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Suella Braverman ‘confident’ government is ‘on track’ to reach 20,000 police officer target | Politics News

The government is confident it is “on track” to meet its manifesto pledge of recruiting 20,000 new police officers, the home secretary has said.

The promise was made as part of the government’s 2019 manifesto – but critics have pointed out that it has already missed the deadline, which was set for March this year.

Home Office data due to be published later this morning will confirm whether the milestone has been met.

Asking about the issue, Sky News’ Kay Burley suggested that numbers were still below the levels of 2010, when the Conservative-led coalition came to power and introduced cuts to the police force.

Suella Braverman replied: “We’re confident that we’re on track to reach our manifesto pledge of 20,000 new police officers.

“If we achieve that goal, we will be in excess of 2010 numbers.

“We will be at record levels. We will have the highest number of police officers in history in England and Wales.

lllegal Migration Bill to return to the Commons – politics latest

“I think that’s a huge achievement by policing, a huge achievement by the Home Office actually, and actually a great achievement for the British people and public safety.”

She denied that the UK has an “inexperienced police force” due to the pace of recruitment, saying that the government has invested £3bn in the recruitment effort and “proper training” has been delivered.

“Even accounting for attrition and people leaving the force, we are confident we’ll still be in excess of any level we’ve seen before.”

Ms Braverman’s words come before she gives a speech later this morning at the Public Safety Foundation in which she will urge police to stop “pandering to politically correct preoccupations” and focus on “criminal justice, not social justice”.

Ms Braverman told Sky that “while our police officers are brave and excellent on the whole… I think there has been a tendency for the public to grow weary of some of the timewasting behaviour that police have been engaged in”.

“I don’t want police to be involved in debates on social media about gender,” she said.

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Suella Braverman says there is too much political correctness hampering police work

“I don’t want the police to be shying away from tackling really important issues like grooming gangs because of political correctness.”

The home secretary also cited police powers of stop and search – which have been criticised for disproportionately targeting black people – arguing it was “an effective tool to reduce violence and save lives”.

But she said: “In some instances, we’ve seen political correctness get in the way of common sense policing.”

This afternoon MPs will debate and vote on the government’s controversial Illegal Migration Bill, which would prevent anyone arriving in the UK illegally from claiming asylum. Instead, they would be detained and removed, either to Rwanda or another “safe country”.

Charities and human rights organisations have argued the bill is unworkable and could put the UK in breach of international law.

Earlier this week the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it was “seriously concerned” the bill could also expose people to “serious harm”.

Ms Braverman defended the bill this morning, telling Sky News: “People who are coming here illegally are breaking our laws. They are criminals and they don’t have a right to be here.”

Read more:
Is the government’s new Illegal Migration Bill legal?
Home secretary will be able to use ‘discretion’ when considering European human rights orders

Asked about the situation in Sudan and what the government’s response would be if people started arriving on small boats, she said: “There is no good reason for anybody to get into a small boat to cross the Channel in search of a new life in the United Kingdom.”

Asked if refugees will be able to seek asylum in the UK, the home secretary said the correct way to request help is via the UN Refugee Agency.

Ms Braverman also defended the speed of the UK evacuation operation, which has been criticised for being slower than other countries.

The home secretary said “approximately 200-300 people” had been relocated from Sudan in the last few flights from the country.

Defending the speed of the evacuation, Ms Braverman said we have a “larger cohort of British nationals in Sudan compared to many other countries”.

“I’m not going to sit here in a studio in London and dictate what should be happening there on the ground,” she said.

Target of gunman who killed nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel is ‘convicted burglar’ | UK News

A man shot and injured by the gunman who killed nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool has been revealed as ‘convicted burglar’ Joseph Nee.

The 35-year-old was believed to be the intended target of the balaclava-wearing attacker who chased him along the street before Nee forced his way into the schoolgirl’s family home in the Dovecot area to try to get away.

Nee, from Dovecot, will now be questioned about her murder which took place on Monday night.

He was freed from prison on licence last year, it is understood, when he was automatically released part-way through a fixed jail term.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel latest: Public coming forward with names in police hunt for gunman

Facebook stills of Olivia Pratt Korbell, Liverpool shooting victim
Olivia Pratt-Korbel was fatally shot on Monday night

Nee was jailed for 45 months in July 2018 after admitting two counts of burglary, two counts of theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving whilst disqualified, according to the Liverpool Echo.

He was part of a group that led officers on a high-speed chase before they were captured, the newspaper said.

More on Olivia Pratt-korbel

On Monday night, Olivia‘s mother, Cheryl Korbel, heard a commotion outside and opened her door, before Nee burst in and the gunman then opened fire just outside.

Ms Korbel was shot in the wrist, and the same bullet fatally struck her daughter in the chest as she stood directly behind her.

Nee, who suffered gunshot wounds to his upper body in the shooting, was taken to hospital by friends in a dark-coloured Audi following the shooting and is in a stable condition.

He has now been arrested for allegedly breaching the terms of his prison release with “poor behaviour”, said police.

He will be recalled to prison to serve the remainder of his licence.

Nee is not believed to have been living in probation-run accommodation.

And his case is yet to be referred to the Parole Board, which reviews offenders who are recalled to jail to decide when they can be re-released.

A statement from Merseyside Police said: “A 35-year-old man, suspected to have been the target of the shooting, has been detained in hospital on a prison recall after breaching the terms of his licence.

“He will be recalled to prison to serve the remainder of his licence. He will be further questioned in connection with the murder and remains in a stable condition.”