Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Rough Justice

Sgt Jennings from Hampshire is not happy that two youths were not prosecuted for throwing a stone at his car causing damage. Read Here. I must say top job mate in chasing and catching the two BUT did you expect any different. He's obviously so incensed, that the papers have got involved and no doubt a smacked bottom due to him for that. I'd be interested in knowing what role he performs but suspect he's been away from the front line for a bit.

At least they went through the system and the all important sanction detection was gained. This is the system imposed by our political masters and think yourself lucky they were cautioned.

I was sat in my office when a call came up for criminal damage to car, suspect still on scene. It was that time of day when we'd run out of police officers. As usual I had no staff so strolled down to help out response. I spoke to the victim, nice chap.

He'd been stood on his balcony having a cigarette when his neighbours car pulled up below. He saw his neighbours 10 year old son get out and deliberately key the side of his car. He had gone down and words were said with the parents and hence the call to me. Apparently there was bad blood between his own son and this 10 year old and somehow both sets of parents had become involved. His other car had also been keyed about a week previously.

I looked at the car and there was a monster scratch along the door. I could see the scrapings of paint raised up so it was very recent damage. An open and shut case me thinks. So I go to see the neighbours, who are not British. I put the allegation to the son and mother is ultra defensive in that her son hasn't done it. Apparently it could have been done previously. Then the race card comes out (I've noticed in my past posts how often this happens), where the victim had stated something about going back to your country. Both the mother and father were in the car and had handed the front door key to their son so he could go to their flat, whilst they emptied their car. No admissions so I street bailed the boy to attend the station at a more appropriate time.

Before the bail date I obtain a statement from the victim. It's not his car he just uses it so I have to traipse miles to get a statement from the owner. I can't find a Polaroid camera anywhere but borrow a digital one and take images of the damage. Untold stresses involved now because we can't upload images onto our normal police systems, well not us working officers. I hit the Ops office where a job laptop resides. An officer kindly uploads them and sends them to me by e-mail. More stress in that the images are too big for our system, I can't open them. I have to ring SCOTLAND and beg for increased access. This is denied unless somebody in authority authorises it. QUOTE "otherwise everybody would want it". I bully the civilian IT person to authorise this increased access. All this photo business actually takes 4 hours.

I couldn't make the bail date but one of my officers did the interview. Denials and no comments were order of the day as expected, and mother was a pain in the arse berating us. Now before decisions were taken away from us, this lad would have been charged at this point to youth court. He can't be reprimanded (cautioned) as he hasn't admitted the offence so is bailed again. I get the paperwork together for a file intending to send to the CPS. It would appear the system now is to notify the Youth Offending Team (YOT). I do this and the lady tells me she will contact the mother and arrange intervention. This is where they become involved to interact with the suspect and can do victim reparations if need be. She tells me they will update the victim and deal with everything. If they decide after intervention, they can issue a final warning. I update the victim and leave her to it.

To cut a long story short he finally does his intervention and I look to close the report. I speak to YOTS and ask about the disposal. There is no disposal - NO sanction detection - NO conviction - nothing. He has avoided all responsibility for his actions as we don't want to criminalise 10 year olds. The arrest will be shown NFA. The repair bill was over £500 to that car and the same for the first car where he couldn't prove the lad had done it.

A few months later I saw the victim on his balcony. The YOT had never contacted him and he'd had no involvement with the process during intervention. The last person he'd spoken to was me. I had to break the news and he took it remarkably well. "At least you tried your best" he says. Yes I did but the system failed you.

** Sgt Roy Jennings is a licensing officer so my suspicions were right ** Still a good collar though

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