► Economic and political stability is the best prevention for crime – and, to a certain extent – terrorism. That is one of the reasons why there has been so much more peace in Europe over the past 70 years.
► Our outstanding intelligence services have also played a key role: they have stopped innumerable attacks, often at great cost and little recognition.But to prevent and respond to crime and threats to national security we also need:
► More investment in police:
- More police: the cuts of 20,000 police officers by the Conservative government have not helped Britain’s level of security. The Liberal Democrats would invest an extra £300 million in our police service, of which £50,000 would be allocated to London,
- Stop the 1% pay freeze: officers are risking their lives to protect us. The Liberal Democrats would end the 1% pay freeze imposed on public sector employees, including the police.
► EU crime Cooperation – Europol & the “Schengen” database
The Conservative party’s Hard Brexit vision is a direct threat to our national security as, if we go ahead and leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, we would lose the “Schengen” database on organised criminal and terrorist suspects across the EU. This despite the fact that:
We used the database over half a billion times in 2016 – that’s 16 checks a second
UK Border force officers detain & question 53 people a day under anti-terrorism laws and this database helps them.
As the British Head of Europol, Rob Wainwright (who is also ex MI5) said “the extent to which police co-operation information systems and other capabilities in the EU have become embedded in the (British) police community and, to a lesser extent, the intelligence community” means Brexit “has the potential to harm the UK’s ability to fight terrorism and crime”.
► Wainwright explains that Britain could negotiate some form of access to Europol like Norway and Iceland did. But they would be “a second tier member of our club – still useful but not, for example, having direct access to our database, not being able to lead any of our operational projects, not having the influence they do at the moment”
► Foreign funding of radicalisation & arms export sale proceeds
In Coalition the Liberal Democrats secured an agreement from the Conservatives (in exchange for agreeing strikes on Syria) on an inquiry into foreign funding of radicalisation in the UK. David Cameron commissioned it 18 months ago, and the Liberal Democrats call for it to, finally, be published.
One of the Liberal Democrats’ priorities in the next parliament will be controlling arms exports to countries listed as human rights priority countries in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) annual human rights report by:
- implementing a ‘presumption of denial’ for arms exports to countries listed as human rights priority countries by the FCO
- enforcing end-user certification on all future arms export licences with an annual report to parliament on this certification,
- creating a public register of arms brokers.