Blogs from Police &   
 other Emergency Service Workers


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Last Friday April 3rd I told the story of Marie Dinou who found unwanted fame as the first person found guilty of contravening the new regulations about movement in this era of virus contagion. Having admitted that she was convicted under "wrong legislation" her conviction was quashed.  British Transport Police has apologised but added that she refused to speak to its officers when she was stopped "loitering between platforms". The CPS has been silent. Apparently Ms Dinou did not speak to anyone at the police station, failed to confirm her identity at court, failed to enter a plea and did not speak to a solicitor assigned to represent her. The District Judge was a certain Sarah-Jane Griffiths who was called to the Bar (L) in 1998 and admitted as a Solicitor in 2010. She was appointed as a Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber (Social Security and Child Support) in 2013. Judge Griffiths  concluded that the defendant was being "obstructive".It seems that the judge`s...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Restrictions on movement
6.—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living
without reasonable excuse.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—
(a) to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same
household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons and
supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the
household of a vulnerable person, or to obtain money, including from any business listed
in Part 3 of Schedule 2;
(b) to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;
(c) to seek medical assistance, including to access any of the services referred to in paragraph
37 or 38 of Schedule 2;
(d) to provide care or assistance, including relevant personal care within the meaning of
paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006(a), to
a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance;
(e) to donate...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Today and for the foreseeable future magistrates of whom around 85%  are over 50 years old and over half are more than 60 will be rechecking their rotas and wondering whether they should be thinking of their own health and that of their families or whether the social good and obligation  of appearing at court has priority.  Considering all are volunteers it is impossible not to assume that many benches will consist of two magistrates and not the usual three for the next few months.  

Whilst I was active video links were in operation mainly for bail hearings for prisoners on remand.  The expansion of video links has been one of the major initiatives of HMCTS in its "modernisation" programme and has been ruthlessly promulgated by its press relations factory deep in the bowels of Petty France.  It seems, however, that such links are hopelessly bedevilled by system failure often at police stations so demonstrating the inability of defendants to be dealt with by the technology on first...

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Police: Keeping the rainbows coming

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week we marvelled at the British public, often reserved yet always showing their thanks for the big moments, come out for a huge round of applause for the amazing nurses, doctors, ambulance staff and indeed all the staff of the NHS. I would include social care staff too who are doing an amazing job.

You will have felt some of that love in the rainbow pictures, sandwiches and thanks from the public we have received too. We need to keep that love coming as we have some tough weeks ahead. Thank you for this card from Joshua on behalf of St Edmund Campion.

I say this because last week we set about encouraging people to follow guidance and enforcing some the most restrictive laws we have seen in our nation. We are doing this because of an emergency and our need to save lives and protect the NHS by stopping the infection rate. The purpose is more important that the powers.

You will have noticed the powers don’t quite cover all the government’s advice. The government has issued quite a lot of advice on social...

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Police: Day Four Lockdown

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

I don’t think I fully realised last week what a privilege it actually is to have to physically go to work – I get to ride 10miles there, get out of my home for a bit, see other people outside my family and then ride back again in the fresh air.  I’m now on my fourth rest day (of four) and very much itching to get out on my bike for a quick lap of the lanes; and perversely looking forward to my 4:30am alarm call to get out of the house again and off to work.  Mrs B and Master B are working / schooling from home and I can see the restrictions taking effect on them in small ways.  I’m also conscious of my elderly mother living on her own in the North-East who is pretty much locked in and being supplied by others, as required.

So what does the law say (on Monday 30th March! – because it may change later if tougher restrictions are brought in, as may be considered potentially necessary).  There are various reasons I’ve decided to write-this, but all of them rotate around the frustration of misinformation and...

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Police: COVID 19 – Peel would have never imagined this… or did he?

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

At each stage of my messages to you I have tried to ensure we prepare for the next stage.

As events have shown this is moving quickly. Events in Italy feel more proximate. More people will be ill and more are going to die. This is going to be the toughest moment of our careers in policing.

So where are we?

An increasing proportion of the force is self-isolating or confined to home with underlying conditions. Some have sick family. We will be offering more guidance on asthma and diabetes as staff only need to be at home in serious cases. We have seen the NHS advice for staff in direct contact with COVID19 so some people with mild asthma and diabetes will be as safe as the rest of us at work.

The workplace is looking more controlled with new tidy habits. Keep it clean. Look after PPE. As you can see this is precious.

The major incident structures are up and running. We have done some refocusing on services and there will be more of this. Our absence levels will grow when more...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Having self isolated for the last week or so and having been retired from the bench for over five years my intimate knowledge of the magistrates courts is at best third hand or at worst via Twitter.  Having now laid my ignorance firmly on the line please allow me to voice a couple of thoughts that seem to require others for the answers.  

Even allowing for the closure of some courts the notification of which is a resounding silence from HMCTS the situation must be untenable for magistrates of whom around 85%  are over 50 years old and over half are more than 60.  Considering all are volunteers it is impossible not to assume that many benches will consist of two magistrates and not the usual three.  Each JP will have considered the health of those with whom s/he is in daily contact such consideration overriding  any obligation to perform their allotted duties. In such circumstances I fail to see that the single justice procedure, of which I have no personal experience its implementation being some time after my...

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Police: Coronavirus Lockdown

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

Last week, I published a post about the temporary amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 which will be brought in by the Coronavirus Bill 2020, if passed ‘as is’.  That Bill goes before Parliament today, to commence its process towards becoming law and it may or may not change as the process unfolds.  Me being me(!), I was a bit curious about the other health related implications for the police service so I kept reading beyond the Mental Health Act amendment stuff and this post summarises the police related powers in Schedule 20 of the Bill as they relate to ‘infectious persons’.  If you want to read this for yourself, open the draft Bill and go to Schedule 20 on p215 – I will warn you now(!), it’s quite a dense read, hence I thought I’d try to summarise the main aspects of it.

You may quite reasonably wonder what this has to do with policing and mental health?! … potentially nothing at all and I’m conscious of straying outside my domain of interest – this is legislation related to so-called ‘physical’...

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Police: Covid 19: Our biggest ever challenge

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

A great deal has happened since my last message. I think a great deal more may happen and I want to use this blog to prepare ourselves.

To recap:

I cannot emphasise enough on the need for workplace hygiene. Washing hands properly, every two hours. Clean desks and workspaces. I have asked Commanders and Heads of Department to do captain’s rounds! If you do not have cleaning materials, tell them. This is everyone’s job.

PPE has been issued. We have good stocks compared to other sectors but we cannot be sure when we can replenish. You must use gel, gloves and face masks wisely. Keep clothing and vehicles clean.

We are tracking staff who are off work through sickness, self-isolation or social distancing. The numbers have increased. Occupational Health can advise on whether staff fall into these criteria. If you do you MUST go home and social distance. It is not a choice. Leaders can take advice from Occupational Health as conditions such as asthma can be very wide and not everyone falls into this group.


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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Post-nominal letters also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, office, military decoration, or honour, or is a member of a religious institute or fraternity.

The Lord Chancellor’s Directions to Advisory Committees from which I have copied the following would seem to make the situation re use of said letters perfectly clear:-

The initials JP may be used on private and business letterheads etc in the same way as academic or professional qualifications. But they should not be used for the furtherance of trade, professional, business or political interests".

I know of at least one magistrate who is located in the West Midlands who flights that direction with impunity despite the powers that be knowing full well of her disregard for the directive. Perhaps there is an underlying cadre within upper judicialdom  which has given the nod...

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