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Police: KNOWN UNKNOWNS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I think it can still be statistically accurate to comment that a majority of citizens has never appeared at a magistrates` court either as defendant or witness although it is likely that the trend is on the increase.  It is reckoned by some authorities that about one third of all men aged over 30 do have a conviction at the lower court although motoring offences are liable to be responsible for many. The statistics are just not kept officially.  On the other hand it is statistically accurate to note that availability of legal aid for defendants has been reduced drastically in the last decade. Also well known is the sentence reduction available to those appearing both in the lower and crown courts who plead guilty before trial thus ensuring that all things being equal there will be a reduction of one third in level of sentence.  Perhaps the major change in sentencing over the last twenty years has been the use of Sentencing Guidelines; a format imposed on all sentencers in what was seen by some as an overdue attempt to impose...

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Police: OFFENDERS` MENTAL HEALTH?:LORD KNOWS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
The House of Lords has again been in the news.  Indeed its very existence in its current form is no longer off the wall thinking.  It has been variously represented as being able to offer unbiased by party political protocols opinions reflecting those of the "people".  Its members have also been accused of belonging to a £300 per attendance sinecure where there is no conception of the forces operating within the common people. Yesterday was so called International Women`s Day and there was a corresponding debate in the upper house on that topical subject where "The noble Baroness, Lady Corston, recommended that, “Sentencers must be able to access timely psychiatric reports and fail to remand in custody/sentence if not available”. However, there is an issue in getting these reports as well as a lack of mental health referral places available, so judges or magistrates are likely to remand someone who is in the community and at risk of further offending due to their mental health issues rather than...

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Police: Don’t Go Changing

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

So much of the current talk in policing is of change.

Of the pressing need for reform.

And, truth be told, there is a great deal in this job that needs sorting out.

But, amongst all the conversations about things like modernisation and transformation, it seems to me that we’re in danger of missing something of fundamental importance.

Where is the talk about all that is precious in policing?

About the things that must never change? About the things you cannot put a price on, but that we cannot afford to be without?

Things like…

(1) The simple desire to make a difference

Ask most good Coppers why they joined and the answer will be a simple one. They just wanted to make a difference.

They still do.

It was never about money or status, recognition or reward. It was just about changing the world, one life at a time.

It still is.

(2) The privilege of public service

As the old wisdom suggests, ‘whoever wants to become great among you, must be your servant…’

That precious and old fashioned thing called duty. That...

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Police: Be Bold for Change: International Women’s Day 2017

Written by RSS Poster Crimestoppers

It’s International Women’s Day today, a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women across the globe. This year, we’ve asked Tania Carrigan, Head of Communications at Crimestoppers, to reflect on challenge, change and women that she finds inspirational. 

Tania Carrigan, Head of Communications

Q. What does your role at Crimestoppers involve?

A.  I lead and manage the Communications team (Media, Digital, Marketing and Campaigns); my main responsibilities include developing and implementing the organisation’s communication strategy; developing the Crimestoppers brand and driving digital innovation. I have seven people in my team and together we support Crimestoppers activity across the UK: it’s busy, but we have a lot of fun, too!

Q. How did you get to where you are today?

A. I left university with a degree in politics ready to make my mark in international development. I was lucky to secure an overseas role for an NGO, but it wasn’t for...

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Police: PaCA – The Consultation Requirement

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

This blog is part of the series which will cover, in detail, the amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 within the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

For background to the series, see the introductory post which outlines why I’m doing this and what other specific issues will be covered concerning laws that will come in to effect in the next few months. Current Home Office estimations of timescales suggest early May – but this is subject to a number of factors and may change.


If you look at the so-called Street Triage schemes, most of them are predicated on the idea of police officers contacting a mental health profession, usually a nurse, and seeking information or advice about a person they have met at an incident. The nurse may opt to turn up to the job and do a face-to-face assessment or the may advise from wherever they are, by telephone. Many areas claim that since the introduction of street triage their use of s136 has reduced, in some cases quite considerably. This idea lies behind the new legal...

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Police: PaCA – Operational Officers

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

This blog is part of the series which will cover, in detail, the amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 within the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

For background to the series, see the introductory post which outlines why I’m doing this and what other specific issues will be covered concerning laws that will come in to effect in the next few months. Current Home Office estimations of timescales suggest early May – but this is subject to a number of factors and may change.


These are the Mental Health Act amendments, stripped to the absolute bone for ease of digestion by operational police officers.  It may also be a useful summary for service users / carers or other front line professionals, but it’s written for officers who need to read it!

Click on the ‘more detail’ links to take you to the main posts I’ve written on the amendments I’m briefly summarising here! –



Police: DECRIMINALISE DRUGS:DON`T BET ON IT

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
This retired magistrate  has argued for years with former colleagues and others in addition to posts on this site that there should be decriminalisation of personal drug use. I do not intend to repeat those arguments now. You, the reader, will probably have your own fixed opinion.  A basic truth is that it is difficult to predict how and when a government of whatever complexion would have the majority and the cajones to tackle such a situation.  It has been left, as in so many other examples, to individual constabularies as to how they face the problem of personal drug use within budgetary requirements that force sometimes unpalatable choices to be made.  A start has been made in Glasgow although unsurprisingly there has been much controversy. This week Durham Police have announced their own plans to curb the ravages in society that drug addiction fuels.  Piecemeal attempts such as those will not effect a cure in their own areas of jurisdiction. But they should provide a base for the argument to be...

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Police: PaCA: Anywhere Other Than a Home

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

This blog is part of the series which will cover, in detail, the amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 within the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

For background to the series, see the introductory post which outlines why I’m doing this and what other specific issues will be covered concerning laws that will come in to effect in the next few months. Current Home Office estimations of timescales suggest early May – but this is subject to a number of factors and may change.


The time for debate about whether or not the police should have powers under the Mental Health Act (MHA) in someone’s home are over: the Bill became an Act and the law is now framed, beyond discussion. Whilst the extent of s136 MHA has been widened, the summary of it is “you can use section 136 anywhere except a home where someone lives”.  This post covers the detail of what that means and will get in to that whole debate about gardens and garages, etc..  But you can forever ditch that tortuous phrase “place to which the public has...

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Police: PaCA – Twenty Four Hours!

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

This blog is part of the series which will cover, in detail, the amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 within the Policing and Crime Act 2017. For background to the series, see the introductory post which outlines why I’m doing this and what other specific issues will be covered concerning laws that will come in to effect in the next few months. Current Home Office estimations of timescales suggest early May – but this is subject to a number of factors and may change.


Following commencement, the limit for holding someone in any location as a Place of Safety will reduce from 72 to 24 hours. – see s136(2A) MHA. This will bring England and Wales in to line with Scotland who capped Place of Safety detention at 24 hours almost fifteen years ago. I will admit, this is the amendment I’m most worried about in the whole programme: we know there are various reasons why assessment under s136 exceeds 24hrs on a fairly frequent basis; indeed there are not-entirely-rare examples of 72hrs proving insufficient because...

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Police: A RECORDER IN NEED OF ADVICE?

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
At the risk of correction by those who might claim to know better or indeed do know better than I an unusual court hearing caught my eye this morning.  Although the case took place in the crown court at its core there is a consideration for all sentencers.

“Flying a plane is not easy. I know because I have taken flying lessons myself. Flying an aeroplane is not an easy thing to do.”These were some of a recorder`s words in sentencing Wesley Tierney at Cambridge Crown Court last week after flying aeroplanes without holding a licence or having the correct training. I can identify with those few words of the sentencer having had a similar experience.  However later in the report he is quoted as remarking, "you have pleaded guilty means I am going to give you a suspended sentence.” 

An early plea of guilty indicates a sentence reduction of one third; at least that was a basic part of my training. It does not in my experience allow an immediate custodial sentence to be altered to a suspended sentence order....

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The Justice of the Peace (898)
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PC Bloggs - a Twenty-first Century Police Officer (116)
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