Tag Archives: Home Office

Interested Parties Invited To Provide Information On Protests Outside Abortion Clinics

The Home Office is seeking views from interested parties about alleged harassment and intimidating behaviour near abortion clinics in England and Wales

Home Office

Home Office

It is the latest step in the review, announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd in November 2017, following reports that women have experienced intimidation from protesters when visiting family planning clinics to seek information, advice and services from medical professionals.

To understand the scale and nature of these protests, the Home Office is seeking evidence from policing partners, healthcare providers and local authorities as well as inviting contributions from groups protesting outside abortion clinics and people who have sought medical assistance or advice.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

An abortion is an incredibly personal decision for anyone to take, and so it is completely unacceptable for women to face harassment or intimidation for exercising their legal right to healthcare advice and treatment.

While everyone has a right to peaceful protest, this review is about ensuring the police, healthcare providers and local authorities have the right powers to protect women making these tough decisions.

The review is assessing if more needs to be done to protect those seeking medical assistance and covers:

  • the scale, frequency and nature of protests and the powers police have to manage them
  • the laws to protect people from harassment and intimidation
  • the public’s right to peaceful protest and exercise of freedom of speech, within the law
  • international comparisons given that similar protests have taken place in Australia, France, Canada and the United States

Work has already progressed to evaluate measures in place in other countries, such as buffer zones around clinics, with policing and healthcare partners providing further evidence for consideration.

The review is considering protests only, and will not consider any aspects of the Abortion Act 1967 which makes abortion legal in the United Kingdom.

All members of the public or organisations, who have experience of protest activity outside abortion clinics, are invited to contribute evidence to the review. You can complete the questionnaire online, or alternatively evidence can be provided directly to ACPReview@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

All contributions must be received by 19 February 2018.

Immigration Minister Signs Data Sharing Agreements With India On Criminal Records And Returns

The British and Indian governments have signed agreements on tackling international criminality and returning illegal migrants

British and Indian governments have signed agreements on tackling international criminality and returning illegal migrants

British and Indian governments have signed agreements on tackling international criminality and returning illegal migrants

Two documents, known as memorandums of understanding (MOUs), were initialled by Minister of Immigration Caroline Nokes and Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Thursday (January 11).

The new two-way deals reflect increased co-operation between the 2 countries which already enjoy a close relationship.

The MOU on criminal records exchange will lead to British and Indian law enforcement bodies sharing criminal records information, fingerprints and intelligence. This will assist the police in protecting the public from known criminals, including sex offenders. It will also allow the courts in both countries to access more information to support tougher sentencing decisions.

Meanwhile the agreement on returns paves the way for a quicker and more efficient process for documenting and returning Indian nationals who have no right to be in the UK to India. This has proven difficult in the past due to some Indians not having the required paperwork or travel documentation for them to be accepted back in their home country.

This agreement commits both countries to taking a more flexible approach to verifying the identity and nationality of individuals, which will help speed up the returns process.

Ms Nokes said:

I was very pleased to welcome the Indian Home Affairs Minister to the UK. The agreements we’ve signed cover the important issues of returns and criminal records exchanges to the mutual benefit of both countries. The Minister’s visit forms part of our ongoing dialogue and demonstrates the strong and positive relationship between our 2 nations.

As my predecessor in this role noted during his visit to India last November, we are determined to create a ‘living bridge’ of people, ideas, institutions and technology between our 2 great countries. These new agreements are yet another example of the value we place on our strong partnership.

Details of the types of information exchanged through the MOUs and operational procedures, together with the details of any restrictions on using or disclosing the information will be the subject of further negotiations. However, the documents recognise the need to respect privacy, civil liberties and human rights.

Mr Rijiju was visiting London at the invitation of Ms Nokes’ predecessor, the Rt Hon Brandon Lewis, following their successful meeting in India in November 2017.

In addition to formalising the 2 agreements, Mr Rijiju also visited Heathrow Airport to see first-hand how Border Force uses technology such as biometrics and e-passport gates.

Immigration Minister Visits Heathrow Airport

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes got an early feel for Border Force operations during a visit to Heathrow Airport on Wednesday 10 January

Home Office

Home Office

The minister, who was appointed to her new post on Monday 8 January, was met and briefed by Border Force Heathrow Director Mike Stepney on the important role officers have in protecting the UK border.

She saw roving officers with responsibility for safeguarding and modern slavery, and was given an overview of arrivals controls including ePassport gates. The minister also witnessed detection activity in the customs channels, including x-ray scanning equipment for drug swallowers, and detector dogs at work.

The visit concluded with a demonstration of Border Force’s work on the tarmac and freight areas of the airport. This included a search of freight goods by detector dogs and an aircraft which had recently landed.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:

I was really impressed by the breadth of activity at Heathrow during what was an incredibly interesting visit. What shone through was the dedication and professionalism of Border Force officers in keeping our country safe from illicit people and goods.

I am relishing the opportunity of taking on the immigration and borders brief for the Home Office and look forward to working with staff to keep our borders secure, while ensuring the UK remains open for business.

Border Force Deputy Chief Operating Office Mike Stepney said:

The minister was clearly impressed with the vital Border Force work she saw at Heathrow.

We will continue to crack down on all forms of criminal activity at the border including trafficking, smuggling and tax evasion.

Government Announces Plans To Extend Pub Opening Hours For Royal Wedding

Pubs, clubs, bars and other licensed premises could be allowed to stay open and sell alcohol on the premises later to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May under plans announced by the Home Secretary today

Pubs, clubs, bars and other licensed premises could be allowed to stay open

Pubs, clubs, bars and other licensed premises could be allowed to stay open

The government has launched a public consultation on plans to extend licensing hours on the nights of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May until 1am the following morning, to give everyone the chance to celebrate the occasion.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

The Royal Wedding will be a time of national celebration, and we want everyone to be able to make the most of such an historic occasion.

I hope that this relaxation of the licensing hours will allow people to extend their festivities and come together to mark what will be a very special moment for the country.

Licensing hours orders have previously been made for occasions of national significance including the Queen’s 90th birthday, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, and the World Cup in 2014.

Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds, said:

This is great news for pubs and pub-goers and shows the government has listened to our calls to put pubs at the heart of the Royal Wedding celebrations.

Visitors see the Great British pub as a cultural icon, almost as much as the Royal Family. Extended hours would give a £10million boost to the trade and make the most of the expected increase in tourism.

The government proposes to make a licensing hours order under Section 172 of the Licensing Act, which would extend opening hours for the sale of alcohol to benefit those premises in England and Wales which are not normally licensed until 1am.

The 4-week public consultation will give the public the opportunity to submit their views on the proposals. The government will also seek the views of specific stakeholders, including the police, licensing authorities and alcohol awareness groups.

The Royal Wedding will coincide with the FA Cup Final. There have been no reports of increased disorder as a result of the previous extensions to licensing hours including the extension for the weekend of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, which coincided with 2 Euro 2016 matches involving England and Wales, and the extension of licensing hours during the World Cup 2014.

Policing And Fire Minister Orders Fire And Rescue Authorities To Curb The Practice Of Boomerang Bosses

Home Office publishes consultation on revised fire and rescue National Framework for England

Home Office

Home Office

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd has today (27 December) announced new rules to crack down on the employment of ‘boomerang bosses’ in England’s fire and rescue services.

The practice has seen senior fire officers retire from their post only to be re-appointed almost immediately and take advantage of favourable pay and pension terms potentially worth more than £20,000 a year.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said:

This Government is reforming fire and rescue services to ensure they are more accountable and effective in performing their vital duties.

The practice of boomerang bosses is not acceptable, which is why we have taken action to rule it out.

It undermines confidence in the fire and rescue services, who do such a brilliant job keeping us safe and gives the impression there is one rule for rank and file firefighters and another for those at the top.

Following a consultation earlier this year, the Home Office is issuing new rules preventing fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) re-appointing senior fire officers post-retirement other than in exceptional circumstances. Any re-appointments will have to be agreed by a vote of the members of the FRAs and should only be considered where it is necessary to protect public safety.

A long-serving chief fire officer on a typical salary of around £140,000 can potentially access a lump sum from their pension pot of over £400,000 and then avoid employee pension contributions of more than £20,000 a year after being re-employed in the same role.

The new rules are included in a revised Fire and Rescue National Framework for England being consulted on today. The Framework, last issued in 2012, sets priorities and objectives for fire and rescue authorities in England and has been revised to reflect the Government’s fire reform programme.

The Home Office will further review and update the National Framework in due course to ensure that recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the final report of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety are appropriately reflected.

The revised Framework will:

  • outline the role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service and the National Fire Chiefs Council in England;
  • embed the transformation of local governance arrangements where Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners take on responsibility for fire and rescue services; and
  • support the ambitious programme for workforce reform including enhancing professional standards, management, leadership, training, equality and diversity.
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