Some concerns over police actions

Stephen Black has some concerns over police actions
Stephen Black has some concerns over police actions

I would like to respond to the letter from Mr Dumbill (Your View, February 27).

Most people would expect that there is no “shoot to kill” policy in this country and that the police have a difficult and dangerous job to do that can involve use of lethal force.

But in a recent survey, only half of respondents said they trusted the police.

Shami Chakrabarti, of Liberty, said if only half of us trust the police it is “extremely worrying for consent-based policing and the rule of law”.

In the case of Mark Duggan the jury stated they did not believe the police evidence that the illegal gun was in his hand when he was shot.

This did not alter the lawful killing verdict but they concluded the police lied.

Jean Charles de Menezes was unlawfully killed, according to an inquest jury. Since 1990 144 people have died in police custody, with nine unlawful verdicts returned at inquests.

History shows the police lie to obtain convictions and to avoid accountability; Birmingham Six, Guilford Four, Hillsborough, Orgreave, Plebgate and many more.

It is also a farce to regard the Independent Police Complaints Commission as fit for purpose when 60 per cent are ex-police officers.

My suggestion is we institute a genuinely independent system that investigates all complaints so forces no longer investigate each other.

Public money should not be used by the police to cover up errors and then claim it did nothing wrong.

Mr Dumbill is right that the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes was a “disaster”.

Yes for the victim, yes for his family, but not for the police. The jury were told by people on the train they believed the victim was executed.

Senior officers walked away and other officers did not face trial. No wonder some people think the police operate with impunity.


By email

We can satisfy need not greed

It seems to me, that every night and day the cruel message of famine and starvation is brought very vividly into one’s home, through television.

Some charity is appealing for vital public help to feed dying children, who are shown in the throes of death, lying on an earthen floor, or held in the skeletal arms of the mother or another sibling in the same peril.

A background voice informs the viewer, they are all on the brink of death with just hours to live... and yet pennies, yes literally just pennies, from us can avert such tragedies that straddle the weak and poorest regions in our world.

Yes, it’s hard to watch, the wide eyes of the young, innocent victims.

It squeezes the heart and pulls at its strings, and you pray, you really do, that by some miracle they be spared.

Then one takes and reads the daily paper. You come to the page on global economy and the heading in black type informs the reader, under the title “Hunger 2014”, that a third of the world’s food is wasted.

This report from the World Bank gives a graphic account that a third of the world’s food production is never eaten; meaning that food prices are being artificially inflated and resources wasted.

This report also criticises the wealthy nations such as the UK and the USA for throwing away so much food.

The figures they show tell us the average household of four in the UK discards food to the value of £660 a year while the USA is even higher at £960 a year.

It also highlights poor food handling and storage facilities in the developing world, which allows staple food to perish and millions of tons of good food to end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to market.

The World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said the amount of food lost globally is shameful. Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night.

The vanguard of these pernicious policies are found within our capitalist system, imbedded in the commodities and futures markets, financed by huge corporations laying out the future of farmers and other agrarian producers by tying them to men’s vision and parameters of an uncertain future.

And therein lies the problem for the world’s hungry.

The power of large amounts of moveable finance makes the marauders of the world’s resources legal pirates.

The result of this “business” is that those who dwell in smart homes counting their ill-gotten gains are well served at the expense of the world’s poor.

On that I will finish but I give the last words to Mahatma Gandhi. He said: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”



Just hang up on nuisance callers

Many readers will share Mrs Mathew’s despair at the high volume of cold calls.

We were assured that registering with the Telephone Preference Service would reduce the problem but this has proved totally ineffective.

I also spoke with someone at BT and was told they could do nothing to help.

Then last week I had a call from someone who told me that I was receiving a lot of cold calls.

Was he responsible for some of them, I wondered?

This person said that if I was willing to set up monthly direct debit payments he could stop the calls!

I treated this as I treat all nuisance calls and just hung up.


By email

Isn’t Farage one of the posh boys?

Tom Bingham in his support of UKIP says: “We don’t want rich posh boys running our lives any more.”

Doesn’t he realise that Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, son of a stockbroker and an ex-City trader, is a rich posh boy?


By email

Commissioner puts his case

When I was elected, I set just one target for Northamptonshire Police: a reduction of at least 40 per cent in violent crime.

So far they have achieved the second largest reduction in violent crime across the whole country. As a result the county has at least 1,000 fewer victims of violent crime over the past 12 months.

The force is exceeding the national average in reductions in all crime, sexual offences, theft from vehicles, theft of vehicles and shoplifting.

In addition, it has achieved the largest reduction of all crime, the largest reduction in car theft and fourth largest reduction in thefts from vehicles in the country.

It is now in line with the national average reduction for domestic burglary, having previously shown an increase.

There has been a welcome decrease in violence over the past 12 months with a reduction of 21.7 per cent compared with the 2011/12 baseline.

This means that Northamptonshire Police is well on target to achieve the 40 per cent target reduction by March 2017.

Anti-social behaviour is showing a small reduction over the period and mirrors seasonal trends. Repeat anti-social behaviour victimisation is stable and victim satisfaction is improving.

I have been very clear on the need to work with partners and communities to have a strong focus on tackling alcohol-related crime, getting tough on anti-social drunken behaviour, combating domestic abuse and hate crime, and changing the wider culture in our society towards violence.

As part of this commitment, over the Christmas and New Year period, Northamptonshire Police carried out a powerful campaign to address violent and alcohol-related crime.

The successful impact of this campaign was reflected in figures which show that for the week up to and including New Year’s Eve, the number of recorded violent offences was 21 per cent down on the same period last year, and 34 per cent down on the year before.

I am encouraged that these tactics are having a beneficial impact.

The effects of irresponsible drinking are a huge drain on police resources, costing Northamptonshire Police and its partners £1.5m each year.

This campaign has shown that my focus on bringing people and agencies together to tackle the problems caused by alcohol is starting to have beneficial impact on local communities.

Volunteering is at the heart of my vision to make Northamptonshire the safest place in the country.

Northamptonshire Police currently has about 285 special constables complementing the 1,220 regular police officers.

My ambition is to increase this to 900 special constables by this time next year.

Volunteer police officers contributed significantly more hours in 2013 than in 2012 and contributed a great deal to make our county a safer place to live and work.

It is clear that volunteering can enhance our capabilities, and give communities across our county a dedicated policing presence.

Together we can achieve so much more and take steps forward to achieving the ambition of making Northamptonshire the safest place in the country.

If you are interested in volunteering, or if you have any further questions about any of the work I am carrying out, please do not hesitate to contact me further on the email address


Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire

First class service from life-savers

I have just returned home after just over a fortnight away. I was treated like a VIP.

The staff couldn’t do enough for me.

The food was wonderful.

Where have I been? A cruise? A hotel break? No – Kettering General Hospital.

There are lots of horror stories concerning NHS patients in our hospitals and I’m not denying their authenticity, but I thank the Lord for the wonderful treatment I received.

Just one more thing – they also saved my life!