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written by The Justice of the Peace on the 30th April 2013 at 12:39

MUSINGSSometimes there is such a surfeit of information and news that deciding which comments wI might make are least likely to bore my reader is rather difficult. The musings which constitute today`s post are mostly self evident and need little or no commentary.

A consistent criticism of police disciplinary procedures is their secrecy. As far as I am aware there is no other public body which wraps itself in an invisibility cloak as surely as constabularies. The police might have justifiable complaints against the proposals put forward by Tom Winsor recently appointed as Her Majesty`s Chief Inspector of Constabulary but they will not secure or recover the public`s trust until they are seen to eliminate the rotten apples in their ranks.

There are now 310 District Judges(MC) and Deputy DJs sitting in the magistrates` courts. That is about one per court. There are more awaiting appointment. It is inconceivable that the magistracy will be functioning as it currently does by the end of the second parliament from now.

Conviction rates of those defendants who choose jury trial in either way offences cf those convicted of similar offences at a magistrates` court are, to my knowledge, not available. I wonder why not? The nearest I could find is this parliamentary answer of 2001.

Although I am not inclined to believe every or any statistic thrown around by those involved in any aspect of crime or criminal behaviour I do take seriously the latest figures of the Crown Prosecution Service when the subject is rape. For all too long this minefield has been carefully cultivated by feminist groups with a single agenda. It seems they are still there pouring scorn on the subject by careful manipulation of the numbers.

For those who argue every which way about sentencing outcomes here are 54 pages of delightful information contained in the Proven Re-offending Statistics
Quarterly Bulletin July 2010 to June 2011, England and Wales.

In a triumphant announcement of which Sir Humphrey would be proud Courts Minister Helen Grant merely adds to the failure of the government`s decision in ignoring the quality of the cloth and considering only its width when it appointed Capita plc to serve our courts with interpreters` services. That such incompetence is allowed to continue without sanction is beyond belief.

Once again national statistics assure us that crime has decreased. With continuing controversy of various out of court disposals including community resolutions study of criminal statistics is akin to a faith as opposed to a science.

A few years ago I commented that the Met Police`s policy of recruiting officers only after they had served as Specials for a year or more or as PCSOs was a wise move. It was in effect an apprenticeship scheme which served both employer and prospective employee. Four years later and it is history. Such is an example of public policy.

We now know by a parliamentary question and answer on 23rd April that in the magistrates` courts of this country in the year 2012/2013 in 23,885 cases the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence at trial. That is about 1.53 cases per week per court. Perhaps someone will help me decide if that ratio is one of which the CPS should be proud or ashamed.

And finally the conviction rate at magistrates` courts has been constant at 86% for the last three years. Conclusions please???

P.S. Police Oracle now requires registration to read its content. It is a good source of information which I have used for quite some time. I recommend it.


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