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Police: The Stop & Search Debate

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Another day.

Another grim set of headlines about boys being murdered on our streets.

And, inevitably, the Stop & Search debate comes back round again.

Depressingly, the prevailing tone has become more and more binary – a back-and-forth argument between those who regard Stop & Search as the root of all evil and those who regard it as the solution to everything.

Both perspectives are wrong.

I was a police officer for more than twenty-five years and there are two things that I am absolutely certain of when it comes to Stop & Search:

(1) It saves lives

(2) It isn’t the long term solution to anything

I haven’t given up on hope. I know that there are answers to knife crime – based on the development of a genuine public health approach, sustained over 20+ years and independent of any form of political control.

But it is going to take time. Time that tomorrow’s victims don’t have.

In the meantime, the greatest duty – and privilege – that any police officer will ever have is to save a life. That’s what we need them to be doing...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Facts; that`s today`s simple post.  Too many observers throw out emotional statistics about short custodial sentences eg those imprisoned for non payment of council tax.  Last year there were five such cases. 

There`s a growing trend from some quarters that above every other requirement the magistracy must be as diverse as the population it serves.  I disagree.  Justices of the Peace must be selected on perceived ability to do the task for which they have applied. If that procedure produces anomalies cf diversity statistics  then it is regrettable but must not lead to selection by quota. Latest such statistics are below.


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
A long long time ago when trams and later trolley buses travelled our high streets our justice system was recognised by most as amongst the finest in the world. A system admittedly ruled and administered by a public school and Oxbridge educated minority but a system nevertheless where noblesse oblige much of the time. And then came the swinging revolution begun in the 1960s where the cockney sparrow became the tweet of the masses. Prime Ministers` lies did not remain hidden for a generation but soon became public knowledge. Diversity in its myriad forms became the name of the game and legal protection was legislated for it in ever widening patterns.  Increasingly the opinions of the masses were sought and occasionally acted upon. Parliament enacted laws in ever more areas of our lives; much to the good of all but not all to the good.  Margaret Thatcher, loved by many and perhaps hated by more changed society almost as much as World War 2 but with fewer casualties. But there were still areas where civic cohesion was...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I have been posting on the problems of court interpreter services for six years.  Before I retired I was in a position to report from the "front line".  Now like most of us who become aware of so many matters from media of all kinds my knowledge is limited. It appears that I am in good company. The Ministry of so called Justice does not know or says it does not know of the true extent of the problems dealing with those witnesses and defendants who say they require the use of an interpreter. Those last few words are quite deliberate.  There is no requirement for an objective standard to be used when a court assesses the need for such services. Whist an active bench chairman I (and my colleagues) was often faced with a defendant at pre trial stage requesting an interpreter when to all intent and purpose that person`s age, apparent intellectual capabilities, occupation and years of UK residence would indicate that his/her knowledge of English was well able of being of a standard to...

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Police: LEGAL AID?????????????????

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
The availability of legal aid has been reducing for the last nine years; every worker within magistrates courts is well aware of this and the consequences it poses for ensuring that every defendant has a fair crack of the whip.  Quite simply the concept of a level playing field between the state and the citizen no longer exists as a practice or a philosophy.  It is now shown that in our crown courts where the consequences for unrepresented defendants are so much more severe than in the lower court reductions in legal aid are all too apparent.  A short article in today`s Law Society Gazette is worth a glance.  


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
It is unusual that a judgement at the Court of Appeal might appeal (excuse the pun) to the reader of this site. However today`s result on when is "opinion" "opinion" is quite interesting. 

Police: The Missing 20,000

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I find myself caught somewhere between incredibly angry and wearily lost for words. 

A week or two ago, Sajid Javid – the current Home Secretary – pledged that, if he became prime minister, he would put 20,000 more police officers on the streets.

Speaking on the radio a few days ago, Boris Johnson suggested that “it is vital that they (the police) are properly funded… I thoroughly agree that we need more police out on the street.” In fact, he agreed with the suggestion that 20,000 more officers were needed.

Yesterday on social media, another of the Conservative leadership contenders, Jeremy Hunt, accepted bluntly that “police cuts went too far.” 

20,000 is of course the (significantly rounded down) number of police officers cut from forces in England & Wales since the coalition government came to power in 2010. (Actually, 44,000 is an even more telling number. It’s the one, supplied by the National Audit Office, that includes PCSO and Police Staff cuts.)

And here we are now, presented...

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Police: A Story About De-escalation

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

A story about the difficulties of de-escalation –

With two other officers, I once had to try to urgently ‘de-escalate’ a situation involving a suicidal man – most of us have had to do this at one stage and I’ve done it more than once. All the other efforts, thankfully, were successful, but this one wasn’t. The incident took place many years ago and I suspect it will be one of the few incidents from my career I vividly remember for the rest of my life.

The man involved had covered himself in flammable liquid and was suggesting he’d set himself alight – we knew he had a history of serious mental illness and were primarily concerned about his welfare, but what we couldn’t do (as police officers) was the one thing he wanted in order to be persuaded to put the lighter down: a guarantee he wouldn’t go back to prison for the serious offence he’d recently committed. And the offence was very serious, committed shortly after his release from prison after serving a sentence for a very similar offence, towards...

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Police: An amazing opportunity for a vibrant, diverse and young city with amazing communities

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Did you know Coventry is the 11th biggest city in England? It’s bigger than Belfast and Newcastle upon Tyne and across the pond St Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the USA. We all know that right? I’m not so sure. We are a force with three large cities in Birmingham and Wolverhampton too. In any other force Coventry would be the biggest city!

Given the geography of the force it’s quite possible you may never have even been there. However If you are from Cov you are, quite rightly, proud of the place.

Coventry 2021

In 2021 the rest of the country is going to get excited about the city because Coventry is the UK City of Culture.

This is a massive opportunity for West Midlands Police. I want to explain why this is important and get us thinking about how we maximise this opportunity. I want to do this now as in July we’ll see the tempo of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games pick up and it’s important we max out on Coventry first!


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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Only a tiny minority of the population has been or will be involved in a terrorist attack. Of these unfortunates a significant number has been or will be killed.  In those circumstances an inquest would normally be held in order to establish the facts of what happened.  Unlike court proceedings it will be inquisitorial not adversarial.  All the government agencies involved will be represented by highly qualified legal teams funded by public money; your taxes and my taxes. The relatives of the bereaved will not be so funded.  Legal aid is usually unavailable for such people unless "it is the public interest" and only after an intrusive and means tested process.  That is one example of how our government hides its secrets.  It is a disgrace about which most people don`t know or care. It is a prime example of how very rotten our governing classes have become. It is yet another example of the bedrock of our society disintegrating before our very eyes.  But of course the MOJ has an explanation: "Our thoughts remain with those...

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