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.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Bad Week

The Police Service has had a truly terrible week.
The policing of the G20 protests last week, and the death, from whatever cause, of an innocent man on his way home from work has led the entire Press, in an unprecedented display of unity, to question the management of the police operation and the behaviour of some officers. To make things worse, misleading and disingenuous statements were made to the press; statements that had to be reconsidered as video evidence started to emerge. Then the IPCC's initial response, asking City of London police to, in effect, investigate themselves, was flawed, and has now been put right. The public and political mood means that the investigation will not, and should not, stop at the events of April 1st, but must look at the wider issue of police management and training.
This morning the Yard's senior anti-terrorist police officer has fallen on his sword after making an error that an 18 year-old work experience kid might have committed by walking into no. 10 with a secret document facing the cameras and able to be photographed. That wasn't wicked, but it was careless and incompetent, and however unfairly it will affect the public's respect for senior coppers - respect that took a severe hammering from the farcical shenenigans at the top of the Met last year.
Then yesterday, we had a police driver remanded in custody having killed a young pedestrian while driving at up to 94 mph in an urban area without any lights or sirens. The officer will pay the penalty for his errors, but the case also raises issues of management and training. The risks he took were not justified by the offence he was trying to deal with, and there should have been a structure in place to make him aware of that in the heat of the moment.
There is no pleasure or satisfaction to be gained from all this, even to the hardened anti-police commentators. The police are everyone's police, there to protect and to serve the public - that's all of us. They need our support and our understanding. But they also need and deserve some better management. Soon.