I have in the past commented on the lack of or poor quality of court reporting in local media although of late there have been some reports along the lines of "A day in the life of a magistrates` court". A year ago I posted on HMCTS producing its own court reports from West Sussex Magistrates` Courts. It seems that now the Crown Prosecution Service is trying to alter its public persona by publishing itsown reports of court proceedings. I find this a disturbing development. It seems that by doing this it is attempting to nudge its public image in a direction of its choosing owing to the fact that it is extremely likely that only cases which suit its objectives will be published. Nobody can doubt that the CPS has been subject to adverse criticism recently with its chief officer taking some flak from media and this blogger and others. However this is a sinister approach to improving its performance and I would hope that many in the justice system will indicate their disapproval.
Since 2010 when the Cameron-led coalition came to power Theresa May has overseen the draconian emasculation of the Police Service.
Formerly as Home Secretary, and latterly as Prime Minister Mrs May has presided over the culling of thousands of Police Officers from England and Wales. From about 143,734 in 2010 she has systematically reduced that number to 123,142 FTE officers according to a 2017 Government Briefing Paper.
A mind boggling reduction of 20,592, and even more have gone since. The figures for September 2017 are not yet available.
Remarkably the Police Services in Scotland and Northern Ireland remained more or less untouched. I can’t begin to think why that might have been. Was it the haranguing Mrs May received at the hands of the Police Federation of England and Wales at Conference, or did it go back further to the arrest of Damian Green and the search of his office and home?
I don’t know the answer to that, but both events could have been influential. Either...
Above is a response from the Department of Health (DH) to my MP, Layla Moran who very kindly sent them a question about pre-conditions to negotiation of the junior doctor contract. The background to this is complex but this specific issue can be summarised fairly concisely. Jeremy Hunt has repeatedly stated that there were never any 'pre-conditions' to negotiating the junior doctor
I first picked Veronica up on Hungerford Street one afternoon two years ago. We had been called for an unresponsive, but instead, we found a small woman with a club foot staggering along the street. She was half on the nod and covered with leaves. I asked her if she was okay, as we walked up. She just mumbled, and tried to keep walking. We stood in front of her and at twice her size, it became hard for her to ignore us. We were called, we have to at least see if she was okay, we explained.
“I’m fine,” she said. “I just want to go home.”
“Why are you covered with leaves? I asked.
She wiped tears from her eyes. “The kids robbed me and threw me in the bushes. It happens all the time. They like having their fun with me.”
At least she seemed to have managed to buy and use some heroin before they accosted her. Her pupils were pinpoint and she had a weakness in her knees while standing. Perhaps the kids had been warned by the block enforcer not to rob her until she had contributed her few crumpled dollars to the day’s take.
This government`s determination to close more magistrates` courts continues. The belief in Whitehall that video courts can deliver equal justice for all and reduce costs has become as much as a totem for the MOJ as a free at point of use NHS has become for the Health Department. Outside metropolitan areas in particular the MOJ is still providing vastly inaccurate figures for travel times on public transport for those who will be required to spend up to two hours in making their way to a courtroom for a 9.30am start including time for consultation with lawyer.
To quote from the Northern Echo; " The Ministry of Justice is proposing to close Northallerton Magistrates Court – but its analysis states it is quicker for some people living near the town to reach Middlesbrough.The proposal to close Northallerton Magistrates Court involves transferring its work between magistrates courts at York, Harrogate, Skipton and Middlesbrough.It is currently running a consultation over the proposal.But a table which...
Alan Robson has been appointed Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACO), following an extensive selection process, which included both internal and external candidates. Blyth-born Alan originally joined Northumberland FRS in 1989 as an operational Firefighter, transferring to TWFRS in 1995. For the last 10 months, Alan has been working in the role in a temporary capacity. Throughout his career, Alan has fulfilled a broad range of roles including Leading Firefighter, Sub Officer and Station Officer, before moving to management roles in fire safety, operations and community safety. He has also held senior manager positions in service delivery, regional control, human resources, learning and development, strategy and planning. He has contributed to the development of operational strategy, policy and procedures, organisational reviews and the preparation required for hosting large scale multi-agency exercises and events. Commenting on...
There's no doubt that some of the most used cliches are so widely used for a reason, probably relating to them holding a fair bit of the truth fluid. I think the cliche along the lines of 'you learn most about yourself when times are tough' is a pretty good one. Where am I heading with this? Well I think you can apply it to those within a system in positions of power during times of genuine
“The reasons for exceptional hardship are proven because you will lose your employment and a roof over your head.” This is an extract from a statement made recently by a bench chairman at Manchester Magistrates` Court. Last week I posted on exceptional hardship. Unfortunately for motoring law and the principle of deterrence as exemplified by the totting legislation of "12 points means disqualification", the law IMHO has failed in this example. The Magistrates Association has published guidance on this matter; para 4) vis of particular interest. A newsworthy appeal against exceptional hardship being rejected was heard in Glasgow in 2012. The website Counsel Direct has valuable opinion on the subject. Exceptional hardship cases are heard almost daily in many courts nationwide. At no time during my tenure was any official guidance given. Indeed my own notes were welcomed by many colleagues to assist them in their finding their way through sometimes lengthy appeals by advocates for the offenders. It is about time that magistrates understood all the factors which should be considered in such cases.
Councillors from Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee voted unanimously today (Wednesday 17 January) to recommend to the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) that it does not proceed to a full business case and that Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) continues to be governed by Norfolk County Council (NCC).
The PCC for Norfolk engaged consultants Grant Thornton to carry out an independent review of potential changes in governance to NFRS.
Margaret Dewsbury, Chair of Norfolk County Council Communities Committee said: “We had lengthy discussions at Communities Committee which revealed that councillors from all parties were of the shared view that there should be no change to NFRS governance. It has always been stated that there must be a compelling case to make changes to the way the fire service is managed and we do not feel this report provides enough justification to progress to a full business case.
Norfolk residents looking to add another string to their professional bow are invited to apply to become on-call firefighters across the county. People looking for an additional career, or a part-time career to fit around other commitments, can help to solve the current shortage of on-call firefighters and help their community.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) is recruiting across the county, with the on-call positions sure to attract people from all walks of life.
There is currently a recruitment drive in Dereham, which is hosting two open days later this month to fill on-call (also known as retained) vacancies.
With 39 of Norfolk’s 42 fire stations relying on on-call firefighters, there is an ongoing campaign to fill roles in towns and villages around the county. It is really important as it means firefighters are available nearer to any incidents and the service can respond quickly.
NFRS's on-call firefighters often maintain other...