https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/10/5714/

Home Office in the media blog: Friday 10 May

Home Office in the media

Today's Home Office stories covers a report on the new Emergency Service Network communication system, deportations and Immigration Enforcement work.

Emergency Services Network cost

There is prominent coverage of a National Audit Office report which has revealed the new communication network for the emergency services will cost £3.1billion more than expected.

The Guardian, Mail, Telegraph, FT, Times, and BBC broadcasters (5Live, Today and BBC Breakfast) are all covering the report which has also found that the Emergency Services Network will be at least three years late and is not due to fully replace the existing system, Airwave, until 2022.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“The Emergency Services Network (ESN) is on track to deliver an ambitious, world-leading, digital communications network for the emergency services by 2022, resulting in savings of £200 million a year.

“It is already allowing people to make 999 calls from areas where it was previously impossible, with almost 400 new masts built so far in some of the most remote areas of Britain.

“When fully implemented, its mobile technology and infrastructure will transform the emergency response of police officers, fire fighters and ambulance crews. This will result in faster and better treatment for victims, including by allowing first responders to transmit footage of crime and accident scenes back to specialists in hospitals and police stations.”

Deportations

The Guardian splash reports that at least five people have been killed in Jamaica since March last year after being deported from the UK by the Home Office.

The revelations will, the paper says, increase pressure on the Home Office to justify the resumption in February of deportation charter flights to Jamaica, after they were suspended last year.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“We only return those with no legal right to remain in the UK, including foreign national offenders. Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts deem it is safe to do so.

“The Home Office works with a number of non-governmental organisations that provide support on arrival for returnees which includes general orientation, access to temporary accommodation, travel, vocational training, job referral and signposting services. We are committed to ensuring safe and dignified returns and reintegration is a key part of that.”

Immigration report

The Telegraph covers a report by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, which warns that tackling illegal immigration is being undermined by a growing backlash against the authorities since Windrush.

David Bolt said Windrush had a “significant” effect on enforcement activity as targets were abolished, removals of illegal workers fell and other agencies increasingly resisted helping Immigration Enforcement officers.

The paper reports that enforcement teams face growing attempts to disrupt their work through violence against officers or their property, threatening behaviour, verbal abuse and protests with some of the action appearing to have been coordinated through social media.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“We are committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally, but which tackles illegal immigration.

“Illegal working undercuts honest employers, puts vulnerable migrants at risk of exploitation, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment and defrauds the public purse. Tackling this damaging crime is a key Government priority.

“We are currently working closely with other Government departments, law enforcement agencies and employment sectors to develop new sources of intelligence, which will ensure we tackle illegal working in a broad range of industries. At the same time we are also making it easier for those here lawfully to demonstrate their status, for example through the introduction of an online checking service.”