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Mrs Theresa May - Home Office

On 9th and 10th December 2015, the UK hosted the most recent meeting of the informal G6 group of Ministers of the Interior.

I chaired the meeting which was attended by the Interior Ministers of Germany (Mr Thomas de Maizire), Spain (Mr Jorge Fernndez Daz), France (Mr Bernard Cazeneuve), and Italy (Mr Angelino Alfano) and the Polish Ambassador to the UK (Mr Witold Sobkw). The United States of America were represented by the Attorney General (Ms Loretta E. Lynch) and the Secretary of Homeland Security (Mr Jeh Johnson). The European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship (Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos) also attended.

The meeting commenced on the evening of 9 December with a working dinner where we discussed the threat from Daesh/ISIL and how the Governments represented can collectively step up the fight against terrorism. Our discussion focused on the importance of sharing information, aviation security, and the practical steps we can take to counter extremism and radicalisation, including by working with and empowering communities. We had a very productive and informative discussion and there was collective agreement to publish a statement outlining our shared commitment to countering terrorism through a strong yet proportionate national and international response. The draft was produced overnight and agreed the following day when I introduced the statement to a group of selected journalists. The statement is available on Gov.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/g6-statement-commitment-to-fighting-terrorism

On 10 December we reconvened at Lancaster House and began the day with a plenary discussion on migration and asylum. The discussion reflected on the unprecedented flows of people into Europe and the developments over the autumn, including the relocation mechanism, hotspots and the importance of identification. The discussion also touched on the broader questions of how best we ensure asylum systems are helping the right people, addressing migratory flows at source and upstream and reducing the abuse of asylum systems.

The second plenary session of the day covered data protection and the importance of striking an appropriate balance between privacy and security. There was a discussion on the recent developments in data protection, including the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of Schrems (C-362/14), the new EU data protection package and the role of Communication Service Providers and how we can work effectively with them.

Over lunch, the discussion turned to Modern Slavery and I invited the UKs Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, to introduce the session by sharing his experiences on upstream prevention and innovative approaches in source countries. All those at the table shared their experiences of tackling Modern Slavery which varied in approach and success. The discussion then moved onto the question of working with business to eliminate demand in supply chains. In conclusion there was collective agreement on the importance of the sharing of best practice between countries to address this appalling issue.

The final plenary discussion of the day addressed the threat posed by illicit firearms and built on the recent discussions at the Justice and Home Affairs Council. The European Commission noted the UKs longstanding contribution on this debate and gave a clear exposition of their approach to the Firearms Deactivation Regulation and the amendments to the Firearms Directive. The discussion covered the benefits of enhanced information sharing and the importance of tracking the movement of firearms. I concluded the discussion by noting the collective agreement on the direction partners were taking to tackle the threat from illegal firearms and encouraged others to consider this issue and share their experience.

The informal chairmanship of the G6 group will now pass to Italy, who will host the next meeting.


Mrs Theresa May - Home Office

Today, I am launching a public consultation on reforming the governance structure of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The consultation proposals form part of the governments continuing programme of policing reforms, including changes to the police complaints and disciplinary systems.

Public confidence in the police is the basis for our long-established model of policing by consent. The IPCC plays a critical role in securing and maintaining public confidence, providing independent oversight of the police complaints system and investigating the most serious and sensitive matters involving the police. I am committed to ensuring that the IPCC have the resources and powers it needs to perform these vital functions.

In March 2013, I announced that resources would be transferred to the IPCC to enable it to expand to undertake many more independent investigations. This major change programme is progressing well and in 2014-15 the IPCC started more than twice the number of investigations it began in the previous year. The IPCC are taking on more again this year, whilst concluding more cases than ever before.

On 12 March 2015 I gave a statement to the House in which I set out a number of radical reforms on police integrity which included giving the IPCC new powers and strengthening its role as an independent oversight body. The Government will be legislating for these changes in the forthcoming Policing Bill.

As part of this package of reforms, I also asked the IPCC to consider reforms to its governance arrangements and structure to help it, as a significantly larger organisation, to deliver more cases and to increase public confidence in the reformed police complaints system.

Following the publication of the IPCCs proposals in August, I invited Sheila Drew Smith OBE, a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, to undertake an independent review of the IPCCs proposals, in particular to consider their likely impact on public confidence and, as appropriate, provide recommendations for alternative reforms to governance structures.

Today I am publishing Sheila Drew Smiths report alongside the public consultation on the governments proposed reforms to the IPCCs governance. I am proposing that the existing Commission model should be replaced by a single Crown appointee, supported by a unitary board, providing one single, clear line of decision-making in the organisation from top to bottom. These changes, and others set out in the consultation, are designed to deliver a more capable, more resilient IPCC, with clear lines of accountability and decision-making, and will help ensure that complaints made against the police are responded to in a way that builds trust and public confidence, and allows lessons to be learned.

I would like to record my thanks to the IPCC and to Sheila Drew Smith for their efforts in considering these important changes.

The public consultation will run until 28 January 2015. Following the publication of a response to the consultation, the government intends to legislate as soon as practicable. Copies of the consultation document and of Sheila Drew Smiths report will be placed in the Library of the House and also published alongside the public consultation via the Home Office pages on the gov.uk website.

I hope that those with an interest in the IPCC will take the time to respond to the consultation.

 


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