News Headlines

Supply problems deter drug dealers in lockdown

Lockdown has disrupted the supply chains of drug dealers, a study suggests.

Fifty-five per cent of British respondents to the Global Drug Survey (GDS), the world’s largest of its kind, said they experienced a decrease in the availability of illicit drugs from March to June, while 29 per cent of respondents reported an increase in prices.

Of the 1,173 Britons asked about changes to the way they bought drugs, 19 per cent said that they bought in bulk or in greater quantities and 10 per cent said that it took longer to obtain them than usual.

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Five new COVID-19 laws and fines that government slipped out

Several new coronavirus rules, laws and punishments have been revealed by the government. Ministers updated the legislation which gives police the legal powers to ensure people are following the emergency measures.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tried to quell anger among some Tory MPs by saying he has to "be able to move at pace" to contain the spread of coronavirus.

But civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch have condemned the way the changes were introduced, saying: "Yet again, this was imposed without scrutiny from parliament. Where will it end?

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Public spending rise could last longer

The government must choose this autumn between more austerity and permanently higher spending, experts warn.

Although the Autumn Budget has been cancelled, the Treasury is still set to publish a Spending Review containing government expenditure plans.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "The Spending Review will proceed this autumn, as planned. The chancellor has already confirmed that departmental spending will increase above inflation - both for day-to-day spending and longer-term investment."

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Other Headlines

COVID-19 Under-25s ‘give up dream job hope’ in pandemic

More than one in three young people say they have lost hope of getting their dream job because of coronavirus, the Prince's Trust has said.

The charity said a survey of 2,000 people aged 16 to 25 across the UK showed 44% had lower aspirations for the future as a result of the pandemic. Its UK chief executive, Jonathan Townsend, said the pandemic had eroded young people's confidence.

According to the research, carried out by Censuswide, 41% of young people believe their future goals now seem "impossible to achieve", with this rising to 50% of those surveyed from poorer backgrounds.

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Police and Crime General Government doubles funding for child sexual abuse charities to £2.4 million

The government has doubled the financial support it provides to national organisations that support victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to £2.4 million.

The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are awarding a two-year grant for the first time, in order to provide much needed stability for voluntary sector organisations, several of which are facing increased demand for their services as a result of Covid-19.

The Support for Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Fund aims to assist national organisations in supporting both adult and child victims and survivors of child sexual abuse across England and Wales, with several organisations also providing support to parents, carers and family members.

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Police and Crime General Early pub closing 'putting shop workers at risk'

Shop workers are being put at greater risk of violence, verbal abuse and coronavirus infection by pubs shutting at 10pm, a retail union has warned.

Usdaw said stores remaining open until later in England were likely to become "very busy" with people buying alcohol, "triggering" antisocial behaviour. Early pub closing was brought in last week in an effort to curb increasing rates of coronavirus.

On Monday, Greater Manchester's Labour mayor Andy Burnham said supermarkets, convenience stores and off-licences were now "packed out to the rafters" after closing time.

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Police and Crime General Surf lessons offer police relief from the crimewave

Police officers who suffer from mental health problems have been offered pioneering new therapy in the form of surfing.

Officers in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset will take to the boards as a treatment for stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. The project is thought to be the first in the world to tailor surf therapy to the needs of the emergency services.

Officers who oversaw the development of the scheme said that it built on proven approaches used by the military.

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COVID-19 Up to £10,000 fine for failure to self-isolate in England

Refusing to self-isolate when told to is now illegal in England from Monday, with fines of up to £10,000.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, or has been told they have been in contact with someone who has, now has a legal duty to quarantine. It comes as a study commissioned by the government found just 18% of people who had symptoms went into isolation.

Meanwhile, the government has promised an "uninterrupted supply" of PPE for front-line workers over the winter. Four-month stockpiles of PPE - personal protective equipment such as masks, visors and gowns - will be available from November, the Department of Health has said.

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COVID-19 Pressure mounts on government to review ‘shambolic' 10pm curfew after drinkers crowd streets at closing time

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson’s government to review the new 10pm curfew imposed on pubs, bars and restaurants after drinkers crowded streets across the country at closing time.

Ministers have been urged to change course on the “shambolic” and “ill-thought-out” restriction brought in on Thursday in response to surging coronavirus infections.

Crowds have been seen gathered each night in English cities after the curfew came into force, with long queues forming for public transport and off licences as many drinkers continued their night in each other’s homes after pubs closed.

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Police and Crime General Tributes paid to Sgt Matt Ratana at National Police Memorial Day

The Met Commissioner, the Home Secretary and the London Mayor all gathered at the National Police Memorial in London on Sunday morning to lay wreaths to mark the national day to commemorate officers killed on duty.

There was added poignancy to the early morning ceremony following the murder of Metropolitan Police Sgt Matt Ratana who was shot dead inside Croydon Custody Centre in south London on Friday morning.

The Met sergeant is the 17th from the force to be killed by a firearm since the end of the Second World War, according to the National Police Memorial roll of honour.

COVID-19 Clashes as police shut down protest over new rules

Police have clashed with demonstrators at a protest in central London against coronavirus restrictions.

Officers used batons to control the crowd, after bottles and water were thrown by demonstrators massed in Trafalgar Square. At least three protesters and nine officers were injured, while 16 people were arrested.

The Met Police said the protest had been shut down because the crowd was not complying with social distancing. Earlier on Saturday, thousands gathered in central London to protest against the latest government rules, with very few wearing masks.

Protests are exempt from the rule-of-six restrictions, but demonstrators must social distance; organisers must also submit a risk assessment.

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Police and Crime General County lines raids: 1,000 arrests and £1.2m drugs seized

More than 1,000 people have been arrested and an estimated £1.2m worth of drugs seized in a police crackdown on so-called "county lines" gangs. Young and vulnerable people are used as couriers to move drugs and cash between cities and smaller towns.

Police said raids in the past week, involving all 43 regional forces in England and Wales, had been the most successful of their kind. Almost 200 weapons and £526,000 in cash were also seized. During a week-long operation, police forces also shut down about 10% of the phone lines (102) being used for drug dealing.

County lines is the term used to describe criminal gangs who move illegal drugs from big cities to more rural locations and sell them via dedicated mobile phone lines.

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Police and Crime General Police officer shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre

A police officer has been shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in south London. The male officer was shot in the chest when a man, who was being detained, produced a weapon during a search. The suspect then turned the gun on himself.

The officer was treated at the scene overnight but died in hospital. A 23-year-old man is in a critical condition after being treated for gunshot wounds.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the officer's killing.

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Police and Crime General Crowds turfed out of pubs by police as 10pm curfew kicks in

Police turfed lingering revellers out of England’s pubs last night as a 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector kicked in. Officers across the country enforced the new coronavirus restrictions as bar and restaurant staff cleared tables and chairs off the streets.

One sign at a bar in Soho, central London, told customers enjoying their last drink to ‘Get Out to Help Out’ in a dig to how quickly the rules have changed since people were encouraged to visit their local pubs and restaurants under ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ in August.

Many streets in the capital city looked busy on Thursday night as crowds flocked to the tube stations at 10pm to make it home.

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Fire Boris Johnson admits failure to replace Grenfell-style cladding is 'disgraceful'

The failure to replace dangerous Grenfell-style cladding three years after the tragedy is "disgraceful", Boris Johnson has admitted.

The prime minister was asked during prime minister's questions on Wednesday what steps the government was taking to replace unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings, following as series of delays and criticism by watchdogs.

Ministers promised over a year ago that it would fund the replacement of cladding on high-rise private residential buildings, but many residents are still waiting for action.

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Economy & Public Finance Autumn Budget to be scrapped this year

The Treasury has scrapped plans for an Autumn Budget this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we heard this week, now is not the right time to outline long-term plans - people want to see us focused on the here and now," the Treasury said. "So we are confirming today that there will be no Budget this autumn."

There will however be a spending review to set out the overall shape of government spending, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg reported. The decision to scrap the Budget comes as no surprise, according to Genevieve Morris head of corporate tax at accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg.

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Technology England and Wales get smartphone contact tracing for over-16s

People living in England and Wales are being urged to download the government's official contact-tracing app following its official release.

NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus. It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.

Anyone aged 16 and over is being asked to install the app on to their smartphone.

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Police and Crime General Male domestic abuse victims 'sleeping in cars and tents'

Charities dealing with men who suffer domestic abuse have seen pleas for help jump by up to 60% during the lockdown.

The Respect Men's Advice Line said some victims had told them they had sought refuge by sleeping in cars or in tents in the gardens of friends or relatives.

The charity said it had received 13,812 calls and emails between April and July in lockdown compared to 8,648 in the same period in 2019. The advice line said the biggest increase in contact with abuse victims came through emails and the service saw the volume increase by 96% from 372 emails in June 2019 to 728 in June 2020.

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Police and Crime General Children showing interest in extremism, says senior officer

Children as young as 13 are talking about committing acts of terrorism, against a backdrop of rising extremism during the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has warned.

Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu told MPs on the home affairs select committee that counter-terrorism networks had not recorded a rise in terrorism-related material during the coronavirus outbreak, but interest in extremism was on the rise.

The head of counter-terrorism policing said his “greatest single fear” was the ability of rising extremism to incite vulnerable people towards terrorism.

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COVID-19 Pubs and restaurants in England to have 10pm closing times

All pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England must have a 22:00 closing time from Thursday, to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The sector will also be restricted by law to table service only.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said people should also work from home "if they can" and trials of spectators at sports fixtures would be "paused".

The full measures will be set out by the prime minister in the House of Commons later. Boris Johnson will also address the nation in a live broadcast at 20:00 BST on Tuesday.

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COVID-19 ‘Rule of six’ snitches swamp police coronavirus line

The police 101 reporting line is being swamped by members of the public informing on neighbours and those they perceive to be breaking the coronavirus “rule of six”, The Times understands.

Senior officers said that some forces were having to put extra staff on shifts to man the phone lines because the volume of calls had rapidly increased.

New regulations state that people must not congregate in groups of more than six in outdoor spaces or within venues such as pubs and restaurants.

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COVID-19 Covid curbs will last for six months, No 10 warns

Britain faces a further six months of “very difficult” lockdown restrictions, Downing Street has warned, as Boris Johnson prepares the country for fresh measures to combat the latest increase in infections.

The government’s chief scientific and medical officers will tell the public today that Britain is “heading in the wrong direction” and that we are at a “critical point in the pandemic”.

Mr Johnson is expected to announce further lockdown measures in the coming days, with cabinet ministers split over how extensive these should be.

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Police Finances Eight more Nightingale Courts to deliver justice

Eight additional ‘Nightingale Courts’ have been announced by the Lord Chancellor as part of plans to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system.

The Lowry Theatre in Salford, Jury’s Inn Middlesbrough, and the Hilton Hotel in York will begin hearing cases from next week, with the remaining five sites to be confirmed in the coming weeks. In total they will deliver 16 extra courtrooms.

This boost to capacity comes as existing measures have started to deliver real gains for the system, with magistrates’ courts now hearing more cases than they receive.

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Economy & Public Finance Avon and Somerset police pays out tens of thousands of pounds to informants every year

Avon and Somerset police pays out around £65,000 a year to “handfuls” of informants to help crack crimes.

Chief constable Andy Marsh said the sum was a “minuscule” part of the force’s £328.5million budget and is the right thing to do.

A freedom of information request revealed that between 2014/15 and 2018/19 the force paid informants – technically known as “covert human intelligence sources” – £322,999.52, or around £65,000 a year.

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COVID-19 Govt's new package to support and enforce self-isolation

APCC Chair and PCC for Nottinghamshire, Paddy Tipping said:

“I believe that the vast majority of people will exercise personal responsibility and self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by Test and Trace.

“This virus has impacted so many areas of our lives and there has been much suffering.

Police officers will continue to engage, explain, and encourage people to do the right thing before taking enforcement action. I am sure communities will continue to work with them to help reduce the infection rate, save lives and avoid fines. “

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COVID-19 UK cases hit four-month high for second day in a row

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK has jumped by 4,422 - the highest daily rise in over four months.

Saturday's figure is exactly 100 more cases than were confirmed the previous day, meaning both are the highest since 8 May. A further 27 deaths of people with COVID-19 have also been recorded, taking the total to 41,759.

Experts caution more infections are likely to be picked up now because the number of coronavirus tests available has grown dramatically since the pandemic began.

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Police and Crime General Drug feuds and domestic abuse reach 10-year peak

Violent crime has hit its highest level in a decade with a surge in drug feuds, domestic violence and hate crime attacks, analysis by The Times shows.

Police said drug rivalries had become increasingly vicious as gangs fought to retain their turf after the first phase of the pandemic.

There has also been a surge in violence outside licensed venues due to the release of “pent-up” fury when lockdown restrictions were eased, while charities warned that domestic abuse had become more violent, more intense and more frequent.

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COVID-19 Boris Johnson considering national restrictions on social lives to curb infections

Boris Johnson is considering the introduction of new national restrictions - possibly as soon as next week - as the prime minister races to try and get a handle on the spread of coronavirus.

With COVID-19 cases now doubling every seven to eight days, the government is looking at introducing nationwide restrictions for a short period to try to "short-circuit" the virus and slow the spread of the disease.

Government figures stressed the plans being drawn up stopped short of a full national lockdown, as seen in the spring, when the country was told to "stay at home".

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Economy & Public Finance Bank of England to ‘explore’ negative interest rates

The Bank of England has outlined plans to explore how negative interest rates could be implemented for the first time, to help the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. The move was outlined by the Monetary Policy Committee as it maintained the record low 0.1% bank rate.

The central bank said it now expects GDP to be 7% lower in the third quarter of this year compared with the end of 2019, an improvement on projections given in August – which showed an 8.6% decline.

“The committee had discussed its policy toolkit, and the effectiveness of negative policy rates in particular, in the August Monetary Policy Report, in light of the decline in global interest rates over a number of years,” the committee minutes said.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Tighter national rules considered for England by government

New England-wide measures which could see hospitality businesses shut are being considered by the UK government to slow a surge of coronavirus cases.

A short period of tighter restrictions - lasting a few weeks - could be announced in the next week, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said.

Schools and most workplaces would be kept open during those weeks. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the BBC the government is "prepared to do what it takes" against Covid-19.

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Police and Crime General Uber gives police private data on drivers and passengers

Uber has won support from police to keep its licence because it hands over thousands of pieces of intelligence on drivers, passengers and journeys each year, The Times has learnt.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) claims that its ability to tackle drug dealing, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation would be hindered if it lost such “data and support”.

A court has been told that senior officers want it to continue operating because of the “vital” information, amounting to 2,000 pieces of intelligence a year in the capital alone.

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Police and Crime General Rural crime is not taken seriously by police, new survey finds

Over 8,000 people, who live or work in the countryside, gave heir views on how crime impacted their lives, about crimes that had been committed against them, and the policing of rural communities.

The results will help influence how rural policing is prioritised in rural communities and ensure that Police and Crime Commissioners, the police and other authorities understand the needs, concerns and priorities of rural communities.

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Economy & Public Finance Up to 30% of residents issued Court Summons over unpaid Council tax

A report has revealed that up to 31% of residents across certain regions have been Summoned to Court because of unpaid council tax.

The highest region, according to the report is Middleborough with a rate of 31% of residents receiving the Summons. The report revealed the approximately £164m had been reclaimed by bailiffs, with Haringey Council reportedly using bailiffs most efficiently with a total reclaim of £14.9m.

The report used Freedom of Information requests from 243 councils across England and Wales in order to get a picture of how Coronavirus had affected council tax payments.

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Police and Crime General More than 200 arrests in police operation to disrupt county lines drug gangs

Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology has helped police arrest more than 200 people across England in operation to tackle county lines drug activity.

The three-day "Operation Pandilla" used ANPR and intelligence to target vehicles on arterial routes and motorways. It resulted in 230 arrests, including for attempted murder and assault, as well as a range of drug and weapons offences.

Police said 22 knives and other weapons were recovered, 54 vehicles were seized and 62 illegal items including drugs were confiscated.

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Police and Crime General Class A drugs 'worth £120m' seized in Felixstowe

The National Crime Agency seized 1,169kg (184st) of heroin and morphine derivatives from the vessel when it docked in Felixstowe in Suffolk.

Officers removed the drugs and returned the container before tracking it to the Netherlands and making arrests. The agency said it was one of the UK's largest seizures of the drug.

It estimated the haul had a value of £21m to organised criminals and a street value of more than £120m. After removing the drugs, the container was returned to the ship, which continued to the Belgian port of Antwerp on Tuesday.

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Police and Crime General New-look team launched to tackle rural crime across Wiltshire and Swindon

The team, which officially launches on 18 September, has been made possible with the precept increase and additional central funding, as acquired by Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson at the start of this financial year.

The team will focus on agricultural, environmental, wildlife and heritage crime and it has been brought together to increase confidence and encourage reporting through preventing crime and carrying out more intelligence-led operations.

Made up of one sergeant, three constables and 35 community policing team officers who work as Wildlife and Heritage Crime Officers, the team will be operating across the county. An Inspector will act as a tactical lead in addition to members of our Special Constabulary who will be used on pre-planned operations.

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COVID-19 Extending furlough could pay for itself

The Scottish Government has released a paper that outlines how extending the furlough scheme could actually pay for itself, and not be an extra burden to the tax payer.

The research shows that by extending the furlough scheme through to June 2021, at an additional cost of £850m, upwards of 60,000 could be saved.

By saving these 60,000 jobs, GDP will be retained and therefore the extension will essentially pay for itself.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Restrictions expected in north-east England

Almost two million people in north-east England are expected to face restrictions as coronavirus cases rise.

Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham council areas are in discussions to get the measures.

These may include pubs closing earlier and restrictions on households mixing. It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Sun: "The only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now."

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Justice Covid court delays: Weeds, leaks, and four-year waits for justice

'Paul' was accused of committing a domestic burglary in June 2018.

In early 2019 he was told by police that no further action would be taken against him. However, he was subsequently charged.

Last week - over two years since the alleged offence - he appeared at Inner London Crown Court.

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Pensions Local government staff face ‘deep pension cuts’ if exit pay proposals are implemented

Public sector members of the Local Government Pension Scheme aged over 55, who are made redundant and wish to take early retirement as result, will face “significant” cuts to their benefits if proposed changes to local government exit payments are implemented, pensions advisor Hymans Robertson has warned.

The firm said that employees are in effect being forced to choose between a full pension benefit and statutory redundancy pay under the new regulations outlined in a consultation document earlier this month.

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Police and Crime General Modern slavery by “ruthless” county lines gangs doubled during lockdown, figures show

The number of referred cases of modern slavery by "ruthless" count lines gangs has more than doubled during lockdown, official figures show.

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Justice Some victims face wait until 2023 for justice amid court case backlogs, claim lawyers

A backlog of court cases is forcing some victims and defendants to wait up to four or five years (until 2023) for their trials, say lawyers

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Technology Home Secretary backs Federation campain to release body-worn video footage to the public

Home Secretary Priti Patel has given her backing to a campaign launched by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) to share body-worn video (BWV) footage with the public in a bid to prevent police officers being unfairly criticised.

This follows a rise in the posting of ‘selective clips’ of police incidents on social media and concerns raised by the PFEW about members being subjected to personal abuse because of one-sided videos.

PFEW national chair John Apter recently raised this topic with the Home Secretary during an interview for the federation’s magazine. Ms Patel branded the publicising of unbalanced footage in an attempt to vilify officers as “unacceptable”.

She has now written Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), encouraging forces to be proactive in considering when BWV footage can be released to demonstrate the good work officers do and to highlight that selective footage can be misleading.

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Economy & Public Finance Eat Out to Help Out drives UK inflation to five-year low

The UK's inflation rate fell sharply to 0.2 per cent in August as the effect of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme pushed down restaurant prices, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

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Police and Crime General More domestic abuse charities to benefit from government funding boost

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst MP has today (16 September 2020) announced that a further 25 charities will receive a share of £1 million boost as part of the government’s £10 million emergency fund to support domestic abuse victims and their families during the pandemic.

This emergency funding will support those providers facing the most difficulties during the pandemic and help to provide over 1,500 new beds and re-open 344 bed-spaces.

This is part of a wider £76 million package of government support for the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: PM blames 'colossal spike' in demand for test problems

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the coronavirus testing system, saying it is trying to meet a "colossal spike" in demand.

It comes as the government said it was drawing up a list setting out who will be prioritised for tests.

Care home residents and staff are likely to be near the top of the list, as Mr Johnson acknowledged ministers were concerned about infection rates.

The PM told MPs a new "action plan" for care homes will be released this week.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Marshals 'unlikely' in England, councils say

The widespread introduction of Covid marshals to towns and cities in England is "unlikely" and "almost impossible", some local authorities have said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested the marshals would enforce rules about social distancing, gathering in groups and wearing masks.

But a lack of detail has been criticised by council and health officials.

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Economy & Public Finance Redmond review branded ‘a*** covering’ for finance directors

A senior councillor at the Local Government Association has described the Redmond Review of local government audit – which recommended the creation of new regulatory body - as “arse covering from finance directors”. Addressing a meeting of the LGA’s resources board on Tuesday afternoon, Peter…

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Police and Crime General Statement On The Withdrawal Of Independent PCC Candidate Dan Hardy

Having served two terms of office as one of the country’s few independent commissioners before making the decision not to stand in a third election, I have an insight into this problem. My office also raised this issue in the recent Home Office consultation into the role of PCCs.

The process of standing as a candidate, particularly the £5,000 deposit required – far higher than the £500 deposit required to stand as an MP – is oppressive for the vast majority of people, with the overall cost of getting elected running into tens of thousands of pounds even in a small force area like Dorset.

This means that party political candidates, who can tap into campaign funds, have a significant advantage.

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COVID-19 'SNEAK CULTURE' Boris Johnson urges Brits not to snitch on neighbours unless they’re having ‘Animal House parties’ with ‘hot tubs’

BORIS Johnson has railed against “sneak” culture - urging Brits not to snitch on their neighbours unless they are having “Animal House parties” with “hot tubs and so forth”.

The Home Secretary and junior ministers sparked a major backlash on Monday by demanding people grass their friends and neighbours for breaking the Rule of Six.

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Police Demand English addiction services on brink as number of higher-risk drinkers doubles

A near-doubling in the number of higher-risk drinkers during lockdown has led to warnings that addiction services in England are struggling to cope and in dire need of extra funding.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists analysed data from Public Health England showing the prevalence of people drinking at higher risk was at almost a fifth (19%) in June, up from 10.8% in February.

Using population estimates from the Office for National Statistics, the college said the June figure equated to more than 8.4 million people, a rise from around 4.8 million four months earlier. Higher-risk consumption is defined as drinking more alcohol than the recommended levels of no more than 14 units a week for men and women.

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COVID-19 People in England's 10 worst-hit Covid-19 hotspots unable to get tests

People in England’s 10 worst-hit coronavirus hotspots were unable to get tests on Monday, leading to claims of a “shambles”.

Those trying to arrange a test in the areas with the highest infection rates were told that none were available at walk-in centres, drive-through facilities or for home delivery.

One official said there was capacity and swabs available at testing centres, but that a backlog in laboratories meant people were being told that no tests were available.

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Recruitment and Retention 100,000 apply to join police in first year of recruitment drive

More than 100,000 people have applied to become police officers one year into the Government’s recruitment drive.

Provisional data from forces across England and Wales shows they have received almost 101,000 applications between October and August, as part of plans to sign up 20,000 additional officers over the next three years.

This comes as new TV and radio adverts encouraging people to “make their difference” by joining the police launch nationwide today (Tuesday 15 September).

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Almost 9,000 people could be prosecuted for not paying fines, attorney general says

Almost 9,000 people could be prosecuted for failing to pay fines for allegedly violating coronavirus laws, official figures show.

Statistics given by the attorney general to parliament’s Justice Committee showed that by 25 August, under half of almost 19,200 penalties issued in England and Wales had been paid.

In a letter to committee chair Sir Bob Neill, Suella Braverman said 8,930 fines had been paid but a further 8,954 (8,325 England and 629 in Wales) “have not been paid and therefore fall to be considered for prosecution”.

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Police and Crime General Prison sentence doubled for attacks on emergency workers

Criminals who attack emergency workers are to face up to two years in jail under sentencing reforms to be announced tomorrow.

Ministers plan to double the existing 12-month maximum jail term for attacking a police officer after a summer in which dozens of officers have been injured during clashes with revellers at street parties.

Tougher sentencing for violent offenders comes as the justice ministry is planning to provide in-cell computer tablets for prisoners as part of an expansion of the use of technology in jails.

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Economy & Public Finance Government urged to ‘adopt own state aid system’

The UK government should look to create its own state aid system after the Brexit transitional agreement ends, according to the Institute for Government.

A report from the think-tank has suggested a strong system of domestic subsidy control would help direct funds towards effective subsidies and prevent harmful exploitation of subsidies.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, which outlines customs arrangements post-Brexit, European Union state aid rules were set to apply in certain cases affecting trade between Northern Ireland and the EU.

However, the Internal Market Bill, published recently, will give UK ministers powers to “disapply or modify” sections of the Protocol, including the state aid agreement.

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Economy & Public Finance Young people hit as unemployment rate rises

The UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for two years, official figures show. The unemployment rate grew to 4.1% in the three months to July, compared with 3.9% previously.

Young people were particularly hard hit, with those aged 16 to 24 suffering the biggest drop in employment compared with other age groups. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said "helping people get back into, or finding new work" was his "number one priority".

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COVID-19 Labour councillors press Boris Johnson to extend coronavirus furlough scheme

Some 1,150 Labour councillors have written to the Prime Minister urging him to rethink plans to scrap the furlough scheme next month and target support at the worst-hit industries to prevent mass unemployment. It comes as latest figures from the ONS show that around 695,000 workers have been removed from the payrolls of British companies since the coronavirus lockdown began in March. Cllr Michael Payne, deputy leader of the LGA’s Labour Group, said: “Without targeted support for sectors and local lockdown areas that have been badly affected by the pandemic, we know that viable businesses will fail and employment will be lost.”

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Testing problems to be solved in weeks, says Hancock

The Government will publish details of its plan to prioritise coronavirus tests in the next few days, with the testing system facing an "enormous challenge" after a "sharp rise" in those seeking a test, the Health and Social Care Secretary has said. Matt Hancock said that testing “will be solved in a matter of weeks” and that hospitals and care homes will be prioritised. Separately, an NHS email reveals that private laboratories were unable to process all COVID-19 tests which they received throughout the height of the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Covid marshals unlikely to be coming to a street near you: Councils refuse to adopt scheme without funding, analysis reveals

The majority of local councils said they had no plans to enact a COVID marshal scheme and would not consider it without extra funding, according to analysis by the Telegraph. It comes after the Prime Minister announced last week that marshals would be introduced in towns and city centres to help enforce the new “rule of six” social distancing law and could either be volunteers or members of council staff.

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Justice Tougher sentences for assaults on emergency workers as maximum jail term to double

People who assault emergency workers will face tougher sentences of up to two years in jail under a new law, the government has announced.

Ministers plan to bring forward legislation to double the maximum sentence for those convicted of assaults on frontline staff including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

It is the second change in two years after a 2018 law increased the maximum sentence from six months to a year.

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Technology Police drones are taking to the skies

Police forces in the UK are trialing the use of drones to provide air support to forces on the ground in cases where deploying a helicopter or an aeroplane might be less practical.

The National Police Air Service (NPAS), the police aviation service that assists territorial police forces in England and Wales, is evaluating how drone technology might complement its existing national fleet of helicopters and planes.

First trials for the technology kicked off at West Wales Airport near Aberporth, and included various typical scenarios that the NPAS's fleet might be confronted with. Typically, police forces request NPAS to assist them with tasks such as searching for suspects or missing people, vehicle pursuits, public order, counter-terrorism and firearms incidents.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: 86% of doctors in England expect second wave within six months

Almost 86% of doctors in England say they expect a second peak of coronavirus in the next six months, according to a new survey, as concern continues to grow over a recent rise in cases.

On Friday, new results from a population-based study suggested the R number for England is now at 1.7, with infections doubling every 7.7 days. While the prevalence of the disease remains lower than it was in the spring, an R value above 1 means cases could grow exponentially.

Sunday marked the third day in a row that new coronaviruses cases reported for the UK topped 3,000 – the highest figures since May – with 2,837 new cases reported in England alone. While testing has increased over the past months, experts have said this does not fully explain the recent surge.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: 'Rule of six' comes into effect

Restrictions banning social gatherings of more than six people are now in effect, as Covid-19 cases keep rising.

The "rule of six" applies both indoors and outdoors in England and Scotland, and indoors only in Wales. England's restrictions affect everyone, but children under 11 in Wales and under 12 in Scotland are exempt.

Crime Minister Kit Malthouse said people should report neighbours they suspect of hosting a gathering of seven or more people. But some Tory MPs have urged No 10 to exempt young children in England and called for a debate over the rules.

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COVID-19 Snitch on your neighbours to police if they break 'rule of six', says minister

The British public should report their neighbours to the police if they host gatherings of more than six people, a minister has said as new restrictions to contain Covid-19 come into force.

The so-called 'rule of six' now legally limits social gatherings to six people both indoors and outdoors in England and Scotland, but indoors only in Wales.

Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, said "the option is open" to members of the public to phone the police non-emergency number to report concerns about neighbours breaking the rule of six, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If they are concerned and they do see that kind of thing then absolutely they should ring the number."

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Police and Crime General New stop and search powers for convicted knife criminals

Police will be given new, personalised stop and search powers targeted at known knife criminals under plans outlined by the Government today (Monday 14 September).

Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) are designed to ensure repeat offenders are more likely to be caught and put in prison.

SVROs could apply to individuals previously convicted of carrying a knife or an offensive weapon, including those who have received non-custodial sentences such as community orders or suspended sentences.

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Police and Crime General Angry mobs are hindering stop and search, say police

A culture of outrage and “baying mobs” prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement is hindering officers who stop and search suspects , a senior Scotland Yard officer has told The Times.

Chief Superintendent Roy Smith called for calm after he attended a 999 call and chose to detain and search the apparent victim, finding a large hunting knife.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Another 2,621 COVID-19 cases confirmed in UK as 'rule of six' kicks in

Another 2,621 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the UK in the latest daily government figures, taking the total to 371,125. The number of deaths increased by nine, bringing the overall count to 41,637.

Monday's cases figure compares with 3,330 confirmed on Sunday - which marked the first time since May that cases had been above 3,000 on three consecutive days.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse has said concerned neighbours should ring the non-emergency police phone number to report rule-breakers.

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Technology Thames Valley, Sussex and Surrey Police's software could be scrapped

Software that three police forces hoped would make them more efficient could be scrapped before it is rolled out.

Thames Valley, Sussex and Surrey Police said they have paid £3.3m in total to accountancy firm KPMG since 2016 for the new program, Equip.

The Thames Valley's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said the forces' internal costs were "very considerable" and exceeded the total paid to KPMG.

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Technology NPCC to draw up guidance on 'mingling' to help officers police the rule of six

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is to set out further guidance on how officers should respond to unlawful gatherings after it emerged that the new ‘rule of six’ coronavirus regulations have made it illegal to “mingle” in some social settings.

NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said he accepted that rule changes are “confusing for the public”, adding: “This has been really challenging for policing over six months.

“We had the initial universal lockdown, we’ve had changes since then, the public need to understand those changes.

“We work with all our partners in local authorities, people who are running shops, people who are running other hospitality areas, we are part of the group that are trying to explain to members of the public what the rules are and encouraging people to comply with them.”

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Police Finances Local authority peer borrowing continues to rise as rates drop

Local-authority-to-local-authority borrowing continues to rise, as short-term borrowing rates dropped to 0% last week, according to local government treasury advisors Arlingclose.

Arlingclose told PF that the ‘LA-to-LA’ market is “flush with cash”, as overall investment levels topped £50bn on the firms trading platform in June – with more offers to lend than bids to borrow.

Latest figures from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government suggest that borrowing between local authorities was £13.5bn for the quarter to June.

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Police and Crime General SVROs to allow knife crime stop and search without suspicion

The Home Office has launched an eight week public consultation starting today on introducing serious violence reduction orders (SVROs) to stop and search people with convictions for knife crime without the need for further suspicion.

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COVID-19 Leaked figures reveal scale of coronavirus test shortage

A huge backlog has forced Britain to send swabs abroad, casting doubt on its capacity to test as many people as it claimed

The government’s “world-beating” testing programme has a backlog of 185,000 swabs and is so overstretched that it is sending tests to laboratories in Italy and Germany, according to leaked documents.

A Department of Health and Social Care report marked “Official: sensitive” also confirms that most British laboratories are clearing fewer tests than their stated capacity, as they are hit by “chaos” in supply chains. The government claims that it has capacity for 375,000 tests a day. However, the actual number of people being tested for the coronavirus stalled to just 437,000 people a week at the start of the month — equivalent to just 62,000 a day.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Another 3,497 cases confirmed in the UK over 24 hours

Another 3,497 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, government figures show. The number of new cases is a 36% increase on last Saturday, when 2,594 new infections were confirmed nationwide.

A further nine people have died within 28 days of returning a positive test - all of them in England. This brings the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the UK to 41,623, the official figures show.

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COVID-19 Nationwide curfew 'obvious next step if new coronavirus restrictions fail'

A national curfew would be an “obvious next step” if new lockdown rules do not reverse the current increase in coronavirus cases, ministers believe. The measure of closing pubs and restaurants in local lockdown areas at 10pm could be rolled out more widely amid fears people tend not to follow social distancing rules when they consume more alcohol.

COVID-19 Crowds gather for party weekend ahead of 'rule of six' restrictions

Crowds gathered in London last night ahead of the tightening of restrictions, with pictures showing large groups of people enjoying the city’s nightlife. Meanwhile Greater Manchester Police said they closed down illegal gatherings at properties on Saturday night, as a well as a large gathering of around 70 people. It follows a teenager being given a £10,000 fine after hosting 50 people at his home in Nottinghamshire.

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Justice Rape victims may be denied justice by courts backlog

Rape and other crimes involving sexual violence are being made more difficult to prosecute by the huge delays in jury trials caused by the pandemic.

Victims’ groups fear that some women who have waited years for justice will drop proceedings after being told that their cases have been postponed either indefinitely or for many months.

Witness testimony, meanwhile, will become less reliable as the time between alleged offence and court date lengthens, according to lawyers.

Some defendants have received a lighter sentence after deciding to plead guilty and avoid going to trial.

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COVID-19 Police chief admits coronavirus lockdown leaves officers exhausted

POLICE officers are "exhausted" after handling coronavirus restrictions, protests and illegal raves on top of regular crimes, a forces chief has admitted.

Andy Rhodes, Chief Constable of Lancashire Police, said more than half of constables survive on fewer than six hours of sleep a night and feel fatigued.

So far this year, officers have had to deal with BLM protests, Extinction Rebellion marches, anti-lockdown demonstrations and illicit street parties. All have occurred against the backdrop of lockdown regulations.

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COVID-19 Millions at greatest risk from coronavirus may be told to stay at home again

The Telegraph reports that up to 4.5 million people considered at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 will be asked to stay at home or given tailored advice on protecting themselves if cases of the virus return to dangerous levels. A nationwide alert was sent to care providers and councils on Friday night from the Department of Health and Social Care, urging bosses to “take necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks”, following cases spreading through care homes again.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Police 'do not have capacity to enforce rule of six restrictions', officers warn amid public confusion

The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers in England and Wales, said there had been “confusion for the public and many people don’t know exactly what the law says”.

Chair John Apter called for the government to start an “effective” information campaign, adding: “For policing, these constant changes to legislation are becoming the norm. The pressures on policing have increased significantly over recent months, and this latest change will add to this pressure.”

Brian Booth, chair of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said it was not helpful to have “grand announcements” that were not followed by detailed guidelines.

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COVID-19 Plans for Covid marshals criticised because of lack of powers

Plans to use “Covid-secure” marshals to enforce the government’s new social gathering restrictions when they come into force on Monday have been criticised by the Police Federation and some local councils.

The government has said the marshals, who have already been deployed by Leeds City Council and Cornwall Council will “boost the local enforcement capacity” but a Newcastle Councillor has said the marshals will have no powers and there will be no time to train them or do DBS checks.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said rank-and-file officers have been left “absolutely baffled” by the announcement.

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Prisons Scale of failure in prison system staggering, say MPs

The scale of failure in the prison system in England and Wales is “staggering”, with only 206 out of 10,000 promised new prison spaces delivered by the government, parliament’s spending watchdog has said.

Ministers and officials have failed to deliver on a pledge to improve the condition of the prison estate by 2020, the public accounts committee says in its report, published on Friday.

In 2016 the Prison Service launched the “prison estate transformation programme”, which was expected to create 10,000 new-for-old prison places by 2020 by building five new prisons and two new residential blocks. But by January 2020 it had created 206 prison places, the report says.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak gives himself option of postponing autumn Budget

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak raised the likelihood of delaying an autumn Budget on Friday by requesting the production of official economic forecasts without committing to announcing any tax or spending plans.

The Treasury said Mr Sunak’s instruction to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the fiscal watchdog, to prepare forecasts for mid-to-late November was deliberately vague in the current uncertain economic circumstances to give ministers the option to delay the annual Budget.

The move signals that the chancellor is not keen to commit now to spending plans and tax proposals for the rest of the parliament when coronavirus cases are on the rise and the medium-term economic outlook is almost impossible to determine.

In an unusual written statement to the House of Commons, Mr Sunak asked the OBR “to prepare an economic and fiscal forecast to be published in mid-to-late November” without setting a Budget date.

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Economy & Public Finance UK GDP climbs by 6.6% in July

The UK economy continued its recovery in July as GDP rose by 6.6% month-on-month, the third consecutive month of growth following April’s record GDP fall of 20%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Despite the period of growth, the ONS said GDP is still 11.7% below the pre- Covid-19 levels seen in February.

July’s rise in GDP was in part down to the reopening of pubs, restaurants and accommodation as output grew by 140.8% during the month, as lockdown measures were eased, the ONS said.

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Economy & Public Finance Imposing tax increases too early could ‘stifle economy recovery’

Imposing tax increases too early could “stifle” the UK’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a report from the Treasury Select Committee has warned.

The conclusion featured in the committee’s second report into the economic impact of the pandemic on government finances, released today, which said that fiscal consolidation would only be required after the UK’s economy has recovered.

In evidence given to the committee, financial experts and former chancellor’s Philip Hammond and Alistair Darling warned against early tax rises. Hammond told the committee: “There would not be anybody seriously advocating increases in taxes at the moment”.

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COVID-19 Covid marshal schemes that inspired UK-wide proposal 'did more than monitor queues at Greggs'

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has said that the COVID-19 marshal scheme that inspired Boris Johnson’s UK-wide announcement did more than “monitor the queues in Greggs”. Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, told the Telegraph: “The responsibility for enforcing COVID-19 measures sits with the police. The idea that members of the community should intervene in tricky situations when community tensions are already high is absolute madness.” Meanwhile in a Telegraph opinion piece, columnist Kate Andrews references the LGA’s call for marshals’ salaries to be costed.

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Police and Crime General Gloucestershire announces changes to policing in the county

Gloucestershire Constabulary is restructuring the way it operates in the county through a re-assignment of officers to new areas to provide a more "localised service".

The changes began during summer when response officers covering Gloucester and Cheltenham who were based at a single site in Bamfurlong were split up and moved to more central sites in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

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COVID-19 police get tough with coronavirus rulebreakers

Boris Johnson said that it “breaks my heart” to introduce new restrictions on people meeting their grandchildren as he announced strict new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The prime minister held his first Downing Street press conference since July yesterday to tighten the restrictions and set out plans for tougher enforcement of them.

Ministers fear that Britain is four weeks behind France and Spain, which have experienced an exponential rise in infections, and say that by acting now they might curb the spread.

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Technology Northamptonshire unveil new fleet of Police Interceptors

Funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, the eight Skoda Octavia VRS Estate TDis create a multi-capable vehicle equipped with drones, stingers and ANRP technology.

They will have a dual role of policing the roads and enhancing response capability to all incidents.

Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper said: “We've got the ANPR that detects the vehicle. We've got the horsepower to pursue the vehicle and hopefully bring it to a stop. And should that not be the case or if it goes off road then we’ve got the technology to be able to follow them using the drones.”

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COVID-19 No funding for PM’s Covid marshals

Councils will not receive additional funding for the “Covid secure marshals” announced by the prime minster yesterday, government has confirmed to LGC. At the first Covid-19 televised press conference since July, which took place yesterday afternoon, Boris Johnson said government would “boost the enforcement capacity…

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Police and Crime General Cleveland chief urges community to 'unite behind' his officers

Chief Constable Richard Lewis has urged the local community to “unite behind” his officers following the resignation of Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

Mr Coppinger, who has been the force’s PCC since 2012, quit the role yesterday after the Chief Constable reported him to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the deletion of messages from a three-person WhatsApp group which included Mr Lewis and the OPCC chief executive officer Simon Dennis.

Decisions have yet to be made by the executive team in the PCC’s office over who will take over his role as an interim until – and if – the postponed local elections take place in May next year.

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Police Finances Don't use savings to fund uplift superintendents will warn Patel

The leader of the Police Superintendents’ Association will call on the Home Secretary today to give reassurances of financial protection for the police in the forthcoming government spending review.

Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths, PSA President will warn that the devastation of the austerity era has had a deep impact. It follows warnings from both the Chancellor and Prime Minister last week to backbench MPs that there would be “some turbulence ahead”.

In a speech to the association's annual conference he will say: “We cannot bear the brunt of the economic downturn. Our people must not suffer as a result of a pandemic they have been called to fight on the frontline.”

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Police and Crime General Assaults on police officers up by 21% over lockdown, with rise in spitting

Figures gathered by the PA news agency from 31 forces show that at least 7,863 instances of assault were recorded over the first three months of lockdown, compared with 6,505 for the same period in 2019.

This comes as a recent study involving 40,000 police officers and staff showed that 88% of officers said they had been assaulted during their career, with 39% having been attacked in the past year.

Leicestershire Police recorded the most substantial increase of 102%, with 205 cases noted in the first three months of lockdown, up from 101 the previous year.

The next largest increase of 57% was recorded by Derbyshire Constabulary, followed by South Yorkshire Police and Cleveland Police each noting a rise of 55%.

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Police and Crime General Crime agency under fire over bank signature forgery

The National Crime Agency is facing criticism for failing to investigate reports alleging that banks forged signatures and fabricated evidence in court actions to repossess homes.

MPs urged the NCA a year ago to investigate the matter following a BBC News investigation. The NCA has received at least 19 boxes of evidence relating to 362 incidents but anti-corruption campaigners and MPs say victims haven't been contacted and no investigation has been started.

Handwriting experts confirmed that in many cases sent to the NCA, signatures used over the same name could not have been signed by the same person; and that the same signature had been signed over different names.

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Police Finances Families of police officers killed in the line of duty are to receive legally guaranteed support after their deaths

The families of police officers killed in the line of duty such as PC Andrew Harper are to receive legally guaranteed support after their deaths.

Addressing top officers tomorrow, Priti Patel will speak of her revulsion at police killers who “laugh in the face of the law”.

The Home Secretary will unveil the new Police Covenant to protect police, staff and families of those slain in action. It will focus on physical protection, health and wellbeing, and family support. The new law to enshrine the protections for the police is similar to those that already exist for the military.

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Police and Crime General Flawed body armour tests which could be potentially fatal for Special Forces troops and anti-terrorism units have been 'ignored for decades'

Potentially fatal flaws in tests to measure the resistance of body armour have been ignored for decades, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The news follows the MoS’s report last week into the shocking results of experiments on lightweight chest plates being used by Special Forces troops, Royal protection teams and anti-terrorism units.

Research showed that plates that meet Government standards could still lead to fatal injuries if police officers and elite military personnel are shot at close range.

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Police and Crime General London Assembly calls for all MPS officers and staff to receive unconscious bias training

The MPS currently has around 44,000 employees of whom 23,000 have received unconscious bias training and attend regular refresher courses as part of ongoing professional development. In a motion, agreed by 14 votes to seven, the London Assembly called for the training to be provided to all MPS staff.

Assembly member Siân Berry, who proposed the original motion, said: “The police as a service is failing if the public don’t trust their officers and don’t trust they will be treated fairly.

Unmesh Desai, who proposed an amendment to the original motion, added: “The events of the last few months have thrown the urgent need to tackle racism in both its overt and systemic forms into sharp relief.

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Police and Crime General Retired officers continue to fight for police pension equality

Proceedings brought forward by four widows and a widower of former serving police officers, issued out of the High Court in Manchester, were served on Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday, August 21.

Following changes to the Police Pension Regulations, there are now three different approaches to survivors’ pensions across the UK. This means that many would lose their widow’s pension if they remarried or cohabited with a new spouse or partner, forcing thousands to opt for isolation to ensure financial security.

The claimants in question still have their pensions but are challenging Regulation C9 of The 1987 Police Pension Regulations on the basis that it is in breach of the Human Rights Act, specifically, their right to marry, their right to a family life and the right to not be discriminated against.

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Police and Crime General NPCC and College of Policing pledge to improve officer and staff safety following largest ever survey of police workforce

A full-scale review of officer and staff safety has been completed, informed by the views of over 40,000 officers and staff in a national safety survey conducted by the College of Policing. The review was commissioned in response to concerns about rising assaults and increased violence against officers.

In September 2019, NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt commissioned a team of police officers and staff to work with the College of Policing to gather professional expertise, review available evidence and make recommendations to improve officer and staff safety. All 28 recommendations were unanimously agreed by Chief Constables’ Council in January 2020.

Publication of this report was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also highlighted issues of safety for frontline officers and staff. Work has been underway since then to begin implementing the recommendations of this review and improve safety of officers and staff.

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Recruitment and Retention Met pauses recruitment after hitting target of 1,300 extra officers

The force has recruited 1,369 officers this financial year, bringing the workforce to around 32,800 officers. It has now paused its recruitment until early 2021.

The number of officers retiring or resigning also slowed during the pandemic with the result that there were fewer vacancies to fill, it said.

The force also confirmed that 45 officers have returned to the force following the management appeal for ex-officers to rejoin to help police the pandemic in the capital.

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COVID-19 Almost 400 fines given to people not wearing face masks on public transport in England

Almost 400 fines have been issued to people refusing to wear face masks on public transport in England, with the vast majority being given out in London, new figures show.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said enforcement statistics indicated that around 90 per cent of people are complying with coronavirus laws.

By 20 August, almost 115,500 people had been “stopped and reminded” of the requirement to wear a face covering, around 5,300 people were prevented from boarding public transport and 4,200 had been told to leave a service.

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Recruitment and Retention Think-tank pushes for four-day week in public sector

Moving to a four-day working week for the public sector would boost productivity, create jobs and benefit the regions hit hardest by austerity, a report has argued.

Between 300,000 and 500,000 new full-time equivalent jobs would be created and, even with existing staff receiving no loss in pay, the move would cost between £5.4bn and £9.5bn, according to the think-tank Autonomy, which published the paper.

However, it would help combat staff burnout, work-related poor mental health and bad work-life balance that currently “plague” the public sector, the report said, adding that a 2017 BMJ survey found that 15% of public sector workers reported poor mental health, compared with 9% of those in the private sector.

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Police Finances Police pension rules for dead officers' partners face court challenge

Police pension rules that deprive officers’ widows and widowers of their incomes if they remarry or cohabit with a new partner are being challenged in the high court.

The Home Office is being forced to defend regulations in England and Wales that are less generous than similar schemes operating in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and for members of the armed services.

Lawyers acting on behalf of four widows and a widower on Friday lodged their claim against the government in the high court in Manchester, alleging that regulation C9 of the 1987 police pension scheme breaches their human rights.

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Police and Crime General reluctant office staff defy government call to commute

The drive by ministers to get people back to work appeared to be stalling yesterday as figures revealed that most managers and professionals are choosing to work from home.

Steve Barclay, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said that he was “keen to get people back in the office”, adding: “We think that’s best for the economy, to get back to normal as part of our recovery.”

A survey by the AA found, however, that 40 per cent of people who normally drove to work were working from home all or part of the time. This rose to 54 per among senior or middle managers and professionals.

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Prisons Homelessness among prison leavers ‘will rise as Covid support ends’

Homelessness among prison leavers could increase sharply as additional support introduced by the UK government at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic is brought to an end, charities have warned.

From Monday, additional funding to support the provision of accommodation for all individuals released from prison in England and Wales at risk of homelessness will come to an end.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice previously showed that 840 men, 89 women and 85 young adults aged 18 to 24 in England and Wales were released into rough sleeping or other forms of homelessness between 23 March, when the lockdown was imposed, and 30 April.

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COVID-19 Police issue only 38 fines for Brits not wearing masks on public transport despite ‘one in ten flouting rules’

Passengers in England and Wales caught not complying risk being fined £100 and booted off public transport.

A total of 32 fixed penalty notices were issued by the British Transport Police, four by West Midlands Police and one each by Lancashire and Cumbria constabularies.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had said that nine in ten passengers were wearing face coverings, although BTP has said that has since risen to about 97 per cent.

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Economy & Public Finance Scrapping 213 local councils could save £3bn says report

Abolishing 213 smaller councils in England and replacing them with 25 new local authorities could save almost £3bn over five years, a report says. The report for the County Councils Network says one body in each area would reduce complexity and give communities a single unified voice. However, others argue bigger councils are unwieldy and undemocratic. The government is expected to publish its own proposals on overhauling local government in the autumn.

Plans could include scrapping district and county councils in England in favour of fewer, larger authorities which control all services in their area.

County councils, including Surrey, North Yorkshire and Leicestershire, have developed or are already developing plans to replace county and district councils in their area with a single body.

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Police Demand Attacks on emergency workers rise by nearly a third in a year, police data shows

Assaults on emergency service workers have risen by nearly a third compared with last year, according to new police data.

And general crime has risen since the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, though it is still not at the same level as it was a year ago.

The attacks on emergency staff were largely non-injury and officials believe the 31% rise can be attributed to an increase in common assault of police constables, including spitting by offenders claiming to be infected by COVID-19.

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Police and Crime General National Crime Agency seizes houses, flats and gym from gang

The National Crime Agency has seized 59 properties worth a total of £17 million from an organised crime group with links to the drug trade.

The law enforcement agency spent more than eight years dismantling the network of properties, the majority of which are in Birmingham and were used for money laundering and to hide criminal funds.

Most of the properties were residential homes, although the agency also seized a gym and three properties in the seaside resort of Bangor, Co Down. They were connected to Alam and Ameran Zeb Khan, brothers who have been imprisoned for their involvement in the heroin trade and money laundering.

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Police and Crime General Crime in England and Wales falls during lockdown

Crime in England and Wales fell by almost a third in the first two full months of lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics. This was driven by falls in reported thefts and burglary, the ONS said.

But the ONS said drug crime rose by up to 44% compared with the same period last year, due to targeted policing. A survey also suggests the vast majority of adults (91%) are satisfied with the way police have dealt with the coronavirus restrictions.

The figures, which are based on telephone research, support earlier data from police forces of a significant decline in offending during April and May.

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Police and Crime General College's evaluation of Day One assessment shows racial disparity

Day One was developed to replace Police search which had been in place for 18 years. Its planned rollout nationally for 2020 has been delayed due to the pandemic.

It aimed to give new recruit candidates the experience of the challenges a new constable could face on their first day working in policing.

White candidates passed at almost twice the rate as black candidates (81.1 per cent compared to 44.3 per cent).

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Police and Crime General Stop-and-search use in London rose 40% in lockdown, figures show

Stop and searches in London rose by 40% during lockdown and a lower proportion of them led to arrests, figures show. The tactic was used 104,914 times between April and June, equating to more than 1,100 times a day.

Scotland Yard said the drop in crime at the height of the pandemic meant more officers had been able to go on the frontline and target drug dealers and violent gangs.

But only one in five stops led to an arrest, fine or caution. The statistics have prompted renewed concerns that police are using the power indiscriminately.

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Police Finances Pending retirees prioritised for government's pensions settlement

The Home Office has taken another step towards settling the police pensions dsipute that is set to land the government with a multi-billion pound compensation bill.

In an update to members, the Police Federation revealed that officials at the Home Office have set out guidance in relation to Immediate Detriment Pensions Cases.

The department is focusing on officers who are due to retire this year, including due to ill-health and are impacted by the McCloud Sargeant judgement. The end-date of their service has made them a priority.

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Economy & Public Finance Income compensation scheme fails to cover the cost of COVID

Government plans to compensate councils for income lost due to COVID-19 are only likely to cover half the cost of the losses, it is claimed.

Guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has set out the rules for claiming back lost cash. Under the rules, councils will have to shoulder the first 5% of losses on income such as car parking charges and leisure facilities.

They will then receive 75p in every pound lost.However, the details of the scheme reveal that there will be no compensation paid for lost income on investments – despite central Government pushing councils towards a more commercial approach to their finances in the past few years.

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Justice Rape victims could be allowed to pre-record video evidence to spare them being intimidated in court by their attackers under government plans to reverse collapsing conviction rates

Under the Ministry of Justice's plans , victims could pre-record their evidence, including cross-examination, the video would then be played during a trial.

Justice minister Alex Chalk told The Telegraph: 'Vulnerable victims show great courage by coming forward. It's vital they can do so in the least traumatic way possible. This technology ensures they are protected and are able to give their best possible evidence, without reducing a defendant's right to a fair trial.'

Pilots in Liverpool, Leeds and Kingston have seen video evidence recorded as soon as a suspect has been charged.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel approves new Taser model to protect officers and the public

Taser 7 is more accurate, faster and compact than previous models – therefore better in its purpose of protecting the public and police.

It will also reduce costs for forces by replacing disposable batteries with rechargeable ones. Upon procurement by forces, officers could start training with the new model within weeks.

In September 2019 the government announced a £10 million ring-fenced fund to significantly increase the number of officers carrying Taser. All 43 police forces across England and Wales will be able to purchase the new model.

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Police and Crime General Tougher fines ahead of Bank Holiday to crack down on illegal gatherings

Tougher measures targeting the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions will come into effect on Friday 28 August ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Those facilitating or organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events, or any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more may face a £10,000 fine – placing a new deterrent on the breaches that put the public most at risk.

Fines of £100 can continue to be issued to those who participate in illegal gatherings and those who have already received a fine will see the amount of doubled on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

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Police Finances More than 100,000 young people supported as violence reduction units get new funding boost

The Home Office has today published an independent evaluation of the work of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs). It found that in their first year they invested in 175 programmes designed to help young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime.

They include prevention work in schools, communities, prisons, hospitals, Pupil Referral Units and police custody suites.

The evalution comes as the government has today announced that VRUs will be distributing a further £2.9 million to hundreds of frontline charities working on violence prevention projects.

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Economy & Public Finance Local government pay deal agreed

Local government has accepted a 2.75% pay increase, it has been confirmed, despite objections from Unite.

Under the agreement, staff with less than five years’ service will also see their holiday rise from 21 days a year to 22. The pay deal has also been accepted on behalf of local government chief executives and chief officers.

Unison staff in the local government sector voted two to one (66%) in favour of the 2020/21 pay award, which will apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It comes after 76% of GMB members accepted the offer – while 70% of unite members rejected it.

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Police and Crime General Ethnic minorities feel UK police are racially biased, report says

Two-thirds of black and minority ethnic people feel there is bias against them within police forces, a survey has found. Four out of five respondents of black and Bangladeshi heritage felt there was bias, and about half of those of Chinese and Indian backgrounds.

According to the report, some 64% of people of ethnic minority in Britain agreed that the police as a whole were good, and that any issues were down to a few individuals within forces. Black communities were slightly lower (58%) but still a majority.

A National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) spokesman said it was "crucial" to retain the trust of all communities "so that we can work with them to fight crime and keep people safe".

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Police and Crime General Call for trials without juries amid fear that crisis will put criminals on streets

Amounting crisis in the courts will put violent criminals on the streets and prolong trauma for victims of crime, senior judges and lawyers have warned, as delays reach unprecedented levels.

Research by The Times shows that the backlog of crown court trials is increasing by thousands each week, causing hearings to be delayed for years.

The number of pending trials in the crown court, where the most serious offences are heard in England and Wales, has reached about 30,000, according to court service officials.

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Fire New Chair for the National Fire Chiefs Council announced

It has today been announced that a new Chair for the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has been appointed, with effect from 1 April 2021.

Mark Hardingham, currently Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service – and Chair of NFCC’s Protection and Business Safety Committee – will take up the role in April 2021 for an initial two-year period.

Mark will succeed NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher, who has been in the role since NFCC was formed in April 2017. Chair of the Board of Trustees, Teresa Budworth, paid tribute to Roy as the Council’s inaugural Chair, while welcoming Mark to the role.

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Police and Crime General Derbyshire police trialling cutting edge virtual reality training tool

Officers in Derbyshire are helping trial a new virtual reality platform to help train in the use of Taser devices.

In a UK first, the state-of-the-art kit sees officers placed in a number of different scenarios through the use a virtual reality headset.

AVRT, the company behind the program, have been working closely with the Taser training team based at the force’s headquarters in Ripley to develop the product – and now the team are helping trial it with a view to it becoming a national training product.

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Economy & Public Finance UK inflation rises to 1% in July as lockdown eases

UK consumer price inflation jumped to 1% in July from 0.6% in June as lockdown measures eased further.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the figure was boosted by rising petrol and clothing prices.

"In addition, prices for private dental treatment, physiotherapy and haircuts have increased with the need for PPE contributing to costs," the ONS said.

The rise, which surprised economists, will mean a bigger increase in some rail fares from January.

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Police Finances Police staff unions call for entry pay point to be scrapped

The three police staff trade unions are calling for the lowest pay point for police staff to be scrapped “once and for all” because it consistently falls below the real living wage despite annual increases.

UNISON, Unite and GMB are seeking an improvement to the employer’s offer of a 2.5% increase on all pay points with effect from 1 September 2020 and without prejudice talks on police staff apprenticeship pay.

The unions original pay claim included a 6.5%, or £1,200, increase in police staff pay and 6.5% increase in standby allowance and away from home overnight allowance.

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Technology Police using new tool to identify stolen caravans and motorhomes

Cheshire Police is using a new tool to aid the force’s fight against caravan and motorhome thieves.

The VIN CHIP anti-theft identification system enables officers to scan a touring caravan or motorhome from up to 15 metres away to see if it has been reported as stolen and find out who the registered owner is.

They can be scanned at speeds of up to 60mph.

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Police and Crime General MPs warn of 'wave of homelessness' when eviction ban ends

The ban was introduced in March as part of emergency legislation to protect those hit financially by the pandemic.

Amid fears that evictions may lead to more homeless, 21 MPs have urged the government to guarantee council funds to house rough sleepers for a year. The government said it would "continue to provide appropriate support" to those affected.

New evictions in England and Wales had initially been suspended until 25 June, but the pause was extended to 23 August. The Labour-led Welsh government has doubled the notice period required for evictions issued on or after 24 July to six months, excluding cases relating to anti-social behaviour.

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Police and Crime General Police giving cyclists an easier ride

Some cyclists really are getting away with it. In the first six months of the year, a 43.8% drop was recorded in the number of enforcement actions in London for such offences as ignoring a red light, riding on the pavement or riding at night without lights.

For more than half of this period, the roads were quiet as people stayed indoors during the lockdown. Yet motorists were at the receiving end of an 18.5% rise in fixed penalties.

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Technology Gangsters use new secure messaging system that cannot be hacked

Gangsters are using a secure mobile phone messaging system that cannot be hacked by police, it has been claimed.

Criminals operating in the UK have started using the SKYECC phone communication service having previously used the EncroChat system. Police had cracked the EncroChat service, leading to the arrest of thousands across Europe.

EncroChat was allegedly used by 60,000 criminals across the globe, 10,000 of whom were based in the UK. It provided an encrypted messaging system and users could remotely wipe their phone of all data and content.

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Police and Crime General Domestic abuse surged in lockdown, Panorama investigation finds

The coronavirus crisis has dramatically compounded domestic violence against women, new research has revealed.

Two-thirds of women in abusive relationships have suffered more violence from their partners during the pandemic, according to an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama. Three-quarters of victims also say the lockdown has made it harder for them to escape their abusers.

The joint investigation by Panorama and Women’s Aid is the first in-depth study into how the nationwide shutdown in response to Covid-19 has impacted victims of domestic abuse.

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Police and Crime General Risk of vigilante attacks rising as victims wait for justice amid coronavirus delays

Vigilantes “will take matters into their own hands” if trust in the criminal justice system crashes after the coronavirus pandemic, lawyers have warned.

With the backlog of court cases nearing 570,000 in England and Wales, some trials are not being scheduled until 2022 and victims face a wait of several years between reporting a crime and seeing a result.

A small number of trials have restarted but court capacity has been dramatically reduced by social distancing requirements, as crime rises with the easing of restrictions.

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Police and Crime General Police called to wedding receptions with up to 100 guests despite local lockdowns

Police have been called to wedding receptions in both Greater Manchester and Blackburn, despite local lockdowns there struggling to contain outbreaks of coronavirus.

Lancashire Police said they found about 120 people at a wedding venue in Blackburn celebrating on Sunday.

In a statement on Facebook, the force’s Blackburn branch said they were “disappointed” by the wedding reception.

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Police and Crime General How racial bias is pulling young Black adults into the CJS revolving door

A new report by the Revolving Doors Agency highlights the bias in the criminal justice system which leads to disproportionate numbers of young Black adults receiving cautions and convictions for low-level, non-violent crimes.

Young Black adults are significantly more likely to be dragged into the criminal justice system for relatively low-level, non-violent crimes such as theft or minor drug offences, according to a new briefing report from the Revolving Doors Agency.

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Police and Crime General BAME children three times more likely to have a Taser weapon used on them by police

Children from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are almost three times more likely to have a Taser electronic weapon used on them by police than their white counterparts.

The proportion of BAME 11- to 17-year-olds having electronic stun guns used on them in comparison white children has been rising as growing numbers of officers are equipped with the weapons, responses to Freedom of Information requests show.

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Technology Huawei ban raises fears for 999 services

A severely delayed and already over-budget system to help the emergency services to communicate could be further compromised by Huawei technology, politicians said yesterday.

BT has said that it will keep using Huawei’s 4G technology in the £9 billion telecoms network for the emergency services, despite the ban on 5G equipment from the Chinese company. The programme already has a predicted overspend of £3.1 billion and a delay until completion of five years.

The London Assembly’s fire, resilience and emergency planning committee, which scrutinises the work of the capital’s fire brigade, said yesterday that there was a danger the system would be “based on technology with a short lifespan and security concerns”.

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Police and Crime General Wear facemask or you could be fined £3,200, public warned

Fines of up to £3,200 for failure to wear a facemask will be introduced as part of new curbs on risky behaviour.

On-the-spot penalties of up to £10,000 will also be levied on the organisers of illegal parties as ministers grow concerned about gangs arranging gatherings that can turn violent.

The announcement came as Boris Johnson announced the relaxation of further restrictions from tomorrow. Theatres will reopen and wedding receptions and spectator sport resume. The prime minister said, however, that people must not become complacent.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus: Police under fire for using ‘eat out to help out’ deal in canteens

Police forces have been criticised for using the “eat out to help out” scheme in station canteens, enabling officers to buy a hot meal for as little as £1.50.

Restaurateurs said yesterday it was not in the spirit of the initiative, because it was intended to entice diners back to struggling cafés, pubs and small venues.

The Metropolitan Police, as well as forces in Hampshire, Surrey, Cumbria and Devon and Cornwall, all signed up to the scheme, which funds half-price food and drinks from Monday to Wednesday throughout August.

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Fire Almost a third of buildings with Grenfell-style cladding yet to undergo removal work

Almost a third of the buildings still wrapped in Grenfell-style flammable cladding have yet to undergo work to remove it, figures have shown.

A nationwide safety operation was launched in the wake of the 2017 disaster after the aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding blamed for fuelling the inferno was found on hundreds of buildings.

It has so far been identified on 458 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings, an increase of three since the end of June, the latest Government data revealed.

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Technology Police use of facial recognition ruled a breach of human rights

British police’s growing reliance on facial recognition was under question last night after a court ruled that a force using it had broken the law and violated human rights.

Privacy campaigners called for the suspension of the technology after the Court of Appeal said that South Wales police had breached data protection laws and interfered with privacy rights.

While police forces vowed to continue using the technology, the parameters under which it is deployed will be reviewed.

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Economy & Public Finance UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years

The UK economy suffered its biggest slump on record between April and June as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

The economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

Household spending plunged as shops were ordered to close, while factory and construction output also fell.

This pushed the UK into its first technical recession - defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline - since 2009.

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Police Demand South west England full to capacity, say police

The south west of England is "full to capacity" leading to "unprecedented demand" for 999 services in Devon and Cornwall, police have warned.

The force received 2,301 emergency calls at the weekend, a 26.5% increase on the same period in 2019.

Anti-social behaviour accounted for many of the calls, with a 67% increase year on year.

Devon and Cornwall Police has asked people to "respect our region".

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Police and Crime General Police get power to stop spies after Salisbury novichok attack

Police officers have been given beefed-up powers to stop and question suspected spies from hostile states as part of the response to the Salisbury novichok attack.

Officers will be able to stop, question, search and detain individuals as they travel through UK ports to determine whether they are involved in malicious activities on behalf of states such as Russia.

The Home Office said that the measures were designed to help identify and combat hostile state activity in the wake of the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in 2018. The government has blamed the attack on the Russian state.

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Technology Merseyside use of body-worn video a success

It’s rare to come across a change in practice that has been put into general police use at pace during a crisis, but we’ve managed it in Merseyside.

In 2019, we launched a pilot allowing staff to record suspect interviews for all offences on body-worn video (BWV) camera at flexible locations, where it was appropriate and safe to do so. We created a step-by-step workbook to ensure that this was quick and easy to do while maintaining the appropriate risk and legal considerations. This followed a change in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) that enables chief constables to authorise BWV as approved devices for interviews, if set criteria about the environment are adhered to.

As the pilot drew to an end, an independent review team spoke to staff involved and the feedback was some of the most positive we’ve ever received. Even staff who usually struggled with voluntary attendance (VA) or technology – or at 4am on their last night shift – were able to breeze through the process. Word began to spread about this new, simple, efficient way to deal with suspects. Teams that we had not anticipated wanting to be involved, started to request authority to use the process as well.

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Justice Woefully lenient’ sentences to blame for increase in officer assaults

West Mercia Police Federation said officers were being “let down by a system that does not treat these cases seriously enough”.

Assaults against police officers in West Mercia are at a five-year high. In 2018/19, 538 frontline officers were assaulted across West Mercia, with the figure for 2019/20 rising to 659. In the first three months of this year, one in 15 police officers were assaulted West Mercia police and crime commissioner (PCC) John Campion said the figures “make very worrying reading”.

In Shropshire, assaults on West Mercia Police officers have jumped by 45 per cent during the lockdown period despite an overall reduction in total recorded crime.

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Police and Crime General Preparing policing for future challenges and demands

The world of 2040 will be very different to the world of today. Over the next 20 years, trends such as technological change, global warming and rising inequality will come together to increase the number and complexity of issues facing policing.

To meet the challenges and demands of the future, we need to prepare for them today. We’ll need to get better at anticipating emerging issues, think more innovatively about the best policies and interventions for addressing them and act quickly to maximise our chances of success.

Our Policing in England and Wales: Future Operating Environment 2040 report provides an insight into policing’s operating environment as far as 2040, exploring those aspects of the future that we should consider now to prepare the service for the challenges that lie ahead.

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Police and Crime General UK police not always treating suspects’ medical emergencies as ‘genuine’, watchdog warns

A watchdog has raised concern that police are not treating potential medical emergencies as “genuine” while arresting suspects.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is developing new national recommendations after an incident in London where a man was restrained over a parking violation.

It comes amid renewed debate over the use of force by British police, following Black Lives Matter protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in the US.

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Police Demand Coronavirus: Police stop thousands for failing to cover up

Thousands of passengers have been stopped for not wearing facemasks on public transport but only a small number of them fined.

British Transport Police spoke to 28,964 people without a face covering between July 13 and 25.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that 1,605 were told to leave the network and 33 penalty notices were issued.

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Police Demand Child sexual abuse: 449 crimes committed against babies in the past year

A total of 449 sex offences were committed in the past year against babies before they reached their first birthday, figures obtained by the NSPCC have revealed.

UK police forces recorded 73,518 crimes, including rape, online grooming and sexual assault against children in 2019/20, similar to the 73,379 the previous year, but up by 57% from 46,738 in 2014/15.

More than 8,000 offences were committed against 14-year-olds, while 12,374 sex crimes were recorded against children under 10, and 449 against infants yet to turn one.

The data suggested girls were four times more likely to be victims than boys.

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Technology 'Stock take' of digital world is long overdue, says Molly Russell's father

A “stocktake” of the digital world is long overdue, the father of Molly Russell has urged, as he pledges his support for a new consultation into online harms.

The campaigner claims that graphic self-harm images on Instagram played a role in his daughter’s suicide and wants the internet to be a “safer place” for young and vulnerable people.

Ian Russell said: “Today’s current big tech platforms were born at about the same time as my youngest daughter, Molly. The powerful tech corporations live on, sadly Molly ended her own life in 2017, and I am convinced what she found online helped kill her.”

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Police and Crime General Remote working 'new normal' with improved information sharing

The COVID-19 lockdown switched thousands of officers from stations to working from home in a matter of days in March. According to police leaders, the sudden change to remote working ended battles over systems security, data protection and budgets in the battle to stay operational.

Evaluations have shown the change has been a huge success – so much that a full return to bases in September or beyond is not on the cards.

With more money-saving demands likely after the autumn’s Comprehensive Spending Review, forces are already indicating they will be encouraging more remote working.

Other successes have included better information sharing and communicating with other agencies involved in specialist work such as child protection. Video conferencing has improved co-ordinating times when people are available and cut the amount of time spent travelling to meetings.

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Justice 'Lock up police killers for 20 years': MP backs family's calls for tough new sentences after teenagers responsible for hero PC Andrew Harper's death could walk free in just eight

The MP representing the family of PC Andrew Harper will suggest looking into changing the sentencing guidelines for police killers after meeting the officer's mother.

Conservative MP John Howell met with Debbie Adlam on Monday to discuss the family's campaign for 'Andrew's Law'.

This calls for those who kill police officers to face a minimum of 20 years in prison.

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Police and Crime General Record ethnicity of drivers in traffic stops, say campaigners

The ethnicity of drivers stopped by police – and the reason for the stop – should be routinely recorded, campaigners and lawyers have said, after a Labour MP was pulled over by officers.

Dawn Butler, the former shadow equalities minister, accused the police of being institutionally racist after the car she was being driven in by her black friend was pulled over in Hackney, east London.

Traffic stops have come under increased scrutiny since another high-profile incident last month in which the British athlete Bianca Williams was stopped and handcuffed by police alongside her partner while her baby son was in the car.

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Police and Crime General Police commissioner: Magic mushrooms spirit away the blues

Magic mushrooms could be the answer to a coronavirus-induced mental health crisis, according to a police chief.

Arfon Jones, 65, the police commissioner for north Wales, believes a compound in the mushrooms, psilocybin, could treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and has asked the 10 MPs in his region to support a call for the drug to be reclassified.

“There is evidence to show psilocybin can be efficacious in treating depression,” he said, noting that lockdown isolation had made the need for treatment more pressing.

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Police and Crime General Police commissioner: Magic mushrooms spirit away the blues

Magic mushrooms could be the answer to a coronavirus-induced mental health crisis, according to a police chief.

Arfon Jones, 65, the police commissioner for north Wales, believes a compound in the mushrooms, psilocybin, could treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and has asked the 10 MPs in his region to support a call for the drug to be reclassified.

“There is evidence to show psilocybin can be efficacious in treating depression,” he said, noting that lockdown isolation had made the need for treatment more pressing.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel vows to get tough on police and crime commissioners who went ‘missing in action’ during coronavirus pandemic

Priti Patel has vowed to get tough on elected police and crime commissioners who went “missing in action” during the pandemic crisis.

The Home Secretary is furious that while cops faced up to “incredibly complex challenges”, some of their political masters were nowhere to be seen.

She has ordered a review of the role of all 41 commissioners - the first since they were introduced in 2012.

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Justice Downing Street plans rape prosecution targets for police and CPS

Downing Street is planning a controversial intervention to reverse the record decline in rape prosecutions by imposing targets on police and prosecutors, the Guardian has learned.

In a highly unusual move, the prime minister’s crime and justice taskforce is planning to set targets for police to refer more high-quality rape cases to the Crown Prosecution Service and for the CPS to prosecute and bring more rape cases to trial.

It paves the way for a row with the CPS, which is likely to oppose the change for impinging on its independence. The service has in the past set its own targets for different crimes, but this is understood to be the first time it would be subject to a government-imposed target for rape prosecutions.

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Fire Body cameras should be worn by firefighters nationwide after surge in attacks, fire chiefs say

Body-worn cameras should be made available to every firefighter across the country, fire chiefs have urged following a surge in attacks on frontline officers.

Attacks on firefighters in England rose by two-thirds from 578 to 961 between 2014/5 and 2018/9, with almost 10 percent of the incidents involving harassment or physical abuse, the latest Home Office data shows.

To reverse the trend, which has worsened in many areas since lockdown, fire commanders are calling for a national rollout of body-worn cameras to aid in court prosecutions of assaults.

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Economy & Public Finance UK enters recession

The economy will officially enter recession this week after tumbling by a record 20% in the second quarter.

The contraction follows the 2.2% fall in GDP in the first three months and will mean the UK meets the definition of recession by recording two successive quarters of decline. However, economists will look at data for the last month of the quarter, June, to gauge the speed of the upturn as the lockdown restrictions eased.

May’s GDP disappointed economists as it rose by only 1.8%. The consensus is for an 8% rise in June.

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Police and Crime General At least 151 migrants land on Kent beaches

At least 151 migrants on 15 boats have arrived on the Kent coast after crossing the English Channel, the Home Office said.

One boat reportedly carrying 12 migrants, was picked up by Border Force patrols at about 10:00 BST and brought to shore at Dover.

A second boat carrying 14 migrants landed at Kingsdown shortly after.

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Economy & Public Finance MPS officers left out of pocket by congestion charge changes

More than one thousand officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) are being forced to pay hundreds of pounds extra out of their wages each month due to the Mayor of London’s refusal to exempt them from the congestion charge.

In the most extreme cases some cases, some officers are facing costs of more than £300 a month since June when the charge to drive a vehicle into central London was raised to £15 a day and applied seven days per week.

The majority of respondents (93 per cent) to a survey carried out by the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) said driving to work remains the best option to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19 virus and from stopping the potential spread to other people on public transport.

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Justice Believe complaints of abuse, police told in new advice after ‘Nick’ case

Senior police officers have stood by the policy automatically to believe alleged victims of abuse in new national advice, despite inquiries in which fantasists were trusted and reputations traduced.

Detectives investigating historical allegations of child abuse will be told that “the intention is that victims are believed”. The College of Policing guidance, to be published today, emphasises that “those reporting crimes will be treated with empathy and their allegations will be taken seriously”.

Automatic belief has been highly controversial since detectives in Scotland Yard’s Operation Midland were taken in by a fantasist known as Nick and his false claims of a Westminster abuse ring.

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Economy & Public Finance Bank of England: Downturn less severe than feared

The UK economic slump caused by Covid-19 will be less severe than expected, but the recovery will also take longer, the Bank of England has said.

It expects the economy to shrink by 9.5% this year.

While this would be the biggest annual decline in 100 years, it is not as steep as the Bank's initial estimate of a 14% contraction.

However, the Bank said unemployment was likely to rise "materially" as it held interest rates at 0.1%.

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Police Demand Rural crime in England reaches eight-year high of £46m

Rural crime in England hit an eight-year peak last year, costing businesses around £46m, according to a new report.

This 9% rise was partially driven by "organised gangs" targeting expensive vehicles like tractors and quad bikes, according to insurer NFU Mutual

They also revealed a spike in livestock theft during lockdown, including a 15% increase in sheep rustling.

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Police and Crime General Police in North Yorkshire six times more likely to issue fines to ethnic minorities

Police in North Yorkshire were six times more likely to issue lockdown fines to people who are from ethnic minority backgrounds but the force says a detailed review found no evidence of discrimination.

Overall, North Yorkshire Police handed out fines at five times the rate of police across England and Wales - 12.4 per 10,000 people compared to 2.7 per 10,000 nationally.

Between March 27 and May 25, the police force issued 1,029 fines for breaking lockdown rules. Of those, 871 were issued to white people and 148 to people from ethnic minorities.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary sees first-hand the science supporting UK police

The Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Priti Patel visited Dstl’s Head Quarters to see and hear first-hand how Dstl scientists are researching, developing and delivering innovations to protect not only the UK’s police forces, but also UK citizens.

Priti Patel was shown a range of new research currently underway, including female body armour designs, virtual training concepts, knife crime detection and corrosive substance detection to help prevent chemical attacks. The Home Secretary also heard how Dstl forensic scientists provided evidence that has helped with 152 terrorism convictions between 2016 and 2019.

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Police and Crime General Drug dealers behind knife crime surge in the shires

Knife crime has surged in rural counties in the past decade, according to an analysis published today.

A third of police force areas in England and Wales have reported knife offences at least doubling and in Surrey they have increased by 598 per cent.

County line drug dealing, in which urban dealers move into small towns and seaside resorts, are said to have destabilised existing drugs markets, fuelling rivalries and stabbings.

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Fire Grenfell Tower fire exposes culture of bad building

On a balmy summer night three years ago one of the greatest tragedies in recent history unfolded as Grenfell Tower was consumed in flames.

Over the past fortnight the principal building contractor responsible for the renovation of the 23-storey block, including the installation of flammable cladding, gave evidence to the inquiry into the fire in west London.

The testimony of executives at Rydon offers an insight into how the building industry works and how its practices may have contributed to the disaster that night — and could lead to other tragedies in future.

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Police Demand Police ‘need more powers’ to enforce coronavirus restrictions in north

Fears are growing that police forces cannot properly implement the new coronavirus restrictions in parts of the north until legislation is put in place.

New rules limiting contact between households were introduced last week to Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Footage showing residents continuing to party and celebrate with friends in the city centre over the weekend caused concern about how the measures were being enforced.

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Economy & Public Finance Trafficking victims’ financial support slashed unlawfully during coronavirus pandemic, lawyers warn

Hundreds of trafficking survivors have had their financial support slashed unlawfully during the coronavirus pandemic, lawyers warn.

People recognised as potential victims of modern slavery who have been placed in hotels and other interim accommodation during lockdown stopped receiving their weekly government allowance – which is designed to aid their recovery – without warning last month.

The Home Office is facing a legal challenge over its decision to cut their financial support, with lawyers stating that there is no legal basis for such practice as it places vulnerable people at risk of re-trafficking.

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Police and Crime General PC Andrew Harper killing: Attorney General asked to consider if jail terms unduly lenient

The Attorney General has been asked to consider whether jail terms given to the three teenagers who killed PC Andrew Harper are unduly lenient.

Henry Long, 19, the driver of the car that dragged the 28-year-old officer to his death, was jailed for 16 years for manslaughter at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The other two occupants of the car, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were each jailed for 13 years.

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Police and Crime General Police and Crime Commissioner in praise of progress made within local Magistrates Courts as they near normal levels of service

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has this week praised the progress made within local magistrates courts as they near normal levels of service following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not only did lockdown and social distance restrictions change the picture of crime and disorder in the last months, but it also changed the way in which victims were being supported. Ensuring the return of normal levels of service in Courts is seen as vital for victims, who are ultimately the end-users of our Criminal Justice System.

Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has been instrumental in coordinating the Criminal Justice System’s response to the pandemic, working with partners at an All Wales level to develop emergency joint-working arrangements, as well as leading the local response via the Dyfed-Powys Criminal Justice Board, which he Chairs. This partnership recovery work has delivered hugely positive steps forward, with local Magistrates courts being some of the first in Wales to resume normal levels of service having put contingency plans such as extra courts in place to ensure the full backlog of cases have been heard.

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Police and Crime General PCC and Force respond to NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report

NFU Mutual have today released their annual Rural Crime Report. It shows that rural crime cost their Wiltshire customers over £1,066,343 in 2019, which is a rise of 102% from £527,774 in 2018.

The full report from NFU Mutual is available on their website.

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "The figures from today's NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report are concerning and is one that simply cannot be ignored.

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Police and Crime General PCC remains committed to tackle rural crime amid national surge in cost

Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey David Munro has welcomed a report showing the cost of rural crime in the South East region rose by 0.6% – compared to a national increase of almost 9% in 2018-19. The larger increase is responsible for the highest cost to the economy in close to a decade.

The report by NFU Mutual reflects a sharp rise in the cost of these crimes, led by the theft of agricultural vehicles and livestock. It raises concerns about a further rise as economic uncertainty grows post Covid-19.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus: Second COVID-19 wave twice as big as the first without effective test, trace, isolating strategy, says new modelling study

Reopening schools fully in September without an effective test, trace and isolating strategy could result in a second wave of coronavirus more than twice the size of the first, according to a new modelling study.

Researchers from UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) examined the possible implications of schools reopening in the UK coupled with broader reopening of society, such as more parents returning to the workplace and increased socialising within the community.

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Police and Crime General Violent criminality bounces back to pre-coronavirus levels

Violent criminality has climbed back to pre-coronavirus levels prompting warnings from London’s mayor and Birmingham’s police commissioner that it could escalate further as the pandemic crisis hits the economy.

Sadiq Khan told the Guardian he believed there was “a real risk of violent crime spiking as lockdown is eased” and demanded ministers make good shortfalls to police and youth services budgets to head off the perceived danger.

David Jamieson, the police and crime commissioner for West Midlands police, which covers Birmingham, said crime had come “bouncing back” after lockdown had eased but added that his principal concern was about the months ahead.

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Police and Crime General Police enlist public to catch dangerous drivers

The film director Guy Ritchie was recorded texting at the wheel by a cyclist and banned from driving for six months.

Being convicted on the evidence of cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers will soon be a frequent occurrence as police roll out a national system to upload videos of dangerous driving.

Detective Superintendent Andy Cox of London’s Metropolitan police, said: “The police can’t be everywhere all the time but the public can. If I’m a dangerous driver, I may look for the police car and the speed camera. If I don’t see them I might be minded to drive illegally, dangerously. If I’ve got the mindset that a member of the public might report me, I think that is a significant deterrent.”

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Police and Crime General Draft Domestic Abuse Bill: overarching documents

The government have released documents relating to the draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

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Police Demand Coronavirus raves and protests may need army, advisers warn

The military should be on standby to intervene as local lockdowns compound tensions, threatening disorder not seen since the 2011 riots, the government’s scientific advisers warn.

Mass protests, illegal raves and increases in racism, inequality and unemployment are among the issues combining to raise the risk of disorder, according to a report by the Sage advisory group published yesterday.

The police are ill equipped to cope and military assistance is likely to be needed if widespread rioting were to break out, the report delivered at a meeting on July 2 added.

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Police and Crime General Youths end up in adult courts after long delays

Delays in bringing cases to the criminal courts mean that youths end up being sentenced as adults in one of the lesser-known consequences of the backlogs blighting the system.

Ministers and court officials face pressure to provide better figures on the number of defendants charged with offences when they were 17 who then turn 18 before their first court appearance.

The Commons justice committee says in a report today that the phenomenon leads to unfairness because teenagers who would be tried in the youth courts are moved to adult hearings, where they face tougher sentencing.

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Recruitment and Retention More than 4,000 extra police recruited in England and Wales

A government drive to recruit more police has led to the largest annual increase in officers for 16 years.

Under the Home Office scheme, 4,336 more have been taken on in England and Wales this year - with ministers pledging to recruit 6,000 by next March and 20,000 by March 2023.

But figures show more than 20,000 police were lost between 2010 and 2019.

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Police and Crime General Trust in police will fracture under new hate legislation, warn officers

New hate laws will criminalise controversial opinions and shatter public trust in the police, say frontline officers.

The legislation making its way through Holyrood would make “stirring up hatred” against certain groups a criminal offence.

The proposals have provoked a backlash amid fears they could lead to people being charged over comments perceived to be offensive even if that was not the intention.

The Scottish Police Federation said that proposals by the Scottish government would “paralyse freedom of speech” and threaten prosecution for expressing unpopular opinions.

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Police Finances 35 PCCs receive their share of Home Office Safer Streets fund

PCCs were given the opportunity to make a maximum of three bids of up to £550,000 in January this year. 35 PCCs have received a share of £22.4 million from the £25 million scheme.

Cleveland’s bid was led by the Commissioner’s Office in partnership with local councils, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Victim Care and Advice Service.

Cleveland’s OPCC secured £1,034,696 for preventative measures for the three most high-risk areas for theft-related crime, such as alley gates, increased CCTV and street lighting.

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Police and Crime General Police Service must rethink response to 21st Century crime says review

Police forces should look to employing IT specialists and change the way they respond to complex challenges like mental health, according to the first stage of a major review of policing.

The first stage of the Police Foundation’s review of policing in England and Wales found forces are good at enforcing against physical offences but are unprepared to deal with the volume and complexity of online offences such as fraud.

More complex crime investigations are hampered by a national shortfall of 5,000 detectives and up to six month waits for examinations of digital evidence.

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Recruitment and Retention Thousands of UK public sector jobs to be created in recruitment drive

Thousands of nurse training places and probation officer jobs will be created as part of a new government recruitment drive for the public sector.

The Ministry of Justice is hiring 1,000 new probation officers just months after it was announced the service would be brought back under government control after a disastrous spell of part-privatisation.

The Department for Education has also approved over 3,000 additional university positions to study nursing after record vacancy levels were recorded in 2019.

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Economy & Public Finance Stretched LRFs in cash plea

Stretched local resilience forums (LRF) have pleaded for cash amid warnings a lack of funding is hindering their planning for the next crisis.

A leaked Whitehall report said there was a ‘clear need for urgent financial assistance,’ with most LRFs said to be ‘run on a shoestring’.

LRFs have repeatedly pushed for ‘direct funding’ to help them prepare for ‘upcoming concurrent events’ such as a potential no-deal Brexit.

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Police and Crime General Analysis of Coronavirus fines published

The analysis, undertaken by staff from the Government Statistical Service, used police force data from English and Welsh forces for the number of FPNs issued between 27 March and 25 May for breaching public health regulations introduced by Government to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. These powers came into effect on 27 March 2020.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing issued guidance to forces on how to implement the new regulations. This made clear that enforcement was only to be used as a last resort, when attempts to engage with individuals to explain the regulations and encourage compliance had not been successful.

The analysis examines rates of FPNs issued on two different bases: force area where the individual was present when issued the fine, and the force area where the individual issued the fine was normally resident.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus: Government borrowing and UK's national debt explode due to lockdown

The lockdown of the economy has checked the spread of coronavirus but it also triggered a recession that has badly damaged the public finances.

The government is borrowing money on a record-breaking scale, our stock of national debt is now the same size as our annual economic output.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Public Sector Net Borrowing in June stood at £35.5 billion. Lower than in May but still five times the amount borrowed in June last year.

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Police Demand Child protection referrals could soar by 250% with lockdown easing, social workers warn

The head of the biggest child protection department in the country has told Sky News they are facing a crisis when children return to school in September.

Matt Dunkley, corporate director for children and young people at Kent County Council, says there could be an increase of 250% in referrals of children that need to be investigated and kept safe when lockdown is eased further.

Before COVID-19, 40,000 cases were referred to the department each year.

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Police Demand Just 1 in 14 crime suspects were charged last year

Victims are being robbed of justice say charities and MPs.

More than five million crimes were recorded in England and Wales in the year to March, Home Office figures show.

But cops only charged 350,863 people, seven per cent of cases.

That is down from 15 per cent in 2015. A suspect was charged in just 1.4 per cent of rape cases, 5.2 per cent of thefts and 7.2 per cent of robberies.

Police failed to identify a suspect in 2.15million crimes. And they dropped 1.7million cases due to a lack of evidence.

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Police and Crime General Criminals developing ‘sophisticated strategies’ to trap victims into a cycle of exploitation

The report, from crisis charity Hestia, says victims are “frequently misunderstood and treated as criminals” even when they escape their exploiters.

In the UK it is estimated that as many as 100,000 victims are being exploited for modern slavery.

Data from the National Slavery Operations Database between December 2016 and July 2019 shows that criminal exploitation has been steadily increasing, up from six per cent three years ago and now making up more than a quarter of all police operations.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus: New face covering rules come into force in England

Face coverings are now compulsory for customers in shops in England, after new coronavirus rules came into force within 12 hours of the government issuing guidance on the change.

Coverings are mandatory in enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and takeaways.

Police can hand out fines of up to £100 to those who do not comply.

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Justice Anger after East Midlands overlooked for emergency "nightingale courts"

PCCs from the East Midlands have spoken out after the region was excluded in government plans for ten new temporary courts to tackle the Covid-19 backlog.

The Government has identified ten areas in England and Wales to host new “Nightingale courts” from next month in a bid to ensure the “wheels of justice keep turning”.

Across the East Midlands, the number of outstanding court cases has rocketed, leaving vulnerable victims waiting months – or years – for justice.

Despite this, the region has missed out on the new emergency support announced by the government and faces a growing crisis.

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Police and Crime General PCC Doubles Funding Scheme for Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch schemes across Derbyshire are being invited to apply for a share of £5,000 to fund new and innovative approaches to crime prevention.

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has doubled his Neighbourhood Watch Innovation Fund from £2,500 to £5,000 in 2020-21 in recognition of the hugely valuable work NHW schemes undertake to reduce the fear of crime and boost public safety.

The funding will be available in two separate rounds concluding in March next year and will help NHW schemes introduce new ideas to promote safety and prevent crime and antisocial behaviour.

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Economy & Public Finance Jenrick considers covering business rate and council tax losses

At least some of councils' lost business rates and council tax income could be covered by the government, the communities secretary indicated this morning.

Robert Jenrick also told MPs that "clearly councils need to be funded" for additional expenditure resulting from Covid-19, describing this as often "the right thing to do".

Giving evidence to the Commons’ housing, communities and local government committee, Mr Jenrick said he was considering introducing a "mechanism" to cover lost council tax and business rate income akin to the system announced this month under which the government will guarantee 75% of lost income from sales, fees and charges above 5%.

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Police and Crime General Face mask law already in chaos as supermarkets say they won't enforce new rules

Shop bosses have warned staff to turn a blind eye if customers refuse to wear face masks over fears they risk being assaulted.

Stores will tell shoppers that coverings are compulsory from tomorrow.

But the Association of Convenience Stores said: “We have advised members not to challenge customers unwilling to wear a covering.”

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Police and Crime General West Midlands bring testimonies to stop and search training

West Midlands Police is using feedback interviews from people who are stop and searched to inform standalone training, student training and incorporate them into self-defence training.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Inspector Dan Popple said most officers in the organisation only get stop and search training when they join.

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Police Demand Coronavirus: Domestic abuse helpline sees lockdown surge

More than 40,000 calls and contacts were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline during the first three months of lockdown, most by women seeking help, new figures show.

In June, calls and contacts were nearly 80% higher than usual, says the charity Refuge, which runs the helpline.

And as restrictions ease, there is a surge in women seeking refuge places to escape their abusers, the charity says.

The government says it prioritised help for domestic-abuse victims in lockdown.

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Economy & Public Finance Inflation-busting pay rises for doctors, teachers and police

Doctors, teachers and police are among 900,000 public sector workers who will get above-inflation pay rises this year.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, said the increases were recognition for the “vital contribution” they had made during the coronavirus crisis. Economists said that the rise was likely to make the public sector more attractive to private sector workers, who are expected to be hit hardest as the economy recovers.

Teachers will be given a 3.1 per cent rise; doctors and dentists 2.8 per cent; and police 2.5 per cent. Pay for the armed forces, the judiciary and senior civil servants will rise by 2 per cent; prison officers will receive 2.5 per cent.

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Police Finances Chancellor launches Comprehensive Spending Review

The Chancellor has launched the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). The Review, which will be published in the autumn, will set out the government’s spending plans for the parliament.

The review will set UK Government departments’ resource budgets for the years 2021/22 to 2023/24 and capital budgets for the years 2021/22 until 2024/25, and devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period.

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Police Finances Police to receive 2.5% pay increase

Police pay will rise by 2.5% in 2020 to 2021, providing officers with an increase above inflation for the second year running.

It matches the 2.5% rise awarded last year, which gave forces the largest pay increase since 2010.

Policing continues to be an attractive career, with the numbers of people joining the police reaching a 10-year high.

Between October and May, more than 78,000 people applied to forces, as the government makes good on its pledge to put 20,000 additional officers on the streets in three years.

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Police and Crime General Windrush scandal: Patel promises 'sweeping reforms' of Home Office culture

The home secretary has promised "sweeping reforms" to Home Office culture after the Windrush scandal which saw people wrongly deported.

Speaking to MPs, Priti Patel said there would be a "full evaluation" of the hostile environment policy.

She also announced mandatory training for Home Office staff, reconciliation events with the victims of the scandal and diverse shortlists for senior jobs.

Labour said the government was "falling woefully short".

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Police Finances PCC welcomes the 2.5% pay increase for police officers

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the 2.5% pay increase for police officers, but says he has concerns that it will lead to cuts elsewhere in policing because it has to be funded from current budgets.

David Jamieson says the increase goes some way to recognise the hard work of officers throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, but has asked for clarity from the government as to how it will pay for the rise.

If the government does not agree to fund this increase with extra money then it could result in a net loss of 36 police officers.

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Police and Crime General Less than 10% of all business crime reported to police

On Friday (July 17) Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne convened another meeting of her Safer Sussex Business Partnership to identify easier ways for businesses to report crime.

This meeting included senior officers from Sussex Police, business crime experts, representatives from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op as well as representatives of smaller, local stores, business crime reduction partnerships and Mitie.

It was revealed that business crime across Sussex, as across the whole country, is significantly under reported and a recent analysis conducted locally with a large national chain revealed less 10% of all their incidents were reported to Sussex Police.

It was recognised that there are currently too many barriers to reporting crime for local businesses - including the time spent reporting crimes and the misconception that financial thresholds exist and influence what crimes police will investigate.

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Justice Millions could be deprived access to justice due to growing gap in legal aid funding, charity warns

Millions could be deprived of access to justice as financial and social issues born out of the Covid-19 pandemic highlight a growing gap in legal aid funding, a national legal charity has warned.

A report by the Law Centres Network finds that a large proportion of the public will be left without “vital” assistance to protect their home, job or benefits during the crisis without also pushing themselves and their families into poverty, because they fall into what is known as the “justice gap”.

The warning comes as new figures show that nearly 650,000 people have already lost their jobs during the pandemic, while unfair dismissal and domestic violence are now more common and a surge in homelessness is expected when evictions start again in August – all of which are likely to lead to a surge in people needing legal protection.

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Recruitment and Retention Five-year report on Direct Entry published

Two recruitment schemes which saw members of the public join the service at senior ranks, along with a scheme to accelerate the promotion of serving constables to inspectors, have been evaluated and the results were released today.

Direct Entry for superintendents and inspectors is a major break with traditional police recruitment in England and Wales and is aimed at attracting people into the service who have diverse career backgrounds, different perspectives and leadership skills.

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Fire UK to appoint chief inspector of buildings to address safety fears

Ministers are to appoint the UK’s first chief inspector of buildings in reforms prompted by the Grenfell Tower disaster and the discovery that thousands of other high-rise buildings breach fire safety regulations.

The inspector will lead a national regulator of building safety that will also police a system to designate an “accountable person” for each high-rise building. They will be obliged to respond to residents’ complaints after the tenants and leaseholders of Grenfell Tower said their fears about the safety of their homes were ignored by their landlords before the fire on 14 June 2017, which killed 72 people.

The Grenfell Action Group community blog famously published a post in November 2016 that said “only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation”.

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Police and Crime General Prime Minister gives local authorities more powers for local lockdowns

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced in his statement on Coronavirus July 17 that local authorities will have new powers to enforce measures to limit the spread of the virus in their area.

From July 18, local councils will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events to speed up the response to a local outbreak and contain the spread.

Following a local lockdown in Leicester, which saw the percentage of people testing positively fall from a weekly rate of 12.2% to 4.8%, new framework will enable national and local Government to work more closely together to implement this in other areas if needs be.

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Police and Crime General Met and West Midlands singled out as exceptions in roads policing report

An inspection of roads policing within seven forces has made severe crticism of the lack of training and equipment of officers tasked with the role.

“We found roads policing officers whose training was so inadequate they couldn’t identify and prosecute offences relating to heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). In one force, a lack of intelligence support left the roads policing team relying on social media and their personal mobile phones to share intelligence,” the report said.

The report will form part of a wider review launched by the Department for Transport into roads policy amid concerns that road accident deaths have plateaued – and the cost of accidents is now £36bn a year.

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Police Finances Distribution of £500m Covid funding announced

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has announced how the latest tranche of Covid-19 funding for councils will be distributed.

Worth £500m in total, £6m of the pot is to be used to provide additional support to councils dealing with pressures due to high numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. The remaining £494m has been split between all councils with 93% going to upper tier authorities and 7% to lower tier.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said the funding had been distributed based on population and levels of deprivation as well as how the costs of delivery of services varies across the country.

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Police and Crime General Report finds young people want fairer, more consistent policing

More than 4,000 young people aged 13-25 were asked for their thoughts between May and June as part of a consultation led by Cheshire-based youth social enterprise Leaders Unlocked, which also runs local police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Keane’s Youth Commission.

The new report, Policing the Pandemic, features insights and direct quotations from young people about their experiences of policing and crime during lockdown.

It also features 11 recommendations for change that have been devised by the young leaders involved in the study.

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Technology Consent forms for 'digital strip searches' to be withdrawn

Introduced in February 2019, the forms allow officers to access all the messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts on the phones of victims.

They were intended to help police and prosecutors balance the needs to follow all reasonable lines of enquiry, respect the privacy of victims and witnesses and meet disclosure obligations. However, campaigners said they were the equivalent of a digital strip search and victims were warned that if they failed to consent to the data being extracted, their cases might not be pursued.

The announcement of the change in policy follows a legal challenge brought by the Centre for Women’s Justice (CJW) last year which argued that the use of the forms was unlawful, discriminatory and led to excessive and intrusive disclosure requests.

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Police and Crime General Force signs traveller protocol with council to speed evictions

A joint working protocol will make it quicker for Dudley Council and West Midlands Police to deal with illegal encampments on public land.

A long-standing issue has been the national shortage of authorised traveller sites so the council is pressing ahead with a new transit site to give courts a destination when moving travellers on from public land.

The new temporary transit site is expected to be up and running by August. The council will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the site.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus: Matt Hancock rules out facemasks for office workers

Masks will not be made compulsory for office workers but will remain compulsory in shops and on public transport for the “foreseeable future”, the health secretary has insisted, admitting that face coverings could still be required next summer.

Matt Hancock said that the government had no plans to mandate face coverings for workers in enclosed office environments despite speculation that they would be forced to adopt the same rules as shops.

Ministers had refused to deny that offices were the next frontier in the introduction of masks but this morning Mr Hancock moved swiftly to rule out the prospect of masking office staff, despite concerns that a return to work could see localised outbreaks in workplaces.

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Technology Social media clips don't tell full story, says Met Deputy Commissioner

Sir Stephen House said that social media footage of apparent police brutality get high levels of publicity, whereas the full sequence of events and cases where officers are afterwards exonerated from any wrongdoing receive none at all.

His comments were made as London Assembly Police & Crime Committee virtually met with to discuss stop and search and disproportionality against BAME individuals,a longisde Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

It is reported that the Met carried out 43,000 stop and searches in May 2020, compared to 21,000 in May 2019, and 30,608 in April 2020 compared to 20,981 in April 2019.

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Economy & Public Finance Patel backs calls for funding reform and PCC system overhaul

The Home Secretary told members of the Home Affairs Select Committee that she wanted to review the work of Police and Crime Commissioners because there was too much variation between forces in England and Wales.

Currently, policing priorities are set by a force’s PCC but the Chief Constable makes operational and staffing decisions.

Ms Patel said: “Structurally we need to look at the cross over in governance structures and policing priorities.”

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Police and Crime General Knife crime could spike as children who witnessed domestic violence emerge from lockdown, report warns

Knife crime could spike as children who have witnessed domestic violence are released from lockdown, according to a shocking report by MPs released today.

Urgent measures are needed to ensure schools and pupil referral units are adequately resourced and prepared for the challenges ahead, the cross-party Youth Violence Commission said.

The commission has “serious concerns” over the extent that teachers will be able to effectively support and care for children and young people returning to education after an extended period of confinement at home.

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Police and Crime General Tougher sentences for attacks on emergency workers considered

Plans to double the maximum jail term for criminals who assault emergency workers to two years are being considered by the government.

Just two years ago, a previous law change doubled the maximum term from six months to 12 in England and Wales.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said this sent a "clear and simple message" that "vile thugs" would not get away with such "appalling behaviour". "Our police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers go above and beyond every single day - running towards danger to protect us all," she said.

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Police and Crime General EU criminals with more than a year in jail will be banned from Britain under tough new immigration rules

Foreign criminals sentenced to more than a year in jail will be banned from Britain under new immigration rules.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will set out details of the points-based system which will replace freedom of movement from January 1.

The 130-page document will abolish the route into the UK for unskilled migrants and instead award points to applicants if they have skilled job offers, speak English and meet minimum salary thresholds.

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Police and Crime General Police enforcement of coronavirus laws at lowest level since lockdown started

Police enforcement of coronavirus laws in England and Wales is at the lowest level since the lockdown started, figures show.

Only a handful of fines have been handed out since the start of July, compared to almost 2,500 a week before restrictions were relaxed.

More than 15,500 fines were issued in England before the law changed to allow groups of six to meet on 1 June, and fewer than 500 since.

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Police and Crime General Control rooms in danger of being overwhelmed, Inspectorate warns

After years of cuts and growing complexity, force control rooms are handling calls with smaller budgets and fewer people. Vulnerable people are being missed as a result, according to an investigation by HM Inspectorate.

Forces are using different systems and protocols for responding to both 999 and 101 calls – a familiar criticism by the watchdog that there is a lack of standardisation across the 43 forces.

The critical report comes despite pledges from the government that lessons would be learnt from the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people.

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Police Finances ‘Call to action’ as Commissioner’s Fund relaunches to support communities across Lancashire

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, has relaunched his Community Action Fund and called on organisations to apply, recognising that projects may need to be delivered differently during the COVID 19 pandemic.

This comes as 26 projects have been successful in gaining grants, with over £60,000 going towards community organisations who are helping make Lancashire a safer and better place.

By helping groups tackle local concerns and deliver the Commissioner’s key priorities in his Police and Crime Plan, the fund delivers an effective way of engaging people within their communities, through diversionary activity and targeted support amongst others.

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Economy & Public Finance Chancellor unveils his three-part plan for jobs

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the next phase of his plan to ‘protect, support and retain’ jobs in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-part plan began with the furlough scheme, which has not been extended beyond its October deadline.

Despite predictions of large-scale job losses from the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England, Mr Sunak told Parliament: ‘I will never accept unemployment as an inevitable outcome.’

Entering the second phase, the chancellor focused on creating jobs for young people, investment in infrastructure, and ‘green recovery’ with cash to for home improvements.

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Fire Grenfell Tower inquiry: Lead fire consultant 'ignored' cladding email

The lead fire safety consultant of the Grenfell Tower refurbishment ignored documents outlining proposed cladding and insulation materials, the inquiry into the fire has heard.

Terry Ashton said he did not read an email from project architects detailing a planned cladding system because he was not the "primary recipient".

Hearings in the second phase of the inquiry returned this week after a four-month break due to coronavirus. It is looking at the refurbishment of the residential block in North Kensington in which 72 people died.

Mr Ashton, of fire engineering firm Exova, ignored an email from architecture firm Studio E on 23 October 2012 which included attachments containing details and drawings of a planned cladding system.

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Police and Crime General Met carried out 22,000 searches on young black men during lockdown

Young black men were stopped and searched by police more than 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown – the equivalent more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital.

More than 80% of the 21,950 searches between March and May resulted in no further action, according to analysis by the office of the home affairs select committee chair, Yvette Cooper.

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Police and Crime General Survey will examine resident's experiences of anti social behaviour

Whenever I go out to talk to members of the public, there is one theme that comes up again and again – anti social behaviour.

Vandalism, graffiti, disputes with neighbours, litter, aggressive dogs and off-road motorbikes riding around residential streets.

These day to day incidents of nuisance and disorder can make people’s lives a misery, leaving them feeling intimidated, angry or frightened to leave their houses...

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Police and Crime General If lockdown can go local, the plan for recovery should do the same

We are living through a national crisis. But as the news from Leicester has brought into sharp relief, we are also living through a series of local crises.

What started centred in London has now moved to afflict northern towns and cities. It will no doubt move again. There are some patterns. Death rates are higher in more deprived areas — even more so than normal. There is also a lot of apparently random variation; similar, neighbouring areas have often had very different experiences.

We can expect more local peaks and troughs over the course of the pandemic, possibly requiring more local lockdowns, and certainly requiring localised policy responses.

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Economy & Public Finance Arts venues welcome £1.57bn government support

The government has unveiled a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Breakfast new grants and loans aim to preserve "crown jewels" in the UK's art sector as well as local venues. It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible. Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts, starting with performances behind closed doors and rehearsals, is expected to be published by the government shortly.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak to give firms £1,000 cash bonus to hire trainees

The government is pledging to provide 30,000 new traineeships to get young people in England into work, as fears about mounting unemployment increase.

Traineeships provide classroom-based lessons in maths, English and CV writing, as well as up to 90 hours of unpaid work experience.

Under the £111m scheme, firms in England will be given £1,000 for each work experience place they offe

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Police and Crime General Another 27,000 excess deaths 'likely' if government continues on this path, warns top scientist

A further 27,000 excess deaths are "likely" between now and next April under the current approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, a former government chief scientific adviser says.

Sir David King, who has been critical of the easing of lockdown measures, told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday, "we need to look at the fastest route out of COVID-19" and the current one "is not right".

He said it looked as though Downing Street's policy was to "maintain" the current level of about 3,000 new infections per day across England.

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Police and Crime General Think tank calls for sweeping reforms to local taxes

A group of former Treasury special advisers have called for revaluation of the council tax and reform of business rates to boost the economy post-COVID-19.

The ex-advisers, part of a centre right think-tank called Onward, call for ‘sweeping reform of the tax system in particular reforming business and property taxes including council tax revaluation.’ The last valuation was in 1991 and it has been prostponed by successivew governments ever since.

In their report, Bouncing Back, the authors call for new fiscal rules targeting debt falling as a percentage of GDP by 2025. They argue that ‘politically, there is no mandate for a course of action that looks like reducing public spending on essential services such as the NHS’ but also stress that ‘a radical vision for permanently and radically bigger government was rejected by the electorate in December.’

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Police and Crime General Beer takeaway plan at late-night venues a 'recipe for violence', ministers warned

Plans to allow late-night pubs and bars to sell takeaway alcohol will spark street violence, disorder and drunkenness, ministers have been warned.

The Government faced a backlash from senior politicians and policing chiefs on Monday night over the plans in the Business and Planning bill to relax licensing rules in an attempt to boost the hospitality sector.

The proposals would see rules relaxed for a year, freeing pubs and bars which are currently barred from doing so to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises even if their licence extends into the early hours.

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Fire Unsafe high rise cladding 'unacceptable' three years on from Grenfell says official

A senior government official has declared it 'unacceptable' that high rise buildings are still covered in unsafe cladding three years on from the Grenfell Tower fire.

Jeremy Pocklington, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), highlighted to MPs on Monday that progress in the private sector in particular has been "inadequate".

He faced questions from members of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee over the pace and scope of Government funded efforts to remove remove aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from buildings above 18 metres in the wake of the west London tower block fire.

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Fire Grenfell officers lodge compensation claim against the Met

The group of officers who were on duty on 14 June 2017 are suing the office of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner for personal injury and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC).

The council was the owner of the 24-storey housing block which caught fire in June 2017 and killed 72 people. It had devolved oversight to a housing association, a tenant management organisation (TMO) that reported to the council’s housing committee.

Law firm Bishop, Lloyd and Jackson, which is leading the action on behalf of the firefighters, said the officers are claiming for trauma, injuries sustained on the night and stress triggered by fears that they may have sustained respiratory damage.

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Police and Crime General 'Crystal clear' drunk people can't socially distance, say police in England

Drunk people are unable to properly socially distance, the chairman of the Police Federation has said as pubs reopened in England for the first time since lockdown.

John Apter said it was “crystal clear” revellers would not adhere to the one metre plus rule as restrictions were eased on Saturday.

Prof Chris Whitty said the pandemic “is a long way from gone” and urged the public to follow social-distancing rules as pubs and restaurants reopened. But images from London’s Soho showed packed streets into the early hours of Sunday.

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Police and Crime General Lockdown penalties defended as 'proactive' by police chief

Dyfed-Powys Police's commissioner has said "proactivity" is behind the force issuing more fines than any other for lockdown breaches.

Dafydd Llywelyn spoke as Wales braced itself for the lifting of the Welsh Government's five-mile "stay local" travel guidance on Monday.

Up to 22 June, the force issued 1,651 fixed penalty notices. The next highest was North Yorkshire Police with 1,122. Of the other Welsh forces, figures up to 22 June showed North Wales Police issued 464 penalties, South Wales Police 315 and Gwent Police 128 - all with much larger populations than Dyfed-Powys.

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Police and Crime General As post-lockdown economy sinks, experts warn U.K. knife crime could rise again

In the time since Bjorn's killing, Britain's knife crime crisis has accelerated. More than 45,000 blade-related offenses — the highest number on record — were committed in England and Wales last year, according to official government statistics. Now, as the United Kingdom plans to emerge from lockdown, there are fears of a new surge in fatal stabbings.

The links between social deprivation and knife crime are well documented. In neighborhoods where unemployment is high and economic mobility is low, violent behavior breeds.

When funding for local community-minded programs is cut, the spiral of hopelessness and aggression intensifies. That, Sunderland said, is why the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is so concerning.

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Technology Police chief says provision of mobile devices to officers is a 'major milestone' that is changing the force's way of working for the better

Police Scotland says the roll-out of mobile devices has freed up more than 400,000 hours of officer time in just one year.

The devices allow officers on the beat to access a wide range of police systems, which frees them of the requirement to return to the station and log onto a computer.

David Crichton, vice chair of the Scottish Police Authority said: "The introduction of mobile working was much needed and has brought real benefits to the police and the public by making the service more responsive, visible and efficient.

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Fire Grenfell families' fury as inquiry set to take five-week break

Grenfell Tower families have expressed their fury after it emerged the inquiry into the disaster will take a break of up to five weeks, despite months of delays due to lockdown.

Survivors and bereaved families have written to the inquiry’s top official to condemn the “extraordinarily insensitive decision” to hold no hearings between August and September 7.

The break will allow lawyers, witnesses and core participants to go on holiday, after the inquiry - due to restart on Monday - concluded it would not be “fair” to disrupt their plans.

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Police and Crime General Failures on high-volume crimes 'causing a loss of public confidence in policing'

Sir Thomas Winsor said there is a “real risk” that forces’ inability to successfully investigate high-volume offences is “causing a loss of public confidence in policing”.

His annual assessment of policing in England and Wales published on Thursday (July 2) states some crime investigations “have been reduced to little more than a telephone conversation with the victim”.

Just six per cent of burglaries, three per cent of vehicle crimes and 13 per cent of violent crimes were detected across England and Wales in 2018/19, according to the report for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

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Technology Almost all forces can now share digital evidence with the CPS

The number of forces who can upload multi-media digital evidence on a platform shared with the CPS has increased from about 20 to 39 since the start of the pandemic.

Before the lockdown around half of forces in England and Wales were still sending hard copy discs of CCTV footage, 999 calls, body worn video and video-recorded victim interviews to CPS administrative staff.

But a CPS inspectorate report has found that a new ‘can do’ attitude among forces has moved on projects that had been taking years to being completed in just a few weeks.

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Police and Crime General Targets based on crude outcomes will lead to 'disastrous results'

Police forces will have to prioritise some crimes given that offences such as burglary have been reduced to “little more than a telephone conversation with the victim” according to the chief inspector of constabulary.

In his annual State of Policing report Sir Tom Winsor says that changes in the 43-force structure are needed as part of the review process and warns of the dangers of forces being set percentage targets on specific offences.

Just 6% of burglaries, 3% of vehicle crimes and 13% of violent crimes were detected across England and Wales in 2018/19, according to the report.

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Police and Crime General Police chiefs facing calls for all coronavirus lockdown fines to be reviewed

More than 40 MPs and peers have joined calls from 13 human rights groups, lawyers and campaigners for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to look again at penalties handed out to those apparently flouting the rules.

A total of 18,439 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) including 15,856 in England and 2,583 in Wales were recorded by forces between March 27 and June 22, according to provisional NPCC data.

As the country reaches 100 days of lockdown, a letter sent to NPCC chair Martin Hewitt by the group led by organisation Big Brother Watch said the case for a review was now “extremely compelling”.

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Economy & Public Finance CIPFA mulls legal action against council

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has put aside £500,000 to fund potential legal action against Ealing LBC over a contract dispute.

CIPFA wants to recover its losses from the London Counter-Fraud Hub (LCFH) after the project failed to get off the ground.

London Councils had said that all boroughs intended to participate but, in its early stages, CIPFA publicly admitted that ‘coordinating agreement across 33 organisations, all of which might have their own priorities and political agendas’ would be a ‘significant challenge’.

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Economy & Public Finance Rent arrears could see homelessness treble this year, campaigners warn

Homelessness could treble this year due to financial impact of coronavirus, campaigners have warned today.

A new report, published by Generation Rent, shows that rent arrears has trebled since the start of the crisis, with over half a million households currently in arrears.

The report urges the Government to suspend evictions for rent arrears and ensure the benefits system covers housing costs.

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Police and Crime General 'Super Saturday' revellers told they must drink responsibly as pubs reopen

People planning on heading out to enjoy the reopening of pubs and restaurants this weekend have been told "it has never been more important to drink responsibly".

Saturday is the first day that people in England will be able to drink a pint in a pub or order a meal inside for over three months after the outbreak of coronavirus.

Many businesses have been rushing to make sure they are ready for so-called "Super Saturday" after Boris Johnson announced last week that they could reopen from 4 July.

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Economy & Public Finance Boris Johnson pledges 'new deal' to build post-virus

Boris Johnson will promise to "build build build" as he unveils government plans to soften the economic impact of coronavirus.

Speaking in the West Midlands, the prime minister will say he wants to use the coronavirus crisis "to tackle this country's great unresolved challenges".

The prime minister's speech comes as BBC analysis found that the UK was the hardest hit of all the G7 major industrialised nations by the virus in the weeks leading up to early June. In April, the UK economy shrunk by a record 20.4% as a result of the spread of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown measures.

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Police and Crime General Law will be changed to enforce local lockdown in Leicester, health sec says

Ministers will change the law in order to enforce the local coronavirus lockdown in Leicester, the health secretary has told Sky News.

"We will be bringing forward a legal change very shortly in the next couple of days," Matt Hancock said. "Some of the measures that we've unfortunately had to take in Leicester will require a legal underpinning."

A total of 10% of all positive cases in the country in the past week have come in the East Midlands city, which means the easing of lockdown across England on Saturday will not take place in Leicester.

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Justice English youth courts need urgent help to cut delays, review finds

Urgent action is required to address delays in “overburdened” youth courts, and there should be a time limit for police to charge a young person with a crime, a review of the youth justice service in England has concluded.

Though the number of children going to court has fallen by 75% in the last 10 years – with 27,000 appearing in court in England and Wales in the year to March 2019, compared with 107,000 in 2010 – delays have increased.

Delays affect victims and witnesses as well as the rehabilitative chances of the young offenders, the report found. It recommends that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Home Office develop “a protocol which limits the amount of time young people can be kept under investigation before a charging decision must be made (though there may need to be exclusions for the most complex cases).”

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Police Finances Almost £700,000 awarded to charities in light of lockdown

Matthew Scott has awarded almost £700,000 in grants to services which help victims of crime.

The money is to help keep local charities financially stable after much of their normal fundraising work was curtailed by Covid-19. It will also help them run additional support programmes for victims of domestic abuse – a crime type which increased as more families spent more time at home during lockdown.

David Naylor from Victim Support said: ‘This funding has come at a crucial time. At Victim Support, we are supporting growing numbers of domestic abuse and sexual violence victims to cope and recover from experiences of crime since lockdown. As restrictions lift, we anticipate that even more people will reach out for practical and emotional help.

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Police Finances Call for innovative policing ideas receives more than 100 bids

Dorset Police officers and staff have submitted more than 100 bids to a new fund aimed at enabling the Force to develop innovative projects and transform for the future.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and Chief Constable James Vaughan set up the one million pound Innovation Fund in spring 2019, using money that had come from a combination of reserves and efficiency savings.

People from across the organisation were encouraged to come up with ideas and an Innovation Board was established to decide whether they were feasible.

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Police Demand New GMP data shows a reduction in recorded crime figures

There were 28,000 less recorded crimes in Greater Manchester during this time, which is the first real reduction in year-on-year comparison data.

GMP said even though the crime figures reduced, it still received a similar amount of calls to its Operational Communications Branch, around 1.15 million, when comparing the same period.

The data was extracted using iOPS Cognos, which is part of the new IT system launched at GMP in July 2019. This gives the force access to a large amount of data and a range of analytical tools that can extract the data and provide reports to use internally and to share with partners.

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Police Demand Huge increase in speeding drivers during London lockdown

There was a 71% increase in drivers caught speeding in London when the coronavirus lockdown started, new figures show.

The Met Police issued 3,282 Traffic Offence Reports to drivers suspected of exceeding the limit in April, compared with 1,922 in April 2019.

A further 14,736 people were caught by London's roadside cameras in April 2020

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel: Violence towards police 'thoroughly unacceptable'

A statement by Priti Patel on Violence towards the police.

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Fire UN expresses 'serious concern' over cladding

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on adequate housing has expressed ‘serious concern’ that 600,000 people in England continue to live in blocks with dangerous cladding.

Leilani Farha highlighted ‘allegations of multiple violations of the human right to adequate housing’ three years after the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, the spread of which was ‘greatly accelerated and exacerbated’ by highly-combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.

Of around 457 buildings in England that were identified as having been clad in ACM, 361 have still not had the cladding removed.

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Economy & Public Finance Sheffield devo deal set to be passed by Parliament

A new devolution deal for South Yorkshire will be laid before Parliament today, handing new powers and millions of pounds of funding to the region.

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis, described it as a ‘landmark moment’.

He said: ‘The journey to reach this point has been long and difficult. I firmly believe it is worthwhile, as it provides leaders in South Yorkshire the opportunity to transform our region. I am confident we will seize this moment to build back better, creating a stronger, fairer, greener economy and society.’

He vowed to work alongside the leaders of the South Yorkshire councils – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield – as the region works to rebuild the economy post COVID-19.

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Police and Crime General Police 'given no warning' pubs would be reopening July 4th amid month of unrest

Police stretched to breaking point after a month of unrest were given no warning that pubs would be reopening next Saturday, a union claims.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been branded “reckless” for ­announcing July 4 as “Independence Day” in the latest easing of ­lockdown measures. A Police Federation source said it came out of the blue.

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Police Demand Wave of gun crimes in June - as police launch massive crackdown

Police have revealed the West Midlands has been hit by TEN known instances where guns have been fired so far this month.

There has been a cluster of four of the violence incidents in the west of Birmingham - but police have not revealed more details of the individual incidents.

Police believe the rise is due to tension between some criminal gangs.

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Police Finances £22 million emergency coronavirus funding for more than 540 sexual violence and domestic abuse charities

Victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are benefiting from £22 million of emergency funding to help organisations providing support during the pandemic.

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Police and Crime General New State-Of-The-Art Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) In West Yorkshire Has Opened

A new state-of-the-art fully integrated service for victims of sexual violence and abuse has opened its doors in West Yorkshire today.

Work on the new purpose built Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) facility for West Yorkshire started in late 2018 and will now house a number of specialist services.

The project timeframe has been impacted by the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, which has slowed the progress on site, but has been successfully completed this week to ensure that the facility is now fully accessible for service users.

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Prisons New support for prison leavers aims to reduce homelessness and crime

A new partnership project has been launched aimed at preventing homelessness among ex-offenders and reducing the likelihood they will return to criminal behaviour.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) is working with St Martin’s to help people released from prison to find accommodation, bring stability to their lives and reintegrate into communities.

Having safe, consistent accommodation can reduce the likelihood someone will reoffend by 20%, but prison leavers are at high risk of homelessness. Other factors that can make individuals vulnerable to returning to crime include drug or alcohol dependency, financial worries and lack of opportunity to earn money, complex mental or physical health needs, and being unable to access help and support to address these issues.

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Economy & Public Finance Citizens advice warn of council tax “D-Day”: Bailiffs to chase debts again under new rules

Council tax debt has become a real problem in recent months and new legislation put through by the government may only make this worse. Three of the UKs largest debt charities have called on the government to take urgent action.

Due to how dire the situation has become, Citizens Advice, the Money Advice Trust and Stepchange have joined forces, calling on the government to implement measures that could protect millions of people from spiralling into debt problems.

These changes could be desperately needed given new legislation that came into effect on Wednesday June 24.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus: UK councils fear bankruptcy amid Covid-19 costs

Some of the largest UK councils say they may have to declare themselves effectively bankrupt unless the government agrees to further support.

Five councils said emergency spending controls - so-called section 114 notices - could be needed due to the impact of Covid-19.

Nearly 150 authorities have forecast a combined budget shortfall of at least £3.2bn, the BBC found.

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Police and Crime General Call for more police on roads as fatalities rise

More police officers are set to be deployed on roads to combat drink-driving, phone offences and the failure to wear seatbelts, The Times has learnt.

A review of roads policing will be launched by the government under plans to curb dangerous driving and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in crashes.

The Department for Transport and the Home Office are set to publish a “call for evidence” on the future of the system. It follows the publication of a report by road safety experts this month that called for an increase in the number of police specifically for the roads. The report also said there should be a new onus on police forces to make roads one of their main “strategic requirements” alongside terrorism and organised crime.

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Police and Crime General Planning and licensing changes to pave the way for alfresco summer

Outdoor markets and summer fairs will not need planning permission while pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks as seating areas, under a raft of new measures intended to boost the hospitality industry in the wake of Covid-19.

The Business & Planning Bill, announced by ministers today, will also make it easier for businesses to obtain pavement licences by reducing the consultation period from 28 calendar days to five working days. Consent will be granted automatically after 10 working days if the council does not issue a decision.

A government press release announcing the moves said councils would “need to continue to ensure their communities are consulted on licensing applications, that waste is disposed of responsibly, and that access to pavements and pedestrianised areas is not compromised”.

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Justice ‘Nightingale’ courts will tackle backlog of half a million cases

Emergency Nightingale-style courts are to be opened to help to tackle a backlog of more than half a million criminal cases that have built up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ten sites have been identified after officials from the Ministry of Justice searched the country for suitable accommodation, including in town halls and university lecture theatres where cases could be held within social distancing guidelines.

Ministers are expected next week to announce the first tranche of venues where justice will be dispensed outside the usual court setting, with more to be identified in the next few weeks.

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Justice Overhaul of family courts to protect domestic abuse victims

APCC Victims Leads, Deputy Mayor of London, Sophie Linden, and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan released a statement. Please follow the link to read the statement in full.

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Police and Crime General Forces target young drivers not wearing seatbelts

Despite it being compulsory, seatbelts were not worn by 20 per cent of fatalities last year – and young drivers are the worst offenders.

Over the last five years, the number of car occupants killed who were not wearing a seatbelt has remained at 20 per cent.

In the UK, if a seatbelt is fitted it is a legal requirement to wear it. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to £500. Drivers are responsible for children under 14 being in a restraint appropriate to their age and height.

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Police and Crime General Investigations by police watchdog into excessive force should be sped up, senior officer tells MPs

Investigations into claims of excessive force should be sped up by the police watchdog to help provide a more balanced version of events to the public, a senior officer has suggested.

Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said that short clips of encounters between officers and ethnic minorities can be one-sided and do not always reflect the entirety of the situation.

In order to re-balance the “narrative”, Mr Hopkins told MPs that probes by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) should be carried out more swiftly to determine whether the officers conduct was proportionate before public confidence is undermined.

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Police and Crime General Police data understated how many lockdown fines were issued to BAME people

Chief constables have admitted their rush to publish data on lockdown fines may have understated how many were given to BAME people.

However, they denied it hid a deeper problem of racism in police forces across England and Wales.

Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs Council, told MPs: "It does not and that's unfair. This came in very quickly and we brought the data from all forces into one place and decided to be open with it every two weeks.

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COVID-19 Reopening England’s pubs on 4 July is ‘perfect storm’ for disorder, police say

Police are bracing for a “perfect storm” of drunkenness and disorder after ministers decided that pubs would open for the first time in more than three months on a weekend.

Drinking establishments will reopen their doors on Saturday 4 July, but senior officers warn that restrictions should have been lifted on a weekday to reduce the risk of chaos.

Police believe that the government’s “one metre plus” social-distancing rules could increase tensions, on what is forecast to be a warm and sunny day for much of the country.

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Justice Family courts: 'Major overhaul' aims to protect domestic abuse victims

Domestic abuse victims will get greater protections in an "overhaul of how the family courts deal with the horrific crime", the government has announced.

Under new plans, more victims will have access to separate courtroom entrances, waiting rooms and protective screens to shield them from their alleged abuser.

A number of reforms will be included in the upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill.

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Police and Crime General NPCC defends lockdown data delays after row over BAME enforcement

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has handed over its data on lockdown enforcement to central government analysts after admitted errors had been made in interpreting the ethnicity of people given fixed penalty notices or were arrested.

But NPCC Chairman Martin Hewitt defended the way forces had handled enforcement, telling the Home Affairs Select Committee that they had responded very quickly to a complex situation.

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Economy & Public Finance Government allocates an additional £105m for rough-sleeping

The ring-fenced fund is made up of £85m of new funding from the Treasury and £20m from refocusing existing homelessness and rough sleeping budgets.

The government said the fund will be used to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness into tenancies of their own.

This will include help with deposits for accommodation and securing alternative rooms already available and ready for use, including student accommodation.

The funding is in addition to the ‘Everyone In’ scheme launched in April, which has seen local authorities house rough sleepers in hotels or emergency accommodation during the pandemic.

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Technology UK’s facial recognition technology ‘breaches privacy rights’

Automated facial recognition technology that searches for people in public places breaches privacy rights and will “radically” alter the way Britain is policed, the court of appeal has been told.

At the opening of a legal challenge against the use by South Wales police of the mass surveillance system, lawyers for the civil rights organisation Liberty argued that it is also racially discriminatory and contrary to data protection laws.

In written submissions to the court, Dan Squires QC, who is acting for Liberty and Ed Bridges, a Cardiff resident, said that the South Wales force had already captured the biometrics of 500,000 faces, the overwhelming majority of whom are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

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Recruitment and Retention 70% of BAME police staff say they have been racially abused on job, exclusive ITV News survey finds

Nearly 70% of BAME police staff say they have suffered racist abuse from the public while carrying out their job, an exclusive ITV News survey has revealed.

The survey of 238 serving black and minority ethnic police staff also found that 45% said they had been racially abused by BAME members of the public.

The figures are believed to be the first which indicate the levels of racism felt by police staff and highlight the shocking levels of abuse they can face.

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Economy & Public Finance Cash-strapped councils in poorer areas will be hit hardest by coronavirus, study warns

Councils in hard-up areas are more likely to see increases in demand for their services if poorer families are hit harder by the coronavirus crisis, a report warns today.

More deprived communities have populations likely to be more vulnerable to the health and social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says.

Rates of mental illness are more than 1.5 times higher in the most deprived tenth than the least deprived tenth, and around twice as high in places such as Manchester and Hackney, London, than in Wokingham, Berks – the least deprived council in England.

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Economy & Public Finance Rishi Sunak plans emergency cut in VAT to rescue ailing economy

Rishi Sunak is ready to slash VAT and pump billions into the economy as the government prepares to ease social-distancing rules.

The chancellor has ordered officials in the Treasury and HMRC to prepare options to reduce the sales tax, including a cut in the headline rate, and zero rating more products for a fixed period.

In private briefings last week, Treasury officials pointed out that Sunak could lower VAT and business rates at the stroke of a pen when he makes a planned speech on the economy in early July.

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Police Demand Metropolitan Police stop and search at 8-year high

Britain’s biggest police force has carried out the highest number of stop and searches in more than eight years amid concerns of racial profiling.

Scotland Yard says it has increased use of the tactic, despite relatively empty streets during the pandemic, to try to target violent criminals.

Community activists said that black and ethnic minority groups are being unfairly targeted after a number of incidents in which police are accused of having dubious grounds for searches.

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Police Demand 25 terror plots have been foiled since 2017 Westminster attack, minister reveals

Twenty-five terror plots have been foiled in the UK since the Westminster attack in 2017, a minister has told Sky News.

Security services are currently working on 800 live investigations into potential terrorists, security minister James Brokenshire revealed today.

It comes after three people died and another three were seriously injured in a terror attack in a park in Reading on Saturday evening.

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Police Demand Lincolnshire Police writes off more than 20,000 crimes as unsolved

Lincolnshire Police wrote off 142 rape cases and 3,383 burglaries as unsolved last year.

Ther force logged a total of 20,593 cases as "investigation complete; no suspect identified".

This also included 321 sexual offences, 201 stalking and harassment cases, 51 threats to kill, 32 cases of modern slavery, 3,184 robberies, 5,581 thefts and 3,828 cases of criminal damage and arson.

The county force says it strives to prioritise cases to protect vulnerable people and ensure victims are supported in all it does.

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Recruitment and Retention Police officers do not need a degree to do their jobs – let’s end this policy

In 2016, a major change to police recruitment was announced. From 2020, new officers are supposed to either hold a degree – in policing or another subject – or undertake a three-year degree apprenticeship course at the start of their career.

Naturally, a growing proportion of police officers are graduates. Since Tony Blair set the target of 50 per cent of young people going to university, numbers have been on the rise. The target was met last year for the first time, so the pool of recruits is already more graduate-heavy.

But that is not the same as requiring that new recruits should have to hold or acquire a degree in order to get a warrant card. This was a dramatic change in the definition of a police officer. For the College of Policing, which introduced the new framework, it seemed to be as much about recognition that policing is professional work as about actually delivering better training for officers. In that respect, the decision felt like an extension of Blair’s doctrine, which fetishised the degree certificate in its own right, to the point of emphasising graduate status without necessarily taking into account the value of the qualification.

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Police and Crime General Black bank manager wrongly arrested to sue Met for ‘racial profiling’

Dale Semper is a driven man who worked six days a week as a high street bank manager to afford a comfortable lifestyle for himself and his family.

As a black man with an expensive car, he says he was used to being stopped by police.

But in August 2017, he was pulled over by Metropolitan police officers and his life was torn apart – with devastating impact on his job, finances and mental health.

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Recruitment and Retention Chief Constable Bill Skelly says PEQF concerns remain

CC Skelly, a long-time critic of PEQF [Police Education Qualification Framework] who has taken two judicial reviews against the college, said the concerns he raised in the legal challenges remained.

The challenges have been dismissed, in his words, on a technicality. Part of the basis for concern was that officers would have to be removed from duties for study time - abstraction - which would leave the force short of officers at a time when under-staffing is still an issue.

He has since written to both the Home Secretary and the Shadow Home Secretary asking them not to lay before parliament regulations to mandate change to the entry route.

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Recruitment and Retention Police dumb down entry standards to meet Boris Johnson's pledge to recruit 20,000 more officers

Police forces are dumbing down education standards in a desperate bid to meet Boris Johnson’s pledge to recruit 20,000 extra officers, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

New schemes aimed at fast-tracking graduates and enrolling police officers in on-the-job degrees have been shelved in favour of a ‘blue collar first’ approach.

By last January, all 43 police forces in England and Wales were supposed to ensure that applicants were either graduates or non-graduates who agreed to study for three years to obtain a degree in professional policing.

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Justice New questions over early release of offenders after Reading stabbing terror attack

The early freeing from jail of the suspect at the centre of the Reading terror stabbing is likely to raise concerns over the continued use of automatic release on licence at the halfway point in sentences.

Khairi Saadallah, 25, had been jailed in October last year for minor, non-terrorist offences, for which it is understood he would have served half before being released earlier this month.

The Government has already moved to end early release for more serious crimes including terrorism but the vast majority of sentences continue to operate under rules introduced by Labour in 2004 for automatic release halfway through.

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Police Finances Nearly half a million pounds to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse

Nearly half a million pounds of additional funding is to be quickly distributed by West Yorkshire PCC to support local charities and organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

The £25m extraordinary Covid19 funding via the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will be distributed through two separate funds, one through Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and one through the national Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund.

On top of this, PCCs across the country have been given an extra £3million to specifically fund Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) until 2022.

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Technology Met Police will not reconsider use of facial recognition technology despite U-turn in US

London’s Metropolitan Police Force will not reconsider its use of live facial recognition (LFR) technology, despite warnings from civil rights groups it is inaccurate and can encourage discrimination.

Britain’s biggest police force will not reconsider its use of live facial recognition despite tech giants Amazon and Microsoft restricting sale of the software to the US police amid concerns over the controversial technology’s accuracy.

London’s Metropolitan Police Force has been using LFR signposted cameras on the streets of the capital since January in a bid to find wanted criminals more efficiently, despite repeated warnings from civil rights groups that the technology is not fit for purpose.

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Fire Government still has long way to go on removing cladding, says watchdog report

The Government has been warned it still “has a long way to go” to strip all high-rise buildings of dangerous cladding like that which covered Grenfell Tower.

Some 300 buildings are still undergoing work to remove aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, three years after the west London tower block fire.

A report by independent watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the Government plans have “lagged behind (their) own expectations” when it comes to stripping all buildings over 18m of their ACM.

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Economy & Public Finance UK debt now larger than size of whole economy

The UK's debt is now worth more than its economy after the government borrowed a record amount in May.

The £55.2bn figure was nine times higher than in May last year and the highest since records began in 1993.

The borrowing splurge sent total government debt surging to £1.95trn, exceeding the size of the economy for the first time in more than 50 years.

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Police and Crime General Drug crimes rise by 27% as dealers adapt to coronavirus lockdown

Drug offences in England and Wales rose by 27 per cent during the lockdown despite total recorded crime dropping by a quarter.

Criminals adapted their enterprises to the pandemic and the drugs market apparently remained buoyant despite restrictions on movement.

Figures obtained under a freedom of information request showed that thousands more crimes linked to banned substances were recorded by police between March 23 and May 25 than in the same period last year. There was a rise of 11 per cent between January 20 and March 23 compared with a year earlier.

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COVID-19 Crime 'back to pre-lockdown levels', police chief says

Crime levels have risen back to pre-coronavirus levels despite the continuing lockdown, a chief constable has said. Across Wales and England, crime fell by 28% during the first weeks of lockdown.

But South Wales Police chief constable Matt Jukes said there had been a surge in the number of domestic abuse cases and violent offences in recent weeks. He said confusion over different lockdown rules in Wales and England had placed an additional burden on police.

Since the start of lockdown, more than 13,000 calls have been made to South Wales Police concerning coronavirus, Mr Jukes told a virtual Swansea University seminar.

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Economy & Public Finance UK inflation rate falls to fresh four-year low

A record fall in fuel prices, including petrol, pushed the UK's inflation rate down to 0.5% in May, the second full month of the coronavirus lockdown.

Fuel prices declined by 16.7% during the month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, dragging the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to the lowest level since June 2016.

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Police and Crime General Home Office 'has no idea how many people are in the UK illegally'

The government’s policy of making life intolerable for people who are suspected of illegally entering the UK is yet to show that it can persuade them to leave, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office said that Home Office officials admit that they have no specific evidence to show the “compliant environment” policy – the successor to the “hostile environment” that led to the Windrush scandal – encourages voluntary departures or fosters compliance with visa and passport conditions.

In a report issued on Wednesday, auditors also pointed out that the Home Office has not updated its estimate of the size of the illegal population for 15 years, and that nearly two-thirds of immigration enforcement detainees are released from detention without removal.

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Justice Criminals will thrive without Brexit deal, say peers

Britain risks losing real-time access to European criminal databases if it does not strike a comprehensive Brexit deal, peers warned yesterday.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich, the former independent reviewer of terrorism, said that the “legalistic” approach taken in the negotiations so far could deprive the UK of vital intelligence from next year. He told the Lords EU security and justice sub-committee that police in Dover could at present use handheld devices to get real-time information on passengers from the Schengen Information System, allowing suspects to be “questioned before they could simply melt away”.

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Economy & Public Finance Coronavirus leaves £500m black hole in London's finances

Coronavirus has left a £500m black hole in the capitals' finances, the Mayor of London has revealed.

Sadiq Khan has warned services, including the police and fire brigade, will need to be cut back without a government bailout.

Local authorities across the country face a shortfall of business rate and council tax income caused by the impact of Covid-19, he said.

The mayor will cut his own pay by 10% and freeze pay for his senior staff.

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Justice Drop juries for less serious crimes in England and Wales, judges say

Less serious crimes should be tried in crown courts before a judge without a jury in order to tackle the thousands of cases building up during the pandemic crisis, judges have suggested.

The proposal emerged as the justice secretary, Robert Buckland, told MPs that the backlog in the criminal justice system in England and Wales had grown to around 41,000 cases.

There have been various suggestions to deal with the accumulation of untried criminal cases. Only a small proportion of crown courts are sitting, with jurors and court staff often spread out over three courts and linked by video in order to observe physical distancing requirements.

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Police and Crime General West Midlands Police boss sorry for things force 'got wrong'

The boss of West Midlands Police has apologised to black communities for things the force "got wrong".

Chief Constable Dave Thompson said he recognised the force was not "free from bias, discrimination or even racism".

Speaking at a police board meeting following the death of George Floyd in the US he said he understood the "anger towards the uniform" more now.

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COVID-19 IFS exposes impact of COVID-19 on different areas

The balance of protecting public health and returning to economic activity varies from one area to the next, research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found.

In a report that could have wider implications for a localised response to the virus, the IFS found the cost of lockdown could even vary in neighbouring local authories.

Torbay and the Isle of Wight are the areas likely to be hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, the IFS said, but there is no north-south or urban-rural divide.

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Recruitment and Retention College of Policing announces new training package for Specials

Specials will now undergo more of the same training given to first-year PC recruits. This means they will not have to repeat the training again, making it more easy, the college says, for them to join as a PC if they wish to do so.

The college said: “It follows extensive work with the Special Constabulary to provide a clear route from SC to PC for forces who wish to adopt it.”

If a special wants to go on to become a PC the college said they may have to undertake some additional assessment to gain academic credits towards the first year of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) or Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP). This will depend on their length of service as a special and what roles they have been deployed to.

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Fire Grenfell households still waiting for permanent housing three years on

Families that lost their homes in the Grenfell Tower blaze are still waiting for permanent housing three years after the tragedy. More than 200 homes were lost in the blaze on 14 June 2017 that killed 72 in the West London tower and the walk beneath it.

Now figures from Kensington and Chelsea Council show that there are still seven households living in temporary accommodation. There are also said to be around 10 households who used to live in the tower who have since requested to be moved again as they were placed into permanent that was unsuitable.

Around half of these requests have been successful, with the others either unsuccessful or still pending, according to the North Kensington Law Centres (NKLC).

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Police and Crime General Retail industry Wardens hired to police crowds as high streets in England reopen

Local councils and retail giants will deploy a small army of “social distancing wardens” on Monday to police crowds as non-essential shops open their doors after almost three months of lockdown.

Councils across the country have hired or redeployed staff to ensure shoppers and retailers comply with social distancing rules. And big chain stores, including Primark, Ikea and John Lewis, have brought in extra security staff.

The councils and retailers hope the wardens will prevent unruly queues as people rush back to clothes, homewares and electrical shops that have been closed since March. More than 1,000 people were reported to have queued outside Ikea warehouse stores, some turning up at 5.30am, when the Swedish chain was allowed to open two weeks ago.

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COVID-19 Jobless total to hit 4.5m as firms wield axe

Boris Johnson has been warned by cabinet ministers to brace himself for unemployment to hit 4.5 million, the highest number since records began, as a poll finds one in three firms is poised to make staff redundant due to the coronavirus.

A survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) reveals that 34% of managers are set to lay off staff, with 26% expecting to do so this year.

The findings come before figures this week that are expected to show the worst rise in unemployment since the 1920s.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus R number may have risen above 1 in parts of England, govt says

The coronavirus reproduction rate may have risen above 1 in parts of England, government scientists have said.

Official figures indicate the rate - known as the R number - is between 0.8 and 1.0 across the whole of England. This range is slightly higher than for the entire UK, where it remains between 0.7 and 0.9.

The figure is crucial in guiding the government's gradual relaxation of coronavirus lockdown measures. If the R value is one, each infected person will on average pass COVID-19 on to one other.

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Police and Crime General Taser review over fears police target minorities

Police chiefs will review Taser use amid concerns that black and ethnic minority people are disproportionately affected, The Times has learnt.

Independent researchers will be asked to examine use of the stun guns after a series of controversial incidents involving black men, who are eight times more likely to have a Taser drawn on them by police.

It comes after protesters at Black Lives Matters events cited racial bias by police and Neil Basu, national head of counterterrorism, acknowledged the disproportionate representation of young black men in the criminal justice system.

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Economy & Public Finance UK economy shrinks record 20.4% in April due to lockdown

The UK's economy shrank by 20.4% in April - the largest monthly contraction on record - as the country spent its first full month in lockdown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the "historic" fall affected virtually all areas of activity.

The contraction is three times greater than the decline seen during the whole of the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn.

But analysts said April was likely to be the worst month, as the government began easing the lockdown in May.

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Police and Crime General ‘Simmering community tensions’ spark Covid cohesion concerns

Councils are concerned about rising community tensions in the wake of Covid-19 amid fears that further inequalities caused by a prolonged recession will provide “fertile territory for extremists”.

The concerns come as the death of George Floyd in the US and the higher Covid-19 death rate among BAME communities in the UK has sparked protests over racial inequality across the world.

Several councils have reported concerns to the Local Government Association about simmering community tensions and how this will play out as the country emerges from lockdown.

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Police and Crime General Poorest areas of England and Wales hit hardest by Covid-19 – ONS

People living in the poorest areas of England and Wales have been twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as those in less deprived areas, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The analysis reveals the disproportionate impact of the death toll in some places, with London boroughs with high levels of socioeconomic deprivation particularly hard hit.

The figures covering March to May show that people living in the poorest 10% of England died at a rate of 128.3 per 100,000, compared with a rate of 58.8 per 100,000 among those living in the wealthiest 10% of the country.

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Police and Crime General Scientists say coronavirus 2m rule can be relaxed

The two-metre social distancing rule can be abandoned by businesses reopening after lockdown if they introduce other measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Government scientists have told ministers.

Following a political backlash against the two-metre rule, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) published a paper on Friday which set out protocols – such as regular breaks, and getting workers to sit side by side – that would make it much safer for people to be within one metre of each other.

Over the past few days, officials have begun discreetly contacting business groups to ask whether they would object to it being watered down, The Telegraph understands.

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Police and Crime General Scottish basic income could lead to unprecedented fall in poverty [Study]

The introduction of a citizens’ basic income in Scotland would require a “massive fiscal effort” by taxpayers to fund a substantial reduction in poverty, according to new analysis.

The scheme – under which every individual is offered a regular, unconditional payment – had the potential to lead to an unprecedented fall in inequality and poverty, the research found but it could also lead to a 15% reduction in the size of the economy if people moved out of Scotland in response to the income tax hikes required to fund it.

The concept of a basic income has been gathering political support north of the border, winning the backing of first minister Nicola Sturgeon and gaining further momentum as the economic fallout of the pandemic becomes clear.

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COVID-19 Many probation checks not carried out in lockdown - report

Some high-risk offenders in England and Wales may not have been monitored as closely as they should have been during the lockdown, a report suggests.

An internal Ministry of Justice document shows probation staff did not carry out all the planned checks in half of cases, in one four-week period.

Emergency plans were drawn up for most offenders to be contacted by telephone or visited on their doorstep. But, according to the MoJ document seen by BBC News, in the four weeks to May 17, only 51% of high-risk offenders under supervision had all the contact that had been planned for.

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Technology Suspending police use of facial recognition technology could ‘allow crime to flourish’

Amazon is to suspend police use of its facial recognition software for a year to allow governments to put in place “stronger regulations” governing use of the technology.

The Seattle-based company said its decision followed concerns about the “ethical use” of facial recognition technology.

Amazon’s announcement came a day after IBM’s decision to stop offering “general purpose facial recognition or analysis software” amid worries over mass surveillance and racial profiling.

And Microsoft has also said it will limit the use of its facial recognition technology by police. It says it will not “start sales” to US police departments until national regulations are in place, “grounded in human rights”, that govern use of the technology.

However, Amazon said it would continue to allow organisations such as the anti-child sex trafficking agency Thorn and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to use its ‘Rekognition’ technology to “help rescue human trafficking victims and reunite missing children with their families”.

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Police and Crime General ‘People come first’: Police say they will prevent disorder over protecting statues at Black Lives Matter protests

Police will not protect statues from protesters if it would put officers or the public at risk of harm, senior officers have said.

The toppling of a slave trader’s statue in Bristol has sparked a wave of activity across Britain, and clashes are feared this weekend after right-wing groups vowed to “defend” selected memorials against Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, the national lead for public disorder, said local police commanders would decide whether to intervene depending on the circumstances.

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COVID-19 Police fines for lockdown breaches fall as measures ease

More than 17,000 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws have been issued in England and Wales.

People have been fined by the police for driving with others not from their household, holding house parties, meeting in large groups and camping.

But the number of fines has fallen as restrictions have eased.

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Prisons Private firms to lose role in probation services

The government has scrapped plans to let private firms run behaviour programmes and unpaid work schemes for offenders in England and Wales.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the "disruption" caused by coronavirus had led ministers to "reassess" their involvement.

He added that renationalising the services would give ministers "greater flexibility" during the crisis.

Labour said involving private firms was a "mistake" and welcomed the "u-turn".

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Police Finances BLM organisers call off London event to avoid clashes with far right

Efforts are being made to head off the possibility of clashes between Black Lives Matters activists and far-right demonstrators in London this Saturday, as anti-racism activists gear up for another weekend of protests.

Black Lives Matters organisers said they had decided to call off a planned protest at Hyde Park at 1pm on Saturday, warning that “many hate groups” were threatening the safety of those planning to come.

“We want the protests to be a safe space for people to attend,” a post from the BLM LDN organisers said. “However, we don’t think it will be possible with people like them present.”

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Police and Crime General Two thirds of my officers are overweight, police chief says

The next time you hear of a heavy police presence, things may not be as they seem.

Chief Superintendent Lucy Hutson, of Hampshire police, has disclosed that two thirds of her officers are obese or overweight. She made the claim in an email raising concerns at the associated health risks.

The force said the figures were in line with national obesity statistics and a large number of its officers were heavier because they had a lot of muscle.

Annual fitness tests became compulsory for police officers in England and Wales in 2014 after a national review.

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Police and Crime General Kent police chief took the knee at Black Lives Matter protest to show humility

One of the country’s leading police officers has defended his decision to “take the knee” as it emerged that Scotland Yard had ordered officers policing protests not to kneel.

Alan Pughsley, the chief constable of Kent, is believed to be the first top-ranking officer to make the gesture of solidarity since protests began.

Images and video emerged yesterday of Mr Pughsley kneeling at a community event of more than 50 people last week in Gravesend, Kent.

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Police Demand Riots could break out in UK this summer, scientific adviser to Government warns

Riots could break out across the UK this summer as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic take hold, a scientific adviser to the Government has warned.

Professor Clifford Stott said there is a risk of disorder on a scale last seen during the London riots in August 2011 – sparked by the police shooting of Mark Duggan – if urgent efforts are not made by forces to quell any potential unrest in the neighbourhoods they serve.

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Police Demand Black Lives Matter: ‘Perfect storm’ fears as far right descends on Parliament Square

Football supporters and far-right extremists have vowed to counter Black Lives Matter protests and keep vigil around war memorials and statues.

Officers fear a “perfect storm” as hundreds of fans attached to “firms” at various football clubs have begun planning counterprotests after a video plea from Tommy Robinson, the former English Defence League leader.

Yesterday a memorial to Queen Victoria in a park in Leeds was defaced with the word “murderer”, and Millwall fans spent the afternoon guarding the Churchill statue in Parliament Square.

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Police and Crime General Home Office relying on ‘flawed’ evidence to deport modern slavery victims, lawyers warn

Modern slavery victims are being deported to countries where they are at high risk of further exploitation because the Home Office is relying on a flawed interpretation of evidence, lawyers and researchers have warned.

Guidance used by caseworkers to assess whether people trafficked to the UK can be sent back to Vietnam or Albania – the two most common nationalities for modern slavery victims in Britain – is “significantly misleading” about the risks, one told The Independent.

The situation has “horrendous human consequences” if trafficking victims are refused asylum and returned to countries where they are unlikely to receive adequate protection.

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Police and Crime General Calls for serial domestic abuse and stalking offenders to be tracked to prevent further abuse

The proposed change would see serial domestic abuse and stalking offenders registered and monitored in the same way as other serious violent and sexual offenders.

The amendment would require offenders to be registered on VISOR, the Dangerous Persons Database, and subject to monitoring and management through MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements).

It has been tabled by Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and has the support of Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Harriet Harman, chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and Labour MP Rosie Duffield.

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COVID-19 Mayors press for local furlough powers

The mayors of Liverpool and Manchester have urged the Government to provide funds for ‘humanitarian assistance’ during local lockdowns as figures suggest COVID-19 is spreading.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said they were ‘disappointed’ at the lack of consultation on lockdown relaxations in a joint letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The mayors also said ‘significant support’ will be required in any local lockdown proposals, including a local furlough scheme. ‘The Government urgently needs to provide more policy detail to local authorities on the proposal for local lockdowns,’ they write.

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Economy & Public Finance Clash over call to scrap requirement for annual balanced budgets

Senior councillors from both major parties are calling for councils to be freed from the pressure of having to balance budgets on an annual basis, as the scale of the financial impact of Covid-19 becomes clear.

Figures released by the LGA last week showed the sector is facing a shortfall of £6bn between the financial impact of Covid-19 and £3.2bn emergency funding received from government.

Councils are facing a double whammy of increased costs as a result of new demands for services and lost income from fees and charges as well as council tax and business rates.

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Economy & Public Finance MPs call for clarity on proposed Shared Prosperity Fund

A group of MPs have called on the Government to provide further details on its proposed Shared Prosperity Fund.

The MPs have warned that no details have been published yet about the fund, which is due to replace the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESI) at the start of 2021.

The chairs of the Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Northern Ireland, Scottish, and Welsh Affairs Committees have called for answers on potential timetabling and whether the cost of the Covid-19 crisis will be reflected in financial allocations.

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Police and Crime General Prime minister Boris Johnson issues statement on Black Lives Matter protests

Boris Johnson has issued a statement over recent protests in the UK, America and across the world about the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.

Thousands of people attended a march in London on Saturday to protest at Floyd’s death but also highlight wider issues of racial inequality and discriminatory policing.

The statement he said: “The death of George Floyd took place thousands of miles away – in another country, under another jurisdiction – and yet we simply cannot ignore the depth of emotion that has been triggered by that spectacle, of a black man losing his life at the hands of the police.

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COVID-19 Plans to open shops all day on Sundays

Sunday trading laws will be suspended for a year and cafés and pubs will be given fast-track approval to serve food and drink outside under plans to boost the economy.

Downing Street is drawing up a package of measures in response to mounting concern that Britain will face mass unemployment as it emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.

The government is preparing legislation that will enable larger supermarkets to open for more than six hours on Sundays. Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser, are said to be in favour of the move, which is also being pushed by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Alok Sharma, the business secretary.

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Police and Crime General Council planning powers under threat

Planning powers could be shifted from local authorities to development corporations as part of an economic stimulus package to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this month.

A panel of experts has been put together by communities secretary Robert Jenrick to advise on changing planning laws that will create a zonal system, transferring powers to development corporations and speeding up permission for infrastructure building, according to reports.

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COVID-19 Court action threatened over school meal vouchers

Campaigners have threatened to bring legal action against the government for not providing free school meal vouchers during the summer.

Normally children only get free meals from school during term-time but eligible pupils received food vouchers over Easter as the country coped with the Covid crisis.

The Department for Education said the scheme will not continue in the summer holidays but campaigners say children in vulnerable families will go hungry. They have written to the Department of Education threatening to bring a judicial review of the decision.

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COVID-19 Police turn away 1,000 cars in two days

Police turned away more than 1,000 cars from one beauty spot in just two days for breaching lockdown rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police said many people officers spoke to in the Brecon Beacons were from England who said they did not know about Wales' different rules. People in England can travel an unlimited distance from home. In Wales it is limited to five miles.

The force said many of those stopped at the weekend claimed they thought the rules in Wales were the same as in England and came from as far afield as London and the Midlands.

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COVID-19 Police to get their own 'test and trace' unit to protect confidential sources and methods

Police officers with coronavirus symptoms are to have their own test and trace unit to safeguard their confidential sources, information and methods.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is proposing to set up a special “outbreak team” within Public Health England (PHE) where vetted staff would deal with cases involving highly sensitive information that could compromise investigations if leaked.

It is envisaged the new guidelines will affect undercover officers, detectives investigating sensitive crimes, National Crime Agency (NCA) officers pursuing organised crime gangs and counter-terror specialists.

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Police and Crime General Hughes gets key OBR role

A former Treasury director has been nominated to become the next chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the public finances watchdog.

Richard Hughes is a former director of the Treasury fiscal group and was previously acting chief economist.

Once his appointment is ratified by the Treasury Committee, Mr Hughes will take over from Robert Chote, the OBR’s first and only chair since 2010, when it was created by then chancellor George Osborn

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Economy & Public Finance Lockdown legacy: debt and public finances

In mid-May, a government document leaked to the Daily Telegraph estimated the cost of government measures to support firms and bolster health and social care services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Treasury predicted that the UK’s deficit – the amount it needs to borrow to balance the books – is likely to reach £337bn this year.

This would be more than six times the £55bn predicted in the March Budget and the highest level since the Second World War. Officials believe the deficit could rise to £516bn in the worst scenario.

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Police and Crime General Remote hearings for family courts 'horribly cruel'

Court hearings held remotely in lockdown disadvantage vulnerable people and should not be used longer term, lawyers and charities have said.

Since the pandemic broke earlier this year, the number of virtual hearings held in England and Wales has increased five-fold but family law practitioners said video and phone calls were not suitable for some sensitive cases.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, so-called "priority courts" have remained open for urgent cases that could not be conducted over video link or phone, but other hearings, such as cases over guardianship of children, have been carried out remotely.

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Police and Crime General Black Lives Matter London protests: Scuffles with police mar mainly peaceful demonstrations

Clashes between police and protesters marred mainly peaceful London demonstrations in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The day of action following the death of George Floyd in the US passed largely without incident, as thousands of people flooded into the centre of the capital.

Activists chanted "black lives matter" and "we will not be silent" at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, before tensions escalated when the demonstration moved to outside Downing Street.

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Police and Crime General Council stops 300 fraudulent single-person discount claims in one year

West Suffolk Council prevented 299 fraudulent single-person Council Tax discounts last year – resulting in a saving of £240,362, according to figures from the authority.

The council’s billing, collection and debt recovery is administered by the Anglia Revenues Partnership, a service provider which works on behalf of five local authorities including West Suffolk – and the authority has been working with ARP to enhance its fraud-prevention measures.

The local authority also said its fraud and compliance teams are now reviewing all newly awarded single-person discounts, to confirm that customers are still entitled to the discount.

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Police Demand Paedophile hunters say offenders are increasing online activity during lockdown

Paedophile hunting groups have seen a five-fold increase in the number of sex offenders trying to make contact with children online since the lockdown.

Several groups have told Sky News that the decoys they use to pose as underage girls and boys in online chat rooms, are being messaged up to 200 times a day by adults.

It comes as police chiefs warn of a likely increase in vigilante action against suspected sex offenders once the lockdown is lifted.

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Fire NFCC ‘pleased’ agreement to continue COVID activities extended

Thousands of staff from UK Fire and Rescue Services will continue to support the NHS, ambulance services, local authorities and other vital organisations in the fight against COVID-19, following extensive negotiations.

The talks, spanning a number of days, agreed that fire services will remain at the heart of the response to COVID-19 and continue to carry out agreed activities. The agreement was reached between the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the National Employer and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

This means COVID-related activities such as assisting care homes, helping with testing, driving ambulances, face fitting masks for the NHS/clinical staff and supporting the most vulnerable through deliveries will continue to take place until at least July 26th.

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Police Finances Sussex set to be third police force run by women

A third police force in the UK is set to be run by women after Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner was nominated to become Sussex chief constable.

She will work alongside Katy Bourne, the Sussex police and crime commissioner (PCC), if the appointment is confirmed this month.

Both the Met Police and North Yorkshire force have women in the posts of chief constable and police commissioner.

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Prisons Young offenders locked up for over 22 hours a day, MPs hear

MPs have been warned it is “unacceptable” that children in young offenders institutions are still being locked up for in excess of 22 hours a day, 10 weeks after lockdown.

Many of them have had no access to face-to-face education during that time, the justice select committee hearing on the impact of Covid-19 on the youth justice system was told.

The custody estate should have moved more swiftly, and there are now real concerns that young offenders, who had initially accepted the restrictions placed on them, would lose patience if they see changes to lockdown in the community, but no relaxation of regimes in YOIs.

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Police and Crime General Police shut down almost 90 county lines spreading drugs and ‘mayhem’ across UK

Police have shut down almost 90 “county lines” phone numbers that were used to deal drugs from London across the country in a national crackdown.

Officers are targeting senior “controllers” who operate branded phone lines to sell their product, and then organise distribution of heroin and crack cocaine to smaller cities and towns.

Children and vulnerable people are frequently used as couriers, and the model has been linked to increases in knife carrying and violence across Britain.

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Police and Crime General Drug gangs on 'recruitment drive' during lockdown

Drug gangs have been on a "recruitment drive" during lockdown, targeting vulnerable children and increasingly girls, according to a report.

They are being groomed to carry drugs, because they are unknown to police, the National Youth Agency says.

And social media and "unsafe outdoor spaces" are being used to recruit them.

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Police and Crime General Custody should be last resort, police told

Suspects are being held in police custody more than 50 per cent longer on average than they were a decade ago, according to a report published today.

The charity Transform Justice warns that too often detention is authorised automatically by custody officers despite police guidance stating that it should be a last resort.

The average length of time that those who have been arrested spend in police custody before being charged or released on bail or under investigation has risen from nine hours to 14 hours, the report says.

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Recruitment and Retention College confirms dates for ‘virtual’ exams

The College of Policing has confirmed it will be delivering officer exams ‘virtually’ through an online platform from September.

Changes to the exam format will also be made to ensure it is “appropriate for this new method of delivery”.

“Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the delivery of this year’s National Police Promotion Framework (NPPF) Step Two Legal Exams and the National Investigators’ Exam (NIE),” said the college. “This has affected the ability of forces to promote and progress their officers into supervisory and investigative roles.”

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Police and Crime General Beware fake coronavirus contact tracers visiting homes, police warn

Fake contact tracers may try to visit people's homes, the City of London Police force has warned.

The force, which oversees financial fraud cases, said the Government's test and trace scheme could see scammers trying to con people while impersonating NHS tracers.

It said Government tracers would only be contacting people via phone calls and text messages, and not in person.

The warning comes after the Government launched its test and trace system last week. The system sees 25,000 tracers contacting people who have tested positive for coronavirus and those with whom they have had close contact.

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Economy & Public Finance Tony Travers: Covid is delivering John McDonnell’s hoped-for economy

The political, economic and social consequences of the pandemic are only just beginning, writes the director of LSE London.

Local government has performed well in the months since Covid-19 engulfed all aspects of British public and private life. Councils have maintained a full range of public provision in the neighbourhoods where 67 million people have overwhelmingly been required to remain on lockdown since late March.

There is no evidence of any reduction in the quality of street services, parks, refuse collection, roads maintenance, children’s social care or public health. Care for older people has faced problems, but these have occurred because of the failure of successive governments to fund the service properly.

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Police and Crime General '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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Fire 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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Police and Crime General 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 Age