https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/04/18/home-office-in-the-media-blog-thursday-18-april/

Home Office in the media blog: Thursday 18 April

Home Office in the media

Today's Home Office in the media stories include funding for police to tackle serious violence, protests in London and the update on the Kerslake report.

Serious violence funding

There is widespread coverage of the Home Office announcement of £51 million being awarded to police forces to tackle serious violence.

The Express report that the Home Secretary has made extra funding available so forces can deploy extra officers across the Easter weekend to try and tackle knife crime.

The Express carried an op-ed from the Home Secretary, who said he is ‘deeply concerned’ about serious violence, and he is doing everything in his power to ‘stop the bloodshed’. The Home Secretary also said that in addition to the £51 million being allocated to police forces, £35 million will be used to set up Violence Reduction Units, which will help stop ‘young people picking up knives in the first place.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Knife crime destroys lives and as Home Secretary I’m determined to do everything in my power to stamp it out.

This funding will help the police forces worst affected by violent crime to up their response, including by increasing the number of officers out on the streets over the Easter weekend.

The police are on the front line in the fight against serious violence and they have our full support.

Extinction Rebellion protests

There is widespread coverage of the continued climate change protests that have disrupted traffic and public transport in central London and across the country.

The Daily Mail is critical of the police response and accuse police of ‘surrendering’ to the protestors. The paper notes that the Home Secretary has written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to offer the force ‘whatever support it needs’.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The right to protest peacefully is a long-standing tradition in this country and a vital foundation of our democracy.

“People should be free to gather and demonstrate their views in public - provided they do so within the boundaries of law and without endangering the safety of the public.

In situations like we’ve seen in central London in recent days, it’s the police’s job to preserve the peace, protect the public and uphold the law.

They have the unwavering backing of the Home Secretary and he has written to the Met Commissioner to offer the force whatever support it needs.

Update on Kerslake review on arena security

The Independent, Guardian and the Today Programme report that Manchester Mayor’s progress report following the Kerslake Arena Review, which was commissioned following the Manchester Arena attack in 2017, says the local fire and rescue service is still unable to provide the specialist teams needed to respond to a terror attack by gunmen on multiple targets.

The Independent says Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is supporting "Martyn's Law", which is a campaign calling for a legal requirement for metal detectors and bag searches at large venues.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said:

Our thoughts remain with the victims of the attacks in Manchester and elsewhere in 2017 and we are determined to regularly review our security measures as our utmost priority is protecting our citizens.

Last June we published a strengthened version of the UK’s comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, which reflects the findings of a fundamental review of all aspects of counter-terrorism, to ensure we have the best response to the heightened threat in coming years.

I am grateful for the work Andy has done in helping shape and improve the people of Manchester’s security. The Government has already put many of the lessons learnt from 2017 in place and we are open to suggestions on what more we can all do to protect this country from terrorism.