Honour:- the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right. The meaning has been distorted by many people on many occasions to justify deeds which were anything but honourable. But taking the word at its original and sometimes still current definition its application to those in public office has steadily declined over the decades since 1945. That decline could arguably be one of the many reasons why public faith in those in public office has diminished. When demonstrably aberrant behaviour is revealed within senior figures connected with the NHS or justice system especially in or connected to police forces an irreparable chipping away of pubic confidence is inevitable. Scandals within the recently established Scottish Police are a perfect example of the rot which has eaten away that confidence. The latest episode is the refusal of the Scottish Police Authority chair Andrew Flanagan to resign after revelations of his reprehensible activities as a senior public figure.
Last night Home Secretary Amber Rudd, appearing on BBC Question Time, repeated Theresa May’s mantra “it’s not about the numbers”. Well, as political campaigning for the General Election resumes today, I will have the temerity to challenge that concept. You cannot Police this (or any 1st world country) on the cheap.
You cannot defend this country on the cheap, and
You cannot ‘heal’ this country on the cheap.
I will avoid getting involved in the argument about how much our Police Officers, Armed Forces and Healthcare professionals should be paid, that is for others to decide. However, I will say that their skills, professionalism and dedication deserve better than pay freezes, pension ‘reforms’ for members already in their particular scheme, often resulting in members havingto pay more for a reduced pension and work more years to qualify. That is not what they signed up for, they formed reasonable expectations for their ‘old age’ and retirement and then all those plans were torn...
With many others I have long been aware that when it suits the MOJ J.P.s are certainly considered an important part of the judiciary and must be treated as such. When it comes to a perceived breaking or bending of the myriad rules imposed on that same judiciary J.P.s are certainly considered a species apart. Records of disciplinary action taken against J.P.s reveal a distinct tightening of supposed judicial boundaries when compared to judges. In the last few days three highly publicised incidents where offenders and sentencers; one lay bench and two crown court judges, were involved in cross court comment illustrate my opinion that there is one law for them (judges) and another for us (magistrates). Before Norfolk magistrates a foul mouthed female offender left the court unhindered by anything as direct as a charge of contempt and a cooling off period behind bars as should have been applied by a bench which had more tolerance than good sense and none for public perceptions. In contrast a crown...
In the wake of the Manchester attack on Monday evening, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is warning people to be cautious of online fundraising pages as it has emerged that fraudulent pages are being set up which request donations to support the families of the victims.
Spot the signs
Fraudulent fundraising websites often use topical events, such as a terror incident or natural disaster, to make it look like their charity has been created only recently in response, while the website may also be badly written or have spelling mistakes.
When you go to a donation page, fraudsters can record your credit or bank account details, so if you are unsure, seek further advice before donating any money.
Like everyone in the country I am lost for words after the events in Manchester on Monday night. It is a depraved act of violence against families, young people and children.
We can all identify with victims and their families. Manchester is my home city and I have visited the arena many times with my own family. As details of the victims emerge it will be unbearable.
In this moment of great sadness and anger we also see the best of humanity. The response of Greater Manchester Police colleagues and other emergency services has been outstanding. I have offered the GMP chief constable any support he needs from us in the next few days, weeks and months ahead.
They have made us proud.
As part of the national counter-terrorism network we are active in supporting the operation.
On Tuesday the threat level moved to critical, the first time in ten years. At this point I want to reiterate our mission: Preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need.
This is a written version of a talk I gave last night, where I had fifteen minutes to summarising my thoughts on the overall topic of policing and mental health. It’s a while since I had such a short period in which to condense my thoughts and it was a useful exercise in rooting out the extraneous junk from my mind!
If you look around the world at adverse incidents that cause us to discuss the police roll in mental health issues, you see a range of problems:
The extent to which the police are relied upon as first- responders
Problems in the use of force:
Restraint related deaths
Fatal police shootings
Controversial use of things like Taser
Normalisation of the police as a de facto crisis service
Criminalisation of vulnerable people:
Prosecution almost entirely for the purposes of accessing clinical services
Incarceration in prison where upstream interventions would have prevented the need.
From that lot and much more besides, you can start to form your own view about whatever it is that you think the fundamental problem might...
Pleas for applications to become a magistrate seem to be appearing in increasing frequency in local print media. Generally they are merely cut and paste portions from official requirements on MOJ website and perhaps some others. Earlier this week the Manchester Evening News published yet another such plea basing its headline on the dire consequences if the current JP scarcity is not reversed. But this time the usual verbiage was supplemented by detailed opinions and observations from senior magistrates in the area. Those ex colleagues quoted are to be congratulated.
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The anomaly of either way offences has once more reached the higher echelons of our justice system. This time the intervention is by "Lady Justice Hallett, who sits on the Court of Appeal,(and who said) that a full jury trial could cost £20,000 for defendants accused of offences such as stealing sweets from a supermarket. She said the Government should ""remove the right to elect trial by jury in cases that simply do not warrant it"". Since the publication of two of my posts from 2009 and 2013 copied below, theft of items with a value of £200 can be tried summarily...
During this relaxing if somewhat chilly weekend I had no intentions of putting any opinions on line until I re read news of retiring managers and bosses with eye watering pension pots of £millions plus often large amounts in shares and stock options. Now in the case of obviously successful businessmen and entrepreneurs in the mould of Richard Branson or Alan Sugar I would wish such people well to consider the disposal of the results of a lifetime`s risk in creating success. But many such pay offs are to managers, perhaps of exceptional ability, who have increased the wealth of...