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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media: 27 November 2017

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Home Office in the media

Today’s Home Office stories of interest include coverage around child grooming by drug gangs, BAME arrests, funding for the Metropolitan Police and catering in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

Child Grooming by drug gangs

According to an investigation by The Times, thousands of children are being used as drug runners in a practice known as ‘county lines’, where criminals attempt to avoid prosecution by grooming children to carry Class A drugs. Their recruitment process has been likened to the abusive and exploitative practices used in Rochdale and Rotherham.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is quoted as saying the issue is “out of control”. NCA officers claim they have identified more than 700 cases.

Please contact the NCA's press office for more information.

BAME arrests

The Independent reports that 26 per cent of child arrests were youngsters from minority ethnic backgrounds, more than double the proportion of BAME people in the UK.

The figures, disclosed by a Freedom of Information request, show 22,579 black or ethnic minority under 18s were arrested last year out of a total of 87,529. David Lammy is quoted as saying the statistics were of “real concern”, and Diane Abbot has called the number of arrests “appalling”.

The government’s response to the story can be found below.

A Government spokesperson said:

Discrimination is as unacceptable in the criminal justice system as it is anywhere else - race and ethnicity cannot be used as justification for an arrest.

The Government is committed to shining a light on injustice as never before which is why we published the Race Disparity Audit last month and will confront the issues it raised.

We are looking carefully at the recommendations in David Lammy's review.


Mayor of London on police and counter-terror funding

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has criticised the Chancellor for not mentioning counter-terrorism and police funding in last week’s Budget. Writing in the Metro, the Mr Khan claims the police have faced “deep real-terms cuts” and that the Metropolitan Police has made savings of £600m in savings over the last seven years.

The Home Office’s response to the story can be found below.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The Metropolitan Police is receiving over £2.5billion in taxpayer's money this financial year and this Government has protected overall police spending in real terms since the 2015 Spending Review. In March 2017 the Metropolitan Police Service had reserves of £240.2m and there are more officers for each Londoner than anywhere else in the country.

We recognise that demand on the police is changing, and we are very sensitive to the pressure they are under. That is why we are reviewing demand and resilience, as well as police plans for greater efficiency and prudent use of over £1.6billion financial reserves. The Metropolitan Police were found to "Require Improvement” in its PEEL Efficiency inspection.

Catering in Yarl’s Wood

The Daily Mail reports on catering services in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. The piece claims that Serco, the firm which runs the centre, has been urged to improve its catering following a report by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP). According to the piece, the inspectors criticised the “cultural diversity” of the cuisine.

The Home Office’s response to the story can be found below.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Detention and removal are essential parts of effective immigration controls. It is vital these are carried out with dignity and respect and we take the welfare of our detainees very seriously.

We welcome the Chief Inspector of Prisons' recognition that improvements have been made at the centre and we are taking action to address the recommendations.

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