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.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Give him an inch and he'll take an ell (mile).  An old adage but one as true as when it was first coined in the 16th century.  An organisation which exemplifies this message more than most is the police. RIPA was not considered controversial when it was promulgated over a decade ago.  Perhaps the draftsmen in those days of Tony Blair`s a “new day; a new law”  period were unable or uncaring of the fine print.  Be that as it may its use has taken it into corners of our life where it has no business.  “Freedom of the press”  passes off the tongues of many in government as a token response as further restrictions are being placed in the way of free expression when privacy loses the battle with security or the public`s right to know.  To be fair many right thinking people of influence are content to sit on this most uncomfortable of fences but not police who wish to use RIPA`s provisions to silence free reporting.  This from an organisation which has been involved in so many hushed up scandals of varying degrees including murder and where senior officers` and Police and Crime Commissioners` misdemeanours or “errors of judgement”  make the headlines weekly.

Direct entry at Superintendent level was Tom Winsor`s idea to shake up complacency in current police levels of competence. The armed services` policy of officer direct entry subsequent to successful completion of  two years at Sandhurst or the Navy and RAF equivalents was held as an example.  The Police Superintendents` Association is not exactly in the vanguard of this initiative`s proponents.  Since its enthusiasm as reported above on March 3rd West Yorkshire has rejected every application and I understand the Met has also found none of the applicants met its requirements.  If ever a major public organisation needs a thorough overhaul this one fits the bill but I suppose that has been the case for decades and look where we are now. 


  1. Perhaps a thorough shake up of the justice system, whereby vaguely trained white middle aged, middle class, retired folk who are in need of an ego boost by believing they possess immense legal skills, are removed from positions of authority and are replaced by people fully trained and experienced.

    That would serve justice.

    1. "and are replaced by people fully trained and experienced" ....And beholden to their employers the government of the day. J.P.s and, I presume, Anonymous, you`re referring to us, are the only truly independent members of the judiciary.

    2. I suspect that Anonymous actually works for the MoJ as he/she clearly doesn't have much idea about how the courts function.

    3. Oddly, whilst to some extent your stereotype of the magistracy as white, middle class and retired is recognisable (but in fact inaccurate), and is very much a stereotype at least equally applicable to (D)DJ's. After all, to end up in that role you must first have pursued a law degree probably in 1980's or before... ...hardly the origins of the most ethnically, socially and age diverse group of people.

  2. I would prefer to be judged by my peers (and despite the ignorance and bitterness shown by Anonymous, JPs in my experience of over 20 years are more representative of our communities than ever before) than by a single, case-hardened, often cynical, invariably biased (as we all are, individually) DJ or DDJ.

  3. Actually, RIPA was very contraversial when it came out. Plenty who remember are not the least bit surprised by how it is used.