Blogs from Police &   
 other Emergency Service Workers

Ambulance: A Safe Place Creating Community

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

I spoke on a panel a few weeks ago about safe injection sites, (SCS) also known as overdose prevention centers and supervised consumption spaces. These are places where drug users can use in a clean, safe environment under the watchful eyes of trained individuals, some medical personnel, other people who may have used themselves in the past.  I was one of seven on the panel that included a person with lived experience, an ER doctor, a woman involved in Rhode Island’s efforts to start a SCS, a former commissioner of mental health, a woman who had written extensively about these sites and most important of all, Sam Rivera, who started and runs New York City’s first two supervised injection sites.  

Currently the federal crack house statutes prevent people from running buildings for the purposes of people consuming illegal drugs.  It was designed to stop landlords who knowingly ran crack houses and shooting galleries where many people overdosed and died.  That said, the justice department...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Without the rule of law a society cannot exist as such.  The law might be unjust or weighted to suit particular interests or political factions but it must exist in practice or the only law which will be in place will be the law of the jungle.  I suppose as a rough guide a primative legal system emerged in England with the establishment of farming communities about 2000 BC although about 8000 years earlier in the Middle East hunter gatherers began the process of civilisation we know today. A few hundred years before Mosaic law was offered to the children of Israel the Babylonian Hammurabi issued the Code of Hammurabi which he claimed to have received from Shamash the Babylonian god of justice. Unlike earlier Sumerian law codes such as the Code of Ur-Nammu, which had focused on compensating the victim of the crime the Law of Hammurabi was one of the first law codes to place greater emphasis on the physical punishment of the perpetrator. It prescribed specific penalties for each crime and is among the...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

"Essentially, the public interest defence means that, even if the meaning of a statement is potentially inaccurate or defamatory, there is an added protection if those statements – whether they concern high-profile policy decisions or the use of public money – speak to matters of high importance, and are published responsibly with an opportunity to comment." 
The preceding extract is from Byline Times in which was described the recent legal ordeal of Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr. As a non lawyer I can only attempt the leaps of imagination of those pinhead angels who can offer a truly authoritative opinion on the legal machinations which must have perplexed many.  My bottom line of this business is that at its root an inaccurate published statement can be considered lawful if circumstances so demand.  However one views the plaintiff`s moral or political position it is in my humble opinion a verdict which would be highly suitable for appeal so that fellow non lawyers might understand...

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Ambulance: War on Citizens

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

The best TV show of all time to me is The Wire, a five-season drama about the city of Baltimore and the battles on its streets between the police and the drug dealers. The drama was crisp, the dialogue was authentic and there were no simple answers offered.

The same people who did the Wire have a new show on HBO called We Own this City, a six-part series about corruption in the Baltimore Police Department based on real events.  The series follows cops who get indoctrinated into a corrupt system, and many learn that as long as they do the work — get drug and gun seizures to stack on a table to show the world — they can get away with whatever they want, including making illegal arrests, robbing drug dealers of their money, and sometimes confiscating their drugs only to resell them, and abusing overtime by putting in for hours not worked.  Theirs is a nasty job and they reward themselves lucratively, and while they put some bad guys away, there is a hell of a lot of collateral damage to citizens who get their...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Considering that over a million cases annually are adjudicated annually at 150 magistrates courts very few come to public attention via local news media. Statistically that`s hardly surprising when although conviction rate is 82% so many offences are relatively trivial for us as observers but possibly life changing for those involved. Of course the government issues court statistics like a wedding venue supplies confetti and much like confetti it is the shower overload which provides the spectacle not the individual pieces of snowflake sized white paper.  It is only by digging deeper into individual cases that a true feeling of how justice for the average individual citizen  operates in this country can be ascertained. 

Relatively few defendants at magistrates courts are remanded in custody.  The default guidance is that strict reasons must prevail.  Indeed I cannot remember when a such a remand in my court was any way controversial.  But I do think I can say that personally no such action was taken without a...

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Police: Article 2 v Article 5

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

You know that situation, often covered on this blog, whereby someone requires hospital admission under the MHA, but there’s no bed, and the dilemma emerges about how the situation should be managed until such time as a bed is found?  It can give rise to a perceived conflict between Article 2 and Article 5 ECHR obligations and that’s what I want to cover in this post.

  • Article 2 covers the right to life – a positive duty to protect the right to life where they know it may be threatened, inc by known risk of suicide.
  • Article 5 covers the right to liberty – duty to ensure the state only interferes with someone’s liberty in some circumstances which must be covered by domestic law.

A scenario for you:  the police attend a report of a vulnerable person in a park and decide they are highly vulnerable, distressed and at risk or self-injury.  Because of an immediate need for care to prevent such injury, the person is detained by the police under s136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and removed to a Place of Safety, in a mental...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Sometimes this retired magistrate notices a single incident which might be of interest to those who give a few of their valuable minutes to read his opinions. On some occasions a few legal happenings from magistrates courts to the Appeal Court can shine a light on principles underlying the law and/or the legal system. Today is such an occasion. 

Time and time again I have railed against the system allowing dangerous drivers to avoid disqualification.  It is known as the exceptional hardship argument. Use the search box with that input for previous comments.  It seems that dozens of times daily solicitors are making vast fees by persuading muddled headed magistrates of an argument for which no legal definition exists and which relies solely on said solicitors making the bench feel sympathy for the recidivist erring driver who has previously accumulated penalty points.  In this particular case his argument; ""I now work as a delivery driver for ASDA and I am the sole breadwinner in my house because my wife looks after...

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Ambulance: Gallery

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

In EMS, we can’t take pictures of the dead. We can write about them, but we have to change the details so the person cannot be identified. I have done this on many occasions. In my head I have a photo gallery of the fallen in this opioid poisoning crisis. The photos are not blurred, the details, all of them, remembered

Each week, I add more to the collection.

An emaciated man sits on a decrepit couch in the basement darkness, his right leg is folded up on his left knee as he probes his ankle for a vein. There is blood drawn back in the barrel. The small basement area is dirty, nearly a dozen used syringes lay on the table, along with torn heroin bags. In the corner, in a broken laundry basket is a dust-encrusted bird head — the top half of a sport mascot outfit worn long ago.

The woman who lives upstairs, heard him come in last night, and then found him unresponsive this morning. She administered two vials of naloxone, which lay now on the cement floor, and called us. The man is cold to the touch and riggored into position, the needle still in his ankle, his hand still holding the syringe.

One of 100,000 dead in a year alone. Still no end in sight.

Police: Duine beag sleamhain...

Written by RSS Poster McNoddy
Today's post is a tweet. 

Hate is a horrible feeling, but every so often a person deserves it. In spades...

The #Gaelic for a slippy wee fella is Duine beag sleamhainn...

Big Dog

BTW - Trident renewal is an anachronistic and abhorrent aberration. 

Feel free to spread the joy by joining the SNP today. 

Saor Alba. 

© McNoddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times


Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The story goes that the indigenous native Americans, pre communist Chinese and many other societies of the last and previous centuries revered the elderly of their populations who were relatively few in number cf modern times for their wisdom.  For many, especially those under 40,  in an age of instant mass information and communication such reverence is but a footnote in history. In some respects no amount of empathy by the young with the elderly can ever truly reveal the changes which age bestows upon us.  

When I blogged here 27th October 2016 I was entering upon my last quartile of life or as much of it as I was offered by powers greater than mine. The following year that  basic human requirement denied to many as posted above was excoriated by me yet again as its deprivation led to more court appearances and criminal records. To pee or not to pee has become for so many innocents especially after closing time a question of risking the wrath of the law or the discomfort and embarrassment of pissing themselves.  It`s...

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