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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media blog: Thursday 7 March

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Home Office in the media

Today's Home Office in the media blog focuses on coverage of knife crime, a review into Tier 1 visas and male sexual assault.

Knife crime

Knife crime continues to receive widespread coverage this morning.

The Telegraph reports that police chiefs are drawing up plans to spend £10m on a surge of extra officers to tackle knife crime in target areas across the UK after a crisis meeting with the Home Secretary.

The Sun and Mirror report that a young man was attacked in his home in Leyton yesterday. The Mirror also notes that senior Labour politicians have written to the Prime Minister demanding the urgent recruitment of 10,000 new police and a cash boost for youth services.

Meanwhile, the Times suggests that the PM is set to reverse her reforms and make it easier for police to use stop-and-search to combat knife crime. Changes to the operation of Section 60 powers could be announced within days after police leaders sought the removal of restrictions, although they are yet to be signed off. The paper says the proposed changes will allow an inspector to authorise their use, instead of an officer of at least assistant chief constable or commander level.

The Mail and Sun also report on proposed plans from No.10, suggesting that potential knife offenders will be treated in the same way as potential jihadists. Under the new regime, councils, schools and agencies would be required to report children considered to be at risk of being dragged into knife and gang crime. The scheme, which could be launched by Theresa May within months, mirrors the Prevent programme.

Elsewhere, the Telegraph reports that thousands of knife crime offenders are escaping justice as the number of charges for possession drop. Fewer than half of knife possession offences result in a charge in the six months to September last year, according to police figures, with forces blaming the lack of investigative resources available. The latest figures follow MoJ data that showed that, even when offenders are charged, only 36% receive an immediate jail term. National Police Chiefs' Council lead for charging Sara Glen blames a decline in stop-and-search for the fall in charges.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

I am deeply concerned by the rise in serious violence brought into focus by the murders in London and Manchester. We are working hard with police and other partners and agree that it requires action on many fronts.

I’m listening to the police officers and the purpose of this meeting was to discuss what more can be done.

But it’s not just about law enforcement. It’s a huge part, but it’s also about early intervention and how we stop people turning to crime, that’s about working across Government and public bodies.

Tier 1 visa review

The FT and Times report prominently that the world’s wealthy face a ‘golden visa’ crackdown after the Government proposed new rules for Tier 1 visa applicants.

Wealthy investors from countries such as Russia who want to settle in Britain will face stricter rules on so-called golden visas following the Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack, the FT reports on its front page

Transparency International has criticised the shake-up and said the proposals are "far more modest" than those first envisaged by the Government.

From April, Home Office rules will require visa applicants to prove they have had control of more than £2million for at least two years, rather than 90 days.

The investments will need to be made in UK businesses, while investing in gilts will be excluded, in an attempt to increase the benefits to the British economy.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:

My priority is making sure that talented business people continue to see the UK as an attractive destination to develop their businesses. This will help create more jobs across the country and ensure our economy continues to thrive.

These visa routes will be run in partnership with business experts to make sure the businesses benefit our economy and the UK remains a world-leading destination for pioneering businesspeople.

Male sexual assault

The Telegraph reports that television dramas about male rape have contributed to a 57 per cent rise in men and boys aged over 13 reporting sexual assaults.

A report, published today by the Home Office, cited a Coronation Street male rape story about a hairdresser being sexually assaulted, the Telegraph reports. The storyline led to a 1,700 per cent increase in calls to the national male survivor helpline.

The paper notes the Government has published its commitment to supporting male abuse victims in a separate paper but as part of the cross-Government strategy on ending violence against women and girls.

Government measures include granting specialist organisations who support make victims with £1million, the paper reports.

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerabilities, Victoria Atkins said:

Men can, and do, suffer from crimes such as domestic and sexual abuse. It is a horrendous experience that often goes unrecognised and it is heartbreaking some men feel they cannot report their experiences because of societal views around masculinity.

As a Government we are determined to bring these horrific crimes to light and support victims and survivors, regardless of gender.

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