an error in the measurement of local government social benefits".

A corrected version will be published early next week.

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Technology Police forces’ response to cyber crime ‘too varied’

The prevention and investigation of cyber-related crime is undermined by inconsistencies in local policing, a new report has warned.

Too much variation across the 43 forces operating across England precluded an effective response to the threat of cyber-dependent crime, according to an investigation carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

It said a national policing response should be established to tackle these offences, which are estimated to cost the UK £1.1bn each year.

The inspectorate said there were effective working arrangements between law enforcement agencies, and a well-established national strategy for dealing with the threat from cyber-dependent crime.

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Technology Police database flagged 9,000 cybercrime reports as 'security risk'

Thousands of reports of cybercrime were quarantined on a police database instead of being investigated because software designed to protect the computer system labelled them a security risk.

The backlog at one point stretched to about 9,000 reports of cybercrime and fraud, some of them dating back to October last year. The reports had been made to Action Fraud and handed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), run by the City of London police.

They were added to a database called Know Fraud where they are supposed to be processed, assessed and distributed among investigators.

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Fire ‘Flawed’ Safety Test Leaves Thousands At Risk Of Grenfell-Style Fire, Government Warned

Thousands of people are at risk of a Grenfell-style fire because of a “flawed” test that stated a type of cladding covering hundreds of tower blocks is safe, the government has been told.

Fire safety experts have called for all HPL cladding to be “urgently” removed as they raised major concerns with a parliamentary committee over the laboratory tests of the material.

HPL - or high pressure laminate - is thought to be covering 440 tower blocks that house 26,000 people.

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Police Finances Stop and search up by almost a third in England and Wales

The number of stop and searches carried out by police officers in England and Wales has increased by 32% in a year, official figures have shown.

In the 12 months to March 2019 there were 370,454 stop and searches conducted by forces under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace), up from 279,728 in the previous 12 months.

The rise follows a downward trend in the use of the power between 2010 and 2018, although only 15%, or 58,251, of people who were stopped and searched were arrested.

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Police and Crime General Extinction Rebellion: Met Police’s London-wide ban on protests was unlawful, court hears

The Metropolitan Police’s London-wide ban on Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests was “an abuse of power”, High Court judges have heard.

Scotland Yard imposed a blanket ban across the capital last week, after XR’s ”autumn uprising” action shut down areas around Parliament and the Bank of England, and targeted London City Airport and government departments.

The ban made any assembly of more than two people linked to the action – which ended on Saturday – illegal.

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Police and Crime General Call for cross-border enforcement inquiry after Essex freight deaths

A public inquiry into cross border enforcement and people trafficking has been called for by Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett following the deaths of 39 people in Essex.

The bodies of 38 adults and a teenager were discovered dead inside a refrigerated container in Grays, Essex. The 29-year-old man who was driving the lorry has been arrested and is being questioned by Essex Police. The National Crime Agency is supporting the operation. Police Service Northern Ireland officers have searched two addresses in County Armagh linked to the case.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills of Essex Police said: "Please appreciate we are in the early stages of what is likely to be a lengthy investigation."

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Police and Crime General Ageing prison population 'sees officers working as carers'

The warning from the Prison Officers' Association (POA) has come as new figures revealed the oldest prisoner in England and Wales was 104 years old.

The data showed there were 13,617 inmates aged above 50 out of a prison population of 82,710 in June 2019. The Prison Service said it was working to meet the needs of elderly prisoners.

More and more inmates were frail, incontinent or had dementia, the POA said.

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Police Finances Schools and councils call for help to tackle County Lines gangs

The demand for more help from local authorities and the leaders of academy schools has followed a week-long police operation that resulted in 292 children being safeguarded after being pulled into drug gangs.

Schools and care services called for better co-ordination and funding to tackle the fast-moving gangs who use children to courier drugs across the country, often using the rail network.

It followed the national operation, led by the National Crime Agency and National Police Chiefs’ Council, which resulted in 652 men and 91 women arrested. The week of action also resulted in 389 vulnerable adults and 292 children being placed with local safeguarding teams.

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Police Finances The cost of policing fracking protests in Lancashire revealed

A new report has revealed it cost nearly 12 million pounds to police protests at the Lancashire fracking site, before shale gas extraction was halted due to earth tremors.

The National Audit Commission reveals there's been slow progress in establishing a UK Shale gas industry. Plans to have 20 wells fracked by 2020 are well behind schedule.

Opposition from protesters and public concern over environmental impacts have long thwarted the ambitions of energy companies.

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Police and Crime General MPs call for consultation on 'decriminalised personal drug use'

MPs on the health and social care committee have called for a radical change in policy approach after concluding that the UK drugs policy is failing.

Police leaders backed the call for better education, prevention and better partnerships but stopped short of supporting any move towards legalisation.

The committee ended its invesitgation into illegal drug use with the claim that the number of drug-related deaths has now risen to the scale of a public health emergency.

In England in 2018 there were 2,670 deaths directly attributed to drug misuse, an increase of 16% since 2017. The report concluded that if other causes of premature death amongst people who use drugs were included, the figure would approximately double.

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Economy & Public Finance UK government borrowing up by a fifth over past six months

Public sector borrowing has risen by a fifth during the first half of the financial year, official figures show.

Borrowing for the six months to September has now hit £40.3bn, up £7.4bn from the same period in 2018.

In the month of September, borrowing was £9.4bn - slightly lower than expected but still up from £8.8bn last year.

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Police Finances Extinction Rebellion protests cost Met police £37m so far

Protests by Extinction Rebellion have cost the Metropolitan police £37m so far this year but Britain’s most senior officer has said she is against a ban on the climate emergency group’s campaign of disruption.

Dame Cressida Dick said the fortnight-long autumn demonstrations, which ended last week, cost at least £21m, a figure expected to rise by several million. It comes on top of the £16m spent on policing the group’s protests in April.

Dick said the total so far was higher than the £15m spent every year on the Met’s violent crime taskforce, which tries to reduce the number of stabbings and other violent crime in London.

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Police Finances Cloudflare embroiled in child abuse row

Cloudflare helps websites deliver content faster but some of its clients are known to host illegal content.

The company insists it is powerless because it does not actually host the offending sites. Campaigners say Cloudflare's services make it easier for clients to avoid detection by "hiding" their locations.

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Economy & Public Finance UK population forecast to reach nearly 70 million in the next nine years

The population of the UK is projected to increase to just under 70 million within the next nine years, according to official figures released today.

Almost three-quarters of population growth is because of net migration, with the remainder due to more births than deaths.

Projections from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the population rising from 66.4 million in the middle of last year to 69.4 million in mid 2028.

Economy & Public Finance World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns Mervyn King

The world is sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that will have devastating consequences for the democratic market system, according to the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King.

Lord King, who was in charge at Threadneedle Street during the near-death of the global banking system and deep economic slump a decade ago, said the resistance to new thinking meant a repeat of the chaos of the 2008-09 period was looming.

Giving a lecture in Washington at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund, King said there had been no fundamental questioning of the ideas that led to the crisis of a decade ago.

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Police and Crime General Police arrest 743 in blitz on 'county lines' drugs gangs

Police have made a record number of arrests in a week-long push to tackle so-called county lines drug gangs. Officers arrested 743 people and seized drugs worth over £400,000, 12 guns and dozens of other weapons.

The operation, by forces across England and Wales, resulted in the "disruption" of 49 "deal lines", police said. Senior officers say better co-ordination between police forces means they know more than they've ever done about the gangs and their activities.

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Economy & Public Finance Boris Johnson Confirms Agreed Brexit Deal

We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment #GetBrexitDone #TakeBackControl

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Police Finances Knife crime hits record high in England and Wales

Knife crime in England and Wales reached an unprecedented high in the year to June, increasing by 7% on the previous 12 months, according to figures.

Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,076, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, the highest figure recorded since 2010-11 when comparable data began.

Almost half the offences were stabbings, 43% were robberies and the figures also included rape and sexual assault.

In the 12 months to June there were 235 knife murders and 412 attempted murders, while the total number of homicides recorded by the police fell by 5%, from 719 to 681 offences.

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Police and Crime General Tories hope to thwart Labour with election promise of 25,000 more police

Boris Johnson is preparing to promise significantly more police officers than the 20,000 recruits already planned as part of the Conservative manifesto.

A secret cabinet committee of eight ministers, led by Mr Johnson, met for the first time on Monday to discuss preparations for the next election.

The ministers were told that polling showed that on law and order the Tories were “streets ahead” of Labour. Plans for an extra 20,000 officers by 2022 had been favourably accepted.

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Police and Crime General Watchdog endorses police use of tactical force against moped thieves as legitimate

Police watchdogs have endorsed the tactic of knocking moped thieves off their motorbikes as a "legitimate use of force" for officers with specialist training.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has issued guidance to "support" them in carrying out their duties - and ensure that "any dangerous situations created by police pursuits are brought to an end as swiftly as possible."

The new guidance covers use of alternative tactics, weighing up the severity of the suspected offence, and the likelihood of causing injury to the riders, others and themselves, the IOPC said. It also reinforces that the use of the tactic must be authorised.

The manoeuvre was launched by the Metropolitan Police in 2018 in a blaze of publicity amid efforts to tackle offenders riding motorcycles and mopeds.

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Police and Crime General Knife crime epidemic sweeps our schools - including boy, 4, caught with blade

The horrific extent of the knife crime epidemic has been exposed by police figures showing there are five weapons-related incidents at schools every day.

In a worrying trend for parents and teachers, a child as young as four was found carrying a knife and dozens of incidents involved youngsters too young to be prosecuted.

Weapons seized by police include a terrifying - and potentially deadly arsenal - from zombie to kitchen knives, a sword and meat cleaver, knuckle dusters, a taser, and even a firearm.

Knives have been involved in 1,260 incidents since April 2017 - equivalent to five cases for every day of the English school year - according to data obtained by Freedom of Information requests

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Police and Crime General Conservatives’ ‘crackdown on foreign criminals’ would affect 10 people a year, figures show

A new law the home secretary claimed would crack down on foreign criminals and “make our country safer” currently applies to an average of 10 people a year, figures reveal.

Priti Patel said the government would increase the punishment for breaching deportation orders to “deter foreign criminals from returning to the UK”.

But official statistics analysed by The Independent show that only a handful of people have been convicted of the crime in recent years.

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Police and Crime General Hate crimes recorded by police up 10%

There has been a 10% rise in hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales. There were a record 103,379 offences in 2018-19, Home Office figures show. The Home Office said the increase was largely driven by better recording by police but charities said the figures were "the tip of the iceberg".

Hate crimes are offences motivated by hostility towards someone's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Race hate crimes accounted for around three-quarters of offences (78,991) and rose by 11% on the previous year.

Transgender hate crime went up 37% to 2,333. For sexual orientation the rise was 25% to 14,491, for disability 14% to 8,256 and for religion 3% to 8,566.

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Police and Crime General Evidence failings cause twice as many criminal cases to collapse

The number of collapsed criminal cases has almost doubled in four years, with murder and rape trials halted over failures to disclose evidence to defence lawyers.

Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service show that on average last year about two criminal cases a day were dropped because of delays in bringing them to court or an abuse of process.

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Police and Crime General Domestic abuse bill not enough to save ‘life-saving’ services, campaigners warn

The domestic abuse bill announced by the government does not do enough to tackle cuts to “life-saving” services which are pushing increasing numbers of domestic abuse victims into homelessness, campaigners have warned.

Boris Johnson’s first Queen’s Speech since becoming prime minister included a commitment to reintroducing the legislation, which was dropped because of his unlawful suspension of parliament last month.

Andrea Simon, of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “The bill does not adequately provide for life-saving services for victims of domestic abuse. They need to give them much more money. In many cases, refuges are running on their reserves to keep open.

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Police and Crime General Extinction Rebellion: Police ban London protests

In a statement issued on Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police said demonstrators protesting in the capital after 21:00 BST could be arrested.

Extinction Rebellion said it would "let Trafalgar Square go" but added that the "International Rebellion continues". The protests, which began last Monday, have seen more than 1,400 arrests.

A number of demonstrations have been staged across the capital by the group, which is calling on the government to do more to tackle climate change. The protests were due to last two weeks.

On Monday evening, police began clearing protesters from Trafalgar Square, some of whom had glued themselves to the ground as they refused to leave.

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Police Finances Helen’s Law: First of a raft of crime bills from Queen’s Speech enters Parliament

Murderers who withhold information about where their victims are buried and paedophiles who refuse to disclose the identity of children pictured in indecent images in their possession will both face longer sentences as part of a new Bill.

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Police and Crime General Complaints statistics report show police forces now use more timely and proportionate way for handling most complaints

For the first time in a decade police forces in England and Wales are handling more complaints through local resolution rather than using lengthy and complex investigations, data released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) today shows.

The most common type of allegation made in a complaint remains ‘other neglect or failure in duty’ category, such as how officers responded to or investigated incidents. These allegations accounted for 41% of all the allegations recorded in 2018/19; continuing a rise seen in the two previous reports. This year the number of allegations per 1,000 employees fell from 274 to 264.

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Economy & Public Finance PM seeks to thrust law and order on to agenda in Queen’s speech

Violent and sexual criminals as well as foreign national offenders who return to the UK will face drastically heavier penalties under measures that will form the centrepiece of a Queen’s speech aimed at wresting the agenda away from the delicate Brexit negotiations.

With just days to go before the deadline for Boris Johnson to clinch a last-ditch Brexit deal in Brussels, the Queen will on Monday set out his government’s priorities for a new session of parliament, including 22 new bills.

But with MPs deadlocked over Brexit, few at Westminster believe a general election will be long in coming – and the Conservatives hope the policies will form the basis of their campaign.

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Police and Crime General PC Andrew Harper: More than 800 people expected to attend funeral for 'hero' Thames Valley Police officer

More than 800 people are expected to attend the funeral of a “hero” police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

His wife, who he married just weeks before his death, family and friends are to attend his funeral at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford on Monday.

Flags across Thames Valley Police’s area will be flying at half-mast and all officers will be paying their respects.

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Economy & Public Finance Extinction Rebellion activists stage protest at Bank of England

Extinction Rebellion activists have blocked a major junction in London’s financial district, as the movement switched its focus towards companies funding and profiting from the climate emergency.

About 100 demonstrators walked into the roundabout outside the Bank of England in the City and sat down in the road at 7am on Monday.

In a statement, the group said: “Extinction Rebellion this morning are disrupting the system bankrolling the environmental crisis.

“The day of disruption, which will target financial institutions, seeks to highlight the far greater disruption faced by those living in the environments systematically being destroyed by UK-backed companies.

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Police and Crime General Mourners line the streets to pay respects to PC Andrew Harper

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Oxford to pay their respects to PC Andrew Harper.

The city centre fell silent as the funeral procession , led by mounted police, travelled through on its way to Christ Church Cathedral.

Hundreds of Thames Valley Police officers also flanked the route and bowed their heads as cortege passed.

More than 800 people were expected to join PC Harper's family and friends to say their final goodbyes at the funeral service on Monday, October 14.

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Police and Crime General Police trial AI that 'spots child abuse cases 10 times faster' than existing systems

Gloucestershire Constabulary has become the first police force in the UK to use new AI-driven data-analytics technology to identify potential victims of child abuse.

Developed by British defense company BAE Systems, the technology is claimed to be ten times faster than the existing process.

A pilot scheme in Gloucestershire had the machine learning technology sift through three years of historic data in four hours, highlighting leads and identifying ‘key indicators of potentially harmful situations’.

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Economy & Public Finance Queen's Speech: What is it and why is it important?

The government has suspended Parliament to allow a Queen's Speech to take place.

For a government to lose the vote that follows the speech would be highly unusual. But it is possible and could have serious consequences.

So, what exactly is the Queen's Speech and what would happen if MPs rejected it?

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Police and Crime General Home Office announces first wave of 20,000 police officer uplift

The government has today confirmed the police officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales for 2020-21.

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift. This is thanks to the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review.

The Home Secretary set out her vision for policing yesterday (8th October) when she chaired the second meeting of the National Policing Board, involving representatives of frontline officers and police leaders.

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Police Demand Thousands of serious crime suspects being released by police without restrictions, new research shows

Thousands of suspects - including some accused of serious violent crimes - are being released by police without any restrictions, potentially putting victims and the public in danger, according to new research.

The number of people being released under investigation (RUI) after being questioned by police has dramatically increased, leaving victims, witnesses and suspects "in limbo" and waiting months or even years for justice, a Law Society of England and Wales study found.

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Police and Crime General Welsh police forces to recruit new officers in first wave of 20,000 uplift

UK Government confirms recruitment target across the four forces in Wales.

Find out more by following the link.

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Police and Crime General Extinction Rebellion could disrupt Queen opening Parliament

The Extinction Rebellion protest could force the Queen to abandon carriage trip to open Parliament, police have suggested.

Officers have told those leading the demonstration that state opening cannot take place if they are camped on the streets as Scotland Yard admitted that they have “contingency plans”.

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Police and Crime General Police battling Extinction Rebellion admit they are spending less time with victims of REAL crime

Overstretched police in London admit they are spending less time with victims of real crime as it takes hours to arrest hundreds of attention-seeking eco protestors holding raves, breastfeeding in the street and waving around giant octopuses.

The Government today took the extraordinary step of calling in 500 officers from 43 other police forces in England and Wales as they try to round up the Extinction Rebellion mob bringing chaos to the centre of the capital.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the scale of operation was having a big impact on policing in other areas of the capital.

He said: 'We haven't stopped policing, we never will, but it does mean that some activities beyond the normal responses are affected.

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Economy & Public Finance No-deal Brexit would push borrowing above £100bn, IFS warns

A no-deal Brexit would see government borrowing rise to almost £100bn a year and overall debt reaching levels not seen since the 1960s, a leading economic think-tank has warned.

Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) predicted a mini-boom in public spending, funded by the extra borrowing, to help soften the blow if the UK crashes out of Europe without a deal.

But the boom would likely be followed by bust as the government struggles to cope with the consequences of a smaller economy and higher debt on its funding of public services, the IFS said.

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Economy & Public Finance Boris Johnson’s spending spree threatens to leave no cash for tax cuts

Boris Johnson is planning to spend as much on public services as Jeremy Corbyn promised at the last election and cannot afford the tax cuts he pledged in the Tory leadership campaign, a think tank has warned.

The prime minister’s proposed spending spree would mean Sajid Javid, the chancellor, overshooting the government’s borrowing limit by £5 billion in 2020-21, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which said that the government was “adrift without any fiscal anchor”.

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Police Demand Warwickshire and West Mercia Police split 'would create intolerable public risk'

The alliance was due to end on Tuesday but Warwickshire Police sought Home Office intervention, claiming it had not had enough time to split services.

MP Priti Patel said the two should remain united for a further six months. She added there would be a "severe" impact on Warwickshire if it ended without agreed terms. The forces have been sharing services, including IT and forensics, since 2012.

But West Mercia Police said it was subsidising Warwickshire - a claim the force refutes - and wants to pull out.

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Police and Crime General Counter-terror police running secret Prevent database

Counter-terror police across the UK have been running a secret database containing details of thousands of individuals referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation Prevent programme, the Guardian can reveal.

The National Police Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is managed centrally by national counter-terrorism policing headquarters. It is accessible to all police forces across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the Home Office are able to request data from it, according to documents sent to the human rights group Liberty and seen by the Guardian.

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Police Demand The places knife crime is rising fastest

The rate of knife attacks in some regional towns and cities is higher than in many London boroughs, BBC analysis of police figures suggests.

Overall, London remains the most dangerous part of England and Wales - but data, obtained from 34 of the 43 police forces, shows the rate of serious knife crime offences rising sharply in some areas outside London, and outstripping some of the city's boroughs in places like the city of Manchester, Slough, Liverpool and Blackpool.

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Police and Crime General Gangs use autistic teenagers as drug mules by exploiting loneliness

Autistic children as young as 12 are being targeted by gangs and forced to sell class-A drugs, experts warn.

Violent groups take advantage of autistic children’s desire “to be liked and accepted” to convince them to act as mules, trafficking drugs between towns, cities and the countryside, a system known as county lines.

Paul Mckenzie, a youth worker who runs Groomsafe, a support network for families damaged by county lines, has worked with about 20 young people with autism and other special educational needs who have had to sell drugs in the past two years.

“A lot of them have been like square pegs in round holes all their lives because no one has taken an interest in them or made them feel they belong"

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Police Finances Priti Patel pledges police unit to tackle county lines

The home secretary has announced a new team within the British Transport Police to tackle county lines gangs.

The criminal networks deliberately target children and vulnerable adults to courier drugs from cities to users across the country.

Priti Patel said the government would invest £20m into identifying and dismantling the gangs.

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Police and Crime General Criminals who assault police officers face automatic jail sentences

Criminals who assault police officers face automatic jail sentences under plans being drawn up by the Government.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is considering new legislation that would mean that anyone who attacks an officer and causes a set level of harm would be sent to jail.

She signalled the new crackdown at the Conservative party conference, declaring: “We will ensure that anyone who assaults a police officer receives a sentence that truly fits the crime, to make the thugs who would attack an officer, think twice.”

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Police and Crime General Lord Harris: Boris Johnson's investment in our police could be too little and too late

The Prime Minister has promised us another 20,000 police with recruitment supposed to start this month. But what will this really mean? With today’s oral question in the House of Lords I hope to get some answers.

Police numbers have fallen every year since a Conservative-led Government took office in 2010.

Indeed, in the nine years up to March this year, forces in England and Wales lost 20,564 officers. With his usual desire for alliterative self-aggrandisement Johnson will no doubt want us to call them “Boris’s Bobbies”, but that will not alter the fact that the new officers will not even replace those that have been lost under his two Tory predecessors.

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Police Finances IFS: Johnson’s tax plans will cost economy billions

The prime minister’s plans to cut revenue received from National Insurance contributions and higher income tax would cost billions a year, a think-tank has said.

Boris Johnson has said he wants to raise the threshold for the top income tax rate from £50,000 to £80,000, which would cost £8bn a year, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The prime minister has not specified how much he wishes to raise the NICs threshold to, but if it was raised to match the current income tax personal allowance of £12,500 it would cost would cost the economy £17bn a year, the IFS calculated.

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Police and Crime General England's most deprived areas named as Jaywick and Blackpool

Eight of the 10 most deprived neighbourhoods in England are in Blackpool, according to new statistics. Seaside village Jaywick, in Essex, has been named the most deprived area overall for the third time in a row since 2010.

Blackpool took the next eight slots while Middlesbrough had the largest share of the most deprived areas. Government officials ranked 32,844 neighbourhoods. The MHCLG's Index of Multiple Deprivation looks at levels of income, employment, education, health and crime as well as housing services and living environment.

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Police Finances London Bridge terror inquest: £1m in taxpayer’s money to defend public bodies

Public bodies spent nearly £1 million of taxpayers’ money on senior lawyers at the inquest into the London Bridge terror attack deaths while the families of the victims were denied legal aid.

The Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service and other state agencies that were criticised for their handling of the atrocity racked up £781,784 in legal fees funded by the public purse.

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Police Demand Youth services ‘decimated by 69 per cent’ in less than a decade amid surge in knife crime, figures show

Spending on youth services in England has been decimated by 69 per cent in a decade and is set to reach its lowest point in a generation next year, new figures show.

Campaigners have issued fresh warnings that austerity is pushing more children and young people into street violence after an analysis of figures revealed average spend on youth services per local authority plummeted from £7.79m in 2010 to a planned expenditure of just £2.45m next year.

Nearly a third of local councils have planned cuts that would see their spending on youth services decline by 80 per cent since 2010-11, while the vast majority of local authorities (83 per cent) are set to cut their funding in half over a nine-year period, the data shows.

Knife crime has meanwhile surged, with 43,516 offences reported to police last year across England and Wales – excluding Greater Manchester Police, which records data differently – marking the highest since comparable records began in 2011.

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Police Finances Government urged to rethink police funding

Police and local government leaders have called for a rethink of how policing is funded.

The current system of precepts and top-ups is not creating the secure, long-term revenues stream needed to fight crime and modernise forces, according to a police and crime commissioner, a government finance expert and a former government adviser.

The call came despite the announcement of an extra £750 million by the Government to fund the recruitment of an extra 20,000 police officers.

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Police Finances Robbery rise blamed on police cuts and rise in smartphone use

A new report says the wide use of smartphones and cuts to police patrols are behind the rise.

It also found some 269,000 young people were involved in or at risk of violence last year. The Home Office said it was funding a police recruitment drive and helping officers to use their powers.

From 2010 to 2014, offences were on the decline almost everywhere. Since then, however, there have been small increases in five countries - and a 33% rise in England and Wales, which researchers said was "significant" because robbery acted as an "entry point" for violent crime.

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Police Finances Home Office ‘manipulates’ crime figures by ditching fraud cases

The Home Office is manipulating crime figures by telling the national anti-fraud service to dismiss tens of thousands of legitimate cases, two former police chiefs have told The Times.

Ken Farrow and Steve Wilmott said that Action Fraud, which was exposed by an undercover Times investigation last month for failing victims, is wrongly omitting to record cases of identity theft as crimes.

The decision to dismiss these cases, made by the Home Office, means that up to 50,000 reported frauds every year are not included in official statistics and the criminals are not pursued.

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Police and Crime General ‘Wasteful’ Treasury slammed for impact on services

There is "much cause for concern" in how the Treasury's approach affects public services, analysis by a leading think tank has found. Spending and accountability are “often not adequately lined up”, information is "not used properly" to inform decisions and the government does "too little" to understand the impact of spending on metropolitan or county areas, the Institute for Government said.

It added spending is "planned wastefully" and the government does not explain its intentions clearly, with the Treasury’s current ways of working contributing "strongly" to these problems.

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Technology Home Office to fund use of AI to help catch dark web paedophiles

The government has pledged to spend more money on the child abuse image database, which since 2014 has allowed police and other law enforcement agencies to search seized computers and other devices for indecent images of children quickly, against a record of 14m images, to help identify victims.

Earlier this month, the chancellor, Sajid Javid, announced £30m would be set aside to tackle online child sexual exploitation, with the Home Office releasing more information on how this would be spent on Tuesday.

National Crime Agency statistics showed 2.88m accounts were registered around the world on child sexual abuse sites on the dark web last year, with at least 5% believed to be in the UK.

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Police and Crime General Domestic violence killings reach five-year high

The number of people killed as a result of domestic violence in the UK is at its highest level in five years.

Last year, 173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides, according to data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK - an increase of 32 deaths on 2017. One criminologist described them as "invisible victims of knife crime". It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was "fully committed" to tackling domestic abuse.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel pledges boost for law and order

The home secretary told senior police officers yesterday that she is “ashamed” at the lack of support for officers in an attack on the Conservative government’s record since 2010.

In her first major speech to police since becoming home secretary, Priti Patel also admitted that it would take more than a “sticking plaster” to heal the years of damage in relations between the police and the government. Ms Patel said she recognised that the police had been “overworked and undervalued” by the previous Conservative administration and insisted that she wanted to reset the relationship.

Police officer numbers in England and Wales fell by more than 21,000 to 122,404 between 2010 and 2018. In the past year they rose to 123,171. The number of PCSOs has fallen from 16,918 in 2010 to 9,547 this year and special constables from 15,505 to 10,640.

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Police and Crime General Strategic Review ‘must shine a light into every corner of policing’

A comprehensive examination of policing aimed at improving the future of the service is ‘much welcomed and long overdue’ says the National Chair of the Police Federation.

The independent policing think tank The Police Foundation has launched its Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales. Along with other key policing partners, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) will be contributing to the review which is expected to have an impact similar to the 1962 Royal Commission which laid the basis for today’s police service.

Chaired by Sir Michael Barber, it will look at how crime and other threats to public safety are changing and assess the ability of policing to respond, setting out a long-term strategic direction for the service so it is better able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

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Police and Crime General Police can’t do what public expects, admits Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths

Policing is in crisis and officers are no longer able to deliver the service the public expects, a senior officer said as he gave his backing for an independent strategic review.

Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths, head of the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA), told The Times that officers across the country were under unprecedented pressure.

He lent his support to a new root-and-branch review of the state of policing in the UK, which will be carried out by Sir Michael Barber, a former adviser to Tony Blair, with the support of police chiefs and public bodies including the Cabinet Office, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Mr Griffiths, who will announce the review at PSA’s annual conference today, welcomed the promised recruitment of 20,000 officers but said that the present landscape was the worst he had seen in a career spanning more than 25 years.

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson’s pledge to recruit 20,000 extra officers will fail ‘unless half a million apply to join police’

Up to half a million people will have to apply to become police officers over the next three years in order to meet Boris Johnson’s 20,000 target, a senior officer has said.

Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), warned that because of the number of officers who retire or leave every year, 50,000 new officers may have to be hired in total.

Speaking at the Police Superintendents’ Association conference, he said that only one in every 10 applicants currently becomes a police officer in England and Wales, meaning 500,000 hopefuls would be required at the current rate.

“It is a huge number but I think we will get that ratio down considerably over time by doing some things with how that process works,” Mr Hewitt told journalists. “We’re looking at every stage of how you recruit, train and develop people ... the important point is that we get the right people.”

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Police Finances Senior officer suggests austerity fuelled surge in violent crime

Funding cuts to police and public services that previously helped stop people, especially the young, from offending has helped fuel the surge in violent crime, a police chief has said.

Supt Darius Hemmatpour of Scotland Yard’s violent crime task force, said stabbings and other life-threatening attacks in London spiked after 2017, and suggested that austerity was a factor.

Speaking at the Police Superintendents’ Association annual conference he said: “Austerity has obviously impacted on individual families and households... Public sector services were cut. There comes a point that services previously available were no longer there... People on the edge of criminality may have previously had an intervention that may have diverted them away, but with the loss of those services, that intervention was not there.”

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson criticised over Brexit speech in front of West Yorkshire police officers

The Prime Minister was condemned as having used the student officers as an "inappropriate" backdrop as part of a "political stunt" when he made a speech which ended up referencing a possible general election and criticising Jeremy Corbyn.

Around 35 officers had been standing behind his lectern, in front of an old-style police box, for at least 20 minutes before the speech at West Yorkshire Police's operations and training complex in Wakefield began.

Mr Johnson had finished his speech and had answered a number of questions from journalists seated behind the officers in the audience, when it became clear a policewoman standing behind his right shoulder was not feeling well.

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Police and Crime General Campaign to recruit thousands of police officers

A national campaign is underway to recruit 20,000 extra police officers across the UK. It's part of a £750 million government project to reassure communities that crime-fighting IS a priority. John Ryall reports.

Contributions by Kit Malthouse MP, Policing Minister; Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner; Matt Webb, Sussex Police Federation; Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, Brighton Kemptown, Lab; and Luke Williams, recruit.

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Police Finances Chancellor needs an extra £5bn to cover spending promises, says IFS

The chancellor will need to find an extra £5bn of spending next year to meet the government's recent pledges, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.

A new report, published by the IFS ahead of tomorrow's Spending Round, finds an extra £5bn is needed just to avoid cuts to other public services.

It estimates that pledges on schools, police, NHS, defence and overseas aid will require at least £9bn more next year compared to this year.

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Police and Crime General Moped crime in London more than halves a year after police started ramming suspects off their bikes

The number of moped crimes in London have more than halved from 20,973 to 9,723 after Scotland Yard started ramming in to suspects, the force revealed.

Police began using their cars to stop suspected criminals in November 2018, after the number of thieves using scooters to target pedestrians rose dramatically.

Since then the spate of offenders using mopeds in the capital has dropped from 20,973, between June 2017 and July 2018, to just 9,723 in the year until June 2019.

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Police Demand Police 'dealing with more mental health incidents'

The number of mental health incidents dealt with by police has risen by more than a quarter in four years, figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live show.

While there were 385,206 incidents flagged as mental health-related in 2014, in 2018 that figure was 494,159, a rise of 28%.

Police chiefs have said the issue is affecting the amount of time officers can focus on fighting crime. The Home Office said it is working to "relieve the burden on officers".

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Police Demand 'Police officers taken off beat to deal with mental health calls'

Supporting mental health patients can occupy police officers for "10 to 12 hours" before doctors can make an assessment, a chief constable has said.

Specialist support for mental health-related calls costs Welsh police £1.2m a year - but Mark Collins said a "true cost" is the loss of PCs on the beat. "All the time we are dealing with mental health matters we are taking officers off the street," he said.

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Police Finances Change law on police bail to stop domestic and sexual abuse victims being put at risk, government told

The government must change the law to ensure domestic and sexual abuse victims are not put at risk after reporting attacks, an MP and campaigners have said.

A letter seen exclusively by The Independent warned that changes made by the Conservatives had caused a steep drop in the use of police bail – and thousands of alleged sex attackers and violent criminals were released without any restrictions.

Labour MP Sarah Champion, who wrote the letter, said the changes had endangered survivors and could discourage them from reporting crimes to the police.

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Police Finances Nick Ferrari's Call For Tasers Backed By 13 Senior Police Chiefs

Nick Ferrari has written to Priti Patel, asking her to provide ring-fenced budget so that all police officers can be armed with a taser.

Signatories of the letter include John Apter, the head of the Police Federation - the voice of the police - seven Police and Crime Commissioners, three Chief Constables and Lord Stevens, the former Met Police Commissioner.

Full letter avaliable on the LBC website.

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Police Finances Javid pledges spending review cash for schools, NHS and police

Chancellor Sajid Javid has promised increased spending on priority areas of schools, police and health.

Setting a 4 September date for the 12-month spending round - earlier than previously planned - he said there would be no "blank cheque" for departments.

Mr Javid said he would stick to the current borrowing rules, limiting the scope for extensive spending increases.

Labour called the move a "one-off pre-election panic-driven stunt budget".

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Police Finances Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury cost taxpayers a staggering £30m

THE Novichok poisoning plot in Salisbury cost police a staggering £12million, new figures have revealed. It brings the total clean-up bill picked up by taxpayer after two declared major incidents to a whopping £30million.

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Police and Crime General Four-year-old among 1,000 children caught with knives in schools

A four-year-old was among more than 1,000 children caught carrying knives in schools last year, police figures show.

A total of 1,144 knife possession offences in schools, where the suspect was a child, were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales over 12 months.

The figures, obtained from police forces through Freedom of Information requests by 5 News, also revealed weapons seized by officers included machetes, hunting knives and a samurai sword.

Dyfed-Powys Police were called to one school in Wales by teachers concerned that a four-year-old had a knife.

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Police and Crime General Police co-operation will fall away in hard Brexit

Sixty years of improvements in police co-operation across Europe will “fall away” if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the garda commissioner has said.

Drew Harris said that the UK would lose “access to a lot of the EU’s criminal justice treaties” and that police did not have the resources to control the border if checkpoints were reinstated after Brexit.

“The criminal justice treaties the UK is presently a member of will fall away for the United Kingdom and that is not going to simplify policing,” Mr Harris said yesterday at an event in Dublin to announce a new organisational structure for the garda force.

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Police Finances Government's budget surplus shrinks in July

The UK posted a smaller-than-expected budget surplus in July as government spending increased.

A growing wage bill and higher spending on goods and services was behind the lower surplus, which fell to £1.3bn.

Analysts had been expecting a £2.7bn surplus, which would have been less than the £3.6bn booked last year.

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Police and Crime General Kent Chief Constable on why he’s issuing Tasers to all officers, including Special Constables

EXCLUSIVE: Kent’s Chief Constable Alan Pughsley discusses his decision to issue Tasers to all police officers in the county – including, in a national first, to Special Constables, the first of whom are already undergoing training.

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Police and Crime General Durham to issue Tasers to every frontline officer

The force said the move is designed to offer more protection to both the public and the police. All frontline officers who wish to carry one will be equipped with the upgraded X2 Tasers following intensive training in the safe use of the devices.

Over the next 12 months, the new model will be rolled out across the force, replacing the original X26 which has been used for the last 14 years.

On Tuesday (August 20), Northamptonshire Police said it would offer the devices to an additional 338 officers, equipping every officer in response, neighbourhood and proactive teams with Tasers.

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Police and Crime General Chicken Connoisseur YouTuber: Knife crime warnings racist

A YouTube star, famous for his reviews of chicken shops, has criticised the government's decision to feature knife crime warnings on takeaway boxes.

Elijah Quashie - better known as the Chicken Connoisseur - told BBC's Wake Up to Money that the approach was too simplistic to solve a complex problem.

"I can see the racist connotation. I'm not sure if I'd say racist, or stereotype but it's in that bracket."

The government said its chicken shop adverts were part of a wider campaign.

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Police Finances Wild West Britain: Police chief wants to arm all his officers with Tasers

A chief constable is fighting back against violence in lawless Britain by arming all his officers with Taser stun guns. Nick Adderley of Northampton Police, said “enough is enough” and pledged to tackle the scourge of violent assaults with the 50,000-volt weapons for frontline staff.

Mr Adderley’s force will become the first in Britain to issue Tasers as standard, in a move backed by his police and crime commissioner. Speaking exclusively to the Daily Express last night, he said: “I can’t sit here and preside over a situation where my officers are exposed to increasing levels of violence when at my disposal is equipment that could save an officer’s life. Enough is enough. Mine will be the first force to issue a Taser to every officer who wants one.”

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Police Finances Chief: I cannot sit idly by as my officers are exposed to increasing levels of violence

A chief admitted policing “hasn’t moved with the times” after ordering the issue of Tasers to every frontline officer in his force in response to a "sickening trend" of attacks on the emergency services.

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley, who served in the Royal Navy before joining the police, said the decision to issue the weapons was not taken lightly.

But he said he was "not prepared to wait" as police personnel were facing deadly threats from people with “no respect for the law”.

CC Adderley said the weapons would be issued to all officers who want one.

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Police and Crime General Eurofins Scientific: Cyber-attack leads to backlog of 20,000 forensic samples

A cyber-attack on the UK's biggest forensic services provider led to a backlog of 20,000 samples, the BBC has learned.

Eurofins Scientific was targeted by a "highly-sophisticated" ransomware virus in June, which led British police to suspend work with the company.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) is now clearing the backlog, which includes blood and DNA specimens.

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Police Finances Knife crime curfew plan for 12 year olds

Children as young as 12 could face curfews under Home Office plans to tackle knife crime.

Courts in England and Wales will get extra civil powers to tackle concerns about people suspected of carrying bladed weapons and serious violence.

The knife crime prevention orders (KCPOs) can be imposed by magistrate and youth courts on anyone who police believe is carrying a knife.

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Police and Crime General Police Scotland scour social media amid fears of Brexit unrest

Scottish police officers are searching social media for information on potentially disruptive protests over Brexit.

Police Scotland has retained 400 extra officers to deal with domestic unrest and stand ready for deployment in Northern Ireland, where the combination of a hard border and sectarian unrest would be particularly volatile.

In a report to be presented to the Scottish Police Authority on Wednesday, Will Kerr, deputy chief constable for local policing, said: “The Brexit contingency planning team are fully aware of the potential civil unrest. Police Scotland’s Brexit intelligence officers continue to monitor social media sites in order that Police Scotland can prepare and respond to any potential protests.”

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Police and Crime General Police Scotland spend £7m on Brexit contingency planning

Police Scotland have spent more than £7m on planning for Brexit.

The figure has been released in a Brexit contingency planning report due to be discussed by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) this week. It also states that civil unrest is one of the biggest potential issues facing policing post-Brexit.

It comes as leaked government documents appear to show that Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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Police Demand Boris Johnson’s pledge to increase police numbers by 20,000 still won’t be enough to undo austerity cuts, warn senior officers

Boris Johnson’s pledge to recruit 20,000 new police officers will fail to undo the damage caused by years of Conservative budget cuts, senior officers have warned.

Analysis by The Independent suggests that more than 46,000 will have to be hired to meet the target and replace officers leaving the service over the next three years.

Doubts have been raised over when such ambitious targets can be reached, with more than half of forces failing to meet current recruitment targets.

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Police Demand Drink drivers escaping prosecution as officers have to drive more than an hour to police station

Drink drivers are getting away with breaking the law because police are having to drive them up to an hour and 45 minutes to the nearest custody cells, it has been warned.

An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has found that officers across England and Wales routinely have to drive suspects for more than an hour before they can process their arrest after a third of all custody suites were closed down.

As well as fears that drink drivers are escaping prosecution as they have sobered up on the journey to the station, it has been warned that officers are opting to drive suspects home or simply giving them a ticking off to save time.

Those living furthest from stations say that they are “forgotten towns” where criminals can do as they please.

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Police and Crime General Police officer on frontline life: 'I've been spat on, bitten and kicked'

PC Andrew Harper was killed while attending a burglary on Thursday - the third serious attack against an officer on the job in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, a Met police constable was stabbed in the head just days before a West Midlands Police officer was run over with his own vehicle.

But are police officers facing more violence? The BBC's Ella Wills spoke to one serving officer, who asked not to be named, about life on the frontline.

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Police and Crime General Putting more people in prison is not the way to cut crime [opinion]

Boris Johnson wants to restore his party’s ‘tough on crime’ reputation.

The new home secretary, Priti Patel, has said she wants criminals “to feel terror”, and recruitment will begin shortly for 20,000 more police officers.

In a less-publicised move, Boris Johnson is also considering whether to scrap plans to abolish short-prison sentences.

But if the ultimate aim of a tough stance is to cut crime – and thereby make the public safer – then this would be a foolish move.

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Police Finances Most cases reported to National fraud centre ‘not investigated’

Staff working for the government-funded fraud reporting line mislead callers by saying their cases will be investigated when most are dismissed, an investigation by a national newspaper has suggested.

A journalist from The Times went undercover at Action Fraud, the body set up to deal with reports of fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The newspaper said that most cases reported to the centre, funded by the Home Office, were dismissed, either by the call centre employees or by an algorithm.

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Police Finances Extra police recruits ‘need to be bobbies on the beat’

Almost all of the promised 20,000 police recruits must be used to tackle the “total collapse” of neighbourhood units in the last decade, a former Metropolitan Police chief has said.

Richard Walton called for between 16,000 and 18,000 of the officers to become “bobbies on the beat” and make community policing the priority.

In a report for the Policy Exchange think tank, the former head of Scotland Yard counterterrorism said that Boris Johnson’s pledge “represents a dramatic shift in policing policy after eight years of cuts to police budgets and police officer numbers”. He said the cuts had been accompanied by rising levels of serious and violent crime.

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Police and Crime General Reading police boss wants more female BAME officers

A new police chief has said she hopes to inspire more women from black and Asian communities to become officers.

Supt Bhupinder Rai said BAME women had an "understanding" and a "subconscious knowledge" which could help tackle honour-based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

She said she would like to see officer numbers return "to pre-austerity" levels to reduce violent crime.

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Prisons Prisons: Boris Johnson pledges £100m to boost security

Prisons in England and Wales are to receive £100m to improve security and cut crime, the government has said.

Airport-style security - such as X-ray scanners and metal detectors - would be introduced in more prisons, it added.

PM Boris Johnson said stopping weapons, drugs and phones getting into jails would prevent them becoming "factories for making bad people worse".

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Police Demand Police are deterred from chasing criminals by 'over-bearing' inquiries into complaints by watchdog, say ex-counter-terror chiefs

Police are being deterred from chasing or searching criminals because of fears complaints will tie them up in lengthy and unnecessary investigations by overzealous watchdogs, two of Britain’s top anti-terror officers have warned.

In a report on the future of policing by think tank Policy Exchange, they cite cases where officers have been under investigation for up to 10 years, sometimes on frivolous complaints, only to be cleared at the end but with their careers tarred by the allegations.

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Police Demand Drug crime mapped: Gangs operating away from home cities

Drug crime is increasing in many small towns and villages even as it falls significantly in city centres.

Police data shows drug crimes in England and Wales have fallen by more than 50,000 in the past five years.

But national averages hide a major shift in where drug crimes are being committed.

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Prisons Criminals must get the sentences they deserve, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson ordered a review into the sentencing of violent and sexual offenders yesterday as he attempts to rebuild the Tories’ reputation as the party of law and order before a possible early general election.

In an attack on his predecessor’s policies to restrict prison numbers, the prime minister said the public wanted to see criminals serving the sentences they deserved and promised that the “punishment must truly fit the crime”.

His proposals were questioned by prison reform groups who accused him of “stoking up public anxiety” about sentencing.

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Police and Crime General Law and order: Extra £85m for CPS to tackle violent crime

The Crown Prosecution Service will receive an extra £85m over the next two years, to help deal with a rise in violent crime in England and Wales.

It comes as Boris Johnson launches a review of sentencing of some dangerous and prolific offenders.

He said dangerous criminals must be taken off the streets and punishments "fit the crime" if the public was to have confidence in the justice system.

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Police and Crime General Sweeping powers to impose curfews and alter the law under no-deal Brexit

Ministers will have draconian powers to bring in curfews, redirect food supplies and even change the law without consulting parliament in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Senior civil servants in Whitehall have discussed plans to use the sweeping authority of a little-known law to deal with any unexpected consequences of a disorderly departure from the European Union.

The legislation grants ministers emergency powers to deal with any event that threatens to cause “serious damage” to the UK.

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Police and Crime General ‘Chicken shop’ gangs use free food to recruit children

Street gangs are recruiting children who are excluded from school by approaching them in fast-food restaurants with offers of a free meal.

Members of so-called “chicken shop gangs” keep watch on school-age children who meet in cheap food outlets during the daytime. Once they accept free food, children may be offered money to perform tasks such as keeping a lookout and, once they agree, can be intimidated if they refuse further requests.

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Police and Crime General Crime: What has Boris Johnson promised on law and order?

Since becoming prime minister just over a month ago, Boris Johnson has made a number of law-and-order announcements affecting England and Wales.

But what exactly is being proposed?..

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Prisons Boris Johnson pledges £2.5bn for 10,000 new prison beds and boosts stop-and-search powers

Boris Johnson will this week seek to burnish the Conservatives’ credentials as the party of law and order with plans for 10,000 new prison places and a shake-up of police stop-and-search powers to combat knife crime.

The prime minister today unveiled plans for a renewed prison-building programme as part of a domestic policy blitz to position his party for an autumn general election.

After the announcement that an extra 20,000 police will be hired to crack down on violent crime, Mr Johnson hopes that his £2.5bn prison reforms will underline a determination that those who fall foul of the law are punished.

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Police and Crime General Police minister defends plan to extend stop-and-search

The police minister, Kit Malthouse, has insisted that a new wave of stop-and-search operations should not increase community tensions as the government unveiled a series of anti-crime measures.

Both Boris Johnson, the prime minister, and Priti Patel, the home secretary, announced in separate comment articles in Sunday newspapers a lifting of restrictions on police carrying preventive stop-and-search operations under so-called section 60 powers – in another apparent sign of a looming general election.

Johnson, writing in the Mail on Sunday, said the time had arrived to “come down hard on crime”. In the Sun on Sunday, Patel said she would ensure police had “the resources and the powers they need” to protect people.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary Priti Patel: 'Stop and search works'

Home Secretary Priti Patel has spoken to the BBC about government plans to expand stop and search powers.

A pilot scheme allowing police to stop and search someone when they believe a crime may – rather than will – be committed, will be extended to all 43 forces across England and Wales

She said: "Stop and search works. We hear again and again from police that [they] need to be empowered."

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson risks triggering riots with rollout of blanket stop-and-search powers, Diane Abbott warns

The expansion of blanket stop and search powers that let police challenge people without reasonable suspicion could provoke unrest, the government has been warned.

More than 8,000 officers will now be able to impose “section 60” laws on areas where they think violence could break out after Boris Johnson lifted restrictions on their use.

The Home Office described the crackdown as a “pilot”, but admitted that it had not waited for results to come back from seven areas that initially tested the change to roll it out across all 43 forces in England and Wales.

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Prisons Boris Johnson lays down the law: Rapists and murderers 'to serve more of their sentences behind bars' as PM vows to make punishments for violent criminals 'fit the crime'

Violent and sexual offenders could serve more of their sentences behind bars following an urgent review of sentencing policy ordered by Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister said dangerous criminals must be taken off the streets and punishments 'truly fit the crime' if the public was to have confidence in the justice system.

The move follows a series of announcements over the weekend in which Mr Johnson promised to 'come down hard' on crime.

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Economy & Public Finance U.K. Economy Unexpectedly Shrinks for First Time Since 2012

The U.K. economy shrank for the first time in more than six years in the second quarter, delivering a blow to newly installed Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Gross domestic product fell 0.2% following a solid 0.5% advance in the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday. Economists had expected output to be unchanged. In June alone, the economy stagnated. The pound fell after the report, sliding to $1.2117 as of 10:17 a.m. in London.

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Police Demand Sharp rise in women caught carrying knives

Knife possession offences involving women in England have increased steeply since 2014 - rising by at least 10% every year, police figures show.

Some 1,509 offences were recorded in 2018 - an increase of 73% over the last five years - data obtained following freedom of information requests shows.

Youth workers say some women carry weapons for gangs as they are less likely to be stopped by police.

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Fire Schools in fire callouts had no sprinklers

Sprinklers were missing from every one of the 57 schools that called out London firefighters to tackle a blaze this year, fire service leaders said yesterday.

London Fire Brigade has reiterated calls for sprinklers to be made mandatory in all schools. At present they must be fitted only if a building inspector deems them necessary.

Charlie Pugsley, the brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner for fire safety, said: “It is shocking that we have been campaigning for a number of years to make sprinklers mandatory . . . and yet this year every school fire we have been called to has had no sprinklers.

“Sprinklers are the only fire safety system that detects a fire, suppresses a fire and can raise the alarm.”

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Police and Crime General Young offenders get little help to make a fresh start

Youth workers are having to pass notes under locked cell doors to help jailed teenagers prepare for release because of the need to keep violent inmates apart, a watchdog says.

In other cases they can contact youngsters about their future only by talking through flaps in cell doors.

The length to which some members of youth offending teams have to go is disclosed in a report on resettlement, published today, which says that young offender institutions are largely failing to prepare teenage inmates to lead safe and law-abiding lives on their release.

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Police and Crime General Keyless cars can be stolen in ten seconds

New cars can be stolen in as little as ten seconds because of security flaws in keyless entry systems.

A study published by What Car? today said that thieves could quickly open and start at least two models using a “relay” device. Home Office figures record that 111,999 vehicles were stolen in 2017-18, up 49 per cent in four years.

Many new cars are opened and started using a fob. Thieves can use two relay boxes — one near the car and another close to the house where the fob is usually kept — to extend the radio signal from the fob to make it appear to be within range of the vehicle. The thieves can then open the doors and start the engine.

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Police Finances Chancellor fast-tracks Spending Round to free up departments to prepare for Brexit

Sajid Javid said the Treasury will carry out an accelerated exercise to ensure departments and devolved administrations have the financial certainty they need to deliver their plans on public services next year.

The Spending Round, which is due to complete in September, will support the commitments made by the Prime Minister since he came to office including the recruitment of 20,000 extra police officers and his ambition for additional funding for schools, as well as delivering the government’s promises on the NHS.

This will ensure the Government continues to keep borrowing under control and debt falling by meeting the existing fiscal rules.

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Police and Crime General Brexit: no deal would harm UK security, senior officer warns

The UK’s safety and security would suffer from a no-deal Brexit and no amount of planning and preparation can erase the risk, Britain’s head of counter-terrorism has said.

The Scotland Yard assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, said key crime-fighting tools would be lost and their replacements would not be as good.

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview in which he also warned that boosts to police and security service numbers were no longer enough to combat terrorism, he said: “We can make them [the damaging effects] less, but they would be slower systems. Those systems and tools were developed in the EU for very good reason. They were very good. We had just signed up to biometric sharing.

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Police and Crime General Government urged to impose 'calorie tax' on unhealthy food

Health campaigners are urging the government to introduce a new “calorie tax” to tackle childhood obesity, diabetes and cancer.

A levy on companies producing processed food with high levels of fat and sugar would encourage them to create more nutritional snacks, according to campaign groups Action on Sugar and Action on Salt.

Their call for further tariffs, which is backed by the Liberal Democrats, comes after Boris Johnson vowed during the Tory leadership campaign to freeze so-called “sin taxes”, which include levies on alcohol, tobacco and soft drinks.

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Police Demand Courts ‘will struggle to cope’ with work from beefed-up police force

Boris Johnson’s pledge to recruit 20,000 extra police officers will be a waste because there are insufficient lawyers to bring suspects to trial, senior former prosecutors say.

One former government law officer said that without additional crown prosecutors, the government would be forced to build large holding pens for suspects as they were processed through the courts.

Criminal lawyers argue that trying to push significantly more defendants through the courts would result in many being freed as they could not be prosecuted within a reasonable time.

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Police Demand Retiring police could be offered pension incentives to stay on in bid to hit 20,000 officer target

Police officers about to retire could be offered pension incentives to retain them and help hit Boris Johnson’s target of 20,000 extra police in three years.

A working group of senior police chiefs will consider expanding a scheme pioneered by Scotland Yard to combat a shortfall of experienced officers taking on cases including murder, rape and other serious crime.

Rather than taking permanent retirement, officers are offered the chance to return to their post at the same rank and salary with the added bonus of first being able to draw a six-figure lump sum from their pension.

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Police and Crime General Has Greater Manchester gone soft on crime?

New figures suggest you're unlikely to be caught, with only one in 15 crimes reported in Greater Manchester ending in a charge, and fewer still in a conviction or jail sentence.

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Police and Crime General Crime: Violence reduction scheme 'should be mandatory'

The Cardiff academic and former surgeon behind a globally recognised violence reduction scheme has said it should be mandatory in Wales.

Under the "Cardiff model", A&E units record anonymised data when someone is injured in an incident and then hand it on to police.

It became mandatory for A&E departments in England in 2017, but not in Wales.

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Police and Crime General Police could be allowed to mount 'emergency' stop and searches in knife crime hotspots for up to 48 hours

Police could be allowed to mount “emergency” stop and searches in knife crime hotspots for up to 48 hours as part of a proposed major expansion by Boris Johnson.

The changes, expected to be unveiled within the next fortnight, could wipe away all the restrictions placed on officers’ use of stop and search in 2014 by then Home Secretary Theresa May over concerns it disproportionately targeted ethnic minorities.

Ministers are expected to expand nationwide schemes being trialled in seven police forces which enable officers to search people without reasonable suspicion in places where they believe serious violence may occur.

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Police and Crime General Victims’ defender: ‘People say it feels like being raped many times in public’

Only a tiny number of people who distribute “revenge porn” are being brought to justice, the victims’ commissioner has warned, after an investigation by The Sunday Times revealed that up to 95% of cases do not end in a suspect being charged.

More than 3,056 cases were recorded by police last year, an increase from 1,355 in 2015-16, according to data obtained under freedom of information laws from 32 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

However, the proportion of cases resulting in a charge fell from about one in seven in 2015-16 to one in 13 in 2017-18 and one in 20 in the year to April.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary Priti Patel: I want criminals to feel terror

The new home secretary, Priti Patel, has said she wants criminals to "literally feel terror" at the thought of breaking the law.

In her first interview in the role, Ms Patel told the Daily Mail she hoped more officers on the streets would make criminals fearful.

She also distanced herself from past comments supporting the death penalty.

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Police Finances Donald Trump’s state visit cost Met Police £3.5 million, figures show

Donald Trump's first state visit to the UK cost the Metropolitan Police nearly £3.5 million, official figures show.

The US president was met by tens of thousands of protesters in the capital before he attended a D-Day commemoration service in Portsmouth.

Figures show the force's total costs came in at £3,419,905, with more than 6,300 officers deployed across the three-day visit.

The Met spent just under £3 million policing the president's previous visit to the UK in 2018. The total cost of that four-day trip came in at more than £14.2 million to forces across the UK.

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Police and Crime General Cannabis farm found in ex-police station in Bristol

A cannabis farm containing about 100 plants has been found at a former police station in Bristol.

The discovery was made by a telephone engineer who was called out to the building on Clanage Road on Thursday.

He said: "It looked like a very good set-up with plastic sheeting all along the floor."

Avon and Somerset police confirmed it sent two officers to the building at about 09:30 BST.

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Prisons 18,000 prisoners are treated like ‘battery hens’

More than 18,000 prisoners are being “cooped up like battery hens” in overcrowded cells, according to figures released yesterday.

Three in five men’s prisons are holding more inmates than they are certified to look after despite the overall numbers in jails remaining broadly stable at about 82,700.

An analysis by the Howard League for Penal Reform said that thousands of prisoners were being housed in overcrowded conditions, fuelling violence and undermining attempts to turn them away from crime. Most prisoners in such conditions have to share cells designed for one person, while some sleep three to a cell meant for two.

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Police Demand MPs call for police in schools to cut youth violence

Schools in areas with a higher risk of youth violence should be given dedicated police officers, say MPs.

The Home Affairs Committee criticised the government's current violence reduction strategy as "completely inadequate".

It called on the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, to take "personal responsibility" for tackling knife and gun crime among young people.

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson snubs Robert Buckland’s call for suspected sex offenders to stay anonymous

Boris Johnson has distanced himself from Robert Buckland, his new justice secretary, after he called for those suspected of serious crimes to be granted anonymity but only if they had a reputation to protect.

Downing Street made little effort to disguise its irritation at Mr Buckland’s intervention in The Times, which critics said would usher in a two-tier justice system that went against the principle of open justice.

Mr Buckland had backed a campaign by Sir Cliff Richard and Paul Gambaccini to ban the naming of those arrested on suspicion of rape and other sexual offences. He said that there was “merit” in extending this to all serious crimes.

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Police and Crime General Recruiting police officers an 'absolute priority', says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has pledged to hire up to new 6,000 police officers by this time next year as he attempts to meet his target of recruiting 20,000 in three years.

His vow came after he returned to London from Northern Ireland and opened the first meeting of the National Policing Board, set up to lead the recruitment drive.

The board, announced by the prime minister last week when he unveiled his police recruitment promise, will be chaired by Home Secretary Priti Patel and will meet four times a year.

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Police and Crime General £1m boost to sports projects that keep young Londoners out of violent crime

Sport projects keeping young Londoners away from violent crime are to receive a £1.1 million boost to help children “turn their lives around”.

City Hall is giving the cash to local groups as it draws on the expertise of coaches and sports workers to propose solutions to capital’s violent crime epidemic.

The fund will be available to projects helping those at risk of exclusion or getting involved in violence and crime.

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Police and Crime General Millennials? They aren’t much cop at police work

As police forces prepare for the government’s ambitious recruitment drive, they have identified a formidable new challenge: hiring millennials.

The Home Office has been told that rookies have been “wrapped in cotton wool”, are routinely shocked that police are expected to work nights and weekends and “do not like confrontation”.

Police officers and staff told the Front Line Review that such expectations “may be a generational phenomenon related to people who have recently reached adulthood — a ‘millennial thing’ — and not unique to policing”.

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Police and Crime General Thousands of boys carrying knives as study highlights link to truancy

More than 17,500 boys aged 14 have carried or used a knife or other weapon, according to research for the Home Office.

A judge who jailed two boys after the death of another 17-year-old boy has condemned a “warped culture” in which possessing a knife is seen as “cool and aesthetically pleasing”.

A report looking at people born in 2000 and 2001 said that about a third of those who said they had carried a knife had also been attacked.

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Police and Crime General Recruitment of 20,000 new police officers to begin 'within weeks'

The recruitment of 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales will begin within weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

The College of Policing welcomed the pledge but warned of "logistical challenges", partly because of concerns of a lack of instructors for training.

It is "not just getting people through the doors", its chief executive said.

Forces in England and Wales lost more than 20,000 officers between September 2009 and September 2017.

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Economy & Public Finance Sajid Javid: What should we expect from new chancellor?

As a teenager in the 1980s, Sajid Javid, the UK's new chancellor, was an ardent admirer of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the country's first female premier. He even has a portrait of the "Iron Lady" in his office.

So as he packs his things at the Home Office ready for the move to Treasury, that may be one of the things he takes with him, along with the sense that, like her, he is breaking new ground.

He was the first home secretary from an ethnic minority when he took the post last year. Now he will be the UK's first chancellor from the immigrant community...

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Police Finances Have police numbers dropped?

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers in England and Wales.

That would almost reverse the reduction in police numbers since the Conservatives came to power.

Between March 2010 and March 2018, police forces in England and Wales lost 21,732 officers - a drop of 15%, according to Home Office figures.

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Police Finances Crime could rise unless police numbers increase, says Sajid Javid

Crime could rise unless the Government increases police numbers to combat violence, Sajid Javid admitted, as he disclosed it would take three years to deliver on a pledge for an extra 20,000 officers.

“If we don’t get police numbers right, that would mean more crime...in coming years,” the Home Secretary told the Commons home affairs committee, as he was pressed by its chair Yvette Cooper to accept that fewer officers had led to rising crime."

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Police Finances Boris Johnson becomes new British prime minister – latest news

Aside from Brexit

On crime: he promises 20,000 more policemen

On the NHS: he promises hospital upgrades and more money

One social care: he promises the government "will fix" the problem with a clear plan.

On education: he promises to level up per pupil school funding, as previously trailed during his campaign. He goes on to say that all these promises are his "personal responsibility". "Nevermind the backstop, the buck stops here", he adds.

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Economy & Public Finance Why are graduates competing to be prison officers?

The government-backed Unlocked Graduates scheme trains university leavers to work as prison officers. But how much difference can they make in prisons where staffing levels are low, and it's a rush even to do the bare minimum?

In a packed lecture theatre at the University of Suffolk, a man in a smart suit is telling his life story.

Peter Yarwood says he first went to prison as a 15-year-old, addicted to heroin and alcohol. He used to rob to fund his habit and spent two decades in and out of custody - until he met somebody who helped him to turn his life around.

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Police and Crime General Government offers 'inflation-busting' pay rises

Chancellor Philip Hammond has handed public sector workers a pay rise that is above the UK's 2% inflation rate.

The move comes just days before Theresa May leaves office, which could lead Mr Hammond to resign as chancellor.

The deals will affect almost one million public sector workers from prison officers to dentists.

Teachers will get a 2.75% salary boost, the equivalent to £1,000 extra a year, for those on an average salary.

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Police Finances Home Office scheme rejects 70% of bids for cash to steer kids away from knife crime

The Home Office rejected over 70% of bids for cash to divert children away from knife crime and violence, as demands for resources to combat rising serious violence outstripped the available funds.

Ministers have denied funds to dozens of projects for vulnerable young people that bid for cash from the flagship ‘Early Intervention Fund’.

The Home Secretary announced the £22m fund last spring to make funding available for “critical support” to “steer young people away from serious violence”. But the department has rejected over 70% of the 111 bids received from Police and Crime Commissioners for the projects.

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Police Finances Public sector pay rise: May gives £2bn to teachers, police and armed forces

Two million public sector workers including police officers, soldiers and teachers are to be given above-inflation pay rises, the government will announce next week.

On Monday the Treasury will unveil the biggest public sector pay rise for six years, at an estimated cost of £2 billion, amid concerns that the private sector is pushing ahead on salaries.

Police officers will receive a 2.5 per cent pay rise across the board, soldiers 2.9 per cent and teachers and other school staff 2.75 per cent. Dentists and consultants will get 2.5 per cent and senior civil servants 2 per cent.

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Police Finances Theresa May to 'go for broke' on pay award in parting gift to police

Theresa May’s leaving present to under-resourced policing could be the biggest pay rise in six years, it has emerged. One of the Prime Minister’s final acts in office is expected to be the announcement next week of a £2bn inflation-busting bonanza for public sector workers.

The Treasury will reportedly unveil a 2.5% rise for police officers before the former Home Secretary’s tenure in 10 Downing Street comes to an end on Tuesday. Two million workers will receive increases although the Treasury is expected to say that, barring some extra funding for schools, the money will have to come from existing budgets.

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Technology Halt to facial recognition technology trial urged as MPs question its legality

Policing is facing more pressure to halt controversial trials of facial recognition technology as MPs argue lack of legislation calls into question their legal status.

Days after forces won unequivocal Home Office backing for continued testing, the Commons Science and Technology Committee challenged the accuracy and bias of the testing.

At the launch on Monday of new computer tools aimed at helping police fight online child abuse, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it was right for forces to "be on top of the latest technology”.

But yesterday the committee members urged the government to stop the trials until a framework for the “proper use, provision and regulation of biometrics and forensics” has been established.

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Economy & Public Finance No deal Brexit ‘will create £30bn black hole’

A no-deal Brexit would blow a £30 billion annual hole in the public purse as the economy shrinks and tax receipts collapse, driving the national debt above £2 trillion for the first time, the government’s budget watchdog has warned.

Using the International Monetary Fund’s least-worst scenario of the impact of a no-deal and no-transition Brexit on October 31, the Office for Budget Responsibility said that the government would have to borrow roughly an extra £30 billion for each of the next four years, loading an extra £272 billion to the national debt by 2024.

If a deal is struck there would be room to borrow more than has been planned. The government could borrow an extra £25 billion a year and still keep debt falling as a percentage of GDP, the OBR said.

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Police Finances Home Office scheme rejects 63% of bids for cash to steer kids away from knife crime

The Home Office rejected 63% of bids for cash to divert children away from knife crime and violence, as demands for resources to combat rising serious violence outstripped the available funds.

Ministers have denied funds to dozens of projects for vulnerable young people that bid for cash from the flagship ‘Early Intervention Fund’.

The Home Secretary announced the £22m fund last spring to make funding available for “critical support” to “steer young people away from serious violence”. But the department has rejected over 63% of the 111 bids received from Police and Crime Commissioners for the projects.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary announces plans for a police covenant

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will today announce his intention to establish a police covenant demonstrating his recognition of the bravery and commitment of police officers.

Speaking at the Police Federation’s Bravery Awards in London later today he will lay out plans to establish a covenant to recognise the sacrifice made by those who are working, or have previously worked, in policing.

The Home Secretary will also give his backing to plans for the Police Federation to extend their support to Special Constables, which will give the volunteers the option of the same protections as their colleagues.

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Technology New emergency services system ‘failing to deliver savings’

Cost benefits of a new emergency services communication system are “rapidly evaporating”, MPs have said. A communication system for all 107 emergency services in England, Scotland and Wales has been beset by delays and is increasing in cost, according to a Public Accounts Committee report out today.

The ‘Emergency Services Network’, which will include 4G mobile data capabilities, was announced as replacement for the existing radio-based system in 2015 and with a completion date of December 2019. But the project was ‘reset’ in September 2018 meaning contracts with private contractors had to be renegotiated, growing the bill to £9.3bn – £3.1bn above the original business case. The new completion date is December 2022.

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Police Finances CIPFA launches drive for ‘easier to understand’ public accounts

A survey launched by CIPFA is seeking views about the problems citizens face when looking at local authority accounts. The institute wants people to be able to hold authorities to account better by simplifying financial statements which show how their tax is spent.

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Police Finances Doctors, teachers and police to share in £4bn-a-year pension boost

Employees in all of the main public sector pension schemes will have their retirement savings boosted after a landmark ruling, the Government has confirmed.

Younger staff in the NHS, civil service, local government, teaching profession, police, Armed Forces, judiciary and fire service will benefit, Elizabeth Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, said in a written statement.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the Government had to accept an earlier judgment that it had discriminated against the workers when it changed public sector pensions in 2015. Only older staff were allowed to stay in the more generous versions of the schemes.

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Police Finances ‘More clarity required’ despite pension ruling

UK public sector pension fund administrators remain in the dark despite the government accepting defeat in a landmark pension ruling, PF has learned.

Workers from local government, the civil service, NHS and more will be impacted by a supreme court ruling that found pension changes from 2015 were discriminatory based on age, the government has confirmed.

The government had an appeal upheld by the court and could now pay out billions to remedy the situation, as valuations on public sector pensions were paused pending the legal process.

Despite the concession from the government, fund administrators still lack clarity due to the large variety of schemes in play, according to Neil Sellstrom CIPFA advisor for pensions and treasury management.

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Economy & Public Finance Forget the spending review, we should be talking about taxation

The question over whether the incoming government will conduct a spending review in time for the start of the next financial year is technically still live, yet it is fast becoming a truth universally acknowledged that it is unlikely to go ahead. Recent newspaper reports suggest our likely next PM Boris Johnson is preparing to set an emergency Budget in September.

However, before Mr Johnson unleashes his flurry of promised tax cuts he would do well to heed the warning from the Institute for Government this week that the UK’s “inefficient” tax system is fast becoming unsustainable.

Council tax and business rates currently account for 9% of national tax revenues, according to the IfG’s analysis, the same proportion as corporation taxes. By comparison income tax brings in just over a quarter of tax revenues and VAT a fifth.

The case for greater fiscal devolution and reform of council tax has been made repeatedly by those championing local government in recent years. But while a tourist tax might make a nice pay day for plenty of places around the country, local taxation should not be considered in isolation from the wider system.

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Police and Crime General 'Poverty link' to youth violence - London mayor

New figures from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan show what he says is a clear link between poverty in the capital and the rise in serious youth violence.

The data shows that the poorest areas of London are most likely to experience the highest levels of serious crime among youngsters.

The data comes amid fears that the end of the school year could see a rise in knife crime across major cities.

Mr Khan says he is funding 43 summer projects for vulnerable youngsters.

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Police and Crime General Allowing criminals not to declare convictions is 'a kick in the teeth', say victims' groups

Killers, robbers and some sex offenders who have spent years in prison will no longer have to tell prospective employers as the Justice Secretary says he wants to "remove the stigma of criminal convictions.”

David Gauke is proposing to abolish the rule requiring offenders jailed for four years or more to disclose their sentences to prospective employers for the rest of their lives. It would mean that at least 6,000 of these offenders would have the slate wiped clean over the course of a decade.

The plans triggered a row on Sunday as victims’ groups claimed they were a “kick in the teeth,” further tilting the balance of justice in favour of offenders.

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Economy & Public Finance UK 'scarily' exposed to next major downturn, economists warn Save

The UK’s recession-fighting tools are already almost exhausted leaving the economy ill-prepared to battle the next slump if and when it arrives, economists have warned.

Interest rates are too low to be cut significantly, while the Government is already heavily indebted from heavy borrowing in the financial crisis and the years since.

This means urgent work is needed to find tools which could be used to stimulate the economy in another crunch, said the Resolution Foundation.

Technology Automated facial recognition trials backed by home secretary

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has given his backing to the police in their trials of facial recognition cameras.

The surveillance software, which is designed to help spot suspects in public spaces, has been trialled by several forces, including the Met.

Civil liberties campaigners have criticised the technology, which is the subject of a legal challenge.

But Mr Javid said it was important that police made use of the latest tools to help them solve crimes.

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Police Finances Police leaders urge next PM: reverse cuts to tackle violent crime

Police leaders have written to the two Conservative leadership candidates to say whichever of them becomes prime minister should make providing more money to police and youth services their first priority.

The letter from 10 Labour police and crime commissioners overseeing the four biggest forces, and others across England and Wales, was sent to Boris Johnson, who has said he wants to hire an extra 20,000 police officers, and Jeremy Hunt, who has said policing cuts have gone too far.

Since 2010, police funding and officer numbers have fallen under the Conservatives, while provision of youth services has dramatically declined.

Police Finances Damian Green: local authorities avoid care home developments

Local authorities are increasingly reluctant to allow care homes and retirement homes to be built in their areas because they can’t afford the social care costs associated with that demographic, Conservative MP and former deputy prime minister Damian Green has said.

The chair of the all-party parliamentary group on longevity, who has produced his own policy paper suggesting a solution to the social care funding crisis, said it was a “quiet secret” that local authorities – who have to fund social care costs – try to avoid applications for homes for older people.

He also warned that unless all parties agree to seek a cross-party consensus on social care funding, a political crisis triggered by an “enormous scandal” will force them to act.

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Technology London cop illegally used police database to monitor investigation into himself

A serving Metropolitan police officer who illegally accessed a police database to monitor a criminal investigation into his own conduct has pleaded guilty to crimes under the UK's Computer Misuse Act.

Sergeant Okechukwu Efobi, of Byron Road, Wealdstone, Harrow, was ordered to complete 150 hours of community service and pay a total of £540, comprising a £90 victim surcharge tax and £450 of prosecution costs.

Efobi, who remains employed by the Met and is currently on restricted duty, had been accessing a police database to view details of suspects in an ongoing criminal investigation.

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Economy & Public Finance CIPFA backs alternative tool for measuring councils’ financial resilience

Another model aimed at measuring the financial sustainability of councils has joined a crowded field, with the claim that more than a third of councils are at risk of failure in the next decade.

Accountancy firm Grant Thornton this week launched its Financial Foresight model, built on central government data, combined with population projections and sector insights.

It shows that in 66% of councils, spending on services is outstripping income and that the imbalance between expenditure growth and income growth will see local authorities reducing their reserves by 84% by 2028.

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Economy & Public Finance UK nears recession as Brexit deadline looms

Recent economic data have shown further weakness in manufacturing sectors in most of the major economies, including Germany where growth is now negative. Amid this generally sluggish global backdrop, one big advanced economy looks in more danger of recession than most others. That country is the UK, where economic activity data have been plummeting as the next Brexit deadline approaches on October 31.

According to the latest Fulcrum nowcasts, UK activity growth has fallen to minus 0.8 per cent, compared with plus 1.0 per cent as recently as mid May (see box). Since then, economic data have revealed downward steps in the annualised growth rate on five successive occasions.

As in other countries, some of these drops have come from the industrial sector, with business surveys and official industrial production releases both contributing towards significant declines in estimated activity growth. However, two Brexit-related developments have hit UK industry particularly hard.

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Technology Speeding and dangerous drivers to be targeted by Britain’s first traffic drone

Speeding and dangerous drivers are to be targeted by Britain’s first traffic drone which was previously used on the battlefield and against terrorists.

The Metropolitan Police revealed yesterday that it will deploy the £80,000 drone to catch dangerous, careless or speeding motorists.

The Aeryon Skyranger drone which can carry night vision cameras as well as zoom lenses was developed for tactical surveillance by the military, has been deployed in war zones across the middle east and is now used by 20 armed forces around the world.

Motoring organisations said the deployment of military-grade technology against drivers would “raise eyebrows” but could be cost effective as a deterrent.

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Police and Crime General Decriminalising cannabis will be good for health and help fight crime

Most politicians studiously avoid talking about drug reform, particularly Conservatives, because it has always been a no-win scenario for us. This is because it always provokes quite a hostile reaction from the more Right-wing media, and because most Conservative members and voters (unlike Labour and Liberal Democrats) are pretty resistant to any notion of reform. The tough talk of cracking down and prohibition is held tightly, too, by social conservatives, despite the overwhelming evidence that it has failed to improve matters for individuals, families or their communities by almost any measure that would constitute success.

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Police and Crime General Policing resources at dangerously low levels, ex Scotland Yard chiefs warn

British policing resources have been "drained to dangerously low levels", five ex-Met Police chiefs have warned.

The former commissioners, who ran London's police force from 1993 to 2017, said cuts had "contributed to the feeling of lawlessness" generated by knife crime and county lines drugs.

They called for a royal commission on policing and the possible ending of the "fragmented" system of 45 area forces.

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Police and Crime General Public fear streets are lawless, say police chiefs

The public have lost confidence in the police and fear that Britain has descended into lawlessness because of knife and drug crime, five former heads of Scotland Yard warn today.

The former commissioners have united to condemn the “emasculation of British policing” under Theresa May and urge her successor to make law and order a priority.

Their intervention added to the sense of urgency over the issue as Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race, faced pressure to explain how he would fund a pledge to recruit 20,000 police officers.

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Police Finances Boris Johnson promises to boost police numbers by 20,000 in £1.1bn move if he becomes prime minister

Boris Johnson has pledged to boost police numbers by as many as 20,000 within three years if he becomes prime minister.

The Tory leadership favourite said he would expand the service to more than 140,000 officers by mid-2022 if he wins the race for Number 10.

Former London mayor Mr Johnson said the £1.1 billion move would focus on rural areas that have seen the biggest funding reductions.

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Technology UK: GCHQ/MI5 admit illegally spying on millions

The domestic spy agency MI5 and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence gathering unit have been forced to admit in court that they are acting illegally in their use of bulk data, gathered by intruding into the lives of millions of innocent people. MI5 “has been unlawfully retaining innocent people’s data for years.”

Their admissions were the result of a court case brought by the civil rights organisation Liberty. The basis of Liberty’s case against the spy agencies is that government surveillance practices breach human rights law.

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Police and Crime General Riots will hit streets after Brexit and UK will be ‘unstable’ for years, EU report warns

A secret EU report has painted a grim and worrying picture of life in Britain after Brexit – with violence on the street and ‘instability’ for decades.

The report by intelligence officials also claims that there will be independence referendums in Scotland and Northern Ireland within 18 months of Brexit.

The report, by senior intelligence officials, also warned there may be violence in the event of ‘no deal’ or a second referendum.

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Police and Crime General Bureaux de change: Crackdown on drug gangs money laundering

Bureaux de change and currency transfer businesses are to be raided by police in a week-long crackdown on suspected drugs money laundering.

They hope targeting the cash will reduce street violence linked to disputes between gangs by disrupting their activities.

Police say 12 businesses in London will be raided on Tuesday - the first day of the operation

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Economy & Public Finance Met police flag up 700 welfare and abuse cases a day over five years

New fears have emerged about the scale of abuse suffered by children and vulnerable adults after Scotland Yard revealed its officers were raising concerns with the safeguarding authorities on average 700 times a day.

Figures obtained by the Guardian show referrals relate to a range of alleged and suspected abuses, including sexual exploitation, forced marriage and bullying.

Data released under freedom of information (FoI) legislation shows that nearly 1.3m records were created in the capital over the past five years – an average of about 700 a day – informing local safeguarding authorities about officers’ concerns for children and vulnerable adults.

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Police and Crime General Hunt: More cops after cuts went too far

Jeremy Hunt criticised his own party’s cuts to the police last night in a ‘digital hustings’ with rival Boris Johnson.

The foreign secretary said the Conservatives had been faced with ‘difficult decisions’ in balancing the nation’s budget following the 2008 financial crisis but told the audience: ‘I think the reduction in police numbers went too far.’

He vowed he would increase officer numbers if he became prime minister but declined to be drawn on exact figures.

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Police and Crime General Crime solving rates 'woefully low', Met Police Commissioner says

Too many crimes are being left unsolved, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said.

During a speech about the future of policing in England and Wales, Cressida Dick admitted that national detection rates for some offences were "woefully low".

"The courts are emptying, not filling," she said, adding "It's not good and I'm not proud of it."

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Police and Crime General Nearly £5 million of funding to tackle serious violence

Sajid Javid today (Wednesday 26 June) announced that the remaining £3.3 million of the £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund would be distributed to 10 areas to support projects for young people to prevent them getting drawn into crime and to help them make more positive life choices.

The Home Secretary also revealed there will be an additional £1.5 million of funding for the third year of the Anti-Knife Crime Community Fund, which will go towards small community projects to reduce knife crime. The fund has already supported 115 projects over the 2 years it has been running.

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Fire Gap in fire service’s capacity could cost lives in terror attack, report warns

A “serious gap” in a fire service’s terror response due to an industrial dispute could put lives at risk, according to independent inspectors.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said it has “particular concerns” about the Greater Manchester service’s ability to respond to terrorist attacks.

Inspector of fire and rescue Zoe Billingham said the service has not had the capability to respond to some terror-related incidents since before Christmas because of an industrial dispute.

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Police and Crime General Police letting off sex offenders and thieves who say they are sorry

Rapes, burglaries, child sex offences and assaults were among tens of thousands of offences that did not go to court but were dealt with by using “community resolutions”.

About 112,000 offenders a year avoid a criminal record for offences including possession of weapons, cruelty to children and theft, according to the BBC’s shared data unit. Community resolutions are restorative justice measures that involve paying damages or apologising. Although the offender does not get a criminal record, the resolution offence remains on the police national computer and can still be used if more offences are committed.

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Police Finances Prison to pilot scheme: The rehabilitation project lowering reoffending

More than 400 people whose crimes would normally attract a jail term of up to a year have instead served their sentences outside prison.

The scheme, known as an enhanced combination order, has been running in three court districts since 2015.

The rehabilitation order has led to a 20% reduction in the number of short-term jail sentences in those areas.

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Police and Crime General Liverpool teenagers 'paid money to stab other youths'

Teenagers are being offered up to £1,000 by gang leaders in Liverpool to stab other youngsters, the BBC has learned. They told the BBC Beyond Today podcast bounties were being offered by "elders" who wanted to avoid carrying out the attacks themselves. The claims have been linked to at least one recent stabbing.

Merseyside Police said it was aware organised crime groups used violence to settle disputes. In a statement the force did not directly address the teenagers' claims.

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Police Demand London mayor Sadiq Khan attacks police cuts after four murders in four days

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he is "incredibly concerned" about a recent spate of murders in the capital - placing the blame for rising violence on "massive cuts" to police resources.

The Metropolitan Police has stepped up patrols after four people were killed in as many days - and Mr Khan said officers from the "overstretched" force worked 12-hour shifts over the weekend.

He said officers were working "incredibly hard" to tackle violent crime, but reiterated his call for more funding from the government.

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Police and Crime General South Yorkshire police to change approach to football after heavy criticism

South Yorkshire police is to change its approach to policing football after an internal review following its operation at the Sheffield derby in March, which was heavily criticised by supporters as heavy-handed, violent and dangerous.

Some supporters at the match between Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United complained that they had been held in a crush outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at Hillsborough, and that police officers had indiscriminately hit people caught in the crush with their batons.

The change of policy to “a more community style of policing, and engagement with fans” is due to be launched at a meeting of the force’s football policing officers on 5 July, according to an internal email seen by the Guardian. Sent by Paul McCurry, a superintendent in the force’s Sheffield local policing unit command team, the email invites officers to a full day “continuous professional development” session, and explains: “The purpose of this event will be to formally launch a new approach to policing football and other crowded events across South Yorkshire.

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Police Finances £15m police bill for Grenfell Tower inferno investigation

The police investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy has already cost more than £15 million as survivors and families of the 72 victims come together to remember their loved ones two years after the tower block inferno.

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Police and Crime General Police force seeks volunteers to view indecent images in forensics unit

West Midlands police have defended their decision to use volunteers for forensics work that would involve viewing indecent and distressing images after being warned that it was “a disaster waiting to happen”.

The force was criticised after advertising unpaid roles in its digital forensics team, with an advert that warned volunteers would “routinely come across distressing imagery including indecent images, fatal road traffic accidents, live CCTV footage recovery of incidents”.

The force said it was looking for people to commit at least 16 hours a month to the role and said that a criminal record was not a barrier to volunteering.

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Police Finances Council to fund its own bobbies on the beat

A council in the Midlands is planning to use its own money to put more police officers on the beat.

At a time of concern about the falling number of bobbies and cuts to police budgets, Walsall council plans to join a scheme under which it will pay for more officers across the borough.

The Patrol Plus scheme has been operating in London since 2008 and has been called “buy-one-get-one-free” policing since the force provides one officer for every one paid for by councils.

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Police and Crime General Rough sleeping: Arrests fall as police brand law 'archaic'

Police have criticised a law allowing beggars and rough sleepers to be arrested, as figures reveal they are using their powers less.

Arrests under the Vagrancy Act have halved over two years, data obtained by the BBC suggests.

Forces have said they are "moving away" from the "archaic" law which charities say "criminalises" the homeless.

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Technology Dark net drug sales on the rise in England

The number of drug takers in England obtaining drugs on the dark net has more than doubled in the past five years, according to The Global Drugs Survey.

According to its data, the number of drug users in England obtaining drugs on the dark net has gone up from 12.4% to nearly 28.6% in the past five years. This is not a nationally representative sample.

"The police are limited in what they can do and ill-equipped to deal with issues on the dark net."

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Police Finances Home Secretary Sajid Javid pledges £1bn to put an extra 20,000 bobbies on the beat after admitting there is a link between budget cuts and soaring crime rates

Sajid Javid admitted yesterday that he had changed his mind on the link between police numbers and crime and pledged to put up to 20,000 more bobbies on the beat.

Last year, the Home Secretary and Tory leadership candidate claimed in a TV interview there was no connection between the rise in crime and a fall in police numbers.

But yesterday he said: ‘What I’ve realised is that you do need many more police resources.’

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Police Finances Donald Trump's £40m visit is most expensive ever and will 'overstretch' police

Donald Trump’s state visit will be by far the most expensive in British history – costing taxpayers an estimated £40million in security costs.

The operation to protect the President and his entourage of at least 1,000 people includes policing the 250,000 protesters set to take to the streets to show their fury at the red carpet being rolled out for him.

Up to 10,000 officers will be drafted into Central London, leaving places across Britain without the “service they deserve”.

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Police Finances Report raises alarm over police detention of vulnerable suspects

Police officers detained and interviewed vulnerable suspects without an appropriate adult present more than 100,000 times last year in England and Wales, according to a charity report.

The failure by officers to provide assistance, chiefly to those with mental illness, autism or learning disabilities, leaves them at risk of miscarriages of justice, the National Appropriate Adult Network (Naan) has warned.

The survey, which reveals marginal improvements on similar research four years ago, reinforces calls for the Home Office to create a statutory duty to provide help for vulnerable adults in police stations.

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Police Finances Police and crime commissioners: engagement protocols

Guidance on how police and crime commissioners and their partners might engage with each other to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system has been published on the gov website.

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Prisons Prisoners must not be released early to save money, says former Met Commissioner

Some offenders have been released far too early from jails, potentially to save money, says a former Met Police Commissioner who has called for a review of automatic release of prisoners half way through sentences.

Lord Stevens, who led the Met Police from 2000 to 2005, said: “There have been instances where people have been released from prison very very early and far too quickly.

“There needs to be an argument about whether this is done because of trying to save money and the problems in prisons of violence rather than actually ensuring that people are serving sentences they should be.”

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Police Finances Home Office to scrap 101 non-emergency number charges

The move will make the number free of charge for all members of the public, including victims of crime, from April 2020.

The Home Office will invest £5 million a year to fund the service, which receives around 30 million calls annually.

Callers to the 101 number are connected to their local police force, or a force of their choice, and charged 15p a time.

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Police Finances Treasury ‘must do better’ on Whole of Government Accounts

The spending watchdog has called for “further progress” on the level of information given by departments for the Whole of Government Accounts.

Total government expenditure for 2017-18 reached £815bn for the year ending March 31 2018, according to the WGA released yesterday.

It also showed the UK government’s income in 2017-18 was £760.9bn – compared to £720.8bn in 2016-17. Its expenditure was £814.8 billion – expenditure in 2016-17 was £760.7 billion.

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Police Finances Council tax ‘only regressive tax in the UK’

The UK’s taxes on the whole are progressive – with council tax being the only one that is regressive, an economic think-tank has said.

Direct taxes including income tax and National Insurance Contribution work alongside benefits to reduce inequality, the Institute for Fiscal Studies claimed in a briefing note today.

Council tax, however, is markedly regressive as it is not linked to income, with the poorest tenth of the population paying 8% of their income on council tax, while the next 50% pay 4-5% and the richest 40% paying 2-3%.

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Police and Crime General Police arrest 586 people in county lines crackdown

Nearly 600 suspected members of county lines drugs gangs have been arrested across the UK in the past week, the National Crime Agency has said.

Police forces led by the National County Lines Coordination Centre also seized cocaine worth £176,780; £312,649 in cash; and 46 weapons.

The NCA estimates there are about 2,000 city-based gangs exploiting young people to sell drugs in smaller towns.

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Technology Police facial recognition surveillance court case starts

The first major legal challenge to police use of automated facial recognition surveillance begins in Cardiff today.

Ed Bridges, whose image was taken while he was shopping, says weak regulation means AFR breaches human rights.

The civil rights group Liberty says current use of the tool is equivalent to the unregulated taking of DNA or fingerprints without consent.

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Prisons Probation service: Offender supervision to be renationalised

The supervision of all offenders on probation in England and Wales is being put back in the public sector after serious failings with the part-privatisation of the system.

It reverses changes made in 2014 by then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

The National Audit Office said problems with the part-privatisation had cost taxpayers nearly £500m.

All offenders will be monitored by the National Probation Service from December 2020.

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Police Finances Knife crime prevention being ‘seriously hampered’ as councils left in dark about youth offending funding

Efforts to tackle soaring levels of knife crime and county lines activity are being “seriously hampered” because funding for doing so has not yet been announced by central government, council leaders have warned.

Local authorities are still waiting to hear how much money they will receive to tackle youth offending this year – more than two months after they had to set their budgets.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, told The Independent this was making it “extremely difficult” for councils to plan the services that support young people and keep them out of the justice system.

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Technology Government finally admits 'multitude of problems' with Airwave replacement

A former UK top cop has urged ministers to guarantee that the extra funds needed for a "critical" overhaul of the Emergency Services Network used by forces will not be taken from police budgets.

Ex-Met Police Commissioner Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe ramped up the pressure on the government after it acknowledged a "multitude of problems" with a replacement for Airwave.

The National Audit Office, which has already warned the target date of 2022 may not be met, also fears the delayed project is set to go over budget by at least £3.1 billion – while the Home Office predicts the final cost will be £9.3bn.

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Police Finances New emergency services radio system to be at least £3bn overbudget and three years late as Home Office failings blasted by NAO

An overhaul of the communications system used by the UK’s emergency services will be at least £3bn overbudget and three years late, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

The Emergency Services Network was created to replace the current system Airwave, but the Home Office has already delayed its delivery by three years until 2020 when it decided to “reset” the programme in 2017.

Originally due in 2019, the Home Office forecasts the ESN will cost £9.3bn, 49% more than initially planned, with £1.4bn just being spent on extending the old Airwave system.

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Police Finances Spend £2.7bn more to tackle organised crime, says NCA chief

The government needs to find an extra £2.7bn to tackle the growth in serious and organised crime that is causing “staggering” damage to the United Kingdom, according to the director general of the National Crime Agency.

Lynne Owens is due to make the direct challenge to ministers on Tuesday as she launches the agency’s annual national strategic assessment mapping out dangers from cyber crime, child sexual exploitation, drugs and other serious and organised crime.

The NCA, which was set up by the Conservative government in 2013, says there are at least 181,000 people linked to serious and organised crime in the UK – twice the size of the British army.

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Police and Crime General MPs' latest plan to crack down on gangs and knife crime: Encourage teenagers to try group singing, boxing, and martial arts instead

Boxing and martial arts should be harnessed to help fight knife crime and gang violence, a report has recommended.

The Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee said sporting and cultural activities were being overlooked by ministers in favour of arresting and imprisoning young people.

Taking part in activities could also be key to solving social problems in health, education and urban regeneration, it said.

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Police Finances Organised crime: NCA says its budget needs to double

Organised crime poses such a threat to the UK that an extra £3bn will be needed to fight it over the next three years, the National Crime Agency says.

Its head Lynne Owens says this includes more than doubling the NCA's annual budget from £424m to nearly £1.1bn.

In a speech, she warned the public will "feel the consequences" if the government does not find the cash.

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Police Finances Agency calls for £2.7bn investment to combat organised crime

The UK needs £2.7bn to tackle the “chronic and corrosive” blight of organised crime, the National Crime Agency has warned.

Launching its National Strategic Assessment yesterday, the agency said that there are 181,000 offenders linked to organised crime in the UK – a group twice the size of the British Army.

To tackle this threat there must be investment of £2.7bn over the next three years to crack down on those who profit from crimes such as child sexual exploitation and drug trafficking and fraud, according to NCA director general Lynne Owens.

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Police and Crime General Police in talks with Home Office to review Public Order legislation

Police are calling for changes in the law to prevent copycat tactics being employed in the wake of climate protests that put Britain under siege.

Scotland Yard is in discussions with the Home Office to review the current Public Order legislation with fears Extinction Rebellion will be replicated by other groups.

The Met also called for a stronger punishment of those who break the law, with summary only charges for offences, including breaching conditions imposed under the Public Order Act, obstruction of a highway and obstruction of police, leaving magistrates with limited sentencing powers.

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Police Finances New emergency services radio system to be at least £3bn overbudget and three years late as Home Office failings blasted by NAO

An overhaul of the communications system used by the UK’s emergency services will be at least £3bn overbudget and three years late, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

The Emergency Services Network was created to replace the current system Airwave, but the Home Office has already delayed its delivery by three years until 2020 when it decided to “reset” the programme in 2017.

Originally due in 2019, the Home Office forecasts the ESN will cost £9.3bn, 49% more than initially planned, with £1.4bn just being spent on extending the old Airwave system.

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Police and Crime General PTSD 'at crisis levels' among police officers

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among police officers in the UK is far more common than was ever thought, a new survey suggests. One PC describes his battle with the medical condition.

Lee Jackson is the kind of police officer who runs towards danger, the sort who is not afraid to break down doors or break up fights.

A Taser-trained response officer at Durham Police with over 19 years' service, he's dealt with almost every crime imaginable and was once three minutes from death after becoming impaled on a broken car aerial while investigating a car crash.

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Police and Crime General Children at risk of gangs and violence to be given more support

Children at risk of being targeted by gangs or violent crime will be given extra support as part of a £2m government scheme.

Young people in England in danger of criminal or sexual exploitation will be given access to experts across education, health, social care, police and the voluntary sector.

The Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme aims to support children who could fall victim to threats such as gangs, county lines drug dealing, online grooming, sexual exploitation, trafficking or modern slavery.

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Technology Facial recognition wrongly identifies public as potential criminals 96% of time, figures reveal

Facial recognition technology has misidentified members of the public as potential criminals in 96 per cent of scans so far in London, new figures reveal.

The Metropolitan Police said the controversial software could help it hunt down wanted offenders and reduce violence, but critics have accused it of wasting public money and violating human rights.

The trials have so far cost more than £222,000 in London and are subject to a legal challenge and a separate probe by the Information Commissioner.

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Police Finances Police granted funding boost for action on serious violence

The Home Secretary has allocated police forces the final part of a dedicated £100 million fund to tackle serious violence.

Sajid Javid announced that £12.4 million will be distributed to 18 forces dealing with high levels of violent crime. It comes after £51 million was announced for the forces ahead of Easter for additional officer deployments, improved intelligence, and short-term operational actions such as targeting habitual knife carriers.

The announcement comes ahead of the first meeting of a new ministerial taskforce on serious youth violence, chaired by the Prime Minister, in Downing Street today.

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Police Demand Rising knife crime linked to council cuts, study suggests

Places in England that have seen the biggest council spending cuts to youth services are likely to see the biggest increases in knife crime, a study says.

Research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime showed the average council cut real-terms spending on youth services - such as youth clubs - by 40% between 2014/15 and 2017/18.

And the four worst-hit areas have seen some of the biggest knife crime rises.

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Police Demand Youth club closures put young people at risk of violence, warn MPs

Youth club closures are putting young people at greater risk of violence, according to a committee of MPs which has found that English councils have slashed funding on youth services by 40% on average in the last three years.

After a bank holiday weekend which began with news of the fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Tashaun Aird and continued with the killing of an 18-year-old in south London, the 28th knife fatality in the capital this year, the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime revealed new data from more than 100 councils showing cuts to youth services of up to 91%. It claimed areas that had suffered the largest cuts to spending on young people had seen bigger increases in knife crime.

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Police and Crime General Why are rape prosecutions falling?

Recorded rape offences have been rising in England and Wales, but the proportion of offences making it to court has fallen significantly over the past few years.

Police and prosecutors are asking complainants in rape cases to agree to hand their phones over or face the prospect of prosecutions being dropped - something victims' commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove has said is "unlikely to do anything to help reverse the fall in prosecutions for rape and sexual violence".

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides whether cases investigated by the police go to trial. In September 2018, it said the proportion of reported rapes being prosecuted had reached their lowest level in a decade.

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Police Demand 'Why must we pay to report crime?' – Baroness Newlove queries 101 service and says anti-social behaviour out of control

Victims of anti-social behaviour are being forced to pay to report offences to the police, Baroness Newlove warns today as she criticises the authorities for dismissing the offences as “low level”.

Lady Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner, says police and councils have “a culture of viewing anti-social behaviour as not important” and fail to use powers introduced to prevent everyday crimes.

She says “depressingly, little has changed” since her husband, Garry, was kicked to death 12 years ago when he confronted teenagers vandalising her car, and questions why callers to the low-priority 101 phone line are charged, when 999 calls are free.

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Police and Crime General Rape victims among those to be asked to hand phones to police

Victims of crimes, including those alleging rape, are to be asked to hand their phones over to police - or risk prosecutions not going ahead.

Consent forms asking for permission to access information including emails, messages and photographs have been rolled out in England and Wales.

It comes after a number of rape and serious sexual assault cases collapsed after crucial evidence emerged.

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Fire Gloucestershire Council boss 'in bid to discredit PCC'

A council boss has been accused of organising a campaign to discredit a police and crime commissioner's move to take over the local fire service.

A leaked email from Gloucestershire County Council's Peter Bungard, seen by the BBC, includes plans to use taxpayers' money to fund a PR campaign to show the PCC "is out of touch".

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Police Demand Tories 'in denial about scale of violent crime'

The Conservative Party is in "denial" about the scale of violent crime, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed.

Analysis of official crime statistics by his party suggested there has been a doubling of attempted murders since the Tories came to power in 2010.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded 523 attempted murders in April 2010 to March 2011 in England and Wales, but in October 2017 to September 2018 there were 1,040 - a 99 per cent increase.

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Police Demand Eight out of ten Merseyside Police officers say there aren't enough of them to do their jobs properly

Over three quarters of Merseyside Police officers have said there aren't enough of them to properly do their job.

The situation is so bad that most officers now say they have felt stressed, suffered form low moods, anxiety and other difficulties in the last year.

The statistics were revealed in the Police Federation of England in Wales' annual Welfare Survey.

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Police Demand Greater Manchester Police chief: 60% of crimes not investigated

About 60% of crimes reported to one of the UK's largest police forces are not fully investigated because of a lack of resources, its chief constable said.

Greater Manchester Police's Ian Hopkins said budget cuts mean officers have to prioritise more ruthlessly than ever.

He said about 600 offences a day, such as thefts from vehicles, were being "screened out" and not pursued because "we don't have enough officers".

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Police Demand The new prison drug strategy

Earlier this month, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) published its new Prison Drugs Strategy.

There have, of course, always been drugs and drug misusers in prison but over the last six or seven years, with the advent of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), the best-known of which are synthetic forms of cannabis such as “Spice”, the problem has become much worse.

The use of NPS has been seen as one of the two critical components of the prison safety crisis (the other being the unprecedented cuts in staffing levels). As the new strategy puts it:

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Police Demand ‘Less talk, more action!’ Police chief attacks May for 'distrubing' rise in knife crime

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation in England and Wales, which represents nearly 120,000 rank and file officers, accused the Prime Minister of “still failing to accept the harsh reality plastered over the front pages and filling the news bulletins”. There were 285 murders in England and Wales in 2017/18 where the method of killing was by a knife or sharp instrument - the highest number since records started in 1946. In the year to September, police recorded around 1.5 million "violence against the person" offences - a jump of nearly a fifth on the previous 12 months.

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Police Finances Lord Coe blames record knife crime on ‘strangled’ funding of community sports

Chronic under-investment in youth services has been linked by the Conservative peer Lord Sebastian Coe to the surge in knife crime in major cities.

The former Olympic champion accused politicians of failing to realise that failure to spend on grassroots sports facilities would fuel “big problems in our inner cities”.

Knife crime has reached its highest level in England and Wales since records began, and 26 people have died from stab wounds so far this year in London alone.

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Police Finances Government accused of 'sitting on hands' a month after £100m promised

Chancellor Philip Hammond been accused of breaking his promise to policing with only half of £100 million being made available to fight the knife crime scourge.

Rank and file officers called for a complete overhaul of the police funding formula, arguing what is being offered is “loose change”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the government continues to “bury its head in the sand over the impact of austerity” and had “sat on their hands for more than a month”.

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Police and Crime General Met detective 'predicts' fatal stabbing areas in London

A murder detective believes he has found a way of forecasting where deadly knife attacks are likely to take place.

Det Ch Insp John Massey trawled through records of knife crimes in London over a 12-month period and found a link with fatal stabbings the following year.

More than two-thirds of the killings in 2017-18 occurred in neighbourhoods where someone had been attacked with a knife the year before.

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Police and Crime General Police drugs policy of ‘test, not arrest’ condemned as back-door legalisation

Police are backing a growing number of “test, not arrest” schemes in which young people can have their illegal drugs tested — but face no prosecution for possessing them.

The move was condemned this weekend as a sign of the police being “soft on drugs”. Critics warned that it would pander to a generation of young people “who thought it was OK to take drugs” and for whom drug-taking had in effect been legalised.

David Jamieson, the police commissioner for the West Midlands, said he was backing and part-funding pop-up tents and caravans outside clubs in Birmingham on Friday and Saturday nights where drugs could be tested for lethal contaminants.

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Police and Crime General Police accused of abusing easier stop and search

Police have been accused of abusing stop-and-search powers, days after the home secretary, Sajid Javid, made it easier for officers to use the controversial measures.

Campaigners claim that the Metropolitan police are frequently misusing section 60 orders, which allow officers to search anyone in an area for a limited period if serious violence is anticipated.

Two weeks ago Javid made it easier for police in England and Wales to search people without reasonable suspicion under section 60 in an attempt to tackle knife crime.

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Technology Technology companies must do more to prevent crime, home secretary to say

Technology companies must do more to help prevent crimes, the home secretary is to say.

Sajid Javid will demand the industry gets better at creating products which make illegal activity harder to commit.

He will point out how moped crimes have been almost halved across the UK after the introduction of new anti-theft devices – and call on design firms to follow suit in putting such prevention at the heart of new products and services.

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Police Finances IMF's Lagarde says further Brexit delay will 'hinder' UK growth

Further uncertainty over Brexit will hinder growth in the UK economy, the head of IMF has told the BBC.

Speaking ahead of the agreement of an extension to Article 50, Christine Lagarde warned that businesses and investors will remain hesitant in the coming months.

She said any prolonged uncertainty would have a "negative impact".

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Police and Crime General Firefighters will tackle blazes... and crime on the streets of Devon

A new type of supercop is on the streets of Devon after firefighters were given powers of arrest in a controversial scheme aimed at boosting police reach in rural areas. Seven firefighters have qualified as special constables and will be known as community responders with dual policing and firefighting responsibilities.

The pilot scheme was criticised by the Police Federation and Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which warned that the blurring of lines between the two roles risked creating conflict in duties. National plans to merge certain police and fire service resources have rarely come to fruition, although Cornwall uses “tri-service responders” who cover fire, policing and paramedic duties.

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Prisons G4S shares soar on possible £3bn Canadian bid

Shares in G4S - which runs UK prisons and botched security arrangements at the London Olympics - have jumped as much 30% after a Canadian rival admitted it was considering a takeover.

Garda World, a privately-owned company, has until 8 May to table a formal offer.

There was no immediate comment from G4S, which last month reported a 63% fall in full-year profits.

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Police Finances PMQs: Theresa Villiers and Wayne David on police funding

Two MPs used their questions at PMQs to address funding for the police in their areas.

Conservative Theresa Villiers criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan for closing down Barnet police station, while Labour's Wayne David accused the PM of failing to give accurate figures on police funding in Gwent.

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Prisons Criminals with dyslexia could get more lenient sentences under new guidelines

Criminals with a wide range of mental health conditions and learning difficulties could receive more lenient sentences under guidelines being issued to judges and magistrates.

Conditions ranging from schizophrenia to post traumatic stress disorder, and low IQ to dyslexia, ought to be taken into consideration when a court is deciding what punishment to hand out, according to proposals being introduced by the Sentencing Council.

As part of the guidelines, judges will be asked to assess what extent a person's condition or disability might have played in them committing their offence.

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Technology Zain Qaiser: Student jailed for blackmailing porn users worldwide

A student who made hundreds of thousands of pounds blackmailing porn website users with cyber attacks has been jailed for more than six years.

Zain Qaiser from Barking, London, used his programming skills to scam visitors to porn sites around the world.

Investigators have discovered around £700,000 of his profits - but his network may have made more than £4m.

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Economy & Public Finance The price of Brexit has been £66 billion so far, plus an impending recession — and it hasn't even started yet

The damage to the UK economy due to Brexit has cost £66 billion ($86 billion) so far, and left the United Kingdom teetering at the brink of a new recession, according to economic data published last week.

An analysis by S&P Global Ratings analyst Boris Glass found that the decline of the pound, increase in inflation, erosion of household spending power, decline in house prices, and weak exports led to a 3% reduction in GDP. "That translates into average forgone economic activity of £6.6 billion (in 2016 prices) in each of the 10 quarters since the referendum," Glass said in a research note.

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Police and Crime General Officers attacked after attending bogus 999 call

Four police officers were savagely attacked in the line of duty by a knifeman who lured them with a bogus 999 call, a court has heard.

Alex Traykov, 20, allegedly used the alias Solomon to report of a fight in Islington, north London, on the evening of October 6 last year.

When the officers arrived at the address in Liverpool Road, Traykov opened the door wearing a black hoodie with a large kitchen knife behind his back, the Old Bailey heard.

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Police Finances Bedfordshire Police chief leaves with 'underfunding' message

The chief constable of Bedfordshire Police has said the issue of police funding "must be addressed", as he announced he is leaving the post.

Jon Boutcher has led the force since 2015 and said he was leaving it "with a heavy heart".

Mr Boutcher highlighted the issue of police funding and said the "consequences of previous budgetary decisions" were now being felt.

The Home Office said it increased fund for Bedfordshire by £8m this year.

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Prisons We have to rethink the way we use prisons

The House of Common Justice Select Committee has just published a hard-hitting report urging the government to overhaul its prisons and probation strategies.

Although the report, “Prison population 2022: planning for the future” is supposedly focused on ensuring that we have enough prison capacity over the next three years, its conclusions and recommendations go much further than this limited remit.

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Police and Crime General Brexit: Police warn MPs and campaigners not to inflame tensions

Politicians and campaigners should take care not to "inflame" tensions in the UK caused by Brexit, a senior police chief has warned.

Chairman of the National Police Chief Council (NPCC), Martin Hewitt, said people should think carefully to avoid inciting others to violence.

Police have 10,000 officers ready to deploy at 24 hours' notice as part of possible no-deal Brexit preparations.

However, police chiefs said the measures were only a precaution.

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Police and Crime General The teenage hackers who've been given a second chance

Step inside the offices of Bluescreen and you'll find some of the UK's most talented teenage hackers, dragged from a world of crime to fight for the other side.

These young computer experts have swapped the confines of their bedrooms for a fairly ordinary looking cyber security company in Plymouth.

Bluescreen employs hackers the authorities have deemed worthy of a second chance, who pit their wits against some of the anonymous online criminals they used to see as brothers in arms.

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Police Finances Police resourcing: on a knife edge

The horrific spate of UK knife crime has put greater focus on policing and its resources than for several years. Is the drop in police numbers to blame? How many officers do we need? How much will this cost? Is the £14bn in the 2019-20 funding settlement enough?

But when it comes to police budgets, I believe we are asking the wrong questions.

The mission of policing has become cloudy. For decades, the Peelian principles of preventing crime and disorder held firm. For home secretary Theresa May our mission was to cut crime – “nothing more, nothing less”. However, for all forces, the aim is to maintain security and keep communities safe, extending their duty way beyond crime.

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Police Demand Calais child refugees waiting 10 times longer to join family in UK

Some police forces are actively seeking reasons to drop investigations into fraud, a watchdog's report has warned.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said an "inconsistent" approach to policing fraud in England and Wales left the public at high risk of scams.

One officer told its inquiry the crime was not considered a priority because it does not "bang, bleed or shout".

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Police and Crime General Police believe one attacker responsible as fifth person stabbed in 'random attacks' in north London

Police says five "random stabbings" in north London could be linked as they investigate "just one individual perpetrator".

It follows the stabbing of a man by an attacker matching the description of a knifeman who injured four people in one night in the area. The culprit in all five stabbings is thought to be a tall, skinny black male wearing a hooded top.

The latest victim, aged in his 30s, was left with life-threatening injuries when he was stabbed in Aberdeen Road, Enfield, north London at about 5am on Tuesday.

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Police Demand Hospitals treat up to 21 children a day as knife crime epidemic sweeps Britain, data reveals

Hospitals are treating up to 21 young victims a day wounded in knife or weapon attacks, according to data released under Freedom of Information laws.

Nearly 8,000 children and young people aged eleven to 25 years old last year attended hospitals with assaults from weapons, largely for knife wounds, according to the figures obtained by the all party parliamentary group on knife crime.

The group said it provided a glimpse into the true scale of the cost of the knife crime epidemic, dwarfing the 1,000 that the NHS has said are subsequently admitted to hospital after being stabbed with a knife or sharp instrument.

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Police Demand Calls for every Met frontline officer to carry Taser

All front line officers on Britain's biggest force should carry Tasers to counter the risk of becoming "victims themselves" from the spiraling number of assaults, a new report urges.

The weapons offer greater protection with evidence showing they can play a "significant role" in keeping officers safe, the London Assembly has been told.

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Police and Crime General Schools and NHS could be held accountable over youth crime

Teachers, NHS workers and police officers could be held accountable for failing to spot violent crime among young people under government plans announced on Monday.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has launched a consultation to assess whether there is a "public health duty" to report concerns over children at risk.

He said he will use "all the tools" at his disposal to end violent crime.

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Economy & Public Finance Minimum wage rates rise, but bills go up too

Two million UK workers on minimum wages are now receiving a pay rise - but a string of household bills have also increased.

Workers aged 25 and over on the National Living Wage will receive £8.21 an hour from Monday, up from £7.83 - a 4.9% rise.

Pay rises also take effect for younger workers on minimum wages.

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Police Demand Knife crime: More stop and search powers for police

Police in England and Wales are being given greater stop and search powers to tackle rising knife crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is making it easier for officers to search people without reasonable suspicion in places where serious violence may occur.

It comes after fatal stabbings rose last year to the highest point since records began.

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Economy & Public Finance Council taxes to rise by 5% but service cuts ‘still needed’

The average council tax bill in England is to rise by almost 5 per cent, the second-largest increase in ten years.

Figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed the levy on a typical Band D property going up by £78 to £1,750 from next week — a rise of 4.7 per cent.

This is largely explained by councils struggling to cover social care because of austerity cuts, an ageing population and insufficient mental health provision.

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Police Finances Cuts have left officers retreating from streets, says outgoing police chief

Government cuts left police retreating from the streets, solving just one in 10 offences and “really struggling” to deal with routine crime, the leader of Britain’s police chiefs has said.

Sara Thornton steps down this weekend as chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, after a four-year tenure during which her and her colleagues battled to get the government to recognise cuts were leading to fewer officers and resources to fight crime.

In an interview to mark her departure as NPCC chair and after 33 years of policing, Thornton told the Guardian she wanted to see an end to the blame culture when policing goes wrong and for a recognition that officers were dealing with some of society’s worst problems and not “running libraries”.

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Police Finances Whiteman: Local government finance needs to be more transparent

Local government audit is “in need of improvement”, CIPFA’s chief executive has told MPs.

There is a “big gap” between local audit and central government intervention in struggling councils, Rob Whiteman chief executive of CIPFA has told the Public Accounts Committee today.

Whiteman said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should have an “oversight brief” in order to create more transparency about finances in the local government sector.

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Technology Three-unique-words 'map' used to rescue mother and child

Three seemingly unconnected words have helped rescue a mother and daughter after a car crash in remote rural Somerset.

The "coordinates" - "weekend", "foggy" and "earphones" - allowed police to exactly pinpoint their location.

An algorithm developed by start-up what3words divides the world into 57 trillion nine-sq-m (97-sq-ft) areas and gives each a unique three-word address.

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Police and Crime General Knife crime: Tony Blair says police losing knife crime battle

Police are currently "losing the battle" against knife crime, former prime minister Tony Blair has told the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

He urged current prime minister Theresa May to hold a Cobra emergency committee meeting and act with a determination "to do whatever it takes".

The number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons reached a nine-year high in 2018, figures show.

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Prisons Drugs smuggled into Guys Marsh prison in dead rats

Drugs, tobacco and mobile phones were smuggled into a prison stuffed inside dead rats.

The items were sewn inside the bodies of three rats found by officers in early March in the grounds of HMP Guys Marsh near Shaftesbury, Dorset.

It was the first recorded instance of rats being used in that way, the Prison Service said.

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Police and Crime General Second woman is investigated by police over transphobic comments

A second woman is being investigated by the police following allegations that she made transphobic comments on social media, the Telegraph can reveal.

Womans' rights campaigner, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, has been interviewed by two separate police forces after being accused of committing a hate crime by Susie Green, who runs a charity helping transgender children.

The news comes after it emerged that devout Catholic, Caroline Farrow, had been asked to attend an interview by the Surrey force, for allegedly using the wrong pronoun to refer to Ms Green's transgender daughter.

Ms Keen-Minshull, a mother of four, said investigating people because of their legally held views was a complete waste of police time.

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Police Demand Tackling knife crime must top to-do list

There’s a palpable frustration in Westminster, and across the country as a whole, that Brexit, or more specifically, the lack of progress and uncertainty around Brexit, is a deeply unhelpful distraction from what are a number of serious and growing domestic concerns.

At a time of such uncertainty, it would be all too easy for us to take our foot off the pedal of domestic politics. Let’s be clear though: marking time in such a way would do a great disservice to the people we represent.

The urgency of the tasks at hand require action now, and while those of us in Parliament may for some time yet be preoccupied with the B-word, that is all the more reason for us to put our trust in local leadership and experience, providing those who are better placed on the ground with the tools and resources they need to make headway. Tackling the scourge of knife crime should be the top of the to-do list.

Across the country, it’s an issue that has united families and communities in grief. While cold statistics can never convey the brutal reality of this problem, they can help contextualise it. Last year, 726 people were murdered in the UK, 285 with a knife or bladed weapon, the highest level since records began. In 2018 we witnessed more fatal stabbings than at any other time since the Second World War, and the number of youth stabbings has doubled in the last five years alone.

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Police Demand Birmingham mosques on heightened alert after attacks

Security has been stepped up at mosques across Birmingham after five were targeted during an "abhorrent" spate of vandalism. CCTV footage has been released after the mosques had their windows smashed in the early hours of Thursday. The motive for the attacks remains unknown, West Midlands Police said.

Mosques across the world are also on alert for the first Friday prayers since the New Zealand terror attack, in which 50 people were killed.

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Police Demand Hackney death: Met 'too stretched to investigate' murder case

The daughter of a man who died inside a betting shop has claimed the Met Police "being too stretched" affected the outcome of the murder investigation. Babatunde Awofeso, 53, died on 4 April after being punched at a Betfred branch in Upper Clapton Road, Hackney.

Colleen Awofeso, from Devizes in Wiltshire, says she is confused by a suggestion from City of London Police that CCTV inside the Betfred shop was "corrupt" and irretrievable. This appears to contradict comments in an email, seen by the BBC, sent by a Betfred employee who said the CCTV was working on the day Mr Awofeso died.

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Police and Crime General Taser offered to all Kent officers in police assault fight-back

With assaults against officers rocketing, a south east force is fighting aggression and violence “head on” by permitting all public-facing officers to train to carry Taser.

The news comes with knife crime in Kent increasing by 152 per cent between 2010 and 2019 – the largest increase in England and Wales during that time. There were also 1,112 assaults on police officers in 2017 and 2018 - more than 20 a week.

Currently, the force relies upon specially-trained Taser teams deployed to assist colleagues during times of need, but this radical move means all officers in a public-facing role can take on the training and accreditation programme to carry the weapon.

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Police and Crime General Police Federation confirms cyber attack

The Police Federation has confirmed its computer systems suffered a malware attack. PFEW says the incident happened on March 9 and it was able to respond quickly to the alert from its cyber-security systems. Experts quickly reacted to isolate the malware to stop it spreading to PFEW branches, it says.

The incident was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Crime Agency (NCA), which is now leading a criminal investigation into the matter.

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Police and Crime General MPs advised to travel in groups to avoid abuse over Brexit

A deputy speaker of the House of Commons has advised MPs they should take a black cab or travel home together to avoid the risk of intimidation or abuse, as public tensions rise over the Brexit process.

Lindsay Hoyle, a long-serving Labour MP, emailed all colleagues on Wednesday to say the Metropolitan police had been “left in no doubt” it had to ensure that “members of parliament can vote in parliament without fear”.

“Personally, I have never felt this level of tension during my time in the house and I am aware that other colleagues feel the same,” Hoyle wrote. “Many colleagues have already been subject to widely publicised abuse and intimidation.”

He advised MPs to take “simple steps” such as travelling home by taxi or with colleagues, and he said most had already taken security measures at home such as installing panic buttons.

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Police and Crime General Police warn Brexiteers planning 'go slow' protests on motorway

Police have warned Brexiteers planning “go slow” protests on Britain’s motorways that they could face prosecution.

Pro-Brexit campaigners aim to cause gridlock using a convoy of slow-moving vehicles, targeting between 30 and 40 locations over the weekend.

One page in Somerset is targeting the A303 near Taunton, but just seven people have confirmed their attendance.

Other roads targeted are the M25, M6 and M1, which is partially policed by Derbyshire Police, which said it has "been made aware of the protest" and is "liaising with organisers.”

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Police Demand Drug gangs fuel rise in British children forced into modern slavery

County lines drug gangs are fuelling a rise in the number of British children being forced into modern slavery, with cases more than doubling in a year.

National Crime Agency (NCA) figures showed the number of modern slavery cases involving UK minors went from 676 in 2017 to 1,421 in 2018.

Nearly two-thirds of last year's cases were linked to labour exploitation, which includes by county lines and other criminal gangs.

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Fire New homes built by Persimmon missing fire safety barriers

Homes built by one of the UK's largest developers were constructed without essential barriers to slow the spread of fire.

Regulations dictate the flame-resistant material must be installed in roof spaces and wall cavities.

Housebuilder Persimmon Homes found it was missing from some properties on estates in south-west England.

It has written to more than 1,000 people to say their homes need to be checked.

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Police Finances Knife crime: Government's extra £100m police funding is a 'short-term fix'

The government's recent announcement of additional money to help fight knife crime is "nowhere near enough" and only a "short-term fix" according to the chairman of the Police Federation.

John Apter spoke to Sky News at the end of Operation Sceptre, the annual week-long national drive against knife criminals, which has seen many hundreds of weapons taken off the streets.

Last week, the chancellor announced an extra £100m emergency funding package to allow police to mount more operations against violent crime.

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Economy & Public Finance UK employment at highest since 1971

The number of employed people in the UK has risen again, to a new record number of 32.7 million people between November and January, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

That is the highest figure since records began in 1971.

Unemployment fell by 35,000 to 1.34 million in the period, putting the rate below 4% for the first time since 1975.

The figure is 112,000 lower than a year ago, giving a jobless rate of 3.9%, well below the EU average of 6.5%.

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Technology Hated and hunted

Fabian is world renowned for destroying ransomware - the viruses sent out by criminal gangs to extort money.

Because of this, he lives a reclusive existence, always having to be one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

He has moved to an unknown location since this interview was carried out.

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Police and Crime General Lord Winston calls for cycling licences to improve road safety

Lord Winston has renewed calls for cyclists to require licences and insurance.

The government ruled out the proposal in 2018, saying the cost and complexity would outweigh the benefits.

The Labour peer's concerns were echoed by others in the House of Lords worried about "hoodlums in Lycra".

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Police and Crime General Paedophiles caught by vigilantes face tougher charges

Paedophiles caught in undercover stings by vigilantes are to face tougher charges under new rules being introduced by prosecutors.

Scores of potential sex abusers have been snared by so called paedophile hunters who pose as children online in order to catch them as they try to groom youngsters.

But there has been mounting concern that those who are prosecuted are being treated too leniently because there is no actual child victim involved.

However the Crown Prosecution Service has announced that offenders who are duped by the police or vigilantes are now to be charged as if there is an identifiable child victim.

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Fire Fireman Sam is putting women off joining the fire service because 'most of the job is nothing like it is portrayed'

Fireman Sam is putting women off joining the fire service because “most of the job is nothing like it is portrayed”, a female chief has said.

Senior fire officer Alex Johnson believes the CGI firefighting idol and images of men rushing into burning buildings does little to encourage gender equality.

She is campaigning to attract more women into the 999 service with just 5.2 per cent of firefighters in England women. In 2017 there were 1,838 female firefighters compared to 33,782 male firefighters.

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Police and Crime General 'Like a war': the struggle for space that pushes young Londoners to violence

"Round here we’ve got Third Set, in Shepherd’s Bush you have 12 Anti who are currently beefing Third Set. 12 World are beefing 12 Anti. Then you get in to Ladbroke Grove and you got Ten Eleven. Then you’ve got Mozart.”

This is just one corner of a bewildering jigsaw of gang rivalries in west London, described by Colin Brent, a youth worker at the Bollo Brook youth centre in south Acton. “You can have Acton beefing Acton, Bush beefing Bush. Bush beefing Acton. Young people don’t even know whose side they’re supposed to be on any more.”

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Police Demand Modern slavery referrals rocket

Referrals of potential victims of modern slavery made by councils have soared tenfold in five years, new figures have shown.

Latest National Crime Agency statistics showed the number of council referrals of suspected victims of modern slavery to the national referral mechanism (NRM) has risen from 131 in 2013 to 1,306 in 2018.

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Police Demand Knife and weapon offences reach highest level since 2009

The criminal justice system dealt with the highest number of knife and offensive weapon offences in nearly a decade last year, official figures have shown.

In 2018, 21,484 knife and offensive weapon offences were recorded, the most dealt with since 2009, when 25,103 offences were registered, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The figures come after the chancellor, Philip Hammond, handed an extra £100m to police forces in England and Wales after a spate of fatal stabbings led to a renewed focus on the response to knife crime and fresh debate over police resources.

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Police Finances Philip Hammond to tackle Britain’s knife crime epidemic with £100m funding package

It is a major victory for Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who demanded the cash after the surge in knife killings this year.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had offered a new package of £50 million but Mr Javid held out for more.

Some £80 million of the funding will be new money from the Treasury.

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Police Finances Funding cuts hamper knife crime prevention in England, say schools

Schools and colleges say funding cuts are hampering their efforts to prevent knife crime, according to a report commissioned by Ofsted that calls for “local community safety partnerships” to tackle the problem.

The Ofsted report, based on a survey of secondary schools, further education and pupil referral units in London, found huge variations in how the schools dealt with the problem of knives carried by pupils, as well as a lack of information-sharing between schools, local authorities and the police.

The report also concluded that schools need to follow more carefully Department for Education guidelines on the use of exclusions, and called for authorities to “challenge schools and multi-academy trusts when exclusions do not appear to be in line with statutory guidance”.

Full Article

Economy & Public Finance Spring Statement: Hammond promises 'deal dividend'

The chancellor has pledged to spend a £26.6bn Brexit war chest to boost the economy, if MPs vote to leave the European Union with a deal.

Philip Hammond vowed to free up more money to cut taxes and spend on public services in a "deal dividend".

However, he said these spending plans were based on a smooth Brexit.

Full Article

Police Finances Outgoing NAO chief questions ministerial accountability

The relationship between ministers, accounting officers and civil servants is currently not working, the outgoing auditor general of UK’s spending watchdog has said in his last speech in the role.

Some ministers “see themselves more or less as chief executive officers but without the qualifications”, National Audit Office head Amyas Morse told an event on accountability at the Institute for Government think-tank’s offices this morning.

The comptroller said this meant ministers sometimes made decisions prioritising a project “close to their hearts” – when they should be held accountable but are not – which “has led to the abandonment of good practice”, he said.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Knife crime may be an emergency but no one can agree how to stop it

The surge in knife crime, described by senior police officers as a national emergency, has prompted calls for troops to be deployed and fuelled a political row about government cuts.

The Guardian article continues with several FAQs with regards to knife crime.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Youth offending team funding ‘halved’

Funding to help local authorities keep young people away from serious crime has been halved since 2010, an umbrella group has said.

Youth justice grants, which fund council youth offending teams, have tumbled from £145m in 2010-11 to £71.5m in 2018-19, according to the Local Government Association.

Councils have already set their budgets for 2019-20 but are still awaiting their allocations for youth justice grants, making it “extremely difficult” to plan services aimed at preventing gangs and violent crime, the LGA said.

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Police Demand Knife crime: Operation Sceptre begins amid surge in violence

A week-long crackdown on knife crime begins across England and Wales today, as officers continue to battle a surge in violence.

There have been 39 fatal stabbings in Britain since the beginning of the year, and several victims have been teenagers.

For the next seven days, police will run Operation Sceptre, using surrender bins, stop-and-search and weapons sweeps in a concerted crackdown on knife crime.

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Police and Crime General Farm turns round violent teenagers

Handing axes, saws and fire-lighting equipment to children excluded from school may seem risky, but is proving effective at a farm in Essex.

Teenagers removed from school for unmanageable or violent behaviour are being given a second chance and gaining vocational qualifications through hard graft: mucking out pigs, chopping wood or fixing old vehicles. They also develop nurturing skills by looking after rabbits, chickens and miniature ponies and growing vegetables.

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Police Demand Knife crime rising more steeply outside London, police figures show

Knife crime is rising at a much steeper rate in the home counties and rural provinces than in London, police figures show, amid signs that the growing use of blades is spreading from the cities to the shires.

Guardian analysis of official statistics shows a 45.7% average increase in knife-related offences in 34 English and Welsh counties since 2010, compared with an 11% rise in the capital.

Full Article

Police Finances Knife crime: Chancellor rejects calls for emergency fund

The chancellor has rejected calls to set up an emergency fund to tackle knife crime in England and Wales.

Senior officers and police and crime commissioners have called for more money to pay for additional officers following a spate of fatal stabbings.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the government must listen to police leaders following talks on Wednesday.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Knife crime: Javid in strategy talks with police chiefs

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to meet police chiefs from seven forces most affected by violent crime.

It follows a spate of fatal teen stabbings which has prompted a debate about falling police numbers.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said there is "obviously" a link between violent crime and falling police numbers.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Women who fell for police spies say they were victims of 'co-ordinated rape'

A woman who found out her partner was a policeman paid to spy on her group of activists has said she is the victim of a "conspiracy to rape".

Rosa and another woman have spoken of feeling betrayed after falling in love with men who turned out to be spies.

An ongoing public inquiry into undercover policing has seen several women get apologies and compensation.

Full Article

Police Finances Police back ‘shooting galleries’ for drug users

Senior police officers are backing plans to create a national network of drug consumption rooms, known as “shooting galleries”, where addicts are provided with drugs such as heroin, paid for by the state.

At least 10 chief constables are known to support the idea of shooting galleries being set up in their areas, which they hope will stop addicts committing crime to feed their habit.

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Prisons Probation: 'Rushed' reforms cost MoJ extra £500m, report says

Problems with the partial privatisation of the probation system in England and Wales have cost taxpayers almost £500m, the government spending watchdog says.

Under the changes, introduced when Chris Grayling was justice secretary, firms were given contracts to supervise low and medium-risk offenders.

The National Audit Office says reforms were "rushed" and warns more people are being returned to jail for reoffending.

Full Article

Technology Instagram grooming of children as young as five triples

The number of children targeted for grooming and abuse on Instagram has more than tripled - with some of the victims as young as five years old.

Figures obtained by the NSPCC suggest there were 5,161 reports of sexual communications with a child recorded in just 18 months.

Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram were used in 70% of those incidents.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Decriminalise sex work to protect us from crime, prostitutes say

Prostitution should be decriminalised in the UK to make it safer for vulnerable women, a sex worker organisation has said.

The English Collective of Prostitutes is calling for the removal of laws relating to consensual adult sexual behaviour, arguing that the legislation forces sex workers to operate alone, leaving them vulnerable to crime and reluctant to report violence to the police because they fear arrest.

Full Article

Police and Crime General The hairdressers spotting signs of abuse

When Kerri McAuley feared for her life after being attacked by her abusive boyfriend, it was her hairdresser she confided in. She was killed in early 2017. Now, a new campaign to help hairdressers and beauticians spot the signs of domestic abuse has been launched.

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Prisons Corrupt prison staff smuggling drugs into jails

Organised crime gangs intimidated staff to smuggle drugs into a prison where more than a dozen employees were suspended, a report reveals today.

The report blames staff corruption for some of the smuggling of mobile phones, drugs and other contraband into prisons in England and Wales.

It adds that the issue of corrupt staff aiding criminal behaviour is a problem that is “under-recognised” and not acknowledged openly.

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Police and Crime General Union and NBPA in joint pledge to improve race equality

Lack of progress in black, Asian and minority ethnic representation since Macpherson has brought demands for policing and government to agree an action plan to reverse claims of “deeply worrying” damage being inflicted to the credibility of the service.

Britain’s biggest union and the National Black Police Association have issued a joint pledge calling for forces and the Home Office to improve race equality in the wake of damning evidence of a dramatic fall in proportions of BAME staff over more than a decade.

UNISON research reveals a drop of nearly a third in the proportion of BAME police community support officers in England and Wales – down from 14 per cent in 2005 to 9.5 per cent in 2018. BME representation among the general public is currently 14 per cent, ONS figures show.

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Police Finances Troubled families youth crime funding doubled

The funding available through the Troubled Families programme for takling youth crime has been doubled, housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced.

A £5m fund for intervening early with families and children was launched in October last year.

Mr Brokenshire said yesterday the fund has been increased to £9.8m “due to the quality of the bids received”.

The funding has been allocated to 21 areas most affected by youth crime, including ten in London.

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Police Finances Up to 4,000 crime victims win right to compensation as ministers lift ban on "same roof" claims

Up to 4,000 crime victims who have been denied compensation for decades because they lived under the same roof as their attacker will be able to claim the awards after the Government scrapped a 55-year old ban.

Justice ministers will today (Thursday) announce they are abolishing the 55-year-old “same roof” rule, which has prevented victims of violent crimes that took place before 1979 from receiving compensation if the perpetrator was someone they lived with at the time of the incident.

The bar was introduced in 1964 to ensure offenders did not benefit from financial awards made to victims they shared a home with.

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Police Demand Police chief says knife crime spate is 'national emergency'

Police chiefs have described the recent spate of knife crime in the country as a national emergency and are calling for action to stop the bloodshed.

There have been 17 homicides in London so far this year, six of which happened in nine days. Five people were stabbed on Tuesday, four of whom were attacked in less than eight hours and one who died.

In Birmingham three teenagers have died in knife attacks in the space of two weeks, and 269 knife crimes have been recorded so far this year. Hazrat Umar, 17, was killed in Bordesley Green on Monday; Abdullah Muhammad, 16, died in Small Heath last week; and seven days earlier Sidali Mohamed, 16, was stabbed outside a college in Highgate.

Full Article

Police Demand Catapult crimewave hits Kent as attacks double in space of two years

Catapult attacks have soared across Kent, with people, animals and property targeted.

A total of 80 offences involving catapults were recorded in 2018, almost double the number just two years earlier.

Last week a man was left with severe facial injuries when a group targeted him while he was driving, and days before that another man was hit as he tried to stop someone stealing a scooter.

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Police Finances 2052 is 'shock' date police service will finally represent population it serves, MPs told

BAME representation in policing is half what it should be and will not catch up until the year 2052, MPs have been warned.

Forces in England and Wales are "so slow" in their current rate of progress with a third still without a single black female officer and their ranks swelling by just 34 individuals in the last decade, a national debate in Westminster was told.

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Police Finances City of London police took £29m from insurers and banks

City of London police received almost £29 million in funding from banking and insurance trade bodies over the past five years in an arrangement that has been attacked as a “serious conflict of interest”.

The force, Britain’s leading constabulary for investigating economic crime, received £17 million from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and a further £11.8 million from UK Finance, the banking industry group, between 2013 and 2018, The Times can reveal.

The funding was used to run units to fight insurance fraud and card and payment crime. The industry groups said that consumers ultimately benefited from the police having extra resources to tackle financial scams.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Police chief appointed to anti-slavery role

A senior police officer has been announced as the government's new anti-slavery commissioner.

Sara Thornton, who currently chairs the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), will begin the role in May.

She will be responsible for giving independent advice on tackling modern slavery over the next three years.

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Police Finances £9.8 million fund to confront knife crime and gang culture

Community-backed projects in 21 areas across England will each receive a share of £9.5 million to help families who are vulnerable to the devastating effects of knife crime and gang culture, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP confirmed today (22 February 2019).

The Supporting Families Against Youth Crime fund will enable keyworkers, community groups, teachers and other professionals working with children and young people at risk, to intervene early and help stop them from becoming drawn into gang crime, serious violence and the youth justice system.

A further £300,000 will also be available for local authorities across England to train frontline staff on how to tackle childhood trauma. This follows evidence that many who are vulnerable to serious violence and youth crime have experienced childhood trauma that has affected their mental health and confidence.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Tough laws on cannabis don’t cut teenage use

A global study of 100,000 young people has found no evidence that teenage cannabis use is higher in countries with more liberal drug laws or lower in countries that have tougher controls.

The research, which suggests that teenagers pay little regard to the law when choosing whether or not to take the drug, is likely to be seized on by campaigners who advocate the decriminalisation of cannabis in Britain.

The study, by Alex Stevens, professor of criminal justice at the University of Kent, used data from the World Health Organisation to examine cannabis use by teenagers in 38 countries, including the UK, America, Russia, France, Germany and Canada. Professor Stevens said: “The harms and costs of imposing criminal convictions on people who use cannabis do not seem to be justified by an effect in reducing cannabis use.”

Full Article

Police and Crime General Stephen Lawrence: How has his murder changed policing?

Twenty years ago, an inquiry into the death of teenager Stephen Lawrence called for an overhaul of police procedures and attitudes towards race. But how much has changed?

This article covers historical 'institutional racism' as well as incident reporting (police recorded crime and crime survey), stop and search, arrests, and police headcounts; by ethnicity.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Met Commissioner: Why 'myths and stereotypes' are holding back a 50-50 gender split

Society is still 20 years behind in a “laughable” scenario that expects to see men in charge, the woman at the head of UK policing claimed today.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick claims “myths and stereotypes” are responsible for the service's inability to reach a 50-50 gender split.

Britain's highest-ranking officer said that even she has encountered sexism in the “not too distant past” when it comes to the public expecting to see male rather than female officers.

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Technology Clicking on terrorist propaganda even once could mean 15 years in prison under new law

Anyone who views terrorist propaganda once online can be jailed for up to 15 years under new laws that have sparked human rights concerns.

MPs had urged the government to scrap plans to criminalise viewing “information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, which goes further than much-used laws that made physically collecting, downloading or disseminating the material illegal.

A United Nations inspector accused the government of straying towards “thought crime” with the proposal, which originally stated that people would have to access propaganda “on three or more different occasions” to commit a terror offence.

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Police Finances British style of policing 'on its knees and facing extinction' because of cuts

Budget cuts are putting the police and public at risk as more and more officers are forced to work alone, according to the Police Federation.

A survey for the organisation, which represents rank and file officers in England and Wales, suggested almost 90% of respondents believed there were not enough of them to manage demand, while 76% of officers in front line roles were "often or always" working alone.

It also found that of the 18,000 who took part, almost every officer had been exposed to at least one "traumatic experience" in their career, with 62% saying they had experienced at least one in the last 12 months.

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Police Finances Are there more police now?

With some violent crimes like those involving knives rising, attention has turned to whether there are enough police officers on the streets.

Between September 2009 and September 2017, police forces in England and Wales lost more than 20,000 officers - a drop of 15%. Numbers of officers consistently fell during that period.

Annual figures which use March as a snapshot have been published for decades and those suggest that 2017 saw the lowest number of police officers since 1981.

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Police Demand PFEW survey finds officers stressed, exhausted, traumatised and often working alone

The shocking level of lone working has emerged from the results of the latest Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) in which 76.1 per cent of respondents from relevant frontline roles including neighbourhood, response, roads policing, operational support and investigations, indicated that they are often or always single-crewed.

PFEW’s National Vice-Chair Ché Donald, said: “When officers work alone they are undoubtedly exposed to increased risk – for them and the public, not to mention the detrimental effect on their overall health and wellbeing. It’s quite simple – policing is dangerous in every sense – single-crewing is not safe for anyone.

“Forces are having their hands forced as they struggle to meet the increased demands placed on them, but this false economy of single crewing merely creates the illusion of public safety. Quite simply this is not sustainable and officers are suffering.”

Statistics show that the police workload has increased significantly over the past five years. During 2013/14 there were, on average, 35 crimes for every constable but by 2017/18 that figure had risen to 51.

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Police Finances Staff associations claim 15 per cent pay rise as officers struggle to make ends meet

Years of below-inflation pay awards have left more than a third of police officers struggling to make ends meet, with almost half worrying about their finances ‘almost every day’, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) claims.

In a joint submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) with the Police Superintendents Assocation (PSA), the PFEW says constables’ incomes are currently over 18 per cent below where they should be as a result of an erosion in pay since 2010. And sergeants’ pay is up to 19.4 per cent lower.

The PFEW and PSA are proposing a five per cent uplift in pay for police officers this year, followed by five per cent rise in both 2020/21 and 2021/22. However, if the PRRB does not recommend a three-year deal, they propose a rise of 6.2 per cent for 2019.

Full Article

Police Finances NPCC recommends three-year pay-deal for officers

Police chiefs have recommended a three year pay deal to give officers a larger pay increase upfront. In its annual submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body, the National Police Chiefs’ Council puts forward two options and also suggests on-call allowances for federated ranks increase from £15 to £20 per day.

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Police Finances Hammond £5bn short of 'austerity is ending' target, says thinktank

Philip Hammond must find an extra £5bn in this year’s Whitehall spending review to reverse planned cuts and meet his claim of ending austerity, a leading thinktank has revealed.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies told the chancellor that funds pledged in last year’s budget to boost NHS spending, defence and international aid failed to safeguard local councils and some of the worst-hit government departments from further shortfalls.

The thinktank said a minimum of £2.2bn would be needed to freeze all budgets and protect them from inflation, but ministers would need to find an extra £5bn to allow departments to maintain services in line with the UK’s rising population.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Violent crime is not at record levels

Fullfact have challenged the assertion that Violent crime is at record levels. They state that "Incorrect. Several reliable sources indicate that overall violent crime in England and Wales is far lower now than it was in the 1990s. Police figures show violent crimes at their highest recorded level, but these are unreliable."

Full Article

Police and Crime General Women 'victims in 63% of romance scams'

Victims of romance scams - the majority of whom are women - lost an average of £11,145 each last year, according to new figures.

The data, from police reporting centre Action Fraud, showed that £50m was lost in these scams in 2018 when fraudsters pretend to be romantically attached.

Fraudsters trick victims into sending money or gather enough personal information to steal their identities.

Full Article

Fire Firefighters trained as specials in 'worrying' national first

Plans to train firefighters to respond as police officers have been branded “worrying” and “gimmicky” by a local police federation.

The hybrid role, which the Fed claims will cost £200,000, will see seven Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service firefighters trained to have the same powers as special constables.

The move, which intends to speed up response times in rural areas, will mean the crew, known as Community Responders, will be responsible for reacting to both fire and police incidents.

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Fire Greater Manchester budget has £1m 'hole' due to moor fire funds delay

Greater Manchester's fire service budget has a £1m "big black hole in it" because the government has not decided if 2018's moorland fires spending can be reclaimed, the mayor has said.

Soldiers and extra firefighters were used to fight the Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill blazes in June and July.

Mayor Andy Burnham has asked to be allowed to recoup funds spent on the response under the Bellwin Scheme.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Police warn paedophile hunters after five arrested in Leeds

Police have warned paedophile hunters to stop confronting suspected child abusers after five people were arrested on suspicion of wrongly imprisoning members of the public.

Three men and two women were taken into custody in Leeds on Monday on suspicion of assault, public order offences and false imprisonment.

The suspects have been released on bail pending further investigation, and West Yorkshire Police have used the arrests to remind self-styled vigilantes to leave the job of confronting suspected abusers to them.

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Police and Crime General Doreen Lawrence: Knife crime plans criminalise children

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has criticised a new scheme by the government to tackle knife crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced plans for Knife Crime Prevention Orders last week, targeting suspects aged 12 - even if they don't have a blade.

But Baroness Lawrence said there were better ways to deal with knife crime than "criminalising" children.

Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in south-east London in 1993, aged 18.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Police to get new powers to evict travellers from private land, Sajid Javid announces

Police are to get tough new powers to crackdown on illegal traveller sites on private land including a potential new criminal offence of trespass.

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, will today unveil a series of new legal measures to make it easier for police officers to intervene and remove travellers from private land.

He will also announce he is considering making it a criminal offence for travellers to trespass on private land when setting up an encampment.

Full Article

Technology Crime prediction software 'adopted by 14 UK police forces'

At least 14 UK police forces have made use of crime-prediction software or plan to do so, according to Liberty.

The human rights group said it had sent a total of 90 Freedom of Information requests out last year to discover which forces used the technology.

It believes the programs involved can lead to biased policing strategies that unfairly focus on ethnic minorities and lower-income communities.

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Technology Police raids target 'hundreds of UK web attackers'

UK police have seized more than 60 computers and other gadgets suspected of being used to carry out web attacks.

The raids were part of an international operation targeting customers of Webstresser, which Europol calls the "world's biggest marketplace" for distributed denial of service attacks.

The site was shut down and its suspected operators arrested in April.

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Police Finances Trump's UK visit cost police forces more than £14 million

Policing Donald Trump's four-day visit to the UK cost more than £14.2 million, according to figures obtained by the Press Association.

The US president flew in to swathes of protests as he met the Queen at Windsor Castle, was hosted by Theresa May and played golf in Scotland.

With thousands of officers drafted in from every force in Great Britain, policing July's trip cost in excess of £14,258,966, according to police figures released under Freedom of Information laws.

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Police Finances Government 'pauses' pension cost cap action pending legal decision

The government has suspended plans to take any further action to rectify the public pension cost cap breach while it awaits a legal decision.

In December the Police Federation cautiously welcomed Court of Appeal judgements which declared changes to judges’ and firefighters’ pensions were discriminatory on the grounds of age.

The decision reversed alterations made to firefighters pensions which also affected police officers.

Full Article

Technology UK police forces using ‘discriminatory’ algorithms to predict crime Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/technology/uk-police-forces-using-discriminatory-algorithms-to-predict-crime/

Police forces in the UK are using algorithms and other types of predictive software based on “biased data,” human rights organisation Liberty has claimed.

A minimum of 14 police forces in the UK have previously used, are currently using or are planning to use the programs, which are used to assess a person’s likelihood of committing or falling victim to crime and where it could be committed, it reported.

The algorithms are developed using historical data gathered using biased policing practices, with the danger of artificially intelligent (AI)-driven programs ‘learning’ from the information and perpetuating bias in future autonomous predictions, according to a report from the organisation.

Full Article

Technology Free InLinkUK phone kiosks used for thousands of street drug deals

Twenty years after mobile phones made them redundant, phone boxes are back. And no one is more grateful than your local drug gang.

A new generation of phone and internet points being installed across Britain is being used for thousands of drug deals, according to police.

As the kiosks offer free phone calls to UK numbers, including mobiles, they enable people to call dealers’ phones, order “two brown and one white” — slang for heroin and crack cocaine respectively — and give a location.

Full Article

Fire More than half of care homes fail fire safety inspection

The majority of care homes inspected in a major fire safety audit failed basic checks, it has emerged, triggering concerns that the lives of elderly people are being put at risk.

Of the 177 homes inspected by the London Fire Brigade (LFB), 101 – 57% – were issued with a formal notification instructing them to address safety concerns.

The brigade said it believed the findings would be repeated if similar inspections were carried out across the country.

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Police Finances Sajid Javid cuts funding for knife crime programme

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has secretly reduced funding for a scheme to help children escape knife crime, despite a sharp rise in the number of murders and stabbings.

In July, Javid had said that he was doubling the £11m that was allocated to the early intervention youth fund to £22m. This was part of a “public health” approach to combating knife crime and other offences.

While on a recent visit to the West Midlands, however, the policing minister Nick Hurd quietly announced that the funding had been reduced to £17m. Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow policing minister, described the move as “shameful”.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Minor convictions from youth should stay secret, judges rule

Minor historical convictions and cautions given to children may no longer have to be disclosed during background checks when they seek work with children following a Supreme Court ruling.

Judges found yesterday that the way criminal records are disclosed is disproportionate and infringes human rights. The ruling was a defeat for the Home Office, which challenged a Court of Appeal ruling in favour of people who said their lives had been unfairly damaged by reprimands received children or minor offences committed years ago.

Supreme Court judges said it was disproportionate that all convictions had to be disclosed if a person had more than one. They said it was also disproportionate that those issued to juveniles had to be disclosed.

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Police and Crime General Drink-drive limit laws are too lenient, says police chief

The drink-driving limit should be reduced to stem road deaths and injuries, the head of the Police Federation said.

John Apter, who represents rank-and-file officers, said that the law was far too generous and added to strain on police. “We can’t even respond to 999 calls at the moment, let alone target drink-drivers,” he said. He voiced similar fears about the drug-driving limit.

West Midlands police, the country’s second largest force, was warned yesterday that offenders were escaping justice because the force has 302 breath-testing kits between more than 6,500 officers. Northamptonshire, with a quarter of the officers, has 400 kits.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Supreme Court rejects government appeal on criminal records scheme

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of three people who claimed their lives were blighted by past minor criminal convictions.

The judges found the way the criminal records are disclosed to employers infringed human rights.

The government will have to consider reform of the system, said BBC legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman.

Full Article

Police and Crime General The white stuff: why Britain can’t get enough cocaine

The moment Dan (not his real name) realised he had a problem with cocaine, he had been off work for a week, sick with flu. His phone buzzed. It was his cocaine dealer, calling to check he was OK. When Dan, one of his favoured customers, hadn’t been in touch to buy the cocaine he usually took several times a week, the dealer knew something was wrong.

“I don’t like thinking about that,” Dan says, shaking his head as we sit in a London pub. Now 36, Dan estimates he has spent £25,000 on cocaine. Lines in the pub on a Friday night after work. Lines on a Wednesday evening at a friend’s house while earnestly discussing 90s hip-hop. Lines at house parties, weddings, birthday parties and for no reason at all, other than that cocaine – the white powder that makes no one a better version of themselves, but that many of us continue to do anyway – is everywhere and freely available.

Full Article

Police and Crime General Children as young as 11 in 'county lines' drug networks selling heroin and crack

Up to 10,000 children as young as 11 are being exploited by “county lines” drug networks, the National Crime Agency has warned.

Criminal gangs are targeting youngsters to run the schemes, worth nearly £1million a year, a shock report warned

County lines typically involves city gangsters branching out into smaller towns or rural areas to sell heroin and crack cocaine – often using youngsters as couriers because they are less likely to arouse suspicion.

Full Article

Technology Home Office tracks debit card use to ‘spy’ on asylum seekers

The Home Office has been accused of “spying” on asylum seekers after it emerged that it secretly monitors their debit card use to track their whereabouts.

Officials use purchases made outside a person’s “authorised” city — the place where they are given temporary housing — to argue they are fraudulently living elsewhere, so are not destitute enough to qualify for emergency aid or shelter.

The surveillance takes place through Aspen cards, a government-issued debit card rolled out two years ago to make it easier for asylum seekers to buy food and basic supplies. More than 27,000 of these cards are now in use.

Full Article

Police Demand On patrol with armed police as workload grows [video]

Armed police are tested to the limits each day but the numbers of officers has fallen over the decade.

Senior police leaders have said a rise in gun crime and a looming recruitment shortfall are leaving some specialist armed officers "stretched".

In 2015, the government set aside funds for 1,500 new armed officers by 2020 - but only 812 have so far been hired.

Full Article

Police Demand Police chiefs' concern over 'shortage of armed officers'

Senior police leaders have said a rise in gun crime and a looming recruitment shortfall are leaving some specialist armed officers "stretched".

Figures have shown crimes of possessing firearms rose by 87% in England and Wales over the past five years.

In 2015, the government set aside funds for 1,500 new armed officers by 2020 - but only 812 have so far been hired.

A police union leader said he had "great concern" that the risk to the public could be increased.

Full Article

Police Demand Victims can wait 9 days for police to reply to 999 calls as officer numbers fall

Response to priority 999 calls has hit three hours, with one victim of a violent attack waiting nine days, in another case a burgled homeowner had a five-day wait.

Figures show police failed to respond to more than 3,000 calls a day within target times, typically 15 minutes for a 999 “emergency” and an hour for a “priority” call.

The stats, from 21 of 43 police forces in England and Wales, were obtained under freedom of information rules.

Full Article

Police Demand Crime figures: Murder rate is highest in a decade

A record number of knife crimes pushed the murder rate to its highest level in a decade as the proportion of offences resulting in a charge fell to a new low.

Official figures released yesterday showed that knife crime rose in most police force areas, although London and other urban areas including Merseyside, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands were hit particularly hard.

The number of murders recorded in England and Wales rose by 14 per cent to 737 — the most since 2008 — driven partially by a 10 per cent rise in knife killings to 276.

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Police Finances Khan announces £85m to tackle violent crime

Sadiq Khan has announced he will be using £85m of city hall funding to tackle violent crime.

Last year, the Metropolitan Police used £15m of additional city hall funding to create the new Violent Crime Taskforce. This led to nearly 2,500 arrests and the removal of more than 1,000 dangerous weapons from London’s streets.

This year the commissioner of the Met plans to use the additional funds to give local policing teams access to additional officers to help them crack down on violence and burglary.

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Police and Crime General Crime figures: Violent crime recorded by police rises by 19%

Violent crime recorded by police in England and Wales has risen by 19%, latest figures show.

The number of homicides - including murder and manslaughter - has risen from 649 to 739, an increase of 14%, and the highest total since 2008.

Robbery went up by 17%, as did recorded sexual offences, according to the Home Office data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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Police Finances Police Grant Report England and Wales 2019/20

As of 24.01.2019, Mr Nick Hurd submitted the Police Grant Report for England and Wales 2019-20.

My rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary, has today laid before the House, the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) 2019/20 (HC 1896) for the approval of the House. The Report sets out, my rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary’s determination for 2019/20 of the aggregate amount of grant that he proposes to pay under section 46(2) of the Police Act 1996.

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Police and Crime General Reality Check: Is crime up or down?

The BBC has done a 'reality check' on the crime rates in England and Wales.

'Whether crime is rising or falling is hugely important. It can affect how much is spent on policing and other related services, even how people vote. But working out what is happening is not an exact science.'

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Police and Crime General Knife crime hits record high as police chief warns carrying a weapon has "become the norm" in areas of the UK

Knife crime has hit its highest level on record as a police chief warned that carrying a knife has “become the norm" in parts of the UK.

Homicides also rose by 14% to their highest for more than a decade, partly fuelled by an increase in fatal knife attacks, official figures reveal.

Nick Hurd, the policing minister tried to reassure the public by saying the statistics showed “the chances of being a victim of crime remained low,” suggesting it is largely gang-related crime.

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Police and Crime General County Lines: London drugs gang in Swansea jailed

A gang member who forced an orphan to leave London and deal heroin and crack cocaine in Swansea has been sentenced.

Convicted child rapist Jerome Tarek Wallis took the 15-year-old from his home before driving him 200 miles away to the Welsh city in July last year.

Swansea Crown Court heard the teenager was also threatened with violence and made to deliver drugs to addicts.

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Technology Massive increase in web pages of child abuse being identified and removed from the internet

More than 100,000 web pages of children being abused were removed from the internet last year - a third more than in 2017.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which says its vision is to "eliminate child sexual abuse imagery online", looks into reports made by members of the public who have stumbled across images they think might be illegal.

It also proactively searches for offending sites.

Of the material taken down last year as a result of the IWF's work, 1,300 pages showed abuse of infants or babies and more than 40,000 depicted abuse or sexual torture of children under 10.

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Prisons HMP Bedford inmate caught rats in his cell during inspection visit

An inmate at a jail that was subject to urgent measures was witnessed catching and killing rats in his cell during an inspection, it has emerged.

The chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, issued an urgent notification protocol – the most severe course of action at his disposal – over HMP Bedford last year.

In a damning report on the dire conditions at the prison published on Tuesday, Clarke said standards had continued to decline despite two years of prison service efforts to improve it.

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Technology WhatsApp is failing to stop paedophiles sharing child abuse images, say police

WhatsApp is failing to stop paedophiles sharing child sex abuse images and grooming children and should face new laws unless it takes urgent action, says the UK’s top police officer for child protection.

Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs Council’s lead on child protection, singled out the Facebook-owned messaging app after evidence that paedophiles have set up groups on the site with titles such as ‘Only Child Pornography’, ‘CP’ and ‘Gay Kids Sex Only.’

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Police and Crime General Black police paid less as ethnic pay gap widens, Met figures show

The pay gap in the Metropolitan police between white officers and their black and Asian counterparts has widened in the past year despite promises to close the divide, new figures have shown.

A Met study of average wages found that black and Asian police officers working in London were paid £1.80 an hour less than their white colleagues last year, compared with £1.52 in 2017. All 37 senior officers on salaries of £100,000-plus were white, it found, while ethnic minority officers received fewer and smaller bonuses than their colleagues.

The report, which looked at the pay of 37,257 Met employees, of whom 6,349 are Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), found the gap was even worse when all staff – not just police officers – were taken into account. On average, it said, BAME staff receive £2.05 less per hour than the average white member of staff, a mean pay gap of 9.67%.

Police Demand Crime prevention budgets ‘slashed’ under Tories

Crime prevention budgets have been cut by more than a half since 2010, an analysis from Labour has revealed.

Between 2009/10 and 2017/18, spending on crime reduction by councils has been cut by almost 60%, falling from £363m to £154m.

Over the same period, the number of council employees working on crime reduction has fallen by more than a third, from 120,334 to just 77,720.

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Prisons Wales hands out more jail terms despite falling crime, survey reveals

Offenders living in Wales and England have more chance ending up behind bars than any other country in Western Europe, new research reveals.

And Wales tops an ‘unwanted’ list – ahead of its UK neighbour – for having the highest proportion of its population serving time in jail with an emerging justice system “quite different” from England.

Sentencing figures show there were 154 prisoners for every 100,000 people in Wales, a higher proportion than England – which has the second-highest imprisonment rate with 141 prisoners per 100,000.

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Police and Crime General Dangerous foreign criminals roam free as police squad shrinks

Hundreds of dangerous foreign criminals are feared to be at large on the streets of Britain because Scotland Yard’s elite extradition unit has failed to locate and deport them.

The squad was able to arrest just one in three of the 958 foreign criminals who were suspected to be in the UK in 2017.

The problem was brought into sharp focus two years earlier when Alice Gross, 14, was murdered by Arnis Zalkalns, a Latvian builder who had been able to move to Britain in 2007 despite a string of convictions, including for firearms offences, sexual assault and killing his wife.

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Police and Crime General Mock trial aims to keep teenagers on right side of law

“I swear when I get my hands on him I’ll kill him. I’ll poke him properly.”

This was the dramatic confession of Michael Keegan, 18, at Liverpool crown court this week. Keegan had originally pleaded not guilty to stabbing Thomas Smith, 14, but cracked in the dock and admitted knifing the teenager he was trying to recruit into a “county lines” drug-running operation.

The U-turn was a victory for 15 teenagers, who had spent the week acting as trainee detectives at Merseyside police in a groundbreaking initiative aimed at preventing vulnerable young people from falling into a life of crime.

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Technology UK’s largest police force spends over £200,000 on facial recognition trials that resulted in no arrests

Britain’s largest police force has spent more than £200,000 on controversial facial recognition trials that resulted in no arrests, figures reveal.

A freedom of information request by The Independent showed six deployments by the Metropolitan Police resulted in only two people being stopped, and then released.

Critics called the force’s use of facial recognition a “shambles” and accused authorities of wasting public money.

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Police Demand Nineteen forces could take on direct entry recruits

As many as 19 forces could take on direct entry personnel later this year.

Recruitment windows for both superintendents and inspectors with no previous policing experience opened on Monday January 7 and will close at midnight on February 18.

However, just two forces are participating in direct entry at superintendent level in 2019. They are Avon and Somerset and Dyfed-Powys.

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Police and Crime General South Yorkshire Police applicants must photo tattoos

A police force recruiting new officers has asked applicants to send photos of their tattoos with their applications.

South Yorkshire Police issued guidance to people interested in joining the force as a police constable.

The Sheffield Star reported that the force said tattoos would "not necessarily" prevent someone from being successful, but there were guidelines around what is and is not acceptable.

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Police and Crime General Finn's law passes latest parliamentary hurdle

Legislation to give police dogs and horses extra protection has become a step closer to becoming law

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, named "Finn's Law" after a police dog from Hertfordshire brutally stabbed while protecting his handler, passed unopposed at second reading.

German Shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest while responding to reports of a robbery in Stevenage back in 2017.

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Police Demand West Midlands Police 'fails to record 16,600 violent crimes'

West Midlands Police is "failing victims" and not recording more than 16,600 violent crimes each year, a watchdog has said.

The force was rated inadequate by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, who said victims felt let down and not believed.

Only 78.2% of violent crime and 89.2% of sexual offences reported were recorded, it found.

The force said it had made "substantial progress".

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Police Demand Crime victims wait half an hour for police to respond to 999 calls as response times double

Victims of crime are having to wait up to 30 minutes for police to attend 999 calls as response times have doubled in some forces, figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal.

Police admit the delays reduce the chance of solving crimes such as burglaries and robberies and give criminals more chance to escape.

In some cases, have-a-go heroes have been told to let criminals go because of the delays while one force had to suspend 101 non-emergency calls last year to enable staff to cope with demand for 999 emergencies.

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Police Demand Javid and Hammond team up to tackle £14bn of economic crimes

The home secretary and chancellor are to launch a joint assault on fraud, bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Sajid Javid and Philip Hammond will chair a new taskforce that will work with senior figures in the financial sector to tackle economic crime. This is a broad category covering a range of illegal activity, with the Home Office estimating its scale to be at least £14.4bn a year.

Javid said: “We need to take action on all fronts to target the corrupt fraudsters who are lining their pockets with dirty money and living luxury lifestyles at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

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Police and Crime General Police quiz dad after baby fed hot sauce

The father of a newborn baby was "shocked" to be confronted by police after posting on social media that he accidentally fed his son chilli sauce.

Paul Dawson, from Stockton, was out with his partner and five-day-old Ben on 5 January when the mishap occurred.

Forgetting he had been eating spicy chicken wings, Mr Dawson put his knuckle in Ben's mouth to pacify him.

Cleveland Police said officers visited Mr Dawson after a member of the public complained about his Facebook post.

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Police and Crime General Police chiefs to brand county lines gang bosses 'slave drivers' to disrupt their use of children to deal drugs

Police are to brand county lines gang leaders as “slave drivers” to disrupt their use of children to sell drugs.

Police chiefs believe the stigma of being taken to court as a slave master or trafficker of children is more likely to deter gang bosses than just being prosecuted under drugs laws.

Anti-slavery legislation also enables police to get court orders banning gang leaders from associating with any child under 18 and limiting them to one phone that police can regularly examine.

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Police and Crime General Man shot dead was lawfully killed, inquest jury rules

Rank-and-file have spoken out in defence of the agonising split-second decision no armed officer ever wants to make in the wake of an “out-of-control” man shot dead by police.

Officers who had gone to work “to do their job” ended the day having to use lethal force on a 24-year-old brandishing knives and threatening to kill colleagues during a stand-off.

Josh Pitt – fatally shot in the chest from close range after his fiancee said he had attacked her – was lawfully killed, an inquest jury has ruled.

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Prisons Prison sentences of less than six months should be abolished, says minister

Prison sentences of less than six months should be abolished in England and Wales because they are less effective at cutting reoffending than community penalties, prison minister Rory Stewart has suggested.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the politician said the move would ease pressure on prisons while criticising short jail terms for being “long enough to damage you and not long enough to heal you”.

According to official figures. the prison population has doubled in England and Wales since the early 1990s, growing from 40,000 to more than 80,000 in 2018.

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Police and Crime General Ten charged in county lines drugs crackdown following 14 deaths

Ten people have been charged in a county lines drugs crackdown launched after 14 drugs-related deaths in a Cumbrian town.

Police set up Operation Horizon in the wake of the deaths in Barrow-in-Furness.

A total of 22 people were arrested as Class A drugs and thousands of pounds in cash were recovered.

The raids took place this week in Barrow, Coventry and London to disrupt the supply chain from other parts of the UK.

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Police and Crime General Sajid Javid to crack down on asylum claims by migrants crossing Channel

Migrants attempting to seek asylum in Britain by crossing the Channel in boats face tougher rules that could bar them from the UK, Sajid Javid warned last night.

The Home Secretary said Britain had the right under international and domestic legislation to reject migrants who failed to claim asylum in the first safe country they reached including France.

He told MPs that he wanted to send a “clear message” as a deterrent to migrants that “if you have passed through a safe country - and that includes France - that we would seek to make your claim inadmissible and you should think twice about making that journey.”

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Technology Elected police chiefs accused of ignoring organised crime

Police and crime commissioners are focusing resources on offences such as speeding and theft rather than serious organised crime, the head of the National Crime Agency has warned.

Lynne Owens said that police were falling behind in the fight against online child abuse and modern slavery and that refocus was needed because there was a “real risk” that gangsters were escaping justice.

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Technology Artificial intelligence tool used to catch people who lie to the police

The groundbreaking software analyses the wording of a victim's statement in order to identify tell tale signs of fake reports.

Spanish police, who have been using the tool, found it was successful in more than 80 per cent of cases helping them to identify 64 false reports in just one week.

Developed by experts at Cardiff University, VeriPol, uses a combination of automatic text analysis and artificial intelligence to recognise when somebody has been lying or exaggerating to the police.

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Police Demand Most police forces fail to meet fingerprint evidence standards

Less than 10% of police forces have met basic quality standards for fingerprint evidence, the government’s forensic science regulator has warned.

All UK forces were ordered three years ago to ensure their laboratories met international standards for analysing prints found at crime scenes. But only three forces have complied, with almost every force missing a deadline set by the regulator to gain accreditation by November.

Police forces that have failed to obtain accreditation, which include the Metropolitan police and Greater Manchester police, will have to declare this in court, prompting concerns that cases could collapse as a result of unreliable evidence.

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Technology ‘Minority Report’ plan to spot criminals condemned

Police plans to predict and prevent future crimes by deploying controversial Minority Report-style technology to harvest data on millions of people are “ethically unacceptable”, experts warn.

The National Analytics Solution (NAS) will use artificial intelligence to analyse police data and predict who will commit crimes such as stabbings. In future it could be widened to trawl social media posts, medical records and school and council records, according to a proposal by West Midlands police.

The system, which may ultimately be rolled out across the country, has been likened to that employed by “future crime” detectives in the dystopian Tom Cruise film Minority Report. In future, it may also cover “non-criminal matters”.

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Police Demand Universities spending millions to ensure budget-strapped police forces still patrol on campus

Universities across Britain are paying the police to protect their students from crime.

More than £2m has been paid out to 17 police forces over the last three years by 27 universities, and a further £1.2m allocated to current academic year. The figures were unearthed after freedom of information request.

Northampton University has earmarked £775,000 over the next three years for one sergeant and five constables.

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Prisons Criminal gangs apply for jail jobs to smuggle drugs, say police

Police say there is growing evidence that members of organised criminal gangs are getting prison service jobs to smuggle banned items.

A senior officer has told the BBC he has "strong suspicions" this is happening, but links are hard to prove.

Ministers admit it "can happen" but say better search techniques will help.

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Police Finances Crime hit residents are paying £126 a week for private security patrols

Residents living near a crime-hit retail park are paying a private security firm to patrol their streets.

Around 60 people living near Princess Alice Retail Park in Sutton Coldfield have chipped in to pay private security guards £126 per week to police the area.

The community initiative started on December 17 and neighbours opted for a five-week trial period with security firm Innovative Security Solutions.

They provide regular patrols and ensure residents feel reassured in their own homes.

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Police Finances Crime hit residents are paying £126 a week for private security patrols

Residents living near a crime-hit retail park are paying a private security firm to patrol their streets.

Around 60 people living near Princess Alice Retail Park in Sutton Coldfield have chipped in to pay private security guards £126 per week to police the area.

The community initiative started on December 17 and neighbours opted for a five-week trial period with security firm Innovative Security Solutions.

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Police and Crime General Mental health: target to boost staff numbers by 21,000 set to be missed

Ministers are on course to miss their target of increasing the number of mental health staff by 21,000 by 2020, according to NHS workforce figures obtained by Labour.

A year after the government made the pledge, NHS mental health trusts in England had employed just 1,524 extra personnel, according to statistics collected by NHS Digital.

The very small rise is a setback for Theresa May’s plans to dramatically improve mental health care in order to reduce treatment delays, introduce new waiting times and reduce unmet need. Mental health chiefs and staff groups are worried that staffing problems will undermine those ambitions.

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Police and Crime General British Transport Police officers bear brunt of assaults Save

Police tasked with protecting the travelling public appear to be bearing the brunt of acts of random violence targeted at officers.

New figures reveal that more than 12 British Transport Police officers a week are being assaulted, with many suffering serious injuries.

That compares to around ten assaults a week against officers serving with the other 43 police forces in England and Wales.

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Technology Social media platforms ‘should intervene more to tackle anti-Semitism’

Social media platforms need to take more responsibility in tackling online anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

The chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said the abuse should be treated in the same way inappropriate sexual images were, with offending material immediately removed.

Calling for internet giants to intervene when needed, she described anti-Semitism on social media as “pretty relentless”.

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Economy & Public Finance Government: Start preparing for no-deal Brexit

Ministers are ‘ramping up’ planning for a no-deal Brexit as the prospect becomes more likely.

Downing Street said businesses and citizens should immediately prepare for leaving without a deal.

Brexit secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘The Government’s priority remains to secure a deal, but we need to recognise, with 14 weeks to go, that a responsible Government is preparing for the eventuality that we leave without a deal.’

The MJ revealed in October that local authorities were being warned to prepare for up to three months of disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit, with resilience forums asked to prepare for ‘reasonable, worst case scenarios’ - which could include runs on banks, petrol and food.

One council chief executive said: ‘I am more worried about civil unrest than I was during the original referendum.

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Police and Crime General The mothers learning the signs of radicalisation

A new scheme, funded by the government's counter-terrorism Prevent programme, is teaching mothers the signs of radicalisation to help them safeguard their children.

Those attending volunteer to do so - they have not been referred and it is not in response to any particular threat.

Shabnam Mahmood has been to meet those taking part in Bradford, for the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

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Police and Crime General BTP officers and senior staff member at centre of recruitment probe

British Transport Police officers and staff could face criminal charges over allegations about “recruitment irregularities”.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct announced the conduct of a senior staff member had been referred to the watchdog regarding allegations of fraud and data protection offences linked to a recruitment process.

BTP also referred the conduct of four officers who were responsible for reviewing that recruitment process when it became clear there may be irregularities involving and a fifth officer for their actions during that review.

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Police Demand Police use of Tasers has rocketed by 50 per cent amid a year of crime as shocking figures show 18,000 officers were injured in the line of duty last year

Police use of Tasers has rocketed in the past year with officers resorting to the weapons more than 17,000 times in 12 months, new figures show.

Officers in England and Wales fired the electric charges on 2,000 occasions, an increase of around a 100 on the previous year.

Police drew the weapons to protect themselves on 12,000 occasions, with 7,500 incidents involving an armed assailant, new Home Office statistics show.

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Police Finances Factsheet: Provisional Police Funding Settlement 2019-20

The Home Office has published the provisional police funding settlement for 2019-20. This sets out the total amount of money going into policing next year, including how much each individual Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales will receive.

The Government is proposing a total settlement of up to £14 billion, which is an increase of up to £970 million compared to 2018/19.

This includes;

-Government grant funding for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs)

-Flexibility for PCCs to raise additional money locally from council tax-

-Government funding for additional pension costs

-Funding for counter-terrorism policing

-Funding for national priorities, such as tackling serious and organised crime

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Police Finances Police funding settlement announced by Government

Following a delay due to the 'meaningful vote' debate, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Policing, today made a statement announcing the police funding settlement.

Speaking in the Chamber, the Minister announced an increase in funding had been agreed, allocating up to £14billion to the police for 2019/20. This represents an increase of up to £970million on this year's funding.

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Police Finances Police funding: Government pledges extra £300m

Police forces in England and Wales are set to receive an extra £300m to help pay for pension expenses and other costs, ministers have announced.

Since 2010, central government funding to police forces has been cut by almost a third, in real terms, leading the number of officers to fall by 21,000.

Police and Crime Commissioners, who represent the public, say the stretched service is struggling to cope.

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Police and Crime General Police use force disproportionately against black people in England and Wales, figures suggest

Police are using force disproportionately against black people in England and Wales, statistics released for the first time suggest.

Figures released by the Home Office showed that 12 per cent of incidents involving the use of force that were recorded by police were against black people, who make up only 3.3 per cent of the population.

Black people were involved in proportionally more incidents that involved armed police using guns, at 26 per cent, and 20 per cent of people involved in Taser incidents were black in 2017-18.

White people, who constitute 86 per cent of the population in England and Wales, experienced under three-quarters of use-of-force incidents.

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Police Finances London homicides now highest annual rate for a decade

London’s homicide rate has reached its highest level in a decade as police chiefs brace themselves for a government announcement about whether they will get the extra funding they believe is vital to tackle rising violent crime.

The Metropolitan police said they were called to the fatal stabbing of a teenager in south-east London on Tuesday night, taking the tally to 131 deaths, the highest level since 2008, with three weeks left of this calendar year.

London’s total this year includes at least 75 stabbings and 13 shootings.

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Police Demand London homicides now highest annual rate for a decade

London’s homicide rate has reached its highest level in a decade as police chiefs brace themselves for a government announcement about whether they will get the extra funding they believe is vital to tackle rising violent crime.

The Metropolitan police said they were called to the fatal stabbing of a teenager in south-east London on Tuesday night, taking the tally to 131 deaths, the highest level since 2008, with three weeks left of this calendar year.

London’s total this year includes at least 75 stabbings and 13 shootings.

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Police and Crime General Mentally ill will no longer be held in police cells after terrified patients as young as 11 were locked up in custody

Police cells should no longer be used to detain the mentally ill, an official review has said.

Every year hundreds of disturbed and vulnerable people are locked in police stations because no bed can be found for them in a suitable hospital.

Now a review of the Mental Health Act – the law used to detain people with mental illness – has concluded that the practice should be abandoned by 2023/24.

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Police and Crime General Survey reveals 'alarming' attitudes of Britons on rape

An "alarming" proportion of adults in Great Britain remain confused about what constitutes rape, campaigners say.

A third of people surveyed for the End Violence Against Women coalition said there had to be physical violence for sexual activity to count as rape.

A third of males and 21% of females said it would not usually be considered rape if a woman had flirted on a date.

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Police and Crime General Back PM for the sake of our security, urges Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid said yesterday that MPs faced the most important decision since the Second World War next week as he insisted that Theresa May’s Brexit deal was the best option available.

Opening the second day of debate on the withdrawal agreement, the home secretary claimed that the deal delivered a solid foundation for security co-operation with EU partners, in a clear indication that there is much yet to be agreed.

He later confirmed that the future partnership declaration “does not guarantee” the future of three European databases that track criminals, suspects and missing persons.

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Police and Crime General HMICFRS: Forces still ‘failing some victims of crime’ over crime data integrity

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) looked at the two forces as part of a rolling programme of inspections across England and Wales.

Of particular importance was the recording of domestic abuse crimes as they often involve victims who are particularly vulnerable.

Based on crime reports from October 2017 to March 2018, HMICFRS estimated that Dyfed-Powys fails to record over 3,300 reported crimes each year as it records 87.8 per cent offences.

Gwent Police did slightly better, with an estimated recording rate of 90.5 per cent, but this meant that around 5,100 crimes were not being recorded per annum.

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Police Demand Drink-fuelled violence at train stations has more than doubled in two years

The number of violent offences fuelled by alcohol at Britain’s railway stations over the festive period has more than doubled in the past two years, new figures show.

There were 189 cases between November 24 2017 and January 2 compared with the same period two years earlier, according to British Transport Police (BTP) data.

Violence is often directed at other passengers or station staff and frequently results in injuries and arrests.

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Police and Crime General Help officers under attack, urges Met chief Cressida Dick

The public should “get involved and do something physical” if they see police officers being attacked, the Metropolitan Police commissioner has said.

Last month a video of an assault on two officers in London was shared thousands of times online. A suspect is seen launching a flying kick at a female officer, while her colleague is punched by another man. A passing driver posted the footage on Twitter with the caption “south London at night . . . lol”.

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Police Finances Sadiq Khan says London police numbers will plummet without increased funding

The number of police officers in London will plummet to the lowest level in more than 15 years if funding is not urgently increased, Sadiq Khan has warned.

Should further savings be demanded by the Home Office, Mr Khan claimed there could soon be as few as 26,800 officers working in the Metropolitan Police - the fewest since 2002.

The London mayor is due to meet Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday to discuss police funding for 2019-20, but as it stands the Met is required to make a further £335 million worth of savings by 2022, the mayor's office said.

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Police and Crime General PCSO punched in face as 100 youths surround police in County Durham

Police have told parents to "take responsibility for your children" after officers were surrounded by 100 teenagers, with some throwing bricks and letting off fireworks.

A Police Community Support Officer was punched in the face during the fracas in Stanley, County Durham.

Body camera footage shows uniformed officers being quickly surrounded after responding to a report of a "vulnerable female" at the bus station.

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Police Finances Police in England and Wales could get £600m funding boost in wake of street violence spike

Police forces across England and Wales could see a funding boost of more than £600m next year as part of the government's efforts to find more money for frontline policing.

Sky News understands that Home Secretary Sajid Javid has cut a deal with Chancellor Philip Hammond and James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, to double the amount that local authorities can add to council tax bills for policing.

It is thought that ministers have provisionally agreed to allow local authorities to increase the precept charge on council tax bills from £1 a month to £2 a month from April 2019 - or £12 to £24 annually.

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Police and Crime General Ministers criticised after plans for council tax rise to fund police

Ministers have been accused of a financial sleight of hand over plans to allow a council tax increase to pay for extra police funding, in a move Labour said would hit the poorest hardest without providing enough extra funding.

Forces across England and Wales were set to benefit to the tune of £450m, it emerged on Friday, and there have been suggestions the government could hand over a further £170m when it decides on police funding for next year. Police have been dealing with years of shrinking budgets and a pension shortfall of about £420m.

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Police Demand Line 18: £3 million per day county lines drugs business fuelling knife crime

Drugs runners are operating 2,000 "county lines" routes from big cities into smaller towns and the countryside, according to new figures obtained by Sky News.

We can also reveal that the business is worth over £3 million a day.

Sky News has obtained exclusive access to people involved in this ruthless trade, from wholesalers to drugs mules

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Police Demand Police ignore third of all crimes after a single call

Britain’s biggest police force is dismissing about a third of all crime reports after only one telephone call with the victim, it can be revealed.

Burglaries, low-level assaults, criminal damage, theft and affray are all on a list of crimes that can be dismissed without being investigated under a policy secretly introduced by the Metropolitan Police last year.

The Met, which used to send a police officer to every crime if requested by the victim, assesses 37 per cent of reports over the telephone, according to a report.

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Police Finances Wiltshire Police receives further £3million from Government for Novichok incidents

The Government has pledged a further £3million to Wiltshire Police to cover the ongoing costs of the Novichok related incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.

Latest projections show the operational costs for the force are expected to reach nearly £11million, with the Government having reimbursed £6.6million previously this further £3million brings the total costs reclaimed to £9.6million.

PCC Angus Macpherson has said that he fully expects all costs associated with the operation to be met centrally by the Government.

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Police Demand County lines and youth cuts blamed as knife crime rises

Knife crime in Wales increased by 25% in the space of a year according to the latest figures from police forces.

There were 1,228 knife crimes - which is any crime which involved the use of a blade - from July 2017 to June 2018 - up from 986.

Youth workers have said cuts in services for young people and the growth in "county lines" drugs networks are to blame.

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Economy & Public Finance Philip Hammond and Bank of England to set out analysis of Brexit economic impact

Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to set out the government's analysis of the economic impact of Brexit.

The Bank of England (BoE) will also deliver its assessments on Wednesday as Theresa May heads to Scotland to press the case for her agreement with Brussels.

Downing Street has said the Treasury's papers will cover a "range of scenarios".

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Police and Crime General Police forced to pull child sexual exploitation ad campaign amid 'victim blaming' complaints

A police force has removed an "insulting" child sexual exploitation campaign from social media after accusations of victim blaming.

North Yorkshire Police posted a series of "deliberately hard-hitting" images on social media as part of a new campaign to target child sexual exploitation.

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Police and Crime General Police officers slam decision to allow teen filmed smashing car with zombie knife to walk free from court

Police officers have slammed a judge’s decision to allow a teenager filmed trying to smash into a car with a zombie knife to walk free from court.

Scotland Yard superintendent Roy Smith was among those to hit out at the ruling, which sparked outrage across the country, saying: “it does not provide any form of deterrent”.

Local units across the capital joined him in condemning the decision, with Camden Police writing on Twitter: “If nothing else, it simply sends the wrong message.”

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Economy & Public Finance Philip Hammond: UK will be ‘a bit’ poorer after Brexit

Theresa May’s Brexit deal will leave the UK worse off than staying in the EU “but not by much”, the chancellor admitted today.

Philip Hammond said that the economic impact was only part of the consideration as he urged MPs to back the prime minister’s plan in two weeks’ time.

A new Treasury forecast published later is expected to say that GDP will be between 1 and 2 per cent lower in 15 years, making the UK £40 billion poorer if Mrs May’s deal is adopted, says The Daily Telegraph. Under a no deal it estimated that the UK would be £150 billion worse off.

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Police Finances PMQs: Conservative MP asks about the National Police Funding settlement and police resources.

Conservative MP, Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet), asked about the National Police Funding settlement and police resources.

The Prime Minister said that she recognises Villers's concern but that the government has protected police funding and that alongside council tax precept flexibilities there is an extra £460m to the police. The PM said that the government will "Continue to insure that the police have the resources they need to cut crime and keep our communities safe but of courser there is also a role for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, as operational leaders and elected local representatives to decide how best to deploy resources to manage and respond to individual crimes and indeed to local crime priorities".

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Police Demand Mental health: Five people called Met Police 8,655 times in 2017

Five people racked up 8,655 calls to the Metropolitan Police in 2017 - costing £70,000 to answer.

What did the top five repeat callers have in common? Mental health problems.

A watchdog for police forces in England and Wales released the figure to show how police have become the "default" service to deal with mental health.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service claims the broader mental health system is "broken".

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Police Finances Government money to tackle organised crime ‘insufficient’

Government funding for tackling serious and organised crime is “by no means enough” compared with its cost to the UK, a criminologist has said.

Serious and organised crime affects more citizens and causes more deaths in the UK each year than all other national security threats combined, the Home Office’s ‘Serious and Organised Crime Strategy’, published last month, said.

The Home Office committed £48m for 2019-20 to tackle organised crime as part of the strategy.

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Technology Social media giants ‘failed to report terror activity for years’

Social media companies did not report any suspicious terrorist activity on their platforms to the police for four years, the UK’s former head of counterterrorism has disclosed.

Sir Mark Rowley, who headed Britain’s anti-terrorism police until January this year, said their failure to pass on information had been “wholly irresponsible” and put lives at risk.

He led the police investigations into attacks including the Manchester Arena bombing that claimed 22 lives, the Westminster Bridge attack in which PC Keith Palmer was stabbed to death, and the London Bridge attack in which eight people died. Sir Mark said: “In nearly four years leading police counter-terrorism efforts, I saw zero proactive reports of suspicious behaviour to us by any of these companies. This is irresponsible.

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Technology Kent Police stop using crime predicting software

Computer software intended to predict where and when crimes would occur has been scrapped by a police force.

Kent Police was the first force in England and Wales to introduce the "predictive policing" system in 2013.

It said a new approach to policing which "places victims and witnesses at its centre" had led it to "evaluate alternative options".

Officers said the software had been "really useful" for "proactive" policing.

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Police Finances Police get funding boost to fight organised crime in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire police will receive a £4.6 million funding boost to fight organised crime and gang violence.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has approved a special grant application from Bedfordshire police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kathryn Holloway.

The additional funding will support the force to disrupt gang activity in and around towns in the force area.

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Police and Crime General Commission for Countering Extremism launches call for evidence on extremism in England and Wales

The independent Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) has today (Thursday 22 November) called on the public to share their views, experience and evidence on extremism and its impact for a first-of-a-kind study.

The Commission, announced by the Prime Minister after the terror attacks of 2017, has launched a 10-week Call for Evidence, inviting firsthand accounts of the harms extremists inflict on individuals, communities and our society.

The evidence, which will be treated sensitively and in the strictest of confidence, will feed into a wide-ranging study of extremism to be published in spring 2019.

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Police and Crime General Let police stop and search, urges mother who lost son

A mother whose teenage son was killed a year ago has criticised campaigners who try to “tie the hands of the police” over stop-and-search tactics.

Sharon Kendall, 38, said that campaigners resisting an increase in use of the tactic should “look at all the murdered teenagers’ faces”. Jason Isaacs, her son, was 18 when he was stabbed in the street in Northolt, west London, last November. The apprentice carpenter died in hospital three days later.

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Police and Crime General Let police stop and search, urges mother who lost son

A mother whose teenage son was killed a year ago has criticised campaigners who try to “tie the hands of the police” over stop-and-search tactics.

Sharon Kendall, 38, said that campaigners resisting an increase in use of the tactic should “look at all the murdered teenagers’ faces”. Jason Isaacs, her son, was 18 when he was stabbed in the street in Northolt, west London, last November. The apprentice carpenter died in hospital three days later.

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Police Finances New unit to analyse evidence of dangerous driving caught on motorists´ cameras

A new police unit will be created to analyse evidence of dangerous driving caught on camera by other road users.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that the “back office unit” will be among 50 proposed new measures in a two-year plan to protect vulnerable road users and combat road rage.

It will allow police forces to handle video and photographic evidence captured on road users’ devices such as dash cams.

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Police Demand Growing number of men reporting domestic violence to police, ONS figures reveal

Record numbers of men are reporting domestic abuse by their partners to police - as the proportion of women victims turning to police has fallen, official figures have revealed.

The proportion of male victims who told police about their domestic abuse increased from 10.4% in 2014-15 to 14.7% this year as charities said more men were shaking off the stigma of talking about their suffering.

However, the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed it coincided with a sharp drop in the proportion of women victims reporting their abuse to police, down from 25.8% to 18.4% over the same period.

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Police and Crime General More cancelled rest days on the cards after tri-force fall out

Frontline officers face having more rest days and holidays cancelled to plug the gaps following failed attempts to fix a tri-force.

Avon and Somerset Police pulled out of the collaboration with Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Police after it was unable to reach an agreement on how future working arrangements could be improved.

Excessive hours, continually backfilling vacancies and a “haphazard” approach to HR functions were some of the issues which the respective federations said were “too large a task to solve”.

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Police Finances Brexit ‘stretching government to breaking point’

The process of extracting the UK from the European Union will stretch the system of government “beyond breaking point”, a leading academic has warned.

Jim Gallagher, visiting professor at the University of Glasgow and a research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, told the Scottish Affairs Committee that Brexit was “one of the least ordered pieces of public policy” he had witnessed.

“Brexit was always going to be an almost impossible challenge for any government and for any set of intergovernmental relations,” he said yesterday.

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Police and Crime General 'Legal highs': Street dealers now main source of supply after ban

The sale of so-called legal highs has gone underground after a blanket ban came into force, a report says.

While the ban has led to a "considerable reduction" in use of the drugs, street dealers are now the main source of supply.

Now officially known as new psychoactive substances (NPS), they mimic the effects of other drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.

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Police Finances 'There must be a fair settlement for officers' says chief

Officers should be given a pay rise as they struggle to make ends meet, the NPCC lead for pay and conditions has acknowledged.

Thames Valley Chief Constable Francis Habgood, who is retiring in March, says the government cannot continue to reject the independent police remuneration review body’s recommendations.

In areas like Thames Valley, where the cost of living is high, CC Habgood says some officers are clearly feeling the strain.

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Police and Crime General Police need public support to arrest violent offenders

Police officers could start letting violent suspects go if they do not get the backing of the public, a federation leader has warned.

The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, spoke out after video footage appearing to show two officers locked in a violent struggle as they tried to make an arrest was shared thousands of times on social media.

The footage, taken in south London on Saturday, appeared to show a male officer being dragged around in the road as he tries to stop a suspect in a white tracksuit running away.

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Police and Crime General Chief: Stop and search core part of British policing

A chief says forces are better at delivering stop and search now than ever before.

Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher told Police Oracle the tactic was a “core part of British policing” which he wants to see used more often within his force.

Last week MPs asked questions about stop and search after signals from government it wanted to remove bureaucracy from its use – after years of discouraging police from carrying out stops.

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Police and Crime General Police chief blasts our ‘broken society’: Witnesses refuse to help WPC attacked by thug

Thugs with "no respect for society" are attacking officers while people watch on, a police chief warned last night. Ken Marsh, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said forces may even let criminals go if the public does not "stand up for what is right" and prevent yobs from viciously attacking them.

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Police Demand Hartlepool: The town where ‘police don’t come out’

After eight years of spending cuts affecting public services, the government has said austerity is coming to an end.

But what has the effect of less money been on local communities?

The BBC has been following officers in one of England's poorest towns to investigate how budget cuts impact police on the front line.

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Police Demand UK 'wholly' unprepared to stop devastating cyber-attack, MPs warn

Ministers are failing to act with “a meaningful sense of purpose or urgency” in the face of a growing cyber threat to the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI), a parliamentary committee has warned.

The joint committee on national security strategy said at a time when states such as Russia were expanding their capability to mount disruptive cyber-attacks, the UK’s level of ministerial oversight was “wholly inadequate”.

It urged Theresa May to appoint a cybersecurity minister in cabinet to take charge of the efforts to build national resilience.

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Police Demand 'A lost generation': How austerity has created vacuum being filled by drug gangs exploiting children

Austerity and rampant drug dealing have created a “lost generation” of children living in fear of violence across the UK, police and former gang members have said.

There are fears the recent spate of bloody street stabbings in London, where 20 teenagers have been killed so far this year, will not be the last if funding to police and public services is not urgently increased.

Knife crime stands at a record high, but Home Office-funded research has found that authorities in many areas do not understand how gangs operate or how social media is fuelling violence.

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Police Demand Police warn of 'growing' illegal rave problem as numbers soar

Police chiefs have warned illegal raves are a "growing problem" after forces revealed they are tackling hundreds across Britain each year.

More than 680 reports of unlicensed music events were recorded last year - up 9% on the previous 12 months - amid a rise in nightclubs shutting down, a Sky News investigation has found.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) said illegal raves were "inherently unsafe" and officers had to consider the safety of residents when deciding whether to shut events down.

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Police Finances Raise speeding fines to £130 and put the money into supporting work on road safety, demands top police chief

Motorists who are caught speeding would face bigger fines and higher fees for driver awareness courses under controversial proposals from a policing chief.

Alison Hernandez, who takes the lead on road safety for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), is lobbying Ministers to hike the cost of both Penalty Charge Notices and National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) sessions by as much as £30. If adopted, fines could soar from around £100 to as much as £130 and the cost of an average four-hour NDORS course rise from £90 to £120.

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Police and Crime General Welsh violence tackling scheme rolled out in United States

A pioneering Welsh scheme will be used to help unearth trouble "hotspots" and cut violent crime in the United States.

The Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention anonymously gathers details at A&Es about incidents, revealing problem areas unknown to police.

The US Department of Justice said more than half of violence is unreported which has made prevention difficult.

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Fire MPs raise fears over fire service governance

MPs have rallied against proposals to transfer governance of a fire service to the West Midlands mayor.

An early day motion has been tabled over fears that proposals could lead to lack of expertise when holding the autho