The decision to split the Home Office in two was mooted several weeks ago but has now been confirmed by the Prime Minister.

Tony Blair has decided the Department for Constitutional Affairs will take control of probation, prisons and prevention of re-offending and be renamed the Ministry of Justice, more than likely under the leadership of Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer

The slimmed down Home Office, led by John Reid, will then be left to concentrate on dealing with terrorism, security and immigration.

The principal reason for the split appears to stem from Mr Reid’s own admission that the Home Office was no longer “fit for purpose”. Dogged by various failures and confusion over responsibility, creating the two separate departments is seen as the key to solving many of the issues that Mr Reid inherited but has singularly failed to tackle.

Ministers maintain the division will provide a much clearer focus. However, opposition critics claim it will compound the problems by adding to the confusion.

Certainly the Government does not enjoy an impressive track record in providing a clear and effective path, even on what appear to be the most straight-forward of issues.

With the myriad problems that have beset the Home Office in recent times, you cannot help wondering whether dividing the department will simply lead to double the headaches.

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