Tag Archives: policing

Ending overpolicing: a new, liberal approach

As liberals, we are uniquely placed on issues of tackling societal problems, as the UK party which has historically been driven by caring from the community level up, not just the top down: redistributive, willing to stand up for those marginalised by society, and sceptical of an overbearing and authoritarian state infrastructure.

Today, especially given the racial disparities which are all too clear in our policing and our society as a whole, that liberal legacy must be put to work again, starting a radical rethink of how Britain deals with its social problems. We use the police for far too many problems across our society: overstretched forces dealing with problems the police were never going to be effective at solving, leading to problems developing, community mistrust, and discriminatory outcomes. It’s a round peg in a square hole that’s damaging all of us as successive governments keep trying the authoritarian method of hammering it in ever harder. But there is a better way.

Finding ways to ensure people, especially black people, feel reassured that the police have appropriate powers and oversight has to be part of the puzzle. Stop and Search powers are largely ineffectual, widely mistrusted, and statistically clearly flagrantly racist in their deployment. There can no longer be any argument for Section 60 powers that allow Stop and Searches without suspicion of a crime to be controlled solely within the police force: they should be abolished and an external magistrate should be required to sign any sort of future search order, reducing overuse and acting as an important assurance for communities. Stronger oversight measures that bring in communities better, and ensuring that groups like the Border Force come under proper scrutiny, are also important parts of that picture.

The real task ahead, however, is to broaden our conception of how to deal with societal problems away from simply using the procedural justice system, the pipeline of policing, courts and sentencing that we rely on for far too many of our problems. On the front line, we should be piloting community teams that work on conflict de-escalation and helping people toward other services they need. Run from local government not from the Home Office, these could provide a more easily trusted, more engaged service that is better equipped to deal with problems, preventing them escalating and providing a more specialised approach to solving a wide range of problems in a more localised and sensitive way. That could mean anything from ensuring homeless people have good access to night services, to talking people through a neighbourhood conflict that has caused, or risks causing, property damage, to forwarding a shoplifting incident to appropriate restorative justice systems.

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Daily View 2×2: 8 June 2020

2 big stories

Black Lives Matter. A simple statement that probably ought not to be necessary, but is. The demonstrations in our bigger towns and cities will have drawn most of the coverage, but the picture is from that well-known radical heartland of Bury St Edmunds, where a demonstration took place yesterday afternoon. Perhaps it is a sign of promise that, even in a community like this, where the non-white population is small, hundreds of people felt moved to express their anger at the injustice of a society which treats black people …

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Daily View 2×2: 1 June 2020

2 big stories

It is an exaggeration to say that America’s cities are in flames, and despite President Trump’s inflammatory comments, in most places, demonstrations remain peaceful, if tense. And protests against the death of George Floyd have spread beyond America too. Unfortunately, there is little doubt that the only difference between policing in the United States and here is that, at least here, the police are unarmed and the courts less perfunctory and politicised, thus deaths are thankfully rarer, but BAME citizens, especially black ones, are more likely to be the subjects of police activity, even if they aren’t actually doing anything that would attract attention if done by a white person.

We can, as of today, partake in a whole slew of activities hitherto restricted, thanks to the Government. But so much for following the science, for the Association of Directors of Public Health has urged them to reverse the decision;

But Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the ADPH, said her colleagues across England were “increasingly concerned that the government is misjudging the balance of risk between more social interaction and the risk of a resurgence of the virus, and is easing too many restrictions too quickly”.

Can it really be that the Government is willing to risk thousands of lives to draw our attention away from Dominic Cummings? Or are they simply incompetent and dishonest? Of course, “both” is an option here…

2 social media posts

There’s a definite sense of romance in the air today. First, Monroe Palmer has posted this on Facebook…

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It is time for the Lib Dems to talk about policing


Embed from Getty Images

It is time for the Lib Dems to talk about policing, or more specifically, dealing with crime. As a member of the Social Democrat Group, I agreed with much of what this Lib Dem Voice article said, however, the first comment also rings true.

The 2019 Manifesto was very light on how we deal with crime and until we figure out how to have a constructive conversation about it, I suspect, we won’t do as well as we can.

This is not to say that the immediate answer has to be more tasers, as some Conservatives suggest, or paying police pennies on the pound as the now ex-Shadow Home Secretary suggested in that infamous LBC interview.

We can have a constructive discussion on policing and crime reduction, whilst continuing to hold our liberal values. We must become comfortable talking about policing if we are to win again, especially as throughout 2019 crime became the second most pressing concern for people, according to YouGov.

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21 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: Labour maths do not add up
  • Labour’s police pledge an “empty promise” without extra funding
  • Lib Dems: Widdecombe fuels election pact scandal

Davey: Labour maths do not add up

Responding to the Labour Party Manifesto launched today, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

As long as Jeremy Corbyn continues pursuing his Brexit policy, the maths in his manifesto simply do not add up.

The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and use the £50 billion Remain Bonus to invest in public services and build a brighter future. We’ll prioritise tackling the climate emergency and investing in housing, education and welfare, while Corbyn would embark on

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18 July 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

There was a bit of a glitch yesterday, as the press releases ended up in my spam folder for some reason. Things seem to be back to normal, so the usual service resumes here…

  • Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing
  • Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong
  • Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread
  • Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten
  • Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal
  • Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk

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31 December 2018 – 6 January 2019 – the week’s press releases

Right, the holiday season is over, and it’s back to something resembling normalcy tomorrow, what with Parliament resuming and all. So, here’s the press releases that you missed…

  • Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal
  • Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’
  • Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit
  • All Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty
  • Cable: PM’s publicity campaign is scaremongering
  • Cable: Govt must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland
  • Lib Dems: Govt must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal

Liberal Democrats today condemned reports that the Government is charging victims of illegal forced marriages to …

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7 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I’ve spent my evening helping Colchester Liberal Democrats to select their new PPC, which is why this is a bit late in the day. I’m hoping that we’ll have their press release tomorrow, which is why I’m not telling you who won… So, without further ado, here are today’s press releases…

  • Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security
  • Liberal Democrats lead the march to a people’s vote
  • Labour must guarantee a people’s vote
  • The Economist backs a people’s vote
  • Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on the Home …

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Lib Dem Press: Brexit deal leaves police in the dark

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has been speaking out about how Theresa May’s Brexit deal would end police access to vital EU-wide crime databases.

The Brexit withdrawal agreement states that the UK will lose access to both the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) at the end of the transition period. The Government’s ‘Assessment of the security partnership’ is available here

The Government’s ‘Assessment of the security partnership’, published today, admits that no agreement has been reached to enable UK police to continue to use the databases after that point. The paper states: “The exact nature of future cooperation on this type of data sharing will be determined by the formal negotiations on the legal text.”

The UK checked SIS II 539,382,244 times in 2017, or 1.5 million times a day.

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27 November 2018 – today’s press releases

There’s a decidedly Welsh flavour to today’s press releases, as Theresa May hits the road in an attempt to sell a dead parrot to the masses…

  • Police acting as first responders to people with mental ill health
  • Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Aled Roberts as New Welsh Language Commissioner
  • Theresa May Must Give Wales a People’s Vote – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Stars Oppose Brexit at Hay Festival – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Davey: Govt’s failure to publish immigration plans “unacceptable”

Police acting as first responders to people with mental ill health

Responding to today’s report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services on Policing and …

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Press Release for 7th November

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures

A lot of Tories seem to have taken an approach that when their backs are against the wall say what you need to get away and deal with the consequence later. This is just another example.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”

Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police chiefs are warning of huge further cuts to police numbers, and the Conservatives’ response is simply to accuse them of exaggerating. It’s deeply alarming.

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6 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”

Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police chiefs are warning of

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1 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour…

Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.

The policy – announced in Monday’s budget – will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince …

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A model bobby and an extraordinary community tribute

west briton front pageVisiting Falmouth last weekend, I became aware of something extraordinary, the news of which I had missed earlier.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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 …

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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 …

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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?

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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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