Yesterday I posted on proposed new sentencing guidelines on breach of court orders and in particular breach occurring whilst an offender is under a suspended sentence order. My conclusion was that the greatly increased minutia of the sentencing structure has allowed sentencing per se to have become almost a tick box exercise, such a philosophy having supposedly been considered and rejected when Sentencing Guidelines was first published. With a lay bench of three magistrates there is always the possibility of a single voice suggesting a variation from the guidelines when there is sufficient reason to back up such a proposal. When a District Judge (MC) is presiding that option is removed. A recent development is for a single magistrate to sit alone in an office albeit with a legal advisor in simple matters which do not have a possible custodial outcome and are generally strict liability. My initial comment on that scenario is the difficulty that that J.P. might find if for whatever reason within lawful boundaries...
More than 1,000 Year 6 pupils visited Tynemouth Community Fire Station for an education with a difference last week. (Monday 17h October to Friday 21 October)
Now in its sixth year, 'Crucial Crew' aims to reduce serious injuries and deaths from all types of accidents, including fires, which is particularly relevant in the lead up to Bonfire Night.
The 10 and 11 year-old pupils also learned about the hazards they face in everyday life and what to do if an accident occurs.
Six 'real-life' scenarios that highlight potential dangers were set up in the community fire station and its grounds.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service promoted bonfire and firework safety and discussed burns and scalds in an interactive and fun scenario.
The pupils learned about the consequences of such accidents and incidents and the impact they can have on themselves, the local environment and the fire and rescue service.
Street pastors also discussed with the children how...
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service staff who took part in a marathon bike ride to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation have been thanked in person by Sir Bobby's widow, Lady Elsie.
A team of nine intrepid cyclists rode to all 17 fire stations in the Tyne and Wear area on 23 September, covering a distance of 92 miles in one day.
They raised £985 which has been shared between the foundation, in memory of late friend and colleague Control Firefighter Lee Hope, and the national Firefighters Charity. Lee died on 19 July 2016 aged just 33.
Lee, whose older brother Scott works within Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, died just 13 weeks after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
Lady Elsie said: “Lee obviously meant a great deal to his colleagues in the fire and rescue service, and it's touching that they're so keen to help raise funds in his memory.
“We're grateful for everything they've already done and I know Lee's brother, Scott, has further plans to help. ...
The latest Government statistics show that only 35% of people in the UK are following Government’s latest advice to use strong passwords made up of three random words.
According to the newly formed National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, one the most important actions people can take to protect themselves from cybercrime is by having a strong password.
Cybercrime is a growing issue, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics an estimated 2 million cybercrime offences were committed in 2015 and it cost the UK £11 billion last year.
A weak password can allow hackers to use email to gain access to all your personal accounts, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud.
The Government’s cyber security campaign, Cyber Aware, is urging people and businesses across the UK to #ThinkRandom when it comes to creating strong passwords.
Using three random words
Using three random words to create a strong password, is the latest advice the NCSC. Numbers and symbols can...
I sat in my crumbling courthouse a couple of months ago, having edged past the permanently-stuck gate on the justices' car park, and made my way up the nearly-new lift to the assembly room. It is a handsome room, built in 1907 but has sadly not seen a lick of paint in the last decade-and-a-half and more.
Everywhere are signs of decay and neglect - but no matter. I understand the desperate need for the government to bring expenditure under control, even if that means denying resources to the public service that I have served unpaid these thirty years. There are still biscuits (amazingly) and most of the lights come on when you press a switch. There is some mysterious kit that we think might be for use in the new all-electronic courthouse. It still bears the protective film that we see on expensive audio visual stuff to protect it on its long journey from a Chinese sweatshop.
I have recently received an email from www.gov.uk/annual-tax-summary setting out the tax that I paid in...
The TV news tonight interviewed various locals who oppose the proposed new runway at Heathrow, some of them in an emotional state. One lady said that she had lived in Harmondsworth for over twenty years - but the airport opened in 1946, since when anyone who cared to elevate their gaze might have deduced that there was an airport across the Bath Road.
When the current third-runway project was in its first flush of 'yes we can, no we can't' I said something rather tactless to my then Bench Chairman. I grew up near Heathrow (although I knew it as London Airport, but we shall let that pass).
To a Hayes boy, who went to school in Uxbridge, the way to the airport on spotting days went through the unprepossessing suburbs of Sipson and West Drayton. The airport brought great prosperity to the area, but its hinterland remained grim.
My then Chairman lived in Sipson, in a house that had been purchased on generous terms by the airport people, but which stands (as it still does, but for how much longer I cannot say) and is at pretty much the exact point where the airliners' wheels will meet the tarmac, with that puff of blue smoke from the tyres. So in my rather thoughtless way I ventured the opinion that most of West Drayton and Sipson would be improved by a thick layer of ferro-concrete. He sniffed and walked away.
I heard the Health Secretary Jeremy HUNT deliver a speech at today’s Crisis Care Concordat Summit in London, the first major speech he’s delivered on mental health, we were told. Almost the first thing he did was praise the police service for the leadership shown on the subject of mental health crisis care, driving much of the debate that led to the creation of the Crisis Care Concordat itself. I might be wrong, but my sense was the comment did not land well with everyone! One service user tweeted about this, wondering whether it should be the police driving certain aspects of healthcare provision – and of course, I don’t there was a police officer in that room who wouldn’t happily see the issues we face being confronted head-on by senior health leaders and commissioners.
History shows another approach became necessary, for a range of reasons perhaps uniquely understood by the police.
BACK SEAT DRIVERS
Following his speech, the Q&A session saw Commander Christine JONES from the Metropolitan Police, the lead for the...
This is another true story from my time on the murder squad. As always, reader discretion advised...
Croydon. A place of broken dreams, a barren heartland to the south. A place to get proper pissed. Our victim had taken a bucket load of drugs, which he’d blended with a lovely selection of seasonal wines, beers and spirits. The lab are still analysing his blood samples some fifteen years later. The initial scientist on the case was driven to madness and became a hermit living in a cave. In Birmingham.
Our man had been asked to remove himself forthwith from a licensed establishment by large gentlemen in formal wear after spitting at the chap who tries to spray you with aftershave when you're urinating. Offering unparalleled service, they carried him from the bar to save fatigue on his legs.
As one does when properly bingoed, he sought out the hardest man in Croydon to have a roll around with. He met Big Geordie. Big Geordie was a big Geordie who sought to improve his physique and mental health through the use of steroids. He...