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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Thursday, 11 May 2017


There are some things that, after being away on a holiday however satisfying, one appreciates that little bit extra upon return: sleeping in one`s own bed, noticing how two weeks milder weather has encouraged grass and plants to grow, deciding how to catch up on all the programmes recorded on Sky are just a few. But reading of the political correctness of police in this country seems to be more than just unchanging; it is  progressing at an unstoppable rate.

The latest constabulary striving to be progressive is Northamptonshire.  It has decided that the old Victorian helmets are now well past their sell by date.  There can be few arguments against that.  In their day they reflected the most suitable protective headgear in line with then current trends. By 1953 all male police officers in Scotland had abandoned the helmet in favour of the flat cap.  Recently Scottish female police officers have been able to wear the hijab.  These were sensible initiatives.  In Northampton, however, the helmet is to be replaced by the baseball cap; a form of headgear forever associated with the land where the game is ubiquitous.  The flat cap which offers some protection to the skull and sometimes with its chequered pattern around its rim as in Chicago and Australia, another Scottish initiative, has been adopted in many overseas jurisdictions  It serves as a distinguishing feature in police uniforms when so many quasi uniforms now adorn such operatives as traffic wardens and other council employees.  In an age when aforesaid baseball cap is such a common form of headgear in Britain it behoves police officers to stand out from the crowd without trying to imitate their American counterparts.  

Just as the magistrates` courts` system is losing all pretence to be "local" it cannot be a long time in coming when there will be forced amalgamation of constabularies into a national force perhaps with the equivalent of a local force as in France.  The argument from Northampton that costs will be reduced is fatuous and we all know that. There are simply too many chiefs afraid of being sent to the reservation.   

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