https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/29/home-office-in-the-media-blog-thursday-29th-november/

Home Office in the media blog: Thursday 29th November

Home Office in the media

Today’s Home Office stories include coverage of the Security Minister's upcoming speech on post-Brexit security, county lines, migrant Channel crossing incidents and knife crime.

Security Minister’s Brexit speech

There is reporting in the Times, Telegraph, on the BBC website and across broadcast this morning of the Security Minister’s forthcoming speech on post-Brexit security.

The Telegraph states that Ben Wallace will warn that a no-deal Brexit will have a real impact on the UK’s abilities to cooperate with partners. The BBC online notes that the Minister is due to say that the “heart of effective security is close co-operation”.

In an interview this morning on Sky, the Minister said that there is potential for a cliff-edge for the country’s ability to protect itself if there is a no-deal. On the Today programme, the Minister was challenged over whether police and security services would stop doing their work because of a no-deal.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said:

The UK, through her experience of the last few decades has learnt that at the heart of effective security is close cooperation.

And we and Europe know, from bitter experience, that often when there is a mistake or when something has been missed that we find, time and time again, that it has been due to a failure of cooperation.

A no-deal situation would have a real impact on our ability to work with our European partners to protect the public.

This deal strikes the right balance to keep everyone safe. It will be an ambitious partnership that ensures we can continue to work with our European partners in tackling our shared threats.

County Lines

Sky is running a segment on County Lines following their investigation across the country focusing on gangs supplying drugs to cities, towns and villages.

The report states that the “ruthless” industry is worth more than £3m a day and gangs are violent and increasingly using young children as drug mules. It also highlights that there have been 500 arrests and nearly 100 county lines shut down in the past two weeks.

The segment notes that this “brutal” business is at least partly to blame for an increase of stabbings across the UK.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Exploiting vulnerable young people through county lines is an appalling crime and we are cracking down on the gangs and networks responsible for these deplorable acts.

The National County Lines Coordination Centre has significantly strengthened the police response to this issue and already led to a number of arrests, along with safeguarding hundreds of vulnerable young children.

In Essex, the police force has been awarded £664,000 from the Early Intervention Youth Fund, which provides funding to support children and young people at risk of criminal involvement or who have already offended, and organisations safeguarding those at risk of gang exploitation and county lines.

Dover migrant boats

The Telegraph, Times and Mail report that a plan to deploy more Border Force vessels to rescue migrants trying to cross the Channel in tiny boats risks encouraging more people smugglers, according to Whitehall sources.

Figures obtained by The Telegraph suggest about 200 migrants have attempted to reach Britain from France in the past two months. The piece also notes that the crisis prompted the Home Secretary to announce the possible deployment of an extra Border Force cutter amid warnings that extra ships would merely encourage attempted crossings.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

We have stepped up deployments of our coastal patrol vessels along the South-East coast in light of recent events. However, this is not an issue that can be resolved by maritime resources alone.

The Home Secretary has been clear the evidence shows there is organised criminal gang activity behind illegal migration attempts by small boats across the Channel, which we take extremely seriously.

We are working across Government and with both domestic and international agencies to respond to this issue. Today the Home Secretary confirmed that a new UK-France Coordination and Information Centre has opened in Calais as part of the ongoing co-operation between the UK and France to tackle criminality at the border.

Surge in fatal attacks on children

The Guardian reports that there has been a "big surge" in the numbers of young people killed by knives.

This year is on course to be the worst in a decade, with 37 children and teenagers stabbed to death so far, continuing an upward trend.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

We are working hard to tackle the devastating consequences of knife crime on families, children and communities through our Serious Violence Strategy. The Offensive Weapons Bill, which received cross-party support in the House of Commons, gives police extra powers to tackle knife crime – taking weapons out of the hands of young people.

The Strategy will provide £18million funding to 29 projects over the next two years through the new Early Intervention Youth Fund to support early intervention and prevention with children and young people.

We have created lesson packs for schools so they can teach young people about the dangers of knife crime, and the Home Secretary has also recently announced a £200 million Youth Endowment Fund to support prevention and early intervention over the next 10 years.