Casey Brittle Case And Hapless Policing

The IPCC has produced a mildly critical report on the death of Casey Brittle at the hands of her dangerous ex-boyfriend.  The guy was clearly a total shit and not fit to be on our streets.  One wonders how many more like him there are and why our CJS can’t deal with them.  I am not aware of any case studies of successful police and legal action in dealing with this kind of scum.  One would expect such material to be collated and in use in training.

The IPCC report is tiresome and lacks any self-criticism, or criticism of the system-level. The cops put up for minor disciplinaries are all constables or sergeants – this despite the Nottinghamshire force having form for such failure and having no domestic violence policy in force for more than a year.  In defence of the IPCC, one can say there remit is woefully inadequate, but they’ve been around long enough to protest this and get it changed and have, instead, been led by inadequates drawing massive salaries who couldn’t say boo to a goose.

The report gives us no idea how rife (or otherwise) the problem is.  My own experience indicates the problems are extensive and policing of them hapless.  The issues are not merely policing ones – our CJS (indeed wider legal system) is not fit for purpose. Resources are committed to clown libel cases or interest only to the rich and the feeble-minded who gawp at such stuff through the ‘mejar’ (a far more appropriate term than media, suggesting narcissistic voyeurism).

The systemic failures are not correctly pinned on Response officers, dud as these often are in effect.  My guess (fairly reasonably informed) is that this case is the tip on an iceberg.  I believe the actual problem is that we don’t equip our cops with the tools to do the job and actually skill the incompetence they and other agencies demonstrate,  The IPCC make several references to forms not being submitted to a domestic violence unit working 9 to 5 (well almost).  Piss-poor bureaucratic solutions will only lead to clown form-filling that will only help in cover-up.

What’s needed is a system that drags these bastards in front of a court straight away, much as the night courts rustled up to deal with the recent rioters.  Police officers are being asked to deal with questions they can’t answer and which it would be wrong to give them personal power to deal with.  Sure there were officers who ‘dealt’ with these incidents on “area search no trace” form – but this is the ‘record’ of most Response policing (including mine 30years ago).  No solution that doesn’t recognise the mostly young, inexperienced and wet-behind-the-ears Response cops (some remaining this way for 20 years) aren’t Solomons will work.  They need somewhere to ‘bag-off’ these problems and this place should be ‘judicial’ and the bastards (and some innocent parties) need to be taken there, and directions given for proper investigation under which all parties are made aware of consequences, and resources allocated.

There are glaring faults in the policing in this case, yet we keep coming back to the same old story, most of which is cover-up with each case dealt with as though it is separate from the actual and much wider problem.  This problem is that our justice system is run by the rich for the rich and is too slow to have much deterrent effect amongst the repeat offending scum whose presence dominates the CJS and policing.

Much policing actually works on the basis of keeping people out of court because this costs so much money.  I think it’s time to reverse this and get more of these problems into a courtroom as they arise, with courts issuing injunctions with powers of arrest as soon as possible with the effect of a binding over and directed police and other agency investigation.  This would bring about ‘partnership working’ far more directly than current pontification about it.

We should be looking to improve police work, but as with 50% of our kids who can’t benefit from education designed for the intelligent, we can’t keep on pretending we can make cops just out of training school into Solomons capable of solutions none of us could manage and they are expected to deal with because white collar people and all kinds of stuffed shirts want their weekends free for ‘golf’ or fear they would turn to dust if forced to venture into the 24/7/365.

In terms of resources, I think we could design out the CPS, the need for the judicial element to consist of expensive lawyers, use this element instead of elected police commissioners and remove many senior police ranks, the IPCC and look to further savings by a less adversarial CJS and reliance on dated concepts in evidence such as ‘credibility’ and in some cases ‘proof’ through a more discursive yet binding approach.

One thing clear in the IPCC report is the absence of senior officers (amazing given the lack of a domestic violence policy for 18 months) giving advice or being available to give any.  Several should be sacked and the disciplinary record of the poor sods trying to actually do the job, however badly, expunged.

I believe our cops are much worse than our general public image of them – they are much more unpopular amongst people with recent experience of problems needing police support.  That a statement like this is so often received as criticism of all officers is also a statement of the paranoid-schizoid position cops take too easily.  Police always make out their job is very difficult, but rather than using this as an excuse, we should be looking for the reasons why the job is so difficult and solutions to it.

Even in proposing immediate referral of many street issues to an investigative court, I’m aware that the worst court in Britain is the Family Court and this is stacked out with professional advice.  This court is so bad it keeps its proceedings secret.  We need something quick with follow-through, using mediation with enforceable arbitration.

Do our courts know what evidence is?

At 2:00 in the morning on 25 January 1995, Boston police officer Kenny Conley was chasing a shooting suspect who climbed over a chain-link fence. An undercover officer named Michael Cox had arrived on the scene moments earlier, but other officers had mistaken him for a suspect, assaulted him from behind, and brutally beat him. Conley chased the suspect over the fence and apprehended him some time later. In later testimony, Conley said that he ran right past the place where Cox was under attack, but he claimed not to have seen the incident. The investigators, prosecutors, and jurors in the case all assumed that because Conley could have seen the beating, Conley must have seen the beating, and therefore must have been lying to protect his comrades. Conley was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to thirty-four months in jail.

This is obviously a US case, but courts around the world have difficulty with “evidence”.  There’s a long list from the UK I’m aware of – Nico Bento being the classic, in which the very evidence that should have secured his acquittal was turned to the damning piece.  This involved a judge and jury being asked not to believer their own eyes but the cock-and-bull of an “expert” already discredited elsewhere.

Kenny Conley is more likely a decent cop doing his job with some bravery than some in the UK public eye recently.  The matter is reported in the journal i-Perception –

http://i-perception.perceptionweb.com/journal/I/volume/2/article/i0436

This journal has much about it I would commend, notably that it is free to read and freely available – a model our public affairs should follow.

Our court systems rely on concepts of evidence that are very dated.  Decisions on fact are essentially taken by lay people – magistrates and juries.  This might be a good thing, given some of what is emerging on “expert” decisions in the Crown Prosecution Service and seeps out on bureaucratic manipulations in the like of Baby P, though the same flaws are present in our court rooms because what can be presented in court is severely limited by cost, representation and ‘legal rules’.

Human history is not one in which many people have shown much notion of what real evidence is.  In this case, it isn’t so much that the academics have established that it is quite likely that we might well not see and incident whilst focused on another, but that courts are making decisions on what they cannot know as though they could and prepared to send people to jail on that basis.  Many questions spring up, including that if this can happen to a cop with representation, what else might be going on in cases with no representation?

I feel for Kenny, having been in a similar situation.  The point really though is that the time for our courts to be subjected to proper public scrutiny is long overdue – and this needs to be scrutiny beyond that of superior courts.  I gave evidence that wasn’t quite true in order to both tell the truth and defend an officer doing his job.  Other officers present lied that they could not see the incident, something easily disproved in an recreation (there wasn’t one).  I was some distance further away and arresting someone else – they were, in fact, just watching and the idle and incompetent of many other incidents.

Our courts have been pretending on evidence for centuries.  Our legal system is based on fictions and in no way approaches scientific criteria on evidence – it could not entirely of course.  What really worries me about Kenny’s case is that we would send a man to jail in the belief he was lying about the fact that he could have given evidence, with no one bothering to find out whether anyone was likely to have been able to.

One cannot read i-Perception and conclude anyone was likely to be able to give the evidence Kenny was assumed to have been able to witness.  Yet we assume all kinds of worthies can’t see the blatant corruption around them in Baby P, Parliamentary expenses and in hiring a bent forensic expert who lies to court (Bento) or in CPS decision-making on Harwood and in failing to disclose on undercover officers etc.  All these worthies are clearly more guilty than Kenny, even if he did see the fight.  Unlike the nose-in-the-troughs the sharp end appears exposed to the same unfair ‘justice’ as the rest of us.

What about an experiment on whether we would ‘see’ corruption around us?  The Establishment knows we do – that’s why Tisdale and the guy who told us which direction the Belgrano was sailing in were prosecuted and why whistle-blowers are treated like lepers.

Kenny Conley eventually won on appeal, though not on the academic research.  My own feelings are that it is time to stop the nonsense of magistrates and juries making up their minds on whatever is skewed at them in the weird settings of courtrooms.  Could we not come up with a better system of public scrutiny?  I don’t really mean new court systems – something systemic that would not have to rely on ‘personal integrity’ or ‘value ethics’ acting in secret?

Tomlinson Enquiry Failing The Need

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/09/ian-tomlinson-death – the Grauniad.

Ian Tomlinson was killed two years ago because police officers failed to protect a vulnerable man.  They prevented him making his way home, and one of them clearly assaulted him in front of other officers.  The story is now ghastly, and pretty much all of our criminal justice system is tarnished.  Claims that there is no evidence of this, that and the other really only substantiate that no timely investigation was possible, and that only ‘chance’ video evidence has helped bring the grubby story to any light at all.

One can see that police have to be as free as we can make them from malevolent complaint, but here we have all the signs of various bureaucracies operating only to make no one responsible.  Whilst money is being consumed in this manner, we can only fear things can only get worse.

Harwood will almost certainly escape proper prosecution because a trial would bring others and the system itself under belated scrutiny.  And it is in these areas that the great matters of public concern lie.

“Public Argument” is failing all of us (Tomlinson)

One can put a case forward that Mr. Tomlinson would still be alive if there had been no G20 protests.  Beyond this one can argue that the organisers of the protests are responsible for the death if the protest was not justified.  Beyond this, one can argue that those who organise our democracy were responsible because their failings make such protests necessary to protect democracy.  There is no need to agree any of these arguments, just appreciate they can be made, no doubt at tedious length.  We have known this about argument at least since Pyrrho. One can get so pissed off with argument that all that is left to say is to point to the pisswitterers (Sophists, lawyers, pundits) and announce ‘I know nothing, but even this is to know more than them’ (Socrates).  This is only a ‘polite, humerus’ way to chant ‘fuck off you twats’.

Given a more or less white powder, test tube, thermometer and Bunsen burner, and asked to find out what temperature lead carbonate turns yellow, most of us would probably stick the powder and thermometer in the test  tube and heat it up, recording the temp.  I forget the result.  There are more people than you’d think who can’t do this experiment.  They’d be the only ones left if I’d substituted lead azide, which is so massively explosive we transport it in dextrinated solution (carefully).  It’s sort of white to buff as a powder.  Most of us can heat up white powders; almost none of us can spot the psychopath.  Not many of us can do chemistry in a safe manner.  I could write this little exercise up a bit more carefully to make its point – which is that most of us can’t do argument safely either and the results are as disastrous as heating up lead azide or even looking at it aggressively.  I forget, but the stuff is so preposterously explosive in raw form, that the energy to set it off equates to dropping it through six inches, or as Hogday might appreciate, breathing loudly in the distant vicinity of a currently non-hostile Arab mob or Millwall soccer fans.

Public argument is as distant from real, scientific argument as most of us are from being able to make and handle lead azide.  More than this, we keep non-equipped dullards out of lead azide handling, but not out of public argument. That this is blazingly obvious is blazingly obvious – the questions are about how we so easily forget this so regularly.

We send cops (and others), ill-equipped, under-trained (yet burdened by loads of useless training) and more into quasi-lead azide situations and blame them when things explode.

I still like to think, at the end of a 22 hour shift, covered in the blood of my best friend (he survived) and having just fitted my inspector’s head up the exhaust pipe of a Volvo, I would have treated Mr. Tomlinson better than Harwood and the cops who looked on.  And that even in one of my current diabetic states, I would not have been as jobsworth as the DPP  in his pathetic ‘decision-making’.  I ain’t Superman or Plato, just a working stiff.  What has ans is getting in the way or ordinary people doing their best?  That they didn’t for Mr. Tomlinson is obvious.  The energy required to do this amounts to a drip in the bucket of cover-up blather.