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Gary Rycroft

Gary was born in Morecambe, Lancashire, in 1972. He read Law at the University of Manchester and qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He is the Senior Partner at his law firm based in Lancaster.

He has contributed to the BBC1 consumer affairs programme “Rip Off Britain” since its first series in 2009 and the resident legal expert on the programme and its sister show “Rip Off Holidays” filming both pre-recorded segments and appearing live.

He has appeared as an expert on BBC Breakfast, Money Box, Money Box Live, You & Yours, One to One and PM on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, BBC Radio Wales and many regional radio stations and has hosted phone-ins for This Morning. Gary has written a weekly column in The Lancaster Guardian, syndicated to other regional press. Every month on BBC Radio Lancashire Gary writes and presents an update of topical legal stories and is regular reviewer of newspapers on the Breakfast Show. Gary particular enjoys taking part in live phone ins, answering questions from viewers and listeners on a wide range of legal topics.

Gary is the author of ‘Ask a Lawyer’ a fortnightly column in The Daily Telegraph answering legal queries from readers and is regularly quoted in other national newspapers as a ‘go to’ legal expert.

Nationally, Gary has served on various committees at The Law Society of England & Wales. He was a trustee of the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), an umbrella charity for all those involved in palliative, end of life and hospice care, steering it to merger with Hospice UK. Gary remains involved with the “Dying Matters” which is an integral part of Hospice UK. He is also a trustee of The Silver Line, the 24/7 telephone friendship service founded by Dame Esther Rantzen and which is now part of Age UK.

Gary regularly writes and lectures on legal topics including national conferences for various charities and at The King’s Fund, The Law Society and The Alzheimer’s Show.

Gary is the co-author of a Law Society publication “Charities as Beneficiaries” and has written chapters in various academic books in relation to mental capacity, end of life care and the emerging legal discipline in relation to digital assets, succession and privacy.

Close to home, Gary sat on the board and was latterly chair of The Dukes in Lancaster, an arts centre, independent cinema and the only producing theatre in Lancashire. He is self-taught gardener, who has learnt by many mistakes made over the years.

Click here to see how Gary became the resident legal expert on Rip Off Britain.

Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe

Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe was the most senior police officer in the UK. He led the Metropolitan Police, an organisation of nearly 50,000 people with a budget of £3.2 billion. He was directly accountable to the Home Secretary, supervised by parliamentary committees and had national responsibilities, which included leading counter terrorism policing throughout the UK and protecting the Royal Family and senior members of the government both at home and abroad.

He has used his expertise to report for Dispatches on Channel 4. In 2018, he presented Dispatches – Cannabis: Time to End the Ban? In the programme, Bernard travelled to Colorado, to see if the UK police should follow in Colorado’s footsteps and legalise cannabis. This programme lead to Bernard’s calling for the UK government to establish an expert commission to examine the evidence provided by the programme.
In 2019, he presented Dispatches – Britain’s Knife Crime Crisis: Young, Armed and Dangerous, which investigated Britain’s knife crime crisis. In the programme, Bernard came face to face with a masked gang member carrying a blade.

Bernard’s career has been characterised by high achievement, having successfully delivered numerous strategic objectives and efficiency improvements while holding weighty appointments with substantial responsibilities. He has a wealth of experience in creating cultural change, developing and implementing new strategies to transform corporate identities. He has built his success on the simple strategy of Total Policing. This involves a war on crime and care for victims.

As Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Chief Constable of Merseyside he delivered significant reductions in crime during his 5 years tenure. In London 20% and Merseyside 36%. In both regions he reduced the murder rates, in London by 25%. In London despite a loss of £600 million of budget he uniquely maintained police officer numbers while the rest of England and Wales lost 20,000 police.

When he took command of the Metropolian Police, the capital city of 8.4 million people was in a state of shock caused by the large scale riots of 2011. The organisation itself was in crisis having lost half the Management Board. Despite these challenges and with a limited timescale of only a few months he planned and delivered a safe city, a safe Olympics and saved £600 million.

During the next five years, the national threat level was set at ‘severe’ and attacks occurred throughout Europe, however only one terrorist attack got through during his command. He has continued to build the UK police and Security Service partnership, which is recognised as the best in the world with its profound links to neighbourhood based community policing.

Bernard has extensive experience of policing major public events. These include the successful 2012 Olympics Games, 2008 Liverpool European City of Culture, State Visits, The State Opening of Parliament, many major sporting events and multiple large scale public political protests on the streets of London.

Bernard was made a life peer in October 2017 and has since taken up his role as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

Bernard enjoys horse riding and all equestrian activities. He has a passion for football, playing five a side and supporting Sheffield Wednesday. In addition he has a love of opera.

Ayesha Nayyar

Ayesha is a highly respected award-winning solicitor with more than 20 years of experience in the legal field. She runs her own law firm in Manchester which covers areas of law including personal injury, family law, criminal injuries compensation and civil litigation. She is acclaimed for providing clear, no-nonsense advice when it comes to divorce, child contact and domestic abuse in particular.

Ayesha co-presented Crime, Are We Tough Enough?, a five-part series for BBC One. In the programmes Ayesha examined why many believe the criminal justice system has broken down. Ayesha, who has represented many victims of crime advocated a tougher system with longer sentences, harsher prison environments and increased police powers to restore law and order back on our streets. Utilising her vast experience she interviewed victims, ex-villains, prison officers, doctors and spent time with police on the front line. The programme was a widespread ‘pick of the week’ in the press.

Ayesha makes regular appearances on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4 and the popular consumer series Rip Off Britain on BBC One, as well as Morning Live and The One Show.

Ayesha has also contributed to Sunday Morning Live, BBC Breakfast, The Victoria Derbyshire Show all on BBC and Sky News. She has written articles for numerous publications and blogs. She has her own live call in show on a local radio station where she gives legal advice.

Ayesha combines a warm and empathetic interviewing style with pursuing the truth; cross examining and grilling interviewees.

In 2019 she was a winner at The Law Society’s Excellence Awards, Best Business Women Awards and The English Asian Awards.

Ayesha is proud of her working class heritage having grown up in Manchester. As a Pakistani Muslim woman, she is strong in her faith and commitment to the issues that affect ethnic minorities.

Parm Sandhu

Parm Sandhu is a remarkable individual whose journey has broken barriers and paved the way for change. With a distinguished career in law enforcement and a commitment to advocating for women’s rights and diversity, Parm has left an indelible mark on both the media industry and society at large.

Parm Sandhu made history as the first and to date only Asian Female Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police Service, a role that showcased her exceptional leadership skills and dedication to public service. After more than three decades of service, Parm retired from the police force in 2020, leaving behind a legacy of achievement and empowerment.

But her impact goes beyond her official title. Parm is a tireless advocate for women and individuals, using her platform to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. Her activism and commitment to women’s rights have made her a beacon of inspiration for countless individuals.

Parm’s influence extends beyond law enforcement. She has become a familiar face in the media landscape, frequently appearing as a radio and TV broadcaster and consultant on policing matters. From news and discussion programs on prestigious platforms like BBC, Sky and CNN to documentaries that shed light on important social issues, Parm’s contributions resonate with audiences worldwide.

Parm’s authenticity and resilience have made her a sought-after speaker and motivator. Her experiences growing up as one of six children in a household where English wasn’t spoken, overcoming the challenges of forced marriage at a young age, and enduring domestic violence have given her a unique perspective on resilience and triumph. Parm’s presentations are captivating, evocative, and thought-provoking, leaving audiences inspired to overcome their own obstacles.

In her poignant memoir, “Black and Blue,” Parm shares her extraordinary journey from a difficult childhood to the upper echelons of the police force. Her story is one of perseverance in the face of discrimination and adversity. The book is a testament to her courage and determination, making it a must-read for those seeking inspiration and insight into the challenges of breaking down barriers.

Parm’s commitment to education and advocacy is unwavering. As a director of the London Policing College and an Associate Lecturer at the University of West London, she imparts her wealth of knowledge to the next generation of law enforcement professionals. Parm remains dedicated to combating violence against women and girls, speaking at conferences and leading workshops to foster awareness and change.

Additionally, Parm’s passion for mentorship shines through in her support of officers and staff in their developmental journeys. She’s an active member of the International Association of Women Police and contributes to equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.

Parm Sandhu’s life story is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and the pursuit of justice. Her impact as a trailblazer, advocate, and speaker continues to inspire individuals across the globe, encouraging them to challenge boundaries and create positive change.