Newly-appointed Home Secretary Priti Patel is using her first full week in the role to urge the UK’s most important strategic allies to commit to co-ordinated action on a range of security concerns. Protecting the public from emerging threats needs continued and closer co-operation between international allies, the Home Secretary will tell a Security Summit in London this week.
Over the next two days, the Home Secretary will host discussions with her counterparts from the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US plus the UK – focusing on the most pressing security challenges shared between them.
Patel said: “This is an exciting moment for the UK as we look to respond to a challenging and rapidly changing global environment, strengthening our influence on the world stage to promote our prosperity and security. The UK is a global leader on national security and child protection and we’re committed to working with our close partners on shared challenges.”
This year’s Five Country Ministerial (FCM), the second that the UK has hosted, will focus on the theme of ‘Emerging Threats’ and how best to address the opportunities and risks that new technologies pose. Among other topics, ministers will discuss cyber security, encryption and online harms.
Attorneys General will also join some of the meetings. The UK Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, will also host the ‘Quintet’ meetings of Attorneys General this week.
Sitting alongside senior officials, ministers will also consider a joint approach to respond to the continued threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters and how best to work together to bolster border security.
Since its inception in 2013, the annual FCM has developed from an intelligence sharing alliance to a private ministerial-led meeting where the most pressing shared national security threats are discussed. This deepening of international collaboration means that the FCM plays a vital role in increasing collective resilience to a wide range of existing and emerging national security threats.
Achievements to date include supporting the establishment of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, the expansion of information sharing on border, immigration and security matters and the strengthening of measures to combat modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking.
In attendance at the latest meeting will be Peter Dutton MP (Australian Minister for Home Affairs), Ralph Goodale MP (Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), Ahmed Hussen MP (Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship), Francois Daigle (Canadian Associate Deputy Minister of Justice), Andrew Little MP (New Zealand’s Minister of Justice), David Parker MP (New Zealand’s Attorney General), US Attorney General William Barr and David Pekokse, US Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Police recruitment drive
The recruitment of 20,000 new police officers will begin within weeks, confirming the commitment made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he entered Downing Street.
The unprecedented drive to deliver more front line officers will start in September with the launch of a national campaign led by the Home Office.
Johnson stated: “My job as Prime Minister is to make our streets safer. People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime. I promised 20,000 extra officers and that recruitment will now start in earnest.”
The Prime Minister has said he wants recruitment completed over the next three years. To support this, the Government will shortly set out plans for a new national Policing Board. Chaired by the Home Secretary Priti Patel and bringing together key police leaders, it will hold the police to account for meeting this target and drive the national response to the most pressing issues that affect communities right across the country.
Patel commented: “Officers up and down the country put themselves in danger every day to keep us safe and they deserve our support. The rise we’ve seen in serious violence is deeply worrying. An additional 20,000 officers sends a clear message that we’re committed to giving police the resources they need to tackle the scourge of crime. This is the start of a new relationship between the Government and the police service working even more closely together to protect the public.”
In addition – and as part of ongoing work to tackle serious violence – the Government will urgently review the pilot which makes it simpler for officers to use Stop and Search powers with a view to rolling this out across all forces. In April, seven forces started a trial with relaxed conditions on the use of Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. The Prime Minister has been clear that he fully supports the police’s use of Stop and Search to tackle and disrupt those carrying knives.
National Police Chiefs’ Council chair Martin Hewitt QPM responded to the announcement by stating: “This substantial growth in police officers will ease the pressure on our people and help us to reduce crime and improve outcomes for victims. It’s also an incredible opportunity to accelerate our plans for increasing diversity in policing. We will work closely with the College of Policing and the Government on the detail and practical implications of such a significant recruitment drive. Crime is rising and its complexity is growing. We face many challenges and opportunities. A national Policing Board bringing together Government and the policing system will enable us work together to prioritise operational focus and investment for the maximum impact on keeping the public safe.”