Displaying items by tag: law and order
The Nationality and Borders Bill was proposed by Priti Patel to make provisions for asylum-seekers. However the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, said changes to the bill would make the asylum system less fair, not more so. If Patel is successful, those attempting illegal entry could face four years in prison, instead of six months; if they are stopped in the English Channel, they will be returned to France. The bill has already passed through the House of Commons and is currently in the ‘committee stage’ in the House of Lords. If the bill passes through the chamber, amendments will be considered before it is given the Royal Assent. Bishop Paul said, ‘We do not want to see any more people tragically losing their lives in the Channel. In its current form, the bill makes the asylum system more complicated, more cumbersome, and less fair; it provides fewer safe routes and is more expensive.’
Parliament member Päivi Räsänen faces six years in prison for sharing her biblical beliefs on sexuality and marriage. Lutheran bishop Juhana Pohjola was charged with one count of ethnic agitation for publishing Räsänen’s booklet. Finish prosecutors said Räsänen’s statements disparage and discriminate against LGBT individuals and foment intolerance and defamation. The mother of five maintains her expressions are legal and should not be censored. ‘I cannot accept that voicing my religious beliefs could mean imprisonment. I do not consider myself guilty of threatening, slandering or insulting anyone. My statements were based on the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality.’ Six members of Congress have condemned Finland for prosecuting Räsänen, and said the USA should consider these prosecutions when advising on countries placed on a watch list of countries engaging in religious freedom violations.
Praise God for a local public prosecutor who has just secured her 100th conviction against perpetrators of child abuse. IJM has been honoured to work closely with this courageous woman over the last five years. It is grateful to God for leaders like her, who are stepping up to protect children every day, and are very encouraged by her enduring compassion and pursuit of justice. Please continue to pray for this prosecutor's success and safety.
Five people, including a three-year-old girl, were killed during a six-minute shooting spree by gunman Jake Davison on 12 August. Two others were injured during the incident before the 22-year-old turned the gun on himself. Tens of thousands of pounds have been raised online for the victims and their families. Pray for the community to have God’s comfort and peace as they pull together and support each other in these trying times; pray especially for the relatives and friends of the victims. Churches and schools are open, to give people opportunities to open themselves to God and to each other. Davidson’s gun licence was suspended following a criminal charge for assault, but it was returned to him in July. The Government has asked police forces to review procedures for issuing and returning firearms licences, and to check whether it is necessary to revoke any licences already issued.
Police reported ‘significant increases’ in stalking in England and Wales during the pandemic; over 80,000 incidents were recorded last year. However arrests struggled to keep up - growing at half the rate of the rise in offences. Chris has been stalked for six years by a man she met briefly in a team meeting at a previous job. He has inundated her with messages ever since, and contacted colleagues about her over 2,000 times despite them both leaving the company. She made around fifty separate calls to the police during the pandemic. One visit the man made to the offices of her current employer was even captured on CCTV while current colleagues have recorded obscene calls he has made asking to speak to her. Despite her passing this evidence to the police and reporting at least fifty incidents, the man has never been charged. She is one of many feeling let down by the police.
In South Africa a woman is killed every four hours: ‘Our bodies are crime scenes’. Ornate advertising posters of men accused or convicted of murdering women cover the walls of Argentina’s capital. The word FEMICIDA -woman killer- screams out in large black letters under each name. The posters, and thousands of protesters outside Argentina’s Supreme Court in February, reveal the rage over rampant levels of violence against women. In Turkey’s cities last year thousands rallied, demanding the government does not withdraw from a landmark treaty to prevent and combat violence against women. Globally, trends of female journalists being threatened with physical violence, rape, kidnapping. and other abuses are rising. In Spain’s strawberry fields, migrant women face abuse from bosses who routinely sexually harass and exploit them, when they are attempting to support themselves and their families back home. Also see
President Joe Biden is launching a renewed effort to tackle crime in the US, as a series of major cities experience spikes in violent offences. Police departments define violent crime in slightly different ways, but the data usually includes murder, robbery, assault and rape. There were 25% more murders recorded in 2020 than the previous year. Major US cities have tended to follow the national trend in becoming safer since the 1990s, but some have recently seen a sharp rise in murders. Spikes in the biggest cities are a considerable concern to Biden's administration, with Chicago having the worst records for murders and a continuing upward trend in 2021. A rise in the number of shootings in many major cities runs parallel with the president's attempts to strengthen firearm regulations to combat gun violence. The administration hopes strong action now can stem the violence and prevent murders increasing further this summer.
The High Court has found the government acted unlawfully when it gave a contract worth £560,000 to a company run by friends of the PM's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Ministers have denied any favouritism was shown towards the market research agency Public First. But the judge decided a failure to consider other firms could be seen as suggesting a ‘real danger’ of bias. Cummings wanted the contract to be given to a firm whose bosses, Rachel Wolf and James Frayne, were former colleagues of himself and Michael Gove.
The Cologne police force has set up a special team to combat a growing black market in forged vaccine certificates. Fraudsters are communicating via an encrypted messenger service which makes investigations difficult, and the police are still trying to determine the scale of the problem nationally. Some people are duped into paying about £86 then get nothing. Covid ‘passports’ to ease travel are being rolled out now across the EU. 44% of Germans have had at least one jab and over 18% of the population are fully vaccinated against Covid. The fraud takes place on the Telegram messenger service and involves both real traffic in fake certificates and fake offers which lure people into paying but provide nothing. Often cryptocurrency is used, like in the online black markets in drugs and weapons. Telegram has become a hub for anti-vaxxers, suspicious of vaccines and denying official data about the pandemic. Proving that you are Covid-free allows access to restaurants, leisure facilities, foreign travel, and more.
We recently prayed for a teacher now in hiding after showing images from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in a lesson about blasphemy. In the wake of the furore Ms Akram, a Muslim Labour councilor, posted a message on Facebook saying she was 'shocked and saddened' that the teacher was forced to go into hiding. She added, 'To the teacher, if you need to leave Batley - which I wouldn't blame you! - come to Slough. We will welcome you and your family.' Her local Muslim community say Ms Akram was disrespecting the Prophet, and now she is receiving death threats. A petition is now online with over 1,300 signatures describing her as 'evil'. Angry protesters have picketed Slough Borough Council for three weeks demanding she resign. Pray for the education authority and schools curriculums to be free to decide what children are taught in school - not parents.