By: Chandrashekar Bhat
BRITAIN’S home secretary Priti Patel on Tuesday (5) set out a series of crime-fighting measures, including stringent action on crimes against women, and tougher penalties for protesters disrupting highways.
In her speech at the ongoing annual Conservative Party conference in Manchester, the senior Indian-origin politician also highlighted the progress of the post-Brexit points-based system of immigration she had launched last year.
“This Conservative government is taking the tough decisions needed to cut crime and make our streets safer,” Patel told party delegates amid applause.
“So today I can announce I will also increase the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway, criminalise interference with key infrastructures such as roads, railways and our free press, and give the police and courts new powers to deal with the small minority of offenders intent on travelling around the country, causing disruption and misery across our communities,” she said.
The announcement follows key motorways being blocked by climate protesters in recent days, causing major disruption to transport networks.
In the wake of a serving Scotland Yard officer being sentenced recently for the rape and murder of a 33-year-old woman walking home at night in London, Patel also confirmed an inquiry to provide independent oversight to ensure mistakes are not repeated within the police force.
“I say this as home secretary, but also as a woman, such unconscionable crimes and acts of violence against women and girls have no place in our society. And that is why I have redoubled my efforts to ensure women and girls feel safer,” she said.
On the country’s new visas and immigration system, the 49-year-old Gujarati-origin politician welcomed an end to the European Union (EU) policy of free movement of people within the economic bloc.
She said: “We have finally ended the free movement. Delivered our new points-based immigration system, welcoming people to our country based on the skills they have to offer, not the colour of their passport.
“Our new routes are attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world. Welcoming brilliant scientists, the finest academics, and leading people in their fields, all helping to drive our economy forward as we build back better from the pandemic. And at long last, the British immigration system is under the control of the British government.”
Under the points-based system in force since early this year, migrants from anywhere in the world “including India” are expected to apply to live and work in the UK, based on their level of skills rather than the country of origin.
The conference which will run until Wednesday (6) will conclude with prime minister Boris Johnson’s flagship speech.