Wednesday, January 11, 2006


1. Bring a book - if your case is listed for 9.15am you can bet it'll either be adjourned or will be heard about midday (see below). There's only so many times you can read through your statement and PNB entry without falling asleep. A John Grisham novel or "Single & Single" by John Le Carre are good reads, and have the added bonus of potentially winding up lawyers!

2. Bring food - if you're lucky, the court building may have a canteen, or at least a newsagents nearby. If you're unlucky, it's got bugger all. Sod's law though says if you get food after waiting around for an hour and a half, you will get called just after you've paid for the hot (soon to be frozen) toastie.

3. Be prepared to be called in on a rest day - the CPS have been known to ignore what you've put on the availability matrix and call you in when you're meant to be off. The only positive is you're getting paid for not doing a great deal. If you're a Special, you should get remunerated for time off work. If you're a student Special and missing lectures, that's just tough.

4. Don't try and remember the job beyond your PNB and statement - it happened months back, you thought nothing of it at the time and probably put the bare minimum in your PNB (after which the whole job was immediately forgotten about), safe in the knowledge that there was no way it would EVER get to court stage!

5. Don't be surprised if people turn up - this can range from the victim of the crime, to the accused and even to the defence or the prosecution counsel, leading to the adjournement or later-than-planned hearing. CPS have also been known to ask police officers to chase up victims who haven't turned up when they should have done - now THAT'S what I call service!

Feel free to add more, and I'll put "Part 2 - IN THE COURTOOM" up shortly.

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I can relate to all of the above seeing as I spent most of my rest day at mags court yesterday. I neglected to bring suitable reading material for the duration. As a result it's amazing how many text messages you can catch up on!
One of the specials I knew in my previous force was very dappy. The defendants defence was that the arrest was unlawful as they were never given the caution (or something like that). The defence asked the special if she knew the caution, she said "oh yes" and then pulled out a card with the caution on from her pocket and read it out. She couldn't remember it without the card and he got found not-guilty on the technicality...oh well. So from now on, before I go into court I make sure I remember why I arrested them i.e. the law and its definition just encase I get questioned.

Oh. We do get compensated for days off work but there is a salary cap meaning we don't get very much at all... Taking time off work is not looked at well by our employers and many grumble. I just wish the CJU - Witness liason officers would give us more warning that we are no longer needed, then on the very day...
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