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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

It is a well known fact that Justices of the Peace are hardly spring chickens.  In fact taking the analogy a bit further a large number is but one slippery foot from the slaughter house.  The members of the bench in Cambridgeshire are no exception.  At the last count in April 2015 there were 206 worthy members of whom 126 were aged over 60.  It is not unlikely that in the ten months since then many more will have retired. It seems therefore that approval has been given for the recruitment of 200 additional  civic minded citizens to join the bench.  This seems to be ludicrous.  What business or organisation would wish to double its number of specialists in one fell swoop of recruitment?  No doubt those clever people in the Ministry of Justice who have been so pre occupied in closing courts and decimating the CPS over the last five years were too busy to consider the effects of a rapidly ageing work force.  My opinion and that of most J.P.s is that it takes about five years to consider a magistrate "experienced".  Those...

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Police: Is The College Naive Or Am I Just Double Crusty?

Written by RSS Poster RetiredAndAngry

All this talking about #DegreeGate got me thinking, took me off at a completely different tangent.

IF all new recruits (and I accept that is not finalised yet) have to have a degree then this is adding significantly to the recruit’s financial debts.

Regardless of their antecedents, any new recruit at whatever age will have whatever debts and baggage they have accrued according to their age and lifestyle.  So far so good, that is normal.

Under the new proposals they can apparently add up to £40,000 Student Loan debt to their previous total, more in London.

…..a typical student on a three-year course outside of London might expect to graduate with around £35,000-£40,000 of student loans.

So I asked the College a few questions on Twitter, and to my amazement I got some replies

.@CollegeofPolice Do you think it’s a good idea to have graduate recruits with a Student Loan debt up to £27k? Vulnerable? #PEQF

— Alan Wright (@Alanw47) February 5, 2016

.@CollegeofPolice Av Student Debt o/s...

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Police: Action Fraud warning after serious rise in CEO fraud

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Action Fraud is warning businesses to be on high alert after increased reports and financial losses from CEO fraud. 

A recent report from the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) shows that over £32 million has been reported to be lost as a result of CEO fraud. 

From July 2015 until January 2016 there was a marked increase in CEO fraud with a total of 994 reports being made to Action Fraud. 

How does this scam work?

CEO fraud will typically start with an email being sent from a fraudster to a member of staff in a company’s finance department. The member of staff will be told by the fraudster who is purporting to be a company director or CEO that they need to quickly transfer money to a certain bank account for a specific reason. The member of staff will do as their boss has instructed, only to find that they have sent money to a fraudster’s bank account. 

The fraudster will normally redistribute this money into other mule accounts and then close down the bank...

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Police: Modernisation continues as our staff take centre stage

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week I set out my vision for the force in a speech to senior leaders at Tally Ho. We have posted the speech in full here.

Just in case you don’t get chance to read in full, (and I hope you will) here are the main points:

WMP 2020 will continue as the modernisation programme.

I have set a new, and I believe, clearer vision for the Force: Preventing Crime, protecting the public and helping those in need.

I have done this as I want to stress the importance of preventing crime, the work we do in protecting people in public protection and from serious harm and the caring and helpful side of what we do. They all matter.

I have put West Midlands staff front and centre as our main priority. After five hard years people in policing have felt undervalued and over-criticised.

We will be setting out a new deal for staff which set expectations on what we do for you to show we trust you and keep you happy and healthy. It also includes a more robust approach to poor attendance, performance and conduct...

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Police: Met Complicit in Smartphone Insurance Fraud

Written by RSS Poster Justice and Chaos
People who work behind the front counter of a police station do it with the purpose of helping people, right? That's ultimately why anybody works for the police – it's a calling, a vocation. 

My friend Janine works as a civilian Public Access Officer behind the public counter. She's a compassionate soul and, frankly, a legend.

Like all my police officer colleagues, I've spent many nights working at the public counter. The civilian PAOs only work daytime hours – they can't be forced to work nights. British cops, on the other hand, are not protected by employment law, and are denied employment contracts. So, when this police station was 24/7, the Public Access Officers would clock off around 8pm, and be replaced by one police officer until 7am.

It's a tough job. The queuing public have high expectations, but there is a limit to what we can do for people.

We can't give tourists money for a hotel when they lose their passports and wallets. We can't repair a broken marriage. We can't turn back time and...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
There are occasions when I just despair at the sentencing of lay benches when  the overriding priority of public protection is either not considered, considered and ignored or not part of the judicial sentencing process. Illegal actions against children are rightly given headlines when sentencing in the crown courts seem to bend over backwards in favour of an offender`s rehabilitation over punishment for the offences.  Only rarely do we read of punishments as a deterrent to others.  Perhaps those who have a tendency to abuse children are beyond deterrence.  

Magistrates are unlikely to deal with physical assaults concerning children but when cash strapped local councils and their Trading Standards departments make the very occasional case against sales of alcohol to under age children s.146 Licensing Act 2003 one would expect a bench to take the matter very seriously indeed. And that degree of seriousness; harm and culpability, should be reflected in the sanctions imposed upon...

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Police: #DegreeGate – Genuine Need Or Cynical Ploy?

Written by RSS Poster RetiredAndAngry

And so #DegreeGate rumbles on and still nobody is much clearer, with many simply remaining to be convinced.  Many, like me I suspect, are waiting to see the ‘evidence’ that this is a good idea.

Being a bit of a researcher and a fan of ‘the truth’ I went looking.

I found a video on YouTube put there by the College of Policing.  It is called PEQF: What is the evidence base? and featuress the College’s Director of Knowledge, Research and Education, Rachel Tuffin.  Rachel is clearly a well educated and well qualified woman and has the honour of having been awareded an OBE for services to policing, specifically championing evidence-based policing.

The title of the video implies that herein lies the answer, what is the ‘evidence base’?

Watch the video and see for yourselves

I have watched the video several times now, and I must be older than I thought, because I don’t see it.  To be honest, all I saw was a young lady, waving her hands around a lot, saying that it was interesting,...

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Police: For Which Relief Much Thanks

Written by RSS Poster The Magistrates' Blog
Those of us who were beginning to despair at the flat-footed callousness of Chris Grayling's tenure at the MoJ are starting to look with wide-eyed wonderment at the systematic dismantling of the Grayling legacy being carried out by Michael Gove. Only a couple of weeks ago I had a quiet chat with a decent, respected and hard-working defence solicitor who could see no glimmer of light in the darkness that was enveloping the defence profession. There were credible plans to remove many well-run firms from the Duty Solicitor scheme, and to pare the fees of the remainder to the unsustainable bone. Small firms had become unsaleable, their owners unable to retire with any security.

Let's take a deep breath, and survey where we are now, resolving to find a solution that will aim to restore fairness while keeping a wary eye on the costs involved.


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
From time to time I have been known to be critical of cases reported in various local print media.  I have also commented upon the quality of such reports and the likelihood that there is little prospect of returning to an era where court reports made up a significant proportion of the content of such media along with births, marriages , deaths, and cars for sale.  Just as buses on a rainy day are nowhere to be seen until two or three arrive in tandem two reports today offer a glimpse of court reporting as it was and should be and are a credit to the newspapers concerned.  Whilst there might be room to criticise the outcomes of the cases reported the publications` quoting of pronouncements have allowed their readership a glimpse of how magistrates` courts actually work. So well done to the Ulster Herald and the Swindon Advertiser.


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
There was an interesting piece in yesterday`s Law Society Gazette.  A supposedly overworked and under valued District Judge(MC) is taking action against HMCTS to bring a claim citing disability discrimination and whistleblowing under the Employment Rights Act 1996.  The many comments after the article are as interesting as the piece itself.  For my part I have little sympathy with her.  Perhaps she thought the job involved a very hefty salary with none of the downside of being in practice and a juicy pension to boot. Readers can judge for themselves here.

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