Keeping Promises – Keeping you Safe

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In 3 years Alun Michael has built up an innovative team that Is working to make South Wales the safest place in the UK.

Savage Conservative cuts have reduced the number of police officers in South Wales from 3,400 to 2,800 but Alun has worked with the Chief Constable to protect local policing and with councils and other agencies to cut crime and disorder. His initiatives to reduce violence against women and girls, cut offending in the 18-25 age group and to protect vulnerable people are all bearing fruit.

Alun’s Police and Crime Plan 2016-2021 spells out how, if re-elected, he’ll drive work forward to complete the job. Find out more on the official site of the South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner.

Lack of information for electors

The thing that has irritated people most about the Police & Crime Commissioner election is the lack of information.

That lack of information is both an insult to the electors and deeply offensive to the candidates. And the blame has to be set squarely at the door of Ministers who decided on this radical change in the governance of the police without willing the means. Continue reading

The last Penarth Times column

This is my last Penarth Times column as the Member of Parliament for Cardiff South and Penarth. After 25 years as an MP that does give me a strange feeling. But when I became an MP I missed my challenging work with young people and the roles as a magistrate and local councillor in which I had invested a lot of hard work and energy in the previous 15 years. It’s the same now: I will miss the House of Commons but I am moving on to meet a new challenge and to do something that I regard as essential to the public good. An MP cannot simply resign, but instead leaves Parliament by taking up the nominal Crown appointment of “Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern”. It’s a strange, old-fashioned proceeding which is in stark contrast to the reason behind my resignation, which is as Labour’s candidate in the election for making a new and experimental role work well for the public, so I’m leaving a traditional institution with the hopes of beginning a new one. Continue reading

Visiting Lush Cosmetics in Swansea and Cardiff for ‘No Cop Out for Wildife’

Alun at Lush Swansea with Sian Thomas and Michelle Snell, the Manager and Trainee Manager

I was invited to visit the two Lush Cosmetics shops in the South Wales area to hear about their campaign ‘No Cop Out for Wildlife’. Lush has been doing great work in raising awareness about the Police Commissioner elections and asking customers who care about wildlife crime to tell their candidates that they want them to pay attention to animal welfare and enforcing the law on wildlife and environmental crime. I’m proud to say that I’ve championed animal welfare issues in Parliament for many years, including guiding the Hunting Act through Parliament, campaigning against the badger cull and helping to pass the most radical piece of animal welfare legislation since 1911 with the Animal Welfare Bill.

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The Badger Cull

On Sunday, dozens of senior scientists with expertise in wildlife disease wrote a public letter to The Observer, expressing their strong objection to the Government’s badger cull about to begin in England. They say that they “believe the complexities of TB transmission mean that licensed culling risks increasing TB rather than reducing it.”

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University of Glamorgan Hustings

The hustings event organized by the students of the University of Glamorgan in Treforest was one of the best.  In the audience was Jonathan Bishop, a leading expert on the growing problem of internet trolling. He said that my informed response was outstanding: “Internet trolling is only going to become more severe a problem. Hearing first hand Alun Michael’s clear expertise on the matter compared to the other candidates has won my confidence for sure.

For more see: http://www.crocels.info/internet-news-comment-opinion/625/alun-michael-pcc-supported-by-jonathan-bishop/

I appreciate Jonathan’s kind comment  and I’m glad that he found my answer convincing. I don’t pretend to be a “techie” but I have spent a lot of time over many years working on the “people” aspects of internet crime and on internet governance issues in Parliament and internationally.  I’ve been a contributor to the UN’s Internet Governance Forum on behalf of the UK Parliament and as chair of the UK Internet Governance Forum.  And earlier this year I moderated a seminar on “The Rule of Law Online” in Geneva for the Internet Society.  Internet issues aren’t remote problems – they now affect all of us, even people who never go online themselves, so it is important. If elected, I’ll be continuing to use my knowledge and implement it as Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.

Last debate in Parliament

Debate about victims in Westminster Hall

Just before we both resigned from the House of Commons, Tony Lloyd and I launched a Parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall on behalf of the victims of crime.  We believe in getting their voices heard in the criminal justice system and engaging with the actual experience of victims. You can watch the debate here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9759000/9759957.stm

Tony is standing as a candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Greater Manchester and this was for both of us our last debate as an MP, and I’m proud that I left having continued my work to give a platform for victims, their experience and their opinions which started when I was involved in setting up the first Victim Support group in Wales.  That happened many years ago but the principles and the need for the experience of victims to be at the heart of the criminal justice system is as important as ever.

Unison Police and Justice Conference

Today I was invited to the Unison Police and Justice Conference in Cardiff. I addressed the morning rally on the steps of City Hall and then later on spoke at a session with Yvette Cooper and David Hanson. We’ll need to make sure that police staff are properly valued and engaged in the work of the service.  Staff still don’t know whether they’ll be employees of the Commissioner or the Chief Constable and Damian Green is refusing to be clear about it yet.  So it’s one of many issues with which an incoming Commissioner will have to grapple.

Unison Police and Justice Conference at City Hall in Cardiff

Alun speaking at Unison

A ‘free’ press

Any democracy needs checks and balances to hold the government to account. Those constitutional checks are provided in different ways in different countries.

  • America has three pillars of government – Congress, President and Judiciary. Congress passes laws, the President can veto them, his decision can be over-ridden and the Supreme Court interprets these laws.
  • In Britain, the Government creates the laws, but they have to be agreed by both Commons and Lords and then “signed off” by the Queen with the Norman-French words “La reine le vault” (“the Queen wills it”).
  • In Germany the Bundestag is directly elected but the Bundesrat (second chamber) is made up of representatives of the Lande – the regional governments from every part of the country.

Outside those constitutional structures is the “free press” with the duty of holding them all to account in the public’s interest. It’s because they failed in that duty that we had the Leveson Inquiry.  It’s shown that sections of the national Press totally abandoned their responsibilities for a significant period of time.  Politicians of all parties also lacked courage and were intimidated by News International – but unless an independent Press is motivated by higher principles than power and profit it has no purpose and no right to be “free”.

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