The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Call it the zeitgeist, call it popular culture, call it peer pressure if you will: at all levels of society and in all cultures most people acquire their opinions and their attitudes from the people around them and from what they see in the media. Thoughtful and caring parents are often shocked to realise that when their carefully nurtured offspring reach about twelve years of age, the child's peers will begin to have an influence at least equal to, and often outweighing that of the parents.
These thoughts were prompted by the proliferation of 'Police Action' TV shows that I have mentioned before, and by last week's tragic case in which three young people died in a car that crashed during a police chase. The police are well aware of the risks involved in chases and have strict procedures to follow - it is a very fine decision to have to take, one that balances the real risk to the public from a chase (and there are a significant number of innocent-bystander deaths each year) against the injustice of letting an offender get away.
What concerns me a bit is that the more footage TV shows us of tearaways driving off with tyres smoking when the police try to stop them, the more some young lads will feel that the same is almost expected of them when they are flagged down.
Something similar applies to the popular soaps too - human interaction is usually verbally and emotionally intemperate. If we aren't careful we shall establish a new and unpleasant set of norms. Does society reflect the telly, or does telly reflect society? There's the rub, as the old West Midlands scribbler said.