Tagged: Theresa May

Newcastle Lab & Lib Parties oppose repeal of Human Rights Act

Political parties in Newcastle have united to oppose the Government’s proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour will come together on Wednesday night at a Newcastle City Council meeting and are likely to vote in favour of lobbying the Government to abandon plans.

They also plan to write to Home Secretary Theresa May, expressing concern.

Normally fierce political rivals, councillors from both parties say this move shows the strength of feeling against the proposed changes.

The new Government’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act in favour of a British Bill of Rights has prompted outcry from politicians and legal rights groups as well as several celebrities. However those in favour believe severing the formal link between British court and the European Court of Human Rights would be welcomed.

The Conservatives believe the move would strengthen the powers of British supreme court with less deference to Strasbourg, however the plan was noticeably absent from the Queen’s Speech prompting concerns over a struggle within the Tory party to gain backbench support.

In line with the views of their national parties, both the Liberal Democrat and the Labour parties in Newcastle have submitted motions to the council with deputy Lib Dem councillor Dr Wendy Taylor asking members to reject any proposal made by the Government to repeal the act.

She wants other councillors to agree that these ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’ enshrined in the act ‘are crucial for a fair, free and democratic society.

She said:

“At a time when we are honouring those who fought in the Second World War and the purpose for which so many lost their lives defending our liberty and freedoms, we reject the Government’s proposal to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.”

Read rest of story here :

http://northstar.boards.net/thread/43/newcastle-parties-oppose-repeal-rights

There’s a storm brewing …

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Guardian on line

Steve White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.”
Steve White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.” Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Police will be forced to adopt a “paramilitary” style of enforcement if the government inflicts big budget cuts on them, the head of the police officers’ organisation has warned.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, said his 123,000 members, from police constables to inspectors, fear a move towards a more violent style of policing as they try to keep law and order with even fewer officers than now.

White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.”

White…

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WHAT?! Cameron declares war on every UK citizen in most bizarre statement yet!

Order Of Truth

camwarIt is only a few days since Cameron and his cronies were returned to government, and already they are introducing draconian and oppressive policies and legislation.

In one of the most bizarre and extreme statements yes, Cameron has stated that the government should interfere more in law-abiding citizen’s lives!

We kid you not!

Cameron has said that Britain (the government) is too “passively tolerant” and should NOT leave people to live their lives as they wish – even if they obey the law.

At a meeting of the National Security Council Cameron said

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.”

Cameron has laid out plans for new powers which will allow…

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Illegitimate Tory government started their path of destruction within hours of election (#UK #politics #bedroomtax)

Order Of Truth

illigitgovWithin hours of the general election result being announced the Conservative party announced several policies, some of which had been ‘hampered’ by their coalition partners in the last government.

As the results came in and it was clear the Conservatives were heading back to Number 10, Theresa May announced that the party would reintroduce the Draft Communications Data Bill, giving the government unprecedented surveillance power.

The snoopers’ charter received huge criticism from computing experts and civil liberties campaigners in the wake of introduction. It was set to come into law in 2014, but Nick Clegg withdrew his support for the bill and it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron indicated that the government would seek even more surveillance powers. Speaking in Paris in January, he said there should be no form of communication that the government was unable to read, which could lead to encrypted messaging applications such as…

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Tory minister mocks claimants

Tory minister Hugo Swire mocked claimants at last month’s £1,500 per place ‘black and white ball’ to raise funds for the Conservatives. His callous jibe was secretly recorded for the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches‘ programme.

Swire, an Old Etonian, was acting as auctioneer whilst guests made bids for a bust of Margaret Thatcher, a weekend’s pheasant shooting and a shoe shopping trip with Theresa May, amongst other lots.

Whilst encouraging a bidder at Iain Duncan Smith’s table to increase his bid, Swire is heard to say:

“£60,000. Iain, persuade him. He’s not on benefits ,is he? Well, if he is then he can afford it. £55,000?”

Swire went on to joke that:

“It’s quite naff to have Bentleys and Rolls Royces and Ferraris, because anybody could have them

“In the good old days of MP’s expenses we could have them too. But we don’t any more.”

In the exceedingly unlikely event that Mr Swire is reading this: in reality a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant would need to save every penny of their payments for 16 years to come up with £60,000.

Funny that, isn’t it?

Source – Benefits & Work, 24 Mar 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3051-tory-minister-mocks-claimants

Government accused of sidestepping questions on possible Orgreave inquiry

The Government has been accused of sidestepping questions about delays into a possible inquiry into the actions of police during the infamous ‘Battle of Orgreave’.

For two years the Independent Police Complaints Commission has been investigating whether officers accused of fitting up striking miners on riot charges, including two from the North East, had a case to answer.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, a miner at the time who was at the South Yorkshire coking plant that day in June, 1984, submitted two questions to Home Secretary Theresa May about the matter.

He asked if she would find out when the IPCC would make its decision and what her department knew about the reasons for the delay.

 

 In the Government’s reply, the Home Office said the IPCC had completed its assessment of the events at Orgreave and was taking legal advice before publishing its findings.

In the written reply, signed by Minister Mike Penning, he wrote:

“This has been a very complex exercise which has required the in-depth analysis of a vast amount of documentation from over 30 years ago. As the IPCC is an independent organisation the Government has no control or influence over the date of publication of its findings.”

Mr Anderson commented:

“The government should put “the vast amount of paperwork” in the public domain so that people and Parliament can see if they were misled.

“She sidesteps the second question about exactly what information she has and puts the onus onto an Independent body. Has the IPCC seen all of the paperwork that has not been released and if not why not?”

Orgreave was the scene of some of the bitterest clashes during the year long miners strike of 1984 to 1985.

In all 95 miners were arrested and charged with riot following it, an offence which carries a maximum life sentence.

All the charges were eventually dropped and 39 miners were later awarded £425,000 in compensation amid claims police witnesses gave evidence that had been dictated to them by senior officers as well as perjuring themselves.

It was in 2012 after a TV documentary repeated these allegations in light of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report that the head of South Yorkshire Police referred his own force to the IPCC.

It was South Yorkshire Police which was in control of the crowds at the 1989 FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest where 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

It was revealed officers had fabricated evidence – including having statements dictated to them by senior officers – in an attempt to blame the tragedy on the Liverpool fans, the same tactics used against miners at Orgreave five years earlier.

Mr Anderson added:

“(David) Cameron said Sunshine is the best policy. Well come on then, shine a light on this disgraceful chapter in our nation’s history.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 24 Jan 2015

North East Police and councils have been granted more than 22,000 warrants allowing them to intercept communications, including tapping phones

Police have used controversial anti-terror powers to fight crime across the North.

Thousands of ‘RIPA’ undercover warrants – which grant the power to trawl through telephone records – were used by Durham, Northumbria, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cleveland police.

The warrants, issued under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), entitle public bodies to intercept communications in a bid to expose crime and have been used by North East councils and other public bodies as well as the police.

Figures released by the government show 22,154 RIPA warrants were issued to police forces in the North in 2013 – with Durham police leading the way with 6,218 warrants.

Northumbria Police was granted 6,211, North Yorkshire police made 4058 successful applications, Cleveland received 2957 and the Cumbria force was granted 2,710.

RIPA was introduced as a weapon against terrorism and economic crime but its use has been criticised – with some likening it to the encroachment of a police state.

It requires only that the request be approved by a police officer of Superintendent rank or above, giving forces the right to sign off their own warrants without having to go before a judge.

Civil rights group Liberty hit out after the figures were revealed, with legal director James Welch saying RiIPA was “massively overused”.

Councils routinely use RIPA warrants for issues involving rogue traders and underage sale of alcohol and tobacco as well as taxi cab regulation and checking out businesses employing minors.

Police forces use them for more in-depth issues including the investigation of drug and paedophile rings, human trafficking and other forms of serious crimes.

Ripa was used by Cleveland police to snare a drugs gang which was jailed in May for 177 years, collectively.

Detectives were able to seize drugs worth £824,686 and £127,966 cash.

Codenamed Operation Cobweb, it was Cleveland police’s biggest ever drugs bust.

RIPA warrants issued up to March 2013 allowed officers to snare the 22-strong gang, with Middlesbrough’s top judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC praising police for their use of RIPA legislation.

York City Council and Redcar and Cleveland Council led the way for local authorities in the North, using the powers with 80 and 69 warrants granted respectively.

Redcar and Cleveland is host to the anti-fraud organisation Scambusters which the council said contributes to its high numbers.

Newcastle City Council was absent from the list while Northumberland County Council had just three warrants issued.

In August last year in Northumberland, warrants were used to track down through social media accounts an illegal 16-year-old tattoo artist. She was banned and her equipment was seized.

Warrants were also used to bust a phone scam that conned 400 residents across the UK after a Redcar pensioner was tricked into buying unnecessary anti-virus software.

Operation Hognose was launched when the pensioner told council officials he had fallen victim to what is known globally as the ‘Microsoft scam.’

Scammer Mohammed Khalid Jamil, of Luton, Bedfordshire, was handed a suspended jail sentence and £5,000 fine during a March 29 hearing at York Crown Court, after Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s trading standards passed the case to the National Trading Standards e-Crime Centre.

The conman was ordered to pay £13,929 costs as well as £5,665 in compensation to 41 victims.

The council said it had not used RIPA warrants to tap phones.

The police forces said they used the powers “only when deemed necessary and in order to detect crime and keep people safe.”

James Welch, Legal Director of Liberty, hit criticised the figures and said the legislation is over used by forces across the UK.

He said:

“The police and other public bodies massively overuse their power to get information from our phone and internet service providers – over half a million times last year.

This overuse is hardly surprising when there’s no requirement for prior authorisation from a judge. You can work out a lot about a person from knowing who they phone or which internet sites they visit. People don’t realise how badly their privacy is compromised by this power.”

Home Secretary Theresa May has ordered a review into claims Ripa is being misused.

Police forces on RIPA powers

All of the police forces we contacted said they used RIPA powers only when necessary.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria police said they would be ‘unlikely’ to discuss their use of the measures.

Our ultimate aim is the safety of the public and this is one of many ways we can gather information to help deal with those people causing most harm in our communities.

“It’s important for the public to have confidence that such methods are appropriate and proportionate.

“The public can be reassured applications for RIPA authority are made only when deemed necessary and in order to detect crime and keep people safe,” she said.

“RIPA authority is not entered into lightly and rigorous processes are in place leading to it being granted.

“They have to be absolutely satisfied that it is necessary to prevent and detect crime and that its level of intrusion is proportionate with the nature of the enquiry being carried out.

“Northumbria Police is inspected each year by the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office to ensure correct procedures and processes are being followed.

“The number of authorisations made is comparable with our neighbouring forces and is part of a package of tools available to officers.”

Temporary Superintendent Rob O’Connor, of Cumbria police, said:

Cumbria Constabulary where necessary for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime, or preventing disorder, will use the power given to them by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to obtain and disclose communications data and conduct surveillance. Police use of RIPA is subject to guidance and strict codes of practice.

“RIPA is a very useful investigative tool in order to prevent crime and disorder. The intelligence and evidence obtained enables us to make the correct decisions in terms of public safety and the prosecution of criminals. It has been used on many occasions to great effect to bring offenders to justice.

“Cumbria Constabulary’s use of RIPA is subject of oversight and regular inspections by the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office and the Office of Surveillance Commissioner.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Coulson, of Durham Police, said:

“The powers RIPA provides are massively important to policing in our force area. RIPA is only used when absolutely necessary, how and when we use it is strictly governed.

“RIPA enables us to investigate serious crime and has played a key role in apprehending organised criminals and other serious offenders who have been making life miserable for the residents of County Durham and Darlington. There are many examples of this in the last year alone.

“Whilst Durham is generally a safe place to live we have to accept that these criminals exist and the powers provided through RIPA is a vital tool in the fight against them. We will continue to use the powers RIPA provides to follow, monitor, disrupt and capture offenders such as drug dealers, prolific thieves and sexual predators on a regular basis.

“In doing this can I reassure you that as a force we scrutinise our use of these powers and as with all Forces we are annually inspected by the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, an independent body.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland police said the force used RIPA powers to monitor serious organised crime and said the use of RIPA in Operation Cobweb was acknowledged by a judge as an excellent example of usage.

North Yorkshire Police did not comment.

Source –  Sunday Sun,  02 Nov 2014

Pulling out of the European Court of Human Rights is a “sop to UKIP and right wingers” say NE politicians

Tory plans to pull out of the European Court of Human Rights have been dismissed as a backward step and “a sop to Ukip and right wingers” by North East politicians.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling believes the extraordinary move would restore “common sense” to the British legal system, allowing judges in this country to effectively ignore Strasbourg.

The extraordinary move would give the ECHR no move than an advisory role and hand politicians and judges final say on issues like prisoner voting and life sentences. Mr Grayling also said it would stop terrorists and foreign criminals relying on human rights laws to stay in the UK.

But Labour peer Jeremy Beecham accused the Justice Secretary of pandering to the right wing.

He said: “This is a sop to Ukip and Tory right wingers.

“It was a Conservative Government which led the way on the EHRC, but the present Tory Party has a shocking record on legal aid, access to justice and judicial review and this just another example of its attitude, ironically in what will be the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta.”

Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The Human Rights Act benefits ordinary people on a daily basis and can help victims of crime.

“Recently it allowed two young women, who were victims of the black cab rapist John Worboys, to sue the police for failing to investigate his appalling crimes properly.”

She added human rights law was widely misrepresented in parts of the media and called on Chris Grayling to re-think the plans.

She said: “For instance in 2006 it was reported that police gave fried chicken to a suspected car thief who had fled from police and was besieged on a roof ‘because of his human rights’.

“Surprise, surprise, there is no human right to KFC – it was used as part of the negotiating tactics that encouraged him to come down.

“Nor is there a bar to deporting a criminal because he has a British cat, as Theresa May once claimed.

“Whether a foreign criminal stays or goes is a balancing act, which is far better done in our courts than in Strasbourg.”

But Labour’s Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell believes the country should be given a choice on its relationship with Europe.

He said: “On the whole it’s good to have a Court of Human Rights as they have made some good decisions, but I haven’t agreed with them all.

“Although I haven’t agreed with all the decisions made by the judicial system, I still think we should let the people decide, not the politicians, and have a referendum.”

Chris Grayling made the announcement as the Conservative Party Conference drew to a close this week and as the campaign for next year’s General Election gets underway.

He said: “We will always stand against real human rights abuses, and political persecution. But these plans will make sure that we put Britain first and restore common sense to human rights in this country.”

>  Translation – lets make Britain a feudal state where people like me who went to the right schools get to make the law that suits our best interests. Fuck anyone else.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  03 Oct 2014

Home Secretary to look at claims of hundreds were abused in North East children’s homes

An investigation into a huge child abuse scandal in the North could be re-opened after questions were raised in Parliament.

Home Secretary Theresa May has vowed to look into allegations of “a whitewash” during the investigation into widespread abuse at children’s homes in the North.

Operation Rose involved hundreds of allegations dating back to the 1960s.

Northumbria Police carried out a three-year investigation into sexual and physical abuse at 61 children’s homes run by voluntary bodies and councils in Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

But the £5m inquiry resulted in only six convictions, despite uncovering 530 allegations.

The investigation began in 1997 after a woman in her twenties told a social worker that she and a friend had been abused as children in care.

Officers embarked on a process of “trawling” for information by writing to 1,800 former residents explaining that they were looking into homes where they had once lived.

Police regarded 97 individuals as possible suspects, of whom 60 were arrested in connection with charges of child abuse.

Eventually, 32 people who were charged with a total of 142 offences, of which five were found guilty, one pleaded guilty, 12 were found not guilty, nine had cases withdrawn, four died before their cases were heard and one remained on file.

Court hearings continued until 2002.

But the investigation could be re-opened after a series of revelations, including the shocking truth about child abuse by Jimmy Savile, led to concern that abuse and exploitation was more widespread than previously believed.

Northumberland MP Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth Valley, urged Mrs May to look into the affair as he said more alleged victims had come forward.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “Will the Home Secretary look at Operation Rose in Northumberland, which took place a few years ago? It is becoming more apparent that it was a whitewash as more victims come forward each day and each month.”

Mrs May told him she would investigate.

She said: “It is precisely because I want to ensure that we cover all the cases that have come up that I think it is important that the terms of the inquiry panel are drawn quite widely. I will look into the matter that he raises.”

Mr Campbell has raised concerns about Operation Rose in the past. Last year he told the Commons that one constituent who was in care homes in the 1960s and 1970s had attempted to report abuse he had suffered but was told it was “just what happened in those days”.

But Operation Rose also led to complaints during the police inquiry that innocent teachers, social workers and care home staff were having their lives ruined because of the way police encouraged alleged victims to come forward.

The Government last week launched a wide-ranging investigation into the extent of historic child abuse in the country and whether police, courts, the National Health Service, schools and institutions such as the BBC let down victims.

An expert panel will also have the power to scrutinise the behaviour of political parties, the security services and private companies.

And Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last month urged anyone who was abused by Jimmy Savile at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to come forward. An inquiry has found Savile made at last three visits to the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Newcastle General Hospital, but found no evidence of abuse.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 July 2014

Criminal checks needed to make sure MPs are safe to work with children, Commons told

Every MP should go through a criminal check to ensure they are fit to work with children, the Commons has been told.

North East MP Helen Goodman called for MPs to go through the same sorts of checks as teachers or youth workers.

She was speaking as Home Secretary Theresa May announced two inquiries into historic claims of child abuse.

Mrs May said Government would set up an independent inquiry panel of experts in the law and child protection to consider whether public bodies have done enough to protect children from sexual abuse.

She said: “In recent years, we have seen appalling cases of organised and persistent child sex abuse. This includes abuse by celebrities like Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris, as well as the systematic abuse of vulnerable girls in Derby, Rochdale, Oxford and other towns and cities. Some of these cases have exposed a failure by public bodies to take their duty of care seriously and some have shown that the organisations responsible for protecting children from abuse – including the police, social services and schools – have failed to work together properly.”

She added: “The Government will establish an independent inquiry panel of experts in the law and child protection to consider whether public bodies – and other non-state institutions – have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.”

The inquiry would be a non-statutory panel inquiry, similar to the Hillsbrough inquiry which reported back in 2012.

At the same time, Peter Wanless, the chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, will lead a review into information provided to the Home Office about child abuse allegations.

It will look at claims that the Home Office failed to act on allegations of abuse provided to the department by the late Geoffrey Dickens, who was an MP from 1979 to 1995.

Speaking in the Commons, Mrs Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, said MPs often worked with children and should undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks, known as CRB or DBS checks, to ensure they are not a threat.

She said: “In the course of doing constituency case work, every member of this house will come across vulnerable adults and children. Does the Home Secretary agree with me that Members of Parliament and caseworkers should undergo CRB checks?

“We’ve legislated for this for everybody else in similar positions of responsibilty. Isn’t it time that we did so in this House too?”

Mrs May said this was an issue the inquiry could consider.

North West Durham MP Pat Glass asked for assurances that the inquiry would be able to look at files held by the police or security services.

The announcement in the House of Commons came after Prime Minister David Cameron promised to leave “no stone unturned” in seeking the truth about widespread allegations of a paedophile ring with links to the establishment in the 1980s.

A series of allegations have emerged that Rochdale Liberal MP Cyril Smith, who died in 2010, abused vulnerable children.

An inquiry last month reported horrific abuse by television celebrity Jimmy Savile at Leeds General Infirmary and London hospital Broadmoor.

The Government’s inquiry could be converted into a full public inquiry if its chairman feels it is necessary.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  07 July 2014