Blame the Pigs.
When will we learn that to successfully prosecute a case, we must conjure up all our witnesses on the day of the court no matter how little notice they were given, or how unwilling they were to attend from the start? We should even be producing witnesses that we did not know existed. Moreover, those witnesses just aren't providing the quality of evidence required. Instead of browbeaten girls with four children under the age of three by different fathers, who never went to school and say "dunno" in answer to every question, our witnesses must be articulate and well-educated ladies who will convince any magistrate they are telling the truth. Rather than jewellery-adorned lads who use vocabulary like "Innit" and "fucking feds", we must ensure that all assaults are witnessed by middle class working men wearing suits.
But our failings go further than these. We must provide photographs and CCTV for every offence, even those that happened indoors. We must analyse all mobile phones connected to the incident and despite the eight-month turnaround from the Hi-tech Crime Unit, these must be ready on the day of court. DNA and fingerprints should be found at every crime scene and we must prove beyond a doubt that the story produced by the defendant in interview, that he "never saw the guy before and doesn't know his name, but got into his car and drove away" is completely untrue, no matter how impossible a task this is. We must make sure that police officers who had a passing contact with the investigation, albeit they merely signed a piece of paper to confirm they searched the prisoner, or they said "hi, mate" to him in custody, turn up on the day of court even though they have no idea they will be needed. Last but not least, we must make sure that members of public do not lie to us and that we arrest the correct person every time and can reproduce a Columbo-type reconstruction of who did what when how and why, for every case.
If we cannot even do the above, how do we expect Magistrates to convict? It isn't as if they have the power to say, "If you can't be bothered to show up for your own court case, we'll convict you in your absence or have you arrested immediately". Do we really expect them to say, "I am fed up of the Defence persistently adjourning and adjourning this case then going guilty at the last hour for a reduced sentence. I am sick to the back teeth of the police giving up rest days at short notice and paying officers for eight hours' duty to sit still and be sent away early, only for the Defence to moan that some remote sergeant who once said Boo to the defendant is not there. I have therefore decided to give you no more chances. The case WILL go ahead today and you WILL be convicted." Poor Magistrates can hardly be asked to ACCUSE people of playing the system for extra legal fees, or dragging their victims through hell in the hope of the case falling apart on a technicality.
We MUST stop blaming criminals for committing crime. It is time the police took responsibility for all systemic failures that cost the nation billions of pounds. After all, we are the only law-enforcement agency out there.
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