Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Love Tha Police

There's a recurring grumble on Bystander's blog that Magistrates are in some way "anti-police".

I can't speak for any of the other 30,000 of my colleagues, but this Magistrate started out with a high regard for the police, and that regard has only increased of late.

The reasons for this increased regard are best described by example.

The other week in court we had just finished our pre-match team-talk and the legal adviser asked that if we had a minute, there was a police officer waiting patiently outside to have a search warrant signed. The constable was brought in and he read an oath from a card and then proceeded to outline the story of a farmhouse in which they had good reason to believe were :-
  • (a) Industrial quantities of Class A drugs
  • (b) Dangerous dogs
  • (c) Firearms (assorted and plenty of them)
  • (d) Known dealers in (a) who were prepared to use (b) and (c)
Anyone with any imagination could imagine the likely outcomes of a police raid on such a scene and I thanked my lucky stars that it wasn't part of my job to go within a mile of that farmhouse. I was (and am) enormously grateful that there are enormously brave, highly trained professionals who know how to deal with such situations.

I'm sure in a less civilised country, the authorities would have simply called in an air-strike on the place. But here we have this pesky presumption of innocence, and the police have to content themselves with dragging (without excessive force - how ?!?) the suspects before a court ...

... which I'm sure is mighty frustrating - especially in cases where the court has doubts and acquits the villains, or comes up well short of expectations on sentencing.

All I can say is that when this happens, it really isn't the "Liberal Elite" "Political Correctness Brigade" Magistrate conspiracy in action.

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