https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/22/home-office-in-the-media-22-february-2018/

Home Office in the media: 22 February 2018

Today’s Home Office-related coverage includes the sentencing of two people smugglers, claims about detainees’ welfare after an incident during an escort and the immigration status of some Commonwealth nationals.

Supreme Court judgment

There is widespread coverage of the Supreme Court rejecting the Metropolitan Police’s appeal of a High Court ruling, relating to the legal principles of when investigations of serious crimes could impact on policing.

Some of the coverage notes that the Metropolitan Police was supported in its legal challenge by the Home Office.

A Home Office statement on the Supreme Court judgment can be found below.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The appeal was about wider legal principles concerning the investigation of serious crime which could have significant implications for operational policing – and which went beyond the case of John Worboys and his abhorrent crimes.

It is right that all parties consider the Supreme Court judgment to ensure the right balance is struck between operational decisions and ensuring that allegations made by victims are properly investigated.

People smugglers jailed

The Times, Express, BBC News and The News (Portsmouth) carry stories on the sentencing of Ukrainian smugglers Dmytro Kruik and Vladyslav Kurtoglu, who were caught by Border Force near Hayling Island trying to smuggle six people into the country.

Kruik was jailed for three years and nine months and Kurtoglu to six years during sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Below are comments from Lyn Sari of the Criminal and Financial Investigations team and Doug Mclellan Head of the Border Force Martime Command.

Lyn Sari of the Criminal and Financial Investigations team

This was a carefully planned criminal operation. Evidence showed that Kriuk and Kurtoglu had plotted the route into Hayling Island in advance and that they had scouted the embarkation point to ensure they could get people on board away from security cameras. They had even laid a trail of fake paperwork in an attempt to cover their tracks.

The relaxed selfie that Kriuk took en route to the UK is indicative of how confident they were of success. A confidence that no doubt quickly ebbed away when they were intercepted by our Border Force colleagues.

My officers are specialists in uncovering crimes involving abuse of the UK’s immigration laws and work closely with other law enforcement partners such as the National Crime Agency to bring offenders like Kriuk and Kurtoglu to justice.

Doug Mclellan, Head of the Border Force Martime Command said:

The coastal patrol vessel ‘Alert’ moved swiftly to intercept the Tazik as it headed towards the UK’s coastline last May.

Kriuk informed officers that there were four people on board and that this was ‘just a trip’ which was far from the truth.  Six people were discovered crammed onto the small vessel, including two hidden in the lower decks.

Coastal patrol vessels carry out regular patrols of UK waters, and Border Force’s interventions in this case led directly to the prosecution of a pair of people smugglers intent on breaking the UK’s immigration laws.

Detainee welfare

The Guardian reports claims that immigration detainees were handcuffed by escort staff before being removed from a vehicle that caught fire while taking them to their deportation flight, in violation of Home Office rules.

A spokesperson for Capita, which owns the security firm that oversaw the operation, is quoted as saying it was “factually inaccurate that when the fire was identified the individuals were then handcuffed.”

A Home Office statement is included and available below.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

There was an incident involving a Home Office vehicle on the evening of Wednesday 14th February. All those on board were safely evacuated from the vehicle.”

The welfare of all those in our care is of the utmost importance and we expect detainees to be treated with dignity and respect.

Immigration status of Commonwealth nationals

The Guardian reports on several cases of former Commonwealth citizens who have lived in the UK for almost all their lives but are purportedly now facing immigration enforcement action because of difficulty in obtaining documentation to prove their right to remain.

A Home Office statement can be found below.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Those who have resided in the UK for an extended period but feel they may not have the correct documentation confirming their leave to remain should take legal advice and submit the appropriate application with correct documentation so we can progress the case.

Each application is considered on its individual merits but where the Home Office requires evidence of a person's residency, the onus is on the applicant to be able to provide this proof.