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Being the duty solicitor

Last Friday and today (Monday) I am/was the duty solicitor at Stratford Magistrates' Court.  The role of the duty solicitor is to advise and represent people who are appearing at court but who do not have a solicitor; there are a few more rules about who qualifies and who doesn't, but those aren't important right now.

I am currently the custody duty solicitor, which means that I am here to advise and represent anybody arrested by the police and charged over the weekend..  I heard on the news last night that the Metropolitan Police deal with approximately 2,000 offences per day.  Stratford covers the Newham area of east London where I believe I am right in saying that Newham has a higher than average crime rate, although it's not one of the highest crime areas in London.  So, with an average of 4,000 crimes committed over the weekend plus those committed on Friday night that couldn't make it to court on Saturday morning you might expect there to be quite a bit of work waiting for me on Monday morning.

There is no narey duty (who deals with defendant's not in custody) so I am available to cover those as well.  I currently have zero clients.  On Friday I had just one client.

Only two people have been brought to court from police stations, which means that just two people where charged and kept in custody by all of the police in the whole of Newham on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.

Just four people have been charged and bailed by the police to attend court today over the last week.

The court staff and other lawyers agree with my observation that the police/CPS seem averse to charging these days.  I can only assume that when the next set of crime figures come out we are going to see a huge drop in crime of all types.


  1. Surely the City must qualify as the highest crime rate area in London.

    CPS failure to prosecute (to depress the crime rate) has two logical conclusions
    - a reduction in the CPS payroll
    - a reduction in the number of people enjoying Her Majesty's hospitality

    Coincidence in these times of constraint on the public purse?

  2. I suggest you get hold of the stats on out-of-court disposals. In my county, most 'detections' are cautions, penalty tickets and TICs. We're becoming a police state.



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