In the media today there is widespread coverage of the series of violent incidents over the bank holiday weekend and reports on criticism of decisions around indefinite leave to remain applications.
Violent crime over the bank holiday weekend
On the Today programme, London Mayor Sadiq Khan commented on violent crime in the capital. He said that he has spoken to many young people, youth leaders, teachers and parents who say funding cuts to youth services, mental health services and other preventative services are contributing factors. When pressed, he said he supported targeted, intelligence-led stop and search, saying it was an “incredibly useful tool” for police when supported by body-worn cameras.
On Good Morning Britain, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham responded to yesterday’s shooting in the city. He said the immediate answer to gun crime is to stop cuts to policing, pointing out that Greater Manchester Police had lost 2,000 police officers since 2010. This was echoed by Dal Babu, a former Met Chief Superintendent, who said that a reduction in police numbers has meant less engagement with members of the public, which he said was demonstrated by the lower public confidence rates in the police.
All major papers report on the surge in violence over the weekend, and most have included the tweet by the Home Secretary condemning the violence and stating that he “will work with anyone determined to tackle it”.
The Guardian reports that the Metropolitan Police had extra officers on the streets over the bank holiday. The paper references the recently published Serious Violence Strategy, and claims in an editorial that it is “beyond the scope the Home Office, or even the Government” to tackle all the factors that must be addressed to tackle violent crime. However, the paper also says that policing cuts “have certainly not helped.”
In an editorial, the Telegraph states that fighting crime must be the top priority for the new Home Secretary, and that despite the challenges he faces in regard to immigration and Brexit, he will be “judged by the public primarily on his record dealing with crime”.
The Sun takes a different line and splashes on figures showing that violent crime involving children under the age of 10 rose by 38 per cent, according to police recorded crime figures. The paper also reports that police launched a “stop and search blitz” amid the rise in violence, and that while civil rights groups have criticised these tactics, police insist they are a useful tool.
The Express reports on calls from former Conservative MP, anti-knife campaigner and Serious Violence Taskforce member, Nick de Bois, for more armed officers to be deployed in high crime areas.
Finally, some papers, including the Times, state that “Britain’s increasingly violent gang culture” is partly linked to so-called drill music, a “nihilistic music defined by its lyrics about the sinister side of life in impoverished neighbourhoods”.
In response to the cases of violent crime over the weekend, a Home Office Spokesperson said:
The events over the weekend have been shocking. Serious violence is robbing too many young people of their futures, and the Home Secretary has made clear that he is determined to tackle it.
The evidence is very clear that the drivers of serious violence are complex and should not be reduced to individual factors. That's why our new Serious Violence Strategy will put a stronger focus on steering young people away from violence while continuing to ensure the strongest possible law enforcement response.
Tier 1 Indefinite Leave to Remain applications
The Guardian continues its coverage of the Home Office’ decision to refuse indefinite leave to remain (ILR) to highly skilled migrants on Tier 1 visas using paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules. The paper focuses on a case study of a Ministry of Defence engineer Owais Raja from Pakistan, whose profession is on the government’s “shortage occupation” list. The paper says he was refused ILR due to a tax mistake, but paid the £1,200 owed to HMRC within 24 hours of being alerted to the error.
A Home Office Spokesperson said:
It is vital that the correct decisions are made, particularly with complex Tier 1 applications that require detailed consideration and verification of evidence with HMRC. These robust checks are essential to avoid the potential abuse of our immigration or tax system.
Where we identify discrepancies between the income declared to the Home Office and to HMRC, we give applicants an opportunity to explain them before making a decision.
Where abuse is identified, we will act accordingly.