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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "crime"

Tony Smith: Turning the tide on migrant boats

Tony Smith is a former Head of the UK Border Force and Director of Ports and Borders in both the UK and Canada. He is now Managing Director of Fortinus Global Ltd, and Chairman of the International Border Management and Technologies Association.

Rarely a day goes by without news of more migrants crossing the English Channel from France to claim asylum. What began as a trickle two years ago has now become a stream. Over 1800 came across in 2019. Over 160 arrived in a single day on 3rd June. At current rates, the 2020 figure will double last year’s total; it could even go higher still. Yet only around six per cent are returned to France.

Those who said that these waters were too difficult to navigate in unseaworthy vessels have been proved wrong. We have seen arrivals in all forms of makeshift craft, even inflatables and canoes. So how do we turn the tide, and stem these illegal flows?

This is a complex problem. There are significant challenges raised by international law including 1951 Refugee Convention, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (COLAS), and the Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR).

Following media reports that French vessels were “escorting” migrant boats into British waters in May, Priti Patel announced that she would change international law to close the Channel loophole; but any change in international law needs international agreement.

Article 98 of UNCLOS encourages neighbouring states to establish regional arrangements for search and rescue at sea. Examples include joint patrol vessels, or the placement of officials from one jurisdiction on board the vessel of another.

So there is no reason in international law why the British and French governments could not introduce joint SAR patrols. They would have to meet the requirements on international law; but – crucially – refugees and asylum seekers can be taken to any place where there is no risk of their life or freedom being threatened in accordance with Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention, on the principle of “non refoulement”.

So subject to mutual agreement, we could establish an integrated UK/French border patrol to rescue migrants at sea and bring them to a place of safety; and as both countries are signatories to the 1951 Convention, that could be to a port on either side, and not necessarily to the country whose vessel happens to rescue them.

Of course, this needs a political agreement with France. Some may say this is not achievable. Maybe not. But in 2002, the total UK asylum intake figure rose to over 100,000, with the vast majority arriving from France. To stem the flows, the UK and France agreed a bilateral Treaty (Le Touquet) in to establish “juxtaposed controls” whereby officers would conduct passport inspections prior to boarding ferries.

As these inspections were “extra territorial”, asylum claims were excluded. This led to a far harsher reduction of asylum claims from France than the numbers we see on the migrant boats today. In my experience, successive French governments have been prepared to work with UK border enforcement agencies to disrupt and deter irregular migration on the cross-channel routes. They don’t like human smugglers any more than we do. This suggests that there is scope for further bilateral agreement to counteract the maritime threat.

Although France is a “safe third country”, the current Dublin Convention trumps safe third country rules. To return as asylum seeker to another member state, the receiving state has to prove that an asylum claim had already been made in the other state.

Given that nearly all migrants are undocumented on arrival, this evidence is rarely available – and accounts to a great extent for the very low returns rate. As the UK departs the EU, it will no longer be party to the Dublin Convention. A new “safe third” agreement is needed.

There will always be migrants in France who want to come to the UK. Some may have legitimate reasons for doing so – for example, those with family connections here. To meet this demand, the UK could offer a legitimate migratory route to the UK for specific categories of persons via our offices in France; thereby reducing the incentive for illegitimate routes and simultaneously disrupting the smuggling supply chains.

I hope that the Government’s current strategy to encourage better enforcement in France pays off. It is certainly having an impact. But if we believe that this could escalate into a crisis like the one we saw back in 2002, we will need a more fundamental and radical approach to tackling the problem.

That means reaching a new international agreement France on joint patrols, search and rescue, and safe returns whilst simultaneously exploring alternative legitimate offshore processing routes for those with a genuine case to enter. Then – and only then – will we finally be able to turn the tide on migrant boats and defeat the maritime threat to our borders.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

David Chinchen: We need to develop effective operational links between neighbourhood policing teams and our schools

David Chinchen is the Conservative candidate for South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and a former Chief Superintendent.

I remember it well. Being approached at a school Summer Ball last year by the Chair of the Sheffield Conservative Federation to consider standing as the Conservative Candidate for the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election. After being selected in February 2020, everything of course changed as the loss of life and challenges of tackling a global pandemic have rightly put campaigning on hold.

I had retired from the Metropolitan Police Service in 2013 as Chief Superintendent and Borough Commander for Wandsworth. Having married a Yorkshire lass we moved to Sheffield and have made this our home with our daughter then studying at Sheffield University and our son now working as a legal apprentice in the city.

I am a newcomer to active politics and the Party but I bring a wealth of professional and life experience to this role. After leaving the police service I worked for several years in UK Visas and Immigration at Sheffield determining visa applications and gaining a valuable insight into the wider UK immigration system.

I come to this challenge with an ambition to make our police service and criminal justice system work better for us all. In 2008 I was appointed the operational lead for efforts to tackle the escalation of knife crime and teenage fatalities in London (Operation Blunt 2). I have seen the reality of violent crime on our streets and driven forward many of the tactics that make a difference. I have also seen much time and public money wasted. Its always useful to point out that the last spike in serious youth violence (2008-10) occurred after ten years of a Labour administration spending huge sums on youth services and related projects.

Whilst it is violent crime that should remain the focus of our collective efforts, I believe we should also be operating to re-build confidence in policing and criminal justice. We often hear of services being ‘victim-focused’ – but that is not the reality that the vast majority of people are experiencing.

This is why my plan starts with the restoration of neighbourhood policing. It is from this bedrock that we are best positioned to deploy most effectively all the capabilities of UK policing. All crimes have an impact upon local neighbourhoods and it is local neighbourhoods that provide us with the greatest opportunity to prevent and detect crime.

Just before lockdown, I attended an interesting round-table discussion hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses. Listening to very familiar accounts from retailers, small businesses, and sole traders, it is clear that our police service has neglected this area for many years. We must talk about ‘victim-impact’ differently. Protecting businesses that employ several people locally, or the tools and transport of a sole trader, should be our concern as the party of business and hard work. As we move cautiously towards a ‘new normality’ over the next few months, this focus on protecting businesses and livelihoods is even more important.

The impact of crime on our rural communities is also something that we should re-focus upon. I’m certainly not advocating a return to chasing down crime types but simply a greater recognition that bringing more offenders to justice will impact across the board – city, suburb, town, and village. UK policing has a reputation for being agile and flexible in its response to new crime threats and national emergencies. The challenge for me has always been about working cross-border and cross-organisation.

Whilst we know that policing and criminal justice is a complex business, I find that people on the doorstep are very traditional in outlook. Many talk about the ‘bobbies’ that everyone knew. They expect this local feel to policing and a service that operates to put things right when they become victims.

Finally, I believe we should be bold in seeking to reform and develop effective operational links between neighbourhood policing teams and our schools. These have worked well in the past where there is a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities.

When introduced in 2012 I was concerned about the PCC role, notably the danger of straying into operational direction for political purposes. I’m pleased to say that my concerns have proved to be unfounded and I can see the value of single accountable role for all matters relating to crime and community safety.

In South Yorkshire, the General Election knocked a huge hole in the ‘Red Wall’ and I don’t think these are borrowed votes. People here are responding well to our PM and a Home Secretary looking to deliver on crime and criminal justice. I have lost count of the times people have said ‘I’ve voted Labour all my life but I’m for Boris.’ When the conversation turns to crime and policing, my previous experience becomes a real asset. I’m convinced that the battle will be all about who the electorate trusts to make the most of the Government’s investment in policing and criminal justice. Whilst we cannot say when traditional campaigning will return, the growth of on-line conferencing and interactive events provide new opportunities to listen and put key messages across. It all bodes well for Thursday 6th May 2021.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Clearing up litter is integral to regaining our civic pride

Perhaps it is a question of political allegiance. Would a Conservative drop litter? It is hard to conceive of such a thing. When the Countryside Alliance held huge demos in London, the streets of the capital were famously cleaner after proceedings than beforehand. Contrast this with the more regular occurrence of left wing protests – including those from supposed eco-friendly outfits such as Extinction Rebellion. They leave a huge mess for the rest of us to clear up.

On the other hand, Sir Roger Scruton thought it was our choice of drink. He wrote, in I DrinkTherefore I Am:

“I blame the drinks as much as those who jettison their containers. There’s something about those fizzy-solutions, with their childish flavours and logo branded bottles, that elicits the ‘me’ response in otherwise grown-up people. The quick-fix at the plastic udder. The exhilaration of bubbles in the throat, and the burp of satisfaction as the liquid settles, all narrow the drinker’s perspective, and work to obliterate the thought of a world beyond me and mine. And the self-styled gesture as the bottle is tossed from the window of the car – the gesture which says I am the king of the space through which this body travels, and f*** the rest of you, is exactly what we must expect, when childish appetites are indulged in private at every moment of the day.”

Scruton added that along his verge he had seen “beer cans, water bottle, whisky halves and soda cartons” but “never once a bottle of wine.” Enough said.

Apart from how we vote and what we drink is the issue of age and class. Peter Franklin has written for this site that males are more likely to be guilty than females, the young more than the old, the poor more than the rich, urban dwellers more than those in the countryside. He put the matter in the context of other ways that we have spoiled the environment – where it is richer older people who are the culprits:

“Small litter consists of objects like beer cans, cigarette butts, plastic carrier bags and fast-food packaging. Big litter, on the other hand, consists of hideous buildings, garish shop frontages and unnecessary street ‘furniture’ – such as the ubiquitous roadside railings supposedly required to stop us from playing with the traffic.

“If small litter is mostly generated by badly-educated youths, then big litter is generated by well-paid architects, bureaucrats and politicians who make it their job to fill our lives with ugliness.”

The most uncomfortable truth that Franklin raised was that the problem is worse here than other countries – France and Japan being mentioned as examples. What does it say for our national pride that so many of our fellow citizens are literally rubbishing our country? People talk of Singapore as being terribly extreme. But it’s about right. The fine for a first offence is $300 equivalent to £175 – though it is higher if it goes to court. Bright Blue suggested the fine in the UK should be £500. The current figure is £150. The main point is that the law is enforced.

The recent periods of sunshine and the easing of the lockdown have once again highlighted the issue – with many concluding it is worse than ever. Clare Foges writes in The Times:

“Last week’s plastic carnage was not some aberration but confirmation that Britain’s litter problem is truly dire. According to the Hygiene Council, ours is the dirtiest developed country in the world. About 122 tonnes of cigarette-related litter are dropped every day. Councils spend hundreds of millions a year clearing it all up — too late for the creatures who die as a result of the pollution. The RSPCA receives about 5,000 calls a year about litter-related injuries to animals. Our rivers, lakes and seas have become a soup of plastic particles; at the last count there were an average of 358 items of litter per square kilometre of seabed.”

Rubbish attracts more rubbish. Fly-tipping is especially serious. When I wrote about this a couple of years ago there were 936,000 recorded incidents on the most recent annual statistics. It is now 1,072,000. Higher fines and enforcement is needed. For the Government to rely on the Environment Agency, that most useless of Quangos, sends out a message of official indifference.

Far more community service orders should involve supervised groups picking up litter. Councils and environmental charities should work with the probation service to ensure that this work is carried out effectively. The guidance for the number of hours should be increased. Why should 300 hours be the maximum? Community payback sentencing for fly-tippers should be introduced. But we rely on local authorities to take enforcement action. The extent that they do so varies greatly. So we can see that my council, Hammersmith and Fulham, issued 20 Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping last year. Across the River, in Wandsworth, it was 160.

Then there is the question of litter bins. In too many of our parks the contents of these receptacles are overflowing during good weather. We need more bins and/or more frequent bin collections. Sometimes this is rejected on grounds of cost. Surely emptying bins must be less work than picking up litter strewn all over the parks and streets. Of course, I am not defending those who leave the remains of their picnics on the grass even if the bins are full. But it helps to encourage people to do the right thing.

Due to coronavirus, some council tips have been closed. Simon Clarke, the Local Government Minister, and Rebecca Powe, the Environment Minister, have sent a letter calling on them to reopen them:

“While the majority of councils have opened tips, there is evidence that some have applied excessively tight restrictions on public access. Of course, it is important to maintain social distancing measures and ensure the health and safety of both the workforce and householders. Councils must also consider the harm to public health and local amenity from fly-tipping which is unfortunately fuelled by lack of access to responsible disposal of waste, and the harm from rubbish piling up in or near people’s homes. Therefore, councils should avoid unnecessarily tight restrictions like a limited number of pre-booked slots. Where there are opportunities to improve access and to help householders dispose of waste responsibly then we would encourage you to keep measures under review and to extend access where this can be done safely.”

We can see that Kingston Council – where you have to book and often find a slot isn’t available. While at neighbouring Surrey Council you just turn up.

So decay and decline are not inevitable. It depends on our personal and political choices.  Our national shame at our streets, parks, and beaches, being covered with plastic detritus needs to be harnessed into resolving to achieve the higher standards that other countries manage. It means the courts and the police, the politicians locally and nationally, taking the matter seriously. The growing sense is that the great majority of the public already does. The indignation is increasing and our elected representatives would do well to catch up.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

WATCH: Patel – Liverpool fans “did not need to go to the football ground and congregate outside the stadium”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Daniel Hannan: The police. Not institutionally racist, but institutionally woke.

Daniel Hannan is a writer and columnist. He was a Conservative MEP from 1999 to 2020, and is now President of the Initiative for Free Trade.

The police have had an unusually bad lockdown. They began by being bossy and officious, ticking people off for buying luxury items or walking too slowly in parks or even (in one incident in Rotherham that was caught on camera) for being in their own garden. But when Black Lives Matter took to the streets, they promptly forgot all about the restrictions. Far from ordering protesters to disperse, they looked on as mobs carried out flagrant acts of vandalism.

In Bristol, a superintendent refused to prevent criminal damage to the Colston statue because “we know that it has been an historical figure that has caused the black community quite a lot of angst over the last couple of years.” (Perhaps so – but it was hardly his call to make, was it?)

In London, officers were pulled out of Parliament Square, allowing vandals to fall on the statues there – including that of Abraham Lincoln, commemorated for having freed America’s slaves. Last weekend, we reached a new low, as a Met officer, in effect, pleaded with people to break the law in a considerate manner.

“First and foremost we want people to be safe, and would encourage you to stay at home,” said Commander Alex Murray. “However, if you feel compelled to come and have your voice heard, we would say please remain socially distant, we don’t want people to get ill; and, more than that, please do not engage in any violence.”

Demonstrations, of course, were banned – a fact the Met clung to obsessively when protesters were complaining about the lockdown. But, when a different set of protesters started to demonstrate about the atrocity in Minneapolis, police chiefs were reduced to asking people who felt “compelled” to break the law to do so non-violently. It was hard not to think of Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons: “Can’t you people take the law into your own hands?”

The problem of the PC PC – the politically correct police constable – goes back to the Blair years, and there can be something quite funny about heavy-handed attempts by rozzers to be woke. But there is nothing funny about the consequences. In 2011, the Met refused to impede a crowd engaging in mass looting in Tottenham, because the pillage had theoretically begun as an anti-racist protest. Images of officers standing by while people smashed their way into shops flashed around the country and, the next day, there was looting across British cities.

To call the police institutionally racist, these days, is wide of the mark. Yes, there are individual racists in uniform: with more than 120,000 police officers in the UK, some bad behaviour is statistically inevitable. But, far from being institutionally racist – that is, being an institution where racism is a norm – the police, these days, are institutionally woke, in the sense that their leaders elevate race relations above what ought to be their core functions, such as protecting property, securing public order and enforcing the law impartially.

To be fair, the police are operating within a society which has taken to applying a different test when it comes to self-proclaimed anti-racism. This is most obvious in the tone of our broadcasters. When BLM thugs turned violent, the BBC produced the ludicrous headline, “27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London”. The following week, when a different set of thugs turned violent, it had the more conventional headline, “London protests: more than 100 arrests after violent clashes with police.

Our state broadcaster is faithfully representing the double-standard of our intellectual elites. Epidemiologists who back the lockdown in all other circumstances say it’s fine to violate its terms as long as you are demonstrating for BLM. Conservationists who normally insist on protecting monuments declare that it is fine to remove statues. Academic institutions that are meant to defend intellectual rigour concede that, if someone’s feelings are hurt, accuracy no longer matters.

These are the political waters in which our coppers are swimming. The Met is answerable to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who condemns the ludicrous statue defenders while refusing to condemn BLM violence – a failure which, in normal times, would disqualify him from office.

But these are not normal times. As sometimes happens when there is a plague (or at least the perceived threat of a plague) we are gripped by a form of end-of-days cultism, which brooks no dissent. Intimidated by the self-righteousness of campaigners, few politicians dare to step into the path of the mob. MPs from all parties feel the need to qualify their condemnations of violence with vague support for the demonstrators’ aims. Several of them literally bend the knee.

To the best of my knowledge, not a single Police and Crime Commissioner has spoken out, either against the excessively heavy-handed way in which the lockdown is enforced for everyone else, or against the refusal even to pretend to enforce it on the protesters.

Police, protesters, politicians, pundits – all are caught up in the general madness. Indeed, everyone seems to be going through a millenarian spasm. Everyone, that is, except the general population, which remains as level-headed as ever.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sunder Katwala: Race and age. To older Britons, the pace of progress seems swift. To younger ones, frustratingly slow.

Sunder Katwala is the Director of British Future.

What do we talk about when we talk about race? Policing and crime. Coronavirus and health. Education and Jobs. Discrimination and racism. Immigration and Integration. National identity. History – and statues.

Statues, mostly, is where the wheel of fortune has landed for now. So I fully support both Boris Johnson and David Lammy in wanting to keep Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square. The sole difficulty has been tracking down anybody to argue that against. My own anecdotal twitter experiment, canvassing non-white views specifically, got two tweets in favour of removing it among about a hundred against. As the Prime Minister said, announcing his new Commission on inequalities, it is time to move from symbols to substance.

The story of race in Britain can be very subjective. Eight million of us have different experiences of being not white in Britain. Half of us were born here, the children or now grandchildren of those who came as migrants, with markedly different experiences – by generation and gender, by geography, social class and ethnic group.

We are each shaped by our own lives. My parents came here from India and Ireland. Growing up Irish Catholic, with an Indian name, in 1980s Merseyside, I was quite likely to take some interest in history, and to follow football as well as cricket, but to be sceptical of a “community of communities” multiculturalism which hoped to slot us all into neat and tidy federated boxes.

So my lived experience is mostly of the retreat of racism and how opportunities opened up. My 14-year-old self, an Everton season ticket holder introduced to anti-racist causes by monkey chants in the stadium, would be glad to hear that racist incidents at big matches today are rare enough to merit shocked analysis on Match of the Day. When I left university, there were very few black or Asian faces in public life, outside sport and a few popular newsreaders. I cast my first vote, in 1992, for a parliament with six ethnic minority MPs out of 650 – so the shift from one in 100 non-white MPs to one in 10 seems a big deal to me.

There had never been an ethnic minority Cabinet minister in Britain before this century began. How surprising it now seems that there had not yet been a single Asian woman in the Commons, nor any Asian Cabinet minister, until 2010 now that British Asian Chancellors and Home Secretaries seem as frequent as London buses.

Yet I also experience direct racist abuse more often now – on social media – as the Internet takes the effort out of being a racist troll.

Experiences vary, however. If I felt less defined by my surname at work in this century than in the school playground in the last, British Muslim friends often felt the opposite: that 9/11 or 7/7 saw them viewed predominantly through the lens of their faith. The Black Lives Matter protests put the specific black British experience under the spotlight, reflecting distinct patterns of opportunity and disadvantage across different minority groups.

A striking generational paradox emerges in British Future’s research, talking to people about race. Young adults, aged 18-24, undoubtedly hold the strongest norms against prejudice or discrimination that this country has ever seen. Yet younger black and Asian participants, and their white peers too, were much less likely than older generations to think that any progress was being made.

That there has been progress over time, and that Britain has a comparatively good record on race, are the mainstream right’s two favourite arguments about race. Those are broadly accurate arguments. The blind spot can be in understanding when they may not seem relevant.

Britain certainly has the strongest framework on race policy in western Europe. Yet it would be hard to set a lower bar. The overwhelmingly white EU institutions seem allergic to discussing race. Britain and Ireland are unusual in western Europe in even collecting ethnicity data. Emmanuel Macron has pledged to act on racial inequality – but would need to change the law to investigate it properly. Britain’s race disparity audit would be illegal in France.

But these comparative arguments can be especially tone deaf if used to contest lived experience.  If I am a young graduate in Manchester, wondering if I will get a similar number of job interviews as my classmates, despite my ethnic surname or headscarf, the hypothesis that I might face more discrimination in Marseilles or Budapest would seem especially irrelevant.

Twenty-somethings have little interest in history lessons about the “bad old days” before they were even born. Who would expect the Stormzy generation to express gratitude at being less likely to get beaten up by NF thugs? Their birthright expectation is that the equal opportunities of which every Prime Minister speaks should have become a reality by now.

Evidence should matter in policy-making – but politics is always about identity and emotions too. David Goodhart sets out how there has been significant, though incomplete, progress for a growing black middle-class. But the framing of “facts versus feelings” won’t work for the liberal right on race any better than it has for the liberal-left on immigration.

It is because race is about feelings and facts that our public conversation about race often struggles to bridge the divide between those – particularly older, white Britons – for whom the pace of rising diversity has felt pretty fast, and the young black perspective that our journey to equal opportunities remains frustratingly slow.

Even the labels we use to talk about race shift across generations too. I never called myself black. I might have done, if I had gone to university in the 1970s rather than the 1990s. Black voices of an earlier generation would sometimes still tell me that I should. “Mixed race, mixed race, what’s all this mixed race nonsense, boy? If you’re not white, you’re black”, the late Darcus Howe told me in 2012, as we prepared to talk about some race Twitterstorm on Newsnight. Had I belatedly taken his advice then, I might be asked to drop that label now.

“We assure you that all organisers of BLM UK are Black (not politically black)”, says a statement of the Black Lives Matter (UK) organisers.  So the new Black movement politics also brings an era of the old black politics to a close.  Yet those who have turned up to Black Lives Matter events in both the US and the UK capture that these are also distinctively more cross-racial protests.

They come from a generation impatient if the story of incremental progress does not focus mostly on what still needs to change. Rishi Sunak’s response, making the case for patient gradualism, exemplifies the challenges of navigating that.

This moment is undoubtedly a challenge to the significant racial disparities that remain in our society. It is a product, too, of ethnic minorities having more presence, more voice and potentially more power in British society than ever before.  Things did change for the better on race in Britain. The next challenge is that expectations rose faster still.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Christian Guy: Slavery. Not a remote horror from the past, but a living one in the present. It must be stamped out.

Christian Guy is Chief Executive of the anti-slavery organisation Justice and Care. He was formerly a Special Adviser to David Cameron in 10 Downing Street, and a Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice.

What began by tearing down former slave trader Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol has morphed into a crusade to rid Britain of countless other references to the past. In the BBC’s absurd removal of a Fawlty Towers episode and the covering up of Winston Churchill’s own statue, we risk missing the point and losing the plot.

Colston’s Royal African Company transported more than 80,000 slaves, burned with the letters ‘RAC’ as they sailed, from West Africa to the Americas on hellish voyages. For one in five people, these were floating tombs. Disease and murder were commonplace, as was jumping overboard in desperation. Survivors faced new barbarity. 12.5 million people were transported across the Atlantic in total, and nearly two million died en route.

Yet the danger today is we fail to recognise something else vital if we are to truly honour those who suffered: slavery is not just a scar on Britain’s past, it is an open wound in our present. This living, breathing nightmare is what now needs tearing down.

As many as 40 million people worldwide are kept as slaves today. We identify more in our own country every year: Home Office figures reveal 10,627 people were tagged as potential victims of slavery and human trafficking in the last 12 months alone. That’s a 1,886 per cent increase on the 535 people found in 2009, when we started recording it in this way. We are barely scratching the surface: UK officials privately admit the scale is much higher but we fail to find so many.

These are people trafficked across continents and within postcodes. Some bought and sold under cover of darkness; others are abused in broad daylight. It is big business for the organised crime groups running it: the trade in human beings is worth $150 billion a year, making some of the worst criminals imaginable wealthier than you can believe.

Girls purchased for a few thousand pounds, and delivered into or across the UK in days – think Amazon Prime but the products are people. Call the right number in your neighbourhood, and you’ll be face-to-face with a trafficked girl quicker than your Domino’s pizza lands on the doorstep. Slavery is a prolific business model to destroy, not a moral crisis to wish away.

Don’t assume it is an immigration problem our post-Brexit visa system will clear up: British nationals represent one fifth of victims being identified, with more than 80 per cent children. Victims can be women and children raped in apartment block massage parlours. They are the street homeless, taken and tricked from their sleeping bags only to disappear into hard labour.

We find young men sucked into debt bondage, travel and criminal activity they cannot escape from. People are moved in lorries, planes, ferries and cars heading for our restaurants, farms, factories, nail bars, car washes, flats and cleaning firms. And whilst the chains and branding irons may be less common today, people found by the police and NGOs like mine can have barcodes tattooed on their necks and torture scars all over their bodies.

Covid-19 has done little to hinder those running this human trade. In recent weeks Justice and Care has been working alongside police to support people rescued from cellars, brothels, traveller sites and illegal factories. We’ve seen gunshot wounds and babies born as a result of rape. With UK Border Force in Dover, we found a girl on her 19th birthday heading for a lifetime of sexual slavery. Other people are being abused on Zoom calls rather than in double beds. How victims are exploited may have changed temporarily, but that they are exploited has not.

Crucial progress has been won in recent years though, thanks in large part to successive Conservative Governments and superb police officers. Most notably, when Theresa May was Home Secretary and then Prime Minister, slavery and counter-trafficking policies were prioritised in Westminster.

Britain’s 2015 Modern Slavery Act was groundbreaking: in came life sentences and new orders, business supply chain statements and a national Commissioner. May’s Task Force gave focus, leadership and investment to fight back against this criminal underworld. However this job is not done.

Many more traffickers must now face justice. Britain finds thousands of slaves a year but convicts only a few hundred slave masters. One of the ways to change that is to take survivor care more seriously: we lose too many victims (and their golden evidence) as soon as they are rescued. Others won’t trust police but will open up to charities.

Justice and Care has a solution – our ‘Navigator Programme’ – that should be rolled out urgently to work with police nationwide. Survivors often want justice and will help to pursue it if they are treated with dignity. For some, we should even consider the US Government’s ‘Trafficking-Visa’ scheme, which gives victims certain temporary rights to stay and work if they are supporting a police investigation. It is time to realise that decent care is not a soft option, it is the way to smash the criminal networks.

Decent support does not necessarily mean foreign national victims remaining in the UK, though. Government-to-Government repatriation schemes are now required, allowing survivors to return home safely, recover and give evidence remotely. It can be done. And we need pressure on European neighbours and the EU in particular – far too little is done to stop this at source.

We also need to deal with the growth of British victims, and fast. This means a considered review and action across the country. From the care system to rough sleeping and ‘county lines’, we need to protect our most vulnerable from the trafficking threat more effectively. We are losing too many. 

Overseas, DfID’s trafficking spend should be directed even more strategically at the hotspot countries of origin for the UK and global hubs – attacking the corruption, poverty and blocked opportunity that fuel trafficking into the UK in the first place. This is our first line of defence.

The list goes on. A report from Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice will set out more soon, five years on from that Modern Slavery Act.

When Colston was profiting from slavery, everyone knew it existed but few people considered it wrong. It is the reverse in 2020: almost everyone would consider it wrong, but too few people know it exists. That has to change. Too many live in modern equivalents of those slave ships and chains. So yes, remove the slave trader statues if it helps heal the hurt of the past. But let us be clear: the best way to honour the memory of those who suffered is to end it in our own time.

Stamping out slavery in the UK and around the world should fire up this Government, and our new MPs, like nothing else. What better cause for Conservatives than advancing freedom, smashing organised crime, seeding new international alliances and improving life chances for the most abused people on earth? Britain can lead the way. Let’s finish what we started.

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Police chiefs have unwisely emboldened the mob

What on earth are the police doing in their response to the recent spate of mob violence and vandalism? I don’t mean the rank and file officers particularly, rather the commanders who issue their orders. Time and again in recent days they have succeeded in sending out messages that undermine rather than reinforce public order.

Despite the swaggering warnings issued to law-abiding people across the country for buying Easter eggs, or sitting in their own front garden, during the previous weeks of lockdown, the Metropolitan Police decided to stand by as thousands of people broke the laws intended to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

The reason given by the Commissioner was that to require people to follow the law risked “serious disorder…turning into a violent situation”.

The implication was clear. Gather illegally in a small enough number, sufficiently peaceably to pose no threat of “serious disorder” or “a violent situation”, and the police will require you to stop and disperse on pain of arrest. If on the other hand the police become convinced that enforcing the law will be met with violence by some of those present, then they’ll allow you to proceed.

The weekend after Cressida Dick’s remarks, 49 police officers were injured, and peaceful protesters were endangered by – guess what – serious disorder and a violent situation. Oddly, given that she had cited concerns about the prospect of violence, officers do not appear to have been equipped with the requisite kit to face that threat when it emerged.

This week, the superintendent who led the operation during which a mob tore down the Colston statue – criminal damage against a listed heritage structure – declared that “Bristol should be proud of itself” because “no one got hurt and we had no arrests in the whole protest”, particularly given that the crowd were “passionate”.

It feels, shall we say, unusual for a police officer to measure success by not arresting people who committed a crime. What impact did he imagine it would have on the standing of the law which Avon & Somerset Police are supposed to uphold, to boast that officers were ordered to stand by as crime and disorder was permitted?

Predictably, other vandals have duly gone on the hunt for memorials to attack and destroy. In Bristol, the city’s first ever statue of a black person has been defaced with bleach.

Well done, Avon & Somerset Police.

This is why Peel included in his principles of policing the idea that “The police seek and preserve public favour, not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to the law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws”. Perhaps the police have chucked him in a metaphorical harbour already, as just another old bloke from history.

Nor are these isolated cases.

Ben-Julian Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on public order, attempts to draw a tension between preventing crime against property and protecting the safety of people when dealing with mobs like that in Bristol. He is reported to have argued that “…the officers will be there looking to make sure that people don’t get hurt in the first instance, trying to protect property if that’s the right thing to do, but people come first, making sure officers and those taking part are safe.”

The thinking seems wrong-headed. By definition, mobs are not “safe” things to indulge. Rather obviously, mobs that are in the business of tearing down big cast bronze monuments with bits of rope and their bare hands are even less safe than your average mob. A man in the United States is currently in a coma after a statue toppled on top of him.

It should be quite clear by now that undermining the law in one area undermines it in another, just as abandoning consistent policing of the law undermines police authority generally.

Conditions have not become safer for officers, members of the public, peaceful protesters, or for private and public property, as a result of this approach. Quite the contrary.

Finally, today Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, the Cenotaph and other illustrious memorials suffer the indignity of being closed up in boxes, hidden away apparently at the behest of the Mayor of London, working with “partners” including the Met. Why? Because, in the words of Sadiq Khan, “I’m extremely concerned that further protests in central London not only risk spreading Covid-19, but could lead to disorder, vandalism and violence.”

Again, retreat seems to be the default. If you want something concealed from view, threaten to destroy it with sufficient force and the authorities will hide it for you rather than challenge your criminality directly.

The buzzword used by so many senior officers to justify these calls is that they are “tactical decisions”. No doubt they are, but there appear to be two misapprehensions at work.

First, “tactical” does not mean “correct”. Calling something a “tactical decision” seems to be intended to lend an air of official wisdom, but it simply describes the decision without managing to justify it. Worse, these appear to be solely tactical decisions, without any view to strategy. Letting crime slide one day to avoid a confrontation might be tactically appealing, but doing so without regard for the resulting effect the next day, or the next week, is strategically foolish. The results are all too clear.

I find it hard to believe that every copper is happy with this. If it’s a flaw of policing philosophy, or the culture among senior police officers, how might it be corrected? oliticians clearly have to do their part, from PCCs – who are disappointingly quiet – through the Home Office, and still higher. As our Editor wonders: if, as the Prime Minister asserts, Churchill’s statue is “a ‘permament reminder’, why is it being temporarily covered – rather than safeguarded?”

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Bailey must stand

Earlier this week the Financial Times ran a story entitled:

“Conservative doubts grow over candidate for London mayor”

The suggestion was that Shaun Bailey should be replaced as candidate. It added that Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been “sounded out.” Appropriately enough for the Financial Times, the paper’s journalists had been talking to donors. The report stated:

“Some of the party’s most prominent financial backers are also sceptical of Mr Bailey’s chances and have told current co-chair Ben Elliot that he should be replaced.”

One “large Conservative donor” said:

“There is no way Shaun can beat Sadiq. He’s a nice guy but he’s barely broken 20 per cent in the polls. The year delay means we have the opportunity to reset the race.”

Another “large Conservative donor” said:

“Shaun just doesn’t have it. At every donor meeting he is wheeled out but he just fails to connect. Being a politician doesn’t seem to come naturally to him.”

The report claimed that “there is a view at Conservative party HQ that Mr Bailey was selected too soon”.

The exasperation is understandable. The Mayor of London has important responsibilities – for policing, for transport, on the housing supply. The Labour incumbent, Sadiq Khan, has failed on an epic scale on all of them. It used to be that knife crime was the most prominent. During the lockdown, the mismanagement of Transport for London has risen up the agenda. Yet Labour is so well entrenched in the capital that Khan’s position seems unassailable. In December’s General Election, the Conservatives won 21 seats out of 73 in Greater London.

A lot can change in a year. It was heroic of Boris Johnson to offer himself as a Mayoral candidate in 2007, despite all the sophisticated Party high ups patiently explaining to him that victory was impossible. The next year Johnson was triumphantly elected. But since then demographic change has made London even more difficult territory for the Conservatives. I suppose if Javid was the candidate then he could point out that Khan wasn’t the only one to be the son of a Pakistani bus driver. More seriously, he could point to his successful financial career before entering politics and his crime fighting credentials as Home Secretary. But none of that would transform the race – which Javid has the sense to realise, hence he has evidently rejected any supposed overtures.

So let’s stick with Bailey. Yes, the odds are overwhelmingly against us, but rather than moaning about that obvious problem, we should give it us best shot. But I do wish that Bailey would find his mojo. He needs to rediscover his voice as a passionate, unapologetic, independent-minded champion for Conservatism. That includes ridiculing and confronting all the virtue signalling gestures and political correctness of the current regime in City Hall. Most emphatically it does not mean “taking the knee”. Yet Bailey wrote in the Daily Mail

“Justice and policing in Britain still have a long way to go before they are perfect. That’s why it was so moving to see several police officers near Downing Street ‘take the knee’ yesterday, adopting the gesture that American footballer Colin Kaepernick created as a silent statement against racism. I want to cheer every policeman and policewoman who did that.”

Kaepernick “took the knee” during the playing of the US national anthem. The unpatriotic gesture was divisive and damaging. The vast majority of the National Football League – black and white – have not participated in it. Adapted over here the proposal seems to be that white people should do it on the logic that we share collective guilt for Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd. No. We are individually accountable for our actions. The Black Lives Matter campaign in the United States has promoted this racist doctrine of collective racial guilt (along with such extremist policies as “defund the police” and overthrow capitalism). It is thoroughly pernicious. The simple and clear response should be that all lives matter. Clusters of middle class white people on one knee might look ridiculous – especially when they combine this contrite posture with the defiance of a clenched fist, a gesture culturally appropriated from the “black power” movement. Yet the action is seriously misguided.

Of course, it does not follow that racism should be ignored. While the Conservatives are the party of law and order, the police should get no special exemption in this respect. Police officers behaving in a discriminatory way should not be accepted. It is also right to keep track of whether such matters are just problems with “one or two individuals” in an organisation or whether it is endemic. We can argue about the term “institutional racism” but certainly racism was widespread, even routine, in the Metropolitan Police around 40 years ago. That is much less so now. It is in the interests of all of us for the police to devote their efforts to catching criminals, not fitting up the innocent. Any police officer unable or unwilling to do their job effectively – whether due to prejudice, corruption, idleness, or incompetence – should be dismissed.

Bailey was on stronger form last night with a Twitter thread where he declared that the Mayor’s “hastily announced commission to tear down statues and rename roads across London is both a dangerous and divisive idea”. He says:

“London has historically been an international city, and that means we have an international history. I’m proud for example that Parliament Square hosts statues not only of British leaders, but international giants like Gandhi, Lincoln and Mandela….Communists as well as fascists destroyed historical artefacts, art and statues as their power grew. Why? Because when you control the past, you control the present. I for one, don’t feel comfortable with the Mayor of London engaging in the same behaviour. Living in a society built on history means living with the past….The answer to this issue isn’t for the Mayor to act like a dictator, seeking to erase large parts of London’s history. The answer is to build more statues, reflecting our present day values and role models….Because the alternative is mob-rule. Last weekend a mob were seeking to take down a statue of someone we can all agree was a detestable man. But what happens if next week’s mob is made up of the far-right, who decide to tear down Gandhi’s statue, or Mandela’s?…London’s black youth unemployment is 29%. Crime, which disproportionately affects poorer and diverse communities, is spiralling out of control. Public transport is bankrupt and the affordable homes the Mayor promised were never built. Real action is needed for a fairer and equal city, for everyone who lives here. That’s where the Mayor’s focus should be. Not appeasing the mob. Instead of trying to forget the past, we should be focused on the future.”

That’s more like it. We Conservatives in London must get off our knees. We should stop apologising. That doesn’t mean becoming a mouthpiece for the Government. But nor does it mean appeasing the Left by issuing unconvincing claims that we agree with whatever their latest demand might be. Socialist hegemony in our capital is a reality that will be hard to change. Selecting good candidates is important. However, more fundamental is fighting the battle of ideas – to apply our beliefs to the needs of London in a robust and coherent way. We can scarcely expect Londoners to accept the Conservative case until we start putting that case to them.

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Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash

Westlake Legal Group konstantin-kisins-twitter-thread-on-how-woke-culture-risks-a-far-right-backlash Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.25.27 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.25.36 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.25.46 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.25.55 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.26.07 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.26.19 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.26.28 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.26.43 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives  Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-10.39.22 Konstantin Kisin’s Twitter thread on how woke culture risks a far right backlash UKIP Tommy Robinson Sir Winston Churchill Rishi Sunak MP Race and multiculturalism Race Priti Patel MP police MPs ETC Media Law and order Kemi Badenoch MP far-right Culture crime Conservatives

 

Kisin’s vision is apolocalyptic and in our view overstated.

But his thread is worth reproducing because it highlights some of the risks that recent events open up.  It also shows why the Conservatives can’t avoid culture clashes – for political as well as moral reasons.

The Party needs to take a collective, coherent view.  Kemi Badenoch, Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak have all pointed  to a way forward this week.

Link to original Twitter thread here.

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