Sajid Javid today promised urgent action to halt the “senseless” violence on London’s streets as he told of his dismay at the latest attacks.
The Home Secretary said a series of short-term measures — including a further clampdown on offensive weapons — would be implemented immediately.
He was speaking at a meeting of the Government’s serious violence taskforce, with Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, Mayor Sadiq Khan and MPs.
He also backed more action against drugs gangs and early intervention to divert vulnerable young people from crime. It follows a surge in fatal stabbings and shootings, with more than 70 deaths.
“This senseless violence cannot go on and I — along with the police, community partners and cross-party colleagues — am committed to finding an urgent solution.”
The Mayor has blamed cuts for the problems. But Mr Javid rejected this, saying: “There will be those who say the increase in serious violence is solely a police funding issue — but I do not agree.
“We have already identified a range of complex issues, especially changes in the drugs market.”
Highly skilled migrants are still being dragged through the courts under threat of deportation from the UK for making minor and legal amendments to their taxes, despite a government promise that cases would be paused.
Opposition MPs have said the continuation of the process “smacks of a government department unjustly and incorrectly misusing a draconian power” and “shamelessly ruining innocent people’s lives”.
Last month, Sajid Javid promised “all applications potentially falling for refusal under the character and conduct provisions of paragraph 322(5) … have been put on hold pending the findings of the current review”.
The review, due to be completed by the end of May, has not yet reported. Applicants refused under 322(5), through which highly skilled migrants who have made minor mistakes in their taxes can be deported, are receiving letters saying it will now not conclude until July at the earliest.
However, despite Javid’s promise the Guardian has learned of a number of cases that are active. Among them are two brothers who came to the UK from Pakistan in 2006, who have been labelled as threats to the UK’s national security – by dint of their cases falling under anti-terror legislation – and told to immediately leave the country because they owed the HMRC £1.60 and £1.20.
Another case is that of Avais Kawos, a specialist NHS physiotherapist with two young children – one born in Britain – who has been forced to leave the UK under paragraph 322(5) for a legal tax amendment so minor that he didn’t owe the HMRC a penny in either fine or penalty.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The only cases which are on hold are those that have yet to be decided. We are continuing to defend refusals in court where we consider that the decision was correct, and it has been checked under the terms of the review.”
The Home Office’s ongoing use of 322(5) has angered politicians. SNP MP Alison Thewliss has organised a debate about the issue on Wednesday 13 June, which a number of MPs with constituents affected by 322(5) plan to
Evening Standard; The Guardian