On 12th August 2016 I commented on the judge who threw verbal caution to the wind and swore back at an offender who had used his basic knowledge of olde English to vent his feelings at her. Not surprisingly the matter reached the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office which yesterday cleared her of misconduct. Truth be told I`m a little surprised but not disappointed. Like the rest of us judges are human and have fallibilities. What did enter my mind was the recollection of apparently heavy treatment dished out to Justices of the Peace for a lot less. I suppose some are still more equal than others.
All too often blogger and public reaction to crown court sentencing is less than enthusiastic. In an interesting and sometimes amusing report in the Liverpool Echo sentencing comments from the city`s crown court judges in 2017 are worth a few minutes reading time IMHO of course. Access the page here.
This week is my first back in 2018 as I took the week off after New Year.
Can I thank all the staff who worked over Operation Silent Night. As a smaller force we need to draw on roles across the force to deal with peaks in demand. I am aware some of you were in unusual duties. I got the chance to speak to a number of you on New Year’s Eve and we were embracing the one team effort. The Christmas period was well managed in terms of demand, so thank you.
I am afraid Christmas and New Year saw some nasty assaults on officers, which can never be regarded as acceptable. As of this week I shall be submitting an impact statement as part of any prosecution file where one of our officers or staff is assaulted. This has had a good impact in West Yorkshire where the idea originated.
We have been working closely with CPS in our region to get it right and will be making sure for each prosecution of an assault on one of our officers or staff, that the court understands...
An apparently simple case last week at Teesside Magistrates Court has left me thinking. It involved the defendant being found guilty for the second time of carrying a weapon and receiving a suspended custodial sentence. What set what`s left of my little grey cells firing off in all directions was the conclusion reached by the bench that the knife in question was accepted as being for trade purposes; namely for decorating but also an "offensive weapon". Whilst I was active such a defence (for trade) was an acceptable defence against the charge. Has that changed? The magistrates seem to be in two minds on this matter and have effectively driven the judicial vehicle with the hand brake applied. There is no mention in the report if his advocate was considering an appeal. Make up your mind after you read all about it here.
A new year and amid an overdue recognition by senior legal eagles on both sides of the bench that the quality of British justice is in freefall from which it might never recover it is curious to read the last 2017 edition of the Scunthorpe Telegraph copied below highlighting what I too recollect at my own court was happening around two decades ago. It all seems so petty now with not an inkling of the savage financial cuts which began in 2010. Kenneth Clarke who is merrily trying to usurp the decision of the British public and have the Leave decision overturned didn`t just turn a blind eye to imposed cuts as Justice Secretary in 2010; he thoroughly encouraged them with a 23% reduction in funding that year and was proud to proclaim he was the first Cabinet Minister to satisfy the Treasury of having done its wishes.
"One piece of news hitting the headlines in Scunthorpe 20 years ago was the decision to stop the supply of free biscuits to magistrates. John Towndrow, vice-chairman of the Humberside Magistrates’...
You guys seemed to use the BLOG a lot last year, way more than any other single year since I started in 2011 and that was really encouraging on one level. However, I couldn’t help but notice the vast majority of the increased use was down to two things —
The series of posts which related to the Policing and Crime Act amendments of the Mental Health Act 1983, introduced in to law last December.
A series of posts in which I just said again the same things I’ve said for years, only in light of new events, seeking to ram home the same point as before.
There are now well over 700 posts on here – many of them saying the same thing over and over again and I don’t under-estimate that dripping like a tap is actually a necessary part of drilling home a message, particularly one that doesn’t always sit easily or appear straight-forward, but the essential messages in this blog are simple:
THIS BLOG – KEY ISSUES
We need to take responsibility for understanding the law of the country as it actually is, rather than as it’s...
A change of subject today, but another topic very close to my heart.
Did you know that hospitals can be fined £200 for every patient that is kept waiting in an Ambulance at A&E for between 30 minutes and 1 hour?
It gets worse, if kept waiting for over an hour that fine can increase to £1,000.
Why are patients left waiting in an Ambulance once they have arrived at A&E? There is only one answer, government cuts.
I am not bashing the NHS, A&E or the Ambulance/Paramedic Service, I am laying the blame squarely at the door of Central Government, and it has been going on for several years.
Government cuts have led to fewer doctors, fewer nurses, bed-blocking (Local Authorities cannot accept patients being discharged from hospital to a Care Home etc due to their budgets being cut by government and this has a knock-on effect).
Hospitals are struggling financially because of the government cuts, and their situation is being made many times worse by being fined for failing to perform at the required level because of government...
Compare and contrast the following two pieces of law –
Section 136(2) says someone removed to a Place of Safety may be taken there to be examined by a registered medical practitioner and interviewed by an Approved Mental Health Professional; and of making any necessary arrangements for his treatment or care.
When you read section 135(1), it says someone may be removed to a Place of Safety with a view to the making of an application under the Act, or of making other arrangements for his treatment or care.
The bold is my emphasis – does it matter that the apparent purpose of one of these Place of Safety orders is interview AND arrangements, whereas the other is interview OR arrangements? … is this a distinction without a difference, or could it be crucial to something?! Both seem to imply the purpose of removing someone to a Place of Safety and we often think of 135(1) as being “like s136 but after a court warrant in someone’s own home”, but does this pedantry amount to anything real?
Like many of you I noticed that Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey had been awarded a Knighthood in the New Years Honours List. Like a few of you I actually thought “what the **** did he get that for?”
Now I know the answer. This morning I stumbled upon this
Met Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey has been made a knight for services to policing.
In a citation he is commended for reducing stop and search by 70 per cent while doubling the arrest rate and overseeing a dramatic improvement in the recruitment of officers from ethnic minority backgrounds.
To say that I was shocked is an understatement.
Back in May 2017 I wrote a piece entitled
The reason I wrote it, at the time, had naff all to do with (Sir) Craig Mackey, but more to do with a set of Stop and Search statistics issued by the Mayor of London’s office. Nobody is going to offer me a Knighthood so I can’t be arsed to bring the stats up to date but I don’t suppose the current stats are very...
Happy New Year. There’s a rather chilling post title for you. Not my figures, for once I am relying on our infallible news media.
Apparently, in London, in 2017, there were 80 fatalities due to stabbings etc. Again, according to our news friends, this is an increase from 50 in 2016. Unlike the BBC news reader this morning who portrayed this as an increase of 30%, my ancient abacus calculates this as an increase of 60%.
In response to this shocking storyline well-respected Policing Commentator, former DCI, Peter Kirkham was interviewed last night on Sky News.
Theresa May has blood on her hands.
There is Institutional Racism at the heart of this government.
Just two of the headline-grabbers from the above piece, but both are 100% accurate. Peter put his points across in an excellent manner, leaving nobody in any doubt where the blame actually lies.
As Home Secretary, and latterly Prime Minister, Theresa May has presided over the deconstruction and total emasculation of the Police Service, the dying throes of...