Home Office proposals to create knife crime prevention orders, which are due to be debated by MPs for the first time on Tuesday 26 March, could criminalise thousands of children who are themselves victims of slavery, trafficking or criminal exploitation.
A joint briefing by the Prison Reform Trust and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, sent to MPs ahead of the House of Commons debate, warns that there are insufficient safeguards built into the proposed legislation to ensure that the full circumstances of the child are taken into account by the police applying for the orders and the court before an order is imposed.
As well as unnecessarily criminalising vulnerable children, this could lead to inappropriate restrictions being imposed which could place the child at increased risk of neglect or abuse.
At approximately 2.45pm on 21 March 2019, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) was subjected to a multi-pronged, sustained cyber attack.
This is separate to the first attack which happened on 9 March and as a result the advice website set up following the first incident has also been affected.
Early indications show that the attack was different from the first and has affected the wider Federation network, including the majority of local Federation Branch Boards.
There is no evidence as yet that data has been taken and the Federation is working with cyber-crime experts to establish full facts and stabilise the situation.
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The Government has received another stark reminder of the knife crime epidemic gripping the country as official statistics show the number of offensive weapon offences dealt with by the Criminal Justice System is at its highest for almost a decade.
Reacting to the figures, which were released today (14 March) by the Ministry of Justice, National Chair of the Police Federation John Apter said: “These statistic confirm what I, and my members, know to be true - that knife crime is increasing and is devastating our communities.
“They are also indicative of the hard work and dedication shown by police officers in tackling this issue and bringing those who do choose to carry weapons to justice despite there being almost 22,000 fewer of them than there were in 2010.
“And they send a strong message that those found in possession of knives will be dealt with seriously and robustly by the police, and the criminal justice system.”
Swasie Turner MBE is a former police officer who was seriously injured in the line of duty. A long-time wheelchair user, he has raised money for various charities by climbing and racing in his wheelchair, as well as event speaking. Here, the outspoken Swasie discusses the need to use one’s initiative... and what happens when toeing the line goes one step too far...
For my ‘maiden’ column for the Custodial Review magazine I would like to highlight the ongoing and unbelievable incidents that prevail via those egotists who continue to abuse their power out and about on our streets. Not only do our national newspapers furnish me with daily examples of absolute lunacy by some who are completely devoid of initiative, sympathy or even simple understanding, but I too continually witness such examples as I push my trusty 47lb front-castored NHS wheelchair (a ‘legacy’ of my front line police service) out and about each day. I can’t believe the behaviour of some of those who are given a uniform and told to ‘administer justice’ as they patrol the streets as various wardens, ie – traffic, dog, litter etc.
National Chair John Apter has dismissed the late publication of the Home Office’s response to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) as ‘not worth waiting for’.
The Federation evidenced the need for three-year pay deal, comprising of a 5% uplift in police officer pay this year, in 2020/21 and again in 2021/22, as a start on the road to rectifying years of below-inflation pay awards.
However in its PRRB submission, which comes nearly a month after it was expected, the Home Office says it will only make £70 million available, which equates to a pay rise of just 1.3% if spent over a 12 month period - considerably less than the recent 2.7% increase awarded to MPs.
John Apter, said: “I wish I could say it was worth waiting for. I wish I could say it had taken the additional weeks to read our published evidence and concede that, in the face of such comprehensive research and analysis, it had decided to agree with us and suggest officers receive 5% per year for each of the next three years. I wish I could, but I can’t.
The CPS’s outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders spoke recently about the British Criminal Justice System “creaking” under the pressure of huge amounts of data being submitted for investigation.
For anyone working in the system, it is clear that there is a cause for concern for the future of convictions due to a lack of resources and an inability to keep up with the flood of data that new technology is presenting.
Chorus Intelligence, a provider of data cleansing and analysis software, has launched a new product, Chorus Investigator, which will help tackle the data issue following successful trials in a number of forces.
John Seddon, an iconoclastic management thinker, offers his insight into policing methods and how the system should be changed to reduce failure demand...
Failure demand is demand caused by a failure to do something or do something right for the customer (Seddon 2003) – in the case of policing, right for the citizen. It is not uncommon to find that over 75% of demand into police forces is failure demand. Currently a few forces have clubbed together to fund an academic study into the volumes of failure demand into policing. I’d advise them not to bother. They won’t learn anything useful.
Failure demand is a signal, a signal of ineffectiveness. To remove it – as many large organisations have done – requires understanding the causes of ineffectiveness and, from there, designing a service that works for citizens. To put it another way, failure demand is systemic, you won’t get rid of it until you change the system.
Richard Helson, customer relationship director at Chorus Intelligence, tells Custodial Review about the need to change tack which it comes to tackling county lines crime…
A recent report by the Public Accounts Select Committee concluded that the police are taking longer to charge suspects, with fewer arrests and reduced numbers of patrol officers. On top of this, we are fighting against growth in the use of technology, by criminals.
Efforts to stop children joining gangs and getting involved in violent crime will be undermined if the Government makes further cuts to the money councils receive to tackle youth offending, town halls warn today.
This comes as figures show that youth justice grants, which fund the vital work of youth offending teams (YOTs) within councils, have been halved from £145 million in 2010/11 to £71.5 million in 2018/19.
The Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, says further funding cuts would seriously hamper efforts to provide vital support to young people and protect them from criminal activity, such as becoming involved in knife violence or “county line” gangs.
Councils are currently waiting to find out their youth justice grant allocations for 2019/20, despite already having had to set their overall annual budgets.