Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Much of the increase in legislation in the last decade or two can be plotted directly against the size of newspaper headlines screaming for action to be taken.  The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is by common consent and subsequent revision a perfect example of hurried poor drafting in response to a public clamour after a series of awful injuries inflicted by canines on children.  Various other pieces of recent legislation have  been utilised  against individuals in a manner which parliament either did not foresee in which case our representatives were failing in their duty or with an inherent understanding by the government of the day that it could rely upon “creep” to allow it to reach those parts where other legal remedies could not reach. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is a perfect example where it was cited as the means by which innocent peoples` refuse bins could be examined or a parent could be followed to determine whether or not an address was within the catchment area of a desired school. 

Around 37 million people attend regulated football matches annually in England and Wales.  Fewer than two and a half thousand supporters were arrested in season 2011-2012; a tiny minority of those thirty seven million attendees. A complete statistical analysis is available here. Perhaps because football is our national game and those associated with it are forever in the news it seems a disproportionate amount of time is given to dealing with those whose actions if they were on the street would lead to little more than a warning or caution. My own experiences arise from sitting in a borough where there is a large football stadium and being a regular spectator at a premier league ground. 

ACPO and the CPS have last week issued new guidelines which outline the deserts awaiting any who sully the restored good name of English footie fans in Euro and World Cup competitions. In itself there is  nothing to complain of in this revision.  But in the context of so many failings in policing and prosecutions perhaps time effort and money could have been more usefully employed elsewhere.

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