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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Yesterday there was a House of Commons debate during which there was the question noted below on magistrates` sentencing powers:-

This perennial answer to a perennial question prompted me to relook at some of my previous comments on this subject about which I have consistently opined that the Magistrates Association and a few others might cry to the moon for increased sentencing options; namely to 12 months custody, but that cry will be as flotsam on the waves of a balmy ocean. For those interested in this  brief history of time; namely that 12 months, just type "magistrates sentencing powers" in the search box.

Up to the middle of the century JPs could sentence offenders to hanging. They could also sentence to transportation to North America and the Caribbean; to whipping and the stocks and to fines. Imprisonment was used mainly for debtors.  So for some "hangers and floggers" the good old days are far behind but for the most part I believe that a majority of my former colleagues is satisfied with the powers they currently possess.  


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Just a snippet today on a matter that was becoming evident some years ago and therefore within my personal knowledge....just. The sacking......oops......redeployment of CPS prosecutors began a decade ago. It was apparent from then onwards that some of those freelancing prosecutors appearing before us were ill equipped for the job either through personal incompetence or from being poorly briefed insofar as they lacked some or all of the details of the cases allocated to them. In its latest report published this week HM Crown Prosecution Inspectorate (HMCPSI) has made these failings official. Read the report here

Police: The Killing of George Floyd

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I’m struggling for words – struggling to write anything coherent. The best I seem to be able to manage is this collection of thoughts about the killing of George Floyd…

  • The greatest duty – the greatest privilege – that any police officer could ever have is to save the life of another human being.
  • The killing of George Floyd represents an absolute betrayal of everything I have ever believed in – everything I ever stood for as a police officer.
  • And I know that every good police officer I have ever known would say exactly the same.
  • But the thing is that it’s not just George Floyd. It’s every other case as well. Every other story. Every other piece of history.
  • Because this has been going on – in one form or another – for hundreds of years.
  • At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, Britain is not America. And British policing is not remotely the same as American policing. But that doesn’t for one moment mean that there’s nothing to see here. There’s a whole host of things we’ve got wrong too.
  • Stephen...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

On 6th April I posted "COVID-19 PROSECUTION// THE FINAL CHAPTER".  The case was widely reported.  Provisional data released two weeks ago shows that under lockdown legislation 13,445 FPNs have been recorded by forces in England between March 27 and May 11 while 799 were issued in Wales in the same period – a total of 14,244. National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chairman Martin Hewitt is now being urged to launch a review of all fixed penalty notices (FPNs) handed out in England and Wales using the regulations. Of the 43 regional police forces in England and Wales, the Metropolitan Police has recorded the highest number of fines with 906, followed by Thames Valley Police with 866, and North Yorkshire with 843. Warwickshire issued the fewest with just 31. How many of these fixed penalty notices have been paid is unknown but it is likely that the 50% reduction for prompt payment will have persuaded a large number to have been settled. ...

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Police: Chief’s blog: it’s going to be tough

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

This weekend saw extraordinary scenes in the USA. As men set off for space riots broke out across American cities. It has a striking symmetry to the tensions in America on the day in 1969 when Apollo 11 set off for the moon as Black Americans protested about racial injustice. Views captured by the famous poem of the time by Gil Scott Heron.  It is depressing so little has changed.

In August 2014 I wrote a blog for you about watching America respond to a series of black men die in incidents with the police whilst I was on holiday in the US.

The death of George Floyd was quite simply shocking and a horrific act by someone who is meant to uphold the law. It had no place in policing and a former officer has been charged with murder.

Over the years I have much contact with US policing. It is so very different to what we have in the UK.  There is no national approach. Specifically no common approach to the use of force. The best effort was one produced by the Police Foundation (a charity) and based...

This police blog continues,


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

A decade or so ago a regular annual check on the judiciary regulatory body website now the Judicial Conduct  Investigations Office would have revealed decisions for about two dozen magistrates whose actions, speech and/or behaviour had fallen foul of the content of one or more of the 20 pages comprising The Judicial Conduct (Magistrates) Rules [available on line as a pdf file].  This year to date nine such JPs have had the ignominy of their case details published on line albeit in a highly abbreviated form. All such cases at the JCIO have the minimum of details published.  Indeed the whole process from initial inquiries to final decision is about as straightforward as the maze at Hampton Court. It is shrouded in secrecy behind the apparent clarity of the 20 pages of directions and procedures to be followed. Of the aforementioned nine, three magistrates were sacked owing to their failure to sit the minimum number of times required; viz. 13 half days annually.  I have always felt little...

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Police: The Impact of Policing

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

For some time now, I’ve been concerned about the impact on vulnerable people of ‘normalising’ the involvement of the police in their mental health care.  Regular readers will no doubt recall some observations I’ve made based on real cases or things I’ve learned by listening to people.  It’s because of my concern, I decided a blog is called for, despite now writing here much less often.  It follows my reading of a case which yet again makes plain this point, but it actually goes one step further than anything I’ve come across before: the impact of involvement of the police was directly linked in a Preventing Future Deaths (PDF) report from a Coroner as a ‘probable’ cause of death.  Of course, as with all situations involving complex and vulnerable people, there is rarely one single explanation for why someone died and it’s not listed as the only thing which contributed to someone’s death.  There were nine things overall, but remove any of them and would we still have an inquest? … who knows.


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Police: Lie in the Sky

Written by RSS Poster McNoddy

Sometimes the British media need called out for their collective lies.  Scotland needs to tell these shysters that we are no longer on our knees and that their allegations are well known to be false and manufactured. 

Not one word of truth uttered.  Just bile.


© McNoddy 
Published by Toy Town™ Times


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

It has been variously estimated that around 70% of all crime is alcohol or drug related. Where alcohol has been indirectly related to a violent criminal event and not the principal offence in itself 39% has been the figure estimated.  These numbers are well known to all those involved in the legal system.  Curfews, overnight detentions, fines and occasionally imprisonment have failed to control the problem.  Those alcoholics with means can avail themselves of many medical and pseudo medical practices privately but they are a minority.  Today the government announced its latest initiative to get a grip of this problem; alcohol sensitive tags which measure alcohol in sweat  to be worn around the ankle.  

The results of the two pilots seem too good to be true. It seems to me that the counselling throughout the required period of use and the actions taken when breach is suspected will make or break this scheme. There is no mention in the press release of the probation service whose officers will be at the so called coal face...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Just over ten years ago I posted an item copied below. Readers might wish to add their own ideas of what makes a good magistrate.

by TheJusticeofthePeace @ 15. Feb. 2010. – 16:55:52 

A few years ago........about ten or so...........when applying to be appointed as a Justice of the Peace a candidate had to declare which political party had been the recipient of his/her last general election vote, had to demonstrate that "common sense" was a faculty s/he had and could be demonstrated and that he was or was not a Freemason. With the current new advice from the Ministry of Justice the last of those three declarations has been lifted; the others were removed some years ago. So now those who objected to having to demonstrate common sense, owning up to which party they voted for or confirming or denying they were on the square can apply in good conscience to my boss Jack Straw via the Appointments Committee. 

I wonder what changes in the Ministry`s estimate of what makes a good magistrate will be mandatory in 2020? 

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