BRANCH ACTIVITY OF THE MONTH!
The event took place on 29 November, and brought the cohort of 2017 back together with their mentors, plus legal, training and administrative staff supporting the Nottinghamshire Bench. This cohort was a fairly large intake of 31 and they were well represented at the event. The purpose of the event was to review:
1) The process of applying to become a JP;
2) Interviews and appointment;
3) Training and mentoring; and
4) Finally a general review of experiences since becoming a magistrate. Feedback from the event will help to inform and enhance the processes for future cohorts.
The event was held in the evening (starting at 6.30pm) at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham. Refreshments were provided and a relaxed atmosphere helped to ensure that everyone made a full and frank contribution. Four round tables were set up to cover the themes outlined above. Each table had a facilitator and recorder. The 2017 cohort was split into four groups, assigned to one table to start with and then – after around 15 minutes of discussion – moved onto the next table in the sequence. At the end of these 4 sessions the recorder for each table gave highlights of the main discussion points. The branch is currently editing these and producing a summary that will be shared with others.
The idea for this event came out of a Nottinghamshire MA committee meeting, and was fully supported by the local JTAAAC. Branch President, Stuart Hope – who has regional responsibility for training – also attended the event. It was organised by two members of the committee – Olusegun Botu and George Gubas – who were themselves part of the cohort. This is the first time the branch has ever held such an event, and the outcomes will not only benefit new cohorts but also will be shared with other benches in the Midlands cluster.
At the end of the evening, the branch held a re-presentation of the MA Magistrates in the Community Innovation Award that Nottinghamshire MA won at the 2018 MA Awards. This was thought to be good for morale as only one of the branch’s committee members, Keith Knowles, was able to attend the Awards dinner President Stuart Hope did the honours, making the presentation to Ann Coxall, who produced the application, and Pat Walsh, Nottinghamshire MA MIC Coordinator.
All agreed that the evening had proved to be hugely beneficial to all concerned, and had also been very enjoyable!
If you have any queries, or would like helpful tips on running a similar event in your area, please contact John Perry.
'On weekends, at times when the facility is open to the public, low level offenders spend from 10am - 4pm on site at Apedale Country Park Heritage Centre performing community payback.
'The work performed is of genuine use to the Centre. Preexisting skills are utilised, a bricklayer has built a mock privy, paving slabs have been laid and brick edging repaired. Other work undertaken includes cleaning, washing dishes for the cafe, painting, clearing undergrowth, mowing in the summer and general tidying of the site.
'The staff and visors to the Centre are non-judgmental, treat the offenders with respect, and do not require them to wear identifying tabards. They find their own way, are not accompanied, but have to sign in and out.
'Although clearly only a snap shot, I felt that the loss of their free time was more of a punishment that the work they actually had to undertake. It was an extremely interesting visit.'
For more information on this, please contact Vicki Robinson.
'I recently attended a conference run by Action4Youth, featuring talks about youth crime and mental health.
'Of particular interest and relevance to MA members were the presentations by Superintendent Tim Metcalfe, LPA Commander at Aylesbury, and April Brett, Public Health Principal at Buckinghamshire County Council.
'April Brett’s presentation states that it is estimated that half of all lifetime cases of psychiatric disorders start by age 14 and three quarters start by age 24. The most up-to-date estimates (from 2004) indicate that 10% of five- to 16-year-olds have a mental health condition, although as little as 25% of children and young people with a diagnosable condition actually access services.
'The statistics given by April are startling but qualified by her saying mental health issues in young people are still in a minority despite the increase in cases. Not surprisingly the issues around social media/online culture and cyber bullying are on an increase. Children from lower income families, LGBT young people, those abused and the homeless are more prone to mental health issues. And often, as we are all too aware, these young people, children and adults are more likely to get involved with alcohol and drug abuse and then lead a life of crime if they get no intervention. April’s full presentation may be accessed here.
'Tim Metcalfe talked about his time in Coventry in the 1990s and how he feels we are failing young people – ‘prison policy must be about rehabilitation not warehousing’. He talked about how little intervention was around when he started on the job and the type of crime he saw on the streets back then – public order offences, joyriding, street robbery, shoplifting, but nothing like we are seeing today. The young men in all four case studies in his presentation were from low income families with parents in the criminal justice system who viewed petty crime as a rite of passage. They were bored, and exclusion from school had only exacerbated the problem. Most of these young men ended up with drug/alcohol and/or mental health issues.
'Today’s offending by young people is massively different and often drug and alcohol related. The county lines issue is not scaremongering by the press - it is a very real issue and involves grooming of young vulnerable children. Nor are the press scaremongering about knife crime. Tim’s full presentation may be accessed here.'
If you have any queries or feedback, please contact Debbie Gibbs.
The Naval Club, which is located in a classic London town house built in the early eighteenth century as part of the exclusive Mayfair development, was the delightful venue for the Magistrates Golfing Society’s AGM held on 9th November 2018, marking their 80th anniversary year. Many members had come from near and far, the latter as far as Cheshire in one direction and the South coast in the other, as London was seen as a good location, either to travel to for the day or for a “mini-break”.
The meeting room was full and enthusiastic participation from the floor - whether this was because a change of Captain was in the offing or whether controversial subjects were under AOB, we do not know – served as evidence of a the vitality of the Society.
The outgoing Captain, Barrie Martin JP from Kent, reviewed his two years in office, which had seen enthusiastic support for new venues for the golf days in all regions of the country and an influx of new members that bodes well for the future. He ended by expressing the thought that we now have a vibrant Society with 80 years of history but even more great years to come.
Handing over the very impressive silver “gong” to the new Captain, Richard Watson JP from Norwich, (almost the only golfer from deepest Norfolk with a Geordie accent!), Barrie wished him well with the exciting programme of golf days, weekends and matches which was already in place for 2019.
Some 40 people adjourned to the main dining room of the Naval Club, a very impressive Louis XVI style room that has a delightful ambiance for such an occasion. The excellent lunch, celebrating both the 80th Anniversary of the Society and a very successful year of golf and camaraderie, was followed by an amusing and informative talk by Judge Debbie Wright. Everyone present voted the occasion a great success and thanked Rita Biddulph JP for hosting it at her rather special London club.
The programme for the MGS’ 81st year (and not many golfing societies can boast of such longevity) will be published this month on their website, www.magistratesgolfingsociety.org
If you would like to join the MGS, please contact their Secretary, Paul Coombes. You will be made very welcome.
Northumbria MA: Dead Bodies and Dark Places – a talk by Norman Kirtlan, forensic reconstruction artist
On 12 December, Norman Kirtlan a retired police officer, gave a light- hearted presentation about his early career and his introduction to being a police forensic artist.
He soon gained the reputation for being able to make sketches from descriptions given by victims and witnesses and those sketches being more recognisable as individuals than an e-fit! Norman described many ‘characters’ some of whom ended up behind bars through his ability to gently coax descriptions out of people. He also described being asked, as a rookie, to ’lay-out’ someone who had died suddenly, only to be berated by the widow because he hadn’t put the man’s teeth back in – then again because he put the wrong teeth in!
Though very humorous, the talk also provided insight into just how far criminal justice systems have travelled over time with regard to treatment of victims, offenders and those with mental health problems.
If you have any queries about the talk or would like tips on how to arrange a similar event for your branch, please contact Lesley Dickinson.
On 26 November, Central and North London MA held a well-attended event, at the offices of Allan & Overy. The principal speaker, introduced by Branch Chair Sharon Ereira, was Emma Arbuthnot, Chief Magistrate. MA Chief Executive, Jon Collins, was in attendance.
The talk was welcomed by participants and accompanied by an engaged Q&A.
Attendees learned about the various ways in which front-line judicial experience have altered over the past decade or so – in and outside the capital. District judges have of necessity become more specialised. The positive contribution by those volunteering for the magistracy, despite a significant drop in numbers, was acknowledged as vital to the health of the criminal justice system.
Questions and answers included topics such as future recruitment, caseload distribution linked with court sittings management, and issues arising from HMCTS transformation – with particular emphasis on the impact on all court users following the introduction of digital mark-up.
For more information on this event, please contact Sharon Ereira.
Bedfordshire MA’s first mini-conference of 2019 will take place at the Rufus Centre, Flitwick, MK45 1TH on the 26 January 2019 from 9:15am and 1:00pm.
The conference programme includes presentations from:
- Kevin Sadler: Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Courts and Tribunals Development at HMCTS;
- Richard Howlett: Football Banning Officer, Bedfordshire Police; and
- Narcotics Anonymous.
For further information please contact Roddy Carberry.
Norfolk MA would like to invite you to a branch training evening titled’ Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking – it’s happening, right here right now in Norfolk’.
The evening will feature an introduction to the topic by the Deputy Chief Constable of Norfolk, followed by an overview of the extent of this problem in our society and actual examples of investigation, arrests and prosecutions in Norfolk from Norfolk Constabulary. There will then be a talk on targeting and grooming of young people in Norfolk from the Norfolk Youth Offending team.
If you have any queries about the event or would like to confirm attendance, please contact Jean Bonnick.
Central and North London MA are delighted to invite you to NHS Veterans Mental Health Awareness Training on 6 February at St Pancras Hospital.
The event will focus on ex-serving military personnel in the criminal justice system. It will highlight the particular difficulties faced by veterans and give practical guidance on how to deal with specific issues in court, such as:
• Offending behaviours of veterans;
• Military culture and jargon;
• Veteran mental health and behavioural issues - common presentations;
• De-escalation techniques and management of common mental health problems;
• Drug and alcohol use;
• Problems in transition into civilian life; and
• Structure of services for veterans (NHS and third sector) - regional and national.
The event will take place at:
St Pancras Hospital,
4 St Pancras Way,
The branch will circulate exact room details nearer to the time. Refreshments will be served.
Please email Luke Rigg to confirm your attendance.
Season’s Greetings from the SPJ
I would like to wish all members of the Magistrates Association a restful, restorative , peaceful and joyous Christmas/ Holiday season.
Best wishes for health and happiness for you and yours in 2019.
Lady Justice Julia Macur DBE, Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales.
1st Prize – Gail Goodman (Derbyshire)
2nd Prize – Tracy Sortwell (Cambridgeshire)
3rd Prize – Robert Matthews (Northamptonshire)
Signing off for 2018
The MA national officers and staff would like to take the opportunity to wish all the best to you and yours this holiday season and thank you for a wonderful 2018. We couldn’t have done it without you and look forward to a successful and prosperous 2019!
19 January 2019 - Saturday Morning Development Session
Forensic Science – Professor Guy Rutty, MBE - Chief Forensic Pathologist East Midlands. Head of Forensic Pathology Unit Leicester University.
Bentley Hotel Newark Road. South Hykeham. Lincoln. LN6 9NH
The Lincolnshire MA Executive Committee is delighted to offer Magistrates the opportunity to attend this Development Session. MA Members pay for this event through their subscription fee. Magistrates who are not members of the MA are very welcome to attend we just ask non-members to pay a small contribution of £6.00 to cover costs. This can be paid on the day by cash or cheque.
Forensic Science Professor Rutty will be talking about the work he and his colleagues carry out and the types of incident he attends.
Expenses are unable to be claimed. The Presenters are generously giving their own time free of charge.
To book your place at this session, please contact Mary Chamberlain.
23 February 2019 - Saturday Morning Development Session
Topic to be confirmed – further details will be advised shortly
23 March 2019 - Saturday Morning Development Session
Cyber Crime - further details will be advised shortly
Early June 2019 – Annual General Meeting of the Lincolnshire Branch of the MA
Details will be confirmed nearer the time.
Northamptonshire MA will be holding their AGM on 23 March 2019 at Northamptonshire County Cricket Ground along with the Northamptonshire Bench meeting.
The branch is currently pulling together a team of interesting speakers, and more information on these will be available shortly.
For further information contact Gerald Lovell.
CGL are the new drug & alcohol treatment provider in Warwickshire with local hubs in Rugby, Nuneaton and Leamington Spa.
We’ve recently moved to our new office and are delighted to invite you to come and meet our colleagues, peer mentors and service users to celebrate our new premises in Rugby. We look forward to seeing as many people as possible on the day and please circulate to colleagues and anyone that you think would like to attend.
Thursday 17th January 2019
13:00 till 16:30
35-37 Albert Street, Rugby, CV21 2SG