EXCL: “The police should be a service – not a force” – Lib Dems set out plans for capital

Luisa Porritt backs effectively decriminalising cannabis in the capital, as well as restricting stop and search, LFF can report.

London’s Lib Dem mayoral candidate has set out plans for ‘safer streets’ – including transforming the police force in the capital.

Luisa Porritt – a councillor in the borough of Camden – is challenging mayor Sadiq Khan for the top job in May 6th London mayoral election.

The Lib Dem candidate – currently polling joint third in the race with the Greens’ Siân Berry on 8% – is making improving safety for women as well as black communities a priority.

She is calling for a shift in policing in the capital, following the heavy-handed policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard last month, as well as long-standing concerns over racist policing in the capital.

Under Porritt’s plans for the capital, London would see:

  • A return to ‘community policing’, including doubling the number of dedicated ward officers. There has been growing concern about officers being ‘parachuted in’ from Scotland Yard to situations that should be handled locally
  • A ‘London Youth Service’ established to help coordinate andimprove access to activities foryoung people after school.
  • An end to the use of Section 60 ‘suspicionless’ stop and search – which disproportionately hits black communities – and blocking the rollout of facial recognition technology.
  • “Effectively deciminalising the possession of cannabis” – Liberal Democrats will encourage the Metropolitan Police to use the discretion it has available to stop arrests for cannabis posession, and campaign for a legal, regulated market for the drug. Sadiq Khan has pledged to set up a commission to look at legalising cannabis (a power he does not hold), but has not come out in favour of legalisation

In the manifesto, seen by Left Foot Forward, Porritt sets out her plans for safer streets, writing: “London should be safe for everyone who lives here. But far too many Londoners don’t feel safe to walk our streets.

“For young people at risk of being lured intoviolent crime, we need better preventionand intervention. Without Londoner’s basic needs being addressed – decent jobs, affordable homes – the chances of people turning to crime goes up.

“While the decimation of our youth centres across the capital means that many chances for young people to be turned away from the wrong path has disappeared.

“For women harassed and attacked on the street, we need to root out misogyny from our society.”

Porritt claims Sadiq Khan has has ‘failed to deliver’ on his promises in the last five years: “Instead of fighting this election on his track record, his only offer to voters is that he isn’t the Conservative candidate. But London is a liberal city – the Conservatives can’t win here.

“So if you think it’s time for new ideas for London, vote for a Mayor with a plan for the future and a strong team at City Hall.”

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