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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media blog: Wednesday 5 December

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Today's Home Office stories include the National Audit Office report on Windrush, a Met police officer facing prosecution over knocking a robber off a moped, and two Iranian migrants being picked up in the Channel yesterday.

Home Office in the media

Windrush warning signs ignored by Home Office

All the main papers and broadcasters report that a National Audit Office report has revealed that the Home Office ignored warning signs of Windrush and pursued “hostile environment” policies without considering the consequences. They also report the NAO says the Home Office has shown a “lack of curiosity” to establish how many people from non-Caribbean heritage had been impacted by these measures.

Media reports say that although the NAO is unable to say if the deportation targets established in 2004 contributed to the Windrush scandal, it concluded that the work of staff, along with measures to create a hostile environment for illegal migrants, contributed to a risk that people entitled to live in Britain would be affected.

A statement from NAO head Sir Amyas Morse is carried throughout coverage. He said: “The department is taking steps put things right for the Caribbean community but has shown a surprising lack of urgency to identify other groups that may have been affected.”

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The Home Secretary has issued a profound apology to the Windrush generation for the experiences they have faced and, as the NAO’s report acknowledges, our Taskforce has taken thousands of phone calls and helped over 2,400 people of any nationality prove their status in the UK.

The majority of those helped by the Taskforce are of Caribbean origin, but we have always been clear that it accepts applications under the Windrush scheme from people of any nationality who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and are settled here. We have worked hard to raise awareness of the support on offer across a wide range of communities.

“The Home Secretary is absolutely determined to right the wrongs of the past and an independent lessons learned review, led by Wendy Williams, has been set up to establish what went wrong and how to prevent it happening again. In the New Year, we will also outline details of the compensation scheme for those affected and how members of the Windrush generation can apply.

Police driver could be prosecuted for knocking robber off moped

All the main papers report that a Met police pursuit driver is under criminal investigation for knocking a teenage boy off a moped.

The Times reports that the driver used the controversial tactic to ram the moped and arrest the 17 year-old, who suffered serious head injuries and a broken foot, in South East London last November. The officer could face trial as part of an investigation into whether proper authorisation had been given when contact with the teenager was made. The Independent Office for Police Conduct interviewed the officer under caution and expects a decision on whether to recommend prosecution within weeks.

The Independent reports that this case is one of two incidents being investigated involving Scotland Yard’s “tactical contact” strategy, which has been publicly supported by Theresa May and Sajid Javid. The Times says that the Met introduced tactical contact to tackle moped enabled crime as part of a raft of measures that have cut the problem in London by a third. The Daily Star says that senior police officers have defended the use of tactical contact, saying that it is needed to stop dangerous chases.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“Police officers must have the confidence to pursue suspects where it is safe to do so and criminals should be in no doubt that they will not get away with a crime by simply driving recklessly.

“Our proposed changes will make sure that skilled police drivers who follow their rigorous training are protected, while ensuring the minority of officers who do cross the line are robustly held to account.

Two Iranian migrants picked up in channel

Two Iranian migrants were picked up by a patrol boat in the Channel yesterday, the Telegraph reports.

The migrants were on an inflatable spotted near St Margaret’s Bay in Kent in what was a rare daytime crossing attempt.

Ingrid Parrot, of the French Naval HQ, told the paper that the migrants thought they had calm waters to travel in but the weather and conditions soon became worse.

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.

“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.”

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