Tag Archives: policing

Should political parties pay for policing at conferences?

policeFollowing a Freedom of Information request the BBC has obtained figures for the amounts spent on policing political party conferences.

It seems that over the last five years the Home Office has provided £106 million in special grants to fund the police presence at one-off events such as major protests or the Royal wedding. £50 million of that has gone on party conferences.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Just when you thought the SNP’s scomnishambles was over…

Scotland’s SNP Government is having a bit of a torrid time at the moment.

There’s been allegations of ministerial bullying, then the First Minister gets caught out not only misleading Parliament, but doing so in smug and gloaty style, and then the Education Secretary has to make a grovelling apology for an earlier transgression. Not very edifying at all.

So it must have been really gratifying for Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil to get a tweet from someone called @SirIanBlair saying how well the SNP were doing …

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Nick Clegg blocks Tory bid to opt out of European policing measures

More on the story here.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Guardian investigation finds sexual predators in police abusing powers

The Guardian reports:

Sexual predators in the police are abusing their power to target victims of crime they are supposed to be helping, as well as fellow officers and female staff, the Guardian can reveal.

An investigation into the scale and extent of the problem suggests sexual misconduct could be more widespread than previously believed.

The situation raises questions about the efficacy of the police complaints system, the police’s internal whistleblowing procedures, the vetting of officers and a failure to monitor disciplinary offences.

Meanwhile, in other news Theresa May wants to give the police more powers to spy on the public, without requiring any judicial authorisation.

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Trusted, professional and effective: British policing at its best – Tom Brake MP on the Lib Dems’ new policing paper

Today we have launched the new Liberal Democrats policing paper: Trusted, professional and effective: British policing at its best.

It is my pleasure to be launching this paper, based upon which a conference motion will be debated by Liberal Democrat Conference in Spring 2012. Along side my Co-Chair Baroness Hamwee and the rest of the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Justice and Equalities Committee we are constantly working to define Liberal Democrat Policy outside the Coalition.

Public confidence in the police has been shaken in recent times: by the riots, by phone hacking, and by the increasing state intrusion into our …

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LibLink: Brian Paddick – London is increasingly policed by force not consent – thanks to its mayors

Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick had a piece on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free website yesterday on what is his undoubtedly his strongest issue – policing.

Here’s a sample of what Brian had to say:

Crime will be far more of an issue in the election of the mayor of London on 3 May because the mayor is now the elected crime and police commissioner for London. He alone sets police priorities and the police budget and he alone will hold the Metropolitan police to account. Far from holding the police to account, to date

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Opinion: The Lib Dem leadership’s attitude to the Police Commissioner elections is baffling!

“Liberal Democrats – soft on crime” was the headline that has often screamed off Labour leaflets over the last decade. Indeed, in the latter stages of the 2010 General Election, Labour strategists used that message to squeeze the Liberal Democrat vote when we were on 29%.

Looking at the partial, last-minute collapse in our vote, it’s difficult to argue that this line of attack didn’t work. The ‘soft on crime’ attack was used against us in the Oldham East and Saddleworth By-election. Labour’s Christmas Card to constituents in Oldham even featured a snowman with a police …

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Opinion: The Liberal Democrats should contest Police Commissioner elections

Ask many people what they think of the Lib Dems’ approach to law and order, and you’ll be told – erroneously – that we’re a soft touch. Our approach, traditionally evidence-based and less punitive than the populist authoritarian policies of Labour and the Tories, takes longer to explain. When we fail to do so, we risk being seen as the party that panders to criminals.

Of course, that isn’t the case. We believe in policy that actually works to reduce crime and recidivism, using all possible means to rehabilitate those who resort to illegality, while reiterating the importance of the …

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Liberal Democrats decide to pass up on fighting Police Commissioner elections (mostly)

The Liberal Democrat Federal Executive (FE) decided this week that the federal party will not be providing any financial backing to Liberal Democrats wishing to stand for election as Police Commissioners. The expectation is that instead the party will end up backing independent candidates, although it has been made clear that local areas can decide to field candidates if they wish to – albeit without any financial backing from the central party.

The strong preference given, however, is for Liberal Democrats to back independent candidates. As FE chair and Party President Tim Farron wrote to regional parties:

Posted in News, Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | Also tagged , and | 35 Comments

Opinion: Tackling violence against women

The conference motion “Tackling Violence Against Women” rightly highlighted the fact that only 10% of local authorities offer dedicated services for Black and Ethnic Minority Women many of whom are subjected to specific forms of violence such as female mutilation and forced marriage.

In areas like Rochdale with a large Pakistani/Kashmiri and Bangladeshi community, the need for such services and support is very real. This is particularly the case when the arranged marriage involves someone from the Indian sub-continent and the marriage breaks down within two years.

Under our current immigration system these women (and some men) are subject to the NRPF …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Should the Liberal Democrats contest police commissioner elections?

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

Yes is the answer according to the latest Liberal Democrat Voice survey of party members:

Support: 57%
Oppose: 24%
Net: 33% in favour

The party has been putting in place the necessary procedures to fight these elections, such as making decision over candidate selection rules. However many influential voices have also been raised against the party putting up candidates and with the delay in the

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Lib Dems get police commissioner elections delayed

Via the BBC:

The Lib Dems urged elections for police commissioners to be delayed partly to help the electoral prospects of their local councillors, the BBC understands.

The elections were due to take place on 3 May 2012, the same day as council polls across England and Wales, but are set to be put back until November.

A senior Lib Dem spokesman told BBC News their councillors wanted to “depoliticise” the vote.

Labour, which is against elected police chiefs, claims the move will cost £25m.

The issue was the subject of a spat at Prime Minister’s Questions, with opposition leader Ed Miliband saying

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PMQs: Nadine Dorries leaves the PM speechless

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Mike Tuffrey writes… Policing: not just a numbers game

On the streets of Tottenham, Croydon, Clapham, Hackney and Ealing, we saw what happens when adequate numbers of trained police are not deployed at the right time and in the right way.

And we heard how numbers on the streets were subsequently boosted from 3,000 to 16,000 only by drafting in back-up from neighbouring forces. In fairness, it must be said that riot control is very hazardous and officers must have the right training before they are deployed.

Yet Londoners can still be forgiven for wondering where all the police are, that they’ve been persuaded to pay for in higher council taxes.

Go …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Dee Doocey writes: Riots – a case for reason and not posturing

The TV comedy The Thick of It brilliantly satirised the tendency of New Labour to govern by ‘initiative’. Politics was reduced to public relations. Policies were created on the hoof with an eye to the next morning’s headlines.

If you thought those days ended at the last general election, think again. The recent riots should have given everyone pause for thought. Instead, many politicians and commentators were shooting from the hip or trotting out predictable responses.

Playing to the gallery pays only short-term dividends. Yes, “something must be done”. But politicians of all parties have a duty to think before they open their mouths, and not try to cash in on gut reactions or tabloid hysteria – despite the media’s hunger for sensational news and tendency to incite sensational comment.

Despite the pressure to meet emotionally-driven imperatives, only an intelligent, long-term, considered response will prevent a recurrence of these riots. What needs to be done?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 14 Comments

Cross-party smackdown for Home Secretary

A tweet crosses my desk from Cllr Kemp, itself a retweet from LGCPlus journalist Ruth Keeling. It contains a link to the Association of Police Authorities – not a body I am overly familiar with, but it has a fairly self-explanatory title.

The link is directly to a fairly draw-dropping cross-party letter from chairs of Police Authorities around the country who have a fairly serious beef with the Home Secretary’s accuracy in a recent speech.

Theresa May appears to have tried to shore up support for the Conservative policy of elected police commissioners by insinuating that in London, taxpayers got a better service from the elected police chief (and Mayor) Boris Johnson, than in other parts of the country where there are indirectly elected Chairs of Police Authorities instead.

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LibLink | Brian Paddick: Police must show there is no bias against black people

Former deputy assistant commissioner of the Metroplolitan police, and current contender to become the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London, Brian Paddick has written for The Independent on the need for our law-enforcers to re-earn the trust of the capital’s balck community. Recounting his own experiences of policing London on the front-line over the decades, Brian writes:

I was a sergeant on the streets during the 1981 Brixton riots. Together with 10 officers hiding behind our plastic shields, we became the focus for community hatred, pelted with bricks and broken paving slabs. The police and the community tried to rebuild some kind of relationship – it took a long time. Twenty years later I became the police commander there. After 15 months, when I was moved out of Brixton, there were protests – it had been quite a turnaround from 1981. Do the people of Tottenham have to wait 20 years for the weekend’s scars to heal?

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Opinion: Leading Labour figures guilty of the worst kind of opportunism

London burns and communities reel from successive nights of violence and looting, rumour is rife, facts are scare. All we know that peaceful vigil held for Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police on Thursday night, somehow was hijacked by an angry mob and his death became the catalyst of nights of violence, which have now spread to other parts of the capital and country.

What do we hear from Labour politicians? Calls for calm? Space for the IPCC to carry out their investigation into the shooting? No, instead we have them lining up to link the violence to the …

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Opinion: Lessons learned the hard way will have to be re-learned following the riots in Tottenham

As a young research assistant I was in Northern Ireland on the day of the June 1987 General Election, campaigning for the re-election of my boss the Rev Martin Smyth, Ulster Unionist MP for South Belfast and head of the Orange Order.

Elections in Northern Ireland were always conducted in a way mindful of possible violence or terrorist attack, and an RUC patrol intercepted a car in the vicinity of a school being used as a polling station. The IRA occupants of the car were found to be armed and an explosive device was also found. Mr Smyth was in the …

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Brian Paddick writes: Lessons from the Tottenham riots

What can be learnt from the riots in Tottenham this weekend?  There have been many controversial police shootings in recent years but this would not appear, on the face of it, to be one of them.  The matter is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and from my experience that might be part of the problem.  There are also deeper issues that need to be addressed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Tottenham points to wider policing problems

The last couple of evening riots in London, starting in Tottenham and working their way across the capital, seemingly sparing no town in its wake has left us in shock. People are being injured, the police and innocent bystanders as well as the rioters and looters. Again and again though, the question that people keep asking is “What’s going on?”

They are right to ask. Unfortunately, the riots have occurred while a high number of our leading politicians are out of the country. David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Nick Clegg, they all could have spoken with authority on the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Chris White writes: Police Commissioners – the descent into low farce

News today that the Tories may not even field candidates for their cherished police commissioner posts, but instead are ‘considering instead whether to put … support behind other contenders, such as prominent and distinguished local individuals’ shows that this awesomely bad policy is starting to founder.

Meanwhile Labour are having similar doubts and, as discussed elsewhere on Lib Dem Voice, our own Party is hardly racing towards a sensible selection process.

The problem, of course, is not just that the legislation is not finalised but that the elections will be hideously expensive, covering in some cases several county areas: …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Chris White writes: Is it possible to change Coalition policy?

Is it possible to change Coalition policy? Council leaders certainly hope so if the letter to today’s Times is to be believed. Over a hundred have supported – and no doubt many more councillors, deputies, backbenchers and the like might have done so had there been more time to hone the message and gather support.

The issue should be core to the localist agenda – although we need to be rather clearer about what we really want.

Not so long ago the police were governed (at least in non-operational terms) by the police committees of county councils. There was not much …

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Tom Brake MP writes: Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation

Tom Brake MP is Lib Dem Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Co-Chair.

A friend texted me over the weekend, after the news of Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation, saying ‘What next?’. I texted back, ‘The Queen abdicates?’.

Revelations about phone-hacking and the Metropolitan police have been coming so thick and fast over the last couple of weeks that nobody would bat an eyelid (all right, I exaggerate slightly) if Her Majesty revealed a previously unknown Met and NOTW connection.

Sir Paul’s departure is just the latest extraordinary development in the phone-hacking saga.

Even though he was widely recognised as an outstanding commissioner who …

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Chris White writes: Approving Police Commissioner candidates

Readers of LDV will have noticed that there is an announcement about Police Commissioner candidates – presumably placed by the English Party.

Of course, none of us want these elections (and most councillors in other parties don’t either) but it’s in the Coalition agreement and so we are to an extent stuck with a particularly silly bit of the Tory manifesto. Such, I guess, is the nature of Coalitions.

What is troubling, however, is the fact that the English Party has decided to play the centralist card: candidates need in essence to be approved like parliamentary candidates.

One of the main …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Police and Crime Commissioners: Lib Dem candidates start here

The Liberal Democrats are inviting potential candidates for the new Police and Crime Commissioner posts, which, if the legislation is passed, are expected to be elected in May 2012.

The party wants to encourage the widest possible range of applicants so the membership can select from the best possible choice of candidates.

So if you’re interested in applying, you need to be an approved Parliamentary candidate:

The Bill to create directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners is currently before Parliament. The first elections of Police and Crime Commissioners are expected in May 2012.

The English Regional Parties will be inviting applications to be candidates

Posted in Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: The problem with Lib Dem conference security arrangements

With the opening of registration for the Autumn Liberal Democrat conference this week, the first details have emerged of registrants needing to provide information to the police for “security checks”.

Looking at the Lib Dem blogosphere this morning, it’s clear that people are deeply unhappy with the requirements. I’m going to try to explain what the problem is, how it’s come about and what we might do about it.

What Information Is Required?

The pass application guidelines make it clear what is needed. First off, an up-to-date photo compliant with the new passport guidelines (which exist to make automated facial biometric recognition easier) for your conference pass.

Secondly, either your passport number, driving licence number or National Insurance number. If you don’t have any of the latter, it seems to be possible to come to some kind of arrangement with Greater Manchester Police (who are doing the checks on behalf of Birmingham’s West Midlands Police).

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 28 Comments

The Met Police have an unusual problem

I suspect there are many parts of the public sector which wished they had this problem:

Underspending continues to be an issue in the management of the capital programme, although unused funds can often be carried forward through reserves to support projects at a future date.

Part of the issue is large projects slipping, with the Met’s response to this being:

Agreeing an ‘opening’ programme in excess of available funding in the year.

This happens on a noticeable scale:

The MPA Finance & Resources Committee agreed a revised Capital Programme budget on 15th July 2010 at £276.3m for 2010/11 following the first quarter review. This

Posted in London | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Elected Police Commissioners: how the elections would work

The publication this week of the Police Reform And Social Responsibility Bill provided, amongst other matters, details of how the planned elections for Police Commissioners (or, strictly speaking, Police and Crime Commissioners) would be conducted.

The overall plan is to treat them like local elections, with the same electorate and the same polling day in May. However, the Bill also applies the ‘standard’ election system for existing directly elected executive posts to Police Commissioners, namely the supplementary vote.

This is likely to be controversial, both because the supplementary vote is very unpopular with many Liberal Democrats and also because the …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

PMQS: Cameron promised faster wheels amidst squeaky bums

What a relief! For a change, Prime Minister’s Questions gave more cause for Tories to be uneasy than it did for LibDems. Don’t get me wrong, LibDems care passionately about frontline policing. Of course they do. But the Tories tend to see it as more of a cojones (or should I invent the adjective “cojonal” here?) measurement issue – it’s closer to the nerve with them. So I think there must have been a lot of uncomfortable shifting around on the benches behind David Cameron today. “Squeaky bum time”, as Sir Alex might put it.

For once there was a good …

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