Today I had coffee with an Australian friend of mine, Andrew McIntosh the MP for Kew in the State of Victoria, Australia and his friend and colleague Bill Tilley (member for Benambra). Andrew is the Liberal Shadow Minister for policing and I was pleased to be able to discuss this vital issue with him, perhaps more important than ever now with the rise in violent and knife crime. Andrew was the Attorney General for Victoria and like me was a practising lawyer before he entered politics.
We had a really positive meeting and it was good to introduce him to our former Home Secretary Michael Howard and Philippa Shroud of the Centre for Social Justice, who has done a great deal of research into social issues with Iain Duncan Smith. They even arranged my factfinder five days at a hostel for homeless people (see February 2007 “press releases” for my diary).
Michael explained his approach to policing matters had been to look at the overall picture of the criminal justice system, and we discussed how Tony Blair had tried to take this on by being “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”. We were also able to discuss the Police Green Paper.
As is often the case when I meet Andrew, it struck me how similar our public concerns are despite being from opposite sides of the planet. I wish him well in his efforts to realise his policies in Government.