Tag Archives: UK Home Office

RUSI launches Strategic Hub for organised crime research in the UK and overseas

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has announced the launch of a new Strategic Hub designed to explore and tackle serious and organised crime by way of high level research. The new hub will develop a world class research agenda that meets the needs of both policy makers and practitioners in the field.

The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research has been initiated in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK.

The harmful impacts of organised crime in the UK are becoming more visible, from new areas such as cyber crime, trafficking in cultural objects and match fixing through to traditional activities like drug trafficking.

The cost of organised crime in the UK is estimated to be at least £24 billion, with a significant impact on communities, families and individuals. Further afield, organised crime undermines development assistance and contributes to instability.

In response, the Home Office has developed the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and established the National Crime Agency. The strategy takes an holistic approach to organised crime, seeking to Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.

RUSI has launched a Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK

RUSI has launched a Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK

Addressing gaps in understanding

Despite the Government’s renewed focus on combating organised crime, there are still gaps in the understanding of the scale and nature of organised crime in the UK and overseas, the effectiveness of strategies to disrupt it and pathways into and out of organised criminality. These gaps undermine attempts to address organised crime on a global basis.

The new Strategic Hub will fill this knowledge gap. Bringing together academic researchers and policy makers, the hub will create greater connectivity between policy concerns and rigorous enquiry.

Initially, the Strategic Hub will work with partners and the academic community to assess what strategies are effective at disrupting organised crime, what criminal markets look like and where the vulnerabilities lie in the system. The Hub also aims to develop new methodologies to examine these and related issues.

Priorities will be examined by policy makers, academics and researchers during a conference to be held at RUSI on 8 December 2014.

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£850 million spent on managing foreign national offenders in UK during 2013-2014 but Home Office making “slower progress than expected” states NAO

Despite increased resources and the introduction of tougher powers, the Home Office has made “slower progress than expected” in managing foreign national offenders in the UK and in removing them to their home countries.

Today’s report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) highlights the fact that the number of foreign national offenders in prison and the numbers deported from the UK have remained broadly unchanged since 2006.

Across that period, the number of foreign nationals in prison in the UK increased slightly (by 4%) from 10,231 to 10,649 despite a ten-fold rise in the number of Home Office staff working on foreign national offender casework.

In the wake of an initial surge in the numbers removed from 2,856 in 2006-2007 to 5,613 in 2008-2009 (following the problems in 2006 when the Home Office discovered that 1,013 foreign national offenders had been released without being considered for deportation), removal numbers have now declined to 5,097 in 2013-2014.

With regard to prevention and early action, according to the NAO “the Government did relatively little” before December 2012 to tackle the problem of potential foreign national offenders entering the UK. A new 2013 Action Plan focused efforts on this aspect of prevention but, suggests the NAO, it lacks “a structured and informed approach”.

The Home Office is looking at better use of intelligence databases and has changed its immigration rules, but progress in modernising its border information system – designated the Warnings Index – has been slow. Indeed, the NAO estimates that £70 million could be saved every year if all early identification opportunities were duly seized and acted upon.

Despite increased resources and tougher powers, the Home Office has made slower progress than expected in managing foreign national offenders in the UK and in removing them to their home countries

Despite increased resources and tougher powers, the Home Office has made slower progress than expected in managing foreign national offenders in the UK and in removing them to their home countries

Barriers to removal are “considerable”

Today’s NAO report recognises that the barriers to foreign national offender removals are “considerable”. These barriers include foreign national offenders exploiting legal and medical obstacles to their removal. However, the spending watchdog identifies measures and opportunities for making progress which are not being maximised.

An analysis of 1,453 failed removals in 2013-2014 indicates that at least one third might have been avoided through “better co-ordination of the bodies involved” and “fewer administrative errors”.

Following a change of approach from April 2013 onwards, all foreign national offenders are now considered for deportation. This has increased removal numbers from 4,722 in 2012-2013 to 5,097 in 2013-2014.

The time taken to deport foreign national offenders has also reduced from an average of 369 days in 2012-2013 to 319 days come 2013-2014. However, according to the NAO, delays in starting cases and an over-reliance on form-filling mean that there remains “considerable scope” for speeding up the process.

Greater use of early removal schemes could also save money. The NAO estimates that the 37% of foreign national offenders who left as part of the Early Removal Scheme in 2013-2014 saved £27.5 million by reducing the average number of days spent in prison by 146.

The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice do not use cost data to manage foreign national offenders, but the NAO estimates that, during 2013-2014, public bodies spent no less than £850 million on managing and removing these offenders. That figure equates to around £70,000 per offender.

The NAO states that, since 2006, the Home Office has made “limited progress” in removing foreign national offenders who’ve completed their sentences. By the end of March this year, more than one-in-six foreign national offenders living in the community (760, in fact) had absconded. This figure represents a rise of 6% since 2010.

Furthermore, 395 absconders have been missing since before 2010. 58 of them are designated ‘high harm individuals’.

Despite the 2006 crisis, the Home Office did not keep records of foreign national offenders released without consideration for deportation before January 2009. The Department estimates that 151 such offenders have been released without consideration since that point in time.

Amyas Morse: head of the National Audit Office

Amyas Morse: head of the National Audit Office

Commenting on today’s report, Amyas Morse – head of the National Audit Office – stated: “It’s no easy matter to manage foreign national offenders in the UK and to deport those who have completed their sentences. However, too little progress has been made, despite the increased resources and effort devoted to this problem.”

Morse added: “The Government’s focus on preventative measures and early action is promising, but it has only just started to exploit these options. The Government needs to build on the momentum of its recent Action Plan, in particular taking advantage of relatively inexpensive and straightforward opportunities to make progress.”

Foreign national offenders in the UK: the top line statistics

12,250
Foreign national offenders in England and Wales serving in prison and living in the community after prison pending removal action (as at the end of March 2014)

5,100
Foreign national offenders removed from the UK (during 2013-2014)

£850 million
The NAO’s estimate of public spending on managing and removing foreign national offenders (during 2013-2014)

10,650
Foreign nationals in the prison estate in England and Wales as at 31 March 2014 (of whom 2,600 were on remand or not sentenced)

30%
Proportion of arrested foreign nationals on which police carried out an overseas criminal record check through the ACPO Criminal Records Office (2013-2014)

1 in 25
Foreign national offender files arriving at the Home Office to start processing for removal which have sufficient identity documents

139
Number of days (on average) foreign national offenders are removed from the UK after the end of their sentence in 2013-2014

146
Prison days saved (on average) as a result of foreign national offenders being removed as part of early removal schemes in 2013-2014

37%
Proportion of foreign national offenders removed from the UK which were part of early removal schemes (2013-2014)

4,200
Foreign national offenders living in the community pending removal at the end of March 2014

1 in 6
Foreign national offenders living in the community that had absconded at the end of March 2014

151
Departmental estimate of foreign national offenders released from prison without being considered for deportation (January 2009-March 2014)

Comment from the Committee of Public Accounts

The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed by the House of Commons to examine “the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted to Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the Committee may think fit”.

Margaret Hodge MP – current chair of the Committee of Public Accounts – has commented on the NAO report.

“The Committee of Public Accounts has said that deporting foreign national offenders would be the best way of reducing the cost of the prison system,” declared Hodge, “and yet the Government’s performance in reducing the number of foreign national prisoners continues to be frustratingly poor. I’m astounded that the number of foreign nationals in prisons has increased to 10,649 since 2006 and that, of those released, 760 currently waiting to be deported have disappeared and around 150 are thought not to have been considered for deportation.”

The MP continued: “It’s appalling that only 30% of potential foreign national offenders in custody were searched on immigration databases to see if they had committed crimes overseas.”

Margaret Hodge MP

Margaret Hodge MP

In addition, Hodge said: “All this is despite the ten-fold increase in the number of officials working to deport foreign national offenders, from fewer than 100 officials to over 900, and an estimated £850 million of taxpayers’ money spent on managing and removing foreign national offenders in 2013-2014. It beggars belief that the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are managing the removal of foreign national offenders without knowing basic costs and how best to target their resources.”

As far as Hodge is concerned: “Government is not helping itself. The continued use of outdated IT and too much reliance on form-filling means that crucial checks and information gathering are not happening at the right time. Given its poor track record, Government will need to take huge strides in order to improve its management of foreign national offenders through its still-evolving 2013 cross-Government Action Plan.”

Officials from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are due to appear before the Committee on 5 November.

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Home Office rewards police innovation with £50 million fund

The Home Office has announced that every police force in England and Wales will receive its share of a £50 million Home Office fund for projects aimed at transforming policing through innovation and collaboration.

The successful schemes have included investment in body-worn cameras, ground-breaking forensics techniques and joint working between the police and the fire service.

Forces were awarded money for new approaches to tackling anti-social behaviour and rural crime, a project to help young runaways and work designed to improve the way in which the police service interacts with individuals who have mental health problems.

Mike Penning MP

Mike Penning MP

New policing minister Mike Penning MP said: “I’m delighted that every police force in the country showed such a positive, forward-thinking attitude and came to us with new ideas and ways of working. It meant we could allocate £50 million to some really innovative projects, and I’m already looking forward to visiting forces and seeing the results.”

Penning added: “Crime has fallen by more than 10% under this Government. I believe we can help the police do their job even better by encouraging them to embrace new technology and build on ideas coming from the grass roots.”

The Police Innovation Fund

The Police Innovation Fund is in its first full year of operation and up to £50 million will be allocated every 12 months.

Earlier this year, the Home Office made a precursor fund of £20 million available to Police and Crime Commissioners.

Each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales will benefit from the fund in 2014.

Among the most innovative of the 85 proposals to receive funding this time were:

*a joint bid of £431,000 by Nottinghamshire Police and Lancashire Police to reduce the processing time for a DNA profile from four or five days to two hours
*eight forces – Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire, the Met, Hampshire, Durham, the City of London, Merseyside and North Wales – will share more than £4 million to spend on body-worn camera technology
*the Metropolitan Police Service successfully bid for £113,000 to help develop a new spray which will be able to quickly identify body fluids at crime scenes

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Digital Barriers to showcase SafeZone-edge embedded video analytics at IFSEC International 2014

Digital Barriers will showcase SafeZone-edge, the company’s edge-embedded intrusion detection application, at IFSEC International 2014. By combining outstanding detection reliability with affordability and simplicity, SafeZone-edge offers a genuine alternative to costly and complex server-based intelligent video analysis (IVA) as well as lower cost but unreliable video motion detection (VMD).

With organisations typically facing an underwhelming choice when selecting between video-based intrusion detection systems, SafeZone-edge was designed to specifically address the limitations and compromises of conventional solutions.

This started with streamlining the efforts of the installer and operator by replacing the complex and time-consuming manual calibration of cameras with a fully-automated set-up procedure. This even includes a unique function that allows multiple cameras to be calibrated in a single step, in turn saving time and offering greater flexibility to installers in their deployments of cameras and analytics at site.

Dave Oliver, director UK enterprise account sales at Digital Barriers, said: “SafeZone-edge was designed with a ruthless focus on simplicity, refining the product to concentrate on the key features and outcomes that are valued most – practical configuration of the system and reliable detection of intruders.”

Digital Barriers will showcase SafeZone-edge, the company’s edge-embedded intrusion detection application, at IFSEC International 2014

Digital Barriers will showcase SafeZone-edge, the company’s edge-embedded intrusion detection application, at IFSEC International 2014

Oliver continued: “A default intrusion detection zone and user-defined scenarios cover typical perimeter security and sterile zone monitoring operations, while set-up is streamlined by using a simple scene walkthrough to provide the reference data for automatic calibration of each camera. An advanced analytical engine with automated scene learning enables SafeZone-edge to detect reliably in even the most difficult environments, including adverse weather and variable illumination, as well as adapt to seasonal changes and day/night operation.”

Accreditation from the i-LIDS® scheme

Despite this focus on simplicity and ultra-efficient edge-based processing, detection performance remains uncompromising. SafeZone-edge is one of the very few truly edge-based applications to achieve the highest possible accreditation under the internationally recognised UK Home Office i-LIDS® evaluation scheme.

SafeZone-edge is certified as an i-LIDS® approved primary detection system for operational alert use in sterile zone monitoring applications, as well as being an i-LIDS® approved event-based recording system for sterile zone monitoring applications.

Dave Oliver added: “SafeZone-edge uses an analytical engine that actually derives from a sophisticated server-based solution, with extensive re-engineering and code optimisation to create an edge-embedded application that runs directly on cameras and encoders. This effort was aided by the decision to develop the initial SafeZone-edge product on the world-leading ACAP open camera application platform from Axis Communications.”

SafeZone-edge is certified as an i-LIDS® approved primary detection system for operational alert use in sterile zone monitoring applications

SafeZone-edge is certified as an i-LIDS® approved primary detection system for operational alert use in sterile zone monitoring applications

IFSEC International 2014 will feature the latest release of SafeZone-edge, with the innovative multi-camera automated set-up feature, enhanced object tracking, expanded thermal camera compatibility and the option to define multiple scenarios and alarm events on each camera.

SafeZone-edge is available through leading value added resellers and distributors, with an affordable and simple pricing approach. It’s already presenting system integrators, installers and consultants with a compelling case to re-evaluate their use of IVA and VMD for major projects as well as smaller site installations.

In one of the earliest trials, SafeZone-edge reduced the false alarm count at one site from an operationally unviable 10,000-plus per week to just one without any loss of detection sensitivity.
SafeZone-edge has launched on ACAP from Axis, the world’s leading network camera manufacturer.

Daren Lang, business development manager for Northern Europe at Axis, explained: “SafeZone-edge is a very exciting solution and a class-leading intrusion detection package that provides Axis camera users with a compelling argument for embedding video analytics at the edge of the network. This is a great working example of how the Axis Camera Application Platform is evolving. In this case, Digital Barriers is using Axis cameras as the platform to deliver a solution that’s not only very cost-effective but also provides levels of accuracy and robustness usually only associated with server-based applications.”

Further detail on IFSEC International 2014

At IFSEC International 2014, Digital Barriers will be exhibiting with Axis Communications on Stand E1000.

Digital Barriers will also be featuring its RDC intelligent ground sensors and TVI wireless video and alarm distribution platform. These innovative capabilities provide organisations – and particularly those in the CNI domain – with greater flexibility in their security and surveillance operations.

For more information on SafeZone-edge visit: http://www.digitalbarriers.com/safezone

IFSEC International 2014 takes place at ExCeL London from 17-19 June. Register as a visitor for free at: http://www.ifsec.co.uk

Delegates can see a live demonstration of SafeZone-edge on the Axis Stand (E1000)

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