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...
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...
“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.
Fraudsters are sending out fake Sainsbury’s gift vouchers via email, with 15 reports received from members of the public yesterday.
The email claims that the intended victim was overcharged on a recent visit to the supermarket and offers the gift card as compensation. However, when users click the link to get to the promised gift vouchers, they are led to a website that could potentially defraud them.
Reports to Action Fraud have said the emails look genuine by using the victim’s first name. They’re signed by Mia Chadwick of Customer Services.
Fraudulent emails that pose as a high-street name usual have poor-quality spelling, grammar, graphic design or image quality. They may use odd ‘spe11lings’ or ‘cApiTals’ in the email subject to fool your spam filter.
When a fraudulent email such as this asks you to follow a link, the website or email address usually doesn’t look right. Authentic website addresses are usually short and don’t use irrelevant words or...
Car enthusiasts........now there`s a term that the green lobby would have bracketed in a similar group to litter louts or football hooligans. I`m not at all ashamed to admit that a couple of decades ago I bought a bright red Triumph TR6 convertible; a classic British sportscar with an engine so simple to fiddle with that I with two left hands even managed to change injectors. Belonging to the TR Club occasionally I joined with fellow enthusiasts to drive in convoy along some narrow country roads to an olde English pub where half a pint of cider was made to last a couple of hours whilst oily knowledge and experience was exchanged between geeks, anoraks or call us what you will. In fact there are dozens if not hundreds of similar groups and clubs nationwide doing exactly the same. It seems that such activity has been banned in what is termed the Black Country for quite some time. According to Halesowen News " A High Court decision to extend a ground-breaking injunction banning car cruising in the Black...
There seems to be lots of talk in policing at the moment about something called ‘wellbeing’.
I’m no expert, but these are my ten thoughts on the subject.
(1) It’s People, Stupid
The fact that more of us are talking about the physical, emotional and psychological health of police officers and staff is a good thing. A very good thing.
But it must never become just another management soundbite – another thing to measure and another box to tick
This is about people – and it simply doesn’t get any more important than that.
(2) We need to understand policing better – operationally
Put quite simply, this is one heck of a job.
The things that become normal in this line of work would be entirely extraordinary in almost every other walk if life.
Do we recognise and understand the inevitable wear and tear officers and staff experience over the course of a policing lifetime – and the consequences this can have for their physical and mental health?
In particular, do we recognise and understand the cumulative...
Every December, Forces run their Drink Drive campaigns to dissuade the increase in those who take a risk around Christmas and hopefully keep us all a little bit safer on our roads. Roads policing is particularly challenging for rural Forces and Lincolnshire Police continue to address this challenge as best they can. Faced with an increasing number of Drink Drive (or Drug Drive) offenders, in 2016 Lincolnshire Police decided to name those charged during their campaign. They did so again in 2017 and this garnered quite a lot of attention, particularly from local press and social media. Lincolnshire Police Ethics Panel invited Superintendent Phil Vickers to present to us the reasoning behind the move to name those charged and to join us in an open debate.
Superintendent Vickers explained to the Panel that the Force had been faced with an increasing offender cohort and a decrease in public interest/press uptake of the annual campaign. Naming people at...
Apologies to those of you that aren’t affected by Athena, but I do think it’s important for the nine participating Forces and their Council Tax payers. Apart from naughty Kent all Forces have now answered my questions, so we’ll see what I can make of it.
I asked all 9 Forces the same questions
1) Could you please tell me the total cost to date to xxxxxx Police of joining Project Athena?
2) Could you please tell me the cost for this Financial Year (alternatively the total number of hours) of overtime incurred by Police Officers in relation to file preparation etc for Project Athena?
Some were more successful than others.
In no particular order;
For West Mercia and Warwickshire Combo the response was
The implementation of Athena has resulted in West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police force Alliance investment costs to date of £4.423m. This represents the one-off costs from both capital and revenue.
The overtime cost to date for this financial year 2017/18 is £127,205.
Exceptional hardship is a subject that can arouse deep differences within a bench during retiring room deliberations.Indeed it has been the subject of a few posts here over the last few years. Four years ago there was this one and in June the following year I posted this. Generally my opinion has been that those offenders who moan the most, namely professional drivers, are deserving of the least sympathy followed by obviously wealthy individuals who could easily afford to hire a driver for six months. However the finding of exceptional hardship is one of those remaining considerations which are entirely within the bench`s discretion. Where some difficulty might arise in the decision making is when the offender has proven worth to the community and/or perhaps a history of good deeds or valour in the case of active or former servicemen. There is certainly a fine line to be drawn when eg a hospital doctor applies for exceptional hardship purely on the basis of his/her...