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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media: Monday 5 August

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Home Office in the media

Today's Home Office media stories include rural crime figures, overseas students post Brexit and migrants crossing the Channel.

Rural crime figures reach seven-year high

The Guardian, Mail and Telegraph report that the NFU Mutual annual study found that rural crime has reached a seven-year high, costing Britain £50 million in 2018.

According to the articles, the study said people in rural areas were having to deal with “repeated thefts by gangs who take advantage of farms’ isolated locations to steal machinery, raid tool stores, and even butcher sheep in the fields”.

The Telegraph notes that night drone patrols have been launched by police investigating the slaughter of sheep as part of a new high-tech efforts to combat the “UK’s worst rural crime wave in seven years”. According to the article, the drones have been deployed after 80 animals were killed on farms in Northamptonshire before being butchered and sold illegally to restaurants and shops. Officers have said the drone will be used alongside extra ground patrols.

A Home Office spokesperson:

Being the victim of crime is traumatic whether you live in a town, city or the countryside. However, there are certain types of crime that mainly affect rural communities which is why we support the National Police Chief’s Council Rural Affairs Strategy launched last year.

This year and police funding increased by over £1 billion, including council tax and £100 million for forces worst affected by violent crime, and recently the Prime Minister and Home Secretary announced plans to recruit 20,000 more police.

Overseas students post Brexit

The Guardian reports that Britain will need to raise its game after Brexit to persuade overseas students to stay and work once their studies are over, according to a report for the Scottish Government.

Paulina Trevena of Glasgow University’s School of Social and Political Sciences carried out the review which compared Britain’s current post-study work offer, and that proposed after Brexit, with nine other countries.

The paper reports that, since removing the post-study work visa in 2012 the UK now allows international students to remain in the country for four months to look for work once their studies are completed. Under post-Brexit immigration proposals, this would increase to six months for graduates with bachelor's and master's degrees and a year for PhD level graduates.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

As the Prime Minister has said, he wants an immigration system that attracts the brightest and best talent from around the world, which is based on what someone can contribute rather than where they come from.

This includes delivering an Australian-style points-based immigration system, and as a first step the Home Secretary has confirmed that she will commission the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review this.

Migrants crossing the Channel

The Times, Metro, Guardian, Sun, Star, Mail and Telegraph all report that nearly 40 migrants have been found in Britain after making the journey across the Channel on small boats in three separate incidents on Saturday.

They report that twenty people were found in the Dungeness area of Kent after a small boat arrived on Saturday. They add that a cutter also intercepted another boat carrying 11 men and brought them to Dover. In a further incident, three adults and three children were found by police in Sussex having arrived in a small boat. The papers report that in all cases, the migrants said they were Iranian or Iraqi nationals. Papers report that the adults have been transferred to immigration officials while the children are in the care of social services.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.

Since December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations, we have agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and since January more than 50 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.

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