Tag Archives: policing

Chris White writes: Police Commissioners – the descent into low farce

News today that the Tories may not even field candidates for their cherished police commissioner posts, but instead are ‘considering instead whether to put … support behind other contenders, such as prominent and distinguished local individuals’ shows that this awesomely bad policy is starting to founder.

Meanwhile Labour are having similar doubts and, as discussed elsewhere on Lib Dem Voice, our own Party is hardly racing towards a sensible selection process.

The problem, of course, is not just that the legislation is not finalised but that the elections will be hideously expensive, covering in some cases several county areas: …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Chris White writes: Is it possible to change Coalition policy?

Is it possible to change Coalition policy? Council leaders certainly hope so if the letter to today’s Times is to be believed. Over a hundred have supported – and no doubt many more councillors, deputies, backbenchers and the like might have done so had there been more time to hone the message and gather support.

The issue should be core to the localist agenda – although we need to be rather clearer about what we really want.

Not so long ago the police were governed (at least in non-operational terms) by the police committees of county councils. There was not much …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes: Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation

Tom Brake MP is Lib Dem Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Co-Chair.

A friend texted me over the weekend, after the news of Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation, saying ‘What next?’. I texted back, ‘The Queen abdicates?’.

Revelations about phone-hacking and the Metropolitan police have been coming so thick and fast over the last couple of weeks that nobody would bat an eyelid (all right, I exaggerate slightly) if Her Majesty revealed a previously unknown Met and NOTW connection.

Sir Paul’s departure is just the latest extraordinary development in the phone-hacking saga.

Even though he was widely recognised as an outstanding commissioner who …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Chris White writes: Approving Police Commissioner candidates

Readers of LDV will have noticed that there is an announcement about Police Commissioner candidates – presumably placed by the English Party.

Of course, none of us want these elections (and most councillors in other parties don’t either) but it’s in the Coalition agreement and so we are to an extent stuck with a particularly silly bit of the Tory manifesto. Such, I guess, is the nature of Coalitions.

What is troubling, however, is the fact that the English Party has decided to play the centralist card: candidates need in essence to be approved like parliamentary candidates.

One of the main …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Police and Crime Commissioners: Lib Dem candidates start here

The Liberal Democrats are inviting potential candidates for the new Police and Crime Commissioner posts, which, if the legislation is passed, are expected to be elected in May 2012.

The party wants to encourage the widest possible range of applicants so the membership can select from the best possible choice of candidates.

So if you’re interested in applying, you need to be an approved Parliamentary candidate:

The Bill to create directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners is currently before Parliament. The first elections of Police and Crime Commissioners are expected in May 2012.

The English Regional Parties will be inviting applications to be candidates

Posted in Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: The problem with Lib Dem conference security arrangements

With the opening of registration for the Autumn Liberal Democrat conference this week, the first details have emerged of registrants needing to provide information to the police for “security checks”.

Looking at the Lib Dem blogosphere this morning, it’s clear that people are deeply unhappy with the requirements. I’m going to try to explain what the problem is, how it’s come about and what we might do about it.

What Information Is Required?

The pass application guidelines make it clear what is needed. First off, an up-to-date photo compliant with the new passport guidelines (which exist to make automated facial biometric recognition easier) for your conference pass.

Secondly, either your passport number, driving licence number or National Insurance number. If you don’t have any of the latter, it seems to be possible to come to some kind of arrangement with Greater Manchester Police (who are doing the checks on behalf of Birmingham’s West Midlands Police).

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 28 Comments

The Met Police have an unusual problem

I suspect there are many parts of the public sector which wished they had this problem:

Underspending continues to be an issue in the management of the capital programme, although unused funds can often be carried forward through reserves to support projects at a future date.

Part of the issue is large projects slipping, with the Met’s response to this being:

Agreeing an ‘opening’ programme in excess of available funding in the year.

This happens on a noticeable scale:

The MPA Finance & Resources Committee agreed a revised Capital Programme budget on 15th July 2010 at £276.3m for 2010/11 following the first quarter review. This

Posted in London | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Elected Police Commissioners: how the elections would work

The publication this week of the Police Reform And Social Responsibility Bill provided, amongst other matters, details of how the planned elections for Police Commissioners (or, strictly speaking, Police and Crime Commissioners) would be conducted.

The overall plan is to treat them like local elections, with the same electorate and the same polling day in May. However, the Bill also applies the ‘standard’ election system for existing directly elected executive posts to Police Commissioners, namely the supplementary vote.

This is likely to be controversial, both because the supplementary vote is very unpopular with many Liberal Democrats and also because the …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

PMQS: Cameron promised faster wheels amidst squeaky bums

What a relief! For a change, Prime Minister’s Questions gave more cause for Tories to be uneasy than it did for LibDems. Don’t get me wrong, LibDems care passionately about frontline policing. Of course they do. But the Tories tend to see it as more of a cojones (or should I invent the adjective “cojonal” here?) measurement issue – it’s closer to the nerve with them. So I think there must have been a lot of uncomfortable shifting around on the benches behind David Cameron today. “Squeaky bum time”, as Sir Alex might put it.

For once there was a good …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

Police Commissioners set to be elected by preferential voting

A detail from the government’s current consultation on introducing elected police commissioners:

Commissioners will have a set four yearterm of office and term limits of two terms. The Government intends to apply the existing framework for the conduct of local government andParliamentary elections including the recognised eligibility criteria for standing for public office, in preparing for the first set of elections in May 2012. We are considering the appropriate voting system, and believe that a preferential voting system is the right option. (Source: section 2.12 in Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting police and the people)

I very much doubt whether this choice …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Government scraps target – Met Police sets up new committee

You might have thought that scrapping central government targets would result in local bodies being able to cut at least some of their own monitoring and reporting setups. But in an Alice in Wonderland style twist, Home Secretary Theresa May’s decision to scrap the “confidence target” for the police has been followed by the Met Police setting up a new “Confidence and Satisfaction Board”.

In June Theresa May announced that the police would be judged on cutting crime, ending both the set of performance targets bundled up as the Policing Pledge and also ending the judging of police by whether or …

Posted in London and News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Met Police and Home Office put on special measures for breaking rules

One for the bureaucratic irony files this. The Information Commissioner has announced that 33 public sector bodies have so regularly broken the rules on responding to Freedom of Information requests that they have been put in special measures.

The 33 bodies are all being required to fully document how they handle future requests and report monthly to the Information Commissioner on how they are doing are complying with the rules. Their record will be reviewed in three months time.

Home Office frontage. Photo credit: </a srcset=

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Welcome for plans to scale down police stop and search

Commenting on the Home Secretary’s announcement that stop and search powers will be subject to stricter conditions, Tom Brake MP (Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs, Justice and Equality) said:

This is a very welcome announcement. Section 44 was an unreasonable power, applied in an indiscriminate way.

This change strengthens our civil liberties, building on a longstanding commitment from Liberal Democrats.

When the Labour benches attacked the coalition for what they described as an obsession with defending civil liberties, it just highlighted their dangerous obsession with eroding them.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty has also welcomed the Home Secretary’s decision:

Liberty

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Police detain teenager for photographing Armed Forces Day parade

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 30 Comments

LibLink: Cllr Richard Kemp on the Lib Dem Local Government conference

Lib Dem councillors had their annual conference this week within the confines of Local Government House in Smith Square, London. Co-hosted by ALDC and the Lib Dem LGA group, the conference pulls together colleagues from across the country with our parliamentary team. This year, of course, our parliamentary colleagues have joined many thousands of Lib Dem councillors in actually being in charge of running things. Normally our councillors are more experienced at holding the reins of power than our MPs.

Cllr Richard Kemp has written a review for Total Politics:

Nick pulled no punches in telling us how difficult the decisions

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Brian Paddick – A bad day for race relations in the police

Over in The Indpendent, former top police officer and 2008 Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London Brian Paddick writes about the case of Commander Ali Dizaei, jailed yesterday for perverting the course of justice. Here’s an excerpt:

If ever there was a “Marmite” senior officer, it was Ali Dizaei. Many hated him, believing he had “got away with it” because “he was black”. But for the Black Police Association, he was their flag-bearer.

He was an undoubted champion for racial equality, but his approach was sometimes aggressive and confrontational when dealing with “the establishment”. Ali Dizaei’s MO was getting things done

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Police stop TV presenters under anti-terrorism legislation – for carrying glittery hairdryers

Anna Williamson and Jamie RickersIt appears that photographers are only one of a long list of ‘suspects’ for London’s crimefighters. Today children’s TV presenters Jamie Rickers and Anna Williamson reported that they had been questioned by police under anti-terrorism powers – for carrying glittery hairdryers.

The pair, who front ITV1’s Toonattik, were filming on London’s South Bank. Along with the hairdryers, they were also armed with  children’s walkie-talkies and hairbrushes.

The Press Association has the story:

Anna, 28, said: “We were filming a strand called Dork Hunters, which is to do with one of the animations

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Warning: do not read this photography post if you are prone to dizziness

ITN film crew is stopped by police whilst filming in central London’s financial district, the City. So much, so usual as far as “police stop innocent, legitimate use of cameras” stories go.

But in a touch of genius, it turns out that the ITN crew was filming a story … about someone who had three cars and a van of anti-terrorism police descend on him after taking photos of a church near a bank. I hope this circularity isn’t making you dizzy.

Oh, and he was wearing an “I’m a photographer not a terrorist” badge, just to add to the fun.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Photographers: ’tis the season to be wary?

Suspicious subjects for photos this season include sunsets and Christmas lights. And be especially wary of using the “wrong” sort of camera or taking the “wrong” number of photos (details which are, as yet, not revealed to ordinary, law-abiding shutterbugs).

Two more photographers have been stopped by over-zealous police officers for taking photographs of public scenes, despite being within their rights to do so.

First, a BBC photographer was stopped outside Tate Modern while taking this atmospheric shot:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Huhne urges Labour – “Restore hero cops’ pensions”

Thousands of police officers forced to retire after being injured in the line of duty face having their injury pensions cut back to minimum levels, research by the Lib Dems’ home office team has found.

Previously, officers were allocated an additional sum each year to compensate them for the injuries they received, even when they reached retirement age. However, since Home Office guidance was issued in 2004, many forces have reassessed officers when they have reached retirement age and reduced their injury awards to the lowest possible level. The Labour Government’s recent response to a consultation on this subject …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Met Police to Twitter at protesters

CO11MetPolice twitter screenshot

The Metropolitan Police are trying new tactics to engage with environmental activists at next week’s Climate Camp in London.

The Met have opened a Twitter account @CO11MetPolice (named after its public order unit) which is intended “specifically to inform the Camp for Climate Action of any operational updates relating to the policing of their event starting on 26 August.”

From the Metropolitan Police website:

If you follow us, you can expect tweets covering some or all of the following:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Police told to ignore European Court of Human Rights over DNA database

Despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights last December, the Association of Chief Police Officers has written to chief constables in England and Wales advising them to continue adding the DNA profiles of innocent people to the national DNA database. They have been told that new Home Office guidelines will not take effect until 2010.

From the Guardian:

Senior police officers have also been “strongly advised” that it is “vitally important” that they resist individual requests based on the Strasbourg ruling to remove DNA profiles from the national database in cases such as wrongful arrest,

Posted in Big mad database and News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Tall photographer stopped again by police

Last week I linked to the story of “too-tall” photographer Alex Turner, who was arrested by Kent Police after taking some photos in Chatham High Street.

Turner was stopped by police again on Sunday, and asked to show his ID.

The Register reports:

Turner, perhaps foolishly, returned to the scene of his earlier crime (Chatham High St) late on Sunday to see whether the local community “would be… equally protected from suspected terrorism by night as it would be by day”. The answer is yes. CCTV operators spotted him taking photos. A police car arrived and officers asked him to

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Arrested for being tall?

Dismayed, but not surprised, that police are still arresting photographers for taking photos in public places – without reasonable suspicion that these are connected with terrorism or other illegal acts.

Last week Kent police arrested 5′ 11″ Alex Turner who had refused to show his ID after being challenged in Chatham High Street.

From The Register:

According to his blog, our over-tall photographer Alex Turner was taking snaps in Chatham High St last Thursday, when he was approached by two unidentified men. They did not identify themselves, but demanded that he show them some ID and warned that if he failed

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

[email protected]: Chris Huhne – Fresh questions for the News of the World

Over at The Guardian, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne argues that fresh evidence in the News of the World hacking scandal should compel the Met to re-open its inquiry. Here’s an excerpt:

The surveillance state has rightly become a matter of great public concern, which is why the Guardian’s scoop that the use of private investigators who phone hacked was apparently widespread on the News of the World was so sensational. This is not something that can be brushed aside, because it strikes at the heart of the privacy any individual can expect in a civilised society. If the

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment

Ming to head police inquiry into Damian Green police raid

Here’s how the BBC reported this under the slightly unappetising headline, Sir Menzies to head Green probe:

Sir Menzies Campbell is to chair an inquiry into the police raid on the Commons office of Tory MP Damian Green.

The former Lib Dem leader will review how the Commons authorities deal with search requests from the police. The cross-party panel also includes former home secretaries David Blunkett and Michael Howard and ex-foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Commons leader Harriet Harman, who has set up the pane, will ask MPs to approve its terms of reference. She has asked it to report by

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Coulson-gate, day 2: Lib Dems refer NotW phone-tapping case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission

Despite the concerted efforts of some sections of the media to ignore the story in the hope it’ll go away, yesterday’s Guardian revelations about the extent of the illegal activities of Rupert Murdoch’s news group in illegal phone-tapping activities remain big news.

After yesterday’s rather rushed attempts by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates to try and kill the story (‘move along, folks, nothing to see here’ – I paraphrase, but only just), Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne has decided to refer the Met’s inquiry to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for further investigation.

Chris says:

The Metropolitan Police cannot act as judge and jury in its own trial. Only an independent inquiry can properly consider any possible neglect of duty by the Specialist Operations Department into the original investigation.

“Given the scale and scope of the allegations, the possibility that other journalists and investigators were involved must now be seriously considered. The review by the Director of Public Prosecutions is a tacit admission that the review by Assistant Commissioner Yates was rushed, and supports the case for a full, independent inquiry by the IPCC into the original police investigation.

“These allegations have serious implications for privacy laws and freedom of the press in this country, and as such must be investigated thoroughly. When the civil courts are recording large settlements to hush up potentially criminal activity, public authorities have a duty to investigate the matter fully.”

Chris has written to Nick Hardwick, Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), asking the IPCC to open an inquiry into the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into widespread phone tapping by journalists and private investigators. You can read his letter in full, below:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Huhne on Yates’ ‘Coulson-gate’ statement: “This was a suspiciously quick review”

Chris Huhne has responded in lightning quick time to Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissionaire John Yates’ statement ruling out any further police investigation of the Guardian’s claims that the News of the World engaged in serious criminal activities while being edited by Andy Coulson, now David Cameron’s top aide.

Earlier today, Chris wrote to Met Chief Sir Paul Stephenson pointing out his force’s conflict of interest in the matter, given the allegations relate to possible failings by the police, and urging an independent investigation. Mr Yates’ over-hasty statement serves only to emphasise Chris’s orginal point:

John Yates’s statement leaves open as many questions as it answers, not least because he says he has only been asked to look into the facts around the inquiry into Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcaire, and not whether any further investigations into other journalists or investigators should have been or were undertaken.

“This was a suspiciously quick review of what Mr Yates himself describes as a complex case. Where there is a potential neglect of duty by a police force, surely another police force or the Independent Police Complaints Commission should look into the matter. Instead, we merely have assurances from the same department that conducted the original investigation that it did so well and thoroughly.

“Mr Yates says that in the vast majority of cases there was insufficient evidence to show tapping had been achieved – necessary to prosecute criminally – but the standard of evidence was clearly high enough in the case of Gordon Taylor to secure a very substantial out of court settlement for damages due to invasion of privacy. Civil cases require a balance of probability, a lower standard of proof than criminal cases requiring evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

“I welcome Mr Yates’s assurance that people will be informed where there is any suspicion that they might have been subject to phone-tapping, but he has not said how many people may be involved or how many journalists. We need a full and independent inquiry.”

And here’s Chris pointing out David Cameron’s “extrordinary lapse of judgement” in hiring Andy Coulson:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Huhne: G20 report highlights inadequate police strategies

No sooner had LDV reported this morning on the continuing questiuons over police tactics at last year’s Kingsnorth climate camp than Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary’s (HMIC) report on the G20 protests was published showing that police crowd control tactics are ‘inadequate’ and should be reviewed.

Commenting, Chris Huhne, Lib Dem shadow home secretary, said:

Aspects of the policing of the G20 protests clearly fell far short of what this country expects. This report documents not just failures of individual discipline, but inadequate police strategies and training for dealing with peaceful protest.

“HMIC is right to say that

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dems press on Kingsnorth climate camp policing

Lib Dem Voice has covered before the allegations of that the policing at the climate camp at Kingsnorth in August 2008 was unacceptable – click here for the archive. Lib Dem MPs are continuing to press the Home Office to present an honest account of what happened, and to state what lessons have been learned for future policing of peaceful protests.

Yesterday in the Commons, both Greg Mulholland and Chris Huhne asked the questions of the Government’s minister for policing. Here are the exchanges from Hansard:

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments
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