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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Monday, 25 November 2013
POLICING THE POLICE
Confidence in the integrity of public bodies and those who job is to lead and manage them has never IMHO been lower. The examples have been public property for some time now and there is no need to list them. On the hit list after parliamentarians of all shades undoubtedly is the police so called “service”. The scandal of misconduct charges being dropped when an officer resigns is truly outrageous. The unpublicised corollary in such matters of officers escaping any financial sanction vis a vis their pension entitlements adds to the disenchantment felt by many observers. I know not whether current police contracts have been tightened to preclude this get out of jail free card with cash. If not they should be. To add to public disdain for what was once a prime example of British identity was the sight of three police officers squirming under the interrogation of the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee investigating the Plebgate matter. What is perhaps less well known is that there appears to be no statutory requirement for police to co-operate with the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is now beyond any discussion subsequent to denial after denial that police distort, twist, alter and manage crime statistics for their own purposes. With totally inappropriate decisions having been taken on cautions and other out of court disposals it is little wonder that courts are dealing with the fewest offenders for forty years despite a huge increase in population. It is upon a combination of phony statistics that police numbers have been decimated and up to a third of magistrates` courts closed or are in the process of so doing. Around 10,000 magistrates fewer than a decade ago are dealing with current offenders. It is estimated that 10% of probation officers are expecting their marching orders and the same ratio of lawyers has been sacked from the CPS.
Lack of confidence in police is not just a product of the Daily Mail and curmudgeonly bloggers. I well remember a sitting at the crown court not so long ago when the judge upheld an appeal (and persuaded my J.P. colleague in the process) because a police officer`s evidence was just too perfect to be relied upon. Making similar remarks myself when considering a case have more often than not brought remonstrations from legal advisors when they have been informed of the result of our structured decision making. Thankfully I follow a strict protocol and refuse to allow a fourth person to be present when such discussions take place however much pressure is applied.
Perhaps a Royal Commission on policing whenever it might be ordered will put a halt to behaviour and attitudes which would not be tolerated in any other public service notwithstanding the many individual officers who get caught up in the current maladies.