Arrests made as police target county lines networks

Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police

Officers investigating the exploitation of young and vulnerable individuals into county lines activity have carried out a series of early morning warrants on Tuesday, 20 April and arrested five people.

A total of eight addresses were targeted simultaneously across London, Hampshire and Berkshire. Three men and two women, aged between 20 and 40 years old, have been arrested on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and modern slavery.

Searches of the addresses continue but officers have so far found a machete, Class B drugs and a rapier sword.

The investigation was launched in January this year after officers identified a ring of people involved in widespread drug supply across the southeast of England through county lines.

The early stages of the investigation led officers to believe young children and extremely vulnerable adults were being used to deal drugs along the county lines. They secured evidence to suggest these individuals were being held against their will in order to clear debts owed to the group.

The investigating team worked tirelessly to identify suspects through CCTV, ANPR and extensive cell phone analysis. The operation has so far resulted in four young children and vulnerable people being rescued. They are currently being looked after by specialist officers.

The operation involved more than 150 officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police.

Sergeant Tom Freeman from the Met’s Proactive Gangs Unit, which leads the investigation, said: “This morning’s activity is a culmination of months of hard work by officers across three different police forces. The operation focused on rescuing children and vulnerable people who had no option to do as they were told through fear of violence from those controlling them.

“The evidence we’ve gathered leads us to believe they were being held against their will until they paid off debts they did not create in the first place. Those involved in this activity entirely manipulated the vulnerabilities of these individuals for their own financial gain – a common trait of county lines lineholders.

“We know county lines activity is closely linked to violence we see on the streets of London and other parts of the United Kingdom. Not only have we rescued vulnerable people from violence and exploitation, but by disrupting this drug supply line we’ve destroyed the business model of this group and hopefully prevented violent incidents occurring in the future.”

All those arrested have been taken to police stations in London and Hampshire. The Metropolitan Police Service lead the investigation.

Inspector Richard Lane from Hampshire Constabulary, which supported the operation, said: “County lines and its associated violence can cause misery in our communities, and it is right that we put significant effort into dismantling these networks and safeguarding vulnerable people who have been exploited in this trade.

“We will continue to work with our partners to identify those responsible and target these drug dealing networks in north Hampshire and across the force area.”

Detective Inspector John Wordsworth, from Thames Valley Police, which aided the operation, said: “County lines drugs has a significant impact on our communities and often those who profit from drugs are exploiting children and vulnerable adults in order to do so.

“We are committed to tackling county lines drugs and this operation should be a reminder that police forces will work together across borders in order to stop this pernicious activity.

“We will also continue to work in partnership to protect those who are exploited by county lines drugs gangs.

“The public also have an important role to play in providing information that can assist us in dismantling county lines drugs lines and also safeguard vulnerable individuals.”

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The below were arrested following the warrants:

[A] a 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and on suspicion of money laundering.

[B] a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

[C] a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

[D] a 37-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

[E] a 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

DHS to Make Additional 22,000 Temporary, Non-Agricultural Worker Visas Available

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON— As the nation’s economy continues to reopen safely, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking action to ensure that American businesses are equipped with the resources needed to recover successfully and contribute to the economic health of local communities. In light of increased labor demands, DHS is announcing a supplemental increase of 22,000 visas for the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program. The additional visas will be made available in the coming months via a temporary final rule in the Federal Register. Furthermore, to expand lawful pathways for opportunity in the United States consistent with the President’s Executive Order 14010 on “Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, to Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border,” 6,000 of these visas will be reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Employers seeking H-2B workers must test the U.S. labor market and certify in their petitions that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker; and that employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.  The supplemental increase will require businesses seeking H-2B workers to engage in additional recruitment efforts for U.S. workers.

“The H-2B program is designed to help U.S. employers fill temporary seasonal jobs, while safeguarding the livelihoods of American workers,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This supplemental increase also demonstrates DHS’s commitment to expanding lawful pathways for opportunity in the United States to individuals from the Northern Triangle.”

During recent engagement with American businesses that rely on the H-2B program during the summer months, employers expressed an immediate need for supplemental, temporary guest workers for this fiscal year. Businesses across the country, despite attempts at recruitment and hiring of U.S. workers, report critical vacancies. This leaves already vulnerable businesses in danger of significant potential revenue loss. 

The additional visas will only be made available to employers that attest that, if they do not receive workers under the cap increase, they are likely to suffer irreparable harm.  Additionally, the temporary final rule will allow employers to immediately hire H-2B workers who are already present in the United States without waiting for approval of the new petition.  This portability provision is a critical safeguard that protects both U.S. and H-2B workers, while also providing flexibilities to employers during a time when travel remains challenging. The supplemental increase is based on a time-limited statutory authority and does not affect the H-2B program in future fiscal years.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, Congress has set the H-2B visa cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 visas available to workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 – March 31) and the remaining 33,000 (plus any unused visas from the first half of the fiscal year) available for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30). Unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next fiscal year. Section 105 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security, after consulting with the Secretary of Labor, and upon the determination that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied with U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor, to provide supplemental H-2B visas for fiscal year 2021. On February 12, 2021, USCIS received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of the fiscal year.

Keywords: Immigration, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Topics: Citizenship and Immigration Services, Secretary of Homeland Security

Two Senior Managers in Italy Charged with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests and Defraud U.S. Consumers

An indictment was unsealed today in the Eastern District of Michigan charging two Italian nationals, along with a previously charged co-conspirator, for their alleged role in a conspiracy to defraud U.S. regulators and customers by making false and misleading statements about the emissions controls and fuel efficiency of more than 100,000 diesel vehicles sold in the United States by FCA US LLC.

Two more charged with Sydenham murder

Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police

Detectives investigating the murder of 17-year-old Levi Ernest-Morrison in Sydenham have charged a further two people.

Two teenage boys – aged 15 years old [C] and 14 years old [D] – were charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon today (Tuesday, 20 April).

They appeared in custody at Bromley Youth Court and were remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 24 April.

Two people have previously been charged with murder.

[A] Nichola Leighton, 36 (05.01.85) of Lockwood Close, Sydenham and a 17-year-old male [B] have both been remanded in custody after appearing at the Old Bailey; next court date awaits.

Levi died after being stabbed in Sydenham Road, SE26 on Saturday, 10 April.

Family release tribute to Peter Chamberlain who died in road traffic collision in September 2019 – M40, Buckinghamshire

Source: United Kingdom Thames Valley Police

Following the conclusion of the trial of Gagandeep Rai last month, who was jailed for seven years and two months for causing death by dangerous driving on the M40 in September 2019, Pete Chamberlain’s widow, Gemma, has released the following tribute.

“Pete, our world fell apart the night you left us. 

“I still wait for you to walk through the door and see your smile.

“You were the first man I loved.

“I am so lucky to have had 16 years with you, although it should have been forever.

“Your life was your kids. You were a true family man who would do anything for anyone.

“You worked so hard for us, to give the kids everything they wanted, I hope you know how grateful I am for everything you did, I just wish I could tell you again.

“A doting Daddy to our three amazing children, they were precious to you, all three are just like you in so many ways and all I have left of you.

“They miss you dearly just like I do.

“Everything about you is missed, your voice, your laugh, your jokes, your kind caring heart.

You were loved by so many.

“We have lost an amazing man and this will affect us for the rest of our lives but now the trial is done we can grieve how we need to and move forward the best we can.

“I want to thank all emergency services who were in attendance on that evening, people we take for granted and what they have to deal with.

“Pete being an ex-firefighter himself would have utmost respect for you all – as do I. 

“Thank you to Dawn our family liaison officer who has been a great support since that day, kind, caring and just amazing even to this day.

“Thank you to all at TVP who worked so, so hard to piece everything together to get some justice for Pete and Paul. I can’t thank you enough.

“No sentence will ever be enough.

“Pete, your time with us was taken too soon.

“Sleep tight darling.

“Love always and forever.”

Wifey, Chloe, Rosie and Zac xx

Pete Chamberlain

Note to editors: Peter’s family have requested that their privacy is respected and that they are not contacted by media.

Media availability: 17th Coast Guard District to conduct change-of-command ceremony Friday

Source: United States Coast Guard

Media Availability

 

U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska
Contact: 17th District Public Affairs
Office: (907) 463-2065
17th District online newsroom

17th Coast Guard District to conduct change-of-command ceremony Friday

WHO: Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr.

WHAT: 17th Coast Guard District Change-of-Command Ceremony

WHERE: Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, 6000 Glacier Spur Rd., Juneau, AK 99801.

WHEN: Friday, April 23, 10 a.m.

Editor’s note: Media, please see RSVP info at the bottom. Due to COVID mitigation precautions, in-person attendance is limited. Anyone interested in viewing the ceremony can watch on the Coast Guard 17th District Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USCGAlaska/ .

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard 17th District personnel are scheduled to conduct a change-of-command ceremony Friday at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau.

Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr. will transfer command of the Coast Guard’s 17th District to Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore.

As the 17th District commander, Moore will be responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout Alaska, the North Pacific and the Arctic which includes protecting life and property, enforcing federal laws and treaties, preserving living marine resources, and promoting national security. Headquartered in Juneau, the 17th District encompasses 3.8 million square miles and over 44,000 miles of shoreline. During an average year the 2,500 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary personnel of the 17th District save 264 lives and assist 636 people.

Moore was previously assigned as the Coast Guard assistant commandant for engineering and logistics. As the Coast Guard’s chief engineer, he was responsible for all naval, aeronautical, civil and industrial engineering and logistics for the service’s 23,000 facilities, 230 ships, 1,800 boats and 200 aircraft. He was responsible for executing an annual budget of $1 billion, and leading 5,000 personnel assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters, Aviation Logistics Center, Surface Forces Logistics Center, Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center and the Coast Guard Yard.

Bell originally took command of the 17th District in June 2018, and will retire after 36 years of service following the change of command.

A change-of-command ceremony marks a transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another. It is a time-honored tradition conducted before the assembled crew, as well as honored guests and dignitaries to formally demonstrate the continuity of the authority within a command.

Due to social distancing measures, no more than one person from one media outlet will be granted access. If we receive an RSVP from more than one outlet, a media pool will be required. In that case, a list of media that RSVP’d will be provided to all media that RSVP’d, and media personnel will be responsible for working together to identify who will attend. Media desiring to attend must RSVP by emailing uscgalaska@gmail.com no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 21.

-USCG-

£10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice issued following unlicensed music event – Kidlington

Source: United Kingdom Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police has issued a £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) following an unlicensed music event, which happened on New Years’ Eve in Kidlington.

On 31 December 2020 officers were called to the scene of an unlicensed music event where around 150 to 200 people had gathered in breach of Coronavirus laws.

Officers took action to disperse those who had gathered for the safety of the public and officers and to minimise the potential for disorder.

Following an investigation by the Kidlington Neighbourhood Policing Team, on Thursday 8 April 2021, a 23-year-old man from Hackney was reported, suspected of being involved in the organisation of the event, and a FPN for £10,000 has been issued.

Silver Commander for Thames Valley Police’s response to Coronavirus, Supt Bruce Riddell, said: “This event increased the risk of transmission of Coronavirus and also caused disruption to the community.

“The vast majority of people within our communities have and continue to do all they can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and for this we would like to thank them.

“Overall cases seem to be falling but regulations remain in place which are there to protect us all, particularly around large gatherings.

“Throughout the Thames Valley our officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the Coronavirus legislation, however where they see people wilfully and blatantly ignoring  the regulations, particularly by gathering in large numbers, we will look to issue FPNs or use other enforcement such as dispersal or arrest.

“This incident caused concern in the community at the time and the action taken should serve as a reminder that people who are suspected of being involved in the organisation of such illegal gatherings will be issued with an FPN.”

GFL 

Investigation following death of man in Hounslow

Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police

At approximately 00:05hrs on Tuesday, 20 April officers attempted to stop a vehicle on Powder Mill Lane in Twickenham. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit commenced.

A short while later a male decamped from the vehicle and ran onto a nearby railway line off Whitton Road in Hounslow. The London Ambulance Service attended and he was pronounced dead at 00:22hrs.

His next of kin has been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has been informed and has declared an independent investigation. 

The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has also been informed.

Two charged in connection with robbery and assault – Reading

Source: United Kingdom Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police has charged two people in connection with an incident in which a teenage boy was seriously assaulted and robbed in Reading.

A 16-year-old boy from Reading, who was arrested on 5 January, was charged on Wednesday (14/4) with Section 18 grievous bodily harm with intent, robbery and three counts of attempted robbery. He was bailed to appear at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 5 May.

Jan Watroba, aged 20, of Zinzan Street, Reading, who was arrested on 15 January, was charged on Wednesday (14/4) with three counts of attempted robbery. He was bailed to appear at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 9 June.

The charges are in connection with an incident on Sunday 13 December when the victims, a group of friends, were walking in Friar Street when they were approached by two people while outside the CEX shop.

One of the victims, a 17-year-old boy, was separated from his friends and walked to Victoria Park where he was seriously assaulted, causing him to sustain serious eye, facial and arm injuries, which required hospital treatment.

The other members of the group were threatened and demands were made to hand over their bags.

HJ

Cut It Out – hair-dressers and barbers trained in domestic abuse awareness

Source: United Kingdom Thames Valley Police

Internationally-famous hair stylist and brand-owner Nicky Clarke is supporting the Cut It Out campaign, promoting domestic abuse awareness across the hair and beauty industry.

Nicky Clarke became involved when he heard of a new training program developed by the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit for students of hair-dressing, barbering and beauty therapies. It helps  them spot the signs of domestic abuse and to support their clients to report violence and seek help.

Nicky Clarke attended the launch in the training salon at Activate Learning’s Oxford campus today (20 April).  He toured the facility and spoke with staff and students, learning more about how the training is being delivered to hundreds of trainee hair and beauty students.

With one in four women and one in six men experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their life, the Cut It Out campaign was first launched in Norfolk following the death of Kerri McAuley, who was killed in 2017 by her abusive partner. Before her death, Kerri had disclosed to her hair-dresser that she was the victim of abuse and reached out for support, but the seriousness wasn’t realised.

The Cut It Out campaign recognises that a hair-dresser, barber or beauty therapist is in a position of privilege with their client, not only working physically close to them but also very often, they are someone trusted to talk to or confide in.

Sergeant Claire Furness, working with the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, saw the opportunity to take the campaign further and reach the hair and beauty industry at the earliest stage through their training at local colleges.

The training content was first developed with Milton Keynes College. Activate Learning has then gone on to develop an online training resource which is now freely available via its website to all other colleges and any professional working in the industry.

An animated Sgt Furness features in the training, helping explore the different sorts of domestic abuse that occur. Not just physical, but emotional, financial and controlling behaviours. It provides advice on how to encourage someone to make a report, escape abuse and signposts to leading support organisations. 

Sergeant Claire Furness, of Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, said:  

“I’m passionate in tackling domestic abuse, which causes misery and claims lives. Sadly, there are many hidden victims, often suffering for years before reaching out for help.

“This is why everyone in our community has a role to play; professionals from hair-dressers to plumbers, from employers to neighbours.  Anyone who may see something that they feel isn’t right, or who have a trusted relationship and can provide advice and help someone escape abuse.

“We hope that this training will empower more people to spot the signs and to give that support.  Together we can cut out domestic abuse.”

Sally Dicketts, Activate Learning Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We are proud of the quality of the education and training we provide our students, preparing them for their future careers. 

“Through this project, we have created a fantastic resource that will help train the next generation of hair and beauty professionals, helping them to support their clients and keep them safe. 

“We want to show leadership across the education sector and are making the resources freely-available to other colleges and to employers, so that we share this learning as far as we can.”

Nicky Clarke, hair stylist and co-owner of Nicky Clarke Hairdressing, said:

“Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit’s initiative to train hair and beauty students to spot the signs of domestic abuse has my full support.

“Hairdressers have an incredibly unique position of trust with our clients because of the relationship we build with them and it is so important for us to learn how we could potentially help in situations of domestic abuse.

“I will definitely be partaking in and encouraging my staff to complete the training to help wherever we can.”

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or are worried about someone who may be, you can contact Thames Valley Police.  If there is an emergency that’s ongoing or life is in danger call 999 immediately.  If you cannot speak, call 999 and dial 55.  In a non-emergency case and for general advice call 101.  Further information is available on the Thames Valley Police website.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 200 0247

Respect Men’s Advice Line: 0808 8010 327

ManKind – male victims of domestic abuse: 01823 334 244

Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity: 0800 999 5428

There are a wide range of support organisations available, including more local services. Further information is available on the Thames Valley Police website.

The online training is available on the Activate Learning’s website.

EB