The story goes that the indigenous native Americans, pre communist Chinese and many other societies of the last and previous centuries revered the elderly of their populations who were relatively few in number cf modern times for their wisdom. For many, especially those under 40, in an age of instant mass information and communication such reverence is but a footnote in history. In some respects no amount of empathy by the young with the elderly can ever truly reveal the changes which age bestows upon us.
When I blogged here 27th October 2016 I was entering upon my last quartile of life or as much of it as I was offered by powers greater than mine. The following year that basic human requirement denied to many as posted above was excoriated by me yet again as its deprivation led to more court appearances and criminal records. To pee or not to pee has become for so many innocents especially after closing time a question of risking the wrath of the law or the discomfort and embarrassment of pissing themselves. It`s...
In 1829 Peel’s Principles for the Metropolitan Police set out clearly the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
There is no doubt that with Black communities Peel’s test has been for a long period under stress. From Scarman, MacPherson and, more recently, the death of Dalian Atkinson and the murders of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry – there have been examples where policing has not met the expectations Black communities should have in us. The Government’s Inclusive Britain Report identifies confidence in the police has fallen fastest and is lowest in Black communities. Powers of search and force are used at a higher rate on Black people. Too few Black people see a career in policing and in some crimes Black people experience a higher rate of victimisation.
This must be a priority for us. Policing cannot be effective in...
The media often provides regular coverage of issues in the ambulance service, esp more recent – their occasional inability to manage demand is up for discussion after photographs of some trusts with half their fleet outside Emergency Departments, unable to offload patients and all the impact that has on their ability to manage incoming demand. We can all see there are plenty of pressures on our colleagues in green and paramedics are speaking out about it, both directly and indirectly. The BBC has covered the queues as well as leaked reports suggesting hundreds of thousands of patients are (potentially) at risk because of these difficulties and those of us who know plenty of people working at this coalface know how difficult it is. As ever, they have been unending respect and gratitude for what they do and I worry about my friends’ welfare, working as they must to keep us safe.
In EMS, we are eyewitnesses to the inevitable decline of the human body and to death. That’s why when a young person dies it shakes us deeply. They are not supposed to die. It is hard to disassociate yourself from such an event. On those rare occasions that my Pandora’s box of bad EMS memories comes open, the emerging spirits that haunt me are the sights and sounds of those scenes, burned into the memory of my eyes and ears, undiminished by time.
When we start in EMS, for many of us, we believe that what we respond to will not happen to us, but as we age, immortality slips away along with our bravado. In my 60s now, I do truly appreciate each day, individual moments seem wondrous, I marvel that I am still here. An old girlfriend of mine, a true love, used to play Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” at the end of the night, as beer cans littered the room and her cigarettes ran out and our bold dialogues and our love made us feel like gods. She’s been in the earth nearly fifteen years now and I can still see...
There can`t be anybody who`s not heard of or used the phrase, "there`s one law for them and another for us" the terms "them" and "us" being who the listener wants them to be. There is also the commonly accepted concept that the more of an object or a commodity one possesses the less value is perceived of a single item of that object or commodity. An obvious example is money. £10 to a receiver of social security and other benefits is worth almost literally infinitely more than the self same amount to a multi millionaire. And what has this to do with what is a magistrate`s blog or perhaps more accurately the thoughts of a retired magistrate? Confidence in equality before the law and confidence in those who administer the law are fundamental to our democratic well being.
At the last count earlier this year there were 12,651 magistrates in England and Wales whilst there were 3,174 judges of all levels of jurisdiction from county courts to the Supreme Court. However reading through just a single year of disciplinary...
Another recent Preventing Future Deaths notice from a Coroner has pricked my attention, concerning the sad death of Hannah Breadshaw from Greater Manchester. Inevitably, PFDs are brief and not all details are included, but to my reading, this may be about the ever-blurred distinction between a threat to life incident and a somewhat more routine “welfare check”.
The relevant timeline regarding a call to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) about Hannah’s welfare is given as –
A friend of Hannah’s rings GMP at 12:30pm to raise “welfare concerns” and it was allocated a 1hr response time;
An ambulance was requested at 12:45pm and they arrive on scene first, at 2:10pm;
They request police for force entry at 2:26pm and chase GMP several times over two hours until police arrive at 4:47pm;
Entry forced, patient found deceased.
The IOPC were informed of the incident and they flagged three particular concerns prior to the inquest. 1) a failure to escalate the incident, 2) a failure to make method of entry equipment more...
I would assume that most readers here have noticed in some media or other a convicted felon having his/her jail sentence increased on appeal by the attorney general. Indeed there are a couple of high profile cases currently going through the process right now. Less media attention is given to those whose legal teams have convinced the court of appeal that the verdicts by which their clients were imprisoned were unsafe. Rape trials and child killers have often made the headlines with the conviction rate of the former being criticised as far too low and sentences of the latter less severe than the common man would deem necessary short of hanging. Whilst no UK government would every admit and perhaps even secretly admire in private whilst deploring in public the Chinese conviction rate of 99% is typical of justice within a dictatorship where opposition of any kind, criminal or otherwise, is seen as political opposition which must be eradicated.
The Justice Gap, magazine of an independent pressure group,...
It is being heavily trailed in the media that the Queen’s Speech this year, will contain a Mental Health Act (Reform) Bill – the beginning of the process of amending the Mental Health Act 1983, in its first significant upgrade since 2007, but trailed as a first major upgrade in forty years, since it was first enacted. In fact, much of the 1983 Act is just the 1959 re-numbered, so it’s more like 63yrs old, but I disgress.
We do not yet have sight of the draft Bill but for those who want a quick catch up ahead of seeing what happens, the recent history is —
I’ve often known police officers wonder aloud as to why patients detained in mental health units under the Mental Health Act are permitted to have leave from hospital when they are a known flight or suicide risk. Section 17 MHA allows the Responsible Clinician (MHA term for lead clinician in charge of someone’s care, usually a psychiatrist) to permit a patient to leave hospital, sometimes with conditions attached and it’s a crucial part of the process of mental health care, ahead of patients being discharged as part of their recovery. Some patients can be detained for a considerable period of time after being acutely unwell, to imagine a person who at one point had lost the ability to make many of their own decisions and just keep them detained until they could be fully discharged, would be weird and fraught with risk – authorised leave is a part of preparing patients from discharge and building up resilience and decision-making capacity, ahead of full discharge.