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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media: 29 January 2018

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Home Office in the media

Today’s Home Office coverage of interest includes stories on online sexual grooming, survivors of terror attacks and knives in schools.

Online sexual grooming

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has called on the Government to force social media firms to use artificial intelligence to stop people grooming children.

According to Freedom of Information figures released by the charity, girls aged 12-15 were the most likely to be approached online, with 22 per cent of victims being aged 11 or under.

The Times carries a quote from the NSPCC, urging the Government strengthen its internet safety strategy.

The Government’s response can be found below.

A Government spokesperson said:  

Online child grooming is an appalling crime that this Government is working to tackle.

We have provided law enforcement with the capabilities and resources they need to identify grooming victims and bring offenders to justice. Last year, we provided police forces in England and Wales with more than £20 million to enable dedicated officers to operate online in forums and chat rooms, to identify and pursue offenders.

But companies have to take all steps possible to prevent their platforms being used to abuse and exploit children and the Home Secretary has been clear that technology companies need to take on the challenge of online grooming.

Survivors Against Terror Group

The Mail and The Guardian are among the publications covering the formation of the Survivors Against Terror Group. The husband of Jo Cox, the brother of a Manchester bombing victim Martyn Hett, as well as the widow of Fusilier Lee Rigby are among the members of the campaign group, set up provide support to the victims and encourage improvements in policy towards victims.

The Home Secretary’s response welcoming the group's formation  can be found below.

Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said:

I have incredible admiration for the courage and dedication of everyone involved. Their ambition to bring positive change as a response to their horrific experiences is truly inspiring.

We are committed to providing the best support for victims of terrorism, and that is why last year we set up the Victims of Terrorism Unit which will make sure that support, both in the UK and overseas, is comprehensive and made swiftly available to those who need it.

I look forward to working with Survivors Against Terror to ensure that their experiences help shape the work we do.

Knives in school

According to an investigation by the i, there has been a 42 per cent increase in pupils carrying a weapon in school in the last two years, with 4,290 children arming themselves in the year up to last June. And of these cases of 563 received a custodial sentence.

The i carries a quote from Robert Buckland QC, Solicitor General for England and Wales, claiming the figures are “frightening”.

The Government’s response can be found below

A Government spokesperson said:

Schools are safe places and crime is very rare but any incident that does occur is completely unacceptable. That’s why we have put teachers back in charge of discipline and strengthened their powers so they can take action if they suspect a pupil has brought prohibited items including knives into school. Teachers can also search without consent and confiscate prohibited items.

Knife crime has devastating consequences and this Government is determined to tackle this and do all it can to break the deadly cycle and protect our children, families and communities.

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