Thursday, 27 March 2014

Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, must go

Following this week’s announcement of a new ‘ethics committee’ for Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Green Party has joined with other political groups to call for the resignation of the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner (GMPCC) Tony Lloyd. In the letter below, they highlight a catalogue of issues on which the people of Manchester have seen little action.

The ‘ethics committee’ was formed in response to the launch of a triple investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following serious allegations into the force’s conduct.

The Chair of Manchester Green Party, Deyika Nzeribe, said:“The formation of an ‘ethics committee’ to oversee the Police, of all organisations, is absurd. Do we really need a panel to tell the Police the difference between right and wrong? The issue is not police ‘ethics’, its police conduct.

He continued: “The IPCC investigations are the latest in a long line of issues to confront the GMP in the time Tony Lloyd has been Crime Commissioner and frankly, he is out of his depth. As an MP for Manchester, he has had a long and notable career but under his leadership, Manchester policing has nose-dived. Greater Manchester’s Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA) is describing it as a ‘crisis in leadership’. He should do the right thing and stand down immediately.”

The letter, in full, is as follows:

We, the undersigned, are concerned about the IPCC investigations into the Greater Manchester Police force and the recent formation of an ‘ethics committee’. We note that in the past six months very little has been heard from the GMPCC, Tony Lloyd, on the following issues:
  • The Crown Prosecution Service charging Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy with ‘failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act’ following the killing of 36 year old Anthony Grainger, father of two
  • GMP’s internal affairs department, the ‘Professional Standards Branch’ being investigated by an external police force over allegations of racism
  • The revelation that a damning 99 page report by former Superintendent Martin Harding into the force’s recruitment policy was changed to remove the conclusion that the force is ‘still a institutionally racist, sexist, homophobic and disablist organisation’.
  • A new report from Government Inspectors putting GMP police ‘under fire’ for failing to protect victims of domestic violence. The force is currently facing another THREE police watchdog probes over the way they handled domestic violence complaints from three women before they were killed.
  • The prolonged violence and aggression by GMP in the policing of the anti-fracking protesters at Barton Moss in Eccles. Simon Pook, solicitor for the campaigners has compiled a dossier of evidence to be submitted to the United Nations. He said: “The police appeared to be out of control. I had to go and stand in a field when I went there because I was so afraid of what was going on.”
When Tony Lloyd first took up the £100,000 pa role of Police and Crime Commissioner, he said "Where the public don’t trust and value the police, we don’t get effective policing. At the moment there are big gaps."

With all of the recent scandals, he is doing nothing to improve the situation.

The day to day management of the GMP is the responsibility of Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy and according to GMPCC’s governance document, one of the Commissioner’s key roles is to “hold the Chief Constable to account on behalf of the people of Greater Manchester”.

This is clearly failing to happen. The following people and organisations call for Tony Lloyd, the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner to resign from this position. The people of Manchester deserve better.

Deyika Nzeribe, Chair of Manchester Green Party
Colette Williams, BARAC and Respect Party candidate
Simon Pook, solicitor for the Barton Moss anti-fracking campaigners
Loz Kaye, Chair of Manchester Pirate Party
Mark Krantz, Socialist Workers Party
Northern Police Monitoring Project
Wesley Ahmed, Justice4Grainger Campaign

The following quotes can also be used:

Colette Williams, BARAC and Respect Party
'During the campaign for Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd promised that he would be an advocate for the people, that he would work tirelessly to improve the relationship and instil trust and confidence between the community and the Police. However since he has been in office there have been a number of issues which have been brought to his attention regarding police conduct and he has quite simply refused to engage in any real open discussions on these issues. It seems that his only priority is to raise funds for his office and not to fulfil the pledge of building trust and confidence between the community and the Police.'

Mark Krantz, SWP
'It is hard not to draw the conclusion that Tony Lloyd is in the pocket of Peter Fahy.' 

Loz Kaye, Pirate Party Manchester
"We have always said the Police Commissioner post was a bad idea. Now we have found out how bad it can go. When it suits Tony Lloyd can be political by campaigning for the Labour party. But he has shown no leadership on key political issues like policing at Barton Moss. It's time we were given the choice to have a commissioner who really will stand up for all people in Greater Manchester."

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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Response to Coalition Budget 2014: Turning the Screw

Listening to the Coalition Chancellor talk about the economy, you would think that all is well, unemployment falling, growth on the rise, the sun is shining on England.

In that context, his Budget Statement 2014 is ‘More of the Same’.

People doing well under this government will do better.

But for those not doing well, the screw will really turn.

The Budget 2014 does nothing for the working poor and given the continuing rise in the cost of living, will make things worse for those families.

In addition, the announced National Welfare Benefits Cap will be a nightmare for those people dependant on benefits. The proposed Cap for the country (119 billion) will be about the same as the amount the government paid in 2013 ALONE in CASH (115 billion) to the support the banks 5 YEARS after the financial crisis, it cannot practically be implemented without causing severe problems.

And the question is ‘how will it work and what will it mean for Manchester residents’? For a city that had the highest level of Child Poverty in the country in 2013, this policy will be a disaster. Manchester City Council will have to plan accordingly for the next few years because to its shame the national Labour Party are supporting and are planning to vote for the Welfare Cap proposal.

The North West Green Party's lead European election candidate, Peter Cranie, asked “Why is it always the least well-off who lose the most? At the moment, people with incomes above £150k pay only marginally higher tax rates than teachers and nurses.

Manchester Green Party Chair Deyika Nzeribe said “The high levels of poverty and stories of hardship the people of Manchester have endured over the past few years have been well documented. Manchester Green Party condemns this budget as part of the continuing assault on the most vulnerable in society and if reports are true, it’s a disgrace that the Labour Party is even thinking of supporting it in Parliament.”
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