Archive for July 31st, 2008

July 31st, 2008

Piggy in the Middle

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So now there’s a three-way battle between the Police, the Magistrates Association & the Ministry of Justice.

The Magistrate’s Assosication are reported this week saying that they don’t like the way the police hand out fixed penalty tickets "like confetti". Apparently, magistrates are concerned that the police are ‘under charging’ suspects so that they can dish out a fixed penalty ticket thus avoiding a court appearance. Cindy Barnett, the association’s chairman, said: "We have always had grave reservations about criminal offences other than very minor infringements being dealt with out of court."

She continues, in a comment which is surely a joke: "Anyone who has broken the law so as to merit a punishment should be dealt with in court with efficient use of resources to prevent reoffending."

Sorry? That’ll be the same court system which consistently fails to prevent reoffending & has done for decades then, will it? The same system which the general population has little faith that they can dish out any meaningful sentence?

It does make me laugh. Part of the reason fixed penalty tickets were introduced was to take pressure off a judicial system which couldn’t cope with the amount of work the police were generating for it, a system in which even a simple case would take months to appear & more serious cases sometimes a whole year or more.

The Ministry of Justice has said that it is not always necessary for an offender to face a court. Well it would, wouldn’t it, because the simple system of dishing out a ticket enables the police to target many more offenders with simple tickets which boost the detection rates & makes the government look like it’s making a difference & they can say x-squillion offenders have been dealt with this year.

So that just leaves the police stuck in the middle. Unfortunately, we bow to what the government wants. If they want quick & easy detections then that’s what they get. It’s why we have special operations when the targets look like they’re not being met. We take officers away from helping the public to go out & dish out quick tickets for minor offences; a detection is a detection, no matter how minor, after all.

There is, of course, no willingness for people to be processed properly through the court system; it will take even more officers off the streets than it does now, dealing with all the paperwork, it wil completely clog up the judicial system which wouldn’t be able to cope with all the extra work & it would take months to get the same detection which we can get in a day.

All we wan’t to do is lock up the bad guys. That’s why I joined & that’s why I still get a buzz when I’m on the end of a radio when one of my colleagues captures  a baddy.