ENGLISH POLICE CHIEF: DO NOT MAKE MY OFFICERS JUDGE AND JURY

England has instituted a program where police officers on the beat, can impose small fines on the spot. Police Chief Paul Kernaghan argues that this is not the proper role of police officers.

By Victoria Taylor  Crime reporter, United Kingdom
 

HAMPSHIRE’S police chief has hit out at on-the-spot fines, saying his officers should not be judge and jury.  Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan spoke out as it was revealed Hampshire is among the worst at dishing out fines for low-level crime.

Mr Kernaghan prefers officers to collect evidence and let the courts decide whether an offence has been committed. He also dislikes them being used as part of a Home Office ranking system and fears it could lead to more fines being handed out to boost the number of offences cleared up.

But some experts said the fines of either £50 or £80 were the best way to deal with minor offences that would otherwise just clog up the courts and police officers’ time.
Mr Kernaghan said: ‘Offences Brought To Justice is a target which is outside the control of any one agency and, indeed, in one crucial aspect is quite rightly outside the control of any criminal justice agency.

‘Yet, it is a specific performance indicator for the police service.
‘I accept the police can influence the number of penalty notices issued and to a degree the number of cautions issued but we have no control whatsoever over the number of convictions secured in the courts.

‘Our duty is to present the best evidence possible to the courts, not to secure convictions per se.

‘A better measure would be the number of arrests we make or the number of files we submit to the Crown Prosecution Service.

‘But to narrowly focus on convictions is illogical.  ‘We should be judged on matters