https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/10/home-office-in-the-media-blog-wednesday-10-july-2/

Home Office in the media blog: Wednesday 10 July

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Today's leading stories include coverage of the Front Line review into the experiences of police officers, and the Public Accounts Committee hearing into abuse of the student visa system.

Front Line Review

The Independent, Times, Telegraph and Today Programme cover the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report conducted for the Home Office's Front Line review.

According to coverage, the report stated participants are said to be "overloaded, working under constant pressure, feeling less able to do a good job serving the public and solving crime and having increased stress/mental and physical health problems (including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, other diagnosed conditions).”

The Today Programme says that in light of the findings, Policing Minister Nick Hurd will announce more mental health support for officers. BBC bulletins carry a short segment of the Policing Minister saying: “I knew it was tough for our police and I wanted to know the truth. We've had clear messages about the need for more people and better technology.”

The Telegraph and Times focus on findings of the report around the bureaucracy faced by officers and noting they are “burdened by too much information gathering, over-recording and disproportionate administration requirements.”

Minister for Policing and Fire, Nick Hurd, said:

We wanted to hear directly from the front line of policing and the messages were clear.

The need for more people. The call to stop wasting police time. The desire for more of a say in the decisions that affect the front line. The need for more time and support for both training and wellbeing.

We have listened and now we are taking action with our partners to make sure police officers; staff and volunteers have the support they need, wherever they serve. This is on top of the increased investment to recruit more officers.

TOEIC inquest

The Guardian reports that an inquiry into the way the Government treated tens of thousands of international students, who may have been wrongly accused of cheating in a language test, begins today with MPs questioning the most senior civil servants in the Home Office.

The article notes that the Public Accounts Committee’s hearing will be the latest in a series of official attempts to investigate why the Home Office decided to accuse more than 30,000 international students of cheating in a test they were required to sit as part of their visa-application process.

According to the article, the Permanent and Second Secretaries, Sir Philip Rutnam and Shona Dunn, will face questioning by MPs.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

As the National Audit Office have highlighted, the Tier 4 system was subject to widespread abuse in 2014 and almost all those involved in the cheating were linked to private colleges which the Home Office already had significant concerns about.

The report is clear on the scale and organised nature of the abuse, which is demonstrated by the fact that 25 people who facilitated this fraud have received criminal convictions.

The Home Secretary is considering the findings of the NAO report. He will then make a statement to Parliament.

 

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