Saturday, 27 February 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
The inquest, which is being conducted at the Adult Education Centre in Gravesend (pictured), is expected to run for at least a week and began today with an opening statement and the examination of medical witnesses.
Kent Police's handling of the incident has already been scrutinised by the High Court (which made no criticism) following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. We on the Kent Police Authority have also reviewed (and approved) the procedures which Kent Police apply generally following a fatal shooting.
The inquest, however, will allow what happened to be considered and determined by 11 member of the public who, unlike in criminal proceedings, are allowed as jurors to ask questions of witnesses. Witnesses are also questioned by independent counsel for the inquest as well as barristers acting for both the police and family of the deceased.
I hope that this procedure, and in particular the central role taken by members of the public who are chosen at random from the electoral roll to serve as jurors, will help all those involved to come to terms with what happened, at least so far as that can be done through a system intended to judge what happened as fairly and independently as we know how.
Monday, 15 February 2010
Friday, 12 February 2010
When a police officer behaves badly, then members of the public should know that, if they report that behaviour, their complaint will be taken seriously and, where the evidence supports it, action will be taken.
One of my duties as a member of the Kent Police Authority is to help sample complaints which have been considered locally by our professional standards department and to make sure that they have been dealt with in the way that my electors would expect.
Whilst Sir Ian Blair as Metropolitan Commissioner, quite wrongly, initially tried to avoid independent scrutiny of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell, he was not allowed to get away with it. By contrast, Kent Police have been open to - and welcomed - very extensive independent scrutiny following complaints regarding the Climate Camp policing.
It is essential that the police be held properly accountable to the public. The justice system worked this week and, hopefully soon under the Conservatives, the public will also get the chance to elect those who oversee our police.
Nimbus Lighting, 144 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1ER.
Great Lighting At Great Prices.
Tel: 01634 407724
"Gordon Brown needs to come clean with the public and say how he will fund his new National Care Service", Lansley said.
"Behind closed doors Ministers are secretly planning a death tax of up to £20,000 per head which would be levied on the estates of grieving families."
Lansley added that even this death tax would not raise enough to pay for this new National Care Service, meaning that Labour are also planning to take away cash disability benefits from the elderly and cut money from the NHS. "It is another top-down, bureaucratic, costly plan from Labour for which every one of us would end up paying the price", he said.
Philip Hammond, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, described the problem this death tax would cause: "When you die, a Labour Government would take £20,000 from what you leave to your children and family. For those with the most modest savings Labour’s plans could leave them with nothing."
In contrast, he said the Conservatives want to help people in old age so that they can "leave as much of their lifetime’s savings as possible to the next generation".
"We will offer people the chance to pay a one off premium of £8,000 into a voluntary scheme to cover the cost of residential care in old age. So under our plans no-one would be forced to sell their home to pay for care."
The Rochester Coffee Co. 45 varieties of tea, freshly ground coffee, freshly made Panini and so much more. 146 High Street, Rochester, Kent. ME1 1ER (Opposite Eastgate House)
Tel: 01634 540032
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
The Conservatives have launched "Ethics and Accountability", the first part of our draft manifesto for Fixing Broken Politics.
It is vital that we act decisively to restore the reputation of politics. Too many unacceptable practices have gone unchecked for too long, from excessive expenses and subsidies to secret donations.
We need nothing less than a deep clean of the political system in Westminster to root out sleaze and dispel suspicion.
You can read the document in full using the reader below or alternatively click here to download a copy.
Rochester Fireplaces - Home Sweet Home
139 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1EW
Tel: 01634 408 007
Saturday, 6 February 2010
Thursday, 4 February 2010
I believe that it is hugely impressive, and potentially of great benefit to the CPS, that Mike was called to the Bar on the basis of a very demanding course of part-time study, while serving as a leading police officer (and I say that knowing how demanding the course can be even when done on a full-time basis).
Mike Fuller has the academic and vocational training in criminal procedure, as well as a wealth of relevant experience as a senior police officer, but, not having practised as a prosecutor, will still have the fresh perspective to shake up some of the less successful aspects of the CPS.
The CPS will certainly benefit from the fearless and independent perspective that I know Mike will bring to the job.
The CPS does not benefit from local and democratic(ish) oversight that we on the Kent Police Authority give to our Chief Constable. However, I believe that Mike will be just the person to call the CPS to account, working with Parliament's Justice Select Commitee, which I was delighted to see played a key role in his selection.
Mike leaves the Kent Force in good shape and can take particular pride in the success of the new neighbourhood policing model and the real rapport which he established with the Kent public.
Our excellent Deputy Chief Constable, Adrian Leppard, will act as Temporary Chief Constable when Mike takes up his new position, until we are able to appoint a new Chief Constable on a permanent basis to take the Force forward.
Having recently served on the selection panel that chose three excellent Assistant Chief Constables, I am confident that we are well placed locally to make the right choice for the people of Kent.
Xtremity - Stockists of Windsurfing, Snowboarding and Skateboarding Hardware and Fashion Items for Men and Women
2A Crow Lane, Rochester, Kent ME1 1RF
Tel: 01634 402944
Monday, 1 February 2010
Labour's attacks on spending have backfired as the spotlight turns on their internal contradictions on cuts.
Treasury Ministers say there will be "extremely painful" cuts under Labour, but Gordon Brown says spending will carry on rising.
Treasury figures already imply 17% cuts in non-protected departments under Labour, but Gordon Brown keeps adding new protected areas without saying where the money is coming from.
The National Audit Office say that Labour’s defence plans are already "unaffordable", and Bob Ainsworth has announced defence cuts, but today Gordon Brown is promising more spending on defence. If Labour are now protecting defence spending then cuts in other departments will be more than 20%.
Ed Balls says education spending will carry on rising, but Alistair Darling claims he has only protected "front line" schools spending.
Peter Mandelson says you can't make cuts this year but is cutting more than £300 million from his own Department this year.
Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown disagree over what to do if growth is stronger than expected – Darling says he wants to cut the deficit but Brown says he wants more spending.
Today Peter Mandelson couldn’t decide whether to attack the Conservatives for cutting too soon or for cutting too little. Perhaps he should spend more time filling the vacuum at the heart of Labour policy.
For more information, click here to read our document or view the document in the player below.