News Headlines

Government announces ‘levelling up’ white paper

A ‘levelling up’ white paper will be published later this year with the aim of clarifying the government’s agenda and ensuring public spending organisations are able to drive “meaningful change”.

Reducing regional inequalities was a central promise of the current government’s 2019 election manifesto. However, so far ‘levelling up’ initiatives have been limited to infrastructure funds, which have faced allegations of being designed to favour Conservative constituencies rather than meeting genuine economic needs.

The white paper will articulate “how bold new policy interventions will improve opportunity and boost livelihoods across the country” during the economic recovery from Covid-19, a statement from Downing Street and the Cabinet Office said.

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1m plus rule could end from 21 June, says PM

There is a "good chance" the one-metre plus social distancing rule will end on 21 June in England, the Prime Minister has said. Boris Johnson said the results of the vaccine rollout are "really starting to show up in the epidemiology”, but any change would depend on the data.

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Boris Johnson nearly halfway to reaching goal of 20,000 more police officers on Britain’s streets

The latest Police Uplift Programme data shows nearly 9,000 of the 20,000 new police officers have been recruited.

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Police and Crime General The Police Crime Prevention Academy delivers Designing out Crime qualification to 11 Police Forces

Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCO’s) representing eleven police forces are amongst the latest to undertake the accredited Level 5 Diploma in Crime Prevention – Designing Out Crime, delivered by the Police Crime Prevention Academy.

All Fifteen Designing Out Crime Officers who undertook the accredited qualification in March 2021 are newly appointed DOCO’s who will be in a unique position to influence their managers and partner agencies in seeking sustainable reductions in crime and helping to make local communities safer.

Bedfordshire Police, Leicestershire Police, North Wales Police, South Wales Police, Surrey Police, Kent Police, Dorset Police, Avon and Somerset Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police were all represented at the recent national delivery of the Level 5 Designing Out Crime qualification, which provides the learning and application that’s required for this specialist role.

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Police and Crime General Police use of emergency powers to retain DNA ‘responsible and proportionate’

The Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner says he is satisfied that emergency powers granted to the police under the Coronavirus Act 2020 for retaining fingerprints and DNA profiles have been “used in a responsible and proportionate manner”.

Professor Fraser Sampson said he has seen nothing to indicate that the police have applied the provisions “in anything other than the manner intended – necessarily, temporarily and proportionately”.

Section 24 of the Act enabled the Secretary of State to make regulations allowing the police to keep fingerprints and DNA profiles for six months on grounds of national security when there was no other statutory basis for keeping them. The police could do so without carrying out a detailed review of the risk posed by an individual nor the making of a National Security Determination (NSD) by a chief officer.

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson says he understands fans’ feelings after Old Trafford invasion

PM responds to questions about fans protesting at MU Stadium, where six officers were injured: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to have disruptive behaviour, demonstrations of that kind. But on the other hand, I do understand people’s strength of feeling.”

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Police and Crime General BBC report on the increase of Asian hate crime in the UK during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As footballers boycott social media over hate crimes, the abuse directed at Spurs star Son Heung-Min has focused attention on racism suffered by people of Asian background.

Community leaders say such abuse has increased dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the US, Congress has just enacted a hate crime bill giving specific protection to Asians.

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Police Demand Boris Johnson promises crackdown on theft of pets after rise in dognapping

PM promises to crack down on dognapping after a rise in the crime. Campaigners want stolen pets to be legally recognised as members of the family.

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Police Demand Police fail to solve one million burglaries over past five years

Almost one million burglaries have gone unsolved in the last five years, according to crime stats unearthed by the Lib Dems.

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COVID-19 Quarantine for Covid contacts could be scrapped

People may not need to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone with Covid, if a new trial is successful.

The government-backed research will trial giving people daily lateral flow tests for seven days - instead of quarantining for 10 days. So long as they test negative all week, they can carry on with their lives.

It comes as the foreign secretary said the country was "in a good position" to end almost all restrictions on 21 June.

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson wants planning reforms to feature in Queen’s Speech

Boris Johnson has signed off more than 25 bills to be presented in the Queen’s Speech next week as he seeks to flesh out his coronavirus recovery plan, it emerged last night.

The new legislative programme will feature planning reforms, a post-Brexit state aid regime and a long-awaited bill to reform social care.

The prime minister has told aides that he wants the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the next 12 months, to provide a plan for Britain’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

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Police and Crime General Asian hate crime in UK increases during pandemic

As footballers boycott social media over hate crimes, the abuse directed at Spurs star Son Heung-Min has focused attention on racism suffered by people of Asian background.

Community leaders say such abuse has increased dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the US, Congress has just enacted a hate crime bill giving specific protection to Asians. The number of such crimes reported to police in London alone tripled at the start of the pandemic. But campaigners and police agree many go unreported.

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Technology Police reveal details on the chilling death threats sent through social media

Police have revealed they are dealing with a record number of chilling death threats every year where criminals use Facebook to broadcast their murderous intentions.

The social media platform sees an estimated 670 horrifying threats to murder and mutilate people posted every year, which the police are then called in to investigate.

Victims have logged on to Facebook to find they have been threatened with knife and gun murders, torture, arson attacks and even bombs.

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COVID-19 New modelling ‘optimistic’ third wave may not happen at all

A new model has been reported to show the risk of a "third wave" of COVID-19 cases in the UK has been diminished due to the vaccination programme. The modelling by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is due to be presented to the Government’s SAGE Committee.

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COVID-19 More than 15 million people now fully vaccinated as UK reports 14 more deaths

More than 15 million people across the UK have now had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

It means a large proportion of the elderly and most vulnerable are fully inoculated against COVID-19.

A further 372,304 second jabs were administered on Saturday, bringing the total to 15,329,617.

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Police and Crime General Police fail to solve one million burglaries over past five years

Almost one million burglaries have gone unsolved in the last five years, amid warnings that cuts to neighbourhood policing are leaving homeowners at the mercy of criminals....

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COVID-19 The Covid fines paint a bleak picture of pandemic policing that’s going to get worse [OPINION]

When the government handed the police powers to detain and fine people under emergency coronavirus regulations last year, anti-racists warned that some communities would be disproportionately affected.

I was among them – as were a cluster of grassroots groups, which wrote, on the day the Coronavirus Act was introduced to parliament: “We believe increased police and immigration officer powers will only be used to target those already targeted by law.”

Unfortunately, our predictions have been proved right, with parliament’s joint committee on human rights concluding last week that every single Covid fine issued under the law in England should be reviewed amid concerns they were “discriminatory and unfair”.

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Police and Crime General Force schools to report epidemic of sex abuse to police, say campaigners

Ministers are under pressure to make schools legally bound to share reports of the sexual abuse of pupils with the police.

There is no requirement for schools to pass on allegations of sexual abuse of children in their care. The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA), the chairman of the education select committee and lawyers working with abuse victims are calling for an urgent change in the law.

Since the novelist Louis de Bernières wrote last month about the “hell” he endured as a young boy at a Kent boarding school in the 1960s, hundreds of readers have shared their experiences. Most feature physical or sexual abuse.

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COVID-19 Thousands head to UK's first club night in more than a year for coronavirus safety pilot event

Clubbers have returned to the dancefloor after more than a year's wait - for a COVID safety pilot event in Liverpool.

Some 6,000 partygoers are expected at the First Dance event, which stretches across two-nights from Friday at the city's warehouse nightclub Circus.

Ticket-holders have not needed to socially distance or wear face coverings, but they did need proof of a negative COVID test result before being allowed in.

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COVID-19 Covid-19 infections in UK back to late summer levels - ONS

Coronavirus infections in the UK are back to levels seen at the end of last summer with around one in 1,000 people infected, ONS data suggests.

In the week to 24 April, infections fell in all four nations of the UK and were 20 times lower than in January.

It comes as a new UK study has found very small numbers of people have been admitted to hospital with Covid several weeks after having one vaccine dose.

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COVID-19 Record rate of online Covid vaccine bookings

The NHS reported a record rate of online bookings after offering jabs to those aged 40 and 41 yesterday, with 120,000 people signing up before 9am.

Those in the current cohort for vaccination were able to use the national booking system from 7am.

On Monday, when booking opened to 44-year-olds, there were almost 300,000 bookings throughout the day and on Tuesday, when 42 and 43-year-olds were included, there were just over 400,000.

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COVID-19 Covid-19 vaccine offered to people aged 40 and over in England

People aged 40 and over in England are now able to book their Covid jabs, NHS officials say.

Text messages will be sent to 40 and 41-year-olds, directing them to the national booking service. Meanwhile, about 22 million people in the UK are living in areas that have not reported any Covid deaths that happened in April, BBC analysis shows.

Since the vaccine rollout began in December, about 34 million people have had at least one dose in the UK.

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Police and Crime General Police handlers to receive first aid training to help their dogs injured in line of duty

Britain's police dog handlers are to receive free first aid training to help save the lives of their injured four-legged partners.

With an estimated 250 police dogs injured in the line of duty every year, experts, charities and police forces have teamed up for the first-ever nationwide campaign to provide the UK’s 1,500 police dogs greater support in critical moments of need.

Experts from Dog First Aid Training will provide a free virtual course for police dog handlers that will teach them how to immediately treat blunt force trauma injuries, burns and identify the signs of shock.

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Police Finances Cipfa Publishes the Role of the CFO in Policing Document

An overview of the roles of the PCC's CFO and the chief constable's CFO within policing, with particular focus on how the two CFOs can work together to achieve the best outcomes.

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Police Finances Grahame Morris MP: Replace council tax with a proportional property tax

The current system is broken. Councillors should put pressure on their parties to support long-term sustainable reform, writes the Labour MP and former shadow communities minister.

My preferred option for moving forward is replacing council tax and stamp duty with a proportional property tax set at 0.48% of a property’s value.

The tax would see every property owner paying a flat 0.48% of the value of their property, with the burden moving from renters to landlords. Around 76% of households would stand to gain under this system, seeing a reduction in the amount of tax they pay on their primary residence. To protect those in expensive properties from unduly large rises in property tax, the increases will be capped at £100 per month and it will be possible to defer paying the tax until someone sells their home.

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COVID-19 Social distancing not needed at big events, Boris Johnson to be told

Social distancing for large events can be scrapped from June 21, Boris Johnson will be told next week after initial results from a pilot scheme found no spike in Covid cases among attendees. ...

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Recruitment and Retention Hire soldiers to benefit from tax breaks, police forces urged

Police forces should use tax breaks to target former soldiers in their bid to recruit 20,000 more officers, policing leaders have said.

John Apter, chairman of the police federation, is urging police forces and the Government to exploit new rules that exempt firms and public sector bodies which employ military veterans from paying National Insurance contributions during the first 12 months of their employment.

The new tax relief came into force on April 6 and is available to every employer - regardless of when a veteran left the regular Armed Forces. The tax break can be used as long as a veteran has not been employed in a civilian capacity for any period since they left military service.

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Police and Crime General Anti-protest curbs in UK policing bill ‘violate international rights standards’

Anti-protest curbs contained in the new policing bill are disproportionate, hand subjective powers to officers and the home secretary, and violate international human rights standards, MPs and peers have been told.

Giving evidence to the joint committee of human rights on Wednesday, lawyers said that if the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill was passed as it stands, it would have a “chilling effect” on the right to protest.

Jules Carey, the head of actions against the police and state team at Bindmans solicitors, said the provisions “clearly violate international human rights standards, and they constitute a savage attack on the right to peaceful assembly”.

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COVID-19 Lockdown fines should be reviewed, say MPs

All fixed penalty notices for coronavirus lockdown breaches should be reviewed, according to a cross-party parliamentary committee. The Joint Committee on Human Rights, which is made up of MPs and peers, said it had "significant concerns" about the validity of fines, the inadequacy of the review and appeal process, the size of the penalties and the criminalisation of those who could not afford to pay.

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Police and Crime General Fall in registered suicides amid pandemic inquest delays

Registered suicides in England fell in 2020 as inquests were delayed during the coronavirus pandemic, provisional figures show.

Some 4,902 suicides were registered across the country last year – giving a provisional rate of 9.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This is a fall from 2019, when the rate was 10.8 suicide deaths per 100,000 people.

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Recruitment and Retention Mark Roberts becomes Cheshire Police's new chief constable

Force boss Mark Roberts has assumed his duties this week after previous incumbent Darren Martland retired on Friday, April 23.

The married dad-of-two was formerly the deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire Police and served in Cheshire as assistant chief constable between 2014 and 2017.

He said: “I am delighted and proud to be the new chief constable of Cheshire Police and look forward to working with our officers and staff, the police and crime commissioner and local partners to deliver an outstanding service to all our communities in Cheshire.

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Police and Crime General Police launch anti-knife crime strategy following spate of teen stabbings

Police are to launch a major anti-knife crime campaign today, after a series of fatal teenage stabbings. Operation Sceptre is a week-long national initiative to encourage people to dispose of knives in specially designated weapons binds. Officers will also conduct weapons sweeps, deploy knife arches and carry out extra patrols in violence hotspots.

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Economy & Public Finance Time to replace fiscal rules, think-tank says

The government’s “arbitrary” fiscal rules are not fit for purpose and should be replaced by a more flexible framework, according to a leading research institute.

Analysis from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research shows fiscal rules have limited use because they do not account for unforeseen circumstances.

Institute director Jagjit Chadha said responding to uncertainty is one of the main reasons for governments to spend money – a factor emphasised over the past year during the response to Covid-19.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to pose difficult questions of our policymakers, now is the time to consider the role of fiscal policy,” he told a press conference.

“It simply makes no sense to be in thrall to arbitrary rules that do not match society’s broader needs.”

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Police and Crime General All-female team create new guide to support safer public spaces

A new guide to help local authorities create safer journeys for women has been published.

The guide, which was developed by an all-female team of transport planners in Atkins, sets out six areas that local authorities can focus on to improve the safety of public spaces, with particular focus on creating safer first and last mile journeys for women.

This includes improving visibility through low to the ground planting and the removal of walls and barriers. It also recommends providing digital wayfinding apps and active building frontages to provide ‘eyes on the street’.

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COVID-19 Scrap social distancing in June to give people control of their lives, say scientists

An open letter signed by 22 leading scientists and academics has said that social distancing should be abolished in June to allow people “to take back control of their own lives”. It says “a good society cannot be created by obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health”, and calls for all restrictions to end on 21 June.

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Police and Crime General Database of abusive men promised within a year

Ministers are to take steps towards introducing a national register of men who harass women, saying they can set up a database modelled on the sex offenders’ register within a year. A list of abusive men is reported to be part of a “perpetrators strategy” to be promised this week by the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, to persuade MPs to pass the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill.

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COVID-19 Half of UK population has had first jab - and more than 12 million fully vaccinated

More than half the UK's total population has now had a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The number of initial inoculations stands at 33,508,590, while the population is estimated to be 66,796,807.

A further 119,953 first doses were given on Friday, while 448,139 people received a second one.

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Economy & Public Finance UK Borrowing

Public sector borrowing in the year to March reached the highest level since records began at the end of World War Two, with £303.1 billion needed according to the Office for National Statistics. The furlough scheme alone has cost almost £60 billion, with Test and Trace, the health service, vaccines and support schemes adding to the total.

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Police Demand Catalytic converter theft

Theft of catalytic converters stolen from cars has risen by 6,760 per cent in four years, rising from 57 call outs in 2017, to 3,910 last year, according to the AA. Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said councils need greater enforcement powers to tackle the issue.

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Police Finances Bristol police admit protest ban under Covid powers was unlawful

Avon and Somerset Police will pay damages to four protestors arrested at the Colston statue-toppling after admitting the protest ban under Covid powers was unlawful.

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Police Finances Government proposes extension to audit fee deadline

Under current local audit regulations, oversight body Public Sector Audit Appointments must publish its fee scales the month before the start of the financial year.

However, a government consultation proposes moving the deadline to 30 November each year, in a bid to ensure that auditing costs included in budgets are more accurate.

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Police Demand Priti Patel 'draws up plans for police league tables measuring success cutting serious crime' – but senior officers warn proposals risk a return to 'target culture'

Priti Patel is reportedly drawing up plans for police league tables to measure the success of forces in cutting serious crime.

Police forces across England and Wales could soon be compared using figures for crimes such as murder, serious violence and online crime, according to the Times.

Ministers are reportedly keen to see the result of the Government's pledge to hire 20,000 police officers across the country.

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COVID-19 Brit Awards to have live audience as part of COVID-19 event trials

The Brit Awards will go ahead with a live audience at London’s O2 Arena next month, in the latest addition to the Government’s Events Research Programme, which examines how venues and events can reopen safely after the pandemic. The 4,000-strong audience won't need to wear masks or be socially distanced, but will need a negative COVID-19 test. Meanwhile, the Express reports that a pilot scheme at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre for the World Snooker Championship recorded no follow-up cases of COVID-19, paving the way for a gradual reopening of other events.

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COVID-19 Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder

A US jury has found a former police officer guilty of murder over the death of African-American George Floyd on a Minneapolis street last year.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May.

The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

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Economy & Public Finance Rising fuel costs drive UK inflation to 0.7 per cent in March

The UK inflation rate rose to 0.7 per cent in the 12 months to March, up from 0.4 per cent in February, pushed up by the increased cost of fuel, transport and clothes.

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Police Demand ‘Shocking’ rise in young girls coerced into filming own sexual abuse

Eighty per cent of self-generated child sexual abuse content identified by the IWF in 2020 involved girls aged 11 to 13.

IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves OBE said the scale of the problem was “appalling”.

‘Self-generated’ material now accounts for almost half of all online child sexual abuse identified by the IWF.

Predators groom, bully, and coerce their victims into filming their own sexual abuse on internet-enabled devices, often in the child’s own bedrooms in their family homes, said the IWF. The images and videos of this abuse are then shared widely online.

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Police Finances HMRCFRS Consulting on New Framework

HMICFRS launches consultation on their proposed 2021/22 policing inspection programme and framework.

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COVID-19 Some forces 'broke the law' over self-isolation, HMICFRS finds

Some police forces may have broken the law by failing to follow self-isolation rules after staff came into contact with someone who had coronavirus symptoms, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has found.

Amid “confusion” over the requirements and concerns about the “potential adverse effect of losing resources”, some instigated their own regimes which were contrary to national guidance or may have broken the law, the report said.

Some forces “did not appear to follow the national requirement for self-isolating for test, track and trace. Forces sometimes saw self-isolation as unnecessary and possibly resulting in relatively large numbers of staff being told to isolate within some teams.

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Police and Crime General Undercover officers 'encouraged to sleep with activists'

Senior police officers "encouraged or tolerated" undercover officers having sexual relationships with activists they were sent to spy on, a tribunal has heard.

Metropolitan Police is being sued by an environmental campaigner who had a long-term relationship with an officer she believed was a fellow activist.

They had met while working together at a community hub in Nottingham. Kate Wilson, 41, said the deception had breached her human rights.

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Police and Crime General First responders – help shape our new investigation guidelines

The College of Policing is developing new guidelines based on evidence from research and the experiences of officers and staff at all stages of an investigation.

We want to hear from police officers, staff and volunteers who are first responders, to ensure the guidelines are based on the most up-to-date and relevant evidence.

Our investigation guidelines practice evidence survey is aimed at first responders who conduct initial investigations or are involved in the follow-up investigation process. By sharing your experience you will contribute to building the evidence base for policing and help ensure the guidelines support forces in the most effective way possible.

The scope of the guidelines sets out the focus and approach to development of the guidelines. The scope was subject to consultation with stakeholders, practitioners and the public, and was agreed upon by an independently chaired committee.

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COVID-19 Police struggle to control crowds after COVID-19 hospitality rules relaxed

COVID-19 rules making people eat and drink outside pubs and restaurants have left police in an impossible position, it was claimed yesterday, with officers unsure how to manage large crowds. It comes as the first weekend since restrictions were eased, combined with good weather, saw thousands of people enjoy their first taste of socialising since before Christmas.

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Police Demand One in five Welsh farmers victims of crime last year

A survey by NFU Cymru found that one in five Welsh farmers was a victim of crime in 2020. Theft offences made up half of those crimes.

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COVID-19 Police plea for pub punters to stick to rules as customers pile into beer gardens

Patrols are being ramped up this weekend, with more officers in town and city centres to ensure revellers adhere to Government guidance.

New rules mean that up to six people can meet outside at a pub for a drink, however, social distancing is still a requirement, table service is in place and masks must be worn when indoors.

A spokeswoman from West Midlands Police, said: “The easing of restrictions marks another encouraging step towards a return to ‘normal’ life however, we can’t become complacent and risk undermining what we’ve achieved so far.

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COVID-19 Pfizer boss says people may need additional vaccines beyond their second dose

People are "likely" to need a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine within 12 months of getting the first two, Pfizer's chief executive has said.

Dr Albert Bourla said a booster jab could be necessary "somewhere between six and 12 months" after the second one - and every year thereafter.

"A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed," he told CNBC.

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Technology Covid facemasks leave police struggling to compile e-fit profiles

Police are struggling to identify criminals because the widespread use of face masks in the Covid pandemic means they can no longer rely on e-fits to track suspects down....

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Police and Crime General Government aiming to reverse several Domestic Abuse Bill changes made by peers

The Domestic Abuse Bill aims to put an end to the so-called “rough sex defence”, recognise children as victims of domestic abuse and criminalise in England and Wales threats to share intimate images of another person without their consent.

Other reforms contained within the legislation include the first legal Government definition of domestic abuse, which would include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.

The Government also made a concession in the Lords over recording misogyny as a hate crime. It confirmed police forces from the autumn will be asked to record and identify any crimes of violence, including stalking and sexual offences, where the victim believed it to have been motivated by “hostility based on their sex”.

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Recruitment and Retention Record number of women among candidates contesting PCC and Mayoral elections

A record number of women are bidding to be Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in the elections on May 6.

With the deadline to stand having now past, analysis of the lists of candidates show that in England 30 women are standing in 35 seats, while in the four PCC elections in Wales there are eight female contenders.

In addition, in the three city areas where the Mayor has been given PCC-like powers over policing, ten women will be on ballot papers, including the former Coronation Street actress, Labour MP Tracy Brabin, in West Yorkshire. It adds up to 48 female candidates, almost a quarter of the total.

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COVID-19 Rapid Covid testing in England may be scaled back over false positives

Senior government officials have raised “urgent” concerns about the mass expansion of rapid coronavirus testing, estimating that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in places with low Covid rates, such as London.

Boris Johnson last week urged everyone in England to take two rapid-turnaround tests a week in the biggest expansion of the multibillion-pound testing programme to date.

However, leaked emails seen by the Guardian show that senior officials are now considering scaling back the widespread testing of people without symptoms, due to a growing number of false positives.

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COVID-19 Pubs and bars face being punished for Covid rule-busting queues

Scores of people lined up outside pubs around the country as they reopened for business in line with second step of lockdown easing...

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COVID-19 England gets third jab as Moderna rollout begins

England is giving out its first doses of the Moderna jab, the third Covid-19 vaccine in the nation's rollout.

It will be available at 21 sites, included the Madejski Stadium in Reading and the Sheffield Arena.

Along with the Pfizer jab, it offers an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s, after concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.

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Economy & Public Finance Commission calls for abolition of Spending Reviews

The government’s Spending Review is “not workable” and needs to be abolished, according to an independent commission. Spending Reviews are “spun" documents”, designed to support the political messages the government wishes to make, rather than presenting information in a consistent format, a report from the Commission for Smart Government said.

It said that the reviews should be replaced by a new plan for government developed at the start of each parliament.

The report said: “Past Spending Reviews have suffered from not being connected to any clear strategic view of government’s priorities and does not produce workable, reliable plans which make best use of spending.”

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Police and Crime General Preventing young offenders signing up for a life sentence

Living in poverty, suffering with mental health difficulties, or feeling lonely. These are the signs that criminal gangs look out for in the search for new recruits to exploit.

And the pandemic has only heightened the numbers of vulnerable teenagers available to be preyed upon.

The National Youth Agency, the national body for youth work in England, has revealed that gang activity and exploitation have continued during lockdown, and that youth services are now working with more young people that were not previously known to the police or youth offending teams.

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Recruitment and Retention Almost a third of chief constables quit before police and crime commissioner elections

Almost a third of chief constables are being replaced as a series of senior officers leave before next month’s police and crime commissioner elections.

In the biggest shake-up to policing in years, some of the most experienced chief officers have already said they are leaving. Others will await the outcome of the May 6 elections of police and crime commissioners (PCCs), who have the power to fire them.

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COVID-19 Police cannot tackle all Covid breaches as crime returns to pre-pandemic levels, senior officer warns

Police will not be able to respond to all breaches of coronavirus restrictions as crime rises towards pre-pandemic levels, a senior officer has warned.

Police leaders expect a rise in violence, including stabbings, and all types of offences as coronavirus restrictions are gradually eased in England.

The national lockdown that ended on 29 March caused a dramatic reduction in crime, similar to that seen at the beginning of the pandemic last year.

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Police and Crime General Security services and police to face questions over London Bridge attacker

The security services and police are to face questions over whether they missed the chance to stop a convicted terrorist out on licence with an electronic tag who stabbed two people to death.

On Monday, the inquests open into the deaths of Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, who were killed in the November 2019 attack at Fishmongers hall, near London Bridge at a prisoner rehabilitation conference.

The event was to mark the fifth anniversary of Learning Together, an educational rehabilitation initiative run by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, for which Merritt was a course coordinator and Jones was a volunteer.

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Police and Crime General Britain may seek Republic’s help to tackle sectarian violence in Northern Ireland

Downing Street is considering intergovernmental talks over rising tensions in Northern Ireland despite concerns that involving Dublin would further inflame unionist anger.

Boris Johnson has not ruled out travelling to the province if the disorder continues but any visit might be delayed until the official mourning period for the Duke of Edinburgh has concluded.

It comes amid increasing concern in government at the spectre of sectarian violence after more rioting on Friday led to 14 officers being injured.

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COVID-19 Domestic abuse surged in lockdown but only three UK police forces areas have enough specialists to cope

Only three police force areas have enough domestic violence specialist advisers to protect the most vulnerable victims, according to a report for the Government....

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COVID-19 Police cannot tackle all Covid breaches as crime returns to pre-pandemic levels, senior officer warns

Police will not be able to respond to all breaches of coronavirus restrictions as crime rises towards pre-pandemic levels, a senior officer has warned.

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Police and Crime General Stop and search 12-year-olds: Call for police to crackdown on knife crime

Officers will gain new powers to stop adults with convictions for knife and other weapons offences with the introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs), but the highly influential think tank argues police must also be able to search young people.

Polling by YouGov found 73 percent of British adults think the orders should apply to people as young as 12, with 88 percent saying 14 years old should be included. Only two percent thought it should apply only to those aged 18-plus.

Andy Cook, chief executive of the CSJ said that “children and young people are just as capable of knife crime as adults”.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary Priti Patel has say on police and crime commissioner election

THE Home Secretary said she was ‘going to need the help of Conservative police and crime commissioners (PCCs)’ in her battle to keep the public safe.

In a video message, Priti Patel spoke about the recruitment of 20,000 police officers, with more than 6,000 already on the beat since 2019’s General Election.

She said: “We’ve provided tasers to police forces across the country and invested £65 million to end county line drug gangs.

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Police Finances Cost of rising crime is nearly £100bn a year, ministers told

The “cost of crime” to individuals and businesses has soared to almost £100 billion a year, according to analysis of government figures.

A sharp rise in murders, serious assaults, rape and robbery has driven the estimated total financial costs incurred by individuals each year in England and Wales to £72.5 billion. This is up from £50.1 billion in 2015-16.

Costs incurred from crimes against businesses have more than doubled from £8.7 billion in 2015-16 to £22.8 billion in the year last to September.

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COVID-19 Twice-weekly lateral flow coronavirus tests now available for free in England

Everyone in England can now get twice-weekly COVID tests for free under a new effort to keep the journey out of lockdown on track.

Ministers hope regular use of the rapid lateral flow tests will become a habit and help keep cases low as the economy reopens.

The tests will be available from locations such as pharmacies, workplaces and community spaces - and can also be ordered for home delivery.

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Police and Crime General Mothers of knife crime victims urge people to anonymously report details to the police

The mother of a knife crime victim who said that he did not expect to see his 21st birthday because of escalating violence in London has urged people to anonymously report suspicious friends to the police. ...

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Police and Crime General The key points from Welsh Labour's manifesto

Much of Welsh Labour's manifesto is about what the party has done, as well as what it plans to do.

Each page of pledges is met with a page of what Labour lists as its achievements in government - the party is running on the shape of the last 22 years as much as anything else.

Labour's pitch to voters for the 2021 election is not a plan for a radical overhaul of the system of devolution, or the health service or social care.

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Police and Crime General Ex-police reveal bribes and threats used to cover up corruption in 70s London

One of London’s most senior police officers, described by a colleague as “the greatest villain unhung”, was believed to be involved in major corruption in the 1970s but never prosecuted, according to a new documentary on police malpractice.

Former officers who exposed corruption at the time describe how they were threatened that they would end up in a “cement raincoat” if they informed on fellow officers and were shunned by colleagues when they did.

The fresh revelations come from half a dozen former officers from both the Metropolitan and City of London police forces, including one who has admitted receiving payments.

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Police and Crime General Greater Manchester Police find another 6,155 'missing' crimes - as top cop makes pledge to get it sorted

Greater Manchester Police has uncovered 6,155 crimes that weren't properly recorded in the last four months.

The offences, which have now been properly registered, were found as part of a 'due diligence' review launched after the force was plunged into crisis in December.

Today the force revealed 6,000 police officers have received refresher training designed to ensure cops put victims first as well as record and investigate crimes properly - with a further squad of 70 checkers - as part of a programme of modernisation to drag GMP out of 'special measures'.

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Justice Drug gangs pose as slaves to dodge jail

Albanian gangsters who have cornered the market for cannabis in the UK using farms protected with booby traps are escaping prosecution by claiming to be slaves, The Times can reveal.

Specialist “gardeners” smuggled into the country illegally are set up in fortified houses and warehouses protected by hidden barbed-wire mesh and staircases rigged to fall beneath intruders.

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Police and Crime General No 10 says mayor of London's cannabis review a 'waste of time'

Downing Street has condemned a planned review by the mayor of London into the decriminalisation of cannabis as a waste of time, saying the issue is not in his remit, and that the government has no plans to change the law.

Sadiq Khan has said that if he is re-elected on 6 May, he will set up an independent London drugs commission to examine the potential health, economic and criminal justice benefits of decriminalising the class-B drug.

The Labour mayor believes there is widespread public support for a more relaxed approach to decriminalisation, citing polls showing more than half of the UK – and nearly two-thirds of those in the capital – support legalising cannabis for adult recreational use.

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Police and Crime General West Midlands Police form new units to bring down city gangs - how they will operate

West Midlands Police is creating two new squads in their fight to bring down the gangs terrorising the city.

Extra officers have been brought in to form two specific units to tackle Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) and Urban Street Gangs (USGs).

One team will focus on the gangs operating in central Birmingham while the other will target those based in the east.

Working alongside neighbourhood police teams, the units will be the lookout for people and vehicles linked to gangs and organised crime and raid addresses.

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Police and Crime General Schoolboys risk 'unfair judgment' in rape culture row

The police should not "pronounce guilt without evidence" when it comes to the school rape culture row, a former home secretary has said, as he warned of "unforeseen and dangerous consequences".

David Blunkett has said that "identity politics" must not be allowed to create an environment in which schoolboys were unfairly judged, following accusations of sexual harassment sweeping British private schools.

Mr Blunkett, Labour education secretary from 1997 to 2001, said the view that there was a "rape culture" in many British schools and colleges was "shocking".

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Recruitment and Retention Female police officers outnumber male PCs at British force for the first time in boost for gender equality

Women outnumber men for the first time at a British police force.

Wiltshire Police has 1,140 female officers and staff compared to 1,101 male employees, a report revealed.

All but one of the force’s 63 civilian staff hired between 2019 and last year were female.

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Police Demand Lockdown brings alarming rise in modern slavery

Reports of sexual and criminal exploitation have risen alarmingly during the pandemic, according to new data measuring the scale of modern slavery and trafficking in the UK.

Cases of sexual exploitation, which includes people held captive in brothels and coerced into prostitution, rose by a quarter in 2020 compared with the previous year. Nearly a quarter of cases involved children.

Criminal exploitation, which includes forced shoplifting and forced begging, increased by 42%, with a fifth of potential victims said to be minors. Dozens of cases referred to drugs-related activity involving county lines gangs, where youngsters are used to transport narcotics and money.

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Police and Crime General Met police criticised for arrest of two observers at 'kill the bill' protest

Civil liberties campaigners have criticised the Metropolitan police after two independent legal observers were among 107 people arrested following a march through central London on Saturday.

Protesters gathered on Saturday night in London, Bristol, Manchester and several other cities in opposition to a bill that critics say will limit the right to protest.

In London, thousands marched from Hyde Park to Parliament Square, where speeches were given against the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, which passed its second reading in parliament last month.

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COVID-19 Sunset clause planned to head off vaccine certificate revolt

Vaccination passports could be imposed on the public for less than a year, according to plans being drawn up by Downing Street to head off a Tory revolt.

Boris Johnson will give the green light on Monday to the development of a system of “vaccine certification” as he looks to reinvigorate the economy.

Ministers believe the scheme may be essential in reopening venues such as theatres and stadiums which rely on large crowds.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus passports can get people 'back to doing things they love', culture secretary says

COVID passports could be introduced as a way of ensuring people can get "back to doing the things they love", the culture secretary has said.

Oliver Dowden made the comments as more than 70 MPs sent a warning shot to Prime Minister Boris Johnson by forming a major cross-party campaign against the use of such passports within the UK.

Mr Dowden said cabinet minister Michael Gove is conducting a review into whether "we could make a COVID status certification work".

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Justice Crime victims to be told when perpetrators leave prison

Crime victims are to be told when an offender leaves prison as part of a new code that has come into force in England and Wales.

The Victims' Code ensures access to extra information and support, such as enabling victims of rape to choose the gender of their police interviewer.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said it gave victims a "simplified and stronger set of rights".

A consultation on a new victims' law will take place later this year.

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Police and Crime General ‘Culture of misogyny’ entrenched in police over domestic abuse cases, commissioner tells Priti Patel

A “culture of misogyny” is entrenched in the police, and a wide-ranging review into how they deal with domestic abuse cases must be carried out, the UK’s domestic abuse commissioner has warned.

In a letter to the home secretary, Priti Patel, seen by The Independent, Nicole Jacobs said there is a “persistent” lack of confidence among women to report domestic abuse and sexual assault to the police, and that this hinders bringing “dangerous, serial perpetrators to justice”.

Her comments come amid mounting anger over the violence against women and girls, after the tragic death of Sarah Everard saw women sharing personal stories of sexual harassment and assault in public spaces.

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Police and Crime General 'Rule of Six' almost unenforceable, complain police chiefs

Police chiefs have warned ministers that the rule of six is virtually unenforceable because of the two household concession.

As councils began a clear-up of litter left by people who packed into parks and beaches during Tuesday’s heatwave, policing sources told The Daily Telegraph that enforcing the rules had been made “very, very difficult” by the decision also to allow two households to meet outside.

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Police Demand Stop and search mostly used for drugs possession says Commission

Stop and search is used mostly for suspicion of drugs possession rather than carrying knives and rates of use of the police power should be analysed at smaller geographic levels to avoid inaccurate claims relating to Black people.

The Government ordered independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report published today said that police and government messaging on the use of stop and search needs to be clearer.

It said successive Home Secretaries going back to Amber Rudd in 2017 had clearly stated that the purpose of the tactic was to “take knives off the streets.” But it says there is a “disconnect between this narrative” and what is seen on the ground.

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Recruitment and Retention Survey reveals toll of pandemic on mental health of emergency workers

Three in five police officers say their mental health has worsened over the course of the pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by Welsh mental health charity Mind Cymru.

The data, taken from a survey of more than 250 staff and volunteers across police, fire and ambulance services in Wales, has laid bare the scale of poor mental health within the emergency responder communities with just under one in four police officers rating the current state of their mental health as “poor”.

Worst hit were ambulance staff with only one in three (33 per cent) reporting their current mental health as very good or good compared with two in five police (44 per cent) and almost one in two (49 per cent) survey respondents working within the fire service.

Ambulance staff were the most likely (72 per cent) to say their mental health has worsened since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, compared with police (56 per cent) or fire (61 per cent). Staff and volunteers within the ambulance service were also more likely to rate their current mental health as poor or very poor.

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Police Demand Police struggle to fight rise in scam messages from criminal gangs

Graeme Biggar, the Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre has suggested police and law enforcement are losing the war on criminal gangs behind a surge in scam messages during the pandemic. Mr Biggar said cyber fraudsters were “finding it too easy” to plague the public with millions of fake texts, emails and calls.

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Police Demand School abuse claims could be the 'next national scandal'

Police have said sexual harassment and assault claims made by school pupils on a website may be the “next child abuse scandal that engulfs the nation”. A police helpline is to be set up to report incidents, following the posting of thousands of allegations, most of them about the behaviour of other pupils.

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Police and Crime General Protest laws move UK towards paramilitary policing, says former chief

Ex-Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton warns measures on protests in the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill would see Britain move towards “paramilitary policing”.

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Police Demand County lines gangs have changed tactics during pandemic

Young people are at risk of increasing exploitation from criminals as the country marks a year since the first national lockdown, according to a National Youth Agency report. It says county lines gangs have changed tactics during the pandemic, including targeting vulnerable young people where they live; increased and more creative use of social media platforms to groom young people stuck at home, and exploiting a lack of sufficient support in more rural areas for children to seek help.

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Police and Crime General Next phase of Supporting Families programme launched with £165m

Local authority leaders have welcomed the next phase of the Government’s programme to support vulnerable families which has been launched with £165m behind it.

The newly named ‘Supporting Families’ programme, previously known as the ‘Troubled Families’ programme, includes work to support people to leave abusive relationships, get the right joined-up support for those with mental health issues and help people to find work.

The programme, which began in 2012, assigns families a dedicated keyworker, who brings local services together to resolve issues at an early stage, before they develop into more significant problems.

Recruitment and Retention UK police forces deploy 683 officers in schools with some poorer areas targeted

More than half of police forces have officers working in schools, but there are concerns the practice leads to criminalisation of young people and that school is no longer a “safe haven”.

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Recruitment and Retention Axing PCSOs one of hardest but most important decisions of chief's tenure

Announcing his retirement, Norfolk’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey has defended his decision to axe PCSOs from the force.

“The move away from the model of policing with PCSOs now means we’ve got more officers tackling crime and serious organised crime than we’ve ever had and they are doing it to devastating effect.”

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Police Demand At your service: the fraudsters openly advertising tailor-made online scams

UK Finance says online fraud is rising, with criminals openly advertising their ability to create scam websites and apps which trick people into making payments by purporting to be HMRC or the NHS.

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Police and Crime General ‘Inevitable’ third Covid-19 wave will not change the plan, vows Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty have both said that Britain will suffer another surge of coronavirus as restrictions are eased.

The prime minister last night told Conservative MPs that a third wave coming from Europe was “inevitable”.

However, he insisted that “we are prepared” and there was “no reason to deviate” from the unlocking road map he set out last month. He hailed the success of the vaccine rollout as a reason to persist with the existing timetable even if cases rise again.

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Police Demand £34.5m stolen in pandemic scams

More than 6,000 cases of Covid-related fraud and cyber-crime have been recorded by the UK's police forces during the pandemic.

The Action Fraud team said £34.5m had been stolen since 1 March 2020. It covers activity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland.

In a related development, the National Cyber Security Centre has told the BBC it is tackling about 30 "significant attacks" a month against the country's pandemic response infrastructure.

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Police and Crime General Have your say on the future direction of the College

The new chair of the College of Policing board, Nick Herbert (Lord Herbert of South Downs), has – almost a decade on from the establishment of the professional body for the police in England and Wales – launched a fundamental review of the College’s work.

While we have made considerable progress in recent years in strengthening our connection with day-to-day policing, more needs to be done to ensure that the College meets its potential and that its work and role within policing is valued across the service.

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Police Demand Coronavirus: Domestic abuse an 'epidemic beneath a pandemic'

A massive increase in appeals for help over the past year from those suffering domestic abuse has exposed the scale of the problem, say campaigners.

Refuge says it recorded an average of 13,162 calls and messages to its National Domestic Abuse helpline every month between April 2020 and February 2021.

That is up 61% on the average number of monthly contacts at the start of 2020.

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COVID-19 'Less than a fifth' of police officers and staff have received Covid-19 jab

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) did not publish precise figures but said it had become clear in “operational meetings” that less than a fifth had been given the vaccination.

Latest figures from the Government suggest that around half of adults in the UK have had their first jab.

National chair of the PFEW John Apter said: “While we all hope we are seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic, the threat is far from over. This horrible virus continues to claim many lives.

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Police and Crime General PCC Review: Few surprises in part one ‘stock take’, but local government and fire reforms could bring major change

Following the Home Secretary’s confirmation last week of the recommendations of part one of the police and crime commissioner review, Paddy Tipping, Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, spoke to Policing Insight Editor Keith Potter about the implications of the review for PCCs, and what the second stage of the process could mean.

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Recruitment and Retention Fears of police exodus after officers spend year ‘picking up pieces’ of rushed Covid laws

Police have been left to “pick up the pieces” of hastily written and badly communicated laws through a year of the coronavirus pandemic, officers have said amid warnings of a looming exodus when restrictions ease.

They accuse the government of failing to properly consult on changes to coronavirus laws, introducing them too quickly for police to immediately enforce, confusing the public with gaps between guidance and law and overexaggerating how strictly restrictions would be policed.

There are fears of an “exodus from policing” after the end of the pandemic, with many officers saying they are “sick and tired” of juggling the competing demands of coronavirus laws and normal crime.

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Police and Crime General Misogyny is ‘ingrained in police decision-making’, former officers claim

Former police officers, including ex-chief constables, have spoken out against alleged sexism and male violence against women in UK police forces.

In recent weeks, police have been on the receiving end of public anger for multiple reasons. After the murder of Sarah Everard, the accused’s force was then pictured manhandling protesters at a vigil for the victim, while a different officer avoided jail despite being filmed attacking a woman.

Now, to add to the mix, forces around the country have been accused of operating teams where misogyny is ‘ingrained in decision-making’.

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Police and Crime General Ballot papers could be quarantined at local elections

Counting at the May elections could be delayed in England because ballot papers will need to be quarantined due to COVID-19 safety precautions. New suggested guidance from Lawyers in Local Government - a group which represents council solicitors - “recommends that ballot papers will be quarantined for 24 hours prior to being handled by staff”.

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Police and Crime General Alarming rise of abuse within modern slavery system

Child rapists, people who pose a threat to our national security, serious criminals and failed asylum seekers will find it harder to take advantage of modern slavery safeguards under changes to be announced this week.

This follows an alarming rise in people abusing our modern slavery system by posing as victims in order to prevent their removal and enable them stay in the country.

National Referral Mechanism referrals, the government’s system for identifying victims of modern slavery, more than doubled between 2017 and 2020 from 5,141 to 10,613.

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Fire COVID-19 shows need to reform, fire service told

The pandemic has shown that “significant” reform of the fire service in England is needed “now more than ever”, according to the chief inspector of fire and rescue services. Sir Thomas Winsor found there were too many “barriers impeding the efficiency and effectiveness of services” and said that more needed to be done to address “outdated” and inflexible working arrangements.

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Police and Crime General Thieves, robbers and burglars to be fitted with GPS tags

Prolific burglars, robbers and thieves are to be tagged with GPS trackers in a bid to stop them reoffending.

Offenders will be automatically tagged for up to 12 months after being released from prison, under a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) pilot.

Gwent, Avon and Somerset, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Humberside and West Midlands police forces are all taking part.

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Police Finances Safer Streets fund doubled to £45m in wake of Sarah Everard death

The Safer Streets fund, which provides neighbourhood measures such as better lighting and CCTV, is to be doubled to £45 million as part of a series of "immediate steps" to improve security and “give assurance” to women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death. Following a meeting of the Government's Crime and Justice Taskforce, Downing Street said undercover police could also be sent to clubs, bars and popular nightspots to relay intelligence about predatory or suspicious offenders to uniformed officers, in pilots of so-called Project Vigilant, rolled out across the country.

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Police Finances Half of local audits late as NAO calls for reform

The National Audit Office has demanded "clear leadership from government" in ending delays to council audits after confirming that less than half of council financial audits for 2019-20 were completed on time.

Fifty-five percent of audit opinions were not issued by the 30 November 2020 deadline , despite the deadline being extended four months due to the pandemic by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, an NAO report out today reveals, describing the delays as “concerning”.

The 45% completion rate is down from 57% in 2018-19 and 95% in 2015-16.

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Police and Crime General Anger over plans for plainclothes police officers to patrol bars and clubs to safeguard women from predatory men

Plans for plainclothes police officers to patrol bars and nightclubs to safeguard women from predatory men have sparked anger.

Ministers announced the controversial plans in response to mounting criticism the government is not doing enough to tackle violence against women in the wake of the tragic disappearance and death of Sarah Everard.

Measures for plainclothes police officers to monitor hospitality venues once they reopen when lockdown measures are eased have been bitterly criticised and mocked on social media.

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Police and Crime General Police fear super-strong drugs will cause summer of chaos

A summer of bedlam lies ahead, police and drug experts have warned, as the strongest ecstasy pills yet to be tested head for the country’s festivals.

A combination of stronger drugs, pent-up demand to party and reduced drug tolerance because of 12 months of abstinence could cause mayhem, MPs were told.

A criminology professor said festivals should be introducing “lost adult” sites to help people cope this summer with the particular psychological impacts of being in large crowds after months of social isolation.

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COVID-19 Third wave of Covid in autumn is inevitable, says ONS chief Sir Ian Diamond

The national statistician has warned of a further wave of Covid-19 infections in autumn despite strong early evidence of vaccine protection.

Sir Ian Diamond, head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said that although the case rate was the lowest since September it was still much higher than last summer when the first lockdown was lifted.

The latest ONS survey found that the infection rate in England was 0.37 per cent, equal to about 6,000 cases a day, compared with 0.04 per cent last summer when it was deemed safe enough to lift the first lockdown.

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Police and Crime General 8 times women were let down by the police – here are their stories

The killing of Sarah Everard has struck a chord with many women of all ages, prompting them to tell their own stories – and it makes for grim reading. A survey from UN Women UK has revealed that 97 per cent of women aged 18-24 said they had been sexually harassed, while 80 per cent of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces....

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COVID-19 Reform urged for outdated council tax that hits poor hardest

The current council tax system is a “wealth tax” on poorer parts of Britain and is in urgent need of a comprehensive overhaul, according to a coalition of academics and thinktanks from across the political divide.

The crudity of the system means there are eight parliamentary constituencies in which the average household pays no more than 0.2% of their home’s value in council tax. However, there are 41 constituencies in the north and Midlands in which the average household’s council tax burden is 1% or higher.

In Easington, County Durham, when the charge is measured against the average cost of a home, some are paying as much as three times the rate of council tax.

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Police and Crime General Where are elections happening on 6 May and why do they matter? [OPINION]

Elections may be the last thing on Britons’ minds as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect of summer holidays beckons.

But in just a few weeks most of the country is facing polls which could have a fundamental impact not only on the political direction of the 2020s but on the future of the UK itself.

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Economy & Public Finance Council Tax hikes to see some baseline household bills exceed £2,000 for first time

People living in band D council tax properties in the north east and the south west of England could see their bills exceed the £2,000 mark for the first time, a survey has suggested.

Local authorities across the UK are set to raise the amount of tax they claim in April, with research from the Daily Mirror suggesting two thirds of all major UK councils will put a 5 per cent increase on the levy going into the new financial year.

The chancellor gave local authorities the ability to add a 5 per cent hike in the budget, up from the previous cap of 2 per cent unless a higher rate was agreed by a referendum.

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Police and Crime General Women share their fears of walking alone

Women "will be worried and may well be feeling scared" after the disappearance of Sarah Everard, the head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick has said.

On social media, in WhatsApp groups and in Zoom calls across the country, women have been talking about the case of the 33-year-old, who went missing in Clapham, south London, on 3 March.

A Met police officer continues to be questioned on suspicion of murder and kidnap after human remains were found during the search for her.

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Police and Crime General Sexual harassment of women in street could become new offence

A new law to protect women against public sexual harassment is being considered as Priti Patel reassured women they were safe to walk the streets after the disappearance of Sarah Everard....

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Technology Capgemini wins £600 million contract with Met Police

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has awarded a strategic IT infrastructure contract to services provider Capgemini, with the aim of improving the user experience of its internal platforms.

The contract is said to be worth £600 million and will run for five years, with the option to extend for an additional two years if needed.

The MPS is looking to improve its IT infrastructure services within the Pegasus Programme, a digital policing programme to procure new key IT suppliers for the police.

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Police and Crime General Firearms licensing

The Home Office guide on firearms licensing law was last revised in April 2016. It is intended to assist consistency of practice between police forces by providing them with comprehensive guidance, and also to encourage an understanding among firearms users and the general public of the considerations involved.

You can also read the legislative changes that have been made since the guidance was last published in April 2016.

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COVID-19 MPs condemn Government’s ‘staggering’ cost of programme that failed to stop spread of Covid-19

The Government’s vast £23bn Test and Trace system has made “no measurable difference” on the Covid pandemic and failed to prevent two national lockdowns, MPs have concluded.

In a damning report on the performance of the NHS Test and Trace (NHST&T) scheme, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has accused the Government of treating the taxpayer like an “ATM machine”, branding the sums of money spent on the programme as “staggering”.

It is the latest attack aimed at the Government’s test and trace system, which had been previously heralded by Boris Johnson to be “world-beating”.

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Police and Crime General Domestic abusers to get GPS tags on release from jail in London

Domestic abuse offenders who have served a prison sentence will be tagged with a GPS tracking device in London under new a pilot project.

Up to 200 perpetrators of abuse-related offences, such as stalking, harassment, physical abuse, sexual abuse and coercive control will be fitted with the devices from Tuesday as part of their release conditions.

The pilot, which is running across every London borough as part of a programme announced by the London mayor’s office, has been launched in collaboration with probation services after consultation with the Violence Against Women and Girls initiative.

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Police and Crime General Pressure grows on Priti Patel to call inquiry after 'botched' probe over false 'VIP paedophile ring' claims

Priti Patel is under growing pressure to order an inquiry into the ‘Nick’ scandal after a former home secretary branded a watchdog probe as ‘botched’.

Michael Howard was one of six former home secretaries who yesterday signed a joint letter demanding a fresh investigation into Scotland Yard’s shambolic VIP inquiry and the subsequent probe that cleared five detectives.

In the unprecedented intervention, they said confidence in the police has been seriously damaged by the handling of false claims of an Establishment paedophile ring.

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Police and Crime General Warning over photo ID law change for UK-wide and English elections

Changing the law to force people to show photo ID to take part in UK elections will be catastrophic for ethnic minority communities, increasing barriers to access and in effect disenfranchising them, equality and democracy campaigners have warned.

Boris Johnson’s government is expected to introduce a bill in the spring to make photo ID mandatory from 2023 for all UK-wide and English elections. But critics argue it is unnecessary, given low levels of voter fraud in the UK, and will disproportionately impact ethnic minority and working-class communities.

There was only one conviction for “personation” fraud, which voter ID is meant to prevent, in the UK in 2019.

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Economy & Public Finance A tale of two Budgets?

The chancellor’s Budget last week was never going to deliver what local government needs – a sustainable long-term finance solution that addresses the multiple issues of soaring adult social care costs, unsustainable business rates and increasingly ludicrous council taxes.

Instead, it offered a quick fix to bail out the economy until September – hopefully seeing the country through the worst of the pandemic – and a promise to start getting the UK’s bank balance back on track.

Councils, fresh from the finance settlement, will have to wait until the second half of the year to see if the chancellor searches down the back of the Treasury sofa for a top up, as Mr Sunak continues on the long tradition of short-term, piecemeal, bid-based funding for the sector.

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Police Finances Police to be given £30m extra funding pot to tackle violence hotspots

Police are set to be given an extra £30m to target violence hotspots to crack down on murders, knife crime and other serious offences.

The government funding pot will be made available to forces in parts of England and Wales which are "most affected by serious violence", according to the Home Office.

The money is subject to approval by the department once police chiefs submit plans on how to spend it.

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Police and Crime General West Midlands Fed say officers still at risk

Last month West Midlands Police released a video of a PCSO whose arm had become wedged in a vehicle after attempting to grab the keys as the driver tried to make off.

Tim Rogers is West Midlands Federation’s deputy secretary and national lead on driver pursuits.

Following the release of the video of the incident, which took place in January 2020, Mr Rogers criticised the way Personal Safety Training doesn’t cover vehicle tactics and said officers were at risk when trying to extract someone from a vehicle.

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Justice Call for vulnerable victims to give video evidence amid courts backlog

Up to 10,000 vulnerable victims facing long delays for trials should be allowed to give evidence by video in an attempt to stop them falling out of the system, according to the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales.

Dame Vera Baird warned of a collapse in confidence in the criminal justice system and an exodus of complainants if unprecedented trial delays were not urgently addressed.

She accused the government of not being sufficiently ambitious in its efforts to tackle a backlog of more than 50,000 criminal cases at crown courts in England and Wales.

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COVID-19 UK Covid deaths and infections fall by a third in a week with 236 fatalities and 5,947 cases in last 24 hours

The number of Covid deaths and infections in the UK has fallen by a third in a week with 236 fatalities and 5,947 cases recorded in the last 24 hours.

It is the biggest week-on-week drop since the second wave peak of the pandemic. Last Friday, 8,523 cases and 346 deaths were reported.

The dropping death toll raises hopes Brits are past the darkest time of the virus.

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COVID-19 UK 'well-equipped' to stay ahead of Covid variants, says top scientist

A top scientist says the UK is "well-equipped" to stay ahead of Covid variants amid hopes for a better summer.

Professor Sharon Peacock, head of the Covid-19 Genomics UK scientific body, says new strains of coronavirus are “very unlikely to send us back to square one”.

Instead, the scientist is hopeful that things will be better by summer with vaccines adapting quickly to different variants.

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Economy & Public Finance Cautious continuity Budget indicates a lack of post-Covid vision [OPINION]

The chancellor’s Budget promised much. This was the opportunity for Rishi Sunak to plot the UK’s way out of the economic challenges posed by Covid-19 and Brexit. In the event, so much had been leaked in advance that there were few surprises. Indeed, the most surprising element in the speech and accompanying documents was the overall sense that not much had happened.

Brexit was not mentioned once in the Budget ‘red book’. The government has clearly decided the economy will adjust now the transition period is finally over: companies that go to the wall will simply be part of the restructuring necessary now a sea of paperwork separates Dover and Calais – and, indeed, Holyhead and Dublin. New opportunities may await exporters, but the chancellor did not explicitly announce policies to help them.

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Recruitment and Retention Entry requirements barrier to BAME recruitment, says Lincolnshire

Those wishing to join the police must hold a level 3 qualification (or higher) which is equivalent to two A Levels or possess a policing qualification.

Lincolnshire Police, like many other forces, is pushing to take advantage of the uplift to diversify its workforce.

“The difficulty we have with that when trying to recruit from migrant communities is we know from fact based research that the areas of the highest social deprivation, which are predominately along the east coast, including Boston and Spalding, people do not have the right level of qualification to apply to join police,” said DI Lee St Quinton. “It’s very difficult, that's a key barrier for us.”

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Police and Crime General Police and intelligence services foil three terror attacks since beginning of pandemic

The Home Office’s quarterly release of statistics relating to the police’s use of powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 revealed there were 185 arrests for terrorism-related activity in the year ending December 31, 2020 – 97 (34 per cent) fewer than in the previous 12-month period and the lowest annual total since 2011.

But despite the reduction in the number of arrests, largely attributed to an overall reduction in crime since the beginning of the national lockdown in March last year, the number of terror plots stopped by CTP and its intelligence partners has risen to a total of 28 since March 2017. Eighteen were Islamist related, nine right-wing terrorism and one left, anarchist or single issue terrorism (LASIT).

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson plans advertising campaign to turn middle class off weekend cocaine

Boris Johnson is planning a public information campaign to crack down on middle-class drug use by making snorting cocaine as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, The Times has learnt.

A government PR blitz will use billboards, posters and television and radio adverts in an attempt to change people’s attitudes to recreational drugs. They will carry graphic details to highlight how wealthy cocaine users are helping to fuel Britain’s growing epidemic of violent crime and gang warfare.

The prime minister wants to imitate previous government public awareness campaigns that successfully changed attitudes, such as the “THINK!” adverts combating drink-driving and promoting road safety.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak’s Budget focuses on growth – but little mention of public services

A new £12bn national infrastructure bank was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in a Budget billed as being pro-business but offering little for public services.

Mr Sunak announced a series of measures to help the national economy bounce back, including £1bn for town deals, and the locations of eight freeports. He also announced a further business rates holiday, for which councils will be compensated.

And there was extra support for towns, with £1bn for 45 new town deals, and the National Infrastructure Fund being asked to produce a report on how infrastructure can best support economic prosperity and quality of life in towns, focusing on transport and digital infrastructure in particular.

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Police and Crime General County lines drug gangs exploit middle?class children of busy working parents

Middle-class youngsters are being groomed to work for county lines drugs gangs that exploit the “emotional neglect” of parents working long hours, according to a report.

The gangs are targeting “children from affluent backgrounds” as well as girls, young women and university students via social media, experts told researchers at Nottingham University.

Dealers have adapted to lockdown measures by posing as delivery drivers and are enrolling at universities for the sole purpose of supplying drugs to students, the interim Policing County Lines: Impact of Covid-19 report found.

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Recruitment and Retention Police told to boost BAME recruitment to be representative of population

More than a quarter of forces do not have a single black officer, with almost 40 per cent having one or fewer.

Police forces have been told to step up minority ethnic recruitment after a report showed it will take 90 years for them to be fully representative of the black and minority ethnic (BAME) population....

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COVID-19 Police Federation boss in Devon and Cornwall demands 500 more officers to cope with millions of staycationers flocking to South West after Covid lockdown

A police chief has demanded an extra 500 police officers to cope with the millions of staycationers who will descend on Devon and Cornwall in the summer after lockdown ends.

Families across the country are already planning staycations and days out after Boris Johnson announced Britain's roadmap out of lockdown.

From April 12, Britons can stay in self-contained holiday cottages - with Devon and Cornwall among the most popular destinations.

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Justice Pre-recorded evidence could save time and cases, MPs told

Members of the Justice committee were told that the courts system needs to make a more radical use of video justice and evidence centres – even after the pandemic is over – to speed up cases and improve outcomes.

Innovations including pre-recorded evidence, virtual bail hearings and making more use of video links could reduce the number of delayed cases and encourage more people to give evidence in complex cases.

Action is needed as the case backlog in December was 59,000 cases and the number of cases that collapse has doubled in four years, according to the Law Society.

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Prisons Drug dogs to detect new versions of Spice to stay one step ahead of criminals

Prison drug dogs are to be trained to sniff out new and emerging strands of the psychoactive substance known as Spice as part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to tackle violence and disorder behind bars.

In the past year alone more than 100kg of illegal drugs, including Spice, have been detected by drug dogs in England and Wales. But the efforts of some suppliers to outwit detection by changing the chemical make-up of Spice makes it difficult for dogs to find.

The current price of psychoactive substances ranges from £130 to £1,000 for an A4 sheet of impregnated paper. Smaller pieces of impregnated paper, credit card-sized, can range from £40 to £100 based on recent intelligence.

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Recruitment and Retention HMI Zoë Billingham to step down after 12 years

Zoë Billingham was appointed to the then HMIC in September 2009.

She announced her decision on social media stating: “After 12 immensely rewarding years I’m hanging up my…. (whatever HMIs hang up…?) in September.”

Ms Billingham was the author of the most recent report in to Greater Manchester Police that found “serious cause for concern” due to the force not recording one in five of all reported crimes. The highly critical report led directly to the resignation of Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

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Justice Activists win fight to declare throttling a crime

Abusers who throttle their partners will face five years in jail after ministers bowed to campaigners to include it in the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill.

It will make non-fatal strangulation and suffocation a criminal offence amid concerns that many perpetrators receive lenient sentences because they are charged only with common assault.

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, said that the bill would be expanded to make threats to disclose naked and intimate images with the intention to cause distress a criminal offence.

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Police and Crime General Unison call for election safety measures

The Government needs to implement strict measures in May’s local elections to keep staff safe, trade union Unison urged today.

Unison called for action and assurances to ensure polling stations do not become hotspots for infection in a letter to communities secretary Robert Jenrick and the Local Government Association (LGA).

Councils were told by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last week that they would need to buy equipment for the protection of staff, voters and others at polling stations, postal vote openings and counts.

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Police and Crime General Election campaigning allowed from 8 March

Individual activists will be allowed to deliver leaflets and canvass voters outdoors from 8 March in the run up to the English local elections.

The new Government guidance will allow one-to-one campaigning outdoors as long as it is conducted in a COVID-secure way.

Campaigners have been reminded of the need to be socially distanced, wear face coverings and sanitise their hands.

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Economy & Public Finance 'Now is not the time for tax rises', say MPs

Now is "not the time for tax rises" as they could undermine the UK's economic recovery from Covid - but they may be needed at a later date, MPs have said.

Ahead of the Budget announcement on Wednesday, a Treasury Committee report says public finances are on an "unsustainable long-term trajectory".

It says some tax rises may not harm recovery, but advises against others.

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Recruitment and Retention PM has 'no doubt' about strong jobs recovery

The prime minister says he has "no doubt" there will be a strong jobs-led recovery from coronavirus.

Mr Johnson said it had "been expensive" to look after everyone during the pandemic and the chancellor would be "frank" about state of the economy in Wednesday's Budget.

45 Conservative MPs have urged Mr Sunak to cut business rates in England to help "save the High Streets".

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Recruitment and Retention Apprenticeships levy 'has failed on every measure', says HR body

Employer investment in training has fallen since the introduction of an apprenticeship levy, an HR body says.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said since the levy was introduced in 2017, apprenticeship starts have fallen and fewer have gone to young people.

"On all key measures the apprenticeship levy has failed," its boss said. The chancellor is set to announce an additional £126m for traineeships in England at his Budget on Wednesday.

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Police and Crime General West Northamptonshire Council gets ready to launch

West Northamptonshire Council has launched a campaign to ensure local residents and businesses are prepared for its launch on 1 April 2021.

Northamptonshire currently has eight councils, one county and seven district, however, this will change from next month, with Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire councils merging to form the unitary West Northamptonshire Council.

The county’s four other districts (Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough) will merge to form the new unitary North Northamptonshire Council.

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Police and Crime General Drug drivers are escaping prosecution in 'geographical lottery' where some police ration test kits to one per patrol

Dangerous drug drivers are escaping prosecution and putting lives at risk because some police forces ration testing kits issued to officers to just one a day, a Government-funded study has revealed....

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Police and Crime General "Disgusting" figures show 97% of police accused of racism face no action

Shocking discrepancies in the way police forces deal with allegations of racism by their staff are today laid bare after a Mirror investigation.

New data shows that thousands of police officers and staff have been investigated in England and Wales over the past five years, but only a fraction faced disciplinary action.

And huge gaps are evident between individual forces - with one upholding nearly half of complaints while 12 others did not uphold a single one.

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COVID-19 Government seeks to retain lockdown limits on protests

Concern over the government’s limitation of the right to protest during lockdown continues to mount after it emerged that the home secretary, Priti Patel, is eager to grant police greater powers to control demonstrations once the Covid restrictions are lifted.

In a letter to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) Patel wrote that although she appreciates protest is “a cornerstone of our democracy” she wanted to know how the Home Office could help police ensure protests in the future do not impact on “the rights of others to go about their daily business”.

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COVID-19 Age not job prioritised in second phase of Covid jab rollout

Vaccinating people in order of age is the fastest way to cut Covid-19 deaths in the next phase of the rollout, say experts advising the UK government.

People in their 40s will be next, once the current phase is completed. Priority based on jobs would be "more complex" and could slow down the programme, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said.

Unions representing teachers and police have criticised the decision, saying it could disrupt children's education.

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Prisons Prisons should trial free cannabis, says UK's former chief drug adviser

Proposals for prisons to trial a free scheme providing cannabis to inmates to ascertain whether it reduces violence, overdose deaths and addiction to stronger drugs have been backed by the UK government’s former chief drug adviser.

Prof David Nutt, from Imperial College London, said he was fully supportive of the idea and that he was considering a study on reducing prisoners’ drug dependence with cannabis in an ongoing trial.

“The idea of drug testing in prisons was not at all thought through when it was introduced in 1996,” said Nutt, chair of DrugScience, which advocates for evidence-based drug policy.

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Police and Crime General 'Martyn's Law' would 'minimise terror risk'

New anti-terrorism legislation in memory of a Manchester Arena bombing victim should "protect people and be proportionate", the justice secretary has said as a consultation is launched.

Building on "Martyn's Law", the new Protect Duty will require public places and venues to improve security.

It follows a campaign by Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett who died in the 2017 attack.

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Police Finances Police stop-and-search powers 'should be suspended'

Police powers to stop and search people in a specified area should be immediately suspended, Justice says.

The human rights group says stop-and-search is key in the disproportionate representation of black people in the criminal-justice system.

Its report asks the Home Office for an independent evaluation of "the impact and effectiveness of these searches".

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Economy & Public Finance Judge throws out council LOBO fraud claim against Barclays

A high court judge has thrown-out a legal challenge tabled by eight local authorities against lender Barclays Bank over historic Lender Option Borrower Option loans.

Councils in Leeds, Greater Manchester, Newcastle, North East Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Oldham, Sheffield and Newham launched action to cancel the loans taken out between 2006-2008.

The councils claimed that Barclays had committed fraud by making the loans while wrongly implying that the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) – on which the loans’ repayments were based – was being set honestly.

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Police and Crime General Police Covenant ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’ following vaccine snub

The chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation says the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have shown unforgivable contempt for police officers by snubbing them for any level of priority for the Covid-19 vaccine.

“This shows exactly what they think of us,” said Ken Marsh, adding that the Government’s upcoming Police Covenant was “not worth the paper it’s written on”.

“It’s absolutely disgusting – they don’t give a damn about us,” said Mr Marsh. “Police officers are catching and dying from Covid-19 because of their job and yet we are still not being given the protection the vaccine offers. It’s like we don’t exist.

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Police and Crime General West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner warning over lack of victim services funding

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said he broadly agreed with the proposals outlined in a policy paper by Dame Vera Baird QC that has been submitted to the Government.

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Economy & Public Finance New legislation extends proxy voting in local elections

The Government has introduced new measures to ensure people needing to self-isolate will still be allowed to vote in the upcoming local elections.

It has made an amendment to emergency proxy voting rules to enable anyone self-isolating or shielding due to COVID-19 to access an emergency proxy vote up to 17:00 on election day.

Minister of state for the constitution & devolution, Chloe Smith, said: ‘These elections can and will be delivered in a COVID-secure way and the extended proxy voting rules are a key part of this.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak is planning 'giveaway' budget next week to inject the UK with a post-lockdown boom after No10's slow road to freedom - with help for motorists, hospitality firms and the housing market

Rishi Sunak will use a giveaway budget next week to pave the way for a post-lockdown boom.

Help for motorists, hospitality firms and the housing market is expected to be among a string of eye-catching policies.

The Chancellor is set to shelve plans for tax rises, including a threatened 5p increase in fuel duty that would have hit millions of drivers.

He is also poised to announce further VAT and business rate cuts for the hospitality and tourist industries, continue the stamp duty holiday and extend the jobs furlough scheme.

Recruitment and Retention Action needed to end 104% rise in resignations, experts warn

The Police Foundation’s annual conference was told there has been a 104% increase in officers quitting the service since 2015.

Leavers told a study by the University of Plymouth that their reasons included a lack leadership, not feeling valued, lack of career direction and lack of autonomy.

Dr Sarah Charman, a Reader in Criminology at the university, revealed there have been 2,363 resignations in the year to March 2020. That compares to 1,158 in 2011/12 and the number has increased every year since.

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Recruitment and Retention Over and out: Understanding the rise of voluntary resignations from the police service

Policing in the UK is witnessing a ‘steep and troubling’ rise in the number of officers resigning early in service, citing poor leadership and management, organisational injustice and exhausting working patterns among the reasons for leaving: Dr Sarah Charman – a panellist at this week’s Police Foundation workforce conference – and Dr Stephanie Bennett, both of the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, explore the key reasons why officers leave mid-service.

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Recruitment and Retention Police uplift programme still not attracting enough Black recruits

Police forces are still failing to attract enough Black recruits despite making good progress with other under-represented minorities, one of the country’s most senior officers has said.

The Government’s uplift programme to recruit 20,000 additional officers by March 2023 is currently well on target, with more than 7,000 successful applicants already drafted in.

But while forces are doing well in attracting female officers and those from Asian backgrounds, they are struggling to attract applicants from Black, African and Caribbean communities.

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Justice Better status for victims would restore faith in justice system [OPINION]

Today I am publishing a paper setting out my ambitions for the government’s long-awaited Victims’ Law.

Our civilised society has a duty to treat victims of crime well. For the state to prosecute and uphold the rule of law, victims must have the confidence to report crimes and to testify in court.

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Police and Crime General Bank-funded police arrest 122 fraudsters

A specialist policing unit funded by banks arrested 122 fraudsters last year amid a huge rise in money launderers using members of the public as so-called “money mules”.

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) recovered 18,175 credit card numbers and seized £2.6 million of assets in 2020 by targeting organised criminal gangs responsible for the vast amount of fraud in the UK. The total was £1 million more than had been seized the previous year.

Last year the unit’s investigations led to 54 criminals being jailed for fraud, figures handed to The Times reveal.

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COVID-19 Boris Johnson unveils plan to end England restrictions by 21 June

A new four-step plan to ease England's lockdown could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June, if strict conditions are met. Shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality could reopen on 12 April in England under plans set out by the PM.

From 17 May, two households might be allowed to mix in homes, while the rule of six could apply in places like pubs.

It requires four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met at each stage.

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Economy & Public Finance Budget 2021 rumour round-up: Corporation tax ‘hike expected’

A rise in corporation tax and extensions to the Universal Credit uplift and furlough scheme are among potential government Budget moves being reported in the national press. PF rounds up the rumours.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will use next week’s Budget to raise corporation tax over the next three years, in bid to help cover expanded Covid-19 support schemes, according to reports.

The Budget will see corporation tax be lifted by one percentage point to 20% this year, to help pay for the extension to the furlough scheme, VAT cut for hospitality and retail and business rates holiday, according to the Times.

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Prisons Police commissioner wants to give free cannabis to prisoners in bid to cut crime behind bars

A police commissioner has called for jails to trial giving free cannabis to prisoners in a bid to cut crime behind bars.

North Wales Plaid Cymru commissioner Arfon Jones, a former police inspector, said the radical idea could reduce prison violence and prevent overdose deaths in prisons.

Mr Jones said that if justice authorities were serious about reducing harm and violence in prisons 'they should be addressing the causes'.

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Police and Crime General Police should carry drugs overdose antidote, says senior officer

The overdose antidote naloxone should be made available to all police officers in areas where there is a clear need, the police chiefs’ drug lead has urged after successful pilot schemes.

North Wales police and Police Scotland are trialling having beat officers carry naloxone nasal sprays that can be used to treat opiate overdoses, and West Midlands police have extended their pilot scheme, with a rollout due to be announced.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s drugs lead, Jason Harwin, a deputy chief constable with Lincolnshire police, told the Guardian that he was championing the use of naloxone by officers in areas where they may encounter people who have overdosed on opiates.

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Police and Crime General Merseyside Police apologise over incorrect 'offensive' claim

Merseyside Police has apologised for claiming "being offensive is an offence" as part of a campaign to encourage people to report hate crime.

The force came under fire over the weekend after the message appeared on a billboard in Wirral.

It has since clarified that while hate crime is an offence, "being offensive is not in itself an offence".

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Police and Crime General Police should carry drugs overdose antidote, says senior officer

The overdose antidote naloxone should be made available to all police officers in areas where there is a clear need, the police chiefs’ drug lead has urged after successful pilot schemes.

North Wales police and Police Scotland are trialling having beat officers carry naloxone nasal sprays that can be used to treat opiate overdoses, and West Midlands police have extended their pilot scheme, with a rollout due to be announced.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s drugs lead, Jason Harwin, a deputy chief constable with Lincolnshire police, told the Guardian that he was championing the use of naloxone by officers in areas where they may encounter people who have overdosed on opiates.

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Pensions NARPO calls for swift action on age-related pension discrimination

The National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) has urged the Government to ensure the retired are treated the same as those of working age, when resolving pension discrimination.

This follows the 2018 Court of Appeal’s judgment that found the Government had discriminated against public sector workers in their policy of transitional protection, which was part of the 2015 reforms to public service pension schemes.

Following this case, the Government said it would be adopting a ‘deferred choice underpin’ approach, offering affected members a choice between legacy and reformed scheme benefits.

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COVID-19 Boris Johnson to focus on 'data, not dates' for lockdown easing

Boris Johnson says it is "absolutely right" to take a "data not dates" approach to leaving lockdown, stressing England will ease measures "cautiously".

The prime minister said he would set out "what we can" in a road map for easing restrictions on Monday.

"We want to be going one way from now on, based on the incredible vaccination rollout," he said.

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Justice Data lays bare strain on criminal justice system in England and Wales

The pressure put on the criminal justice system during the Covid-19 pandemic has been laid bare by official statistics that show the number of people dealt with in England and Wales fell by nearly a quarter amid evidence that the bottleneck has forced staff to carefully select which cases can be heard.

Data released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) showed the number of people being prosecuted or handed out-of-court disposals fell by 22% in the 12 months to September 2020, compared with the same period a year earlier.

The figures also showed a 25% drop in the number of offenders convicted and a similar decrease in the number of people sentenced. While the government highlighted the unprecedented difficulties posed by the public health crisis, Labour blamed ministers.

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COVID-19 Police facing 'increasing resistance' to Covid-19 enforcement

Greater Manchester Police has dealt with more than 1,200 Covid-related incidents in a single week with a “resurgence” of large group gatherings despite lockdown rules. Officers say there is evidence of greater “resistance” to police enforcement.

Speaking at a weekly press conference for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said 280 fixed penalty notices had been issued in the past week, including 55 £800 fines of which 32 were handed out at a mass gathering in Salford.

She said: “The police everywhere are feeling that there is a lot more resistance now to intervention by the police. If they are called to a house, the householders are reluctant very often now to let them enter to check on what is happening and I think that is going to be an increasing trend.”

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Police and Crime General Dozens of drink and drug-drivers arrested in police crackdown

More than 40 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influrence of drugs or alchol during a two-week crackdown in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Police are now urging people to be wary of the consequences of driving under the influence, after 43 people were arrested.

The force has increased proactive checks in response to community concerns of an increase in reckless behaviour by some motorists during lockdown.

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COVID-19 Covid lockdown to continue until cases drop below 1,000 a day

Lockdown is unlikely to be eased significantly until daily Covid cases are in the hundreds, compared with more than 10,000 a day now, The Telegraph understands....

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Police and Crime General Almost 30 modern slavery victims found every day in the UK last year, figures reveal

Home Office figures show 7,576 potential slavery and trafficking victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the UK’s apparatus for identifying and supporting victms – between January and September last year.

That is the equivalent of 28 every day, and was an increase of 4.2 per cent on the same period in 2019 – despite fears the coronavirus pandemic could push slavery networks and their victims further underground.

Almost half the referrals during 2020 concerned children aged 17 or under, or adults exploited as children.

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Police and Crime General BLM UK to fund 'people's tribunal' for deaths in custody

Black Lives Matter UK has announced £45,000 of funding to the United Families and Friends Campaign to set up a “people’s tribunal” for deaths in custody.

The coalition group of family members who have lost loved ones in state custody, formed in 1997, is so far the largest recipient of Black Lives Matter UK’s initial round of funding.

Black Lives Matter UK announced last month its plan to release more than £100,000 to black-led organisations across the country. The campaign group received £1.2m in donations via a GoFundMe appeal, following widespread protests last summer.

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Police and Crime General Metropolitan Police’s top black female officer: My brother was stopped and searched

The UK’s most senior black female police officer has revealed her brother was stopped-and-searched by colleagues as she defended the controversial tactic.

Metropolitan Police Commander Dr Alison Heydari spoke publicly about the incident as she said the Met was in “listening mode” and working hard to engage young black men who are disproportionately targeted by stop-and-search.

Commander Heydari was responding to comments by retired Superintendent Leroy Logan who last week criticised Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scotland Yard’s approach to knife crime — claiming it had left young black men feeling alienated.

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Justice Packs for domestic abuse victims delivered by Bedfordshire's PCC

Emergency Support Bags include sim cards to make calls, clothing, food vouchers and a wifi-enabled tablet to access 24hr support from partners.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, Kathryn Holloway, has announced that the charity she governs - the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust - has been awarded over £14,000 by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to help support individuals fleeing domestic abuse.

The idea first came about when Bedfordshire's Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner were thinking of new ways of helping victims of domestic abuse that were fleeing the family home, and this coincided with the OPCC bidding into a pot of money the MoJ had released for domestic abuse during Covid-19.

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Police and Crime General Sadiq Khan considering more police in schools

More police officers could be placed in some London schools when they fully reopen to help prevent a surge in violent crime, Sadiq Khan has revealed.

Met Police school safety officers have already been working at certain schools in areas of high violent crime.

The London mayor said in some cities around the world that have already come out of a Covid-19 lockdown, there had been a surge in violent crime.

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Police and Crime General Time to ask the fundamental questions about the police workforce of the future

The Police Foundation’s Strategic Review of Policing is exploring the sort of UK police service stakeholders need and expect over the coming years; ahead of next week’s conference on The Future Police Workforce, Foundation Director Rick Muir highlights some of the key questions that need to be considered.

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Economy & Public Finance ‘Mean’ strings attached to government support for ailing councils

Many capital projects are likely to be put on hold due to conditions on the “exceptional” support offered to struggling councils last week, finance experts have predicted.

The £96m promised by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to Luton BC, Bexley LBC, Peterborough City Council and Eastbourne DC through capitalisation directions will enable these authorities to borrow government money normally only permitted for capital spending to ease pressure on their revenue budgets.

Other councils including Slough BC, Wirral MBC, Woking BC, Nottingham City Council and Croydon LBC, which declared a section 114 notice in December, are still locked in talks with the ministry over their requests for capitalisation directions.

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Police and Crime General Seven out of 10 young adults think police will treat them differently if they are from deprived area

Seven out of 10 young adults think that the police were treat them differently if they come from a deprived area or if they are a person of colour, according to a new study conducted by a leading criminal justice charity in the UK calling for police to divert young adults into support and reduce the number of arrests for low-level crimes.

The report, released by UK charity Revolving Doors Agency, found that over half of young adults did not think that the police consistently act in line their own beliefs and values (54%) or would act compassionately towards them (53%). The problem was found to be exacerbated for young adults with mental health needs, disabilities or long-term health conditions.

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Economy & Public Finance ‘Jackie Weaver’ phenomenon forces ministers 'to make parish councils by Zoom permanent'

Parish councils held by Zoom are set to be allowed to continue indefinitely as a result of the ‘Jackie Weaver’ phenomenon which has hugely increased interest in their meetings....

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Prisons Covid: Prisoners like 'caged animals' in lockdown jails

Prisoners in England's jails have been locked in their cells for more than 90% of the day to keep them safe from Covid-19, the prisons watchdog says.

And the extra restrictions, which began in March, have led to a decline in their mental and physical health and a rise in drug taking and self-harm.

"It's being imprisoned while you're in prison," one inmate told inspectors.

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COVID-19 Teachers and police set to be given Covid vaccine priority after over-50s

Teachers and police are expected to be given priority for vaccines once the over-50s have been offered Covid jabs, The Telegraph can disclose.

Britain is on course to hit targets to offer all those in the top four priority groups – including everyone over the age of 70 – their first dose of the vaccine by Monday.

But research suggests that hospital pressures will not ease significantly until the end of March, once all over 60s and younger people with health problems have had their first jab.

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Economy & Public Finance UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020

The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% last year as coronavirus restrictions hit output, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

The contraction in 2020 "was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record," said ONS deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow.

In December, the economy grew by 1.2%, after shrinking by 2.3% in November, as some restrictions eased.

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Police and Crime General Commitment to place new police officers in schools reiterated at Mayor's closed policing meeting

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester held a closed meeting with Trafford council this week to discuss policing, following the city-region’s police force being placed into special measures.

The meeting came after local calls for Mayor Andy Burnham to set out an action plan to bring Greater Manchester Police ‘up to scratch’ in Trafford.

Conservative members of the council criticised the fact that the meeting was held in private and felt members of the public, especially those who were victims of unrecorded crime, should be able to observe and participate.

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Technology Cumbria Constabulary rolls out new digital evidence system in UK first

The Axon Interview system was rolled out across the Constabulary in September following a successful pilot period in south Cumbria. The new system captures video recordings of all witness, victim and suspect interviews carried out as part of investigations by Cumbria officers.

The single system replaces two separate DVD-based systems, which would record only audio. The introduction of Axon’s digital interview recording system is the first outside of the US and links in seamlessly with the constabulary’s body-worn video (BWV) and Citizen capability. Axon says the new system ensures absolute transparency for all interviewees and offers flexibility via mobile kits, meaning officers can carry out interviews with people at a mutually convenient location if they are unable to attend a police station.

The system, which is fully complaint with Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, has integrated data lifecycle management functionality ensuring that evidence is managed throughout an investigation until a point where it becomes obsolete, leading to it being deleted.

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Technology Devon and Cornwall Police trialled high-tech cameras

Devon and Cornwall Police has become the first force in the world to install high-tech cameras in custody cells that monitor a detainee’s movement, pulse and breathing.

The ground-breaking technology called Oxevision has been developed by a company called Oxehealth, a spin-off company formed from a partnership between Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The cameras allow detainees to be monitored remotely, and can alert to potentially risky activity such as self-harm or significant health issues allowing for early intervention.

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Technology Metropolitan Police scan 13,000 faces to catch one suspect

The country’s biggest police force made only one arrest after scanning more than 13,000 people with facial recognition technology.

The biometric surveillance was wrong on seven of the eight occasions it picked out a face in the crowd to Metropolitan Police officers.

The Met and other forces have heralded facial recognition as a fantastic crime-fighting tool but privacy campaigners say that the intrusion is too great given the low success rate.

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Police Finances £125 million allocated to councils to support domestic abuse victims and their children

Councils across England have been allocated £125 million funding to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes announced today (12 February 2021).

The funding will help ensure victims and their children who need it are able to access life-saving support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation, including refuges.

The money will fund a new duty on councils to ensure victims and their children are able to access life-saving support in safe accommodation – a key part of the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill.

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Police and Crime General Dame Cressida Dick may go within year in wake of Operation Midland fiasco

Dame Cressida Dick may step down as Metropolitan Police Commissioner within a year amid the continuing furore over her force’s handling of the catastrophic Operation Midland inquiry.

Lady Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan, has launched a withering attack on the Met Police, accusing its leadership of lacking a "strong moral compass" and a culture of "cover up and flick away".

She stopped short of naming Dame Cressida, but said the "buck stops" with the "leadership of the force" in its decision to raid her London and country homes over false allegations of a murderous Westminster paedophile ring made by a fantasist.

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Police and Crime General Majority of £10,000 lockdown fines contested or ignored

Police in England issued 196 of the fines, with two handed out in Wales, to organisers of gatherings of more than 30 people including raves, parties and protests between August and December 20.

According to snapshot figures from early January, of those 196 issued in England five had been paid, 53 were being formally contested, 42 had been ignored, and 96 still had time left to pay in the 28-day payment period.

The data from criminal records office Acro, that administers the fines, were given to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

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Justice Revenge porn threats could become illegal

Campaigners have welcomed moves to make the threat of sharing naked, sexual or explicit pictures and videos of another person with consent a criminal offence.

Ministers are thought to broadly support plans to criminalise those who threaten to leak sex tapes or other explicit content of their partners.

During a debate in the House of Lords this week, it was said a change in the law "would protect millions of women and victims of domestic abuse".

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Justice Revenge porn threats could become illegal

Campaigners have welcomed moves to make the threat of sharing naked, sexual or explicit pictures and videos of another person with consent a criminal offence.

Ministers are thought to broadly support plans to criminalise those who threaten to leak sex tapes or other explicit content of their partners.

During a debate in the House of Lords this week, it was said a change in the law "would protect millions of women and victims of domestic abuse".

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Police and Crime General Police must focus on keeping vulnerable young adults out of the criminal justice system, says new research

Chief Constable Jo Shiner says policing must be able to “identify and respond empathetically” to the vulnerabilities of young adults after new research shows more than half of 18 to 25-year-olds do not think the police understand them or the challenges they face.

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Police and Crime General An inspection of the effectiveness of the Regional Organised Crime Units

"In this inspection, we examined how effectively and efficiently the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) tackle the threat from serious and organised crime (SOC).

SOC remains one of the greatest problems for policing in the UK and overseas.

Our last inspection report on ROCUs was published in 2015; Regional Organised Crime Units – A review of capability and effectiveness. Since then, the ROCU network has made substantial progress in some areas.

We wanted to see how well ROCUs led the response to SOC while working with local police forces and other law enforcement agencies.

We found evidence of some good work, but we also found some inconsistencies. We make six recommendations."

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Justice Victims of crimes 're-traumatised' by system

When Tracey Hanson's son, Josh, was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in 2015, it was the start of a tough journey through the criminal justice system.

She said she was "passed from pillar to post" throughout and the impact stays with her today.

Experiences like hers - and others who have been victims of crime - is driving a fresh call from Labour for a "Victims' Law" to strengthen their rights.

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Police Demand Rise in child abuse online threatens to overwhelm UK police, officers warn

The vast, and growing, volume of child abuse material being created and shared online is threatening to overwhelm police efforts to tackle it, senior officers have told the Guardian.

And the situation is likely to worsen, National Crime Agency (NCA) child abuse lead Rob Jones warned, if social media sites such as Facebook press ahead with further encryption of messaging services.

Law enforcement against online child abuse in the UK was “the best in the world by some distance”, Jones said. “But we are arresting and dealing with more offenders than ever, the numbers are growing and growing, as are the number of children being safeguarded.”

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Justice Parole hearings to be held in public for first time after John Worboys scandal

Parole hearings to decide whether prisoners are safe for release are to be held in public for the first time.

The government said a blanket ban on public hearings will end later this year, although the “vast majority” of cases are expected to remain private because of sensitive information.

The move will enable anyone to request an open hearing, before the Parole Board decides whether it would be in the interests of justice.

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Police Finances Forces with most violent crime get extra £35.5m for VRU work

The Home Office announced the Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) at 18 forces in England and Wales are getting extra funding.

The forces, including the Met, West Midlands, Bedfordshire and Kent, are also sharing a £2m winter contingency fund package.

It is the third year that the forces have been given extra money for the units, bringing the total invested in them to more than £105m.

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Police Finances Met Federation could seek compensation over COVID-19 cases

The Metropolitan Police Federation has revealed it is considering legal action against the government to compensate frontline officers who caught COVID-19 while on duty.

Met Federation Chair Ken Marsh told Police Oracle that court action is possible following the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing on live TV that frontline officers will not be getting the vaccine unless they are classed as vulnerable.

So far, five members of the force have died from COVID-19 including a custody officer last month.

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Police and Crime General Police accuse government of betrayal over vaccine snub

Police have reacted with anger accusing the Government of betrayal after Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said officers would not be given priority for the coronavirus vaccine.

Senior officers have been lobbying ministers for weeks to get men and women on the frontline vaccinated as soon as possible to protect them from the virus.

It was thought their pleas had been heeded by Government who recognised the dangers police officers faced when carrying out their vital duties.

So they were taken by surprise on Monday when Mr Hancock announced in the House of Commons that the police would not be given priority in the roll out and would have to wait until after groups 1 to 9 had been treated, meaning it could be months before young frontline officers are vaccinated.

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Police and Crime General COVID-19: Pandemic fuelling rise in online sex crimes against children, charity says

The coronavirus pandemic is "fuelling long-term changes" to the threat posed by online sexual abusers, with children now facing "significant new risks", according to the country's leading children's charity.

The warning from the NSPCC comes as analysis of the latest crime trends shows a 17% rise in online sex crimes against children in the months after the first COVID-19 lockdown.

The Home Office offence data reveals there were 17,699 online child sex offences recorded by police in England and Wales between April and September last year.

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Police Demand Police 'overwhelmed' by tide of online child abuse

Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey said big tech firms such as Facebook need to accept greater responsibility and do more to prevent the uploading, sharing and viewing of child abuse images as too many parents still have a “laissez-faire attitude” to what their children do in their bedrooms.

“I don’t think their role in all this has been truly appreciated because without them the abuse wouldn’t be able to take place in so many cases,” he said.

“It’s the big market leaders that actually bear responsibility for making sure the internet is a safe place for our children and for our grandchildren to go. And ultimately at this moment in time it’s not safe.”

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Police and Crime General Home Office to plough extra £35m into tackling serious violence

The funding announcement comes after a spate of fatal stabbings in London last week.

A man in his 20s was killed and another critically injured in an incident in Kilburn in the northwest of the capital on Saturday, while investigations are continuing into a flurry of unconnected stabbings in south London since Friday evening in which a 22-year-old died and 11 other people were wounded.

The Home Office is committing £35.5 million to help Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which support projects that carry out preventative work with children and young people, to battle the “horrors” of physical attacks.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “VRUs play a vital role in preventing young people from being dragged into the horrors of serious violence, and this funding will enable them to continue this crucial work.

“I will continue to back our police with the resources and powers they need to cut crime and make your community safer.”

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Police and Crime General ‘Teenagers will keep dying on our streets’ unless response to gangs is a ‘national priority’, warns Children’s Commissioner

In her latest report published at the weekend, Anne Longfield said the threat of gang exploitation shows no sign of abating and the response to youth violence must now be a “national priority”.

The Children’s Commissioner concludes that two years on from her last report into this issue, and a year after the Prime Minister promised to “cut the head off the snake” of County Lines, thousands of children are still not being kept safe.

She says the vast majority of local authorities do not have a sufficient grip on the drivers for youth violence in their areas, nor do they have a cogent strategy to reduce risk factors in vulnerable cohorts.

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Technology UK’s enemies trying to ‘tear society apart’ via social media

Britain’s enemies are attempting to use social media to tear the “fabric of society apart”, one of the country’s top generals has warned.

In a candid interview about cyberwarfare, Gen Sir Patrick Sanders said the threat was not like that seen in films where power plants are targeted.

Speaking to the Sky News Into the Grey Zone podcast, the head of Strategic Command said: “In some respects, the most important, most relevant use of cyberspace is that the real power is in influence and not in sabotage.

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Police Demand More than 213,000 children in England at risk of serious violence

More than 213,000 children in England aged 11 to 17 are at risk of being “dragged into serious violence”, according to research from crime and justice consultancy Crest Advisory.

Almost 40 per cent of those at risk live in ten local authorities, with proportionately more in Middlesbrough, Manchester and northeast Lincolnshire than anywhere else.

The findings are contained in a report, Violence and Vulnerability, published on Friday (February 5), which also highlights an innovative way of mapping connections between young people who may be involved in violence.

The technique, known as ‘Social Network Analysis’ (SNA), shows the links between 57 young people and the violent incidents they witnessed or were involved in, as well as where they go to school.

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Justice Domestic abuse victims stalked as family courts share refuge addresses with ex-partners, commissioner warns

The family courts are putting domestic abuse victims and children at grave risk by sharing the secret addresses of shelters with the abusive ex-partner they are fleeing, and some survivors are suffering stalking as a result, London’s independent victims’ commissioner has warned.

Domestic abuse refuges, which house many women at risk of murder if they remain at home with their abuser, are located in secret locations and have strict security measures to ensure their residents remain safe.

Claire Waxman, London’s independent victims’ commissioner, told The Independent recent family court judgments have resulted in shelter locations being handed to abusive ex-partners which has led to victims enduring stalking and harassment.

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Justice Covid-19 pandemic sparks justice chaos: Rapists and thugs go free as 79% more cases fail after record number of victims and witnesses pull out of trials because of delays

Record numbers of victims and witnesses are dropping out of court cases because of Covid delays.

Prosecutors have seen a 79 per cent rise in legal proceedings ending with no conviction due to the withdrawals, figures obtained by the Daily Mail show.

It has resulted in rapists and violent criminals going free. In some cases, victims have committed suicide because their attacker will not face court for years.

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Economy & Public Finance Budget 2021: Council tax centralisation could hurt local democracy

Chancellor Rishi Sunak needs to think very carefully about the potentially damaging consequences of scrapping council tax and replacing it with a new national property tax, says Jessica Studdert deputy chief executive at think tank New Local.

As speculation grows as to the contents of next month’s Budget, one idea that has been mooted by the Treasury is scrapping council tax and combining it with stamp duty into a new national property tax.

On first glance, there might appear to be a logic to this – both taxes have failed to keep pace with the distortions of growing and increasingly geographically polarised property values.

There is an apparent 'levelling up' electoral gain to be had by shaking up who wins and who loses from the current distribution.

But the consequences of swallowing up the one remaining form of local taxation into the Treasury black hole would have dire consequences for local democracy and local services, and risks replacing one form of unfairness with another.

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Economy & Public Finance £15m ‘uplift’ for Covid-19 elections

In a delivery plan published today, constitution minister Chloe Smith confirmed the additional funding, which comes on top of £16m for the police and crime commissioner elections which the government had previously committed to cover.

The government added that any additional election costs should be a “priority” for the £1.55bn Covid-19 funding allocated to councils for the next financial year.

Smith said: “This package of funding will support returning officers to secure venues and staffing and run Covid-19 secure elections.

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Technology Digital summit success

Our biggest event to date saw the NEP team facilitate this year’s Police Digital Summit – a virtual first for this annual gathering.

The theme of Maximising the Digital Opportunity was embraced by the hosts, who invited the NEP to produce the conference using Teams Live – technology that is being rolled out across all forces.

Over the course of three days, the Police ICT forum offered officers, staff, government and tech industry colleagues the opportunity to attend up to different 34 sessions and hear from a total of 68 experts in their fields.

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Police Demand Knife crime surge prompts fears of 'eruption' of violence after lockdown is lifted

Knife crime surged by 25 per cent after the first lockdown, official figures show, prompting warnings there could be an “eruption” of violence once the current Covid- 19 restrictions are lifted.

The number of knife offences increased by 25 per cent to 12,120 offences in July to September 2020 when compared with the previous quarter, despite a year-on-year decrease of three per cent, according to crime data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Between July and September, there was also a 13 per cent rise in “threats to kill” offences involving a knife, up from 1,124 offences to 1,270, when compared with the same period last year.

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Police and Crime General Thousands of possible human trafficking victims being detained by UK authorities

Thousands of potential victims of modern slavery or trafficking have been detained by the UK government during the last two years.

The figures from Women For Refugee Women and After Exploitation are the result of a Freedom Of Information request regarding the number of people detained in prison-like settings despite signs that they could be trafficking victims.

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Police and Crime General Undercover police smash county lines drug gang

A county lines gang that was using children to carry drugs worth millions of pounds has been broken up by the police in an operation that has so far led to the conviction of 72 people.

Officers from Northamptonshire police said that they had dismantled 18 county lines after a two-year undercover operation.

The operation is believed to be one of the largest against such organisations. County lines drug dealing involves urban criminal gangs taking over provincial drug markets, often exploiting young and vulnerable people. The county line is the mobile phone line used to take orders.

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Economy & Public Finance Government announces additional £40m to help victims of domestic abuse and rape

The government has unveiled an additional £40m to help victims of domestic abuse and rape during the Covid crisis.

Domestic violence has risen during the pandemic as lockdown measures have trapped victims at home with abusive partners and exacerbated pre-existing patterns of abuse.

Some £16m of the funding will go towards hiring more independent sexual violence and domestic abuse advisers – who provide emotional support and criminal justice advice – across the UK.

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Police Finances Extra £40m to help victims during pandemic and beyond

It comes as charities have reported a 200% increase in calls and people accessing webchat services since the first lockdown, with some victims feeling at greater risk of harm or deciding to report abuse for the first time.

The new investment will allow support organisations to recruit more staff, keep helplines open for longer and adapt to remote counselling where necessary – ensuring help remains available for those who need it.

Crucially, £16m will fund the recruitment of more independent sexual violence and domestic abuse advisers across the country. They provide emotional and practical support for victims, while guiding them through the criminal justice process which many can find daunting.

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Police and Crime General Election campaigning could 'open up' as restrictions ease

Campaigning for 6 May's English local elections could begin once Covid-19 restrictions start to be eased, Tory chair Amanda Milling has suggested.

In a letter to councillors and MPs, she said she expected activity to "open up... closer to the election period" - expected to begin in early April.

No 10 has said it wants the polls for more than 120 councils and key mayoral contests to go ahead as planned.

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Police and Crime General We will continue ‘disproportionate’ stop-and-search

The Met will continue to carry out “disproportionate” stop and searches of young black Londoners in an attempt to save lives, Scotland Yard’s second most senior officer warned today as he hit out against claims of discrimination.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said officers were paid to use their brains and needed to focus “where the problem lies”.

That meant they would inevitably end up with an ethnic imbalance in stop and search because “young black men are dying on the streets of London and are being stabbed on the streets of London and, candidly, are also stabbing on the streets of London.”

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Recruitment and Retention Two police forces are slammed for using actors in 'embarrassing' diversity recruitment campaign

Two police forces have been criticised for mounting an 'embarrassing' diversity recruitment campaign which resorted to hiring actors to pose as ethnic minority and gay officers.

A series of posters released by Hampshire and Essex Police features black and ethnic minority 'officers' alongside the proud slogan, 'We Value Difference'.

But the only difference in the photos of the actors used by the two constabularies is the cap badges which have been swapped using photo trickery to distinguish them.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel vows to make communities safer with £20m boost to tackle crime

The Home Secretary said: "This unprecedented recruitment programme is about delivering real and meaningful improvements for the public, for victims or those who live in fear of crime, and ultimately society as a whole.

"In addition to boosting the police presence on our streets, we must also take action to stop criminals in their tracks.

"That is why I launched a fund last year to improve security in areas blighted by crimes including burglary, robbery and theft.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus vaccine 'denied to police officers after Welsh Government intervention'

Coronavirus vaccinations were denied to police officers after what was understood to be a last-minute intervention by the Welsh Government.

One serving officer with South Wales Police, who wished to remain anonymous, said the vaccines were set to be offered to staff based in the Vale of Glamorgan last weekend.

It is understood that these vaccines were due to be given to the police officers as the batches were set to expire but that the Welsh Government intervened and insisted they be given to people in the top four priority groups as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

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Police Finances Operational officers put in for 3% pay rise despite pay freeze

The joint submission by the Police Federation and Superintendents’ Association to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) said a 3% rise should be in recognition of the incredible efforts made by police officers during the COVID-19 crisis.

The submission also calls for a bonus payment in line with many key workers in the private sector.

Many police families had been hit hard and PSA National Secretary Dan Murphy said officers already had enough stress from the job.

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COVID-19 Covid: 'Virus going in right direction but not fast enough'

Scientists behind a study tracking coronavirus in England say there are signs of a "shallow decline" in infection levels but they remain high.

And with not all regions seeing the same downward trend, pressure on health services is likely to continue.

Just under one in 60 people had the virus between 6 and 22 January according to researchers, with the trends "going in the right direction".

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Economy & Public Finance LGA fears over government threats to slash grant

Local Government Association (LGA) staff have been warned to cut costs after the Government threatened to slash its top-slice grant.

Ministers want to cut the grant for sector led improvement – currently £19.2m – by £5m and to open up the improvement process to competition from the private sector.

Local Government minister Luke Hall was poised to sign off the new funding before he was persuaded to hold fire. According to local government sources, ministers have questioned why the LGA has a monopoly, and why the bill for sector led improvement has not gone down during the pandemic as travel and hotel costs were cut out.

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Police and Crime General Quarter of police spat or coughed at by someone 'infected with Covid', survey reveals

A quarter of police officers have been spat or coughed at by someone said to be infected with Covid-19 in the past six months, a major study has revealed.

Nearly a third said members of the public had also threatened to deliberately spit or cough at them after claiming they had the virus, according to the Police Federation’s biennial survey of more than 12,000 frontline officers, exclusively revealed today by The Telegraph.

More than half (55 per cent) said they had been physically attacked over the past 12 months.

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Recruitment and Retention Government meets 6,000 Uplift target two months early

Statistics from the Home Office revealed the government has passed its target to recruit 6,000 new officers two months early.

Since the Uplift campaign was launched in March an additional 6,620 officers have joined forces across England and Wales.

Also released were figures for the entire police workforce across England and Wales. These figures show that as at 30 September 2020, the workforce had 216,155 (FTE) officers, staff and PCSOs – a total increase of 5.5% on the previous year.

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COVID-19 Covid-19 aid schemes hit by ‘eye-watering’ levels of fraud, says National Crime Agency

Emergency Covid-19 schemes are being subjected to an “eye-watering” level of fraud, one of Britain’s most senior crime fighters has warned.

Graeme Biggar, of the National Crime Agency, said that there would be “substantial” losses for the taxpayer related to criminals targeting multibillion-pound taxpayer support such as the wage furlough and the bounce back loan schemes.

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COVID-19 Quarantine hotel plans set to be announced

Some travellers coming to England will have to quarantine in hotels amid concerns about new Covid variants, the government is expected to announce.

Boris Johnson will discuss proposals with ministers later, but a decision may not be announced until Wednesday.

Most foreign nationals from high-risk countries are already denied UK entry, so the new rules will mainly affect returning UK citizens and residents.

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COVID-19 Pandemic is 'levelling down' the South, report warns

The economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic will make it four times harder to level up the North and Midlands, a new study has revealed.

Cities Outlook 2021, published by Centre for Cities, warns the pandemic also risks levelling down prosperous places in southern England. It highlights that 634,000 people outside the Greater South East now need to find secure, well-paid jobs to level up the country, compared to 170,000 last March.

The report found Birmingham, Hull and Blackpool face the biggest levelling up challenge, while London, Crawley and Slough are among the prosperous places of concern due COVID-19’s potential long-term impact.

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COVID-19 Councils back postponement of May local elections

Senior council figures have urged the Government to postpone the local elections planned for May, according to a new poll.

The survey by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) reveals that councils are overwhelmingly concerned about their ability to deliver a May poll. Instead, 69% of council officials believe an autumn timetable is more achievable.

Those responding to the poll call on the Government to provide additional ring-fenced funding to make elections safe, and greater expansion of postal voting.

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Economy & Public Finance Government must use 2021 to get levelling up back on track

Urgent action is needed to level up Northern cities and towns – and prevent parts of the South being levelled down, writes the chief executive of Centre for Cities.

After many difficult months there is reason to hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight and our lives could soon return to some form of normality. A speedy vaccination programme could mean that by summer restaurants, shops and pubs can re-open and, despite what some commentators have said, the benefits of face-to-face interaction mean many people will return to their offices.

But the scaling down of the public health crisis will mean a scaling-up of economic crisis – primarily repairing the damage Covid-19 has done to the national economy and the economies of our cities and towns.

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Justice CPS 'incapable or unwilling' to reverse collapse in rape charges, victims’ commissioner says

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is “incapable or unwilling” to reverse a continuing collapse in rape charges, says the victims’ commissioner, on the eve of a critical High Court action against it that starts on Tuesday....

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Police and Crime General Fraud epidemic 'is now national security threat'

Fraud has reached epidemic levels in the UK and should be seen as a national security issue, says think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

The scale of credit card, identity and cyber-fraud makes it the most prevalent crime, costing up to £190bn a year.

UK intelligence agencies should play a greater role in responding, the RUSI argues in a report.

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Police and Crime General English council chiefs back postponement of May local elections

A further postponement to this year’s local elections, in the wake of the continuing difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic, is backed by the vast majority of senior council figures across England, the Observer can reveal.

Only 11% of the senior officials dealing with the forthcoming elections believe they should go ahead in May as planned, despite the government’s determination to press ahead. More than two-thirds (69%) believe the huge set of elections should now take place in the autumn, according to the most comprehensive survey of council chief executives, leaders and officers in charge of organising elections to be conducted on the issue.

A further 14% called for a shorter delay to the summer and 6% backed a postponement beyond this autumn, according to the analysis by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU). Of the more than 350 officials who responded, two-thirds said they were “very concerned” about holding elections in May.

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Fire Firefighters’ Covid response ‘prevented and delayed’ by health and safety row, report finds

Firefighters were prevented from carrying out roles supporting the response to coronavirus because their “hands were tied” by union lobbying over safety protections, a report has found.

HM Inspectorate of Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said “restrictive” working arrangements agreed between employers and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) had “prevented or delayed” some humanitarian deployments.

An inspection of how England’s 45 fire services responded to the pandemic accused the FBU of urging firefighters not to volunteer to support the NHS Test and Trace system or the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The FBU denied the allegations.

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COVID-19 Priti Patel 'working to get jabs to front-line roles'

Ministers are working to ensure police and other front-line workers are moved up the priority list for the Covid vaccine, the home secretary has said.

Priti Patel told the BBC there was "a lot of work taking place in government right now" on the issue.

The committee advising the government on vaccines has also said it will consider factors like exposure risk and occupation in the rollout's next phase.

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COVID-19 £800 house party fines to be introduced in England

Fines of £800 for anyone attending a house party of more than 15 people will be introduced in England from next week, under new Covid measures. These will double for each repeat offence to a maximum of £6,400.

At a No 10 news conference, Home Secretary Priti Patel said there remained a "small minority that refuse to do the right thing".

"To them my message is clear. If you don't follow rules then the police will enforce them," she said.

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COVID-19 Emergency worker assaults most common coronavirus-related crime

Assaults on emergency service workers were the most common coronavirus-related crimes prosecuted in the six months following last spring’s lockdown, latest figures show.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it charged 1,688 such offences between April 1 and September 30 last year.

Many of these involved police officers being coughed and spat on – with others kicked, bitten and hit with heavy objects – after stopping suspected rule-breakers, said the CPS.

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Police and Crime General Suicides by officers under investigation 'avoidable', says Fed

Lengthy investigations where officers are potentially isolated from colleagues, berated in the media without the opportunity to tell their side of the story and left with the fear of losing their career can put an immense strain on an officer's mental health.

Federation Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews said there's been a number of suicides by officers who are under investigation. "It's something we're trying to progess because its certainly something we've recognised," he said.

When an officer is served with a misconduct notice carrying out a risk assessment and providing support is the force’s obligation but in reality the process is “patchy”, the Federation says.

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Police and Crime General £148m to target county lines drug gangs and treat addiction

Police have shut down more than 550 county lines and arrested nearly 3,500 people connected with the drug dealing gangs in just over a year.

The Home Office revealed the crackdown as it announced a £148 million package to cut crime and tackle issues around illegal drugs. It also gives more resources to police to tackle organised urban criminal gangs, which take over provincial drug markets, often exploiting young and vulnerable people. The county line is the mobile phone line used to take drugs orders.

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COVID-19 Nine police officers who had breakfast together inside cafe fined for breaching lockdown

Nine police officers who had breakfast together inside a cafe have been fined for breaching COVID lockdown rules on duty.

The officers, from the Metropolitan Police, were fined £200 each and told to "reflect on their choices."

They were spotted by IT manager Brian Jennings walking past the cafe near their base beside the River Thames at 9am earlier this month, a week into the latest lockdown.

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Technology 'Outrageous' that data deleted from main UK police computer database, PM Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday it was “outrageous” that hundreds of thousands of police records had been deleted due to a human coding error with the Police National Computer.

A piece of software to weed out records from the database that the computer had no legal right to hold went haywire because of faulty coding and began to automatically delete hundreds of thousands of other records, the Home Office said.

“Of course it is outrageous that any data should have been lost but at the moment ... we’re trying to retrieve that data,” Johnson told parliament, adding that the Home Office (interior ministry) hoped to restore the deleted information.

“We don’t know how many cases might be frustrated as a result of what has happened,” Johnson said.

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COVID-19 One in four UK young people have felt 'unable to cope' in pandemic

Young people are in danger of giving up on their futures and on themselves, with a quarter saying they feel unable to cope with life, one of the UK’s leading charities has said.

The Prince’s Trust long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history.

“The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing,” said Jonathan Townsend, the trust’s UK chief executive. “Many believe they are missing out on being young, and sadly we know that the impact of the pandemic on their employment prospects and overall wellbeing could continue far into their futures.”

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Justice 'Grave concerns' for justice, warn watchdogs

Four criminal justice watchdogs for England and Wales have warned they have "grave concerns" about the impact of court backlogs caused by the pandemic.

The inspectorates for policing, prisons, probation and prosecutions say issues it has caused could damage the criminal justice system for years.

It comes after figures revealed the backlog in the crown courts has reached 54,000 unheard cases.

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COVID-19 Half a million police officers and teachers could jump the queue for Covid-19 vaccine if they are given priority in phase two of inoculation rollout, says Nadhim Zahawi

More than half a million police officers and teachers could jump the vaccine queue if they are given priority in phase two of the rollout.

Hundreds of thousands of shop workers could also be added to the list, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday.

He added those who come into close contact with the public as a result of their jobs should be considered for priority access.

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Police and Crime General Decriminalise drugs, former officers urge

Former senior police officers are campaigning for the decriminalisation of drugs as a key starting point to reduce Scotland’s shocking drugs death tally.

Insisting that the “war on drugs” has failed, the former officers, among them a retired chief inspector, believe that urgent and radical reform is required to punish crime lords and to prevent the harm that their drug-dealing does to individuals and communities.

Under the banner of the new Leap Scotland (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) Simon McLean, a retired crime squad detective and undercover vice officer, said that the organisation advocated an holistic approach in which “decriminalisation and regulation go hand-in-hand”. Users would be helped with the best possible service provision, extending to new facilities, such as safe consumption rooms.

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Justice CPS response to the Joint Inspectorates' report on the pandemic and the Criminal Justice System

A CPS spokesperson said: “We are pleased this report commends our effective response to the pandemic, including our commitment to staff wellbeing which is a top priority for the CPS.

“Safely reducing the backlog of court cases is vital so we can ease pressure on prosecutors and continue to deliver justice. We are working urgently with partners to achieve this.”

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Police and Crime General Top police officer laments rate of stop and search on young black men

There is “widespread dissatisfaction” with the police among black communities with it being clear young black men are being disproportionately stopped and searched at an “eye-watering” rate, a former senior police chief has said.

Mike Cunningham, who retired last month as chief executive of the College of Policing which sets standards for law enforcement, said stop and search was the “totemic” issue and called for “humility” from police leaders faced with sustained criticism after a tumultuous year. He said law enforcement had achieved a lot but had much more to do on the issue.

In an interview to mark his retirement from policing after 32 years, including stints as chief constable of Staffordshire and HM Inspector of Constabulary, Cunningham told the Guardian: “It is absolutely starkly clear that there is a widespread dissatisfaction with policing from black people. And, I don’t think anybody should try to dress that up and say, ‘it isn’t real, it’s a mistake, it’s a perception’. Something more needs to be done.”

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COVID-19 Officers get 'left-over' vaccine while others told to turn down offers

Officers from some forces are taking up local NHS trusts on their offers for spare vaccines. The Metropolitan Police is however reportedly instructing officers to decline if offered externally.

Officers from Lincolnshire, Sussex and West Midlands are accepting ‘left-over’ doses of the Covid-19 vaccine when offered externally.

A spokesperson from West Midlands Police said: "A number of police officers have been approached and offered unsolicited vaccinations which would otherwise have been disposed of at the end of the day at various vaccination sessions.

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Technology Home Secretary launches investigation into 400,000 missing police records

Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched an internal investigation into the accidental deletion of hundreds of thousands of police records, amid claims it took 48 days to identify the error.

Home Office minister Kit Malthouse said the loss of Police National Computer (PNC) data was “unacceptable”, expressed optimism about its recovery and pledged to return to the Commons to update MPs when he knew more about the impact of the incident.

He was unable to give a guarantee that no criminal case could be compromised by the loss of police records, but ruled out any criminal intent behind the “human error” and defective code which led to the deletion of a significant number of fingerprint, DNA and arrest history records.

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Police and Crime General Fewer than one in 10 police officers fired after gross misconduct finding

Fewer than one in 10 British police officers found to have potentially committed gross misconduct by the watchdog are dismissed, the Guardian can reveal.

Figures released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) show 641 officers in England and Wales may have so seriously breached standards that they were liable to be sacked between 2015 and 2020, but just 54 (8.4%) were fired after disciplinary action was conducted internally.

Another 848 officers were found to have a case to answer over possible misconduct, but in total only 363 of the misconduct claims have so far been upheld following IOPC recommendations.

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Police and Crime General Families of citizens dying after contact with police still await justice

Relatives of people who have died after contact with the police have told of their distrust in and dissatisfaction with the ability of the complaints system to help deliver justice.

“I feel the IOPC is there to shut families up and make us believe there is a thorough investigation,” said Carla Cumberbatch, sister of electrician Darren, who died at the age of 32 in July 2017 after he was punched up to 15 times, beaten with a baton, sprayed with CS gas and Tasered multiple times by officers.

They had been called to a bail hostel in Nuneaton, west Midlands, while he was experiencing a mental health crisis – behaving “irrationally” in a toilet bloc, according to the coroner.

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COVID-19 Shed parties and illegal races: UK police crack down on Covid-19 rulebreakers

Police have issued fines to coronavirus rule breakers including those who held a party in a garden shed and a group of more than 40 people who gathered for illegal car racing.

In the 10th month of the pandemic, police have clamped down on those clearly breaking the rules, with forces being asked by government to increase enforcement as the death toll from the virus mounts.

Police in Swansea issued fines after finding eight people partying in a garden shed in Sketty that housed a bar.

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COVID-19 PSNI faces legal challenge on powers of entry under Covid laws

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing a potential legal challenge over whether officers have the power to enter private homes to enforce Covid regulations without a warrant.

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson issued pre-action correspondence to the Department of Health and the PSNI on Sunday. He has also notified the Department of Justice as a noticed party to his challenge.

Pre-action correspondence is the first step toward potential judicial review proceedings. It gives respondents a set period to remedy issues raised by an applicant.

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Police and Crime General GMP to provide a named contact officer to every resident

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has committed to providing every resident with a named officer they can contact in what Mayor Andy Burnham has described as “a significant enhancement of GMP’s neighbourhood policing offer."

The mayor also announced external advisors have been brought in to address concerns about the iOps computer system, which has been beset by technical problems and linked to the failure to record crime which resulted in GMP being put onto special measures last month and the resignation of chief constable Ian Hopkins.

Mr Hopkins resigned after a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found GMP failed to record more than 80,000 crimes in the space of a year.

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Police and Crime General GMP to provide a named contact officer to every resident

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has committed to providing every resident with a named officer they can contact in what Mayor Andy Burnham has described as “a significant enhancement of GMP’s neighbourhood policing offer."

The mayor also announced external advisors have been brought in to address concerns about the iOps computer system, which has been beset by technical problems and linked to the failure to record crime which resulted in GMP being put onto special measures last month and the resignation of chief constable Ian Hopkins.

Mr Hopkins resigned after a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found GMP failed to record more than 80,000 crimes in the space of a year.

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Economy & Public Finance Treasury in property tax rethink

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is believed to be rethinking property taxes – including council tax and business rates – in a bid to balance the books post-COVID.

The move comes amid rising calls for change, including a report from think tank Onwards on changing the finance system and 10-minute rule Bill on scrapping business rates, launched by Conservative backbencher Kevin Hollinrake.

The 3 March Budget is expected to continue to fund existing support during the latest COVID lockdown, but any return to normality would also see the Chancellor starting to claw back his financial position through tax rises.

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Fire Grenfell survivors in multimillion pound lawsuit

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have launched a legal claim worth millions of pounds.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Kensington and Chelsea LBC are among the organisations the lawsuit claimed ‘contributed’ to the disaster.

A personal injury claim on behalf of Grenfell residents and relatives was lodged at the High Court shortly before Christmas against 22 defendants.

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Economy & Public Finance Forget local government, the whole country needs a fair funding review

With the future of business rates under review and council tax reform reportedly attracting the interest of the Treasury the government has some fundamental questions to answer, writes LGC deputy editor Sarah Calkin.

The case for reforming council tax is growing ever louder. That it is a regressive tax, hitting those in lower value homes proportionately harder than those in higher ones, is not disputed.

Meanwhile, as the property values that council tax bands are based on turn 30-years-old this year their relationship with the reality of local property markets grows ever weaker. As the only locally-set tax – albeit within the strict confines of centrally-determined referendum limits – the casual observer may assume councils are quite attached to it.

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Police and Crime General Police get new powers to stop and search knife offenders without a reason

Police are to get new powers to stop and search up to 15,000 knife offenders a year without needing any reason to do so, under new laws to be unveiled this month....

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Economy & Public Finance Make May elections in England more Covid-safe, Labour urges

Labour has urged ministers to make May’s elections in England more Covid-secure, after the emergence of a Cabinet Office document that warned the pandemic could severely hamper the process and put millions off voting.

The paper raises the possibility that even if coronavirus infection levels are relatively low, it could be difficult to attract enough election staff, and that safety fears may “disenfranchise large proportions of [the] community”.

Labour is calling for safeguards such as the possibility of spreading voting over several days, or having an all-postal vote, options that have been prepared for elections to the Scottish parliament, also due to take place on 6 May.

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Prisons Covid strikes down 69 judges amid chaos in courts and jails

The criminal justice system is facing its biggest crisis of the pandemic as soaring numbers of infections tear through prisons and the courts.

There were confirmed Covid outbreaks in 76 of England and Wales’s 117 prisons at the start of last week, including all those in London, leaked official figures show. Prisoner infections were up 46% in a week to Monday 11, with 498 prisoners testing positive.

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Police and Crime General Stronger powers for police to evict travellers who build illegal camps

Priti Patel is set to give the police new powers to evict travellers who build encampments on private and public land and refuse to leave.

The home secretary will shortly announce plans that will make it a criminal offence to trespass with the intention of settling.

People found in breach of the new laws will face fines of up to £2,500 or a three-month prison sentence.

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Technology Technical issue resolved after '150,000 police records lost'

The government is assessing the impact of a "technical issue" that led to 150,000 records being deleted from police databases.

The error, first reported in the Times, saw data including fingerprint, DNA and arrest histories wiped after being accidentally flagged for deletion.

The Home Office said the lost entries related to people who were arrested and then released without further action. But Labour said it presented "huge dangers" for public safety.

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Police and Crime General Lincolnshire Police child protection 'needs action'

Government inspectors say a police force still has inconsistent supervision of cases involving children.

A National Child Protection Inspection of Lincolnshire Police highlighted the failings in its third report on child care and safety in three years.

Progress in some areas had been slowed by coronavirus, the report said. The force said it had robust plans in place to deliver the best service for keeping children safe.

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Technology Over 400,000 crime records could be affected by police computer error

More than 400,000 crime records could have been affected by a data blunder, with records for serious offences supposed to be kept forever accidentally deleted and police fearing criminals may not be caught, a letter from a senior officer reveals.

The records were accidentally deleted due to a coding error on 10 January, and the incident affects fingerprints, DNA, and arrest records on the police national computer (PNC).

The Guardian has learned that records related to serious offences, meant to be kept “indefinitely”, have been affected and police have already suffered what they term as “near misses” for serious crimes.

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Economy & Public Finance Second Covid-19 lockdown hurts UK GDP

The UK’s economy shrank by 2.6% in November, as a result of the second English lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS said November’s contraction was the first month of decline in six months, since April’s record 20% contraction at the beginning of the first national lockdown.

GDP in November was 8.5% below pre-Covid-19 levels in February, and overall, the economy has fallen 8.9% in the 12 months to November, the ONS said.

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Economy & Public Finance LGA to call in conspiracy theory experts

The Local Government Association (LGA) is to talk to university experts to help councils counter a rising tide of conspiracy theories.

A meeting of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board was yesterday warned the QAnon myth, which includes wild allegations of a child sex ring, had gained ‘significant traction’ among conspiracy theorists in the UK, with 35% of 18-24-year-olds agreeing that secret satanic cults featuring influential elites exist.

The meeting heard that conspiracy theories were ‘taking hold across the whole political spectrum’ and advocates were a ‘very broad church,’ with COVID-19 having ‘put wind in their sails’.

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Police Demand The mental health effects of Covid will last for a decade

In the normal course of his work as a GP Gavin Francis would expect to spend about a third of his time dealing with the mental ill health of his patients. The pandemic has changed that. “Consultations about mental health vary from week to week, but are commonly at double what they were before the pandemic,” he says.

From his position at the grass roots of the response to Covid-19 Francis has witnessed the spread of the virus at a community level. Some days every call he has taken was about loneliness, self-harm and the contagion of mental health problems.

In a memoir of the past year he describes panic and anxiety as “the virus’s dark refrains, a second pandemic leaching into everyone’s lives”. When I ask how long he expects this to last he is unequivocal. “For years.”..

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Police and Crime General Domestic abuse victims can 'Ask for Ani' at pharmacies as codeword for needing help

Domestic abuse victims will be able to "Ask for Ani" at pharmacies nationwide as part of a codeword scheme to indicate they need help.

From Thursday, anyone who is suffering domestic abuse will be able to ask for support without their abusers or other members of the public knowing, The Daily Telegraph reports.

As soon as they "Ask for Ani" they will be led into a private consulting room where they will be put in touch with the police, relevant support services or helplines.

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Police and Crime General 'High bar' for postponing local elections in England, MPs told

There should be a "high bar" for postponing local elections in England this year, a minister has told MPs.

Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith said the position would be kept "under review".

She said work was under way to ensure people could cast their ballots in a "COVID-secure" way - but Labour has raised concerns a "lack of preparation" could force people to "choose between their health and their right to vote".

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Police and Crime General PCCs welcome domestic abuse pharmacy codeword scheme

The Home Office have teamed up with UK pharmacies to launch a domestic abuse Ask for ANI codeword scheme, and PCCs have today lauded it as "lifeline" for victims during lockdown.

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) has been developed by the Home Office to allow domestic abuse sufferers to signal they need emergency help to a chemist.

It is being rolled out this month to help victims who have been left isolated by the lockdown and found it more difficult to ask for help.

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Recruitment and Retention Former Policing Minister Nick Herbert appointed Chair of the College of Policing Board

John Apter said he was looking forward to developing a constructive relationship with Lord Herbert of South Downs after he was appointed by the Home Secretary today as Chair of the College of Policing Board.

Mr Apter said: “I look forward to meeting Lord Herbert and developing a constructive relationship on behalf of our members. The College of Policing is such an important part of policing so it’s essential we work closely with them on behalf of the 130,000 police officers we represent.”

Lord Herbert replaces outgoing Chair, Christine Elliott and was Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice across both the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. He was previously Shadow Minister for Police Reform, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, and a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

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Police Demand West Midlands Police see 'staggering' rise in domestic abuse cases

Over Christmas, police in the West Midlands said they were called to a "staggering" 1,250 incidents of domestic abuse. The force said it was a 60% increase on the same period last year.

Between Christmas Eve and 29 December, West Midlands Police made 191 arrests, which it said accounted for almost 30% of the force's total arrests.

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips told the House of Commons on Thursday refuges were under huge pressure. Escaping domestic abuse is specifically listed by government as one of a handful of "reasonable excuses" for leaving home during the latest lockdown.

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Justice Home Secretary to introduce 'Kay's Law' reform to better protect victims

New laws to reform pre-charge bail will provide better protection for victims and witnesses in cases of violent and sexual offences, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced today (Thursday 14th January).

The Home Office has published its response to a consultation on pre-charge bail, which allows police to release a suspect from custody subject to conditions, while they gather evidence or await a charging decision.

The new measures will ensure a system where individuals are not held on bail for unreasonable lengths of time, whilst enabling police to impose strict conditions on more suspects in high-harm cases, including most cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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COVID-19 Retail giants clamp down in bid to halt coronavirus growth

John Lewis became the first big retailer to suspend its click-and-collect service yesterday amid pressure on shops to do more to help to contain the virus.

The chain said that it was acting after a “change in tone” from government, adding that it wanted to help the national effort by removing reasons for non-essential travel.

Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Waitrose joined Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in banning shoppers without masks from stores unless they have a medical reason. Supermarkets in England will be spot-checked by council staff to ensure that they are Covid-secure.

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Police and Crime General Police under fire for outdoor coronavirus clampdown

Police were accused of trying to stop people enjoying themselves during the lockdown yesterday as members of the public said it was “incredibly unclear” what they were allowed to do outside.

Essex police caused anger after issuing a Facebook post saying they had “cause to speak with” a number of men, all aged over 30, after they were spotted hunting the animated characters on the mobile app Pokemon Go.

The social media post came attached with guidance from Essex council about abiding by lockdown rules.

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Police and Crime General Public figures should lead way in obeying Covid rules, says police chief after Boris Johnson bike ride

Senior police have criticised Boris Johnson for his seven-mile bike ride, saying it would encourage the public to push the boundaries of lockdown rules.

Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said the prime minister did not break the law when he travelled from Downing Street to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday. However, she added that anyone in public life should be a “role model”.

Other senior officers said that Mr Johnson had not acted within the “spirit” of the rules amid confusion about how far people should travel from their homes for daily exercise in England.

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Economy & Public Finance Council chiefs call for mental health services funding

Local authority leaders have urged the Government to ensure that councils’ mental health services receive the funding they require to meet ‘unmet demand’ in response to a landmark reform of mental health laws.

The Government today published the long-anticipated Reforming the Mental Health Act white paper, which builds on the recommendations made in 2018 by Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act.

The white paper stressed the importance of empowering individuals to have more control over their mental health treatment. It also promises to deliver parity between mental and physical health services.

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Economy & Public Finance ‘Dismay’ over continuing lack of detail on UKSPF

Senior councillors have expressed growing alarm that almost a fortnight after UK completed its exit from the EU they are still in the dark on vital details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund intended to replace EU funding for the regions.

A meeting of the Local Government Association’s people and places board yesterday also heard that the government had yet to set up a promised taskforce bringing central and local government to co-design the fund while there are concerns that rather than devolving more powers to councils, the fund could end up drawing existing responsibilities away from them as it covers a wider remit than current EU funds.

A paper prepared to Tuesday’s meeting warned of an “urgency” to the issue as current EU funding winds down, with all funding programmes completed by the end of 2023.

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Economy & Public Finance Extra cash made available for self isolation support

An extra £20.4m is to be provided by the government to extend the current self isolation support grants scheme to the end of this financial year after many councils reported running out of the discretionary funding provided so far.

Just over half of the funding is to go towards extending the national £500 scheme to support those on in-work benefits required to self-isolate while councils will also be handed an additional £10m of discretionary funding. This is paid to those on low-incomes required to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace who could suffer financial hardship as a result of not being able to work but who do not meet the criteria for the separate £500 payment.

However, there are still understood to be concerns in the sector that the £500 national scheme is not capturing all those in need as the eligibility criteria too tight, and this is putting pressure on discretionary budgets.

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Police Demand Mental Health Act reforms aim to tackle high rate of black people sectioned

Reforms to the Mental Health Act will help tackle the disproportionate number of black people sectioned, the government has announced.

Black people are more than four times more likely to be detained under the act and more than 10 times more likely to be subject to a community treatment order.

The package of reforms includes piloting culturally appropriate advocates so patients from all minority ethnic backgrounds can be better supported to voice their individual needs and allow sectioned people to nominate family members to represent their best interests if they are unable to do so themselves.

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Police Demand Online child sexual abuse material soars to record levels

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said it processed a record number of reports of online child sexual abuse in 2020.

The IWF, the UK charity responsible for finding and removing images and videos of child sexual abuse from the internet, has also seen a dramatic 77 per cent increase in the amount of ‘self-generated’ abuse material as more children, and more criminals, spend longer online in 2020.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, chief executive of the IWF, warned that children were at greater risk of being approached or groomed by strangers online than ever before.

The coronavirus pandemic forced many people to work and learn from home in 2020, and the IWF saw a surge in public reports to its hotline.

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Recruitment and Retention Detective shortage leads forces to target January blues for recruits

Forces across the country have used the traditional January window when people consider career changes to launch recruitment drives for detective roles.

Two approaches are being made; tempting current officers to move forces or going to the wider public for direct entry training through fast-track programmes.

Cheshire Constabulary is among those to opt for the fast track approach, for the first time, enabling new recruits to opt for the role of trainee detective constable. The force is opening the opportunity for the Uplift trainees that are part of the national recruitment programme.

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Police Finances Khan proposes 9.5% rise in GLA precept

Proposals from London mayor Sadiq Khan would see annual bills rise by more than £31 on average in 2021-22, with £15 to help fund the Metropolitan Police and £15 for Transport of London subsidies for children and over 60s.

The remaining £1.59 per-household would go towards helping the fire service respond to changes recommended by the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

However, in order to implement the proposed increases for TfL, the GLA requires approval from the government to amend its referendum limits as the increase would be greater than its current 2% limit before a referendum was required.

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Economy & Public Finance Tax reforms 'would raise more than wealth tax'

In a presentation to the Local Government Association’s annual finance conference, David Phillips, associate director at the IFS, warned that a wealth related levy could harm the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

He said that trying to capture tax on people who have saved during the pandemic could have a dampening effect on the economy, as the recovery will be reliant on the public spending money.

Phillips said: “Rather than trying to introduce a new wealth tax for a long-term boost to government revenues, it actually makes sense to reform some of the existing taxes, including income tax, capital gains tax, council tax, inheritance tax, so they are actually more efficient, fairer, and raise more for the long-term.”

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Recruitment and Retention Hampshire police boss admits all-white senior team is ‘not OK’

The chief constable of the police force where five policemen were sacked for “abhorrent” racist language has said “it is not OK” that her senior officers are all white.

Olivia Pinkney of Hampshire police said she was very aware that her senior leadership team “look the way they do” and admitted that she was concerned by the lack of diversity. The highest-ranking black officer in the county is a chief inspector.

Ms Pinkney criticised her own force after detectives in a serious organised crime unit were sacked for racist and sexist language.

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Police Demand Police in England and Wales face crime targets in return for 20,000 new officers

Crime will have to be cut by up to 20% under radical plans drawn up by the government and discussed with police chiefs, the Guardian has learned.

However, senior officers believe it would be a return to Whitehall setting “targets”, which were derided by the Conservatives when the last Labour government used them.

Ministers want to bring down rates of homicide, serious violent crime and a whole host of other offences across England and Wales. The reductions would be in return for government providing the money for 20,000 new officers, about the same number cut since 2010 after the Conservatives slashed police budgets.

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Police Demand Police driving ambulances amid delay in 999 response

Police are being deployed to drive ambulances and a lack of staff is delaying answering of 999 calls as emergency services start to buckle under the strain of coronavirus.

A senior police source said there were fears that some areas could see a “999 service only” because of the number of staff off sick amid an escalation in infections. The disclosure will strengthen calls by the Police Federation for officers to be prioritised for vaccines.

In some areas, entire shifts of 999 call-handling staff have been “wiped out” by cases of Covid-19.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel wants police to explain unpopular decisions

The home secretary is preparing to force police chiefs and police and crime commissioners to do more to explain controversial operational decisions.

This month Priti Patel will publish the recommendations of a review into PCCs, which were introduced by David Cameron in 2012 to make the police more accountable.

The recommendations include drawing “brighter” lines on what constitutes operational independence and moving to first past the post for PCC elections after the next polls in May.

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COVID-19 2.6 million jabs given to 2.3 million people - but UK is warned vaccine 'not a free pass' to ignore rules

More than 2.6 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been given to almost 2.3 million people, the health secretary has said, as an NHS boss warned the jab is "not a free pass" to ignore national guidance.

Matt Hancock told a Downing Street news conference that the government was on track to achieve its pledge of offering a vaccine to the top four priority groups by the middle of February, a total of nearly 15 million Britons.

Asked whether this was a possibility, Mr Hancock said people should be focusing on sticking to the current rules "as they are".

"The NHS, more than ever before, needs everybody to be doing something right now - and that something is to follow the rules," he said.

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COVID-19 New exercise restrictions in England 'under active consideration'

A ban on people in England walking or exercising with anyone from outside their household is under “active consideration” sources have told the Guardian, although the health secretary, Matt Hancock, on Monday evening insisted that he did not want to have to tighten the rules.

Discussions have taken place in government about returning to the rules of March 2020, which limited people to one form of outside exercise a day – such as a run, walk, or cycle – either alone or only with people you live with.

However Hancock said he hoped that the current rules, which allow people to exercise with one other person, would remain. “We are seeing large groups and that is not acceptable,” he said. “This is one of those rules where if too many people keep breaking it then we are going to have to look at it. But I don’t want to do that because for many people being able to go for a walk with a friend, especially if they live alone, is their only social contact.

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Police Finances Coronavirus (COVID-19): emergency funding for local government in 2020 to 2021 and additional support in 2021 to 2022

Allocations of additional funding to local authorities in financial year 2020 to 2021 and additional support for local government in financial year 2021 to 2022.

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Police and Crime General Police chief pledges major crackdown on burglaries - 'we ignore them at our peril'

Northants Chief Constable Nick Adderly said his force would “hit hard” sex offenders, those who peddle drugs, commit burglaries and engage in anti-social behaviour. His pledge comes after the public were ignored for too long. Former naval officer Mr Adderley said forces, including his own, had not paid enough attention to victims of crime and the people they served...

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Police and Crime General Tough crackdown on Covid rule-breakers 'essential' as over 100 cars turned away from beauty spot

A police boss says a new get tough approach is essential to crack down on Covid rule-breakers who are putting lives at risk.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones spoke out after “selfish” people flouted the regulations and flocked to beauty spots across the region.

On Friday, two people had to be rescued by the North East Wales Search and Rescue (NEWSAR) team after becoming "disorientated" in severe weather conditions during a walk up Moel Famau on the Flintshire border.

The pair had gone for a walk from home but they raised the alarm by phoning the policing after losing their bearings as conditions deteriorated rapidly due to snow and poor visibility.

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Police Finances Police start crackdown on Covid rule-breakers

Police are toughening enforcement of the lockdown as government scientific advisers fear that public neglect of restrictions could keep infections high for months.

A record death toll and level of infections were recorded yesterday as figures suggested that people are leaving home far more often than last spring.

Boris Johnson made a fresh plea last night for people to follow the rules as the government began a television campaign to urge people to stay at home. “Our hospitals are under more pressure than at any other time since the start of the pandemic, and infection rates across the entire country continue to soar at an alarming rate,” the prime minister said. “I know the last year has taken its toll — but your compliance is now more vital than ever.”

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COVID-19 More fines expected for lockdown breaches as home secretary warns of tighter enforcement

"Strong enforcement" of coronavirus restrictions is needed to control the spread of the disease, the home secretary has warned.

Priti Patel said police forces should focus their resources on people who "are clearly breaking" lockdown rules to "safeguard our country's recovery from this deadly virus".

Government sources have told Sky News this will mean that "more fines will be issued, and quicker".

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Fire Cladding flat owners told not to talk to press

Flat owners applying to a fund to help pay to remove flammable building cladding will be told not to talk to the press without government approval.

A draft agreement, uncovered by the Sunday Times, says that even where there is "overwhelming public interest" in speaking to journalists, the government must be told first.

The government said the wording was "standard".

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COVID-19 Covid: arrivals to UK will need to show a negative test before entry

International travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the UK, the government has announced, in a significant toughening of border controls to try to stem the spread of new coronavirus variants.

The new rules will take effect next week and apply to returning UK nationals as well as foreign citizens. Passengers will need to produce a test result taken less than 72 hours before boarding planes, boats or trains to the UK, and could be fined £500 in border spot checks without a negative result.

Arrivals will still need to quarantine for 10 days, even with a negative test, unless they are coming from one of the limited number of countries deemed low risk on the government’s travel corridor list.

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Justice Letter to Commissioners for Domestic Abuse and Victims about coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Home Secretary writes in response to a joint letter of 4 November regarding support for victims of domestic abuse during the period of new measures to counter COVID-19.

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Police and Crime General New Nottinghamshire police team armed with guns to prevent serious crime

For the first time outside of the armed response unit, specially trained officers will be armed with weapons as part of the new new roads crime policing team to target serious criminal activity across Nottinghamshire.

Armed police will be used in the force’s operational support department to predominantly to prevent criminals bringing weapons and drugs into the county and keep the area safe.

Officers will work alongside Operation Reacher teams who work in each of the county’s neighbourhoods to support local anti-crime initiatives.

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Police Finances Commissioner launches Council Tax Precept Consultation

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall is seeking the views of the people of Cumbria to help to maintain and improve policing services which includes an increase in the policing part of the council tax.

The police council tax precept is an essential part of the council tax that contributes alongside a central government grant to the total funding available to provide policing, community safety and victims’ services.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “Over the last three years working with the Chief Constable and with your support as council tax payers, we have been able to improve the policing service here in Cumbria and make a real difference in tackling crime in our communities.

“Funding for policing does not all come from government grant alone and it is not enough to allow us to recruit further officers, deploy dedicated officers into the community where you want to see them, and pay for our existing service, without an increase in council tax. The government has recognised this and is allowing Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the council tax precept by up to £15 per year for a Band D property."

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Police and Crime General From threat to threat: UK community policing and counter-terrorism

The announcement in November of a multi-million pound counter-terror centre for the UK which brings together police and the security services was rightly welcomed; but as Policing Insight’s Andrew Staniforth reports, moving forwards the relationship between community policing and counter-terrorism will be crucial to negating the wide array of terrorist and extremist threats...

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Police and Crime General Met police take hard line on Covid rule breakers

Britain’s biggest police force is taking a new hardline approach to coronavirus lockdown breakers by actively stopping people on the street and requiring them to explain themselves.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police will also routinely hand out fines to anyone found at illegal gatherings such as parties or raves. Previously enforcement action was generally limited to the event’s organisers.

People found not wearing a mask when they should will not be “reasoned with” but fined, the force said.

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COVID-19 People drank more alcohol, exercised less and ate less healthily during first lockdown

Britons drank more alcohol, ate fewer fruit and vegetables and exercised less during the first national lockdown, a study has suggested.

Younger people, women and those who are overweight were more likely to have adopted unhealthy lifestyle choices last spring, the research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows.

The study of more than 1,000 people also indicates that women drank alcohol more frequently, but men consumed greater quantities of it in one sitting.

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Technology Criminals publish stolen council data online

Data stolen from Hackney LBC in a cyber attack has been published online by the criminals responsible.

The ‘serious cyber attack’ last year affected the council's IT systems and services.

Experts supporting the council said the data was not visible through search engines or on any widely available public forum.

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Police Finances OECD says public will not accept austerity post-Covid-19

Unprecedented stimulus measures taken by governments to fight the pandemic have changed the public perception of spending and debt, meaning sharp tax hikes or spending cuts would risk popular backlash, the OECD’s chief economist has said.

Laurence Boone told the Financial Times that public officials will struggle to argue for austerity during the recovery from Covid-19, and may not be in a position to pay for certain measures – such as those to combat climate change.

“People are going to ask where all this money has come from,” she said, referring to the programmes rolled out by governments to address the coronavirus pandemic.

She said countries should continue to use higher spending and low taxes to help their economies throughout the recovery period, taking a lesson from the last global financial crisis.

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Justice MoJ fails to hit financial management targets

The Ministry of Justice failed to meet either of its financial management targets outlined in the 2015 Spending Review, according to the National Audit Office.

In its departmental overview of the ministry, the NAO said that two five-year targets of savings had not been met by the end of 2019-20.

In 2015, the MoJ was asked by the Treasury to produce overall savings of 15% by the end of last financial year, but spending rose by £1.3bn in 2019-20 compared with 2015-16, the NAO said.

The increase in spending was in part down to unanticipated increases in demand for services, the review said.

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Police and Crime General North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones to stand down

North Wales' Police and Crime Commissioner has announced plans to step down.

Arfon Jones became only the second person to hold the post in North Wales when he was elected back in 2016.

He was due to stand in the 2020 Police and Crime Commissioner election but that was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former police inspector and county councillor says that the decision to retire at the end of his current term was one he reached only recently.

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Technology Researchers use NCA data to model predatory offending during pandemic

Researchers at the University of Birmingham are using data on sex offenders’ crime patterns compiled by the National Crime Agency (NCA) to assess how their behaviour has changed in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19 will enable the team to examine extensive data on sex offenders collated by the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) of the National Crime Agency.

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Recruitment and Retention Police applications jump 100,000 after promise for more officers on streets

More than 100,000 people have applied to join the police as ministers promise more officers on our streets.

The Home Office will today launch the next stage of the recruitment drive to hire 20,000 additional bobbies by 2023. More than 6,000 have already joined the force and similar numbers are being targeted again this year. The Government is increasing its funding to more than £15billion in 2021-22 – up by £636million from this year.

Police have received more than 107,000 applications since the programme began, said the National Police Chiefs Council.

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Police and Crime General Police chief calls for power of entry into homes of suspected lockdown breakers

The government should toughen the lockdown by giving officers the right to force entry into homes of suspected law breakers, a policing leader has said.

David Jamieson, the police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands police, England’s second biggest force, said: “For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool."

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COVID-19 Police to get tough on lockdown breakers - huge penalties expected

Huge penalties are expected for people who ignored the latest coronavirus restrictions as police become less tolerant over rule breakers.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced England will be going into its third national lockdown as cases of the novel virus reach record-breaking figures. All schools will remain closed until at least February.

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Police Finances Borrowing from PWLB jumps following rate cut

In October 2019, the Treasury raised the PWLB rate by one percentage point, which led to monthly borrowing dropping as low as £40m in November.

However, the rate rise was reversed at the Comprehensive Spending Review and in December more than 40 PWLB loans, averaging £5.9m each, were agreed, according to figures from the Debt Management Office.

David Whelan, managing director of public sector treasury at Link Group told PF: “Local authorities sat on their hands, and had not borrowed much, since the rate increase was announced.

“Following the rate reduction, they have now gone in and borrowed quite a lot.”

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COVID-19 Covid has exacerbated inequalities

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has released its first report of the year, titled Deaton Review of Inequalities: a New Year’s message.

The report outlines how Covid has not only highlighted inequalities in Britain, but how it has also made them worse.

The report focuses on key areas such as income, employment and education to objectively demonstrate that those from poorer backgrounds are worse off as a result of Covid, than those who are from privilege.

The report found that graduates were less likely to be out of work because of Covid, falling just 7% when compared to non-graduates who saw employment rates rise by 17% over the same period, showing that there is still a gap between those that go to university and those that don’t. Non-graduates are also more likely to have lost out on income due to an inability to do their job from home, having to choose between their health or their income.

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Police Finances Former CIPFA presidents receive New Year honours

Gardner, who was auditor general of Audit Scotland from 2012-2020 and CIPFA president in 2006, was awarded a CBE for her services to the Scottish public sector.

She had worked at Audit Scotland since its inception in 2000 and was also chair of CIPFA in Scotland in 2001.

Roberts, who was CIPFA president in 2016, was awarded an OBE for his services to local government and public sector finance.

He was appointed as one of two finance commissioners to help advise at Northamptonshire County Council in 2018, after the council issued two section 114 notices.

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Recruitment and Retention Prime Minister commits to uplift in public sector jobs

The Prime Minister has committed to continuing to invest in public sector jobs as the country aims to “build back better” after the Covid-19 pandemic.

2020 saw record numbers of nurses recruited with 13,313 new nurses joining the NHS in England, taking the total figure up to 299,184.

41,000 trainee teachers were recruited last year, with every teacher in the country receiving an above-inflation pay rise.

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Recruitment and Retention Three quarters of police officers say they are not paid enough to deal with coronavirus hazards

Almost eight out of 10 police officers in Gloucestershire feel they are not paid enough to deal with all the added complications the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to their jobs.

A survey carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) found that 79 per cent of Gloucestershire Police officers felt they did not receive a fair wage to deal with the hazards they have faced this year.

It comes as the pandemic has introduced new responsibilities to policing, such as enforcing lockdown rules, while coping with the added risk officers face of contracting the virus.

Police and Crime General Visitors turned away from Brecon Beacons after 'hundreds of vehicles' arrive

Police have been stopping visitors trying to "enjoy the snow" at the Brecon Beacons after hundreds of vehicles arrived at the national park despite Wales being in lockdown.

One man drove nearly 200 miles from Hertfordshire to walk up Pen-y-Fan, while a minibus of mixed households had travelled to the area from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, according to Dyfed-Powys Police.

Officers issued fixed penalty notices for some breaches, though many people listened to advice and returned home after seeing police in the area, a spokesman said.

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Police and Crime General Organised crime driving ‘epidemic’ of dog snatching

Demand for dogs skyrocketed in lockdown and has risen again in the run-up to Christmas. Prices have soared as a result.

Organised crime is exploiting the situation by smuggling puppies from abroad and stealing dogs in the UK.

Dog thefts are now believed to be at an unprecedented high, with puppies stolen for immediate sale and adults taken for forced breeding on puppy farms.

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Economy & Public Finance Tory MPs pressure government to overhaul ‘regressive’ council tax

A new group of Tory MPs that includes a former local government minister is urging the government to overhaul the "regressive system" of council tax, as part of a wider campaign for a rethink on property taxes.

The group of 30-plus MPs who have signed up for the Property Research Group (PRG) since its launch a week ago is led by Michael Gove’s parliamentary private secretary Kevin Hollinrake, who represents Rishi Sunak’s neighbouring constituency of Thirsk & Malton.

Other MPs in the PRG include former local government minister Simon Clarke and Andrew Mitchell, a former chief whip.

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COVID-19 Testing rolled out to areas at ‘significant risk’ of moving into Tier 3

Local authorities in the worst-affected Tier 2 areas will now be offered community testing in addition to Tier 3 areas, the Government has announced.

Councils at high risk of entering Tier 3 will be invited to submit community testing proposals to help drive down COVID-19 transmission rates, although those already in Tier 3 will continue to be prioritised.

One in three individuals with COVID-19 do not display symptoms and are potentially infecting people unknowingly. Community testing can help identify those showing no symptoms so that the chain of transmission can be broken.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak extends furlough and loans schemes to bolster economy

The Chancellor will keep the furlough scheme running until April and extend government loan guarantees for firms in a double boost for struggling workers and businesses....

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Police and Crime General Redmond proposal for oversight body rejected

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has rejected the proposal of a new audit oversight body as outlined in the Redmond Review.

The review, published in September, called for a new body – the Office of Local Audit and Regulation – oversee local authority audit.

However, in its response, published today, the department said it is not currently persuaded that a new arms-length body is required.

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Police and Crime General Greater Manchester police to be placed in special measures

Greater Manchester police (GMP) are to be placed in special measures after inspectors expressed “serious cause for concern” when the force failed to record a fifth of all reported crimes.

Last week Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) criticised GMP for failing to report 80,000 crimes in the year to 30 June.

“Victims of crime are too often being let down by Greater Manchester police. The service provided to victims, particularly those who are most vulnerable, is a serious cause of concern. This is extremely disappointing given that HMICFRS has been urging Greater Manchester police to improve in this area since 2016,” said the HM inspector of constabulary, Zoë Billingham.

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Police Finances Police funding set to rise as Home Office unveils provisional settlement

The Home Office has announced a police funding package that could see overall budgets rise by more than £600 million compared to last year.

A total of £15.8 billion is being made available for policing for 2021/22. The package includes more than £400 million to recruit 20,000 extra officers by 2023, building on the success of the first year of the uplift which has already delivered almost 6,000 additional police officers.

The funding settlement also aims to provide additional resources to tackle serious violence and increase the number of specialist officers tackling terrorism and serious organised crime, including child sexual abuse and drug trafficking.

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Fire Post-Grenfell cladding inspections find other fire risks

Fire safety inspections have uncovered hundreds of blocks of flats in England and Wales with faulty or missing fire prevention measures, the BBC has found.

Flat owners have been looking for evidence of unsafe cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people in 2017.

But many of the inspections have revealed problems inside the buildings. The government said it was introducing the biggest improvements to building safety for 40 years.

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Economy & Public Finance Interim exit cap guidance allows relaxation on ‘compassionate’ grounds

Councils can seek to exempt employees facing redundancy from the new £95,000 public sector exit cap if they would face “genuine hardship” or their exit is “necessary” for “urgent workplace reforms”, ministers have agreed.

Guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government today says until the introduction of regulations to bring the cap in line with the Local Government Pension Scheme, councils may also ask ministers to relax the cap where an exit was agreed before it came into force on 4 November but was delayed, as long as that was not the fault of the employee.

Councils will have to submit business cases requesting exemptions for consideration by the communities secretary and Treasury ministers, either on an individual basis or in “bulk” where 20 or more staff are being made redundant at the same time.

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Technology New GCHQ cyber force will track down paedophiles

The new National Cyber Force will use offensive hacking techniques to take down paedophile groups and stop them sharing illegal images, the director of GCHQ revealed yesterday.

Jeremy Fleming said the unit of cyber-hackers, a joint initiative between GCHQ, the military and MI6, would not be restricted to targeting terrorists and hostile states. He said that the NCF would work with law enforcement to tackle global paedophile groups causing the most harm.

“They can help to disrupt those criminals,” he said. “That might be denying access to a mobile phone or a particular bit of infrastructure, it might be undermining their network such that they can’t store and promulgate dreadful, sexualised images of children.”

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Police and Crime General North Wales Police forensic officers set “gold standard” for road crash investigations across UK

North Wales Police have been hailed as a role model for the rest of the UK’s forces in the way they investigate serious road crashes and their use of high-tech methods including drones.

The region’s police and crime commissioner, Arfon Jones, said he was proud they had been named as the lead force for a new accreditation system after setting the “gold standard” for forensic investigations.

The constabulary has received extra funding of £2 million to head up the new Forensic Collision Investigation Network as the host force.

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Recruitment and Retention Unconscious bias training ineffective and has 'negative consequences'

Police forces could end unconscious bias training for officers after the Government announced it would be scrapping the courses for civil servants and urged other public sector employers to do the same.

Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez said that the training was being scrapped because it is ineffective and can have “unintended negative consequences”.

Several forces including the Met have used unconscious bias training for its senior officers and staff to help improve diversity.

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Police and Crime General UK and Switzerland sign new police co-operation agreement

A new Police Cooperation Agreement between the UK and Switzerland has been signed which will further intensify joint UK-Swiss efforts to tackle crime.

The agreement was co-signed by UK Security Minister James Brokenshire and Swiss Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter in a virtual signature ceremony today (15 December 2020).

It builds on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by UK and Swiss Ministers in July 2019, which signalled the shared intention to explore more formal arrangements in order to further enhance co-operation between law enforcement partners in the future.

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Technology Devices 'improve morale' by cutting end of shift paperwork

The introduction of mobile devices to Police Scotland has improved officer wellbeing by reducing the time they have to spend at the end of their shift completing paperwork, independent academic research has found.

The officers interviewed as part of the study said they felt they were being "invested in" by being given kit that is positively changing the way they work.

Since the roll out in 2019 nearly 11,000 response, community and specialist officers out of a total force strength of 17,241 have been equipped with the technology as part of their operational duties.

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Police Finances Sadiq Khan announces £22.5 million for cuts-stricken Met

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that City Hall will provide £22.5 million to protect frontline policing from the financial strain of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The money will come from Greater London Authority reserves and will cover half of the £45.5 million in cuts facing London’s police over the next year.

The remaining half will be met in part by delaying a proposed move to bring forward the recruitment of 600 additional officers that was scheduled for 2021/2022, though City Hall claims the Metropolitan Police has exceeded its recruitment target for this year.

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COVID-19 Anti-vax protestors clash with police outside Parliament as ministers plunge London into Tier Three

Anti-vaxxer protesters have massed in London amid angry scenes as it was confirmed the capital will be put into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

The ill-timed march was organised by StandUp X, using the encrypted Telegram messaging service favoured by IS extremists.

Over 16,500 people are supporters of the group and scenes at Parliament Square showed crowds being met by police.

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Police and Crime General Chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police announces retirement

Mr Collins started his policing career as a Special constable with Sussex Police in 1985, he returned to his home force in 1987 and continued to volunteer on the front line until joining the Metropolitan Police in 1991 and then rising through the ranks across a number for forces.

Mr Collins said: “I couldn’t have hoped for more as a chief than the time I have spent back in my home force, something that was unimaginable during my time as a Special Constable here more than 30 years ago.

“It hasn’t all been easy and there have been some challenges. Having gone from a force that others aspired to be, to one which appeared to have lost some direction and focus, there have been tough calls to be made on resourcing, structure and our broader model for policing the safest, yet most rural communities in England and Wales.

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Police Demand More officers to be on the roads as South Yorkshire police launch two new units

Police in South Yorkshire are set to get tough on criminals by setting up some specialist new units expected to tackle major problems head on.

It will see a new roads crime unit created to spotlight criminals known to target South Yorkshire by travelling in from West Yorkshire on the M1 or over the Pennines from Greater Manchester.

A second unit will act as a mobile bolster to neighbourhood police, able to provide support where and when it is needed. That will allow neighbourhood officers to focus on the jobs they are intended to do, allowing the whole police machine to operate more effectively.

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Police and Crime General How the British government is trying to crush our right to protest

Not content with ambitions to limit judicial review, “update” (that is: weaken) the Human Rights Act, and pass laws that would insulate various agents of the state from accountability for human rights violations, the government is now, according to press reports last week, planning to introduce a new law that will limit our right to protest.

For a government that claims to be concerned about free speech and “cancel culture”, cracking down on protest isn’t a great look.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary orders GMP chief to send crime victims "recovery plan"

Home Secretary Priti Patel has written to the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins telling him to send her his recovery plan “at the earliest opportunity” following a scathing HMICFRS report on the service his force provides to victims of crime.

In the letter sent jointly to CC Hopkins and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the Home Secretary says she is “deeply concerned” by the report’s findings which she said would further erode the confidence and trust the public has in the force.

The Inspectorate report published last week found the force did not record an estimated 80,100 crimes reported to it between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. This amounts to approximately 220 crimes a day.

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Police Finances Rape and sexual assault: 'Money needed' to speed up investigations

Police and prosecutors need more resources as sexual assault and rape investigations are taking longer, a charity that supports victims has said.

New Pathways said some cases took "years" to go through the courts. One victim urged people to make the most of the support available, rather than "let things spiral".

The UK government said a review of how rape and serious sexual offences were dealt with was due to be published by the end of the year.

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Police and Crime General Britain should be 'very worried' about no deal with EU, ex-Europol chief warns

Britain should be "very worried" about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, a former head of Europol has warned.

Speaking exclusively to Sky News, Max-Peter Ratzel said he believed British national security was at risk, and urged leaders to come to an agreement on security co-operation even if there is no deal.

"I would be worried. I would be very worried. I'm worried as a European as we lose part of our competence, but I'd be even more worried if I was British," he said.

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Recruitment and Retention Chris Haward confirmed as new Lincolnshire Police chief

A new chief constable has been chosen for Lincolnshire's police force. Chris Haward will take up the £160,000-a-year post later this month after being confirmed by a police and crime panel earlier.

Mr Haward said he was "absolutely delighted" to be selected and was looking forward to "some exciting challenges". He will take over the force's top job from Bill Skelly, who announced his retirement in June.

Mr Haward, who spent his childhood in Zambia and Botswana, said "diversity, fairness and equality" were of paramount importance to him.

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Technology Face-recognition cameras to catch shoplifters raise fears over privacy

A supermarket chain‘s extension of facial-recognition technology in its stores has prompted outrage among privacy campaigners.

The system, which has been installed in outlets across the south of England from 2018, alerts staff if someone who has a record of “theft or antisocial behaviour” enters a store.

The supermarket said that the trial of the technology was implemented to reduce shoplifting and abuse against staff but privacy advocates said that they had “serious concerns”.

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Police and Crime General Government must take 'urgent' action to ensure police access to EU crime data

Police chiefs have “no idea” what resources they will have access to next month, while Brexit negotiations hang in the balance, MPs have warned. As a no-deal Brexit looms, calls have been made for the Government to “urgently explain” what is being done to avoid a “security downgrade” if access to criminal databases is lost.

The changes could have “major operational impact” on investigations, according to police chiefs.

It has emerged that the Government will “actively delete” 40,000 alerts on dangerous criminals and wanted suspects on December 31.

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Technology McLaren to lead City of London drive against cyber fraud

The Square Mile’s force has confirmed this week that it has appointed Angela McLaren as the first-ever Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for economic and cyber-crime.

The move will be a blow for Police Scotland where she was the executive lead for Organised Crime, Counter Terrorism and Intelligence.

Her promotion is a significant step forward after a long career in Scotland. Previous posts for her included Organisational Development and Corporate Governance and prior to this she played a significant role in the development of the force’s Policing 2026 Strategy.

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Police and Crime General Mayor’s office fails to state confidence in Greater Manchester Police's Chief Constable after damning report

The mayor’s office has repeatedly refused to say whether it has confidence in the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police after a damning report found the force was failing to record one in four violent crimes.

It also cast doubt over the Chief’s long-term future at the helm of the force and criticised the fact he has not fronted up any interviews today.

Responding to the report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate, Andy Burnham part-blamed its blistering findings about the force’s treatment of victims on the delayed roll-out of the troubled iOPS computer system - while also insisting crime has fallen significantly during his tenure.

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Police and Crime General New surrender scheme starts to keep dangerous weapons off the streets

The surrender scheme marks an important development in the government’s commitment to tackling serious violence and strengthening police powers to take action against it.

Under the scheme, offensive weapons that will soon be prohibited as well as rapid firing rifles, which fire at a rate closer to semi-automatic rifles, can be surrendered to the police. Lawful owners will be able to claim compensation for the items in most cases.

This follows the Offensive Weapons Act which bans possession of dangerous and offensive weapons in private. The list of weapons includes zombie knives, cyclone knives, knuckledusters, death star knives, flick knives, gravity knives, batons, disguised knives, push daggers and other offensive weapons. It was already illegal to possess a knife or offensive weapon in public.

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COVID-19 350 South Wales Police officers and staff told to self isolate this week

In the last seven days 350 staff from South Wales Police have be asked to self isolate.

The huge figure shows the huge impact widespread community transmission of the virus is having on key public services as the virus continues to grow in Wales.

Covid-19 is more prominent in Wales than any other part of the UK with more than 320 cases of the virus for every 100,000 people compared to 149 in England.

People who are isolating are able to claim a £500 to help with loss of earnings if they cannot work from home.

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Technology Northamptonshire Police to expand ANPR network

The force has awarded a £823,000 contract to QRO Solutions, a subsidiary of security and surveillance systems group Petards, to provide an enhanced and extended fixed ANPR camera infrastructure on many strategic arterial and rural roads within the county.

Delivery and installation is set to commence immediately, with the bulk of the contract being completed in the first half of 2021.

The expanded camera network is part of a wider strategy to strengthen crime fighting and links several initiatives, including the establishment last year of the road crime team to focus on denying criminals the use of the roads.

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Police and Crime General Met police to compensate child slavery victim arrested after reporting ordeal

The Metropolitan police is to pay £15,500 to a victim of slavery who tried to report his traffickers but was instead arrested for immigration offences and sent to a detention centre.

The man, referred to in court as KQT, was 15 when he was taken by traffickers from Vietnam through Russia to the UK in a refrigerated lorry. He was arrested on arrival and placed in foster care, but shortly after was collected by his traffickers and forced to work on a cannabis farm, where he was locked inside a storeroom and only fed one meal a day. In January 2018, he escaped his captors and walked into a police station to report his ordeal.

Instead of treating him as a potential victim of child trafficking, police officers instead detained him under immigration powers. He was then taken to Brook House immigration removal centre at Gatwick airport, where he was detained for 22 days until lawyers secured his release. KQT has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression.

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Police and Crime General Banning the use of Taser on under 18s is not ‘real world’ policing

The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has responded to calls for the use of Taser to be prohibited on under 18s by telling critics to ‘live in the real world.’

John Apter reacted on behalf of 130,000 rank and file PFEW members after Unicef UK demanded that the government ban their use on children in a report on youth justice.

The recently released Unicef UK report suggested Taser and spit-hoods were ‘increasingly being used by police forces on children’ and recommended they were prohibited.

The report also called for the Home Office to assess the reasons for the disproportionate use of Taser on BAME children in England.

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Police and Crime General APCC chair gives evidence to Lords' Constitution Committee

The Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Paddy Tipping has told a House of Lords committee that police officers have not always had sufficient or timely enough information to effectively enforce Covid-19 regulations.

Appearing before the Constitution Committee, looking into the impact of the pandemic, Mr Tipping said:

“The simpler the messages, the better it was. So right at the beginning of lockdown it was Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives. It was a message we all got, and we all understood. There was unanimity between policing it and the general public. As we’ve moved forward the messages have got more diffuse, more difficult, and much harder for frontline officers to police.

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Police and Crime General Police bail reforms left crime victims feeling unsafe, finds report

Victims have been left unprotected and a suspected paedophile left free to strike after government changes to bail plunged parts of the criminal justice system into chaos, an official report has found.

The report from the police and prosecution inspectorates found damage was caused to the confidence of domestic abuse victims, whose alleged attackers were left free without restrictions while cases came to court.

The reforms to bail introduced in 2017 by the government had noble motives. They were meant to stop innocent suspects languishing on bail for years and were triggered by outrage over the treatment of DJ Paul Gambaccini, who was wrongly accused of child sexual abuse.

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Police and Crime General One in five domestic abuse survivors not able to repay debt with victims owing average of £3,272

One in five domestic abuse survivors are left not able to repay debt with victims of financial abuse in debt owing an average of £3,272, a new study has found.

Refuge, the UK’s largest provider of shelters for domestic abuse victims, found a quarter have a credit rating which has been damaged.

One in four survivors of financial abuse in debt has wracked up debts in excess of £5,000 - with researchers saying a substantial chunk of personal debt in the UK could be the direct consequence of economic abuse.

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COVID-19 First person receives Pfizer jab in UK

A UK grandmother has become the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer Covid-19 jab as part of a mass vaccination programme.

Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the "best early birthday present". She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT - the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks.

Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month. Hubs in the UK will vaccinate over-80s and some health and care staff - the programme aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.

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Police and Crime General Race disparity in focus

A new report which showcases how Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are tackling concerns raised by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups (BAME) in their areas has been published.

‘Race Disparity In Focus’, compiled by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, features the work of 20 cross-party PCCs from across England and Wales. It contains details of initiatives such as:

- Positive action to improve workforce representation and diversity in police officer recruitment

- Tackling disproportionality in the experience of BAME individuals in police custody

- Examining the fairness of FPNs for those who break the Coronavirus rules

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Police and Crime General Would-be partners of dangerous domestic abusers secretly warned by police

Women at risk of entering relationships with serial domestic abusers are being secretly warned by police in London, senior officers have revealed.

The Metropolitan Police has been messaging potential victims on WhatsApp since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, having previously contacted them in person.

At a press conference on Thursday, Acting Detective Superintendent Will Hodgkinson said officers were using social media to respond to people requesting information under a criminal records disclosure scheme.

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Economy & Public Finance Pandemic complications hit audit performance

More than half of local authority audit opinions for 2019-20 missed the extended 30 November deadline, according to oversight body Public Sector Audit Appointments.

Of the 486 local authorities in England, 265 opinions (55%) were not published by the deadline, a 12-percentage point rise on last year, where 43% of opinions were delayed beyond the 31 July deadline.

PSAA said that Covid-19 has posed practical challenges for bodies in producing accounts and working papers, and for auditors carrying out their testing.

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Police Finances Will the covid crisis transform local public services?

Across the world the covid crisis has prompted public sector leaders to make significant short term changes in how their organisations operate. Many commentators suggest that there is a once in a generation opportunity to build on these successes to reconfigure public services.

So what of the UK? Has the virus changed local public sector leaders’ ambitions for transforming their organisations, individually and together? That’s what we wanted to discover when we interviewed a range of local public sector leaders as part of the RSA’s ‘Bridges to the Future’ reflections.

Almost everyone we spoke to saw the crisis as a major opportunity to develop much more effective local public services.

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Recruitment and Retention West Midlands Police named one of the UK's most inclusive employers

The Top 50 UK Employers List said the force was ranked second in the list of the country's leading companies and public bodies.

The table sees organisations ranked in terms of their performance in a range of areas concerning diversity and inclusion.

Paul Sesay, CEO and founder of Inclusive Companies, said: "This isn't simply about building a list, but recognising organisations who are brave, innovative, and see diversity and inclusion as a smart way to grow their business.

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Police and Crime General Police could be made to pay compensation for letting victims down

Police could be taken to court and have to pay compensation under plans to create a powerful new watchdog to hold the criminal justice system to account.

A report commissioned by Dame Vera Baird, the Victims' Commissioner, recommended that she should have powers to bring legal action for breaches of the Government's new Victims' Code.

In an exclusive article for The Telegraph, Dame Vera said thousands of victims were being let down by the failure of police and courts to fulfil their obligations under the code, which spells out 12 key rights.

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Police and Crime General Call for free legal help to protect rape victims' data

Rape victims should get free legal help to stop "excessive personal information requests", a report has concluded.

The study, led by Loughborough University, surveyed 586 victims with most claiming the criminal justice process was "insensitive and unfair".

Victims in England and Wales have no right to legal aid, although there is some access allowed in Scotland.

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COVID-19 UK approves use of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine - rollout to begin next week

The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use.

It has been given the go-ahead by the health regulator MHRA and will be rolled out from early next week.

Studies have shown the jab is 95% effective and works in all age groups. The government has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine, which needs to be refrigerated at -70C (-94F).

Economy & Public Finance 'Serious disruption' risk at Channel post-transition period

A group of MPs have warned of the "risk of serious disruption and delay" at Channel crossings when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the government was "taking limited responsibility" for national readiness ahead of the looming deadline.

And it said the necessary systems would not be in place in time, regardless of whether an EU trade deal is agreed. A government spokeswoman said they were "making significant preparations".

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COVID-19 Shoppers return to stores under England's new tier system

Shoppers have returned to stores across England, after non-essential retailers opened their doors at the end of a four-week national lockdown.

A tiered system of Covid-19 rules has now come into force in the nation - to "safeguard the gains made during the past month", the government said.

More than 55 million people are in the strictest two tiers and cannot mix indoors with those in other households.

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COVID-19 MPs to vote on tougher tiers for England

MPs will vote later on the government's proposals for stricter tiers across England after a debate in the Commons.

More than 55 million people will enter the two toughest tiers from 00:01 GMT on Wednesday if the plans are approved.

A number of Conservative MPs have criticised the Covid-19 restrictions, saying the "wheels are coming off the government's arguments" to impose them. But with both Labour and the SNP abstaining from the vote, the measures are expected to pass.

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Police and Crime General Pandemic has left legacy of child abuse and neglect, Ofsted warns

The chief inspector of schools and children’s services in England has warned of an emerging safeguarding crisis, with many vulnerable pupils still not back in the classroom, child protection referrals down and fears that abuse may be going undetected.

In her fourth annual report as head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman said the invisibility of vulnerable children as a result of the Covid pandemic should be “a matter of national concern”, and she called on all agencies involved to pull together to tackle the most urgent cases.

Although schools remained open to vulnerable pupils during the first national lockdown, attendance was low and Spielman warned that local authorities would be dealing with “a legacy of abuse and neglect”.

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Prisons Investing in yet more prison places is not the way to cut crime

With the dismaying announcement that the government plans to fund 18,000 more prison places by 2026, we are forced to ask, once again, why crime prevention fails to get the same emphasis as punishment.

Last Wednesday, the chancellor announced more than £4bn in capital funding – spread over four years – largely dedicated to funding these new prison places in England and Wales. This makes it clear that the government is clearly pressing ahead with a much more authoritarian stance on crime and punishment.

As per the government’s official projections, the expectation is that the prison population will rise from 79,235 (in September 2020) to 98,700 by September 2026. It costs approximately £37,000 a year for a prison place (excluding the initial building costs required to house such an influx), which equates to around £666m for an extra 18,000 places. Set against a backdrop of broadly stable crime rates, and for a government publicly committed to returning to what it calls fiscal sustainability, this makes very little economic sense.

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Police and Crime General Police to crack down on drink and drug driving this Christmas

Police chiefs warn that anyone getting behind the wheel after a festive drink or two faces the prospect of ending up behind bars this Christmas.

Police are set to increase their activity targeting those who choose to drink or take drugs and drive as the annual Christmas roads policing operation launches tomorrow (Tuesday 1 December). Officers will be out in force across the UK to ensure road users and the wider community are kept safe from harm this festive season.

Information published by the road safety charity Brake shows that even when someone is only just over the legal limit they are still six times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than someone who has drunk nothing.

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COVID-19 'People blatantly ignoring restrictions' - police break up large-scale illegal parties

Several police forces in England have said they have handed out multiple fines after breaking up a number of large-scale illegal parties over the weekend.

Police were called to at least four locations, including a university hall of residence in Nottingham where up to 200 people were discovered at one gathering.

Nottinghamshire Police said in a statement: "Officers were called to flat in Pilcher Gate, Nottingham, shortly before 10.30pm last night and issued £200 fixed penalty notices to 21 people found inside.

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Police and Crime General Expand heroin-prescribing scheme ‘across country’, police chiefs’ drugs policy lead says

Heroin-assisted treatment should be rolled out “across the country”, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s drugs policy lead has said, after the UK’s first fully fledged programme showed “very promising” results in its first year.

The treatment sees the most at-risk and entrenched users – many of whom are homeless, in poor health, and driven to commit crimes to feed their dependency – given medical-grade heroin (diamorphine) two or three times per day in a safe setting alongside access to a range of other services including health and housing, often breaking a cycle of years of disengagement.

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COVID-19 Police issue 2,000 fines for lockdown breaches in England

Officers in England handed out 1,977 fines for breaches of Covid lockdown rules in the first two weeks of November, according to new police data.

The largest number of fines were issued in north-west England which, along with Leicester, has now been under the longest period of restrictions.

Greater Manchester Police has handed out the most tickets (309) since the lockdown began on 5 November.

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COVID-19 UK regulator to assess Oxford coronavirus vaccine in 'first step' towards roll-out

A roll-out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK could be a step closer after the regulator was formally asked by the government to assess the jab.

The referral to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) "marks a significant first step in getting the vaccine approved for deployment" if it meets safety, efficacy and quality standards, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

It comes a week after the MHRA was asked by the government to assess the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

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Recruitment and Retention Police recruitment drive will push 20,000 more criminals into jail, Ministry of Justice says

The police recruitment drive will see 20,000 more criminals locked up in prisons by 2026, pushing the jail population to an all-time high, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)....

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Police and Crime General ‘Increasing trend’ for local resolution as police forces implement new complaints system

As police forces in England and Wales continue to implement “significant reforms” to the complaints system, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has today (November 26) published the final statistics for complaints recorded under the old system.

The police complaints system changed on February 1, 2020, as a result of regulations introduced by the Government under the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

The changes are intended to simplify the complaints system, making it easier to navigate and putting a greater emphasis on handling complaints in a reasonable and proportionate manner.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak unveils a Spending Review for jobs, public services and infrastructure

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a £4bn levelling up fund as part of a Spending Review which he claimed offered ‘huge investment’ in jobs, public services and infrastructure.

The fund will see councils bid for up to £20m each to fund roads, railway stations, museums and art galleries. He said: ‘Projects must have real impact. They must be delivered within this Parliament.‘And they must command local support, including from their Member of Parliament. This is about funding the infrastructure of everyday life.’

It comes in addition to the £100bn green recovery fund and a refresh of the Green book to shift the bias away from investment in the South East.

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Economy & Public Finance Millions face cut in value of workplace pensions

Millions of retirees will see the future value of their pension cut owing to a planned change in the way payments are calculated from 2030.

Many of those with so-called defined benefit workplace pensions see their pension payments increase each year in line with the rising cost of living.

The way this annual rise is calculated is expected to become less generous from February 2030.

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Economy & Public Finance Rishi Sunak warns 'economic emergency has only just begun'

The "economic emergency" caused by Covid-19 has only just begun, according to chancellor Rishi Sunak, as he warned the pandemic would deal lasting damage to growth and jobs.

Official forecasts now predict the biggest economic decline in 300 years. The UK economy is expected to shrink by 11.3% this year and not return to its pre-crisis size until the end of 2022.

The government's independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expects the number of unemployed people to surge to 2.6 million by the middle of next year.

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Economy & Public Finance Public sector pay increase for low earners

Public sector worker wage increases will be limited to the poorest paid, the chancellor has announced this afternoon.

As part of the Spending Review, Rishi Sunak said 2.1 million people earning less than the median salary of £24,000 will receive a pay increase of at least £250 while one million nurses, doctors and other NHS staff will also receive a pay rise.

However, pay will be frozen for the rest of the public sector.

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Economy & Public Finance £2.9bn 'restart programme to help unemployed'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a three-year £2.9bn ‘restart programme’ to help more than one million people unemployed for more than a year find work.

Today’s Spending Review settlement also includes £1.6bn in 2021/22 for the Kickstart scheme, which will provide more than 250,000 fully-funded new six-month job placements for under 25s who are claiming out-of-work benefits.

The Spending Review, which Mr Sunak said represented a ‘huge investment in jobs,’ came as new figures revealed the number of employees on payroll fell by 782,000 (2.7%) between March and October.

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Police Demand Domestic abuse offences increased during pandemic

The number of domestic abuse offences recorded by police in England and Wales has increased during the pandemic.

But the Office for National Statistics said such offences gradually rose in recent years so it cannot be determined if it was related to the pandemic.

Police recorded 259,324 domestic abuse offences between March and June - 7% up on the same period in 2019.

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Police and Crime General Officer suicides exceed deaths on duty according to latest ONS figures

169 officers in England and Wales have committed suicide between 2011 and 2019, according to ONS figures. The Federation says mental wellbeing should now be taken as seriously as physical safety.

Data from the most recent Office for National Statistics bulletin on suicides by occupation show there have been a total of 169 serving officers who took their own life between 2011 and 2019 - an average of around 21 deaths a year.

The officer safety review by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, published in September, highlighted the 92 deaths on duty between 2008 and 2019 - an average of around eight deaths a year.

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Police Demand Police rely on dashcam videos as ‘cops in cars’ are cut

Police are increasingly turning to dashboard camera videos captured by motorists to prosecute dangerous drivers amid a drop in the number of dedicated “cops in cars”, according to research.

A study shows that the number of videos submitted to police has risen more than tenfold in three years.

The research, based on data released under freedom of information laws, shows that police forces are on course to obtain more than 32,500 videos from drivers this year alone, up from 2,612 in 2017.

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Police Demand Fifth of crimes involved domestic abuse in first England and Wales lockdown

One in five offences recorded by police during and immediately after the first national lockdown in England and Wales involved domestic abuse, figures have revealed.

Police recorded more than a quarter of a million offences flagged as domestic abuse-related from April to June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The 259,324 offences represent a rise of 7% from the same period in 2019, and an 18% increase from two years ago.

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Police Finances APCC chair committed to 'getting a good deal for policing' from Spending Review

Ahead of his statement, the Chancellor has insisted he is not planning a return to “austerity” and would continue to support the economy as it sought to recover from the fall-out from the pandemic.

Unusually, because of the economic uncertainty caused by the virus, most government departments will receive only a one-year spending allocation rather than the usual multi-year settlement.

APCC chair Paddy Tipping, the police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, said: “We’ve got to make the case. We’ve got to make sure that there are sufficient police officers, that numbers continue to grow, because we want to bring crime down. And that’s really important right now because we are living through exception times where Covid had affected everyone’s lives. So it’s about fighting crime and it’s about keeping our people safe in their communities.

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Recruitment and Retention Pay freeze for millions of UK workers ‘a kick in the teeth’, say unions

The chancellor vowed to protect low-paid workers on Wednesday as he pressed ahead with a wages freeze that will hit more than 2 million public sector workers.

To the dismay of public sector unions, Rishi Sunak said he would “pause” pay rises for workers including firefighters, police, teachers and local authority staff as he outlined Whitehall spending next year.

However, a million NHS doctors and nurses will receive an annual increase next year, and 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the median average wage of £24,000 will receive a £250 increase.

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COVID-19 UK setting up vaccine centres ready for rollout

The NHS is setting up coronavirus vaccination centres across the UK in preparation for any jab being approved, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

People will be vaccinated at sites around the country, as well as in hospitals and by GPs in the community.

The government has also officially asked the medical regulator to assess the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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Economy & Public Finance Free rail travel for domestic abuse victims extended

Train companies are extending a scheme offering free travel to those fleeing domestic abuse in Great Britain until the end of March next year.

The "Rail to Refuge" scheme is a joint initiative involving rail operators and the charity Women's Aid.

The companies provide free tickets for women, men and children travelling to refuge services. Charities dealing with domestic abuse have reported a surge in appeals for help since the start of the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Arrests at anti-lockdown protests across England as police officers injured in attacks

Dozens of people have been arrested as protesters staged anti-lockdown demonstrations across England, with some police officers injured after being assaulted.

Police criticised "extremely selfish" demonstrators who flouted COVID-19 laws after protests were held in Liverpool, London, Bournemouth and Basildon in Essex.

In Liverpool, 13 people were arrested as protesters moved around the city centre on Saturday afternoon, including a 36-year-old man who was detained on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker after an officer was pushed to the chest.

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Economy & Public Finance Brexit ‘could hurt fraud prevention’

Brexit could lead to a lowering in fraud prevention standards, according to the head of counter fraud and investigation at the Government Internal Audit Agency.

Speaking during a session of this week’s PF Live conference, Neil Green said that when the transition period ends in January, uncertainty and disruption could cause an increase in fraud.

He added that the situation could be even worse if the UK fails to agree a deal on future cooperation with the EU. He said: “Historically, the EU only gives money when expenditure is proven.

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COVID-19 PM sets out 'tougher' post-lockdown tiers for England

Gyms and non-essential shops in all parts of England will be allowed to reopen when lockdown ends next month, the prime minister has announced.

Boris Johnson told the Commons that the three-tiered regional measures will return from 2 December, but he added that each tier will be toughened.

Spectators will be allowed to return to some sporting events, and weddings and collective worship will resume.

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COVID-19 Strengthened tier system for England after lockdown

A tougher three-tiered system of local restrictions will come into force in England when the lockdown ends on 2 December, Downing Street has said.

Boris Johnson is expected to set out his plan - including details of how families can see different households at Christmas - to MPs on Monday.

More areas are set to be placed into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control, No 10 said.

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Fire EWS1 cladding offer ‘fails to help nearly 2m people’

A new deal to free almost 500,000 flats from Britain’s building safety crisis “doesn’t really solve anything”, lenders said yesterday.

The government said owners of 431,000 flats in buildings without cladding would no longer need an “external wall system” (EWS1) safety certificate to sell or obtain a new mortgage, under an agreement with the bodies representing surveyors, banks and building societies.

A fairer, faster process to replace the certificate has been the aim of a campaign by The Sunday Times. It would help end a scandal that has left thousands trapped in unmortgageable homes, threatening to paralyse the housing market.

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Police and Crime General Rise in cop attacks sees Police Scotland chiefs double staff self-defence and safety sessions

Police chiefs are doub­ling staff self-defence and safety sessions following a rise in attacks on cops.

Officers and frontline workers will now spend two days instead of one learning about protecting themselves in areas including custody suites.

It comes amid a major push to clear a 20-month training backlog — partly caused by the suspension of courses during the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Lockdown working, insists Matt Hancock as cases start to flatten

Coronavirus cases have levelled off across England, raising hopes that the lockdown will reduce infections.

Two sets of figures yesterday, for England and for the UK, showed that infections had largely stopped rising and may have started to fall. The health secretary said that Britain was reaching the “peak of the second wave”.

Matt Hancock welcomed figures for England from the Office for National Statistics showing that infections had levelled off, and UK-wide government data suggesting that daily cases were starting to fall.

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Police and Crime General Criminals are allowed to serve sentences ‘working from home’

Thousands of criminals have been let off unpaid work sentences and others are being allowed to “work from home”, The Times has learnt.

Burglars, thieves and other offenders who started unpaid work were unable to continue because of the lockdown in March. The remaining hours on their sentences have been written off.

Other criminals ordered by judges to do unpaid work, an alternative to prison, have been allowed to do it at home, making masks and greetings cards from materials sent to them in boxes.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak mulls public sector pay freeze for millions

Millions of public sector workers in England could face a pay freeze next year, the BBC has learned.

The 5.5 million affected include key workers lauded for their service during the pandemic, from the armed forces and police, to teachers and civil servants.

But it is expected that NHS workers would be exempt from a freeze, to reflect efforts during the pandemic. The Treasury is trying to bolster public finances after a huge rise in spending to fight coronavirus.

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Police and Crime General Undercover police say sex with activists ‘like sampling drugs’

A former undercover police officer has defended colleagues who slept with women from political groups they targeted by comparing it to sampling drugs while investigating dealers.

The officer, whose cover name was Peter Fredericks, told the undercover policing inquiry that the officers had no choice but to deceive the women.

The former officer described being recruited as a Metropolitan Police detective in the early 1970s and being put to work for a specialist unit then known as the Special Operations Squad.

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Economy & Public Finance Backlash over chancellor's 'cruel' expected public sector pay freeze

Freezing pay for millions of public sector workers has been described as a "cruel body blow" by unions.

Around four million public sector workers are set to be hit with a pay cap as Rishi Sunak looks to rebuild the public finances, according to reports which the Treasury has not denied.

Unison said the freeze would hurt workers who "remain at the heart of the fight against COVID-19".

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Economy & Public Finance Pay freeze for public sector workers would be a 'kick in the teeth'

Representatives of police officers across the country are urging the Government to step back from imposing a pay freeze on police officers and other key public sector workers.

Following speculation that Chancellor Rishi Sunak may freeze the pay of more than five million public sector workers in his Spending Review announcement next week, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) warned the Government against such a move.

PFNI chair Mark Lindsay said: “In the midst of a pandemic, a pay freeze or pay cap would be seen as penalising key workers who are doing their level best in these most trying of circumstances.

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Police and Crime General ‘No reason why all forces cannot move towards a greener fleet’

On Wednesday (November 18), the Prime Minister outlined his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, including ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030.

And Martin Surl, the APCC lead for the environment and sustainability, said they welcomed the Government’s initiative along with “the challenge it presents”.

“It is important the public sector takes the lead, and policing is increasingly recognising the critical role it has to play and the opportunities to make progress,” said Mr Surl.

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Police and Crime General More than 10,000 blades taken off the street after nationwide crackdown on knife crime

A nationwide police crackdown on knife crime has produced "staggering" results, according to police chiefs, with more than 10,000 bladed weapons taken off the streets.

In the capital alone, officers arrested more than 1,000 people as part of Operation Sceptre.

In all 43 police forces across England and Wales, police stepped up activities to try to drive down violent crime.

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Police Finances Funding boost for rape and domestic abuse support

Nearly £11 million will go towards a range of services offering practical and emotional help – allowing organisations to recruit more staff, adapt to remote counselling methods during the pandemic and keep helplines open for longer.

In addition Ministers have today announced a further £7 million will go towards a range of innovative programmes aimed at perpetrators – designed to prevent domestic abuse from happening in the first place.

It comes as charities have reported a sharp increase in demand during the pandemic, including a 46% rise in calls, with some victims feeling at greater risk of harm or deciding to report abuse for the first time.

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Police and Crime General Police cannot be allowed such broad power to commit crime

The government’s move to put previously secret guidelines relating to the authorisation of criminal conduct by police and other agencies on a statutory footing through provisions to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is broadly to be welcomed.

There are, however, some concerns about such capabilities in the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill as it offers legitimacy to the practice.

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Police and Crime General Priti Patel 'broke ministerial code with her behaviour towards staff' according to leaked bullying investigation and will get a written warning

Boris Johnson will not fire Priti Patel as Home Secretary over allegations of bullying despite an official report saying she broke ministerial rules, it was reported today.

The long-awaited probe into the Cabinet minister's bahaviour at three departments ruled she 'had not met the requirements of the ministerial code to treat civil servants with consideration and respect'.

Ms Patel faces allegations she belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials, with the investigation launched in march

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COVID-19 Police told to levy £10,000 ‘super fines’

Police have been told to resume handing out £10,000 “super fines” for breaching restrictions on gatherings after they were stopped due to concerns over fairness.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) contacted forces on Friday to suspend the fines after being made aware of “inequalities” in how much people would end up paying.

The super fines are issued by police suspecting a breach of restrictions on gatherings of more than 30 and people can either choose to pay the £10,000 or take the matter to court. Magistrates are likely to means-test the fine and it is expected that few people would be deemed wealthy enough to afford £10,000.

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Police Demand Domestic Abuse victims urged to keep seeking help during national lockdown

The country’s policing lead on domestic abuse reaffirms that it remains a police priority throughout the lockdown period.

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Domestic Abuse (DA), says people facing violence or controlling behaviour at home should report their experiences to police or seek advice and support from a domestic abuse services or charities. She reiterated that officers will attend calls for help, arrest perpetrators, and prosecute them, despite the additional pressures on the service due to Covid-19.

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Police Finances Majority of fines handed out for coronavirus breaches are unpaid in some parts of England

In some parts of England, more than three in five fines handed out to those who have breached coronavirus restrictions have gone unpaid, new data shows.

Nine forces saw that 60% or more of issued fines given to coronavirus rule-breakers went unpaid within 28 days between 27 March and 21 September, according to figures from the criminal records office ACRO obtained by the Press Association (PA).

It comes a day after it emerged that police forces were told last week to stop issuing "super-fines", over concerns the £10,000 fixed penalty can be challenged in court.

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Recruitment and Retention College of Policing's online assessments found to reduce racial disparity among candidates

Earlier this year it emerged that during a four-force pilot of the Day One assessment centre, the system developed to replace Police SEARCH, white candidates passed at almost twice the rate of black candidates.

Analysis of results of the new online system found that a higher percentage of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates were successful compared with previous assessment processes.

The percentage of white, female and male candidates who have been successful was found to be very similar to the success rates of these groups in previous assessment processes.

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Fire Grenfell Tower insulation firm behaved 'dishonestly'

A former employee from the company which made the combustible insulation used on Grenfell Tower in west London has admitted behaving unethically.

Jonathan Roper of Celotex told a public inquiry that the work he did to get the insulation approved for use on high rise buildings was "dishonest".

He added that he felt "incredibly uncomfortable" with what he was being asked to do at the time. Celotex says following disciplinary processes, staff have left the company.

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Police and Crime General Lockdown 'causing drugs gangs to recruit locally'

"County lines" gangs could be using children in care across north Wales to distribute drugs to get around lockdown restrictions, it is claimed.

The urban gangs use young people to expand their markets for drugs like cocaine and heroin into smaller towns.

But research for the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner suggests fewer children are being sent from larger cities.

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Police and Crime General Police to treat drug overdose victims with antidote spray

An emergency antidote to treat drug overdose victims will be carried by police officers as part of efforts to tackle Scotland’s drug-deaths emergency.

Naloxone, the nasal spray, counters the effects of overdoses from opioids such as heroin.

It can provide extra time for the ambulance service to arrive on scene and take over emergency medical treatment.

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Police and Crime General Second lockdown 'will deepen sex work crisis'

The second national lockdown is going to push sex workers "even deeper into crisis", according to a campaign group.

The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) has called for state support for workers in the coronavirus pandemic.

It said people were having to choose between risking their health by working or seeing their family go hungry.

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Police and Crime General Dispatches uncovers serious failings at one of UK's largest COVID-Testing Labs

The Dispatches programme, Lockdown Chaos: How the Government Lost Control, which airs on Monday 16 November at 9pm on Channel 4, sent an undercover reporter to work at Randox - the medical diagnostics firm based in Northern Ireland - as part of its examination of the Government’s NHS Test and Trace system. Randox runs one of the superlabs and has been given almost £500m in government contracts to analyse hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 tests from across Britain...

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Police and Crime General PCC expresses 'utter dismay' over U-turn on £10,000 FPNs

The NPCC has told forces they can return to handing out £10,000 fines to those who break lockdown rules on gatherings – less than a week after they were told to stop using them. Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson says he is dismayed by the move as now the policy can be seen to be "unfair and unjust".

The £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notices for gatherings of over 30 people were originally suspended because an inequity was identified between those who pay within 28 days and those who challenge it in court where it is then means tested.

The National Police Chiefs' Council advised all forces to stop issuing the so-called ‘super fines’ on Friday 13 November and wrote to the Home Office seeking a solution.

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Police and Crime General Police too often do the job of social workers

Sometimes the headline does less than justice to the story. “Bigotry . . . discrimination . . . racism” — those were the main lines emerging from Dame Elish Angiolini’s report into how complaints against the police are handled in Scotland.

Racist attitudes, it seemed, still run through the force; we were left with the impression that nothing much has changed since the days when Sir William Macpherson identified “institutional racism” in the Metropolitan force in London.

In fact racism, important as it is, takes up a relatively small part of the report. Reading through its 490 pages, I began to realise how different police work is today compared with a generation ago, and how much in fact has changed.

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Economy & Public Finance Rape and domestic abuse charities given £11m extra funding as calls for help increase

The government has announced almost £11m funding to support rape and domestic abuse services amid a rise in demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

But campaigners said the rise is less than two-thirds of the amount requested to provide “vital support over the winter months”, as lockdown restrictions see victims trapped in their homes.

A letter sent to the justice secretary earlier this month said £16.3m was needed to keep services running.

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Police and Crime General Mayor's Action Plan focuses on disproportionality of police powers

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today published an Action Plan to improve trust and confidence in the Metropolitan police and to address community concerns about the disproportionality in the use of certain police powers affecting Black Londoners.

The Action Plan has been developed following a series of consultations with more than 400 individuals and groups that either work with or within Black communities.

The work was undertaken in response to concerns raised about the disproportionate use of police powers, including stop and search, the use of force and Taser.

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COVID-19 More than 800 police officers have taken Covid-19 sick leave

Data obtained through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by the PA news agency’s RADAR service show 849 officers across 24 of the UK’s 45 forces have tested positive for the virus.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) said officers across the country were in “constant worry” when faced with offenders who may spit, bite and cough while being dealt with.

The figures include 228 officers from Police Scotland, 101 from West Midlands Police and 95 from Greater Manchester Police.

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Economy & Public Finance ‘Mood music’ signals bleak prospects for tax loss compensation

The Treasury appears unwilling to bow to pressure to fully compensate councils for their council tax and business rates losses in the upcoming spending review, sources close to the negotiations have told LGC, with some concerned the government may even backtrack on its previous commitment to share the burden of tax losses.

As part of a “comprehensive package” announced in July to ensure councils’ financial sustainability during the coronavirus pandemic, the government allowed councils to spread council tax and business rates deficits over three years rather than the usual one and committed to “agree an apportionment of irrecoverable council tax and business rates losses between central and local government” at the forthcoming spending review.

But several sector lobbying groups have been pushing for the government to guarantee that councils will be compensated in full for all shortfalls in planned non-tax income and local tax revenues.

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Police Finances UK out of recession but growth slows in September

The UK's economy rebounded from recession in July to September, but growth showed signs of slowing down at the end of the three months.

Growth of 15.5% in July to September was the biggest on record, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It came after a six-month slump induced by the first coronavirus lockdown.

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Police and Crime General Leeds officer dressed as clown during five-year undercover police operation into "clown army"

Millions of pounds of public money was “misspent” on undercover policing operations – which included an officer being trained as a clown, a public inquiry has been told.

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Police and Crime General ICO provide toolkit to forces for FOI requests to improve timeliness

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have identified areas of best practice in meeting time limits for responding to Freedom of Information (FOI), Environmental Information and Subject Access requests from which other forces can learn.

But it also highlights failings, and said: “Forces are improving, but many must do better. Where we found particularly poor practice, we have taken action”.

Three forces have been issued with practice recommendations – Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire and North Yorkshire. Failure to improve could result in further regulatory action, the ICO said.

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Police and Crime General 'Soft justice' orders hit record high of 130,000 'slaps on the wrist'

A record 130,000 offences resulted in criminals avoiding prosecution through controversial community resolution orders, including more than 50,000 drug offenders who escaped with a “slap on the wrist,” official figures show....

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Police and Crime General Undercover officer targeted 'anti-establishment' left

A former undercover police officer has admitted for the first time that the Metropolitan Police set out half a century ago to infiltrate left-wing political groups, even if they posed no threat to the public.

The officer - the first to give evidence at a mammoth public inquiry - said his task had been to gather intelligence on anti-establishment campaign groups threatening the political status quo in the late 1960s.

The officer's evidence is the first insider testimony to be put before the Undercover Policing Inquiry that shows that Scotland Yard's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) targeted groups merely because of their aims, rather than because they threatened violence.

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COVID-19 Police are being hit by surge in hidden crimes of domestic and child abuse, and mental health

Police risk being overwhelmed by “hidden crimes” including domestic abuse, child sexual abuse and exploitation and mental ill health that now account for 40 per cent of all offences, a leading police chief has warned.

Simon Bailey, the National Police Chief Council’s (NPCC) lead on child protection, said people were now ten times more likely to be victims of domestic abuse and child abuse than burglaries or vehicle theft, based on the snapshot of a day in his force.

He said police would always be the “first responder” to domestic violence emergencies or mental health cases where life was at risk but there were current incidents of non-emergency abuse or mental breakdowns where it was more appropriate for other agencies to take responsibility.

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Police and Crime General Refusal to publish Priti Patel bullying report is undermining public trust, watchdog warns Boris Johnson

Public trust is being undermined by Boris Johnson’s refusal to publish the report into bullying allegations against Priti Patel, his own adviser is warning.

The failure to properly investigate Robert Jenrick – who admitted unlawfully approving a major housing development in a way that benefitted a Tory donor – is also strongly criticised.

Lord Evans, the prime minister’s adviser on standards in public life, said the public was left wondering “whether there was something here or whether there wasn't”.

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Justice Police custody deaths ‘should be investigated like homicides’

Investigations into deaths in police custody should be treated with the same urgency as homicide investigations, according to an independent review.

In her report, Dame Elish Angiolini said any delay in such cases can add to the distress of families and have a severe adverse impact on police officers involved.

The 538-page review also recommends a significant increase in powers for watchdog the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

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Police and Crime General Tariq Ali spied on by at least 14 undercover officers, inquiry hears

The leftwing journalist and intellectual Tariq Ali was spied on by at least 14 undercover police officers who went to extraordinary lengths to keep tabs on his political activities, a public inquiry has heard.

Previously secret reports disclosed how police spied on Ali as he helped promote political campaigns against the Vietnam war, violent racist assaults, fascism and other progressive causes. The surveillance occurred over several decades, and was taking place as recently as 2003, when Ali was campaigning against the Iraq war.

At one point, police reported to MI5 that Ali had collaborated on a book about the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky with a cartoonist. The confidential report noted the name of the cartoonist’s girlfriend, along with her occupation, her address and friends.

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COVID-19 NHS ready for Pfizer roll-out, says Matt Hancock

The NHS is ready to start providing the new coronavirus vaccine "as fast as safely possible", Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. Asked whether it could be available by Christmas, he said that was "absolutely a possibility" - but he expected the mass roll-out "in the first part of next year".

Mr Hancock said vaccination clinics would be open seven days a week, and he was giving GPs an extra £150m.

But he urged people to be patient. "We just don't know" how many people will need to be vaccinated before life can return to normal, Mr Hancock added.

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Police and Crime General Probation staff felt ‘pressured’ by government not to return criminals to prison, watchdog finds

Probation staff felt “pressure” from the government to send fewer criminals back to prison for committing new crimes or breaking their licence conditions, a watchdog has found.

HM Inspectorate of Probation said a sharp drop in the rate of recall to prison across England and Wales from 2016 onwards was linked to policy changes, and that a reversal was only sparked by a high-profile murder case.

Senior National Probation Service (NPS) leaders said that when an “alternatives to recall” strategy was implemented four years ago, there was “pressure from the Ministry of Justice to reduce the number of recalls in their divisions”.

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COVID-19 A force for change: Policing after the pandemic

Even before COVID-19, the next UK Comprehensive Spending Review was set to be a crucial moment for police funding; but as West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson QPM explains, the future of policing is about much more than budgets, with greater accountability, improved public trust and a clearer understanding of local delivery among the key issues.

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Police and Crime General Police miss-spent millions on undercover operations including an officer being trained as a clown to infiltrate street campaigning group, inquiry hears

Millions of pounds of public money was 'misspent' on undercover policing operations - which included an officer being trained as a clown, a public inquiry has been told.

Peter Weatherby QC, who is representing 18 individuals and organisations who have been spied on, played a video of an officer known as EN34, whose undercover name was 'Lynn Watson'.

In the clip, filmed in Leeds in 2004, she appears in costume and clown make-up, waving a feather duster, as part of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (Circa) - a street performance campaign group.

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Police and Crime General Lincolnshire not to extend G4S contract for managed services

G4S began providing services for the county’s force in April 2012 in a contractual arrangement worth more than £22m per year.

G4S currently employ around 580 people providing services which include the Force Control Room, Firearms Licensing, the Crime Management Bureau, Custody Detention Officers, IT and Estates Management.

PCC Marc Jones has made the decision not to extend the contract for a further five years beyond the initially agreed timescale to 2027, and it will instead expire on 31 March 2022.

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Economy & Public Finance Sunak's cash pledge to head off revolt

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged extra cash in a bid to head off a revolt by a new northern group of Conservative MPs.

The chancellor told MPs in the Northern Research Group he would pump infrastructure investment into the region to offset the economic impact of the pandemic.

Mr Sunak, who represents a Yorkshire constituency, spoke to the MPs via Zoom but gave no specific detail on the projects.

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Police and Crime General NSPCC warns of lockdown's toll on children's mental health

Rising stress levels have taken a toll on the mental and emotional health of young people since the first coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March, children’s charity the NSPCC has warned.

Calls to the charity’s ChildLine service reached nearly 43,000 between March and October, with mental health worries making up more than a third of all its counselling sessions, new figures showed.

The NSPCC said its counsellors had heard from children who were feeling isolated, anxious and insecure after being cut off from their usual social support networks.

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COVID-19 Hampshire police 'finding it hard' to keep with with changes in second lockdown

POLICE are "finding it hard" to keep up with Government changes as England enters a second lockdown, Hampshire Police Federation claims.

The nation fell into a second lockdown on November 5 following a Government announcement, which brought with it police powers to issue fines to people who are breaking the rules as in the first lockdown.

With this, the Hampshire Police Federation has said that officers are finding it "hard to keep up" with the changes, but “want to do their public service in helping the country get through this".

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Police and Crime General Court orders to stop domestic abuse soared in lockdown

Domestic violence in the country’s first lockdown led to a record number of people using the courts to protect themselves from abusers, new figures show.

More than 8,800 applications for domestic violence remedy orders were made in England and Wales between April and June 2020, the highest number ever recorded by the Ministry of Justice in a quarter. The figure was 24% higher than the same quarter last year.

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Police and Crime General Ministers urged to scrap ‘deeply immoral’ plans to deport foreign rough sleepers

Ministers have been urged to scrap “deeply immoral” plans to deport rough sleepers, with the London Mayor and leading charities warning that they will endanger lives and undermine progress in reducing homelessness.

The Home Office announced last month that rough sleeping would become grounds to cancel or refuse a person’s right to be in the UK under the new immigration rules, due to come into effect on 1 January.

Leading charities have written a letter to home secretary and the housing minister calling on them to immediately reconsider the plans, warning that they would deter already vulnerable people from seeking help and put them at greater risk of exploitation and infection from Covid-19.

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COVID-19 Prosecutions for rape and faith of victims in justice system a "high priority", Solicitor General claims

Figures recently revealed by England's Victims Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, showed that only one in seven people who have experienced rape have faith in the criminal justice system.

It followed statistics earlier this summer showing that fewer than five per cent of rapes reported to police in the country even result in a prosecution – with Dame Vera saying the statistics meant the offence was being "effectively decriminalised".

There were 17,364 sexual offences - including rape - reported to police forces in Yorkshire & the Humber in the year ending March 2020, but there were only 232 prosecutions for rape in the region in this period.

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COVID-19 100 arrested as anti-lockdown protesters descend on Trafalgar Square following Million Masks March

More than 100 people have been arrested as anti-lockdown protesters marched through the streets of central London on the day tougher coronavirus rules came into force in England.

Officers urged demonstrators to go home as they took to the streets near Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening. They warned those who had gathered that they were breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Protesters, very few of whom were wearing face coverings, began to walk up the Strand soon after 6pm, chanting "freedom" and "no more lockdown".

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COVID-19 Abuse of babies is up by a fifth during Covid crisis, Ofsted says

The number of babies in England that have suffered serious injury through abuse or neglect during the Covid pandemic is up by a fifth on the same period last year, and eight have died from their injuries, according to Ofsted.

More than 300 “serious incident notifications” of injury and death involving children were reported by local authorities between April and October, of which almost 40% involved children under the age of one.

According to Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s chief inspector, more than half of those babies – 64 in total – suffered non-accidental injuries. “And sadly, eight died as a result,” she said.

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Police and Crime General Fears grow for those facing domestic abuse as England enters second lockdown

As a new national lockdown comes into force in England, organisations working with people facing domestic abuse are making renewed calls for long-term funding, and pushing for further amendments to the domestic abuse bill, as it makes its way through the Lords.

The impact of the pandemic on those facing domestic abuse was evident almost immediately during the national lockdown in March. The Counting Dead Women project told MPs that between 23 March and 12 April, at least 16 domestic abuse killings had taken place – much higher than the average for the time of year - while calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline were running at 49% higher than normal three weeks after lockdown was introduced.

A recent survey of survivors and services by the charity SafeLives found that 61% of survivors were unable to reach out for support during lockdowns “partly because they weren’t able to access phone or online support, or their perpetrator was with them all the time”.

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COVID-19 Top police officer says crews won't patrol border between England and Wales as fire-break ends

A top-ranking police officer in England has said crews will not patrol the border to stop people travelling from Wales when the fire-break lockdown ends.

Under the new set of national rules announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford, which come into effect on Monday as the 17-day fire-break period concludes, it will be illegal to leave Wales without a ‘reasonable excuse’. Such exemptions include things like attending work, where it cannot be done from home, or education.

While people who live here can travel anywhere they like within Wales it will be forbidden, therefore, to travel into England, which is now in its own four-week lockdown until December 2.

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COVID-19 Who can go back on to furlough?

Hours before the furlough scheme was due to end, the government announced it would be extended until December, to cover a further lockdown in England.

Under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, to give furlough its official title, employees placed on leave receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Since July, employers have been able to bring back employees part-time, and furlough them for the rest. This will continue.

Employees can be furloughed regardless of whether they are on full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts, but they must have been on the payroll by 30 October 2020.

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COVID-19 English lockdown may last beyond 2 Dec, says Gove

Michael Gove says it is his "fervent hope" that England's new lockdown will end on 2 December - but that ministers will be "guided by the facts". "We do need to get the R rate below 1," the Cabinet Office minister told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

The strict measures are due to come into force from Thursday. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops and places of worship will close, but schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

The prime minister is expected to deliver a statement in the Commons on Monday before a vote on the latest restrictions on Wednesday. Labour has said it will back the lockdown.

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COVID-19 Growing numbers of 'newly hungry' forced to use UK food banks

Food aid charities have identified the emergence of the UK’s “newly hungry”, a growing cohort of people previously in good jobs and enjoying comfortable incomes who have been forced to use food banks and claim welfare benefits for the first time during the pandemic.

The Feeding Britain network and Independent Food Aid network (IFAN) said their members were providing food support to a new influx of middle-income families. Typically with mortgages, cars and often self-employed or business owners, they had been plunged into crisis by Covid-related job losses and gaps in the social security system.

“We now see families at food banks who before the pandemic were able to pay their bills and still be comfortable enough to put food on the table. For the first time in many years that is no longer the case,” said the charity’s national director, Andrew Forsey.

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COVID-19 Police in England fear flouting of lockdown rules after breaking up weekend raves

Police broke up a string of raves across England over the weekend, including one involving 1,000 people, raising fears that there may be numerous breaches of the country’s Covid-19 laws in the days before the second national lockdown begins.

The decision to impose the new restrictions has also led police leaders to voice concern that officers already under strain face enforcing the new lockdown on a weary public.

They also anticipate more officers may be absent with Covid than during the first national shutdown.

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Recruitment and Retention Stop and search ‘makes it harder to hire black police officers’

Attempts to recruit more black police officers are being made “10 times” harder by the racial profiling by police, according to experts behind a government-funded recruitment programme.

Lord Woolley, former chair of the government’s Race Disparity Unit, said that recruitment was being compromised by the continued criminalisation of young black men for minor crimes, such as cannabis possession, and the racial disproportionality of measures like stop and search.

Initiatives such as the Home Office-funded Police Now, which aims to inspire graduates from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to join the service, are finding its messages undermined by measures that “harassed and intimidated black people”, according to Woolley.

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COVID-19 Fears Covid could scupper EU trade deal talks

Brexit negotiators fear the crunch trade talks could be scuppered by rising Covid-19 cases...

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COVID-19 Covid job losses lead MPs to call for trials of universal basic income

A cross-party group of MPs has called on the government to allow councils to run universal basic income trials in response to mass unemployment triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A letter to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, signed by more than 500 MPs, lords and local councillors says pilot schemes are urgently needed as the pandemic unleashes widespread economic disruption and drives up redundancies at the fastest rate on record this winter. Launching a UBI would mean the state paying every adult a basic sum regardless of their income.

The letter says issues with the benefit system and the end of the furlough scheme mean Britain is ill-equipped to support people through the financial insecurity of the Covid recession.

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COVID-19 IMF urges government to keep up pandemic spending

“Essential” support for companies and workers in the UK must continue if the economy is to recover from Covid-19 and meet the challenges of leaving the EU customs union and single market, the IMF has said.

Fund economists praised the government’s policy response, which the National Audit Office said totals at least £210bn, for mitigating damage to the economy so far.

But they said GDP has still dropped dramatically, and an initial rebound faces “headwinds” from a second wave of the virus, rising unemployment and the end of a transition period with the EU at the end of the year.

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COVID-19 Council tax support bill to exceed funding

Council tax support is expected to cost councils an additional £586m this year, 7% more than the £500m allocated through a dedicated fund announced in March, according to the LGA.

Analysis by public sector consultants LG Futures for the association found more than 2.5 million working aged people in England have applied for council tax support in the first quarter of 2020-2021.

The LGA said this was an increase of 9% from the same quarter in 2019, and the highest number for any quarter since records began in 2015/16.

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Police and Crime General Free police from handling some domestic cases, suggests chief

Police should be freed from handling some domestic abuse and harassment complaints so they can focus on fighting crime and responding to emergencies, one of the country’s most senior police officers has suggested.

David Thompson, chief constable of West Midlands police, said forces were increasingly responsible for “policing relationships”, safeguarding and protection but it was “debatable whether or not that’s actually something best discharged by the police in all cases”.

His remarks drew anger from Refuge, a leading support charity, which said that domestic abuse was a “serious life-threatening crime and all police should respond to it as such”.

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Police and Crime General UK police used more force in lockdown despite lower crime rates

Instances of police officers deploying force on members of the public were higher at the peak of lockdown than in the previous three months despite crime rates falling significantly, it can be revealed.

Analysis by Liberty Investigates and the Guardian of figures obtained through Freedom of Information laws from 32 police forces in England and Wales shows there were almost 20,000 more recorded cases of uses of force by officers, an increase of 12.5%. From April to June there were 163,749 instances, compared with 145,543 from January to March.

Significant increases in the use of force were recorded by 21 constabularies, with the largest percentage rise in West Yorkshire, where use of force – which can include handcuffing, restraint, baton and Taser – rose by 48.9%. The largest absolute rise in incidents, 59,692, was registered by the Metropolitan police, an increase in the use of force of 19% on the previous three months.

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Police and Crime General Lincolnshire Police launch new strategy to tackle issue of attacks on officers and other staff

With figures showing more than 400 assaults on those working for the force every year, it has now pledged to put the employee at the centre of any investigation.

And a force chief has stressed that such attacks should not be dismissed as ‘just part of the job’ – and anyone injured on duty will get full support and an enhanced welfare and care package.

The new policy follows recent figures showing that there are more than 400 assaults on officers and staff each year in Lincolnshire, with kicking, spitting and biting among the most frequent types of attack.

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COVID-19 Avon and Somerset Police launch squad for lockdown breaches

AVON and Somerset Police are establishing a dedicated team to attend reports of breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

The force using extra funding provided by the Government for forces to tackle the pandemic. Approximately £680,000 has been granted to Avon and Somerset to fund the Covid-19 team.

Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Watson, of Avon and Somerset Police, said demand for non-Covid police matters had dropped during the national lockdown.

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COVID-19 Police threat of fines falls on deaf ears as large groups in fancy dress descend on Nottingham

Large groups of young people in fancy dress drank alcohol and chanted near police vehicles on the streets of Nottingham last night - hours before the toughest coronavirus restrictions were imposed on the city.

The gatherings came despite police warning that they would have "no hesitation" in fining those who deliberately flout the rules.

Nottingham officially moved into Tier 3 at 12.01am today, and new rules will include a ban on buying alcohol from shops after 9pm.

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Recruitment and Retention Almost 6,000 police officers hired in first year of recruitment drive

Police forces hired almost 6,000 officers in the first year of the Government’s recruitment drive to sign up 20,000 by 2023.

The overall provisional headcount of officers in England and Wales is now 134,885, according to Home Office figures to the end of September.

This includes 5,824 hired as part of the 20,000 pledge, a quarterly report on the progress of the scheme said, suggesting the recruitment campaign is on track to meet its first year target of 6,000 by March 2021.

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Technology Police chiefs attack botched IT schemes

Senior police officers have “lost confidence” in the ability of the Home Office to complete big IT projects that are severely delayed and have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds in overspending.

Dame Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was among officers who said that the Home Office had failed to implement programmes concerning biometrics, communications and suspect databases.

They cite the failure to set up a new telecommunications network for the emergency services, a project that has gone about £3.4 billion over budget and is not likely to be operational until 2023, three years late.

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Police and Crime General Fist bump prompted Metropolitan Police to use stop and search

Two black men were stopped and searched on suspicion of exchanging drugs simply because they had bumped fists, according to a highly critical review of the Metropolitan Police’s use of the power.

Officers have also stopped black men when the only basis was the smell of cannabis, contrary to policing practice, and handcuffs are routinely used when other tactics would calm situations.

Other examples included a case in which a black man with someone else’s credit card was suspected of theft even after providing a credible explanation.

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Police and Crime General Crime is lower than a year ago, and more fines given to the public under Coronavirus regulations

Provisional data from police forces in England and Wales shows police recorded crime is six per cent lower than in the same period as 2019. Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) given to the public for breaches of Coronavirus Regulations are rising as restrictions are reapplied.

Snapshot figures released today based on preliminary police recorded crime provided to the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 43 forces in England and Wales (excluding fraud, which is recorded by centrally by Action Fraud) cover the four weeks to 27 September compared with the same period in 2019.

This is the seventh crime trends update since the beginning of Coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions across England and Wales and indicates overall crime trends remain similar to pre-lockdown levels, although some crime types continue to be well below this, suppressed by ongoing restrictions.

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Police and Crime General Record haul of guns, drugs and cash seized during lockdown crime lull

Guns, money and drugs were all taken off the streets and new intelligence gathered following pro-active work that was able to take place because officers had been freed up by the lockdown.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed Operatrion Frenetic, which began with the lockdown, had resulted in 746 arrests so far, the recovery of £54m in cash, 77 firearms were found and two tons of drugs.

Smaller caseloads meant detectives were able to give more time to incidents and get results.

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Police and Crime General CPS ‘action plan’ to improve prosecution rates for rape

Responding to an article in The Guardian that ‘convictions for rapes in London were less likely than in 2015’, the CPS said the plan is designed to “boost the number of rape and serious sexual offence cases referred to it”.

The Guardian had raised concerns about falling convictions in rape and sexual offence cases in London, despite a rise in reports.

According to figures gathered from the Metropolitan Police Service and the CPS, it said reports of rape and sexual offences in London increased by 25 per cent between 2015 and 2020, but convictions dropped by almost a quarter, and the time it takes to bring charges of rape almost tripled.

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COVID-19 Pandemic has 'thrived' on decades of racial inequality, says Baroness Lawrence

The disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities is an "avoidable crisis" fuelled by systemic racism, a review has found.

The author, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, said the illness "thrived on" structural inequalities within government, health, employment and the education system.

Overcrowded housing and public-facing jobs has made it harder for BAME people to avoid the virus, while many have suffered "disgraceful racism" - fuelled partly by global leaders calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus", the review said.

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Economy & Public Finance Seven areas across England set to receive nearly £180m investment

Communities in seven areas across England are set to benefit from up to £178.7m in new Town Deals, communities secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.

Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Norwich, Torquay and Warrington are the first of 101 places to be offered a Town Deal.

These areas will be able to implement proposals submitted to the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund, which is designed to create jobs and drive growth across the country.

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Economy & Public Finance Unions pile on pressure over exit pay cap

Pressure is mounting on the Government’s cap on public sector exit pay as more unions prepare for legal action.

As reported by The MJ, Lawyers in Local Government (LLG), supported by chief executive groups, has written to the Treasury paving the way for a judicial review of the legislation.

Now Unite and Unison have also written to the Treasury raising concerns about the cap infringing on human rights, indirect discrimination against women and older employees, and breaching of contractual rights.

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Police and Crime General Ex-police and fire minister Sir Mike Penning backs Harper's Law

The MP for Hemel Hempstead has given his full backing to Harper's Law, which will mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed would be jailed for life.

This means that a life sentence would be imposed, asking for a minimum term in prison. The campaign was started by Thames Valley PC Andrew Harper's widow, Lissie Harper, after he was killed on duty in August last year.

Sir Mike said: “Lissie has shown incredible courage and bravery and wants all emergency services workers to be protected when they go in one direction, towards danger, while the public go the other way.

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Police and Crime General Essex police chief defends stop and search after spike in its use

A senior Essex police officer has spoken out to defend the force’s use of stop and search powers after the county saw a spike in its use.

According to figures published by the Home Office on Tuesday, the use of stop and search powers across the country rose by 50% in the 12 months to March.

Under section one of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) police are allowed to search people and vehicles for things like drugs or a weapon without a warrant.

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Police and Crime General Sex slaves forced into drug dealing by crime gangs

Organised criminals are extending their reach and forcing victims of sex trafficking into county lines drug dealing and other crimes, senior police said.

They no longer focus on one enterprise but are spreading their operations across drug trafficking, child sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery.

Victims were being moved to different criminal operations to be exploited again and again, a chief constable said.

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Police and Crime General During lockdown, there has been a worrying rise in the number of referrals to child protection units

A small 11-year-old boy sits across the table from a social worker who has been called to his school after he said his stepfather was violent towards him.

"He came over to me and?kicked me. My stepdad looked worried when I fell into some toys and hit my head on the wall," says the boy, who we have called Noah to protect his identity.

Social worker Myles O'Keeffe from Kent County Council's Children's Services gently questions Noah about the incident.

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Police and Crime General Regular users given a pass as police back heroin treatment centres

Heroin, cocaine and cannabis users will be exempt from prosecution for repeated offences under a new police scheme that signals the creeping decriminalisation of drug use.

Prolific users can avoid a criminal record as long as they agree to a diversion programme that includes rehabilitation, under the West Midlands pilot scheme.

Adult and teenage users will continue to avoid arrest and prosecution, even if they are repeatedly caught with small amounts of drugs, provided that they stay engaged with the scheme.

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Police and Crime General Convictions for rapes in London less likely than in 2015, research shows

The London assembly’s police and crime committee has written to the lord chancellor, Robert Buckland, amid concerns over a “toxic combination” of falling convictions in rape and sexual offence cases despite a rise in reports and a backlog of cases in the courts.

Fresh research by the committee reveals that reported rapes and other sexual offences in the capital are less likely to result in a conviction now than they were five years ago.

According to figures gathered from the Metropolitan police and the Crown Prosecution Service, reports of rape and sexual offences in London increased by 25% between 2015 and 2020, but convictions dropped by almost a quarter, and the time it takes to bring charges of rape almost tripled.

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Fire Police investigating Grenfell Tower fire make first arrest

Police investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster have arrested a man on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

The unnamed 38-year-old was arrested on Saturday in Sussex and taken to a local police station, Scotland Yard said. Detectives released him the same day under investigation.

The arrest is the first by police investigating the June 2017 fire that claimed 72 lives. It follows fury among bereaved and survivors at revelations emerging from the public inquiry about the handling of potential evidence.

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Technology police database in 10-hour blackout

The principal database for the police went down for more than 10 hours last week after an engineer unplugged it, plunging forces into chaos.

The police national computer (PNC), which can provide real-time checks on people and vehicles, went dark in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A senior police source said the unprecedented outage affected “every aspect of policing” and described the PNC as the “backbone of the country’s policing system”.

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Police and Crime General How VRUs and a public health approach are making an impact on violent crime

In 2019 the UK Government announced £35 million funding for the launch of 18 new Violence Reduction Units, as part of a wider strategy that included a public health approach to tackling serious violence; Policing Insight Contributing Editor Tina Orr Munro looks at the first 12 months of VRUs, and the challenges for the future.

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Police and Crime General National campaign launched against uninsured drivers

Operation Drive Insured was developed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) in partnership with the National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigation (NRPOII) committee and will see increased roads policing activity to detect and seize uninsured vehicles across regions.

Each year in the UK more than 130 people are killed and 26,000 are left injured in collisions caused by uninsured and untraced drivers, linking to nearly one in every five road traffic collisions.

Evidence also shows drivers without insurance are more likely to commit a ‘hit and run’ and be involved in other crimes, such as using a stolen vehicle, driving while disqualified or substance abuse.

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COVID-19 Police stop more than 500 vehicles on first weekend of firebreak lockdown

A Welsh police force confirmed that officers stopped more than 500 vehicles on the first weekend of the firebreak lockdown

Gwent Police confirmed its officers stopped the vehicles as part of "proactive patrols" in communities across the force area of Gwent, which includes Newport, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen.

The force also confirmed that it issued a "number" of fixed penalty notices for house parties and large gatherings.

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Police and Crime General Police investigate after Labour leader Keir Starmer involved in car crash which injured cyclist

Police are investigating a collision between Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s car and a cyclist, who was taken to hospital with injuries.

Sir Keir was driving through northwest London at about midday on Sunday when the crash occurred in Kentish Town.

A spokesman for the opposition leader said he swapped details with the cyclist and waited for an ambulance to arrive before later reporting the incident to police.

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Police and Crime General Northumbria appoints new assistant chief constable

During this time he has led on a number of initiatives, including the roll-out of Neighbourhood Policing, and served as Divisional Commander for the City of Hull. He is currently the force’s Head of Crime.

He held the position of temporary ACC in Humberside from February 2017 to September 2019.

Northumbria’s Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: “I am delighted to be welcoming someone of Scott Young’s calibre to Northumbria Police.

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COVID-19 14-day quarantine for Covid contacts could be reduced

The two-week quarantine period for contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 could be cut to 10 or seven days, amid criticism of Test and Trace.

Writing in the Telegraph, Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said a "vacuum of leadership in Test and Trace" was affecting compliance.

Tests could be offered to people after a week of isolation, the paper said. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the BBC the government would be "led by the science" on the issue.

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COVID-19 Up to one in five people suspected of breaching quarantine escaped fines after police could not find them

One in five people investigated for suspected breaches of quarantine after arriving back in the UK could not be found by police, official figures showed on Wednesday

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Police and Crime General UK police forces wrongly cancelled reports of serious crimes

Police wrongly cancelled records of serious crimes, in many cases without informing victims, analysis of official reports shows.

Inspections of 43 police forces in England and Wales detail how officers incorrectly cancelled reports of rape, sexual offences, violence and robbery.

Charity Rape Crisis said the findings were "completely unacceptable". The Home Office said forces received "clear guidance" on cancelling crimes.

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COVID-19 Police chiefs haven’t got a clue about the tier rules

Surely the senior police officers who could not tell MPs on the home affairs select committee the rules for meeting people under Tier 2 should get out more. Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill excused himself by saying he wasn’t “conversant” with “every” set of regulations and added: “I’m not going to try to be.”

Ridiculous. Here is the country’s second most senior officer dealing with the pandemic and he can’t be bothered to know the most basic Tier 2 rule, ie that households mustn’t mix indoors. Everyone else does. Oh, it’s fashionable to bemoan how confusing the tier system is but, actually, the basics are crystal clear.

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COVID-19 Parents fined by police after gangs of kids breach lockdown rules in Hull

Police have issued parents with fines in a bid to clamp down on youths gathering in large groups across Hull.

There have been problems with groups gathering in areas like Kingswood which have already seen young people issued with fines.

And earlier this week, officers revealed parents had been fined after youngsters were found in large groups in outside shops in Greatfield.

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COVID-19 Councils gain COVID enforcement powers

Councils are to gain new powers to issue businesses with improvement notices and close premises if they breach coronavirus restrictions.

Health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons the Government will work on detailed proposals with councils in the coming days.

He said the aim was to create ‘stronger regulations to give local authorities further powers to take action’.

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COVID-19 Cost of facemasks to rise as Treasury scraps VAT exemption on PPE

The cost of disposable face masks is set to rise by a fifth from next week, the Telegraph can disclose, after the Treasury decided to scrap the VAT exemption on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)....

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Police and Crime General Rape prosecutions and convictions dropped by half early in UK pandemic

Prosecutions for crimes against women and girls in England and Wales plummeted in the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, reflecting a backlog in the court system exacerbated by the UK-wide shutdown and subsequent social distancing measures.

The number of completed rape prosecutions more than halved, falling to 218 in the three months to June this year compared with 480 in the previous quarter, according to violence against women and girls (VAWG) figures from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There were 174 convictions resulting from those 218 prosecutions, a record rate of 80%, down from 341 ( 71%) in the previous quarter.

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Economy & Public Finance One-year spending review looms as public debt hits 103.5% of GDP

A one-year spending review has been announced by the Treasury to "focus entirely" on tackling the coronavirus crisis - as official figures show borrowing records continue to be smashed.

The government said it would have liked to outline spending plans for the rest of the current parliament, as it had originally intended.

But a statement on the U-turn said the chancellor and prime minister had decided on a more targeted approach given the renewed threat from the pandemic, which has forced tougher restrictions on large swathes of the country and sparked bitter rows with local leaders over levels of government support.

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COVID-19 South Yorkshire Tier 3 Announcement

In response to the announcement today that the South Yorkshire region will go into Tier 3 at midnight on Friday 23 October, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings has issued the following statement:

“If going into Tier 3 is necessary to stop the relentless spread of coronavirus, then the police will have a role in enforcing the new restrictions, for all our sakes.

“Having spoken to the Chief Constable and senior officers, I have no doubt that they will continue to do this in a proportionate way, but we should be in no doubt that there will be enforcement activity if people wilfully flout the law.

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Police and Crime General Sobriety tags that monitor offenders' alcohol levels every 30 minutes rolled out in Wales

Sobriety tags that monitor criminals' alcohol levels every 30 minutes are being rolled out in Wales from today.

The ankle tags will be handed out to "alcohol-dependent" offenders as part of new abstinence orders that can ban them from drinking for four months.

They monitor the person's sweat and test it for the presence of alcohol.

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Recruitment and Retention Call to boost community support officer numbers to help enforce Covid rules

A £60 million funding boost for police and councils to deal with coronavirus lockdown rules would be better spent on police community support officers (PCSOs), a union has said.

The number of PCSOs in England and Wales has nearly halved in the past decade, going from 16,919 in 2010 to 9,179 this year.

Public service union Unison has called for an increase in PCSO numbers to help deal with lockdown rules as police forces struggle with increasing crime levels and changing regulations.

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Police and Crime General UK police 'unable to cope' if no-deal Brexit cuts EU data sharing

Police in the UK “will be increasingly unable to cope” in the event of a no-deal Brexit because existing data-sharing agreements with the EU will be cut, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation has said.

David Anderson is one of a number of senior figures increasingly concerned that failure to strike a Brexit deal could have a serious impact on Britain’s ability to fight cross-border crime, as UK-EU talks remained stalled for their fifth successive day on Tuesday.

“Without the ability to exchange data and intelligence across frontiers, law enforcement will be increasingly unable to cope,” the crossbench peer said. “Everything from extradition to notification of alerts, crime scene matches and criminal record searches will be much slower, at best.”

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COVID-19 Fines for not isolating may stop people getting tested

Fining people for not self-isolating will backfire by making individuals scared to report symptoms, a government adviser has warned as ministers admitted “a problem with compliance”.

The Times understands that even the most optimistic government estimate says 40 per cent of people are not staying at home for two weeks, after Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, refused to say how many people were not self-isolating as required.

A Department of Health and Social Care survey published last month found that under 20 per cent of people with confirmed coronavirus and their close contacts were following rules to stay at home for two weeks, often citing financial and caring responsibilities.

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COVID-19 Police shy away from punishing facemask rule breakers

Three quarters of police forces have not issued a single fine to people refusing to wear facemasks.

Besides British Transport Police, the nine forces that have issued fines have given only a few, according to figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). In the three months to September 21, only 18 fines have been issued for large gatherings that are in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Since the start of the pandemic, forces have fined as few as five people per 100,000 of the population for breaking coronavirus rules.

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Police and Crime General More volunteers set to be armed with speed guns

Volunteers with speed guns will be deployed nationwide under plans to tackle reckless driving.

Police and crime commissioners are drawing up proposals to expand “community speedwatch” schemes to catch motorists driving too fast in built-up areas. The system could be backed up by a national platform to enable forces to share intelligence on repeat offenders and combat “patchwork” coverage.

In the past month volunteers have caught the driver of a Porsche travelling at 99mph in a 30mph zone in Wisborough Green, West Sussex, and a a Toyota was recorded at 58mph on a 20mph road in Speldhurst, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

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COVID-19 UK facing 'tough' Christmas, Sage scientist warns

Christmas is unlikely to be the "usual celebration" of "families coming together", a leading scientist has said.

Jeremy Farrar, who sits on the Sage committee that advises the government, warned it would be a "tough" Christmas.

The Wellcome Trust director also told Sky News there was "light at the end of the tunnel" as he believed a vaccine would be ready early in 2021. PM Boris Johnson has warned things will be "bumpy to Christmas and beyond".

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Economy & Public Finance UK credit rating downgraded

Ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded the UK’s credit rating for the third time in eight years, citing factors including a deterioration in the quality of the government’s fiscal decision-making.

In a statement on Friday, the agency announced it had downgraded the UK government’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings to Aa3 from Aa2.

It said an erosion in the predictability of policymaking and “respect for rules and norms” since the last downgrade in 2017 is “most clearly reflected” in the conduct of fiscal policy.

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COVID-19 Police granted access to details of people told to self-isolate by Test and Trace

Police are being granted access to the details of people told to self-isolate by the government's Test and Trace scheme, Sky News has learnt.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed it had "agreed a memorandum of understanding with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)" to provide forces with the information on a "case-by-case basis".

In a statement, a spokesman told Sky News: "It is a legal requirement for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts to self-isolate when formally notified to do so.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency has exposed huge gap between Westminster and local government before tier three fight

A black hole in how the UK is governed has been slowly opening up during the seven months since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted.

Tensions between Whitehall, the devolved administrations and local councils have grown throughout the crisis – exploding into open warfare in the last week, as Northern mayors refused to accept tougher restrictions while the Welsh Government imposed a border with England for the first time in centuries.

Local leaders have been engaged in a power struggle with ministers, each side demanding more control over the response to coronavirus.

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COVID-19 Met Police to target pubs and bars in crackdown as London prepares for tougher restrictions

Police in London have said they will target pubs and bars in a coronavirus crackdown triggered by the capital moving to the Tier 2 alert.

In a statement the Metropolitan Police said patrols would be increased, including near drinking venues during the evenings, where breaches of regulations were "more commonly recorded".

The policing plan was unveiled on Thursday after the government earlier announced the alert level in London would be raised from "medium" to "high" from midnight on Friday.

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Police and Crime General Unmarked police lorries spy on reckless road users

First came the radar gun, then the speed camera. Now misbehaving motorists have a new nemesis: the undercover police lorry.

Officers are increasingly using unmarked heavy goods vehicles to spy on drivers from a height. Police in Surrey and Sussex obtained their HGV licences so that they could check whether motorists were wearing seatbelts or using mobile phones at the wheel.

During an operation over the past six weeks they spotted more than 300 breaches of the law.

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COVID-19 Lancashire Councils respond to Tier 3 restrictions

Lancashire Councils have responded to the Government’s decision to place Lancashire into the Very High tier of local lockdown restriction.

Bars and pubs are to shut from Oct 16 with other restricted venues, such as bingo halls and soft play areas, to shut from Monday.

Crucially, unlike Liverpool, gyms and leisure centres will be allowed to stay open in Lancashire, showing that there is some wiggle-room even within Tier 3.

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Police and Crime General Boris Johnson tells UK: prepare for a no-deal Brexit

Boris Johnson has claimed there will be no more trade and security talks unless the EU adopts a “fundamental change of approach”, as he seeks to increase pressure on Brussels to give ground in the negotiations.

In a televised statement on Friday, the prime minister said the country would have to prepare for a no-deal scenario on 1 January, with his spokesman further toughening up the rhetoric later in the day.

“The trade talks are over – the EU have effectively ended them yesterday when they said they did not want to change their negotiating position,” the spokesman said, while stopping short of announcing the UK’s intention to decisively walk away.

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Police and Crime General Empty streets during the pandemic make it harder to follow suspects, says MI5 chief

Spies have found it more difficult to trail suspects during the pandemic because of the empty streets caused by lockdown, the director-general of MI5 revealed yesterday.

Ken McCallum, who took over the security service in April, also revealed that would-be terrorists were altering their plans because there were fewer crowds to target.

Detailing how MI5’s activities had changed, Mr McCallum said his officers spent significant amounts of time on the near-empty streets and “covert surveillance is not straightforward”.

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COVID-19 Welsh ban on travel from Covid hotspots 'risks division and confusion'

The Welsh government’s plan to ban people entering Wales from coronavirus hotspots in other parts of the UK risks stirring “division and confusion”, the Welsh secretary has claimed.

Simon Hart, a member of the UK cabinet, has called for clarification from the Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, on the ban, which is expected to come into force on Friday evening.

Hart also expressed concern over comments from Drakeford that Welsh residents would be “on the lookout” for visitors who defied the ban.

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Police and Crime General fewer than one in 200 complaints against Met unit upheld

Fewer than one in 200 complaints made against the division of the Metropolitan police responsible for public order policing over the last decade have been upheld, figures obtained by the Guardian suggest.

The data obtained from a freedom of information request raises questions about the accountability of the Met’s MO7 taskforce, which includes the Territorial Support Group (TSG) and allied specialist units.

The figures show that 27 complaints were upheld against the MO7 taskforce, 0.46% of the total of 6,319 lodged between 2010 and August this year. All of the successful complaints have occurred since 2018, meaning that in the preceding seven years not a single complaint was upheld.

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Economy & Public Finance New Covid lockdown would inflict terrible harm

Rishi Sunak warned against "rushing to another lockdown" and made clear his opposition to a national "circuit-breaker" as he said the country faced an "economic emergency".

Ministers are braced for the announcement of a two-week lockdown – which they expect to be made a week on Friday if coronavirus infections continue to rise – after Boris Johnson told MPs: "I rule nothing out."

But the Chancellor described a temporary national lockdown as "a blunt instrument" on Wednesday, saying it would "cause needless damage to parts of our country where virus rates are low".

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Police Demand New MI5 chief says UK facing 'nasty mix' of threats

Britain is facing a "nasty mix" of national security threats, from hostile state activity by Russia and China to fast-growing right-wing terrorism, the new director general of MI5 has said.

Ken McCallum said terrorism remains the biggest threat - with Northern Irish and Islamist extremism also a concern.

The Covid lockdown raised the risk of online contact between groups, and made covert surveillance harder, he added.

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Police and Crime General Merseyside police chief criticises "selfish, dangerous" crowd in Liverpool

The Chief of Merseyside Police has criticised revellers who spilled out on to the streets of Liverpool ahead of tier 3 lockdown restrictions coming into force in the region as "selfish, dangerous and childish".

Speaking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty, Chief of Merseyside Police Andy Cook said the behaviour was "selfish, dangerous, childish and is not at all reflective of the vast majority of people on Merseyside who have been doing the right thing.

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Police and Crime General Teenagers will escape drug prosecutions under new initiative to combat county lines gangs

Teenagers will escape prosecution if they are caught with drugs under the first police scheme of its kind to combat county lines gangs and serious violence....

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COVID-19 Sage scientists called for short lockdown weeks ago

The government's scientific advisers called for a short lockdown in England to halt the spread of Covid-19 last month, newly released documents show.

The experts said an immediate "circuit breaker" was the best way to control cases, at a meeting on 21 September.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick insisted the government had taken "robust action" that "balanced" the impact on the economy. It comes as the Liverpool region prepares to enter a "very high" Covid alert level from Wednesday, the highest of a new three-tier system.

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COVID-19 Regional leaders criticise 'disappointing' Tier 2 restrictions

The hospitality industry in the West Midlands will need "immediate financial support" after the government's "disappointing" decision to impose Tier 2 restrictions, the mayor of the county has said.

Andy Street added regional leaders have not supported the move and the government should review the decision "as soon as possible".

Conservative mayor Mr Street tweeted the remarks after Boris Johnson outlined the new three-tier lockdown system for England on Monday.

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COVID-19 Lockdown rules in high-risk areas may need to 'go even further', minister warns

The government may need to "go even further" and introduce stricter measures to combat a rise in coronavirus cases in high-risk areas, a minister has told Sky News.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Kay Burley there was "a lot of work to do" in the fight against COVID-19 and "we're going to be living with it for a long time to come".

"We may have to go even further than what we've announced," he cautioned, echoing a warning from the chief medical officer that the highest level of new restrictions "will not be sufficient" to slow coronavirus infections alone.

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COVID-19 Police in parts of Britain are 80 times more likely to hand out coronavirus penalties than others

Police in one part of Britain are 80 times more likely to hand out coronavirus fines than others, new figures have revealed.

A breakdown of fixed penalty notices handed out by each constabulary has revealed a postcode lottery when it comes to punishments for breaking social distancing rules.

According to the Office for National Statistics The three forces in England and Wales that issued the highest number of fixed penalty notices per 1,000 population were Dyfed Powys with 3.34, followed by Cumbria with 1.46, and North Yorkshire with 1.4.

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Economy & Public Finance Tax rises of more than £40bn a year 'all but inevitable'

Taxes rises of more than £40bn a year are 'all but inevitable' to protect UK government debt from spinning out of control, a think tank has warned.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said borrowing this year will hit levels not seen in peacetime due to the pandemic.

It said the state had pumped an extra £200bn into the economy to support jobs, businesses and incomes this year.

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Police and Crime General Violence, criminal damage and sex offences could be prioritised by police under new assessment system

Violence, sex offences and criminal damage would be prioritised by police at the expense of theft, under a NICE-style system for “smarter” policing proposed by the Tony Blair Institute....

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Economy & Public Finance IFS urges delay to cuts and tax rises

Spending cuts and tax rises to rebalance the public finances should be delayed until 2022 to allow the economy to recover, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said.

Warning that the economic challenges associated with COVID were’ likely just beginning’ and that public services outside health ‘could well be facing a further bout of austerity’ the report nonetheless backed extra spending now due to the low cost of borrowing.

The report said chancellor Rishi Sunak ‘should pay particular attention to the important role that local governments will play in levelling up, potentially as a part of a broader devolution strategy, and ensure that this is backed up with adequate funding, both for investment and for running costs’.

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Police and Crime General Hate crime in England and Wales hits new record as racially motivated offences rocket by 4,000

Hate crime has hit a new record in England and Wales, with the number of racially motivated offences recorded by police rocketing by 4,000 in a year.

More than 105,000 hate crimes were recorded in 2019-20, an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year.

A separate Home Office report on trends during the coronavirus pandemic showed that racial hate crime jumped significantly during Black Lives Matter protests.

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Economy & Public Finance Covid Crimestoppers hotline launches to catch business loan fraudsters

The UK government has launched a Covid fraud hotline, after being criticised for failing to act on warnings about risks linked to emergency business loans.

The hotline, run by Crimestoppers, allows the public to leave anonymous tips about suspected fraud linked to the government’s emergency Covid-19 loan and grant schemes for UK businesses. That could include identity theft to obtain loans, false grant claims and the use of so-called mule bank accounts to cover the tracks of money launderers.

The government has been criticised for failing to act on warnings about potential fraud linked to the bounce-back loans scheme (BBLS), which was designed to distribute cheap loans quickly of up to £50,000 to small businesses.

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COVID-19 New local lockdown restrictions in England to be unveiled

The Liverpool City Region is expected to face the tightest restrictions under a new "three tier" system, which will classify regions as being on "medium", "high" or "very high" alert.

Steve Rotheram, the city region's mayor, says negotiations have taken place through the night but "no deal" has been agreed yet.

Talks between local leaders in England and Westminster continue. Liverpool recorded 600 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 6 October. The average for England was 74.

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COVID-19 MP refuses to resign after travelling hundreds of miles with coronavirus

The Scottish MP who travelled hundreds of miles on public transport after testing positive for coronavirus has refused to resign.

Margaret Ferrier travelled from Glasgow to Westminster while awaiting a Covid-19 test result, and made the return trip when she knew she had the virus last month.

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP’s breach of the coronavirus rules triggered a backlash, and calls for her resignation came from both Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, and Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader.

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Police and Crime General Dire outlook as experts predict 1.5million people are set to lose their jobs before the end of the year

Almost three million people will be unemployed by Christmas, according to a shocking prediction, with about 1.5million set to lose their jobs before the end of the year.

The dire warning from think-tank the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) comes as its economists said data from its Business Distress Tracker and the Office for National Statistics indicated that Rishi Sunak’s new furlough scheme was ‘unlikely to prevent a major loss of jobs’.

Last week the Chancellor pledged to expand the scheme, which will now pay two-thirds of the wages of staff who have been forced to stop working by local lockdowns.

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Police and Crime General Ministers to have veto on statue removals

The final decision over whether to remove statues of controversial figures such as the slave trader Edward Colston will belong to government ministers rather than local authorities under forthcoming changes to planning rules.

A Whitehall source has confirmed to The Times that the government will hand veto powers to the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick.

The new rules will allow the ministry to call in decisions over changes to statues, plaques and memorials in the same way that it can planning applications.

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Economy & Public Finance BoE writes to banks over negative rates readiness

The Bank of England has asked UK banks to assess their readiness if interest rates are reduced to zero or below.

The request for information was outlined in a letter by BoE deputy governor, Sam Woods, as the central bank continues to consider the policy.

Negative interest rates were first discussed by the bank in August, with the bank now exploring how the policy could be implemented to help economic growth.

The letter said: “For a negative bank rate to be effective as a policy tool, the financial sector – as the key transmission mechanism of monetary policy – would need to be operationally ready to implement it in a way that does not adversely affect the safety and soundness of firms.

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Police Finances Finance worries hindering abilities of Hampshire police officers

Police officers say their domestic financial situation can have an impact on their ability to do their job, a new poll has shown.

Serve and Protect Credit Union, formerly the Police Credit Union, joined forces with Hampshire Police Federation to conduct a survey.

In total 645 police officers responded to the survey, with 46 per cent of respondents said they took a pay cut when they joined the police.

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Police Finances Doctors call for mandatory masks in offices and outdoors in new wish list

Masks should be mandatory indoors and outdoors where two-metre social distancing is not possible, doctors have said.

Publishing a wish list of recommendations for ministers, the British Medical Association (BMA) accused the government of "letting down its guard" and said "inconsistent" messaging since the nationwide lockdown was lifted had played a part in the resurgence of the virus.

Chairman of the doctors' trade union body, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: "We are having to swallow a very bitter pill of the infection continuing to spread at a perilous rate.

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Police and Crime General Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognises police officers, staff and volunteers

Police officers, staff and volunteers from forces across the country have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Frontline workers and community champions dominate the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020.

Police colleagues of all ranks and several roles have been awarded honours.

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Police Finances Coronavirus enforcement boosted with £60 million surge funding

Police forces and local councils will receive an additional £60 million to step up their enforcement of coronavirus rules as part of the government’s plans to tackle the rise in infections.

The surge funding, recently announced by the Prime Minister, will enable police to increase patrols in town centres and ensure that people are complying with the new restrictions, particularly in high-risk areas. Police will also provide more support to local authorities and NHS Test & Trace to enforce self-isolation requirements.

Local councils will use the funding to increase their compliance work and enforcement checks on businesses.

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Police Demand Fewer than two per cent of disability hate crimes result in a criminal charge, as charities call for issue to be taken more seriously

Fewer than two per cent of disability hate crimes reported to the police result in a criminal charge, new statistics show, as charities call for the problem to be taken more seriously.

Just 118 of the 7,333 complaints made between July 2019 and 2020 resulted in a charge or court summons, research by Leonard Cheshire and United Response, two disability charities, has found.

Nearly half of the reports (3,628) involved an act of violence against a disabled person, including assault and harassment, with more than two thirds of police forces saying this had increased from the year before.

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COVID-19 Soaring coronavirus rate leaves Britain on lockdown alert

Surging coronavirus infection rates have put Britain on the brink of tougher lockdown measures, overshadowing Boris Johnson’s attempt yesterday to focus on life after the pandemic.

The government’s scientific advisers called for “urgent and drastic action” after cases doubled in 11 days to 14,542 and deaths doubled to 76 in the same period.

Hospital admissions in England jumped by a quarter in one day and ministers are scrambling to find a way to bring down cases in the northwest amid concerns about the ability of the health service to cope over winter in infection hotspots.

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Police and Crime General Home Secretary commissions review on policing of public protests

Priti Patel said the “hooliganism and thuggery” at recent Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests was “indefensible”.

She also wants Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to review how well the police use their powers to manage protests, enforce the law and minimise disruption to communities and how they manage intelligence about protests.

HMICFRS will also look at how well the police balance the rights of protesters with the rights of other people, and the impact on communities and minorities.

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Police and Crime General Law Commission calls for new legislation to reduce the number of unlawful search warrants

The Law Commission has made a series of recommendations for change which would also ensure police have the powers they need to properly investigate crime and better collect evidence – particularly digital material.

The changes would also seek to protect the rights of those being searched, the Government’s independent body on law reform said.

Around 40,000 search warrants – legal papers signed by a magistrate or judge permitting police or other investigators to enter premises and hunt for evidence – are issued in England and Wales every year.

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Prisons Swansea prisoners make hundreds of PPE items

Prisoners in Swansea have made up to 300 protective clothing items a week for front-line healthcare staff.

A recent visit by HM Inspectorate of Prisons found workshops had been adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This helped cut the number of inmates kept in their cells for long periods. Inspectors said the number of men training as cleaners increased in response to enhanced levels of hygiene, with 33 bio-hazard cleans carried out in the prison by newly trained inmates.

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Police and Crime General Home secretary's 'dangerous' rhetoric 'putting lawyers at risk'

Leading immigration lawyers have told the Guardian that increasingly hostile rhetoric from the home secretary is putting them at risk of being attacked as well as undermining the legal system.

On Sunday home secretary Priti Patel used a speech at the Conservative party conference to criticise lawyers who defend migrants, linking them directly with traffickers who help asylum-seekers to cross borders.

Patel said: “No doubt those who are well-rehearsed in how to play and profit from the broken system will lecture us on their grand theories about human rights. Those defending the broken system – the traffickers, the do-gooders, the lefty lawyers, the Labour party – they are defending the indefensible.”

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Fire Grenfell: inquiry hears council at heart of cost-cutting decisions

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) used “decisive influence” to remove the original contractor on Grenfell Tower despite its claims to have delegated responsibility for the works, the public inquiry into the disaster has heard.

In evidence that places the Conservative-controlled council at the heart of a key decision in the run up to the June 2017 fire, the inquiry was told that Laura Johnson, RBKC’s director of housing, lost patience with Leadbitter when it said the project was going to cost £1.2m more than the budget.

RBKC had earlier told the inquiry it had delegated responsibility for the capital programme, major works and maintenance to the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO). In its opening submission, it said: “The TMO was responsible for health and safety and fire safety arrangements for the housing stock which it managed on behalf of the council, including Grenfell Tower.”

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Economy & Public Finance Two birds one stone on audit

There’s no doubt the Redmond review is a thorough and in-depth study and pinpoints what we have known for some time – that the current audit system isn’t working and needs to change.

I still can’t help feeling a little underwhelmed. The recommendation to push back the accounts completion and audit dates is, in my view, a backward step, a point the Society of District Council Treasurers made during the review process.

Yes, the current timetable is ambitious and puts pressure on finance teams (especially for small finance teams in districts) but it means we can put them to bed early and crack on with more meaningful things – mainly the budget-setting process and vital projects such as town centre and housing schemes.

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COVID-19 Less than half of the UK population could get vaccinated

Less than half of the UK population could be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the head of the country's vaccine taskforce has said.

Kate Bingham said officials hope to give the vaccine to around 30 million adults - less than half of the country's population of 67 million.

The head of the immunisation programme told the Financial Times: "People keep talking about 'time to vaccinate the whole population' but that is misguided.

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COVID-19 Leak reveals possible harsher three-tier England Covid plan

A new three-tier lockdown system is being planned for England, with leaked government documents paving the way for potential harsher restrictions including the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside of household groups.

The draft traffic-light-style plan, seen by the Guardian, is designed to simplify the current patchwork of localised restrictions, which apply to about a quarter of the UK. It also reveals tougher measures that could be imposed by the government locally or nationally if Covid cases are not brought under control.

On Sunday the number of cases jumped by 22,961 after it emerged that more than 15,000 test results had not previously been transferred on to computer systems, including for contact tracers.

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Economy & Public Finance Calls for more action and fines to tackle drivers who break the law with more investment in road safety

North Yorkshire drivers who break speed limits and don’t wear seatbelts should face higher penalties with the money raised from the fines being put towards road safety, according to a new survey.

Nearly 4,000 people from across York and North Yorkshire responded to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APCC) research as part of 66,000 nationwide.

Two-thirds of respondents to the survey from York and North Yorkshire either agreed or agreed strongly that fixed penalty notices for road traffic offences like speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt (currently £100) should be increased in line with other serious offences like driving while using a handheld mobile phone (currently £200).

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Economy & Public Finance Rishi Sunak vows to 'balance books' despite pandemic

The chancellor has vowed to "always balance the books", despite increased spending in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a speech to party members, Rishi Sunak said the Conservatives had a "sacred duty" to "leave the public finances strong". He vowed the use the "overwhelming might of the British state" to help people find new work.

But he said debt and spending needed controlling "over the medium term". In an online speech during the Conservatives' annual party conference, he said: "I won't stop trying to find ways to support people and businesses."

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Technology Latest e-scooter turns itself off the second riders leave the road

Electric scooters will be deactivated as soon as they mount the pavement to help to stop antisocial behaviour.

E-scooters that use sensors to cut off power when entering prohibited zones such as footpaths and shopping centres have been approved for use in Britain.

The technology will disable the scooter within a second of it leaving a road, cycle lane or private land where devices are legally allowed.

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Fire Tory MP accuses Housing Secretary of `shocking betrayal´ over cladding crisis

Residents trapped in homes they cannot sell because of concerns over cladding have been subject to a “shocking betrayal” by the Government, a Tory MP has said.

In response to the Grenfell Tower fire, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) made £600 million available to fund the replacement of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on buildings above 18 metres, but by April this year it had only paid out £134 million.

In March, it announced a further £1 billion would be made available to fund the replacement of other forms of dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings but estimates suggest this would meet only around a third of the total costs.

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Technology Covid-19 sparks upward trend in cybercrime

So much has changed since Europol published last year’s Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA). The global COVID-19 pandemic that hit every corner of the world forced us to reimagine our societies and reinvent the way we work and live.

During the lockdown, we turned to the internet for a sense of normality: shopping, working and learning online at a scale never seen before. It is in this new normal that Europol publishes its 7th annual IOCTA.

The IOCTA seeks to map the cybercrime threat landscape and understand how law enforcement responds to it. Although the COVID-19 crisis showed us how criminals actively take advantage of society at its most vulnerable, this opportunistic behaviour of criminals should not overshadow the overall threat landscape.

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Police and Crime General MSPs back bill allowing rape victims to self-refer for forensic exams

The Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill will support recovery health services for anyone in Scotland who has experienced rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse.

It allows victims to self-refer to health services that carry out forensic examinations as this gives them time to decide if they want to report an incident to the police or not without losing any evidence.

The Scottish Parliament unanimously supported the proposals to reform services, making health boards responsible for examinations.

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Police and Crime General Violence against police officers has ‘skyrocketed’ by 50 per cent over the past five years

Violence against police officers has shot up by a worrying 50 per cent over the past five years. There is growing concern about the rising number of attacks carried out on cops.

Two out of five officers in England and Wales have reported being assaulted on duty. In the past year alone 20,269 cases were recorded, up 48 per cent on the 2014-15 official figures, with 10,400 officers left injured.

Crime has also rocketed over the past decade — forcing police to deal with one million extra cases a year. Home Office statistics show that almost 1.7million offences linked to violence were recorded in England and Wales in the year to March.

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COVID-19 Things 'bumpy to Christmas and beyond' - PM

Boris Johnson has warned it may be "bumpy through to Christmas" and beyond as the UK deals with coronavirus.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr, the PM said there was "hope" in beating Covid, and called on the public to "act fearlessly but with common sense". He said the government was taking a "balanced" approach between saving lives and protecting the economy. It comes as a further 22,961 UK cases are reported, as previously unreported cases are added amid a technical issue.

Public Health England said an investigation into a technical glitch with the government's coronavirus dashboard identified 15,841 cases which were not included in the daily reports between 25 September and 2 October.

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Economy & Public Finance Police to get £30m to help enforce new coronavirus regulations

The Government is to make £60 million available to help the police and local authorities fund overtime and increase patrols to enforce coronavirus laws, The Telegraph can disclose....

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Police and Crime General 100 police officers and volunteers stage rural crime crackdown

Almost 100 police officers and Rural Watch volunteers have taken part in a major crackdown on rural crime across North Yorkshire, looking for cross-border thieves, fly-tippers, poachers and drink drivers.

Operation Checkpoint focussed on Hambleton, Richmondshire, northern parts of Craven and Ryedale, the A1 near Harrogate and the A171 Moor Road corridor near Whitby and ran from Wednesday evening into the early hours of yesterday.

North Yorkshire Police said 43 officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Rural Taskforce were joined by 51 Rural Watch volunteers on patrol.

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COVID-19 Local contact tracing roll out gathers pace despite lack of funding

Almost half of councils have launched or are setting up local coronavirus contact tracing to supplement the national system, LGC has learned, but others are being held back by a lack of funding or cooperation from government.

Meanwhile, the reorganisation of national contact tracing to be “local by default” – announced by NHS Test & Trace boss Baroness Dido Harding almost two months ago – has yet to materialise.

Councils in Hertfordshire, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City were among the latest to go live with local contact tracing systems this week, joining others including Hackney and Hammersmith & Fulham LBCs.

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COVID-19 Jenrick predicts November spending review date as ‘challenging period’ looms

The communities secretary has revealed to councils he expects the spending review to be published next month, amid speculation it will be another one-year settlement.

The government’s original commitment to a three-year spending review is in doubt after the Budget was cancelled last month. The Institute for Fiscal Studies is now advising the chancellor to set a one-year plan, however the Local Government Association is calling for a three-year funding settlement for councils.

On a webinar with council representatives on Wednesday, Robert Jenrick said his officials at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government are “working very closely with the Treasury for the process of the spending review" which is "very much now underway”.

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Recruitment and Retention Sussex Police officers embark on fast-track detective training programme

The 19 new officers are among the first nationally to undertake the intensive two-year Detective Constable Degree-Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) which offers specialist training in investigations.

Alongside 28 new officers commencing the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship this week, the recruits were personally welcomed to the force by Chief Constable Jo Shiner and PCC Katy Bourne at an attestation ceremony on Tuesday (September 29).

Jo Shiner, Chief Constable, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome these 47 new officers to the force and I am proud that Sussex Police – through collaboration with the University of Cumbria – is one of the first forces in the country to launch the new fast-track Detective Constable DHEP programme.

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Police Finances Six areas added to England's COVID-19 watchlist

Six areas in England have been added to the coronavirus watchlist and two have been removed.

The places added to the list of "areas of concern" for coronavirus are:


Cheshire West and Chester

Cheshire East

Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Rotherham. South Yorkshire

Luton in Bedfordshire (re-added)

Spelthorne in Surrey and Hertsmere in Hertfordshire have been removed from the watchlist.

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COVID-19 Middlesbrough business mixing ban 'unacceptable'

A ban on households mixing anywhere indoors in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough is "unacceptable", a mayor has said.

It follows Health Secretary Matt Hancock's announcement of stricter rules in parts of the north of England to combat a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said the rules would "damage mental health" and "we defy the government and we do not accept the measures".

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COVID-19 Restrictions for England to be standardised into three tiers

The government is to push ahead with a new "three-tier" approach to coronavirus restrictions in local areas of England, the BBC understands.

The Department of Health confirmed last month the system was being considered - but it has now been signed off by government officials and politicians.

An announcement is expected next week, with the roll-out of the new tiers expected in mid-October. The Department of Health said there were "no imminent changes" expected.

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Police Finances Confusion as exit cap voted through

The public sector exit cap was last night voted through the House of Commons, sparking avoidable confusion.

MPs voted to approve the Treasury regulations despite warnings from the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives (ALACE) that a gap between their introduction and the implementation of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) changes to the pension scheme would result in a ‘financial and administrative no man’s land’.

ALACE said it was ‘sad to see that so many MPs have voted to reduce pensions that public sector key workers can receive’.

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Recruitment and Retention Meet the 21st century detectives

Sussex Police welcomes the first trainees on its new fast-track detective development programme this week. The 19 new officers are amongst the first nationally to undertake the intensive two-year Detective Constable Degree-Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) which offers specialist training in investigations.

Alongside 28 new officers commencing the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship this week, the recruits were personally welcomed to the force by Chief Constable Jo Shiner and PCC Katy Bourne at an attestation ceremony on 29 September.

All the recruits, who are funded by the both the Government’s national recruitment campaign and the local policing precept, will work alongside each other for the first 30 weeks. The trainee detectives will then specialise in investigations, working towards a Diploma in Professional Policing Practice and accreditation as a detective constable over the course of two years.

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Police and Crime General Covid: MPs to vote on renewing emergency powers

MPs will vote later on whether to extend emergency powers given to the government to tackle coronavirus.

Dozens of Conservative MPs are demanding more parliamentary scrutiny of the multiple restrictions in place.

Talks are continuing ahead of the vote in an attempt to reach a compromise and prevent any rebellion.

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Technology Web giants should fund legal advocates for child victims of online harm, says NSPCC

Children should have access to legal advocates paid for by the tech giants so they can take them on, should they breach duty of care laws, said the NSPCC.

The children’s charity said it would “level the playing field” against the well-resourced technology companies if children fell victim to online harms and they, or their parents, sought to take action against the platforms.

The proposal is one of six tests that the NSPCC has set the Government if its proposed new duty of care laws are to be effective in combating online harms.

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Technology Self- regulation of the internet must come to an end through an online harms law that delivers meaningful and lasting change

There is no greater priority for the NSPCC than making sure our children are safe from abuse online. Children are being groomed at scale on social networks, child abuse images are being freely produced but not consistently taken down and vulnerable young people are being exposed to highly disturbing content that promotes or glorifies self-harm and suicide. Traumatised families are left to try and pick up the pieces.

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Police and Crime General Nearly 300 fugitives wanted for crimes across Europe arrested in lockdown

Detectives have used the pandemic lockdown to arrest nearly 300 fugitives hiding in the UK.

Investigators for the National Crime Agency (NCA) tracked down suspects, mostly foreigners, wanted for human trafficking, sex crimes, drug smuggling, money laundering and many other offences.

Police forces across the country were involved in the arrests, in spite of pressure on resources during the coronavirus crisis.

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Prisons Deaths from natural causes in English and Welsh prisons 'unacceptably high'

The number of deaths from natural causes on the prison estate is “unacceptably high”, a watchdog has warned, urging ministers to do more to allow inmates to be allowed out to die.

The average age of an inmate dying a “natural death” is 56, compared with 81 in the general population, the Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) on Deaths in Custody said.

The number of such deaths in prison has also increased from 103 in 2009 to 179 in 2020, the panel said in a letter to justice and health ministers in which they called for improved access to healthcare for inmates to avoid preventable deaths.

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Police and Crime General Teenage drug dealers posed as key workers during lockdown

Teenage county lines drug dealers posed as key workers during the coronavirus lockdown to evade police, London authority bosses have revealed.

City Hall's Rescue and Response's annual report found demand for drugs has been "very high" during lockdown. More than 3,000 people were identified as being exploited to move drugs from London to 41 towns and cities across the UK.

The youngest age of a dealer was 10 and the oldest 26, the report has revealed.

In 2018, the Mayor of London pledged £3m to the Rescue and Response programme and since then City Hall says more than 1,100 young Londoners have been referred for specialist support out of county lines drug dealing.

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COVID-19 Half of coronavirus fines go unpaid in England and Wales

Half the fines issued by police for breaches of coronavirus rules in England and Wales have not been paid and will be dealt with by the already beleaguered courts, it has been revealed.

By 22 September, 18,646 enforcement letters for payment of a fixed penalty notice (FPN) had been issued but 9,413 had not been paid and will be referred for prosecution in the courts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said.

Some people will not have paid the fine because they intend to formally contest the FPN.

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COVID-19 Crime is close to pre-lockdown levels, and fines given to the public rise as new regulations introduced

Provisional data from police forces in England and Wales shows police recorded crime is three per cent lower than in the same period as 2019. Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) given to the public for breaches of Coronavirus Regulations are also rising again.

Snapshot figures released today based on preliminary police recorded crime provided to the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 43 forces in England and Wales (excluding fraud, which is recorded by centrally by Action Fraud) cover the four weeks to 30 August compared with the same period in 2019.

This is the sixth crime trends update since the beginning of Coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions across England and Wales and indicates crime trends have returned close to pre-lockdown levels after a 28 per cent reduction at the height of lockdown.

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COVID-19 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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COVID-19 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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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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Police and Crime General 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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Technology Coronavirus: Police to be told they can use NHS Covid-19 app

Police officers in England and Wales are to be told they can download the NHS Covid-19 app on to their personal smartphones and use them at work.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) issued the guidance after carrying out its own technical review of the software.

Individual officers and other police staff will be informed on Wednesday.

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Police and Crime General Coronavirus Act's criminal offences must be repealed, campaigners say after 141 people unlawfully prosecuted

Campaigners have called for criminal offences created by the Coronavirus Act to be scrapped after the law was wrongly used to prosecute 141 people.

MPs will vote on whether to renew the act, which contains “some of the most sweeping powers seen in modern times”, on Wednesday amid threats of a Tory revolt.

It gives police the power to direct “potentially infectious persons” to a place suitable for screening and assessment, and take them by force if they refuse.

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Police and Crime General UK intelligence data 'would be deleted' in event of no-deal Brexit

British intelligence about terrorists and other serious criminals would have to be deleted from EU systems if the Brexit trade negotiations were to collapse, a former EU security commissioner has warned.

Sir Julian King, who was the UK’s last commissioner in Brussels until last year, said that in security terms “the difference between a deal and no deal is significant” and the negative impact would be felt immediately.

“UK [intelligence] data that was held in EU systems could – indeed would – be deleted, if there was no data adequacy arrangement covering how you share data,” said the former British diplomat in a briefing organised by the Royal United Services Institute.

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Police Finances Stockpile will see us through winter, says PPE tsar

The NHS and care homes will have more than enough personal protective equipment to see them through winter, the government’s PPE tsar has promised.

Lord Deighton said a four-month stockpile, due to be in place by November 1, “really does assume we are back into kind of April intensity on the front line”.

“I would be staggered if that isn’t a significantly conservative assumption,” he said. “So, while I’m telling you it is [going to last] four months, I’d be really surprised if it isn’t a lot more.”

Lord Deighton, who was brought in to lead the government’s efforts to get PPE in April, added: “I don’t have any concern about the next four weeks of production or delivery.”

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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'