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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Crown Prosecution Service

“War On Drugs Has Failed, Say Former Heads Of MI5, CPS And BBC”, The Daily Telegraph, 21st March 2011

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The “war on drugs” has failed and should be abandoned in favour of evidence-based policies that treat addiction as a health problem, according to prominent public figures including former heads of MI5 and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Drug availability and use has increased with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin

Leading peers – including prominent Tories – say that despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible.

Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country.

The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to “enormous health problems”, according to the group.

The MPs and members of the House of Lords, who have formed a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, are calling for new policies to be drawn up on the basis of scientific evidence.

It could lead to calls for the British government to decriminalise drugs, or at least for the police and Crown Prosecution Service not to jail people for possession of small amounts of banned substances.

Their intervention could receive a sympathetic audience in Whitehall, where ministers and civil servants are trying to cut the numbers and cost of the prison population. The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has already announced plans to help offenders kick drug habits rather than keeping them behind bars.

The former Labour government changed its mind repeatedly on the risks posed by cannabis use and was criticised for sacking its chief drug adviser, Prof David Nutt, when he claimed that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.

The chairman of the new group, Baroness Meacher – who is also chairman of an NHS trust – told The Daily Telegraph: “Criminalising drug users has been an expensive catastrophe for individuals and communities.

“In the UK the time has come for a review of our 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. I call on our Government to heed the advice of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that drug addiction should be recognised as a health problem and not punished.

“We have the example of other countries to follow. The best is Portugal which has decriminalised drug use for 10 years. Portugal still has one of the lowest drug addiction rates in Europe, the trend of young people’s drug addiction is falling in Portugal against an upward trend in the surrounding countries, and the Portuguese prison population has fallen over time.”

Lord Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1983 and 1989, said: “I have no doubt that the present policy is a disaster.

“This is an important issue, which I have thought about for many years. But I still don’t know what the right answer is – I have joined the APPG in the hope that it may help us to find the right answer.”

Other high-profile figures in the group include Baroness Manningham-Buller, who served as Director General of MI5, the security service, between 2002 and 2007; Lord Birt, the former Director-General of the BBC who went on to become a “blue-sky thinker” for Tony Blair; Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, until recently the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Lord Walton of Detchant, a former president of the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.

Current MPs on the group include Peter Bottomley, who served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher; Mike Weatherley, the newly elected Tory MP for Hove and Portslade; and Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge.

The group’s formation coincides with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which paved the way for a war on drugs by describing addiction as a “serious evil”, attempting to limit production for medicinal and scientific uses only, and coordinating international action against traffickers.

The peers and MPs say that despite governments “pouring vast resources” into the attempt to control drug markets, availability and use has increased, with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin in 2008.

By Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent

They believe the trade in illegal drugs makes more than £200 billion a year for criminals and terrorists, as well as destabilising entire nations such as Afghanistan and Mexico.

As a result, the all-party group is working with the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust, to review current policies and scientific evidence in order to draw up proposed new ways to deal with the problem.

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For A Bad Cop, Prison Is Just The Start

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Doing His Duty

I hope that  ex-Police Sergeant Mark Andrews had a really bad night on Tuesday.   It was his first night in jail after being sentenced to six months for assaulting Pamela Somerville, an innocent member of the public, someone he was paid and trusted to protect.  See here for the full story.

I hope he had a really bad day yesterday too.  I hope he’s scared.  I hope he’s ashamed and racked with guilt.  I hope he has a really bad day tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.  I hope every single minute of his jail time is frightening, distressing, humiliating and painful.  I hope he misses his wife and two children and is beside himself with grief and shame at the way he has let them down.  The man is pond life scum.  He should be extremely grateful that he got off so lightly because if I was the judge I would have considered six years to be a more appropriate sentence than six months.   In fact,  I really hope that the CPS appeals the sentence.  There’s no way that it is sufficient.  He’ll  be out in just 13 weeks and free to go back to his family.   He should be made to suffer.

When a police officer commits a crime, particularly an assault while on duty, it is far, far more serious than when it is an ordinary member of the public.  It is a breach of trust.   It is like a bank manager stealing from his own bank.  It can never be forgiven.  It has to be marked as the most heinous of crimes.

Sleazy Starmer

I suppose we have to be thankful that the CPS even brought charges in the first place.  It and its thoroughly sleazy boss, Keir Starmer, seem to do everything they can to avoid bringing police officers to justice.   Keir Starmer has the brazen cheek to pontificate about changing the system of murder charges when he is complicit in enabling police officers to avoid justice!  See here.   We’re really not interested in his thoughts about the future of justice in Britain.  He is too deeply ensconsed in the corruption and failures of the past.  We want him out of his job and on the scrapheap with Andrews.    In fact,  I’d have him in the cell next door to Andrews and I’d put them both back on slopping out but they could do each other’s rather than their own.

I congratulate Wiltshire Constabulary on bringing Andrews to justice and particularly the police officer who turned him in.  That man deserves a medal.

Killer

Thug

This should send a signal to thugs like Delroy Smellie, Simon Harwood and every other bent cop that you will never, ever get away with your behaviour.  Even if you manage to wriggle free like Smellie with the assistance of slimeball judges or evade the full force of the law like Harwood with the help of his crony Starmer, we, the British public, will never let you off.   It won’t ever be over for you, whether or not you do time in prison.  You and your kind are on a life sentence.  You will be despised, reviled, hated and subject to ridicule and abuse until the end of your days.  You deserve nothing less.

A Real Insight Into The Police

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The conduct of the police has been in the news again this week for all the wrong reasons.  First there was the disgracegful, outrageous and deeply corrupt acquittal of the thug policeman, Sgt Delroy Smellie, who beat up Nicola Fisher at the G20 protest.  See the story here.  There’s also the CPS’ deplorable failure to bring to trial the police officer who was responsible for the death of Ian Tomlinson, also at the G20 protest.  See here.

Evenin' All

Evenin' All

In the course of writing about these events and reading other blogs I came across Inspector Gadget. This is a blog by a policeman for policemen (and women).  I’m not quite clear whether the author is a serving police inspector or not.  If he’s still in the job I’m not sure that it’s entirely proper for him to be writing as he is but I’m still considering my verdict on that.

Inspector Gadget does offer an extraordinary insight into the attitudes of serving police officers.  There are hundreds of comments demonstrating intelligence, passion, anger, professionalism and, in a few cases, crass stupidity and irresponsibility.  I’m reassured that there are many police officers who see that the acquittal of Smellie and the delay in prosecuting the murder of Ian Tomlinson causes enormous damage to the police.  I am very deeply disturbed though by the attitudes that far too many of Inspector Gadget’s contributors demonstrate.

Put Up With It. It's Your Job.

It is quite clear that many officers are psychologically unsuited to the job and are not “fit and proper” people to be given the authority and responsibility of a police constable.  Judging by some of the contributors who claim to be trained in “split second decision making” and the control of violent disorder, I’d say that some of them are bordering on psychopathic.  They shouldn’t be allowed on the streets at all, let alone in a police uniform.

I think Inspector Gadget should be much more widely read, certainly within the Home Office and by those (I wish I knew who they are) who have control over the strategic direction of policing and police recruitment.  There are attitudes demonstrated that suggest to me we should be opening a whole new wing at Brixton or, more probably, Broadmoor, for psychopathic, violent ex-police officers.

Obviously this won’t make me popular with some people and, as I don’t hide my identity, maybe I should be expecting a knock on the door in the middle of the night, but I cannot stand by and let attitudes such as these prevail.

You’re not entitled to complain about being shouted at, abused,  sworn at, threatened (within limits) or protestors not obeying your “orders”.  This is all part of the job.

Your standard of behaviour must be far, far higher than the protestors.  If you cannot control your temper, even in the face of extreme provocation, you shouldn’t be in the job.

I am a strong supporter of the police.  The necessary concomitant of that is that any officer who steps out of line or goes over the top must be punished severely, more severely than if they were a member of the general public.

Anyone who cannot see the wrong perpetrated by Smellie against Fisher and by Officer X against Tomlinson is not fit to be a police officer.

Who Will Stand Up For Justice?

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The CPS are dithering over the police murder at the G20 protest.   Just like the assault on Nicola Fisher, we all saw on television the attack on Ian Tomlinson which led directly to his death.   The delay in bringing charges in this matter is outrageous and already amounts to a miscarriage of justice.  Justice delayed is justice denied.

Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions says he is working as quickly as he can on a careful investigation in “this difficult and complex case”.  See the full story here.

This is rubbish.  It is a pathetic excuse and I simply don’t believe him when he says he is having difficulty getting medical evidence.  Proceed without it!  The evidence is clear enough.  If the accused was anyone other than a police officer he would already be behind bars.

With the Smellie acquittal, this perversion of justice at the DPP’s own hands and the Newsnight story yesterday that people arrested at the Gaza protest are being treated as terrorists, we have reached a new low point in our history.

Those politicians, civil servants, police and legal officers who have allowed these events to unfold are guilty of treason.  They are destroying our country and our civilisation just as much as they could with bombs and bullets.