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Recruiting police officers an ‘absolute priority’ – Johnson

By Jon Craig, chief political correspondent Boris Johnson has pledged to hire up to new 6,000 police officers by this time next year as he attempts to meet his target of recruiting 20,000 in three years. His vow came after he returned to London from Northern Ireland and opened the first meeting of the National Policing Board, set up to lead the recruitment drive. The board, announced by the prime minister last week when he unveiled his police recruitment promise, will be chaired by Home Secretary Priti Patel and will meet four times a year. It is made up of senior figures from the Metropolitan Police and regional forces, police and crime commissioners, chiefs of other crime bodies and policing minister Kit Malthouse. "This first meeting of the new National Policing Board marks the start of a new partnership between the police and the government," Mr Johnson said at the meeting. Advertisement "My pledge to recruit 20,000 police officers over the next three years is an absolute priority and it will begin within weeks. "I am a prime minister who backs our police all the way and I am going to give them the resources and the confidence they need to get the job done." More from Boris Johnson Johnson booed as he meets Sturgeon in Edinburgh Speaking after the meeting, the home secretary said: "This government will not hesitate to act and give the police the support they need to protect the public. "We have moved swiftly to set up this board, provide strong leadership and deliver on our commitment to recruit 20,000 more police officers to crack down on crime and keep us all safe. "Following this meeting, the government and police will move at pace to drive forward our plans to bolster the police's ranks." The board also discussed the changing nature of crime and the increasingly complex demand on the police, including from child sexual exploitation, serious and organised crime, and fraud. They agreed that the board would be a useful forum for improving collaboration and consistency across the 43 police forces in England and Wales. Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew] Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

‘Bright and kind’ student, 19, dies in Madagascar

A "bright and kind" university student has died in Madagascar, her family has confirmed. Alana Cutland, 19, from Milton Keynes, died earlier this month on the island off the east coast of Africa. In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, her family said they were "heartbroken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walked in to, and made people smile just by being there". They described Ms Cutland as "a bright, independent young woman, who was loved and admired by all those that knew her". "She was always so kind and supportive to her family and friends, which resulted in her having a very special connection with a wide network of people from all walks of her life, who we know will miss her dearly," they added. Advertisement "Alana grasped every opportunity that was offered to her with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure, always seeking to extend her knowledge and experience in the best ways possible." Ms Cutland had been on an internship in Madagascar to complement her university studies in natural sciences, but this is understood to have been undertaken privately and was not a university study trip. More from World Image: Ms Cutland's university college said they were deeply shocked at news of her death Ms Cutland's family said she was also a talented dancer and her "thirst for discovering more of the world always eRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Press release: PM meeting with five of Northern Ireland’s main political...

The Prime Minister met five of Northern Irelands main political parties today in Belfast. The overarching purpose of these meetings was to discuss moving forward in the ongoing power sharing talks and getting the Northern Irish democratic institutions back up and running as soon as possible. The Prime Minister told all of the parties that he was determined to bring this process to a successful conclusion and that he would do everything he could to make it happen. He said that while there had been constructive progress in recent weeks at Stormont, that there now needed to be serious and intense engagement to get this done and that he had faith that all parties would step up to the challenge. The discussions also included Brexit, where the Prime Minister made clear that the UK would be leaving the EU on October 31st come what may, and restated his intention to do so with a deal. He said that in all scenarios, the Government is steadfast in its commitment to the Belfast-Good Friday Agreement and that in no circumstances would there be physical checks or infrastructure on the border. He also made clear his belief and commitment in the rigorous impartiality set out in the Belfast-Good Friday Agreement, while at the saRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] gov uk [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Britain must offer border poll on Northern Ireland if hard Brexit...

FILE PHOTO: Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein politicians Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill talk to the media outside the Houses of Parliament, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, Britain, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes LONDON (Reuters) – Britain would have to offer a referendum on Northern Ireland splitting from the United Kingdom if the government pursues a so-called hard Brexit, the head of Northern Irelands largest nationalist party said on Wednesday. Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, who will meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson later on Wednesday, told BBC radio it would be “quite scandalous” for the government to not grant a border poll if it pursued a no-deal Brexit. “I dont know now how Britain could crash this part of Ireland out of the European Union … and with a straight face suggest to any of us who live on this island that we should not be given the democratic opportunity … to decide our futureRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] RT [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Youth ‘failed in the most devastating way’ over violent crime, MPs...

By Sanya Burgess, news reporter Significant action is required to stop young people "being failed in the most devastating way" and "losing their lives" because of serious violence, MPs have said. A damning new report from the Home Affairs Committee slams the government's existing Serious Violence Strategy, calling it "completely inadequate". The cross-party committee calls for the establishment of a new youth service guarantee as part of "major" investment in local youth services and prevention work. The guarantee would include "the introduction of a fully-funded, statutory minimum of provision for youth outreach workers and community youth projects in all areas, co-designed with local young people", according to a statement from the committee. It is envisaged it would include additional resources in areas with higher risk of serious youth violence. Image: Homicides have increase by a third over the past five years The MPs also call for "stronger focus, leadership and direction" from both the prime minister and the wider government, suggesting establishing local leaders who would be accountable to their region and report to the PM. Advertisement As well as more resources for police and 'at risk' schools to have dedicated officers assigned, the committee suggest the number of school exclusions should be cut. The recommendations also state that "urgent action" is needed to tackle county lines, the practise of criminals grooming children to sell drugs. More from Knife Crime Yvette Cooper, the chair of the home affairs committee, said: "Teenagers are dying on our streets, and yet our inquiry has found that the governments response to the rise in serious youth violence is completely inadequate. They just havent risen to the scale of the problem." She continued: "The Home Office has shamefully taken a hands-off approach to this crisis, but it is a national emergency and must be treated like one. They need to get a grip. :: London mayor Sadiq Khan brands fatal stabbings 'human cost of austerity' “Serious violence has got worse after a perfect storm of youth service cuts, police cuts, more children being excluded from school and a failure of statutory agencies to keep them safe. The government has a responsibility to deal with this crisis urgently." In Britain, knife offences have risen by more than 70% over the last five years, while the number of under-18s admitted to hospital with knife injuries rose by a third between 2013-14 and 2017-18. The last five years have also seen homicides increase by a third. Image: Caroline Shearer, the founder of Only Cowards Carry Weapons Awareness charity Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew] Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Emmerdale star ‘growled like a mad dog before biting pensioner’

Emmerdale actor Mark Jordon growled "like a mad dog" before biting a pensioner and spitting out a chunk of his skin, a court has heard. The 54-year-old, who plays Daz Spencer in the ITV soap, is said to have attacked Andrew Potts after he allegedly called Jordon's daughter a "s**g". Jordon is also accused of screaming "I'll f****** kill you" after a row broke out in a beer garden in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on 1 July last year. The former Heartbeat actor later pushed over Mr Potts' girlfriend Rosalind O'Neill before biting the pensioner's thumb and spitting out his flesh, the court heard. Jordon is then said to have bitten Mr Pott's eyebrow after they both fell to the ground. Advertisement The pensioner wiped away tears as he described the "frightening" incident at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court. Jordon's Emmerdale co-stars Chris Chittell, Nick Miles and Sammy Winward sat in the front row of the public gallery for the hearing. More from UK The row out broke out when Miss O'Neill made the comment "I hope they are using protection" after Jordon's daughter was seen "straddling" a boy in the beer garden of the Farrars Arms, the court heard. Image: Mark Jordon arrives at court with his girlfriend and Emmerdale co-star Laura Norton Mr Potts told the jury: "The next thing I see is Jordon on the other side of our bench screaming at Rosalind, I mean really screaming. "He said, 'That's my f****** daughter you are talking about." Miss O'Neill apologised but Mr Potts remarked that he "wouldn't let my daughter act like that in front of me", the jury was told. CCTV footage showed Jordon having to be held back from attacking the pensioner. Mr Potts said the soap star was "like a madman" and was dragged back as he screamed: "I'll f****** kill you, you old bastard." He told the jury he threw a couple of punches at Jordon and the actor's nose started to bleed. Mr Potts added that he did not strike Jordon on the nose and believed the actor had taken cocaine. Keith Harrison, defending, suggested Mr Potts had called Jordon's daughter a "s**g". Mr Potts said: "No, 100%, not at all." He also denied saying he had filmed the girl and would post it on YouTube. Mr Potts told the court he might have said "f*** off, you think you're clever because you're on TV" to Jordon's girlfriend Laura Norton, 36, who plays Kerry Wyatt in Emmerdale. Asked if he had called Jordon a "d*******", Mr Potts laughed and said: "He was acting like one." Mr Potts and Miss O'Neill were escorted from the pub, the court heard. Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew] Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Video leak condemned after Briton’s ‘false rape claim’

By Emily Mee, news reporter A British woman who admitted to falsely accusing a dozen Israeli teenagers of rape has had her court proceedings adjourned. The 19-year-old woman's lawyer said they needed more time to study the police evidence and criticised the leak of video footage allegedly showing his client having sex with the Israelis. Andreas Pittadjis called the leak a "much more serious criminal offence" than the charge his client faces. He added: "It begs the question, who leaked those videos and why have they not been questioned yet." Mr Pittadjis said a judge granted his request for the adjournment until 7 August and added the woman would "most likely" enter a plea at her next appearance but did not indicate how she would plead. Advertisement The woman faces a public nuisance charge after claiming she was raped by 12 Israelis at a hotel in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. The charge carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a €1,700 (£1,558) fine. More from World Police freed all 12 suspects after the woman allegedly recanted her rape allegations during police questioning. She admitted there had been sexual contact with the suspects but said she was not raped. Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Sturgeon: PM is pursuing a ‘dangerous’ no-deal Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has said Boris Johnson is a pursuing a "dangerous" no-deal Brexit after she met with the prime minister in Edinburgh. Scotland's first minister also said there was no clarity on how he planned to reach an exit deal with the European Union, which has repeatedly said it will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement it reached with his predecessor Theresa May. Ms Sturgeon continued: "That makes me think that whatever Boris Johnson might be saying publicly about his preference being to strike a deal, in reality he is really pursuing a no-deal Brexit because that is the logic of the hardline position that he has taken. "I think that is extremely dangerous for Scotland, indeed for the whole of the UK." Prime Minister Boris Johnson was jeered as he met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh. Davidson: I don't support a no-deal Brexit Ms Sturgeon also said Mr Johnson's Brexit strategy of hoping the EU will renegotiate a new withdrawal deal is "doomed to failure". Advertisement She continued: "The only strategy or tactic that you can get from it is that he thinks the EU is going to blink. "Having had many tortuous meetings with his predecessor on the issue of Brexit, I think that for a long period of time that's what she thought as well. More from Boris Johnson "The EU – whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing – has been very consistent in the position it's taken. It's been very united and if you're pinning your entire strategy on a belief that's suddenly going to change, then I think it's a strategy that's doomed to failure. "Or it's a strategy that is destined to fail because you actually want the alternative, which is a no-deal Brexit." The Scottish National Party leader was speaking after meeting with Mr Johnson during his first trip to Scotland as prime minister. Ms Sturgeon also said that whatever happens over Brexit will have an impact on the decision about the timing of a second Scottish independence referendum. She added it was not democratic to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose. Image: Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland 'has been ignored throughout the Brexit process' A Downing Street spokesman said of the meeting: "The prime minister said he was a passionate believer in the power of the union and he would work tirelessly to strengthen the United Kingdom and improve the lives of people right across Scotland." The statement added: "On Brexit, the prime minister said that while the government's preference is to negotiate a new deal which abolishes the anti-democratic backstop, the UK will be leaving the EU come what may." Mr Johnson also met with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson while in Scotland. She said she won't support leaving the EU without an agreement. While the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU in 2016, Scotland backed Remain by a large margin. Mr Johnson's meeting with Ms Davidson may have been tense as he ignored her advice to keep David Mundell in his role as Scottish secretary, sacking him and replacing him with Alister Jack. :: Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew] Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Press release: PM creates new Office for Veterans’ Affairs to provide...

Boris Johnson will announce that he has appointed Oliver Dowden as Minister representing veterans in Cabinet during a visit to a military base in Scotland today. Oliver Dowden will work closely with Johnny Mercer who has been appointed Minister for Defence People and Veterans. That role will now be a joint Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office position, in order to allow the Minister to direct the work of the new Office for Veterans Affairs. The two ministers will share responsibility for veterans affairs. This is the first time that veterans affairs will be overseen by dedicated ministers in the Cabinet Office to ensure the whole of government pulls together to deliver the life-long support our veterans deserve. The newly created Office for Veterans Affairs inside the Cabinet Office will be staffed by officials from the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence (and others as necessary). The best experts from across Whitehall will now be working together in the Cabinet Office hub on an holistic approach to veterans affairs. The Office will work with departments to coordinate and drive government policy on veterans welfare, spanning mental and physical health, education and employment. The head of the Office for Veterans Affairs will report jointly to both Ministers. Oliver Dowden and Johnny Mercer will immediately begin work to establish the structure of the new Office, reporting progress to the Prime Minister by 30th September. In addition, Oliver Dowden will jointly chair the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board with the Defence Secretary, to ensure no veteran is disadvantaged because of their service. Speaking ahead of todays visit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: The brave men and women who serve in our military truly represent the pinnacle of British character. We are rightly admired throughout the world for our Armed Forces, and it is a stain on our national conscience that any veteran who has served should be abandoned by the country they have fought so courageously to protect. It is absolutely right that the government should do all it can to support our armed forces from the day they enlist and for the rest of their lives. Veterans have given so much to the UK. They have so much to offer our workplaces and wider society and it would be a dereliction of duty not to harness that potential. By taking responsibility for the full gamut of veterans civilian lives – from ensuring they get the medical treatment they require, to further training and skills after they have transitioned from service to keep them in good jobs, to targeted interventions to prevent the scourge of veteran homelessness – Oliver Dowden, Johnny Mercer and our brand new Office for Veterans Affairs will do just that. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: People join our armed forces prepared to give their lives in defence of their country. In return, government and society owe them a debt long after their service is finished. As a veteran myself, I know the struggles that some people face. The Ministry of Defence welcomes the new Prime Ministers appointment of the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Minister for Defence People and Veterans to ensure the needs of veterans are addressed right across government. Minister for the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden said: Our Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew] gov uk [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Government ‘assuming’ no deal – as Hammond ‘holds secret talks’

The government is "working on the assumption" the UK will leave the EU without a deal, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has revealed. Mr Gove, who has been tasked by new PM Boris Johnson with boosting preparations for a no-deal Brexit, wrote in The Sunday Times that this scenario is now a "very real prospect". He said he was hopeful the EU would be willing to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement it reached with Theresa May, "but we must operate on the assumption that they will not". Image: Michael Gove says the government is 'working on the assumption' the EU will not strike a new agreement It comes as French MEP Nathalie Loiseau told Sophy Ridge On Sunday there was "nothing in between" Mrs May's withdrawal agreement and no-deal. Mr Johnson has declared he will not accept the controversial Irish backstop contained within the current agreement – but Ms Loiseau said the EU would not ratify an agreement without it, adding: "You have changed your prime minister but we have not changed our minds. Advertisement "We do want to avoid a no-deal, and the agreement is on the table. Why create a crisis when there is a way out? "The only way out is the agreement, or remaining in the EU. It is your choice to make, not ours. More from Boris Johnson "The agreement is a compromise, there are many concessions in it. We are protecting our citizens, peace on the island of Ireland. The agreement is not the devil, it's a reasonable compromise to move forward." Mr Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the European Union on 31 October, "no ifs, no buts". But former chancellor Philip Hammond, who quit his role before Mr Johnson became prime minister, has reportedly held secret talks with Labour about how to stop a no-deal Brexit. Mr Hammond is against the UK leaving the EU without a deal that would smooth over trading arrangements. He fears an economic shock and met shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer shortly after he resigned from his Treasury post, The Observer said. The newspaper said the pair agreed to work with other senior politicians including former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin to thrash out how best to use parliamentary votes to scupper a no-deal outcome. Better news for Mr Johnson came by way of three polls suggesting the Conservatives' popularity was up since he took office on Wednesday. A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times newspaper put the Tories on 31%, up six points on a previous poll, while Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party was on 21%, a rise of two points. PM: 'Return on investment will be colossal' It was the Conservatives' biggest lead over the opposition in five months and it was the first time their support has risen above 30% since April, the paper claimed. The Liberal Democrats were down three points on 20% and the new Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, was down four points on 13%, half its peak level in May. Meanwhile, a survey by Deltapoll for The Mail On Sunday showed support for the Tories was at 30%, five points ahead of Labour at 25%, with the Lib Dems on 18% and the Brexit Party on 14%. But if Labour dropped Mr Corbyn as its leader, the poll said the party would go into the lead at 34%, with the Tories on 28%, the Brexit Party on 14% and the Lib Dems on 13%. Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew] Sky News [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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