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Exceptional Circumstances – the Cart Before The Horse

Within the next two months, aspects of the Police and Crime Act 2017 relating to the Mental Health Act will come into force.

These will affect where a police officer can invoke Section 136 (which will increase the places in which it can be used) and it will stipulate that a police officer must, where practicable, consult with a mental health professional before using Section 136.

Both of these amendments are likely to lead to foreseeable issues. It is almost certain that the use of Section 136 will rise given the fact it will be possible to use it in private places other than dwellings. (The removal of the word “finds” is also likely to legalise the “would you mind stepping outside” tactic which has been previously unlawful. I’m not sure this was the Government’s intention but it’s obvious this will happen.)

In order to mitigate against this possible rise comes the stipulation regarding speaking to a mental health professional before using the power. Except there are some problems here as well. Read More…

The Problem With Elephants

Let me start by saying that I have no problem with actual elephants. They are intelligent and amazing creatures who need protecting wherever they live. I can assure you that no elephants have been or will be harmed in the writing of this blog.
My problem is with metaphorical elephants. White ones; ones which have a habit of being “in the room”; ones who never forget and the ones you have to eat one bite at a time. Read More…

We Need To Talk About Guns

A few months ago the media in Scotland was full of glaring headlines making an issue about armed police officers being seen, carrying sidearms, in places such as shops or walking from one place to another. Usually focussing on the officers having the audacity to go and buy something to eat or similar.

The outrage seemed to be limited to a few politicians and newspapers as the vast majority of people actually spoken to took a far more pragmatic view.  Read More…

Yesterday’s Man

This blog may be as uncomfortable to read as I know it is going to be to write. This is going to be an existential exploration which is unlikely to lead to any answers. I find myself in the somewhat strange position of asking, in relation to work, “what am I doing here?” I know I am not alone in this position either – in a recent survey, some 76% of police officers said they would not recommend the job as a choice of careers to others.

This kind of thinking out loud could effectively “do my legs” in terms of career progression or opportunities but in over 20 years I have never felt more confused about the direction of the police service I love.  Read More…

Why Education Matters, But Not By Degrees


A few weeks ago, a Twitter debate raged on the subject of whether it was necessary for all police officers to be degree educated. It has been proposed by the College of Policing that, in order to “professionalise” the police, it is desirable (and, therefore, likely to happen) that any new recruit will be required to undertake a Batchelor’s degree in policing.

At present, it is not clear what that will look like but the best guess is that it will actually be combining all existing foundation training and calling it a degree. Purists argue that this is not a degree at all as it does not test critical thinking and there is no dissertation. Others see it as the gateway to a future of officers who will act and think differently.

Read More…

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