Saturday, 4 July 2009

There's no justice like slow justice

9.45pm, paraded for night duty. 10pm booked out radio, Walther PP self loading pistol and 14 rounds of ammunition in two magazines. Loaded and made ready (one up the spout, safety catch off) holstered pistol. Went out on patrol. No body armour, because there wasn't any, by that I mean no one had any. It just wasn't issued, whether you needed it or not. 10.30pm, stopped a car, breath tested the driver, arrested the driver and conveyed him to police station. Went through the station procedures. He elected to give blood. Doctor was 15 minutes away. Samples taken, man released pending sample analysis. 11.35pm, back on patrol. 00.10am, called to fight in nightclub. Complainant seen. Suspect identified. Complainant states he's prepared to attend station and sign charge sheet if necessary. Suspect arrested for assault and conveyed to station. Statement taken from complainant. Suspect interviewed and voluntary statement taken. Suspect charged and held in custody pending court. 01.30am, relieve a colleague on an armed protection post for their meal (thats why I had the Walther PP). 02.30am had meal. 03.15am back out on patrol in park because of spate of robberies on backpacking tourists sleeping out. 03.30am, report of noise from vicinity of park cafe. 03.35am arrest male for criminal damage to cafe windows. Van collects us and conveys us to station. 04.30am, the man, having admitted offences (Iwitnessed him break the last one) charged with criminal damage and held in custody. My paperwork consists of my pocket note book entries, descriptive forms and a copy of the charge sheets which I will take to court. 5am, allowed to book off duty as I will be in court later than morning with my 2 prisoners. There is no such thing as the CPS, I am the prosecutor. 10am I am in Bow Street Magistrates Court. I find my prisoners from the night shift in the holding cells and bid them good morning. I go to a telephone and do criminal record bureau checks on them and get their previous convictions. They have over 20 between them and this will be conveyed to the magistrate if they are convicted or plead guilty, but I will only give the court details of the last 3 convictions. I scribble the details down. No one in court will get any copies of anything off me. My first case is called. I stand in front of the clerk, announce myself, request a summary trial and ask that the charge be put to the defendant. The Clerk of the court does so and asks how he pleads. "Guilty". I step into the witness box and read out the brief facts and then his previous convictions. He is asked if he wants to speak and mumbles an apology and starts to go on about too much to drink, but the magistrate, a professional or Stipendiary, cuts him off and fines him £25. He can pay there and then. Case closed. I await my next case. In he comes and I go through the same procedure. He too pleads "Guilty". I give the facts and his previous convictions. He is fined £20 and after a brief discussion is allowed seven days to pay. Had they pleaded `not guilty` I would simply have taken the oath, delivered my evidence and cross examined them if they chose to give evidence under oath. This would have taken a little longer. I leave the court, return to my station, type out two forms about both cases and send them off to central records. I am back in bed by 12.30pm to catch up on my sleep before going back on duty at 9.45pm that night to do it all over again. I incur a couple of hours overtime. There were lots of us on my shift that night and we weren't all getting arrests but I wasn't the only one by any means. No 21st Century police officer could do this. It is just not possible. It's how it was when I first joined. Just thought I'd share.

9 comments:

dickiebo said...

My God! That was me! Except that mine was a .38 Smith & Wesson! AND - we weren't allowed to break the seal on the box that contained the ammo!!!!

Blue Eyes said...

This is some misty-eyed view, Hogday. This never happened and should never have happened. Everything is better now.

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Smith.

Hogday said...

Dear Jacqui (or is it Jaki, Jakki or Jack-off)

Yes, I'm so sorry, I made it all up, how could I have possibly dealt with 3 prisoners in one 8 hour shift and have 2 of them dealt with at Court, within 12 hrs of being arrested and charged, and both cases closed with only 3 sheets of paper and a notebook entry - its ridiculous, I mean, who on earth would believe me. I'm now back home, tied to my bed, heavily sedated. Robert Peel was my probationer, I learnt the law so I could recite Acts and sections word perfect...nurse, nurse.....

Blue Eyes said...

On a serious note, where did it all go wrong?

powdergirl said...

Wow,
I had no idea that it had ever gone so right.
Sounds like a fantasy compared to how I see it play out in the papers over here.

Well said Hogday, that's fascinating.

Hogday said...

Blue: I cannot believe it as I look back. I really did double check the old memory. Dickiebo's comment confirms it really wasn't just me! And I watched it go from this simple to what we see today in the space of a few years. All the best bits of promptly delivered justice and procedures was flushed away with the dirty water. Rather than fixing the bad things and bad officers, the whole thing was thrown out. There are degree course modules devoted to it and dissertations written about it, but it remains true, that this was how we used to arrest and process in my first decade.

PG: Canadian police bloggers ie `Coppersblog`, who were ex UK cops tend to be much happier with Canadian police procedures.

PS Hows `Incey Wincey`?

PC Blogs A Lotte said...

How I WISH it was still like that!

I'd like to be able to get more than 1 arrest in even. By the time you arrest someone and just book them in to custody you can have wasted 2 - 3 hours of a shift using wonderful computers!



dickiebo,
Your comment is great. So what happens if someone started shooting at you? You had to scrummage around for the ammo box, break the seal, load your weapon and hopefully fire back at them all the while trying to stay alive?
Brilliant system hey ;-)

Hogday said...

Officer Blogsalot, how nice to see you leaving a visiting card! Yes, it was all true and unenhanced by BS I'm afraid. Stories like that used to drive Mrs Hogday into a jealous rage (she of only 14 yrs service).

As for Mr Dickiebo, he IS a lot older than me, from the days when Enfield was an issue rifle rather than a Met sub-division. At least I was trusted to have my pistol loaded, even though the bullets were going a bit green around the brass.

powdergirl said...

Incey-Wincey bites got cleared up with a prescript from a Dr. friend. Seems I may have an allergy, who knew? But since reading De Campo's helpful suggestions, I'm actually feeling pretty lucky, LOL .
I've read "Coppersblog", yeah it does seem it's somewhat better here for the Constab.

C'mon over, I hear we're hiring!