INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR TUNBRIDGE WELLS

GRAHAM NAISMITH

GRAHAM NAISMITH

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Crime and Policing

Taxation

Body Cameras

With continuing accusations of institutionalised racism and sexism being leveled at the police, we think it is more important than ever before to create a culture of police transparency. One of the methods by which we propose to achieve this by is ensuring that all front line officers, Specials and PCSOs wear body-cams as a matter of course.  Far from creating a “Big Brother” state this protects the people the police are being paid to protect whilst offering the police protection from false accusations.

People Police

Neighbourhood Watch started in our country as several groups of neighbours keeping their eyes open in the local area and then reporting  crime and suspicious occurrences to the police. We want to take this precedent and elevate it, creating a national online system, accessible by iPhones and android devices, for submitting details of anti-social behaviour, littering, poor driving and other less serious crimes. This will result in fixed penalty tickets and other fines being handed out and, where guilt is not admitted, people courts where these cases can be heard. A vast amount of crime goes unreported and an increasingly reduced police service have little resources to follow up on this level of crime and anti-social behaviour. This would be a significant step towards alleviating the burden on the police and the frustration of the public.

Reporting to the Public

The relationship between the police and the population needs to be one fostered on trust. Increasingly, when members of the public report cases to the police, they never receive a response from the police or are ever informed of the outcome. We propose a system whereby the police must inform, within a given period, the outcome of any report made to them by a member of the public. Currently there is a perception that contact with the police goes into a void and no action is taken. Although undoubtedly not the case, the perception is there and we would suggest it impacts heavily on the propensity of that member of the public to make contact again in the future.

 

Police Cutbacks

We totally oppose the extreme cutbacks that police forces around the country have been subjected to. Whilst advocating a more efficient use of resources and independent reviews of performance, the cuts have been down to the bare bones in many forces. The impact of these cuts may not be immediate but they will be dramatic. A fully resourced police service is at the cornerstone of any civilized society and cuts in the fashion that we’ve witnessed, is a false economy. There will be a price to pay unless we dramatically improve funding.

 

Police officers risk their lives for us and need the support of the people and the government. The rock bottom morale within the service is in no small part down to the lack of such support. We have the best police force in the world but, if the media is to be believed, it’s the worst.

Anti-Social Behaviour

 There is a large amount of actions that a minority of people take that affect others in a negative way but falls below what society appears willing to enforce. Middle and fast lane hogging, driving with fog lights on, taking up two parking spaces with one car, not letting people out of junctions and, worse still, blocking them are just a few. Spitting, swearing in front of children and putting shoes up on public seats fall squarely within this camp as well. These are acts undertaken by the ignorant, selfish or culturally unaware. As with anything, if there are no repercussions for failing to conform to socially acceptable behavior, there are those who will continue to act selfishly. But this behavior affects our lives and, in some cases, not insignificantly. These are the things that on a daily basis frustrate the majority and, if we aspire to be a fair society, need to be addressed.

With the “People Police” some of this will be tackled but there needs to be a focus on these areas by policing organisations. For example the deployment of speed cameras is something that should be as a last resort to a serious problem. And their presence needs to be reviewed in light of the risk they were deployed for. In many cases the resources used for police cameras could be focused instead on bad motorway driving habits that frustrate many and can result in death and serious injury.

Tax Avoidance

The tax avoidance tactics of a number of large corporations such as Starbucks, Google and Amazon is morally repugnant. Amazon even received more money in government grants from the UK tax payer than it paid in corporation tax , an absolutely diabolical situation that our government allowed to happen. Our mandate is a simple one - if you earn money in Britain, you pay tax in Britain. I would pursue a far more aggressive policy in eliminating tax avoidance schemes and confronting those who avoid corporation tax. I see these corporations as happy to benefit from the skilled labour and services of the UK and the revenue streams that their customers bring in, yet are unwilling to give anything back. These are some of the more high profile companies but there are many others. The cost to this country can be measured in billions.

I would extend this crackdown on tax avoidance to individuals also, actively pursuing off-shore taxing, umbrella and all tax avoidance schemes. Whilst I recognise that they may be within the current remit of the law, I propose closing these loopholes so that everyone pays their fair share of the tax burden.

Small Businesses

IR35, the much aligned and seemingly fluid clause that subjects small business to unfair taxation, needs to be abolished once and for all. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow and the array of British business success stories that started out as one man bands is the envy of many countries. IR35 seeks to stifle this and acts as a barrier to the growth of those micro businesses. Small businesses should have the same taxation opportunities that large business currently do.

 

Stamp Duty

I am delighted that the system of stamp duty has finally stepped out of the dark ages and moved away from a “slab” system whereby a single £1 into a given band would render the whole purchase price of a property to be taxed.  I advocate the elimination of graduations (apart from an initial minimum value) in favour of a calculation based on the prevailing rate and selling value, thus avoiding  jumps in duty incurred.