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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media: Thursday 12 September

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Today's Home Office media stories include rape prosecution figures, Domestic Abuse Bill, and migrant boats.

Rape prosecutions

The Today programme and BBC Breakfast this morning cover a report from CPS which reveals that the number of charges and prosecutions for rape have fallen to their lowest level despite the number of offences being recorded by police rising to its highest level.

The Today programme reports that campaigners have said that this is a result of the CPS imposing a new approach to rape cases and screening them out earlier. The CPS denies this and has said it has received fewer rape referrals from police and that cases are more complex due to digital data.

A Government Spokesperson said:

We are extremely concerned by these figures. Victims of rape deserve better and work is required across the whole system.

We welcome the inspectorate's review of charging decisions, but more must be done.

The Government have increased funding for the Crown Prosecution Service by £85m over the next two years and we will consider what further action is needed once our own end-to-end review of the system is completed in the coming months.

Domestic abuse

The Today programme reports on comments from former family courts president Sir James Munby, who has said that he is "dismayed" and "frustrated" that the Domestic Abuse Bill might fail to become law because of the prorogation.

The programme reports that it will be up to the Prime Minister to decide to take forward the legislation, proposed by Theresa May.

A Government spokesperson said:

Domestic abuse shatters lives and tears families apart. The Government remains absolutely committed to legislating to support victims of this horrific crime.

The forthcoming Queen’s Speech will set out our legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament.

Migrant boats

There is coverage this morning of the latest migrant attempts to cross the Channel in the Guardian, Independent, Times, Mail, Express, Mirror and Metro.

According to the articles, two boats carrying 21 migrants were intercepted in the Channel yesterday after a suspected record number made the journey the day before.

The Times reports that a total of 107 migrants have attempted the crossing in just over 24 hours as people smugglers tell them to get to Britain before Brexit.

The Independent and Guardian note that charities claim large-scale evictions of makeshift camps in Calais are fuelling a rise in attempted crossings as the situation for displaced people reaches a “tipping point”. The articles report that last month the Home Secretary said urgent action was needed to put a stop to the crossings after she met the French Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Crossing the Channel in a small boat is a huge risk. The criminal gangs who perpetuate this are ruthless and do not care about loss of life.

We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity. In addition, Border Force cutters are patrolling the Channel and we have already deployed equipment including drones, CCTV and night vision goggles.

Last month the Home Secretary and her French counterpart agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel. This includes drawing up an enhanced action plan to deploy more resources along the French coast to intercept and stop crossings.

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