Today’s Home Office coverage includes reporting on the role of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners and forced marriage prosecutions.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners
The Telegraph reports that around a quarter of the 37 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England are either in the process of, or are considering, applying for the role of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
The paper says the police and fire services will be expected to work closer together in a move likely to see them sharing premises, call centres and, in some cases, community roles. David Lloyd, PCC for Hertfordshire, has been quoted on his suggestion that the search for missing people was one area where firefighters skills could be used. It also notes that Essex PCC, Roger Hirst, will become the first to take on governance of the local fire service from October, with other forces across the country expected to follow suit.
The Fire Brigades Union is quoted describing it as a "hostile takeover" and said firefighters did not want to lose the distinction between humanitarian work and a law enforcement role.
Further information on the approval of Mr Hirst's business case in Essex is available here.
The Times reports that only one in 30 suspected forced marriages in England is leading to a prosecution, despite 8,170 cases identified by the Government’s forced marriage unit in the past seven years. The paper says that there have only been 395 referrals to the CPS since 2010, with 268 prosecutions completed. Our response can be found below.
A Government spokesperson said:
Forced marriage is often a hidden crime, and we want to ensure victims have the confidence to come forward and perpetrators are brought to justice. That is why we introduced lifelong anonymity for victims earlier this year.
We made forced marriage a criminal offence in 2014 to better protect victims and send a clear message that this abhorrent practice will not be tolerated in the UK. We are encouraged by the first conviction, but we know there is more to do and will continue to work with the police, CPS and others to ensure perpetrators face justice for their crimes.