27 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: UK access to crime databases at risk post Brexit
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome landmark for Welsh education
  • Liberal Democrats challenge Minister on Met facial recognition surveillance

Liberal Democrats: UK access to crime databases at risk post Brexit

Following reports that the exchange of key security information is at risk post Brexit, due to concerns over Britain’s record in protecting personal information, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Our police rely heavily on co-operation with our EU partners to identify criminals and bring them to justice. It’s incredibly alarming that these government scandals threaten to undermine that co-operation, making us all less safe.

We already know that some EU countries will refuse to extradite their citizens to the UK under the European Arrest Warrant after Friday. Now there’s a real danger that our police will also lose access to EU-wide crime databases next year.

Liberal Democrats will fight to maintain these vital cross-border tools that keep us all safe. The Government must prioritise as close a security and justice partnership as possible, as part of our future relationship with the EU.

Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome landmark for Welsh education

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed a landmark moment in Welsh education as Welsh Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams has published the revised Curriculum for Wales guidance.

The guidance will be accompanied by an extra £15m to support teachers to implement the new curriculum.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented:

We’re proud that Kirsty Williams has published the guidance for our first ever ‘made-in-Wales’ curriculum.

Curriculum reform is at the heart of our national mission to create an education system that is a source of national pride and creates opportunity for all.

This curriculum will give our young people access to the experiences, knowledge and skills they need to secure fulfilling employment and become active citizens in our society.

Kirsty Williams added:

This is a huge landmark for Welsh education. I am proud that we are leading the way on education reform. We have created a curriculum that gives our young people the knowledge and skills they need to become rounded citizens of Wales and the world.

This is an exciting milestone for education in Wales. I’m pleased to have announced an extra £15 million to ensure our schools and teachers are fully able to deliver this crucial next step.

Liberal Democrats challenge Minister on Met facial recognition surveillance

This afternoon, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney challenged the Policing Minister on the Metropolitan Police’s rollout of automated facial recognition surveillance in London.

The MP for Richmond Park secured an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on the Met’s announcement that it will begin operational use of facial recognition surveillance within a month. She highlighted concerns about the impact of facial recognition on human rights, the lack of a legal framework to govern its use, its inaccuracy and its bias against women and BAME people.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London Siobhan Benita criticised Sadiq Khan for his decision “to give this rollout the go-ahead without proper consultation or regulation”.

Following the debate, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney said:

We must not allow the UK to become a society where innocent people feel as though their every movement is being watched by the police.

The independent review of the Met’s trials was damning, especially about the impact of facial recognition surveillance on human rights.

It cannot be right for this new form of mass surveillance to be rolled out without any safeguards to protect innocent people from being discriminated against or having their privacy invaded.

Liberal Democrats are standing up for civil liberties and calling for an immediate halt to the police’s use of facial recognition surveillance.

Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, added:

Sadiq Khan is wrong to give this rollout the go-ahead without proper consultation or regulation and the fact that he has done so undermines his claim to share our liberal values.

The technology is hopelessly inaccurate and will further damage trust between the police and communities.

To make London safer I would restore effective community policing, starting with the re-opening of local police stations, which the current Mayor has shut down.

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