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Police: Holidays, disorder and hate crimes

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Despite the temperatures and the rain this weekend summer is on the way!

First up: Commonwealth Games leave restrictions. I’m well aware restrictions are never popular after what could be two years without a proper summer holiday. I’m sorry we’ve had to do this and I understand the impact this may have on you and your families. It’s why we wanted to tell you about the restrictions more than a year in advance.

The games are a huge operation for the force. The event is going to be exciting and a fantastic time for policing in the region. I want to assure everyone that we will do all we can to be flexible on leave around these dates as the plans develop. We will keep you updated.

The progress on lifting restrictions and ending our responsibilities under COVID legislation will be welcomed by all of us as police and private citizens. However, I don’t think this is the end of the COVID related challenges.

Having watched the disorders in Europe and the extraordinary scenes in Manchester at the...

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Police: THE INCREASING UNPREDICTABILITY OF COURTROOM DECISIONS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


Although it might be boring for regular readers to read again of my dismay at the lack of or reduced amount of newsprint analogue or digital  devoted to court reports today`s effort is an attempt to showcase however slightly items that might interest those who are themselves interested in what goes on in our courts. 

As training and common sense (the latter a factor which is frowned upon by the Ministry of Justice owing to the possible discriminatory connotation of the word "common" which might be unequal among some sections of the population) dictate it is at the very least unwise and at the worst most injuducial to criticise in public a fellow member of the bench however junior.  Indeed the chairman of a bench or a District Judge [MC] must not in any public remarks allude to a previous or future court`s decision which was or is likely to have been or to be out of his/her control. It would appear that HH Jason Taylor QC at Swindon Crown Court felt that either those unwritten rules did...

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Police: Patient Safety Alert

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

In December of 2015, NHS England published a Patient Safety Alert (PSA) on the topic of medical ‘observations’ following restraint.  A PSA is notification to NHS Trusts across the country of an emerging topic that requires urgent attention by healthcare providers to check that their own procedures are consistent with the latest guidance in the alert.  This document reminds us that risks during restraint are quite well known before adding, “harm can also occur in the period following restraint from the effect of illicit substances, alcohol, prescribed medications (including any rapid tranquilisation) and co-existing medical conditions. People with diagnoses of severe and enduring mental illnesses are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, infections, epilepsy and respiratory disease, all of which can potentially be exacerbated by the psychological and physical effects of restrictive intervention; between 2008-2012 there were 11 deaths within 24 hours of restraint in mental health...

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Police: WHEN JURIES GET IT "WRONG"

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


The NHS, the monarchy, the Spanish Inquisition and trial by jury without wasting my reader`s time by asking the question, have one thing in common: they are or were in the case of that Iberian organisation held to be sacrosanct for the societies that created them. The collapse of everything supported in those beliefs by those societies was the prediction of all who argued that their removal or modification would lead to a world of chaos or worse.  A cartoonist`s favourite backdrop of a sandwich board.......THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH....... perfectly sums up those believers` attitudes if change were to take place. The NHS is regarded almost in religious terms.  Attempts to improve efficiency without just a shower of money being thrown at it are viewed as contemptible especially by the wokes of the Left and the luvvies on the Right. The Catholic Church seems to have survived and even thrived subsequent to the definitive end of the Spanish Inquisition when the Spanish queen regent María Cristina...

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Police: POUNDS HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


My musings and thoughts on our courts lie only shallowly beneath my consciousness; hardly surprising since I had retired from my professional life for the last ten years of my magisterial life.  To add to that almost continual subliminal state I have almost been bewitched by the court proceedings in Minneapolis where the accused`s defence counsel has been bravely attempting to offer reasonable doubt by way of generalities opposed to scientific and factual evidence provided by the State of Minnesota. And then the cost in real money of a human life flashed along the billions of  neurons and glial cells supported by connective tissue  and as if by magic I was thinking of the half a billion to a billion pounds unpaid fines apparently a permanent feature  of our courts system.  In 2015, 866,137 people were given fines totalling around £213,611,000, according to the Magistrates' Association analysis of Court Service records. A year later magistrates imposed 902,320 fines adding up to £263,763,000. In 2017,...

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Police: French Insanity Law

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

Mental health law varies by country, even within the UK.  As soon as you start comparing mental health laws in non-British countries with our own approach you see even more ways to that such complex matters are handled.  In Germany, the courts play a far greater role in psychiatric admission than in the UK where they are usually not involved at all.  As if that’s not enough, where a person’s mental health becomes relevant to criminal proceedings it all moves up one or two more notches and as Professor Jill Peay noted (in Mental Health and Crime, 2010) the work done at the interface of mental health and criminal justice is amongst the most challenging of all.

The Court of Cassation in Paris, France’s highest court, has recently ruled that a man who admitted killing a woman in her sixties will not stand trial.  Kobili Traoré admits killing Sarah Halimi in 2017 by beating her and then throwing her from the window of her third-floor Paris apartment in what was described as an “anti-semitic frenzy”.  Psychiatric reports...

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Police: 180,000,000

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

The number at the top of this blog may strike you as a little odd.

This is the number of files the force has moved from its legacy computer systems into Connect. Pieces of data from various systems that we had to pick up and transfer into our new operating system in a way we can access and use them. Ever tried to transfer the address book from one phone to another? Not easy, and you can see why this has been such a huge project. Technology is a little bit like an iceberg; those of us using the system only see the tip and not the huge complexity below the waterline.

I make these points as this last week has been a seismic change for West Midlands Police. We have never before had a fully integrated operational policing system. Over the years, we have grafted pieces together with loose ends and compromises. With so many systems involved, some would age and become sick and replacement was not a choice. Some systems were at end of life. Today, the force has the UK’s most modern operational system.

I want to offer a big...

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Police: WOKE IS A PERVERSION OF TRUTH

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


With almost every passing day there is an incident, comment, statement, rebuttal, accusation, or response to any of the previous that includes the word woke. Being a retired magistrate with opinions of a dinosaur [according to some] it took me a while to really appreciate the implications of such a term.  So that we`re metaphorically on the same page I list below some definitions of that word kindly provided by Messrs Google Inc.

 “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)”, but today we are more likely to see it being used as a stick with which to beat people who aspire to such values"

"a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English (sometimes called AAVE). In AAVE, awake is often rendered as woke, as in, “I was sleeping, but now I'm woke.” 'Woke' is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness."

"a term that refers to awareness of issues that concern...

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Police: MUSINGS ON TUESDAY (MICRO OR MACRO?)

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


In most observations there is the micro view and the macro view.  Either viewpoint can be illustrative of an opinion. Following are recent examples of the micro view of what purports to be our justice system in its totality.

Unlike other European countries the United Kingdom has no statute of limitations for any criminal offence except for summary offences (offences tried in the magistrates' court). In these cases criminal proceedings must be brought within 6 months.  

Last week a 74 year old male was jailed after being convicted of multiple charges of sexual abuse against a 14 year old boy between 1976 and 1979. There is no doubt that the victim`s trauma had a lifelong effect. We have no knowledge of the offender`s history; the report of what was a very unusual case is, unfortunately, truncated to say the least except that we know there was no need for a trial as he pleaded guilty.  Understandably the victim`s name is withheld but it might have been useful if the judge`s remarks including presumably the...

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Police: A Blueprint for Policing (2021)

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

These are the most challenging times for policing in this country since the end of the Second World War.

I said as much at the start of 2020. And then the virus came. And then George Floyd was killed. And then the streets filled with protestors. And then the second wave of the virus hit. And then Sarah Everard was killed. And then the streets filled with protestors. And then the Government proposed new (and singularly ill-judged) legislation for the policing of protests. And then the streets filled with protestors.

At each point along the way, police officers have been caught in the middle of it all, seemingly damned whatever they do. ‘All Coppers Are Bastards’, remains the refrain. And yet, in an increasingly divided society, as we face an increasingly uncertain future, the need for good policing has never been greater.

This then is my blueprint for policing: eleven brief thoughts about where we go from here.

I. We need to talk

We need to have a proper, old-fashioned, grown up conversation about...

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