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DJ on Technorati

Has anyone come across Technorati? I applied to get a listing there ages ago, and my page has finally been approved. It is a mixture of a statistics and authority engine, and a review website.

I am investigating it over the next few days...in the meanwhile i would love it if i could get a couple of reviews...even if its just a couple of lines :)

To give me a review, click here. As a thank you, any reviewer will get a pride of place on the DJ 'Readers Corner', which gives your blog/website/twitter etc a plug!

ty :)

Comments

When i started blogging, i wanted to encourage engagement by allowing unmoderated anonymous commenting. I find it irritating when i have to verify, log in and click loads of buttons to just make a 1 line comment...so i wanted to avoid that on DJ.

A few cowardly anonymous commenters have taken it upon themselves to post all manner of abusive and moronic comments. So i have to add some preventative measures.

I prefer to keep anon commenting, but will be moderating comments for a while. Comments will be moderated within a couple of hours, i promise!

Which MP would you rather have sex with?

The day is upon us! Its time to objectify our Members of Parliament 

The summer recess is upon us. MP's go back to their constituencies for a bit of a holiday, and to hear people complain that a party owned wall is threatening to dangerously topple into their mothers garden. But boredom for both us, and the MPs has been gallantly tackled by sexymp.co.uk

The MP's who get the least attention will no doubt tell us all how disrespectful and appalling the website is, an the MP deemed most attractive will publicly ignore it all together.

But i want to go on the record to tell MPs it is just a bit of fun...so don't get all over excited about it. I look forward to seeing who comes out on top.

DJ supports Nicola Blackwood who is currently at number 23...she is a hottie, and i would like to take her out for a seafood dinner.

The lovely Nicola Blackwood

Unlock the Democracy asylum

I get regular emails from an organisation called 'Unlock Democracy". The title says pretty much what they are about, and their emails espouse all the populist policies regarding constitutional reform and democracy. They do a great job at taking the side that is morally right, against the side that is realistically right...they are an 'ideal world' organisation, which may not be such a bad thing if they actually succeed in some of the campaigns they undertake.

Anyway, i am posting this because i got the below email today...i've posted it in full (obviously)




Unlock Democracy

Dear Diet Justice,
We've had a great response to our petition calling on David Cameron to ensure that the government's proposed legislation for a mainly or wholly elected second chamber is enacted before the next election, with over 2,300 people signing up.
Opinion polls have consistently shown that the public want Lords reform.  All three major political parties promised it in their manifestos at the last general election.  The Lords itself has been riddled with scandals, from the "loans for Lordships" outrage 5 years ago [1] through to the controversy over peers selling their influence and access to the highest bidder [2].
We've won the moral and intellectual argument, and so the defenders of the status quo are depending on public indifference to let them delay reform still further.  We mustn't let them get away with it: sign our petition today!
There are a lot of myths being peddled about Lords reform.  The current House of Lords is filled with party appointees, and is no more "independent" than the House of Commons: members of the Lords vote on party lines just as much as MPs.  There are far more effective ways of getting expertise into the legislative process than giving a scattering of retired specialists life peerages who will then be given a say over legislation they have no knowledge about.  And the proposed voting system would mean voters, not party leaders, get to decide which candidates got elected.
If we want an effective second chamber with democratic legitimacy and whose members aren't all establishment figures appointed by party leaders, it simply must be elected.  Parliament committed itself to reform 100 years ago this year; it is long past time it fulfilled that promise.
It's clear we won't win this campaign without a fight.  Take a first step by telling David Cameron you want reform now:
With best wishes,
Peter Facey
Director, Unlock Democracy
[1] Wikipedia: Cash for Honours affair: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash_for_Honours
[2] Wikipedia: Cash for Influence affair: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Cash_for_Influence_Scandal
This email was sent to: a secret email ;-)
To unsubscribe, go to: http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/unsubscribe





We must put aside the shocking wikipedia citation, which does them no favours...my objection is the narrow approach they take, ruling out all other options. My regular readers will know my view. The appointments commission is where Lords reform should start...read my article on lords reform to find out why.

Citizen Journalists Win?

You could interpret the suggestion that journalists be allowed in all future injunction proceedings as a victory by the media over a judiciary who can't be trusted to represent the public interest. Or you could see it as a dangerous concession that puts a trust in the media that history proves they do not deserve. I see it as a dash of each...and will be on the fence until i get to read Lord Neuberger's in full...but here is my current view.

Lord Neuberger's report is pending
It is clear that the current situation is unsatisfactory as it is being abused by celebrates to protect them from embarrassment. This was obviously never the intention of the supporting legislation, and i suspect that either the lawyers argued very cleverly in favour of the client, or the judges were just so out of touch that they thought the public would accept it, or even worse they thought they could get away with it. Having studied law for a couple of years, i dare to suggest the former is probably the predominant force working, although the judges must hold the ultimate responsibility for not being strong enough to resist. But we will never know, as the arguments are locked away in the High Court...and this is the bottom line. I can only theorise on the full judgement of the judges and therefore cannot make proper conclusions on the reasoning.

I imagine that these super injunctions cover two types of case. The one where the biggest concern is embarrassment, and the other where there is a genuine safety issue. We hear about the former because its absurd...but not the latter. We don't hear about the latter because the justification is so genuine that information is not leaked, or where it is leaked the papers choose, from a moral point of view, not to publish it. Therefore it is obvious to me that a certain level of restrain is being exercised in relation to the genuine cases.

So will allowing journalists into these proceedings really help the situation? I suggest not. Reasoning is very subjective...law students and graduates amongst us will remember many occasions where they have read a judgement and disagreed with it. Is this mere disagreement enough for the journalist to publish the details in the public interest? After all, that's what fellow bloggers and twitterers are doing at the moment. I can imagine cases where the media present will choose to publish something that is, in their opinion, outrageous and or unfair.

I think this is an inevitable risk of producing an "i know something you don't know" attitude, and therefore allowing just any member of the media into these cases is very risky. So can one journalist be trusted over another? Any sort of journalists labelling system is massively dangerous. Imagine saying that Journalist A can be trusted, but Journalist B cannot, and Journalist B will therefore not be allowed into the proceedings? No doubt citizen journalists will not be allowed into these proceedings...because we are not experienced maybe? because we are not formally trained? or because we cannot be trusted? This is very reminiscent of the state appointed Political Officers in the Soviet Union. So there is no way that some journalists AND citizen journalists can be judged more trust worthy than others without there being a freedom of press issue.

What other alternatives can there be? The judiciary can carry on as they are, in the knowledge that the public outcry over the super injunctions that we know about are acceptable considering the risks that come with exposing other current and future important injunctions?

Or we could keep the current system of secrecy, but have an office holder much like the the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice that is present to argue purely in the public interest. Or even better, have a jury of Members of Parliament (raising all sorts of separation of powers arguments no doubt!)

If the super injunction situation tells us, the government, and the judiciary, anything its that citizen journalism can, and will, make or break an issue. I am very conflicted about the issue itself at the moment, but i have no doubt that the use of blogs and twitter has sent a clear message to all public figures that they must behave, otherwise they will feel our wrath...and there is no state sponsored hiding place. Citizen journalism has got a stripe on its arm, and knowing that public figures will count this as a one off, i expect us to have many more in the future.

Things have been hectic!

The past couple of weeks have been hectic. Since my 5 weeks of surgery, consisting of 11 operations, i decided to do something to keep me busy while i recover. Starting a little book selling business. It was a mistake to think it was going to be relaxing, but then it was naive of me to think it would be!

So this book selling business was born out of a bit of selfishness...i am so sick of having to spend hundreds on textbooks. I thought if i ran my own business, it would be cheaper. I was very wrong! Anyway, i don't want this blog post to be a shameless plug of the new Diet Justice Commercial student textbook company, the most awesome student run online bookshop ever created, cause that would just be unethical :p

What i wanted to do, was dedicate this post to my twitter followers. I have just hit 500 followers, and i am so thankful, and proud of the comments about this blog...it makes me feel ashamed i haven't posted at the frequency that i would like. I decided to organise my followers into a number of lists...to do so i had to read all 500 profiles. That may sound like a lot of work to you, but it was actually a pleasure as i have some fascinating people. Barristers, Lawyers, Solicitors, students, life coaches, readers, a former US district attorney, and lots of interesting organisations. As is normal with such things, i have a small following of random companies that have friended me for publicity, but i have done my best to accommodate them as best i can...cause i'm such a nice guy.

You may remember Hurdles 4, 5 and 6, in which i criticised a fellow blogger, who remained nameless, for trying to launch into the world of 'sub-blogging' from a cold start. Maybe against my own advice, i have thought i might like to offer a select few access to my blog, for a one off guest blog post. I have already invited one person, who i have asked to post from a totally non-law point of view, to give us a bit of an outsiders point of view. Once she has written that, it will get published.

The rush of such interesting twitter followers has made me want to learn a lot more about them, and share their experiences with my readers. Alas I am still a very small blog (not that size matter does it lads?), so whether they want to take up that opportunity is yet to be proven...but i hope some of them do because i know my current readership would find them fascinating.

As usual i need to tread very carefully! If i do give up some DJ real estate i need to ensure i am not selling out. I will discourage overt advertising tactics ...the content of the post must stand up on its own as a thought provoking and independent piece. I will ensure that the person, and their own blog/website is linked at the bottom of their piece, along with a place in a "DJ Hall of Honour"..so they won't go unrecognised, nor unthanked by my readers and I.

If any of the chosen individuals accepts my offer, readers can rest assured that i won't rest on my laurels...you will see from Hurdles 4, 5 and 6 that guest blogging, or sub blogging is not an excuse to slack off.

Anyway, i go now. Thanks to my regular readers for sticking with me, and thanks to my new twitter followers. Welcome to the DJ family!

To my anon commenter

I'm sure you understand why i have been deleting you comments. I work very hard on my blog, and am very proud of it.

I would appreciate it if you could email me.

#lawblogs

I recommend anyone who wants to get in on #lawblogs event on the 19th to get their space booked ASAP. I have done the appropriate re-jigging to be there, i look forward to finally meeting up with some familiar names.

DJ on YT - my first vids, courtesy of Policy Exchange


The first two videos from the DJ youTube Channel are from the Policy Exchange, cause they are great.

The focus for the first DJ videos are the future of policing, and PX are taking the lead in that. The first one is the Met Commissioner talking about two big practical challenges, Terrorism and Protest along with police reform...




...and the next is the future of police leadership and training.





If you have any vids to recommend let me know...and if you are on YT feel free to subscribe to my channel

CC Graham Maxwell - Tribunal Decision

CC Maxwell
The IPCC has just announced that CC Graham Maxwell of North Yorkshire Police should receive a final written warning for his gross misconduct when he and his former DCC Adam Briggs 'circumvented' processes in order to benefit members of their extended family.

The IPCC has chosen not to continue with the full investigation due to Maxwell's admission.

DCC Adam Briggs has since retired...and CC Maxwell should do the same in order to allow his force to put the incident behind them. He no longer has the moral authority to lead a police force where he will have to make decisions on similar disciplinary issues in the future.

Evening Quickie: Innocent in law, guilty in fact.

The supreme court are to soon decide on a fundamental point of law. This fundamental point of law is being thrashed out in case of Barry George, who was acquitted of killing Jill Dando. He is now seeking compensation for miscarriage of justice, and the government is stalling. I am very lucky as I happened to visit the supreme court a few months ago and, as I sat next to Mr George himself, I heard both sides outline their case.

The fundamental issue of law in question is; is someone not guilty in law considered not guilty in fact.

We all accept that our criminal justice system will sometimes convict an innocent man. We have the appeal courts to try and catch our mistakes and correct them. The issue that always has the public outraged is when someone who is apparently guilty in fact is found not guilty in law. What's worse is when the papers have already taken the role of judge jury and executioner, but that's a discussion for another post.

The fact is, there is no better solution...despite its weaknesses our system is the best in the world and we are right to be very proud of it. For us to continue to be proud of it, we need to have the confidence in its outcomes. If someone is acquitted, they are innocent in law, and in the eyes of the law innocent in fact. It is not the place of the government to second guess the courts without taking some substantive legal steps...stalling is not one of them.

How to sack a police chief

Chief Constable Graham Maxwell today faced the first day of his QC led disciplinary panel. Not only is it a make or break day for Mr Maxwell, but it is also a big day for British policing.

CC Graham Maxwell
Since the 1960's we have struggled with police corruption, and it wasn't until PACE that many of those opportunities for abuse of position, abuse of procedure, and mistreatment of detainees were removed. PACE was a massive step forward. But still some opportunities exist, and they will always exist if we want to give police officers the discretion and freedom to do their jobs. We must trust our professional standards departments, directed by the Chief Constable, to seek out and deal with misconduct and corruption, and Graham Maxwell has let the public, and his colleagues down by abusing his position.

Article about Chief Constable Stanley Parr,
see below for larger version
He has today admitted disreputable conduct...so at least he had the courage and honesty today to admit his mistakes. It is likely he will get sacked, and this will be the first time since 1977 that such an action has been taken. Lets look at the guy that was last sacked.

Chief Constable Stanley Parr was a very well respected officer and worked his way through the ranks to be Chief of Lancashire Police. His career ended with him being found guilty of 26 counts of misconduct and he was dismissed. In my investigation i have come across two versions of events.

The first, as reported in Private Eye at the time, it was alleged that Chief Constable Stanley Parr reduced two counts of death by dangerous driving as a favour to an acquaintance, Bill Harrison. The daughter of Harrison mounted the pavement, killing two young mothers. A horrific crime, and Parr's interference with the charges was a devastating blow against justice. This is, perhaps, an example of the argument against the recent reports that forces will be given charging discretion over 80% of cases.

The second, comes from Parr himself. He seems to believe that the reason for his dismissal was purely misuse of his official police vehicle. You can hear his response to the allegations, and the tribunals decision, in the below mp3. Its fascinating to hear, even though it is a fairly brief clip.


Interview with CC Stanley Parr 
sometime after the 
tribunal found 
against him

I have no doubt that every officer across the country has a sense of anger and disapointment that one of our most senior leaders has behaved in this manner. Despite that feeling of anger and disapointment, i am proud that no rank is high enough to hide behind. I hope he is sacked, and that his force can continue under a new leader and recover from this episode. Let it be a example to the police chiefs, you will be held to account.

Here is the larger text version of the above newspaper article on Stanley Parr;

      

National's loss is local's gain

As I am only 25 i've only voted a couple of times. I must admit that I have usually voted based on my opinions of the party leaders, and probably couldn't even name my local candidates most times. But this year I was presented with a new situation, and its only after a few days of mulling that its occurred to me.

This year I was faced with a dilemma. I didn't feel Labour deserved my vote. I didn't feel libdems could cope with my vote. And I couldn't bring myself to vote conservative. My usual, and rather amateurish (but probably most common), tactic of voting based on which leader would make the best prime minister didn't cut it. So I did something new.

For the first time I ignored national politics, and voted based on what was best for my local community. For the first time I read the leaflets coming through my door, and learned the names of my local candidate.

Is the shocking state of national politics resulting in the biggest boost for local politics for decades? Or is this new found interest in local politics a result of my maturing attitude towards politics.

Opinions encouraged as always!

Hurdle 12 - Social Media

There is no doubt that future historians will look back at the the past decade as the 'social revolution'. In the same way that the industrial revolution changed every aspect of our daily lives, so to has the social revolution. Social Media has been the catalyst for this, and we are just at the tip of the iceberg.

It may feel that we are currently living in a whole new world compared to 10 years ago, but this is nothing compared to what's to come. I wish i had the foresight to predict what that world is going to be like, but sadly i don't. What i do have is a bit of knowledge of how to use this social revolution to the advantage at your blog. For most bloggers, their success comes from effective mastery of websites like twitter and facebook.

I will start by admitting that, when it comes to social media, its difficult to convert the unconverted. Its difficult because social media tools are so new that the anecdotal success stories don't mean much, they can't easily be put into context by most people. I know this because i was reluctant to expand into other social media because i felt it was an artificial way of publicising my blog, and required a lot of work resulting in very little in return, and i wasn't sure i could easily juggle many different types of media. I am glad that i got over these hurdles because expanding into social media has made a huge difference not only to my blog's reach, but also to the quality of my posts, and helped tailor my posts to my audience. My advice at this stage is to read this post, and subsequent posts in the Social Media Hurdles series, and give it a chance. Some types of social media will work for you, some won't...you will be impressed with the effect the successful ones will have on your blog. 

Social Authority

The first step for a successful blogger is understanding their topic. The topic could be cars, law, places to get drunk in London, fashion. Once you have an understanding of your topic Social Media becomes an accessible and cheap way of helping you build your authority in that particular subject. It is this authority, built through social media, that will make your blog a success.

Authority in a subject is usually identified by the word 'influence'. Although you might think of this meaning 'how many people you can influence', i think this view is counter productive to the blogging community. The blogosphere is made up of a larger quantity of small communities, rather than mainstream commercial blogs. This is why a bloggers social authority cannot come from number of visits, twitter followers, or comments. Social authority in blogging is assessed based on the quality of what is being written, how that author relates to their readers, consistency, motivation and attitude. It is these factors that offer the actual influence, and therefore it is how authority should be assessed. Once you have assessed Social Authority, you can look at Reach, which is based on numbers.

Due to the very different media landscape, the term Citizen Journalists has developed. A citizen journalist is born the moment that person publishes on the internet, and their authority grows, or shrinks, from that point on.

Social Media Types


This is a massive topic, and i will be addressing it in a series of posts in collaboration with fellow blogger Will Tanner.  We will be looking specifically at how to use these to further your blogs cause, and also with more generalised information for a non blogging user. Below is an example of the sorts of things Will and I will be looking at. 

Click for larger version





This is where the Hurdles series hits a fork in the road. The Social Media Hurdles will go one way, while the Blogging Specific Hurdles will go the other. Enjoy!

English Law Podcast

I have been searching for a long time for a decent, and relevant, English Law podcast and have never really been able to find anything that was really what i was after.

Where everyone else fails, the Law Blogosphere steps up to succeed, and 3 of my blog fellows have produced the Without Prejudice law podcast.


And to give the 3 bloggers themselves a bit of a plug as well, take a look at their respective blogs;

Well done to the 3 of you, i look forward to your future podcasts.

Social Mobility is a political 'email from Nigeria'

We so often hear politicians preach about social mobility, the ability to increase ones status in the social hierarchy. It seems to be the basis for most policy decisions, and is effectively a way of politicians bribing the public into voting for them, because social mobility is a posh way of saying 'getting rich'. They are exploiting the same human weakness that gets people to respond to emails from the Prince of Nigeria...getting rich without having to do anything.

Social mobility policies rarely get delivered to the standard promised by the politicians, or when they do they have a negative effect on society. Millions of pounds are spent/wasted on implementing these policies, aimed at inspiring, or dragging, people out of poverty. What the politicians may not realise is that people want social stability, not social mobility.

Social stability is exactly what it says on the tin. Its about creating an environment where people feel secure. The abolition of the minimum wage and the introduction of the living wage would be the logical place to start. Increase the money that people can earn at the lowest end of the scale, and you raise peoples feeling of social security. Provide good quality primary and secondary education for everyone. Make further education accessible to those who are intelligent, capable and willing. Focus funding on the entry level jobs for those who do not continue with education.

Rather than pour money into the top of society and hope it will trickle out the bottom, pour it into the bottom and let it create a social foundation...a safe quality of life for everyone.

Everyone would like to be rich. I would like to be rich, but what is more important to me is the very basics. Housing, Education and Employment...in that order. Social mobility is a very nice idea, but the money spent on social mobility would better be spent on social stability.

The establishment of social stability will naturally breed social mobility.

DietJustice online bookstore

As the end of the year approaches students of law will start to get information about next years modules. It all looks exciting, new and interesting...and after a few weeks of the summer holidays i bet you will be excited about coming back to university, i know i was!

Something you will have to start thinking about is the ordering of your textbooks. This might involve buying from the student book shop, other students, online stores, or actually (god forbid) going to a book shop. The cost can be high, and it can sometimes be difficult to find all the books in one place.

I have been thinking about starting an online bookstore dedicated to law students for some time, and today i have taken the first step by talking to wholesalers.

I hope to be able to offer the following;


  • All books in one place
  • Sensible and fair prices
  • Discounted 'reading list' bundles
  • Free delivery for 'reading list' bundles

Launch of the online shop will be mid June 2011.


I would really appreciate any feedback you can give by answering the below questions in the comments box;
  • Firstly, and most importantly, would you order from a DietJustice online bookstore? 
  • What is most important when ordering your books?
  • Do you tend to order all your books at once, or just as they are needed?
  • What is more important, speed of delivery or price?
  • Would you have your books delivered to your term time address, or home address?



Ian Tomlinson's Death - Time for re-evaluation

Yesterday the coroners inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson concluded with a ruling of unlawful killing. In the past I have expressed my frustration at the way the officer has been portrayed in the media, and defended him as I understand how stressful public order situations can be, and how certain lawful police tactics can be misconstrued as a disproportionate use of force.. However, Police Officers are not above the law, and the ruling of unlawful killing must lead to PC Simon Hardwood being brought before a jury.

PC Simon Harwood
Where there is a crime,
there must be justice
As a police officer i have had to think carefully about the nature of true justice. A crime is a crime, no matter who has committed it. Where we, as police officers, are faced with a reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place we are required to act appropriately. In an assault that involved the subsequent death of the victim we would arrest the person who committed the assault so an investigation can be started, and that person be brought before a court. This is what must now happen with PC Simon Harwood, and there is no justifiable argument against that.

The big issues for Police Officers are a mixture of loyalty to our colleagues and a deeper understanding of how easy it can be to make a misjudgement in a situation like the one facing PC Simon Harwood. What we must remember is that we are not above the law. For us to be an effective law enforcement body we must open ourselves up for scrutiny where ever we do something wrong. And we must expect our colleagues actions to be investigated when they have led to harm of a member of the public. 

With the coroners verdict comes an powerful public interest argument. The public would expect that the CPS evidential threshold be lowered in order that the case can be brought to trial and justice be done.
Ian Tomlinson...unlawfully killed
In cases such as this, it should be the duty of the CPS to bring charges, and allow the court to assess the sufficiency of evidence...it must not be within the power of the CPS to hinder the fair administration of justice.

Despite the above, it is vitally important to remember that the coroners verdict does not convict PC Hardwood of any offence and he is still innocent until proven guilty. The incident must be investigated, a fair trial must take place, and we must accept the verdict, guilty or not. Although i hope that PC Harwood is innocent, if he has committed a crime he must be put before a jury.

Police Officers should stand together against crime, but when that crime is being committed by a colleague our loyalty to the law must prevail.




Mini Experiment

Law students will now be thinking about what he might be convicted of. He didn't intend to kill. But the prosecution may argue that he intended to inflict serious injury (GBH), and if successful PC Harwood may be convicted of murder, although this would be subject to arguments of causation. I find this unlikely.

So I want to try a little experiment, and it may just help criminal law students with their revision! 

Law students, treat this as an exam problem question and work us through the mens rea and actus reus of any offenses you think may have been committed here. Identify the Facts, Identify the Law, Apply the law to the facts, and conclude. 

I look forward to some responses, and i have no doubt we will have some debate over some of the issues!



Articles archive added

In the same way that i share documentaries with you in the Documentaries Index, i introduce to you the Articles Archive. I won't always post when there are new additions, so keep an eye on it!

Linked from the top bar

OBL's death an affront to justice?

I'm tapping this out on my phone while on yet another trip to hospital. I will shortly be going down to theatre, but need to get this down on paper as its been rattling around my head since the news broke yesterday. Yes you guessed right, another opinion on OBL's death.

When I woke up this morning I felt like I was the only person in the world who found the whole thing a bit uncomfortable. Where people are jumping with joy, I am left with a bitter sweet taste in my mouth. Having read this mornings edition of i, I feel less of an enemy of the state thanks to Geoffrey Robinson QC.

The bitter sweet feeling started developing last night, a few hours of hearing the news. It came from a feeling of justice unsatisfied, and unhealthy revenge executed.

This murderer is a premeditated murderer. He murdered his victims in cold blood, while they were in a place of safety and innocently going about their business. This can be said of Osama. This can be said of the killers of Jamie Bulger. This can be said of Hitler and the Nazi's.

In the case of the Nazi war criminals, who killed many more than has been killed due to terrorism, we tracked them down, tried them fairly, and delivered sentence. A success for justice, and delivered in a dignified manner and offers some a satisfying closure to a horrific war crime.

Now imagine the family of a murder victim. A common response to such a bereavement is the seeking of revenge. Its because of this that we ensure trials are conducted by an independent judiciary, almost devoid of emotive relative input. This way we can be sure that trials are conducted objectively, in most cases leading to the safe and fair delivery of justice. Attacks motivated by this revenge, while attract some sympathy, are not tollerated as a subversion of justice.

The US has had members of their family murdered. The wounds are still open and raw. And they have taken their bloody revenge under cover of darkness. This may give a short term feeling of elation but it is not justice done. Future generations will look back at the killing of OBL as an act of revenge that offers no long term public analgesia for the pain of 9\11, nor does it satisfy the high standards of justice expected in the west.

Back to the article in the i. Geoffrey Robinson QC suggests that putting OBL on trial "would have debunked his cause and de-brainwashed his followers". Here is where we disagree. A trial would have merely maintained the threat status quo, but it would offer some long term relief to America's pain.

'Not merely must justice be done, but it should be seen to be done'. A quote never more appropriate. We have been offered neither in the past 24 hours.

Note: I'm sorry for the lack of formatting and spelling\grammar errors, this article has been tapped out on my phone while waiting for surgery.

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Don't make the specials, too special.

The Special Constabulary is facing a period of opportunity that is unprecedented in their history. We are now a group of trained, professional, and respected officers that are being welcomed deeper into the police family. In recent years police resourcing managers have built strong relationships with their teams of specials meaning they are being called on more and more for higher profile and challenging policing roles than they once may have been given. We have responded to this by proving our worth. A Local Policing Unit commander i worked with said of his team of specials "Once upon time specials were the icing on the cake. Now we couldn't deliver the high quality service without them". 

One of our Special Chief Officers.
Plan for both career specials,
and 'on the hop' specials
This was just the tip of the iceberg, and the cuts climate is putting more and more pressure on forces, and they are looking to their respective Special Constabularies to step up. This opens a lot of doors for specials. However with those open doors comes a lot of risks.

'Policing on the cheap' has been a criticism levels at police forces with the introduction of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Opinion on PCSOs is still divided amongst my colleagues, but in terms of public satisfaction they have been a success. They have been a success because a lot of work has been done to define the role and responsibilities and to make sure PCSOs are supporting, rather than replacing, front line officers. This is fairly simple to do with PCSOs as they don't have the powers of a Constable. Specials do have these powers, they hold the office of constable in the same way as their regular paid colleagues. The need to make better use of specials is an imminent one, but it should not be rushed at the expense of proper negotiations with the Police Federation. Without proper negotiations, there risks a front-line fractured relationship between specials and regulars which will negate any developments made at management level.

Training. The biggest problem for specials is training. Both quantity and quality are badly neglected. Quantity is difficult to improve upon due to the nature of the special constabulary. However there is no excuse for quality. For years forces have faffed with different training schemes for specials. The NPIA's involvement in the training of specials should improve things, but currently its just adding an unnecessary administrative burden.

In theory the accredited patrol status (APS) that all specials work towards is invaluable in helping regular officers understand our level of training. It can take between 12 months and 2 years to gain this status. The difficulty comes in deploying the non-APS officers. These officers can present a resourcing problem rather than a resourcing solution. This is not always the fault of the officers, it is the fault of the system the force uses. Either the paperwork is excessive, or the scheduling of training courses or assessments is so infrequent that good quality officers are being held back. Making specials part of the solution will come from a pre APS system that encourages rather than holds back.

Forces are thankfully taking special
constabulary recruitment more seriously
Deployment. Specials should be, by Home Office direction, working as part of a neighbourhood team. Working with a neighbourhood team might look nice on paper, but it reduces the quality of the specials, reduces their usefulness, and decimates morale. Allow me to explain why.

Specials are most useful when they are dealing with acute problems. They might be working as part of a response shift, standing on the streets on a Friday and Saturday night, or patrolling a pre-planned event. During these types of shift a new special will learn essential policing skills very quickly because there will be plenty of encouragement, opportunity and expectation that they will get stuck in. Neighbourhood teams deal with chronic problems. These might be the negotiations between rowing neighbours, liaising with schools, colleges and universities, and dealing with 'slow time' enquires and investigations. These sorts of activities require the building of relationships and continuity, something that is not always easy for a special due to the sporadic nature of their duties. For a special working with neighbourhood teams this means a lot of sitting around while other officers do paperwork, do telephone enquiries, take statements or other such things. This reduces the quality and quantity of training the attached special gets. My advice is, remove any national limitations on the deployment of specials, it should be for the force to decide. More opportunities for experience leads to higher morale, which in turn leads to more productive, useful, and highly trained specials. These specials will be much easier to deploy in areas where budget reductions are being made.

A Special Constable
Expenses. There have been persistent rumours about specials losing expenses all together. Currently we get reimbursed for our travel expenses. Some police forces offer a small 'meal allowance', the amounts vary but from experience it is no more than £20 for a 12+ hour shift. The cutting of special expenses has got to be tempting. Senior Management knows that specials don't do the job for the money, and those people who give the most hours will continue to do the hours even if their expenses are cut. If someone is going to be a reliable and committed special, they will be the type of person who will still do the job even if they find themselves out of pocket. However any removal of specials expenses will have an effect on retention and advancement. Rather than reducing expenses, forces should increase them and/or offer a meal allowance. It may increase the number of hours slightly, but more so it will be a way of recognising the work specials do, and offering a small amount of money so that specials can eat and drink at the expense of the force while on duty. This may not be something available to regular officers, but remember that regular officers get paid a decent wage...specials are volunteers.

A regular officer











So what makes me qualified to write about this? I have been a Special since i was 19. At 25 i have had the honour to serve in two forces and learn from their successes and from their failures. My advice to Chief Constables...invest in your specials and they will repay you with their commitment and loyalty.

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thanks to my followers for their contributions


Clive Chamberlain
@dietjustice Biggest insult was forcibly retiring officers through A19 process then writing to ask if they want to come back & work for free


Will Tanner
@dietjustice Great blog mate, enjoyed it a lot, rightly highlighting great work specials do. Thames Valley have been doing lots in this area