Saturday, 14 November 2009

Liberal Policy - Crime & Policing

The Liberal Democrats don't rely on tough talk and gimmicks like the other parties. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you on some of the work that Mike Priestley, Liberal Democrat, has done as a volunteer, Town Councillor and County Councillor. I have had a number of emails asking about my role in the "Crack House Closure" on my ward and it is this that has prompted this post.
7 years ago I replied to an advert in the paper asking for volunteers to set up what is called a Local Action Partnership (LAPs). These partnerships were part of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to empower the community to work in partnership with the police and other agencies to tackle crime and disorder. I contacted the late Inspector Meirion Cassey (great man) offering my help. This group was duly set up and I was nominated as Chairman. The area we covered was Deganwy, Llandudno Junction and Conwy and we dealt with many many issues. I believe we were second in Wales to instigate a dispersal order, ours was in the Town of Conwy which was being plagued by yobs. This dispersal order was a tool for the police to challenge and disperse groups of people acting in an anti social manner. This was very successful and I was quite amazed at the amount of councillors on the television and in the press taking credit for the work that this group had done.
As a County Councillor and after months of work, I challenged an anti social issue in my ward and with the police and the council and a colleague instigated the "Crack House Closure". I went to court and gave evidence at this trial. The result was an 85% reduction in calls to the police in this area and the issue dealt with. Not a good time for my family as this was a worrying and stressful time. I was amazed that Peter Hain MP and Tony McNulty MP visited the area and subsequently mentioned how tough they were on crime for the next few days as if they were responsible for the "Crack House Closure".
More recently, I am involved in another case that I have no doubt will hit the press headlines. I think what I am trying to say is that as an elected member and as a resident, I am prepared to put my head above the parapet and quite frankly I laugh when people say the liberals are not tough on crime.
I am now going to bullet point some Liberal Democrat policy on Crime and Policing:
  • We will place 10,000 more police on the streets
  • We will introduce more effective policing using technology
  • Reform sentences to say what they mean, Life must mean Life
  • Provide secure mental health and drug treatment centres
  • Establish a violent offenders register so that enforcement agencies could monitor the movements of dangerous criminals

Crime is a major issue within our communities and Britain as a whole and it is also an issue that I would tackle head on. I make no apology for the length of this blog but I hope it has given you a flavour of how I address crime and disorder and also my party. For more information please go to


  1. Thanks for the insight into the good work you are doing. Some will see it as bragging but in the democratic arena it's no use hiding your light under the proverbial bushel.

    Lib Dems in opposition may well be being over-optimistic in aiming for policies that have not made it to the statute book with either of the other parties, and anyone can find fault with some of the individual details, but the overall determination is good.

    Please don't go for elected Police Chiefs, though - it's too much power with too little accountability. The current structure of Police Authorities doesn't work particularly well, either - there's a lot of thinking about police governance to be done - most existing studies are dominated by assumptions about the status-quo of the operational 'freedom' of the police, which actually translates into a democratic deficit.
    (spoken with feeling after 6 years on North Wales Police Authority)

  2. Who wrote this for you?

  3. Hi Chris,

    I work hard for the people and sometimes that means working with the police to challenge unacceptable behaviour.

    My view on the police authority is that I believe members should be elected to it with no co-options and police chiefs should be held to account by this authority. The length of term for members 2 or 4 years and if the police are not performing the people of say North Wales can have more influence in shaping the authority and ultimately the direction of the Police Force.

  4. Although I am a co-optee myself, I agree that there's no accountability other that felt by the Member.

    The main problem is not so much how people get there, though, - rather what they do/are allowed to do when they get there.

    The relationship between the Authority Member and the Chief Constable is quite different from that which exists between the Councillor and the Chief Exec. of a Local Authority. Why? (The mantra is 'operational independence') but it's the Home Office who really pull the strings, even though (in North Wales anyway) the police are funded 40% from local Council Tax (via the precept).

    This is a higher % than the 34 % of Conwy CBC costs funded by Council tax, as it happens.