Today's top stories includes coverage of attacks on frontline emergency service workers, EU citizens and drugs associated with GHB.
Assaults on emergency workers
The Home Secretary is quoted in today's Express splash as saying the Government stands with emergency service workers who are attacked on the front line.
The newspaper reports that according to the Crown Prosecution Service, the frontline workers are attacked 200,000 times a year.
The Express adds that only 9% of offenders reach the courts.
The Home Secretary says she is appalled in the rise of reports of assaults on emergency service workers and adds that the Government will consult on doubling the maximum sentence for offenders.
The Home Secretary's full statement can be found below.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The Government backs our emergency services workers who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us and will always stand with them in their work on the front line.
I have been appalled in the rise in reports of assaults on emergency service workers, which is why we are consulting on doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting workers in emergency services to ensure that the jail term truly fits the crime.
EU Citizens in the UK
The Guardian reports this morning on the European Parliament expressing "grave concern" about the attitude of the Government towards EU citizens living in the UK
In response, a Home Office spokesperson highlights that the UK Government has done far more than any other EU member state has done for British citizens.
According to the newspaper, the Government has been accused of creating "anxiety" in a resolution due to come before MEPs next week.
The Home Office has again made clear that EU citizens are our friends, colleagues and neighbours and we have provided certainty to over two million people who have been granted status through the EU settlement scheme.
A full statement can be found below.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
EU citizens are our friends, colleagues and neighbours. We recognise the enormous contribution they make to the UK and we want them to stay.
We have already provided certainty to over two million people who have been granted status through the EU Settlement Scheme. Our Scheme is free, there is plenty of support for applicants and, once the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes, EU citizens have until the end of June 2021 to apply.
We have done far more than any other EU member state has done for British citizens, and it’s time they adopted a similarly generous approach.
Drugs associated with GHB
The Daily Mail reports that gamma butyrolactone (GBL), a drug associated with Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), can be purchased through websites for £11 disguised as cleaning products.
The Mirror further reports that a loophole means a legal cleaning product which is converted by the body into GBH when taken can be bought online for 10p for an 'average' dose.
The Home Secretary has called for an urgent review into whether more stringent controls are needed for date-rape drugs such as GHB which convicted rapist Reynhard Sinaga used.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
The Home Secretary has asked the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to expedite a review into whether controls for drugs like GBL are tough enough.
But the law is already clear that selling or being in possession of these drugs is illegal, online and offline, and those caught buying or selling these harmful substances should feel the full force of the law.