Blogs from Police &   
 other Emergency Service Workers

Police: Institutional Humanity & Heroism

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

It’s been a hell of a year for police officers in this country.

Twelve months ago, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, policing stood accused of institutional racism. And it wasn’t the first time that had happened.

Three months ago, in the aftermath of the murder of Sarah Everard, policing stood accused of institutional misogyny.

Yesterday, following the publication of an independent inquiry report into the murder of Daniel Morgan, policing stood accused of institutional corruption.

Yesterday, police officers up and down the country had their heads in their hands.

Because, while all of this has been happening, police officers have also been in the frontline of the response to:

  • a global pandemic – trying to make sense of rushed legislation, trying to implement imperfect guidance, trying to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones, all while trying to keep the rest of us safe;
  • a wave of public protests on the streets of London and Bristol and beyond – attacked...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Salami slicing is a well trodden phrase used originally to describe the subtle reduction by the very thin slicing  of a piece of  sausage or a large piece of meat.  Of course now that phrase can be applied to many areas of our lives but in the context of government policies it means the subtle reductions in financial support to a public policy.  Nowhere is this more obvious than it  is to our justice system in its widest context. From Kenneth Clarke at the Ministry of Justice in 2010 when he proudly announced that he was the first cabinet minister to announce his department`s budget reduction of 23% until the present time when a compulsive lying prime minister has proudly announced the recruitment of 20,000 police officers which was exactly the number his predecessors over the last decade had sacked, our system of justice has been reduced from a beacon to the wider world to a system not fit for purpose.  Nowhere is this hiring and firing been more apparent than in the policy or non policy of stop and search...

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Police: Growing Pains

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week I had a few days away from work and I hope some of you have been able to have some time off during half term. The pace of life is returning and the force is very busy. I know we are working very hard at a time when the chances of a holiday overseas are again receding. I cannot thank you enough for your work.

Having time away from work is important and I do recognise taking time off when you want it is vital, but is actually quite tough at the moment. As an Executive Team we discussed this two weeks ago. We think it’s very important people take leave and will track more carefully when people have leave refused a number of times. We will also be operating extended leave carry over for the next two years. More news to follow.

The last few weeks have seen some tragic events. None more so than the murder of Dea-John Reid. Many of us will have been shattered by the words and emotions of his mother, brother and the rest of his family. Their dignity and leadership in the community have stood out. We cannot put this right but...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

More than enough has been written about the scandal of the reducing availability of legal aid.  It`s also a scandal that with all the power they have the legal fraternity has watched over this debacle for over a decade effectively washing their hands while offering platitudes in public. Imagine dear reader that you are faced with a trial at a magistrates court and unable to afford legal representation but the state`s rules insist you cannot be offered legal aid.  At a preliminary hearing this form  (click on first link) will be passed to you by the usher for you to complete. No further comment from me is necessary. 


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

When considering the content of any possible post on this site I assume rightly or wrongly that most readers in addition to an interest in the justice system and all which it encompasses will have at least some knowledge of the law and its application.  I assume also that they will have an interest and at least a layman`s knowledge of statistics insofar as they relate to criminality an example of which would be the offences committed by BAME minorities and their proportion in the population.  However with the limited amount of print media actually producing court reports except in high profile cases from the crown or High Court much criminality or legal opinion goes unreported.  Below I post on some examples of cases which below the legal surface arguably say more about the justice system that much of what is reported from the Old Bailey or the Appeal Court. 

It seems that breast feeding mothers called to jury service can have an exemption for a maximum of twelve months only.  This seems to be an arbitrary time frame...

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Police: Preventing Future Deaths

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

For a couple of years, I’ve been regularly reading the website of the Chief Coroner, in particular the section on Preventing Future Deaths and I’ve blogged about this before.  I had a discussion with an academic last year about the potential of me undertaking PhD research on PFD issues affecting policing and mental health, not least because of the obvious potential to argue that lessons from these notices are not always fully learned.  To the extent that they are, usually by the organisations directly affected, they are not necessarily learned more widely across agencies and across the country.  In my recent reading, I kept a list of cases with at least some bearing on policing and mental health issues and thought it may be useful to provide links and summary comments about those which stick out, at least for me.


Where a death occurs and a PFD notice is issued to police force X, will police force Y know about this and learn from it?  Will Ambulance Trust Y and Mental Health Trust Y know about this...

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Police: Section 135 PFDs

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

I’ve recently being doing some research on Preventing Future Death notices and putting together a list of notable examples around a few different themes.  The notice from January 2020 after the death of Mr Thiago Araujo is especially interesting around the topic of s135 MHA assessments and it’s not the first notice in recent years to touch upon this.  The Coroner lists a number of areas of concern but it’s numbers 4 and 5 which caught my attention – the acknowledgement that re-admission to hospital may be required and the process and requirements for an assessment under s135(1) Mental Health Act 1983.

Where someone is believed to be in a private premises is thought to need assessment for consideration of their admission to hospital, an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) can make an application to a Magistrate for a warrant under s135(1) which then allows the police to force entry to the premises, if necessary, to allow for assessment.  That assessment can either occur in the premises itself, if the person consents,...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Yesterday I took my car for its very first MOT.  Three years on from purchase I expected it to sail through the very exacting standards which now apply.  It did.  And the process reminded me of the second car I ever owned; it was 1966 and I presented a recently purchased  rather tatty grey 1960 Vauxhall Victor RWS 192, exactly like the image, to the MOT garage which was almost as run down as the car. To my surprise after the initial inspection the mechanic told me he could not proceed to jack the car up to check the exhaust for robust structure because if he did so the car which was a total rust bucket would almost certainly split down the middle. As a result I sold it for scrap for the then good price of £13. This simple tale is an example of when to cease applying a process when the result is obviously so unobtainable and further efforts would be a waste of time and a danger to all. And so to our government`s policy on illegal drugs. It is the failure in common sight which is conveniently oblivious to...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The opportunity to express opinions on matters of significance to legally minded readers is a privilege. On reflection these opinions can be divided into two aspects of our system of justice: the general or macro view and the detailed micro viewpoint illustrated by examples which might or might not be statistically significant for the PhD student of criminology but are illustrative of what I could describe as the common person`s opinion. It is in contact with police that most criminal legal matters begin. When faith in the correct operation of police starts to erode, faith in our society`s ability to function as a cohesive unit also begins to deteriorate. And so to today.

A look at the treetops of the Metropolitan Police and one would expect that an example of probity of the highest order would  exist.  After all, the very highest of government powers through the very highest of the government`s   investigatative organs are employed to ensure that the 16 officers appointed at Chief Constable rank which for...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

A major "problem" with any justice system is that apart from those who are involved with its functioning and therefore derive their ability to put bread on their family`s table from its continuance, is that the majority of the public who are uninvolved in serious law breaking whether as witness or defendant rarely express any interest in the subject.   Their knowledge of the legal system and its many ramifications in a democratic society are derived from the various media available which now means the sometimes rabid utterings in Twitter or Facebook and the like.  Indeed that is one reason why I have written here not a few times bewailing the lack of old fashioned local newspaper court reporting and the corollary of my wish to see local live TV court reporting. However to return to the reality of today; what some would say is the bedrock of our justice system, the jury, is under severe criticism from both ends of the legal spectrum; judges and victims or their families.  On 27th April I...

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