Category: Policing

Policing by consent in question after Clapham Common, police report and government bill on crime and justice

This article was first published on Lib Dem Voice. The scenes on Clapham Common last night as the police broke up the vigil for Sarah Everard were a disgrace and undermine the fundamental principle of policing by consent. Leading Lib Dems have called on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign. It was not a protest. It was a statement of solidarity with a woman who had been abducted from the streets of London and murdered. It was a declaration that women should be safe on the streets. Lib Dem Voice editor Caron Lindsay told of her personal experiences yesterday. The UK’s tradition of policing by consent is being replaced by policing by authority. Legislation now in parliament looks set to reinforce authority at the expense of the fundamental right of freedom to protest. A tectonic shift in the relationship between protesters, governments and the police is underway. We have seen this on the international stage. The suppression of protests in Hong Kong, Myanmar and Iran and the police reaction to the protests following the death of George Floyd are just a few examples. Not everyone in the police is in favour of growing authoritarianism. They stand above calls…

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Covid Watch 35: New advice to police will allow us to use socially distanced space and exercise more effectively

The primary message is to stay at home. But we can exercise and engage in essential activities outside the home. There has been confusion about what we can do and what is forbidden. In the first ten days of the lockdown many people didn’t know what was being asked of them or just decided to ignore advice and party on. A minority of police actions, including flying drones to film walkers and threatening to check shopping baskets for non-essential goods, threatened to undermine the long established principle of policing by consent. Now there is greater clarity from police. This will benefit people who live in the Ludlow area who often drive short distances to walk in Mortimer Forest or on the Clee. There has been clarity from Shropshire Council too that farmers are not allowed to block footpaths during the Covid-19 emergency.

Criminals are exploiting children and vulnerable adults in Shropshire and Ludlow – we have ten county lines

County lines extend drug dealing from the cities into smaller towns, including to Shropshire. Ludlow is one of the seven towns police identify as vulnerable to county line activity. Two people have recently been jailed for taking over a Ludlow house for drug dealing – cuckooing. County lines controlled from Merseyside, Manchester and the Midlands are only part of the issue. Every year in Shropshire, police, medical practitioners and councils monitor around 150 young people vulnerable to child sexual exploitation – CSE. This part of a nationwide problem of exploitation of children and vulnerable adults by criminals. Shropshire and Ludlow are low crime areas but we have many vulnerable people who are being exploited by criminals. There is good work underway to tackle the problem but it remains one of the most complex challenges for the public sector. If you have concerns about anyone, ring 101 or talk anonymously to Crimestoppers online or on 0800 555 111. For an immediate threat ring 999.

Ludlow Town Council at last applies to upgrade CCTV in the town centre

The CCTV system in Ludlow’s town centre has long needed an upgrade. Dating back to 2003, the current cameras are low resolution. Faces cannot be recognised on the recordings. Discussions have been underway for a while about replacement cameras. Now Ludlow Town Council is ready to go ahead. First, the scheme needs planning permission and an application has now been lodged with Shropshire Council (19/04207/FUL). This is a like for like replacement meaning there will be no impact on the town centre’s historic landscape. Ludlow town centre is a low crime area compared to the centres of Shrewsbury and Oswestry. But it is not crime free. Last May, 42 crimes in the town centre were reported to the police. Fifteen of these were classed as “violence or sexual offences”. An upgrade of the town centre’s CCTV is overdue and welcome. It will help keep Ludlow a low crime town.

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