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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Friday, 14 February 2014
VALENTINE`S DAY MUSINGS
Of all the recent press releases from the Ministry of Justice perhaps the most heartening was that issued earlier this week reducing the period during which offenders will be required to inform potential employers of their criminal record. Having been an employer for much of my working life I am well aware of the arguments opposing such a change but there is no doubt in my mind that such a proposal can do more for the rehabilitation of offenders than any amount of classroom therapy. With money in their pockets from gainful employment the likelihood of acquisitive criminality by offenders is going to be much reduced.
Crime recording mistakes in Hertfordshire Constabulary are caused by “inexperience, naivety or misunderstanding” of the complex rules rather than “unethical decision-making”, says the deputy chief constable of that constabulary. My inexperience, naivety or misunderstanding of how police forces conduct their business leads me to believe otherwise.
During lunch time in the summer months in our retiring room I have noticed that some colleagues strip right down to skirt and blouse and occasionally even open a top button or two to allow themselves to cool down......and that`s the men.......but seriously it seems that in Bosnia and Herzegovina more drastic action was taken by a judge suffering from the heat last summer.
County Durham magistrates` courts are in line for a shake up such has affected the administration of summary justice over all of England & Wales since 2011. Courts are being amalgamated and offences centralised by type irrespective of the transport difficulties and costs involved for defendants. For anybody involved in the administration of justice in this country when it`s time to put a cross on the ballot paper next year consideration should be given to the savagery with which access to justice has been curtailed for millions of people by the actions of this government.
It`s a strange world sometimes. Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are to begin the process of re-interviewing witnesses as the force’s criminal investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday gathers pace. During my professional life I was consulted by an ex member of the Parachute Regiment many years after the events of that dark day. In the course of conversation he told me in a quite matter of fact manner of how he and his comrades did indeed shoot un armed marchers when they were so ordered to do. I recollect trying to proceed with the consultation as if he had been remarking on the weather.
The Ministry of Justice has published “Proven Re-offending Statistics Quarterly Bulletin April 2011 to March 2012, England and Wales”. Those with the patience and fortitude might wish to study the document bearing in mind that it is with such tables that the ministry will in due course be attempting to show that its incoming payment by results for the rehabilitation of offenders will have been a success.
Greater Manchester Police for many years has had a record of unsavoury administration and unacceptable actions by its officers from top to bottom of its ranks. It seems that problems there, far from being brought under control, are continuing. Quite simply it seems sexist, racist and homophobic attitudes are endemic in that organisation.
Since this is Valentine`s Day my memory goes back to my early teenage years when on my return from school I would look with eager anticipation to see if the postman had delivered any unusually large envelopes with my name hand written on them. I don`t know if I would be pleased or disturbed if similar were delivered later today.