How often in general discussion do we ask for a remark to be repeated because although we heard what was being said we hadn`t actually been listening. A rarely mentioned benefit of chairing a court is that one trains oneself to listen to everything that is said. As I was listening to a weather forecast on TV last week the forecaster began by saying,"Most of us will have a wet and windy night". Speaking to my wife for both our sakes I remarked,"Not me I hope."
I will be away from home on Election Day, so I sent it in by post.
And I really struggled with where to where to put my ‘X’. The truth is that I didn’t want to support any of them; that I feel completely betrayed by all of them. Voting matters though and so I gave my support to the candidate who appeared to me to represent the least worst option.
But it wasn’t much of a choice. (And, by the way, how on earth did we end up in a place where ‘least worst option’ was the best that anyone could offer.)
The Conservative-led governments of the last ten years have:
Decimated policing (cutting 44,000 officers and staff between 2010-18)
Decimated the criminal justice system
Decimated the prison system
Decimated the probation service
Decimated pretty much every other part of the public sector
The tragic circumstances last week involving a convicted terrorist who was freed early according to the law at the time in question has led to many claims and counter claims about which party was ultimately responsible. That debate conducted whilst the crime scene was still cordoned off and the relatives of those murdered still in shock was a disgusting spectacle which reinforced my and many others` opinions that we are being asked to vote for the most inadequate pair of party leaders in my adult lifetime. However the question of early release is one considered by every magistrates bench in every magistrates court every day of the week. On sentencing a miscreant to immediate custody the chairman of the bench after stating the exact term must tell the person in the dock that it is likely that s/he will be released on license after having served half the sentence aforestated. During my time when I was responsible for such pronouncements I made them through gritted teeth. It seemed to me then and it seems to me now that it...
The headlines are very election dominated at the moment and indeed there is a great deal of work ongoing in the force around the election. There are a number of marginal seats in the force and election visits are thick and fast. There is a comprehensive operation in place. The murder of Jo Cox MP during the referendum and the volatile political environment reminds us all how important it is that the democratic process is safeguarded and protected.
An election on the run in to Christmas is unusual and comes at a time when the force is getting busy. I have spoken to a few of you on the Christmas market in Birmingham and also had some nice letters of thanks for the warm reception you have provided for visitors. I am aware the Silent Night draws in staff from all over the force to help out. Your flexibility is really appreciated.
Chief Constable David Thompson
While we have recently seen the security threat level drop I would underline that security remains at the forefront of these operations. After the terrible murders in London Bridge...
It has come to my notice that accessing the comment feature via "no comments", itself a bit of a misnomer, can be impossible with some browsers; certainly I know that readers using Safari have had this problem. My advice is to use Chrome for this purpose if others fail.
It goes almost without saying but I`ll say it anyway; sentencing structures in this country are (to be polite) in need of drastic changes to meet with the drastic changes in society and its mores and the knowledge we now have on the sciences concerned with human behaviour. To add to the mix no government has been or will be willing to pay the £billions necessary to face the reality of what must be spent to halt the seemingly intractable problem of criminality and the measures required to protect society from such whether the criminality is on line fraud sometimes and sometimes not covered by insurance but where there is no physical harm or violence or gangs of rampaging youths with knives or guns in their hands as is now happening all over the country. Into the mix there is one fact which needs to be faced; about 70% of all acquisitive crime including harm to victims or property is committed by those addicted to alcohol and/or prohibited drugs. The definition of criminal offensiveness is now almost beyond...
A tweet from the journalist Kay Burley caught my eye this morning. It was about nurses.
More specifically, it was about concerns raised by the Royal College of Nursing that a majority of their members believe they cannot provide the standard of care that they want for their patients. An RCN spokesperson had this to say:
“Nurses aren’t able to sit with their patients, help them with their food…help them bath if they can’t bath themselves.”
If you were to ask most nurses why they joined, I suspect they would tell you simply that it was because they wanted to help people: to care for the sick, to mend the broken, to hold the hands of those whose lives are ebbing, to comfort the relatives of those who have gone. And there aren’t enough of them to be able to do those things any more. At least, not enough to do those things well in every case where simple human kindness is the only thing that really matters.
The Health Foundation charity estimate that there are almost 44,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS. And the RCN suggest that more...
On New Year’s Eve 2018, a man seriously assaulted a number of people at Manchester Victoria railway station – including one of the police officers who arrested him shortly after the attack began. I remember blogging about the incident, frustrated at the immediate calls for his extra-judicial murder and frustrate that many suggested that he’d “play the mental health card” or that him being ‘sectioned’ under the Mental Health Act was some kind of ‘easy way out’. We often see these things in cases of serious crime involving someone affected by their mental health. All normal so far.
Mahdi Mohamud was sentenced to life imprisonment today, with a recommendation from the judge that he serve a minimum of 11yrs. In addition, the judge imposed a so-called ‘hybrid order’ under s45A of the Mental Health Act 1983, which means that Mohamud will be detained in a psychiatric hospital in the first instance and this short post just seeks to explain what s45A does in practice, in the context of this particular case....
The tragic case of Harry Dunn, the motor cyclist who was killed by the wife of an American diplomat who was driving on the wrong side of the road has faded from the headlines but what will not have faded from the memories of all British drivers who have driven their own cars abroad is the fleeting moment when they too have momentarily dropped their concentration and found themselves on the wrong side of the road in continental Europe. It has happened to me and I got away with it. The demands from many quarters that she be extradited to face justice reminded me of a case I recollected from 2013.
« Je conduis habituellement à droite donc ma culpabilité dans cette affaire de conduite imprudente est moindre. » could have been the words of Alexis Fleury of Orleans in the Appeal Court six years ago. Or in English..........“I usually drive on the right so my culpability in this matter of careless driving is lessened”. And their Lordships agreed with him.
Whilst the principle and logic of the decision is...
Exactly ten years ago I blogged as copied below. It seems that despite all that has happened since then the police have learned little of what the public expects. Even with hindsight I don`t believe that there is a willingness for police to learn and that is as dire for us, the public, as it is for them.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of ACPO wrote recently in The Times with his recommendations for a restructuring of policing. He appears to be taking not unnaturally a top down approach as opposed to giving consideration to the requirements at a local level where the vast majority of the population is not a victim or terrorism or cross border organised crime. He criticises, "people who are claiming to represent communities" who suggest that more police on the beat is what is required by offering ridiculous statistics about a patrolling officer rarely coming across a burglary being committed. In this statement he reveals his...