29 November 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s Brexit plans would let thousands of criminals off the hook
  • Liberal Democrats will invest £1 billion a year to restore community policing
  • Lib Dems: Ofsted stats reveal Tory failure on school standards

Lib Dems: Johnson’s Brexit plans would let thousands of criminals off the hook

  • Estimated 6,000 criminals could evade justice if Johnson’s Brexit goes ahead
  • UK police to be locked out of EU crime database used 1.6 million times a day
  • Brexit would undermine UK’s ability to tackle terrorism and organised crime

The Liberal Democrats have warned Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans risk enabling thousands of criminals to escape justice, after analysis revealed the extent to which UK police rely on vital EU crime-fighting measures.

UK police forces and prosecutors have used the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to bring over 6,600 criminal fugitives to justice over the past five years, the analysis reveals. This includes 140 for murder or manslaughter, 136 for child sex offences, 152 for rape and 12 for terrorism.

The EAW allows the speedy extradition of wanted criminals, but senior police have warned that the UK risks losing access to the scheme because of Brexit. If current trends were to continue, that would mean more than 6,000 criminal suspects could avoid extradition over the next five years.

The research also shows that UK police accessed a crucial EU-wide crime database 603 million times in 2018, equivalent to 1.6 million times a day and an increase of 12% of the previous year. This makes the UK the fourth largest user of the scheme after France, Italy and Spain.

The Schengen Information System (SIS II) gives police real-time access to records on wanted criminals, missing persons and lost or stolen items including firearms and passports. In 2018 law enforcement in the UK used the database to issue alerts on 2,967 firearms, 209,506 vehicles and over 2.6 million documents such as passports or driving licenses.

The Liberal Democrats would preserve vital EU police cooperation measures by stopping Brexit and staying in the EU. The party also plans to invest an extra £1 billion a year to give police forces the funding to recruit 20,000 more police officers – an extra two officers per ward.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:

Boris Johnson’s reckless Brexit plans threaten to cut the UK off from vital crime-fighting tools that the police use every day to keep us safe.

Thousands of dangerous criminals could escape justice and the UK’s ability to tackle terrorism and organised crime would be seriously undermined.

The only way to ensure vital police cooperation with Europe is kept is by stopping Brexit and staying in the EU.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit, build a brighter future and keep our communities safe.

Liberal Democrats will invest £1 billion a year to restore community policing

Today, the Liberal Democrats announce plans to invest an extra £1 billion a year to restore community policing by enabling forces to recruit 20,000 more police officers – enough for two extra officers in every ward across England and Wales. The Party will also fund an immediate 2% pay-rise for serving police officers.

Liberal Democrat plans stand in stark contrast to Labour and the Conservatives, who have made big promises on police numbers, but have failed to commit the funding needed to deliver them.

The Conservatives’ cuts to police numbers have contributed to a rise in violence and decimated community policing, with 47% of people saying they never see police foot patrols, up from 30% in 2014-15.

The delivery of Brexit will only make our communities even less safe, hitting public finances and leaving police forces underfunded.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, said:

Too many people feel unsafe in their own homes and walking down their local streets. So many communities feel exposed and vulnerable and, although the Tories and Labour are claiming to offer solutions, their sums just don’t add up.

Police officers are leaving in their droves because they are not being properly rewarded for putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. Only the Liberal Democrats have a bold and credible plan to fund an increase in the number of police officers, enough for two officers in every ward, and to provide an immediate 2% pay-rise for our hard-working cops.

The other parties just don’t get it – we need to encourage experienced officers to stay, as well as recruiting the extra officers we need. The Liberal Democrats are committing £1 billion a year to fund this – that’s £250 million more, every year, than Labour or the Tories.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party willing to put our money where our mouth is, backing our bobbies with money, not just words. We are the only party that can stop Brexit, make our communities safer and build a brighter future.

Lib Dems: Ofsted stats reveal Tory failure on school standards

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Ofsted, analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals that the Conservatives have let over 1,000 schools go unvisited by inspectors for over a decade.

Figures published yesterday (28 November 2019) reveal that 1,048 schools have not been visited by an Ofsted inspector since 29 November 2009.

Schools rated outstanding by Ofsted in their previous inspection are no longer inspected routinely, unless concerns are raised.

This means that safeguarding or other problems with a school that are not reported to Ofsted can go unnoticed for years.

Boris Johnson today has restated a policy to remove this exemption. His Government first promised to do this two months ago but he has failed to deliver.

New figures show that of the 593 previously outstanding schools that were inspected last academic year, more than half saw their grade drop and 113 were rated ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’.

The Liberal Democrats have committed to replacing Ofsted with a new schools watchdog that teachers and parents can trust.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary, Layla Moran, said:

Boris Johnson is playing fast and loose with the education and the safety of our children. Hundreds of thousands of pupils could be in declining schools, but we simply don’t know.

The Ofsted brand is fundamentally broken. It creates a huge unnecessary workload and stress for both pupils and teachers. It needs to be replaced with a schools watchdog that parents and teachers can trust.

Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for our children. We will support schools to succeed rather than punish them for failure. We will reverse school cuts, employ 20,000 more teachers and create a new schools watchdog that won’t let our schools go ignored for years on end.

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