Tag Archives: police

The shoplifting epidemic

I live in one of those quieter outer London suburbs, but over the last few months I have noticed that larger shops have introduced higher levels of security. Some supermarkets now have a member of staff apparently on greeting duty, and others have fitted extra barriers and even gates.

A large M&S Food store near me now has gates into and out of the drinks section – I once got stuck in there when the exit gate refused to open and I couldn’t go back out through the entry gate until someone else approached it and triggered the latch. Yes, I know …..

It seems shoplifting has increased dramatically. And part of the reason is because the response rate from the police is so low, and shoplifters know they can get away with it.

Back in September an article in the Guardian carried the troubling headline: ‘It’s organised looting’: UK in grip of a shoplifting epidemic, say store owners.  It claimed that shoplifting had doubled in the last three years.

(The Co-op) claimed that police failed to respond to 71% of serious retail crimes, and that bosses were considering whether it was safe and commercially viable to keep some branches open.

Paul Gerrard, the chain’s director of public affairs and a former customs officer, described some of the shoplifting as “organised looting”, saying gangs would climb over kiosks and brazenly empty shelves into rucksacks, construction bags and even wheelie bins.

The company said it had been forced to spend more than £200m to counter criminal behaviour, with measures such as body-worn cameras and headsets for staff and “dummy” packaging for items such as £6 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and £6 jars of Kenco coffee to deter thieves from looting or “bulk-shoplifting”.

It has also hired undercover guards, often former police officers, who can detain shoplifters until police arrive. But Gerrard often feels their efforts are in vain because officers don’t always attend.

“We then have to let the shoplifters go, which actually is worse than intervening in the first place because that means they know, and they’ll tell all their mates, that even if they catch you the police don’t turn out. The point here is that the risk for an offender is minimal,” he said.

Rob Blackie, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor, has been looking into this problem across London. He has discovered that there have been 23,881 calls for shoplifting to the police on 999 since the beginning of the year. That is a massive increase of 49% on the comparable period last year.

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What are the Police for?

Summer 1994

Camberwell. A small 20-something woman with long dark hair is ambling along a side street. Sixties’ tower blocks on one side; red brick low rise on the other.  She has a brown and black bag slung over her shoulder. She is enjoying a bag of jelly tots as she goes and is weighed down by a heavy white plastic bag containing her council paperwork.

A tall 30-something male with dark hair and translucent pale skin hovers nearby. Suddenly he picks up speed, runs at the woman, grabs the bag off her shoulder. She rather lamely shouts: “Oh no!” and he, not very originally, cries out: “Oh yes!” A grubby old russet Ford fiesta appears from nowhere, he jumps into it and driver and thief speed off into the South London sunshine.

Well of course gentle reader, the woman was me. And what happened next? The Met were absolutely brilliant. A local shopkeeper raised the alarm (as they say), the police took a statement.  I later identified the man at Brixton Police Station. He confessed to a series of muggings and got 7 years. It was an exemplary piece of policing, operating with lightning speed and with descriptions only. No CCTV. No witnesses. I bounced back very quickly. Partly I suppose because I was young; but mainly because the Police were so efficient. There was no pastoral care offered in those days. I wasn’t bothered, just relieved that the mugger would not do the same to anyone else for a while. What’s more. I felt safe.

You know what comes next don’t you?

Spring 2023

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Stella Creasy is right – trolls who make malicious complaints should face consequences

Being a woman on the internet in possession of an opinion has long been a wild ride. For most women in public life, abuse is so much worse than a man would get. And I think most of us are so used to it that we barely flinch unless the abuse directly threatens us or the people we love.

The misogynistic trolls who spend so much of their time trying to make life miserable for women they don’t agree with rarely face consequences. Now one of them has found a new way to persecute a high profile feminist and has got away with it.

Labour MP Stella Creasy has described in today’s Times (£) how a misogynistic troll went as far as reporting her to social services, saying that her views on violence against women and girls put them at risk. How on earth wanting to make misogyny a hate crime puts anyone at risk is beyond me.

Thankfully her local social services didn’t take long to realise that it was actually Stella who was at risk. But when the MP complained to the Police, she was shocked at the outcome:

The police accept that his behaviour is harassing but aren’t treating this as a crime because “as you had kids he was worried that your views would affect their upbringing, this belief was genuine and not by any sort of hate”.

At no point have they expressed any concern about the impact of this incident on my children, instead claiming that, as I am an elected representative, I should “expect” to be challenged in this way.

As Stella says, this is just another example of the institutionalised misogyny of the Police laid bare in the Casey Report.

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26 April 2023 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Brits less likely to swim in the sea due to sewage discharges, poll reveals
  • Police taking over five hours to respond to priority calls
  • Stop Voter ID: Govt are burying their heads in the sand
  • Braverman’s boasts will “ring hollow” for crime victims waiting hours for police to turn up

Brits less likely to swim in the sea due to sewage discharges, poll reveals

A new poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed over three in four (77%) Brits who swim in lakes, rivers or the sea, have said sewage discharges have made them less likely to go swimming.

The poll found half of all UK adults go swimming in the country’s rivers, lakes or the sea. Shockingly, the majority of those adults are now less likely to go swimming in public areas as a result of water companies discharging sewage into waterways.

Swimmers over the age of 55 are far more likely to be put off by the sewage discharges – nearly 9 in 10 (87%) said the water firms’ actions had put them off swimming in lakes, rivers or coastlines.

Swimmers in the South East and West Midlands (83%) are also most likely to say sewage discharges have made them less likely to go swimming in lakes, rivers and coastlines.

Last year, raw sewage was pumped into rivers and seas for 1.75 million hours, an average 825 times per day, according to official Environment Agency data.

Key bathing water status locations, which attract swimmers from around the country, have been flooded with sewage. In the South West, Lyme Regis’ Church Cliff Beach bathing water suffered from 81 sewage discharges last year, lasting 1493 hours

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Met police found to be institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic – Now what?

The Baroness Casey Review into the Met Police makes for very grim reading for all Londoners. The contents outline some horrific attitudes and behaviours towards minorities, women and LGBTQ+ people across the city it polices as well as within its own ranks. Baroness Casey has simply held a mirror up to this organisation and stated very clearly this has to change.

What makes reading the report even more depressing is that these same issues within the Met were identified back in 1999 in another independent review – the MacPherson report. This report only arose from years of campaigning by the Lawrence family seeking justice for their son Stephen. Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham in 1993. The Macpherson report concluded the investigation into Stephen’s murder was “marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership”

I grew up in Lewisham in a ‘tough neighbourhood’ not far from Eltham within miles of the racist attitudes that prevailed at the time. My local pub, the Golden Lion, was the scene of the unsolved Daniel Morgan murder in 1987. Daniel’s family still wait for a justice that may never come and can only take some comfort the  Independent Panel enquiry they campaigned for established the Met was “institutionally corrupt” and  Britain’s biggest police force engaged in “the denial of the failings in investigation, including a failure to acknowledge professional incompetence, individual’s venal behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures”

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Casey Report: This must be a precipice moment

Responding to the Casey Report, Liberal Democrat MP and Former Police Officer Wendy Chamberlain said:

This report is an important step towards justice for the Everard, Smallman and all of the other families of women and other victims who have suffered because of the failings evident throughout the Met.

It’s clear that despite repeated reviews and reports that the force’s toxic culture has never been properly addressed. This time, it has to be.

Leadership in the Met and the Home Office must view this as a precipice moment. The Home Secretary must take personal responsibility for this and draw up an urgent plan,

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Ed starts Blue Wall tour and calls for more community police officers

Ed Davey heads out on the road today. He’s doing a 25 stop tour of Blue Wall seats ahead of the local elections and starts in the Lib Dem stronghold of Three Rivers. The Council has been in Lib Dem hands for decades, but the parliamentary seats have so far eluded us.

His tour will take in Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton, John Redwood’s seat in Wokingham, and other ultra marginal Blue Wall seats from Cheltenham to Cheadle.

Today in Three Rivers, Ed will  highlight shocking figures showing just 2% of local burglaries result in a suspect being charged. He will warn of a “silent epidemic” of crime sweeping across the country, accusing the Conservatives of going from the “party of law and order to the party of chaos and crisis.”

Analysis from our ace team of researchers  has shown that police forces across the Blue Wall have been disproportionately impacted by Conservative cuts, leaving them under-resourced, overstretched and unable to focus on tackling crime.

At the same time, Blue Wall communities are being hit hard by unsolved burglaries. Alongside Hertfordshire (2%), Gloucestershire (1%), Dorset (2%) and Hampshire (2%) have some of the lowest rates of burglaries resulting in a suspect being charged across the country.

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2 million unsolved crimes

When the Met Police introduced its Safer Neighbourhood policing strategy in 2004 I was one of many local councillors who warmly welcomed the initiative. And over the years I could witness its effectiveness in driving down crime. It was replicated by Police forces across the country.

The problem was that Neighbourhood Policing was too successful, so inevitably over time resources were reduced because of low crime rates. Whereas before the teams worked solely on ward issues, today they can be pulled away at any time to deal with issues in the town centre. And guess what happened? – crime levels rose again. You can investigate crime rates in London over time here. (I am focussing on London because it’s what I know, but I am sure similar stories can be told across the UK)

So how did it work? In London each council ward was allocated one police sergeant, supported by two or three other police officers and a couple of PCSOs. Their task was to get to know their patches really well and prevent crime. In particular they focussed on low level crime and anti-social behaviour with the aim of leading perpetrators away from criminal activities.

One example comes to mind. There is a small pocket park in the ward which is completely surrounded by homes, and young people liked to gather there. Trouble began when some of them started throwing stones into back gardens causing some damage. Some of the residents contacted me and asked for a meeting with the police as they felt nothing was being done about it.

So one evening about 30 people crammed into someone’s living room and the police sergeant listened patiently for about an hour while they vented their anger and concerns. The residents were convinced that the problem was caused by a gang from outside the area and that punitive measures were needed.

Once they had all said their piece jaws dropped when the sergeant produced a list of the names and addresses of about 20 young people who had been involved. The police knew exactly who was causing the trouble and they had been quietly dealing with it in a way that would not push the young people further into criminality.

He explained that they all lived in the houses around the park and all had been spoken to.  The older ringleaders had been cautioned. Letters had been sent to the parents of the remaining culprits stating that the police were worried that their children were at risk of getting involved with anti-social groups and asking for their support to divert them.

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Child Q’s ordeal – from the perspective on an educator

I am a secondary school teacher in an inner-London school. We have a student body that is overwhelming non-white British.

In the context of the horrifying treatment of Child Q, our students were understandably asking many questions about whether we as teachers, could be trusted by them.

The sheer number of questions necessitated a discussion of the case occurred within a staff briefing, but it also left me devastated that a number of teachers in a different borough had destroyed my relationship with the students.

At this briefing, we were given an update on the facts of the case and how the school will react to this case. The discussion was productive, particularly around suspected drug possession. We were additionally informed that unless it was a dealing level found, the police would not be contacted. A crucial and needed policy. Essentially adopting a decriminalisation policy.

The mere existence of these questions says a lot about the breakdown in relationship between the public services of education and the police. If the school can’t trust the police, then why should the children. If the children have been let down by the teachers and the police, then why should they trust either.

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Brian Paddick: Police Bill is most authoritarian, illiberal Bill I have seen

The Police Bill is not just about curtailing the right to protest.  The new legislation allows the Home Secretary to force local authorities and other public bodies to hand over sensitive, personal information to the police, even against the informed judgement of professionals on the ground.  Liberal Democrats in the Lords will vote against this further extension of centralised power over local decision-making.

Part of the truly illiberal Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is not getting much publicity is a new duty on public bodies to give information to the police, so the cops can try to arrest their way out of the problem of serious violence.  What we actually need is a truly multi-agency, public health approach, where enforcement is only one part of the solution.  For example, when I went to Scotland I met a young father, whose partner committed suicide, who realised their son would grow-up without either of his parents if he did not turn away from violence, and with support, he has done just that.

Of course, if anyone has information that will help reduce or prevent serious violence, they have a duty to share it, and this Bill establishes a statutory duty on public bodies to share that information with each other, including the police sharing their information with others.  To the extent that the Bill removes barriers to allow the sharing of information, we support it.  In the wake of the horrific case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the importance of information sharing is vital, although the changes in this Bill would not have affected that case.

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Sexism in the Police force goes way beyond the Met

The failings of the Metropolitan Police with regard to the murder of Sarah Everard have been well documented over the past few days. Our Wendy Chamberlain, the only woman in the Commons to have been a serving Police officer, has been absolutely brilliant in highlighting the need for change in the force.

But the institutional sexism goes way beyond the Police. Former Nottinghamshire Chief Constable Sue Fish described yesterday how she didn’t dare report sexual assault by a colleague for fear of the consequences for them and, even more disturbingly she recounted:

that she had a senior colleague that was arrested and jailed for having sex with a “vulnerable” woman during his shift.

She said she would be left, as a young probationary officer, driving a marked car around in circles while her older colleague – nicknamed ‘Pervert’ – would visit the house of a woman he met on the job.

And an employment tribunal has found “horrific” examples of a sexist culture in a Police Scotland armed policing unit. The BBC reports some of the indignities that women officers in that unit had to put up with.

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LibLink: Wendy Chamberlain on need to tackle “serious and systemic” police failings

In an article for The House, Wendy Chamberlain, the only woman former Police officer in the Commons, says that the murder of Sarah Everard is a watershed moment to tackle serious and systemic failings at the heart of the Police. It’s a great follow-up to her interview on Sky News on Friday.

She describes how the abuse of power of Sarah’s murderer has led to a loss of trust in not just the Met, but Police across the country:

As a former police officer myself, I still carry the responsibility of my service with me long after I stopped wearing the uniform. Having served as a police officer does shape people’s opinions of you. At the time of my election in 2019, I viewed it as a way of demonstrating that I was someone to be trusted.

Couzens used and abused not only his position of power, but the notion of trust that Sarah placed in him as someone who wears the uniform with a duty to safeguard and protect.

That trust has been seriously eroded and damaged by this terrible crime. It is a shattering of trust that goes beyond the Metropolitan Police and applies to police services as a whole across the country.

So how is this to be fixed?

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Observations of an Expat: American Turning Point?

The guilty verdict in the trial of Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin for the murder of African-American George Floyd has the potential to be a watershed in American race relations. But it has a host of hurdles to overcome.

The key to surmounting well-entrenched centuries old problems is the George Floyd Policing Act, also known more succinctly as the George Floyd Bill. It passed the House of Representatives in March and is now before the Senate where it needs 60 votes (nine more than there are Democrats) to circumvent the dreaded filibuster.

The Bill proposes slew of changes which has raised concern among the law and order lobby, police union, gun enthusiasts and states’ rights advocates. It would be more than just concern if it weren’t for the fact that Chauvin is obviously guilty beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt.

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ACAB? Defund The Police? How should we respond to Black Lives Matter?

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The Black Lives Matter movement has been making headlines since the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. Protests started in America but have made there way over here and are happening up and down the UK. But, despite promoting equality, Black Lives Matter hasn’t been universally praised.

Along with a desire to expose injustice and systemic racism, Black Lives Matter organisations have laid out a policy platform aimed at defunding, and potentially abolishing, the police force and dismantling capitalism. These are bold and controversial ideas which have led to some people arguing against the movement as a whole. Should liberally minded people write off the hashtags of #ACAB and #Defund? Or are there policy ideas we can work with to reach the free fair and open society we’re fighting for?

Keir Starmer told BBC Breakfast that the idea of defunding the police is nonsense and he doesn’t support it. This was met with a wave of criticism from Labour supporters and Black Lives Matter protestors. I agree with their criticism of his response and think Starmer, like many others, has misinterpreted the phrase and not looked past the hyperbole. The Lib Dems and others should learn from this when they’re asked about the idea. Abolitionist policies clearly won’t carry much support right now, the police do amazing jobs in many areas, but the concept behind “defund” isn’t discrediting the police and needs a more nuanced look.

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Wendy Chamberlain recounts her first experience of violence against Police Officers

This week, the Commons debated a Statutory Instrument which introduces Police Restitution Orders in Scotland. This means that fines can be levied and the money from those will be used to finance extra support for Police officers who suffer from the effects of those assaults.

Wendy used to be a Police Officer, as were her father and husband. All of them suffered violent assault. Wendy described the first time it happened to her:

I, my father and my husband have all served, and I have other family members currently serving in Police Scotland. All of us were assaulted during our police careers. My husband was knocked unconscious during the policing of a football match. My father was head-butted by a prisoner in the police cells and required stitches.

My own most vivid memory is from early in my police career—within months of leaving initial training at the police college in Tulliallan in fact. It relates to attending a call about a report of a domestic dispute in a high-rise block of flats in Edinburgh. On arrival at the landing in question, my tutor and I could hear a loud argument and decided to call for additional officers to make their way to support us in case they were required. I am glad we did so. The door was answered by a man who, after telling us where to go, was then attacked by his girlfriend, but from behind with a knife. A toddler was visible at the back of the flat hallway. My colleague managed to baton the knife from the women’s grasp, and in anger both of them then turned on us, and a violent struggle ensued.​

Luckily for us, colleagues came quickly, and both people were arrested. The man, in particular, struggled violently throughout the arrest and attempted to spit at all the officers, claiming that he was HIV-positive. It then transpired that he had been responsible for an assault and robbery nearby earlier that evening. Other than bruising, my colleague and I were unharmed, but it was a salutary lesson to me in being prepared for any eventuality and in being responsive to events.

Her whole speech follows:

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Wendy Chamberlain: I used to be a Police Officer, now I worry about them being given more power

I, like virtually everyone else in this country, am taking this lockdown business very seriously. In fact, I think my anxiety about  Coronavirus is going to skyrocket in that intervening period between the most restrictive measures ending and the advent of a cure or vaccine. My husband is not quite as high risk as you can get, but he’s well on the way and when I read the small print, I’m high risk for complications from Covid-19 too. So I’m actually quite happy being at home at the moment. I realise that I am very lucky to be able to spend that time with people and dogs that I love, and to have a garden that I can sit out in. I am very aware that some people are on their own, or trapped with abusive partners, or are stuck in a flat.

It’s really strange to say that I haven’t been to a shop in a month. No more just nipping up to the Co-op to get rice when you realise you haven’t got any and the curry has been bubbling away in the oven for hours. It is really strange to think how well we have adapted to what are colossal infringements on our freedoms. News reports from intensive care units are more effective than any law enforcement approach.

But I do feel slightly uneasy whenever I see police vans heading into the park across the road from our house. Whenever I have been there, virtually everyone is keeping their distance. Ok, so there is the very occasional strange looking household walking together but the rules are pretty much enforcing themselves. And if I saw someone sitting on a bench, I’d think that they needed a rest. Not everyone can walk uninterrupted for an hour or so.

Even if they were very polite about it, I would still bristle a bit if a Police Officer were to ask me what I was doing in the park when the answer, given that I am usually accompanied by my dog, would be obvious. I think that is an ok way for a liberal to feel. We should always be aware of who holds power over us and assess whether they are using it appropriately. And if they aren’t, then they need to be challenged through the relevant complaints procedures.

Police suggesting they might be having a nosey through people’s shopping trolleys to look for “non-essential” stuff, even if their bosses backtrack later, or telling a family they can’t play in their front garden., are clear examples of when their approach goes too far.

This week, Lib Dem MP and former Police Officer Wendy Chamberlain wrote in the Metro about how she was worried about how they exercised their new powers.

What should they be doing?

Just as the air raid wardens kept communities safe during the Second World War by making sure people observed the blackouts, now we rely on police officers to keep us safe from coronavirus by making sure we observe the lockdown. Like everyone on the frontline of this crisis, our police are doing a very difficult job in extremely difficult circumstances. They not only have to enforce the new emergency laws, but also tackle other types of crime.

But we must be very careful to ensure that these powers are not used in a discriminatory way:

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Fresh police guidance says that it’s OK to drive a reasonable distance for exercise

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Following on from a couple of posts here about policing the Covid-19 restrictions, the police have been issued with fresh guidance on the matter, as reported by the Guardian:

Police chiefs have told officers that people should not be punished for driving a reasonable distance to exercise, and that blanket checks were disproportionate, in a bid to quell a row about heavy-handed enforcement of the coronavirus lockdown.

Amid anger at some forces setting up checkpoints and using drones to target people visiting rural beauty spots, the guidance reissued and updated late on Tuesday aims to forge more consistency across 44 forces in England and Wales.

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The noble principle of policing by consent

In the UK there exists a principle, harking back to the days of Sir Robert Peel. This long held tradition and principle is called policing by consent. This is essentially the idea that police legitimacy is based on the consent of those it polices. This vital bond, between citizen and state is one that should be held with the upmost regard. When our nation is in crisis, as it arguably is now, the rule of law becomes more, not less, important. This vital principle has almost passed unnoticed in recent weeks as the UK government has brought in strict legislation to help mitigate Covid-19.

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In a liberal society, should police be using roadblocks and drones to enforce the virus lockdown?

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The Guardian reports that the police are using roadblocks and drones to enforce the virus lockdown:

Derbyshire police tweeted drone footage taken near Curbar Edge, in the Peak District, and said they had checked the numberplates of vehicles in the car park and found that some cars were registered to addresses in Sheffield, a 30-minute drive away.

…In North Yorkshire, police said they would set up checkpoints to determine if drivers’ journeys were essential. The move was being introduced to ensure motorists are complying with government restrictions, North Yorkshire police said.

Officers will be stopping vehicles and asking motorists where they are going, why they are going there, and reminding them of the message to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” the force said in a statement. The checkpoints will be unannounced and could be anywhere across the county.

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The thin blue line is too thin and we do not sufficiently punish those who attack the police

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I’m going to sound like a misty-eyed old fossil now, but often I find my base reference point, with respect to the police, was the actor Jack Warner playing “Dixon of Dock Green“.

Yes, I know most people under 60 years old won’t remember him. Yes, I know “Dixon of Dock Green” probably gave an idealised version of law and order even when it was broadcast from 1955 until 1976.

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19 July 2019 – live from Brecon, today’s press releases…

  • Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: Govt must provide urgent clarity on teachers’ pay
  • Lib Dem legislation to protect victims of crime passes second reading
  • Davey: Govt must fund police pay rise
  • Umunna slams economically incompetent Tories
  • Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf

Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens

Today, the Liberal Democrats have brought forward a bill to safeguard EU citizens’ rights.

The Bill brought forward by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates would provide a guarantee that, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the rights of EU citizens and other EEA nationals living in …

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5 February 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

… and here are the rest!

  • A Second Chance for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon
  • Lib Dems oppose “shockingly complacent” Tory funding for police
  • Cable: PM speech proves the Govt has run out of ideas
  • Brexit Bribes Breach Bribery Act – Welsh Lib Dems

A Second Chance for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed plans from Tidal Lagoon Power to build the Swansea Tidal Lagoon without the need for funding from the UK Government.

Last year the UK Government decided not to support the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, despite the strong support the lagoon enjoyed from experts, businesses, local government, Welsh Government and politicians across …

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29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part one)

Budget Day always generates a lot of press coverage, and this year is no exception, but there have been plenty of other issues worthy of comment. Indeed, there has been so much that I’ve been forced to do this in two parts…

Welsh Lib Dems – Budget a Golden Opportunity

Ahead of the UK Government’s budget, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged Chancellor Phillip Hammond to seize the opportunity the budget presents to end austerity and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to stop Brexit, fix Britain’s broken tax system, fund public services …

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18 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Extending transition period another embarrassing climbdown

Responding to the news that Theresa May is open to extending the transition period, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Theresa May once argued that we didn’t need a transition period at all. Admitting that an extension is on the table, and the billions it would cost, is yet another in a long list of embarrassing climbdowns for this Tory Government.

The blame for this mess falls squarely at the Prime Minister’s feet. Over the last two years, her Government has failed to find solutions to

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Ed Davey: Brexit threatens our safety

The report, titled ”Negotiating Brexit: policing and criminal justice’, says the failure to secure a new agreement on policing and criminal justice after Brexit will make it harder to extradite dangerous criminals from the UK and reduce the number of people brought back to Britain to face justice.

The report highlights 3 main dangers even if Theresa May’s current position is accepted by the EU:

Extraditing dangerous criminals from the UK would be slower and morebureaucratic. Currently the UK extradites more than 1,000 people a year to the rest of the EU, using the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). Reverting to the previous, politicised, system of extradition would reduce that number.

New barriers would reduce the number of people brought back to the UK to facejustice. Every year, around 100 people are extradited from the rest of the EU to the UK. Without a deal, it will be harder for the UK to bring people who are suspected ofcommitting crimes here, and who have fled to the EU, back to face trial.

Law enforcement agencies would find it harder to get crucial information for investigations, as UK authorities will lose access to huge EU-wide databases. These include the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), which stores information on missing and wanted individuals and objects.

Ed Davey said:

The Institute for Government is absolutely right to raise the alarm about Brexit’s effect on crime and policing.

The Liberal Democrats have long been warning that losing the European Arrest Warrant, information-sharing arrangements and leadership of Europol will make it harder to keep people safe and bring criminals to justice.

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Ed Davey says arming all police would be “disproportionate”

National Police Chiefs have said that rural police officers might end up carrying guns because of a lack of specialist counter-terrorist officers.

Ed Davey has said that this would be a disproportionate move.

Police Officers carry out dangerous and often lifesaving work on our behalf, not least in the face of ongoing threats including terrorism. We must therefore ensure that armed officers are able to respond quickly to situations.

However, any move towards routinely arming officers would be totally disproportionate and contrary to the principle of policing by consent.

There needs to be sensible guidelines in place to ensure that armed officers on

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Ed Davey to call for more investment in community policing

In Scotland, the Liberal Democrats have become the go-to party on Police issues because of our long record of opposing the disastrous merger of Scotland’s Police Force.

Willie Rennie, Justice Spokesperson Liam McArthur and his predecessor Alison McInnes have criticised the Police over things like inappropriate use of stop and search or routine patrolling with firearms but they have also highlighted the stress that frontline officers are facing and raised the flaws in the new management.

He will say:

Effective, well-resourced policing is fundamental to protecting our freedoms and helping the most vulnerable in society.

Liberal Democrats’ commitment to civil liberties and

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Willie Rennie’s Christmas Message: Scottish Lib Dems stand up for better mental health, education and police services

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Here is Willie Rennie’s Christmas Message:

May I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

2017 was the year the Liberal Democrats turned the corner. We started winning elections again with more MPs and in charge of more councils. I believe that winning is not just good for the Liberal Democrats but is also good for the country.

It means that we have moderate, outward looking, optimistic voices making the case for change and challenging authority and government.

It means that we can shout louder for people who need mental health services. The services are inadequate and must change.

It means we can challenge with greater impact the government and police chiefs on the running of Police Scotland. Without the Liberal Democrats many of the problems of Police Scotland would have gone untested and unchallenged.

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Police facing £125m real-terms cut

The party has criticised the government after it emerged the Home Office police grant for 2018-19 will remain exactly the same as this year, meaning police forces will see the equivalent of a £125m real-terms cut once inflation is taken into account.

The Home Office Police Core Settlement announced today for 2018/19 is £4,054,533,651 (link, p.3), which is exactly the same as in 2017/18 (link, p.6).

If funding had kept pace with annual inflation of 3.1%, it would have been increased by £125.7m (Office for National …

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Autumn Budget – what our Spokespeople say

The Lib Dems have been hot off the mark with what this Autumn Budget doesn’t do.  Here are 7 failures.

And leading Lib Dems have been speaking out about what the budget really means:

Leader of the Lib Dems Vince Cable MP says

Each person in Britain is set to be £687 worse off per year compared to forecasts before the election.

And as living standards are squeezed, the Government is setting aside £3.7bn to cover the cost of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The Chancellor found more money in the Budget to plan for Brexit than he did for our struggling NHS, schools and police.

Liberal

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