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 both Ken Livingstone andBoris Johnson have consistently sided with the police rather than represent Londoners’ concerns, over issues such as the shooting ofJean Charles de Menezes and the failure to investigate allegations ofphone hacking at News International.

For decades, police chiefs and their political masters have failed to deal with a range of issues that are undermining public trust and confidence in the police. Their reaction to declining police performance has been to increase police powers and, particularly in London, the police have invested significant resources in reputation management. The result has been an erosion of individuals’ rights and an unhealthy relationship between the police and the media, further undermining public support.

The causes of the riots in Tottenham, the explosive atmosphere and the igniting spark, are just some of the issues that have eroded the unwritten contract between the police and the public, which has allowed the police to operate, unarmed and in relatively small numbers, ever since the modern police were founded.

Despite being an issue for at least 30 years, you are still seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police if you are a black person than if you are a white person. When the police make an order under Section 60 to search “at random” for weapons, you are 30 times more likely to be searched if you are a black person. Yet only two in every hundred searches under Section 60 result in something unlawful being found. Evidence was given to Lord Scarman during his inquiry into the Brixton riots in 1981, and again to Lord Macpherson in his inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence case in 1999, that many people felt over-policed and under-protected. That number is growing.

You can read Brian’s piece in full here.

* Nick Thornsby is a day editor at Lib Dem Voice.

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