I am not going to get into the debate about whether cannabis presents a significant risk of harm, whether it draws people on to take stronger and stronger drugs to satisfy their need for a high, or whether it should be legalised, de-criminalised or re-classified yet again. Feel free to speak up in the comments if you have a point to make on these issues…
I don’t think I am alone when I say that I believe one of the biggest problems with cannabis is that it has become such an intrinsic part of many people’s daily lives that they see it as a ‘normal’ thing to have in the house. These ‘people’ think nothing of leaving it lying on the side in the kitchen next to their tobacco and lighter and put no more significance on sparking up a joint than putting a match to a Marlboro Light. While I accept that this abuse does not present the same risks as having Class A drugs or uncapped sharps strewn around the house, it still presents a significant risk if there are children living amongst the dangers.
Today in Salford Manchester, reception year teachers at a primary school got the surprise of their lives when a bag of cannabis fell from the pocket of a three year-old child at the nursery which operates within the grounds of the school. When asked about the drugs the child innocently produced two more bags before telling the teachers that: ‘It’s my dad’s for his cigs for smoking.’
There has been some concern recently emanating from ACPO and the Federation about the lack of legal protection for Police drivers who are authorised to get involved in pursuits as part of their role.
Following a recent Crown Court trial that I wrote about back in February where an officer who stood down his pursuit of a wanted, prolific and disqualified offender who was in a stolen vehicle, some significant discussion has taken place regarding the lack of mitigation available for Police drivers on the basis of training and ability when it comes to the Dangerous Driving offence.
In a letter from ACPO to all the Chief Constables of England and Wales the Police Pursuit Lead, Andy Holt, wrote:
In the Court of Appeal case (R v Bannister ) the court prohibited a jury from taking into account a police officer’s skill and training in determining whether the driving was dangerous.
He went on to comment on the more recent case and pointed out that prosecution barristers had raised the bar yet again by asking the court to consider whether:
a police driver is criminally liable for the danger caused by the subject vehicle because, by pursuing or continuing to pursue, the police driver has caused the dangerous driving of the subject vehicle
Although this concept is not a new one – we don’t just keep chasing regardless of risks – it appears to extend the scope of Dangerous Driving to a point where any offender who attempts to escape from Police by driving dangerously could effectively cause the prosecution of the Police driver by this action alone.
This latest development puts practically all the aces in the hands of the criminals on our roads. It is more dangerous to our role than even a non-pursuit policy because it effectively makes any attempt to stop an offending vehicle an open door for a driving standards investigation and a Crown Court case if the driver makes a break for freedom.
This had me seriously considering my position with regard to anything other than a routine stop-check. I know of officers in my force who have fallen foul of the driving standards axe and have no desire to join their number. I thought that this information would be the sole basis of this blog until an email arrived in my inbox pointing me to a document recently published by one of the UK Police Federations. Continue reading
Self proclaimed political activist, author and disgraced ‘journalist’, Jody McIntyre has fallen remarkably silent in recent months. There was a time when his words were being reported everywhere – that time appears to be over.
A little over a year ago McIntyre alleged that the actions of the officers who removed him from his wheelchair during the student protests on 9th December 2010 were both unlawful and discriminatory on the basis that he was doing nothing wrong and was disabled. In his own blog he wrote:
When we reached the front, the batons began to fly. One came landing straight onto my left shoulder, sending a sharp, shooting pain down my arm. Others were taking blows to the head. Children, women, men, all being brutalised by the police. Then the horses came, horses that could easily kill people, but we would not budge. We held our ground.
Suddenly, four policemen grabbed my shoulders and pulled me out of my wheelchair. My friends and younger brother struggled to pull me back, but were beaten away with batons. The police carried me away.
He embarked upon a campaign against the officers he believed were involved, naming them by shoulder number and posting pictures on the internet. He took part in a string of interviews on TV and appeared sure that his case would be made out…attempting to stir up the media and his swell his numbers of supporters as he went. Continue reading