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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Further evidence as if any were needed that the decimation of finances for policing is changing generations` habits of our police being regarded as with us rather than as in many jurisdictions  with them is shown by the recent but little publicised announcement by the Chief Constables` Council that the honest citizen`s instinct to hand in lost valuables at their nearest police station will be rebuffed. This decision is hoped to save £1.5 million annually although how such numbers can be predicted beats me. I suppose time and motion studies can conjure up any number that`s wanted. I am sure that I am not alone when as a child I found a banknote in the street and my parent said we must take it to the police station.  I doubt that many parents would have had such advice in recent times. The police, of course, are spouting the same old story about focusing scarce resources on areas of highest concern to ensure the public are kept safe.  

Breakdown in society does not necessarily come about by riots, marches, terrorism...

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Police: Homicide rate in England and Wales highest since 2008

Written by RSS Poster Old Plod

Police at the scene of a shooting in north London Police at the scene of a shooting in north London in April. There were 719 homicides in the year to June. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA 
The murder and manslaughter rate in England and Wales has risen to the highest in a decade, official figures show.There were 719 homicides – murder and manslaughter – in the year to June, a 14% increase from 630 in the previous year excluding exceptional incidents in 2017 such as the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, the Office for National Statistics said. It was the highest number since 775 homicides were recorded in the year to March 2008.There were 39,332 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, up 12% on the previous year, according to police-recorded data. The figure excludes data from Greater Manchester police after a review identified undercounting of crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument due to a technical issue.
There were also jumps in the numbers of recorded robberies (up 22%), sexual offences (up 18%),...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

It seems that the Law Society and senior police officials are getting together to spread the word that  falling numbers of crown court prosecutions are not some statistical accident or an indication that society is becoming more observant of the law. No; the numbers are indicative of fewer police to catch the miscreants in the first place and fewer police to process the cases for the CPS which is not itself directly criticised but as those in the legal world know only too well that organisation having been down sized by more than 10% in funds and  personnel in a decade is not without culpability.  See these press releases of the last few days from DevonLincolnshire, Northamptonshire,  North Wales, and Warwickshire. An obvious PR exercise against austerity but how much did it cost and by whom was it sanctioned?


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I have opined in the past that Justices of the Peace seem to be more harshly treated for alleged transgressions than members of the professional judiciary. The recent case of a judge threatening to jail a 14 year old child if she cried in court whilst her mother was giving evidence is a case in point. HH has been criticised by the Court of Appeal. 

Such flagrant bullying of a minor should not be concluded with just a rap across the legal knuckles. He should be charged with misconduct. If it were a magistrate making those remarks s/he would be on the scrapheap in short order. Whether it is right that part time unpaid lay J.P.s should be dealt with on a different basis from full or part time professional judiciary is another matter to be debated at another time. 


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I have recently had a dispute on Twitter on the worthiness of young magistrates cf their older counterparts. Whilst a fresh pair of eyes looking at a situation cannot be criticised, as a reason for having a minimum age of 18 it does not hold water. Barely out of school and with, according to latest science, a still not fully developed brain, it is unlikely that at such an age justice can be dispensed with maturity, wisdom and unfettered by personal considerations.  This argument can of course be developed for many more words. The representative of diversity protagonists seem to be virtually unassailable these days  but for those interested I have tweeted a poll on Twitter @bloggingJP on this topic. Whether you agree with me or not make your opinion public anonymously.  


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I am increasingly convinced that the selection process for magistrates is flawed. During my time on the bench it was common knowledge that there were perhaps 5%-10% of colleagues who were not intellectually or otherwise of a standard comparable with the job. Sanctions were rarely applied. Already this month four magistrates have been before the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.  Of these two have been removed from the magistracy owing to their failure to commit to the minimum number of sittings required and a third for drug possession. The fourth behaved in what only can be described in a crassly ignorant manner not befitting her position and was fortunate IMHO for not suffering the same fate as the other three. 

Altogether this year twelve Justices of the Peace have been removed from the magistracy the majority for failing to sit the minimum meagre requirement of a half day every fortnight; a schedule which does not allow the skills or knowledge necessary to be embodied in a lay magistrate sitting as a...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
During my time as an active JP I was not personally in a court from which a defendant had escaped although there were a couple of such episodes in an adjoining courtroom.  In my very early days there usually was a uniformed police officer in the remand court and others in the vicinity as witnesses to one case or another.  That level of security tailed off in the late nineties. Some docks were secure particularly in the remand courts but others presented no barrier to a determined miscreant who might have decided to abscond or do harm to those present. Recently two violent offenders breached what little there was of court security at Worcester Crown Court and Grimsby Crown Court respectively. I am a blogger and not a research statistician. There are no easily obtained statistics on the numbers of individuals who have attempted or actually achieved an escape from court.  The nearest document of significance is listed below.  It is not dated nor does it offer the aforementioned numbers; I would opine that that is deliberate...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
It is extremely risky and perhaps foolhardy to describe the actions of others in life and death situations when sitting safely at a keyboard.  I will take my chances. When people sign up for the armed forces or the fire or police service they know that they are likely to be in some physical danger at some time(s) in their career.  Those who are promoted to leadership roles must have indicated to their superiors that in addition to perhaps exhibiting rare skills of management or expertise that they have not forgotten the basics of the job; ie to run towards the danger whilst the rest of us run from it.  It seems that the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the time of the Westminster terrorist attack had forgotten these basics.  SHAME ON HIM! 

Police: ‘Mental Health Related’

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

For some while, it has been suggested that the police service need to define what they mean by an incident being ‘mental health related’. You know those claims you’ve heard may times about how X percent of police demand or police time is connected to mental health related jobs? … well, it’s always been true that we’ve never been entirely consistent or sure of what we’re counting.

When I first ventured the 20% figure on this BLOG many years ago, I knew what I was counting: I’d been keeping tallies as a response inspector of things going on whilst I was at work and would often take a snapshot of –

  • Detainees in custody flagged as having a mental health condition, or a warning marker for suicide or self-harm.
  • What percentage of people who are currently reported missing are absent from mental health care or whilst suspected to be at risk of their mental state?
  • Of all the 999 and 101 calls that land in a snapshot period (usually one or two hours), what percentage were in some what ‘mental...

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Police: Even More on ABD

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

Today the College of Paramedics produced their position statement on Acute Behavioural Disturbance and it adds weigh to those tomes I’ve previously pushed as authorities or resources on the subject. ABD continues to be a subject of debate, arising recently in another post I did during a pre-inquest hearing in Bournemouth in to the death of Mr Douglas Oak who was 35yrs old. In that matter, Dorset Police called for support from South West Ambulance Service after believing Mr Oak was suffering from ABD and the subsequent issues with ambulance attendance have led to a comparatively rare direction from the Coroner who is inquiring in to Mr Oak’s death at a young age.

Bearing in mind a full inquest is yet to occur and not scheduled to take place until 2019, the Coroner gave the ambulance service two weeks to produce more material on ABD and their policy or response to it, and suggested that unless she was satisfied she may issue a preventing future deaths report prior to the full inquest occurring. I’m not sure I’ve ever known...

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