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A victory for common sense

November 24, 2006
There is still hope out there. Despite a number of forces using performance targets as a stick to beat officers into arresting anything that moves, there are still some officers who can remember what discretion is and how to use it to good effect.

This story appeared in the Shropshire Star recently. The officer concerned could just as easily (and quite lawfully) have taken the man in question to a police station and done all the processing that this entails, but chose instead to take the much more proportionate route of taking the old guy out of the way and then de-arresting him when the situation had resolved itself.

Take note you student officers – just because you have the power, there is no need to use it. Sometimes there is another way!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. PC South West permalink
    November 24, 2006 12:24

    The senior management team at my nick have tried to take our discretion from us to the extent a colleague was summoned to see the supt about why he failed to arrest an 11 year old shoplifter.
    The supt was told in no uncertain terms by the Pc that he was using his discretion that was given to him as a Police officer and that he would not be bullied into arresting anyone. We decide at the time the best course of action. That is how it should be.

  2. Old Man permalink
    November 24, 2006 14:26

    Actually, the officer you mention was not doing anything as simple as merely using “old-fashioned discretion”. He was using more modern powers of discretion, granted under the (relatively) new section 30(7) and (7A) of PACE which sections were, of course, brought into existence by Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

    I am sure that he knew that.

  3. Old Man permalink
    November 24, 2006 14:31

    My above post refers to the officer mentioned in Stan Still’s blog, not PC South West’s colleague. Sorry about that.

  4. Mark permalink
    November 24, 2006 14:45

    Whilst the person’s behaviour was obviously wrong, I still question why the council won’t employ goggles over plastic bags?

  5. ted permalink
    November 27, 2006 17:00

    The council won’t employ goggles because that is a small inconvenience for their staff. Why ask staff to wear goggles when the problem can be resolved by making the public go to extra trouble.

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