“An NIO spokesman tonight said negotiations on the new powers were ongoing..”

With the latest stand-off on the devolution of justice powers getting personal, again, between the NI First and deputy First Ministers what do such rows say about the ability of the dysfunctional semi-detached polit-bureau to handle those powers? Meanwhile the current NI Justice Minister, Paul Goggins, MP, appears to be preparing to make changes in how the police tackle low-level crimes.

The PSNI is being given the authority to issue on-the-spot fines and cautions for offences such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, vandalism and shoplifting. At present the police have to prepare a file for the Public Prosecution Service for each and every crime they investigate.

That should cut down on the paperwork.. Are they also going to cut their losses with those accredited and funded restorative justice schemes?

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  • Comrade Stalin

    What many people have known for some time is now becoming very obviously public. The first and deputy first ministers do not get on well, and the executive’s functioning is suffering as a result.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “These new rules will allow the courts to serve a restraining order for any offence even when someone has been acquitted in order to better protect victims”

    Pete,
    I am but a simple being,but if someone has been ACQUITTED, the restraining order is justified how?

    First we create the problem.. then we devolve policing and justice powers…

  • alan56

    This bickering may well be just optics. P and J deal might come soon.

  • Pete Baker

    “if someone has been ACQUITTED, the restraining order is justified how?”

    That’s a good question, PT.

    But if, as it seems, this relates exclusively to domestic abuse charges, perhaps they may only apply it if, for example, the victim refuses to testify.

    Not that that doesn’t still present a problem..

  • Pigeon Toes

    “These new rules will allow the courts to serve a restraining order for ANY OFFENCE even when someone has been acquitted in order to better protect victims.

    http://www.nio.gov.uk/new-restraining-order-powers-launched/media-detail.htm?newsID=16233

    If they have been acquitted, then by the rule of law they are not guilty of said offence.

    Cue Human Rights legislation..

  • Pete Baker

    PT

    Try to focus on the actual topic.

    What you’re talking about was announced today.

    “The new powers, commenced today, under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 will offer further protection to those victims who are subject to harassment and domestic violence abuse.”

    It’s not what the post is about.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Pete,

    Pardon my ignorance, I see the links and the “any offence” guff.

    It still leads me to the question of how if someone is “Acquitted”, in law then how they can have a restraining order passed, if no law has been breached?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “The PSNI is being given the authority to issue on-the-spot fines and cautions for offences such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, vandalism and shoplifting.

  • Pete Baker

    How many times does it need to be pointed out, PT?

    What you’re complaining about “commenced today, under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004”.

    Not covered by the ongoing discussions about how the police respond to low-level crime.

    Which is the actual topic here.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “The PSNI is being given the authority to issue on-the-spot fines and cautions for offences such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, vandalism and shoplifting. At present the police have to prepare a file for the Public Prosecution Service for each and every crime they investigate.”

    UM.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Bullshit Peter. Don’t Bully me.

  • Pigeon Toes

    I might be able to get a restraining order.

    In the context of domestic violence ( and with other very complex factors), what is your expertise?

    The legislation overreaches that, and certainly would appear to contravene Human Rights legislation

  • Pete Baker

    PT

    Pay atttention to the detail of the legislation that has been announced, and that which hasn’t.

  • igor

    Pigeon Toes

    Sorry but you don’t know what you are talking about.

    The test for conviction is the criminal test – beyond all reasonable doubt

    The test for a restraining order is the civil test – balance of probabilities.

    If it’s applied through a court process and is applied reasonably by the court to prevent future crime its fully ECHR compliant. No doubt our impoverished lawyers will be keen to seek every avenue of making money from this …sorry, of course I meant will seek every opportunity to appeal for their poor downtrodden violent clients – but there you go. It’s all legal – exactly the same principle as ASBOs

  • Pigeon Toes

    As with ASBOS watch out for “odd” interpretations.

    This is Northern Ireland after all.

  • “The PSNI is being given the authority to issue on-the-spot fines”

    Will they face the same problems as the parking attendants?

  • “That should cut down on the paperwork..”

    But will it mean more bobbies on the beat and a reduction in the size of the PPS?

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/police-search-threeyearold-child-14517575.html
    “Children as young as three have been stopped and searched by the PSNI, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/victim-arrested-for-court-noshow-14517573.html
    “A man who beat a drinking buddy about the head has been jailed for 21 months — but walked free from court while his victim was arrested after failing to turn up to give evidence”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/6248646/Suicide-woman-allowed-to-die-because-doctors-feared-saving-her-would-be-assault.html

    “Miss Wooltorton, 26, who was suffering depression over her inability to have a child, drank poison at home and called an ambulance. However, she remained conscious and handed doctors a letter saying she wanted medical staff only to make her comfortable and not to try to save her life.
    Doctors said her wishes were “abundantly clear” and although it was a “horrible thing” there had been no alternative but to let her die.
    They feared they would be charged with assault if they treated her because they believed she understood what she was doing and was mentally capable of refusing treatment.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    The stuff about on the spot fines for shoplifters is daft, considering that most of these people either don’t pay fines or don’t have the money to pay the fines and end up doing a couple of days in the clink (at greater expense to the taxpayer, and with more overhead).

    I was at a DPP meeting this evening and talked to the police about anti-social problems. I believe the police have their role to play, but nobody else is backing them up. The courts don’t take these charges seriously and it only wastes police time to put in lots of effort to bring a prosecution resulting in a slap on the wrists. The police do have initiatives and sources of finance available to try to distract young people from this behaviour, by organizing events and day trips etc, but they’re now finding that this has the effect of rewarding the bad behaviour and indeed encouraging it. Smash a few windows here and there, and the police will organize a few weeks of football coaching for free.

    Anti-social behaviour problems are only going to be addressed by tough new provisions to stop them, not by window dressing like this. We need powers, preferably through the courts, or in the hands of a group of senior police officers, to apply temporary or permanent curfews to anti-social hotspots. We currently prosecute parents who do not ensure their kids go to school. If we can do that, we can also prosecute parents who do not make sure that their kids are not out at all hours causing trouble.

    If both of these measures had been available to police in England, the suicide of that poor tortured lady might have been avoided.

  • Billy

    CS

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m not saying that the Police don’t have their faults or make mistakes but IMO a greater share of the blame lies with the judiciary.

    Kids, and indeed parents, who cause trouble and/or abdicate their responsibilities need to learn that such behaviour comes at a REAL cost.

    In my experience, they believe (and unfortunately in >90% of cases, they are right) that they can behave as they like with impunity.

    Stupid ideas like on-the-spot fines have been proven not to work. Thay are simply, as you say, “window dressing”.

    With “policies” like this, not only will the situation not improve, it will simply get worse.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Comrade Stalin, Billy

    Didn’t you know that such anti-social behaviour is the fault of the “10p mix-up”?

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jsTOtqMprDfoAJUMwfJ4DlaDoXJw

    “Analysis of almost 17,500 participants in the 1970 British Cohort Study found that 10-year-olds who ate confectionery daily were significantly more likely to have been convicted for violence between the ages of 29 and 34.”

    Another study is being undertaken to examine the issues of teddy bears…