Child spies doing police work on: terrorism, gang violence and sexual exploitation

I was shocked to learn this week that the police and other public authorities are legally allowed to use children as spies. I only found out because the Government wants to change the rules, so that rather than authorising a child to spy for only one month at a time, they can be authorised for a whole four months.

I want to state this very clearly, because most people won’t know: children are being used by the State to infiltrate criminal groups and do dangerous police work. Continue reading “Child spies doing police work on: terrorism, gang violence and sexual exploitation”

Government given Thursday deadline on court action over facial recognition

My solicitors have written to the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police giving them until the 28th June to either stop using automated facial recognition technology or prove that they have a lawful basis to use it. This is their final chance before Big Brother Watch and I jointly initiate judicial review proceedings in the High Court, where we will ask a judge to rule that automated facial recognition is an unlawful breach of our human rights. Continue reading “Government given Thursday deadline on court action over facial recognition”

The Lords take a second bite

Amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill come back to the Lords today and while the media is focused upon giving the Commons a meaningful vote over the EU negotiations, a lot of other critical issues are at stake. Deleting the Henry 8th powers is crucial if Parliament wants to genuinely take back control of power from the executive. Retaining the charter of Human Rights would show that we intend to remain a progressive and democratic country. Continue reading “The Lords take a second bite”

Protectors of the planet

There are lots of good reasons why I travelled north to support the community protests against the frackers at Preston New Road in Lancashire, but climate change is the biggest priority for me. The government has changed the planning rules so it can put a fracking well on your doorstep, in the same way that it can now force Heathrow expansion on the millions of people in west London who will suffer increased noise and pollution. Both fracking and Heathrow expansion are hugely damaging to our climate and the future of our existence on this planet. Continue reading “Protectors of the planet”

Environmental Protections: Gove and the Lords vs the Treasury

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has gone to war with the mighty Treasury over their blocking progress on our environmental protections. There is a happy coincidence between this Cabinet bust up, the EU’s taking the government to court over its failure to act on air pollution and the Lords rejecting the government plans for a post Brexit environmental enforcement agency. It highlights why the government should scrap their current flabbyconsultation on the creation of an environmental protection agency and restart it based upon the Lords’ amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Continue reading “Environmental Protections: Gove and the Lords vs the Treasury”

Big Brother is putting faces to names

The silent growth of facial recognition technology within police forces poses a major risk to civil liberties and the rule of law in the UK, yet it is happening without hardly a whimper of public debate. That is why I used a Question for Short Debate to enable a discussion about this invasive new surveillance in UK public spaces. Continue reading “Big Brother is putting faces to names”

Protecting human rights post Brexit

The Government promised that the EU Withdrawal Bill would bring across all the EU laws and turn them into British laws, so why aren’t they doing that? By exempting the Charter of Fundamental Rights they are significantly weakening the current system of human rights protection in the UK. If that is their intention, then let the Government have a proper discussion about it, rather than sneaking it through as an exemption in part of the much broader debate about the EU Bill. Continue reading “Protecting human rights post Brexit”

How long have the Government known that undercover police use sexual relationships as a tactic?

Undercover police used the formation of sexual relationships as part of a systematic approach to gaining acceptance to networks of campaigners. It was a deliberate tactic and it now appears that it pre-dates the Special Demonstration Squad of the 1990s. A woman witness has come forward, who helped expose an undercover officer in the 1970s. She slept with the officer, who has now had his identity confirmed by the Inquiry into Undercover Policing.

Continue reading “How long have the Government known that undercover police use sexual relationships as a tactic?”

The voices of refugee women must be heard!

A debate in the Lords gave us the chance to discuss how the Government could give a voice to the thousands of women in Britain who’ve fled violence, conflict and persecution. Refugees come to Britain seeking protection and safety, having escaped unimaginable horrors – but all too often, as a nation, we neglect to give sufficient attention to what happens to people after they’ve arrived, and fail to provide them with the basic tools to rebuild their lives here. Language, and being able to communicate with others, is perhaps the most fundamental of these tools; which is why I was appalled to read research from the charity Refugee Action which shows that refugees are having to wait for up to three years to start English classes, as a result of Government funding cuts of over 50% since 2010 to classes for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Continue reading “The voices of refugee women must be heard!”